Esther

Esther 1-5

I am posting this late because the scriptures do not need a post.  It is a very clear read.  Here are a few tidbits.

Book of Esther, part 1

King Xerxes was having a planning session for war against Greece, an upcoming nation.  For 180 days he enticed surrounding leaders with a lavish drunken party.  He wanted to show off by summoning Vashti his Queen.  When she refused he relied on his counsel for what to do (really??)  Well, they basically said, “If she gets away with it, my wife will rule the roost too”! So it as handled!

When the king demoted Vashti, they ordered a new harem of won to cheer him up. Mordecai, whose family was brought to Babylon in the exile brought Esther to the palace.  Beautiful virgin women were automatically kept as concubines.  Why Modecia??  Ester was the chosen one to replace Vashti!

Providence: Esther was put in a position to save God’s people before there was even a plan of danger mentioned.

Providence: The Lord used a woman that was not necessarily following the law of Moses: she would have sex with a man before marriage, marry a pagan, and eat unclean foods.    Yet, God used her to deliver Israel even though she disregarded some of His will.

Chapter 3-

After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.

Now, this may have been for several reasons:

  • The scriptures specifically pointed out that Modecai was from the tribe of Benjamin and they  had a long history of of being enemies with Amalekites (Haman’s family)
  • Mordecai refused to keep to the law about not bowing to idols or in worship.  (However, Persian king’s did not demand worship from their people, but honor and respect of position…like a soldier’s solute)
  • He did not bow down because he knew Haman despised the Jewish people. (I think this was it)  (He was antisemitic just like Hitler)

In Proverbs 6:16-19 The Lord gave us a list of seven characteristics he hated: Haman had all 7!

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.


In chapter 3 Haman casts “lots” called ‘pur’ to determine the future to wipe out ALL Jews.  In ancient cultures they always conferred with the ‘pur’ to get astrological guidance- like when I was a pagan teenager I read the horoscopes.  WELL, through PROVIDENCE the Lord gave them Jews a year to prepare!

(This day on the Calendar TODAY is called the Feast of Purim to commemorate God’s protection by controlling the Pur.)


My favorite scripture in the book:

4:14  “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

and Esther takes a HUGE risk going to the King without an invitation….

, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”


The reading ends with a chuckle (at least from me).  Esther plans to spoil Haman’s plan but must address him in front of her drunk husband.  The Haman was summoned it says:

11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.”

Ha! that made me laugh.

Book Overviews · Esther

Esther Overview

I have been feeling “dry” through Zechariah (well, overwhelmed with the text is more like it).  But NOW we get 2 days to soak up a great book called Esther.  Here is what we know:

  • a Persian King named Cyrus decreed that the captives be released and were given provisions to return to Jerusalem to re build the temple.
  • out of about 1 million people only 50,000 returned.  That’s 5%!
  • Why?  Well, while they were on captivity they had established a new life.  New families.  New Cultures.  New Businesses.  Many had grown fond of their new life.
  • What was in Jerusalem?  Not much.  On top of that, a ton of work to rebuild a Temple many of them had never experienced the first time.

Esther is a book set at the same time the Temple is being built from the view point of the captives that chose to stay in Babylon.  Interesting!

Old Testament Survey — The Gathering Place

Should the book of Esther be in the Bible??  Here is what is NOT mentioned in the Book of Esther:

  • The Lord (what???)
  • Prayer
  • Faith
  • The Law of Moses
  • Jerusalem (except that they were exiles from there)
  • It is never quoted or referenced in the New Testament
  • No miracles (or anything supernatural)
  • It was not induced in the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Did I mention The Lord?

Still the answer is YES.

The Lord’s Name may not be there BUT His hand is!!

Speaking of His name: fun fact- scholars have found hidden tetragammatons in the scriptures.  What’s that you ask?  It is when the first letter of the words in a sentence or phrase makes a word.  In Esther 5:4 it says: “If it pleases the king,”.  The fist letters make up the word “YHWH” in Hebrew.  The Lord is in the details.


Esther’s Jewish name was “Hadasseh” which means “myrtle”.  The myrtle tree was native to Babylon.

Esther is her Persian name meaning – “Star”. The myrtle tree bears a beautiful star flower.

Many of the Jewish captives were given 2 names: Jewish and Persian.


The book takes place during the Persian Period and covers about a 10 year period.

The Theme of this book is Providence.

Providence:

  • the protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power.
  • timely preparation for future eventualities.

My view of God is “all knowing” however Providence is different.  It is Foresight.  He knows it before it happens.  So where does Free Will fit here?  We do not know what a day might bring BUT God foresees our free will choices and can act to accomplish His plans because of that foreknowledge.  Cool huh!

Some things to ponder:

  • Providence: even though people do not acknowledge God’s presence (or think He is absent) He is always at work.
  • The Lord never coerces people but God uses their decisions.  (Haman in the book will build gallows for Modecai, but God used the gallows to hang Haman instead).
  • God gives people genuine freedom and yet causes things to turn our the way He wants them in the end.
  • If we believe in God’s Providence we can live in confidence and courage.
  • We are in control of our destiny, but God uses all circumstances in history for His ultimate purpose.

I haven’t talked about the Book of Esther BECAUSE I want it to fall fresh on you when you read it!  Enjoy!

Here is a map for you to get your bearing!

Elam and The Elamites: The Evidence No Believer Can Afford To Ignore – Black History In The Bible

Zechariah

Zechariah 8-14

I skipped chapter 7 yesterday.   Honestly I was exhausted…the visions took 2 days to research and I was seeing things!  But chapter 7 is a great little chapter!

“Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”

Ouch!  That was a kick  in the shins to God.  Worship had become a ritualistic burden.    I am going to plead the 5th amendment on this so I do not incriminate myself!  What did the Lord say?

And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’


Chapter 8-  This chapter has many layers to it.  In short it is written to encourage those that are rebuilding the temple.  To give them a view of what is to come for their labor.  You will read several times that people will gather and fill Jerusalem again.  This will not be in their time but there will be moments in history that Jewish people will again fill the nation.  A few weeks ago I talked about looking “back” on key events in History like how God used Palestine (Israel) for refugees during WWII, when the cold war ended and the people were released from the Soviet Union, or my personal favorite, when President Truman took part in declaring Israel a state.


Chapter 9 1-

Map of the Territory of the Philistines (Bible History Online)

Back in Ezekiel 25-32 the captives were given a message of hope.  They were told of the destruction of the foreign nations.  Now another prophet gives the same message.  The remnant that returns did not come back to a Peaceful time, so this is encouraging to them that God will still fulfill his plan. Many of these have been fulfilled when Alexander the Great becomes the next powerful nation.

So keep building the Temple….

But I will encamp at my temple
    to guard it against marauding forces.
Never again will an oppressor overrun my people,
    for now I am keeping watch.


Verse 9- Now for the good part!  The prophecy of the Messiah!  A king enters a town in 2 ways:

  1. On a donkey– This means that the King comes in a time of Peace or to bring Peace
  2. On a Horse– This is a military King- come to fight a war

If you have read Revelation 19, you might picture this:

Revelation 19: The Messiah Makes War - בית מלך Beth Melekh

BUT in Zechariah the scripture says:

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Image result for Trimphal Entry

Matthew 21:

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

He was coming to be the sacrificial lamb to bring Peace to Earth.


Zechariah 9:11 As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
    I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
12 Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
    even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

The covenant in the Old Testament was sealed with the blood of a sacrifice.  God’s covenant remains faithful with the blood of the Messiah!


Verse 14-17- Split screen prophecy.  The Lord will win future battles for them (verse 13 noted Greece) and this will happen during the Silent years between the OT and NT, BUT we can also see that this is referring to the Final Battle when Jesus returns in End times.


CHAPTER 10– A reminder of the old days when the people relied on idols to bring rain: It is the Lord that Provides.  The leaders in the past have led them astray like lost sheep but one is coming:

“My anger burns against the shepherds,
    and I will punish the leaders;
for the Lord Almighty will care
    for his flock, the people of Judah,
    and make them like a proud horse in battle.
From Judah will come the cornerstone,
    from him the tent peg,
from him the battle bow,
    from him every ruler.

In verse 6 The house of Judah (the south) and the House of Joseph (the north) will reunite!  (Yes, we know this!) Those scattered in the captivity WILL eventually be brought to Israel.  We see the beginning of that in Ezra and it is still happening today.  It will be eventually fulfilled in the End times when they are all gathered!


Chapter 11-The Shepherds.  Again, the Lord is talking about the leaders that lead the sheep ashtray (still happens today)-so be careful who you take your advice from.   He will discipline the shepherd and the flock.  He takes staffs:

Allacin's Illustrated Summaries of Christian Classics: ZECHARIAH+—An Illustrated Summary of Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible by G. Campbell Morgan

The Lord will remove his hand of protection from them.  He will not give them favor and they will split into 2 nations: Judah and Israel and again when the Romans become the nation of Power.

10 Then I took my staff called Favor and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations. 11 It was revoked on that day, and so the oppressed of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the Lord.

12 I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.

For Thirty Pieces of Silver. – Snyder's Soapbox

In Exodus 21:32, Thirty pieces of silver was the price of a slaves death.  It was an insulting amount: a life was worth 30 pieces of silver?  The “three shepherds” might be a  reference to the three religious offices during Jesus’ day that worked to condemn Jesus: the elders, the scribes, and the chief priests in Matthew 16.

12 I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.

13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.

I know this post is too long but you MUST see the fulfillment of this:

Matthew 27:

27 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”

So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me

Jesus was crucified for 30 pieces of silver.  The price to set a slave free.  YOU.


Chapter 12- Take note to the phrase ON THAT DAY.  We are talking about the FINAL Day.  The Lord will keep his Covenant with His people.

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Zechariah 12:“The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah.


10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

Spear Thrust into Christ's Side

“Awake, sword, against my shepherd,
    against the man who is close to me!”
    declares the Lord Almighty.
“Strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered,
    and I will turn my hand against the little ones.
In the whole land,” declares the Lord,
    “two-thirds will be struck down and perish;
    yet one-third will be left in it.
This third I will put into the fire;
    I will refine them like silver
    and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
    and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
    and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”


Does anybody want to call in sick for work today and take Chapter 14 verse by verse??  The End of the Bible (almost the End) will occur on the Mount of Olives.  How do I know?

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.

We have read about this setting in the days of David and Solomon, and a vision of the Glory departing the Temple heading towards the mountains.   What else happens there??

  • Jesus went there to visit Lazarus, Mary and Martha
  • Many miracles took place
  • The Triumphal Entry came from that direction (Bethany)
  • The Olivet Discourse
  • After the Last Supper Jesus went to Mount Olives: Garden of Gethsemane.  This is where Jesus prayed the last time, Judas brought the soldiers, High Priest, and Pharisees to arrest Jesus
  • Post Resurrection Jesus led his disciples to talk to them.

The Best one is:

11 “Men of Galilee,”( they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back( in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

STANDING ON THE VERY MOUNTAIN HE WILL DEFEAT SATAN!

 

Zechariah

Zechariah 1-7

7 short chapters.  (But CRAZY)

Chapter 1- Loved the into! paraphrased  “Listen, I warned your mom and dad and look what happened to them…you want that captivity to happen  to you ?  No? Then don’t do what they did!  

There are 3 major points to the Intro:

  1. Their forefathers failed to respond to God’s word (which resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and an exile)
  2. God never changes
  3. Don’t make the same mistake they did-‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.

If you read the overview or watched the video from last night, feel free to write out the chiastic…as for me…nah, I’m good.  (But it is a cool way to study God’s word.  There are lots of them).  Let’s begin.

Zechariah Visions - The Herald of Hope

Vision 1:

Pin by Joan Stephens on Old Testiment and Prophets | Zechariah, Horses, Myrtle tree

11 And they reported to the angel of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest and in peace.”…. (The myrtle tree is a fragrant, decorative shrub that sometimes reaches the size of a tree, it was used in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles)

16 “Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the Lord Almighty.


(Vision 2 and 3 are external hindrances….vision 6 and 7 are internal hindrances)-Chiastic help.

Vision 2- The 4 Horns.  I DON’T KNOW.  It could be 4 future world powers or it could be the 4 we read in Daniel.  God loves to keep the mystery of his word. (I think it is the statue, but maybe I am wrong)

“These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise their head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people.”

11. Zechariah | Bible.org


Vision 3.   Not sure what this looked like: The measuring line.  When you see a surveyor on the side of the road, you know construction is coming because the population is increasing.

Zechariah's Eight Visions for Israel by Clarence WagnerThe Book of Zechariah – 10 Visions – The Glory and Crown ReturnsMY TREASURE BOX" : ZECHARIAH'S VISION: THE MEASURING LINE

While the angel who was speaking to me was leaving, another angel came to meet him and said to him: “Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’

We know the prophecies by now…the surrounding nations, especially Babylon,  will be destroyed…RUN to Jerusalem!  (But many don’t)


Vision 4-

Zechariah 3 | Gospel Doctrine

Joshua represents Israel.  His cleansing symbolizes the future cleansing of His people.  Satan standing at his side is “the accuser or the adversary”. Satan will do anything to keep us from fellowship with God.    The Lord himself rebukes Satan:

  1. He reminds Satan that God has chosen Israel and His plan will not derailed.
  2. The burning stick refers to Israel’s deliverance from Babylon and their restoration.

Man cannot remove their own sin (the dirty garment)- The Lord clothes us with righteousness.

Wait…it gets better!!

“‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.

10 “‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

We know the Branch term from Isaiah and Jeremiah!  Jesus is the “Branch” or the “shoot from the root”.

The stone is the “Cornerstone” (7-meaning complete or Holy Spirit) with the inscription “Lord Almighty!”  Did you know there are 55 scriptures referencing Jesus to the foundation or the cornerstone.  A cornerstone is the first block laid in construction.  It must be perfect because the structure is held and measured from the cornerstone.

Cornerstone

1 Peter 2:6-For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Back to Zechariah-10 “‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Are the Gentiles the neighbor invited in?  (I think so) 🥰


Vision 5:-Just when I thought the visions were weird enough…they are about to get trippy.  You have two olive trees, that send olive oil into a bowl that funnel down some pipes into a lamp stand.  You can’t make this stuff up!

Just like in the tabernacle, the Lamp stand represents the Light of the World.  However, in the tabernacle, the priest kept the candles burning.  Now the Lord gives a vision of this contraption of the light being provided continually through supernatural means.

This vision is a word of ENCOURAGEMENT.  They are being asked to rebuild a temple!  I can barely handle my simple life, could you imagine the task in front of them!    Verse 6 says it ALL:

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

The Holy Spirit is the Power source!   This task can only be complete with the God’s power not by human strength,

POWER FOR LIVING” Zechariah 4: ppt download

11 Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?”

12 Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?”

13 He replied, “Do you not know what these are?”

“No, my lord,” I said.

14 So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.”

The Kingship and the Priesthood (both a foreshadow of the Messiah to come).  By the way, the irony that this week a good friend of mine asked me an unrelated question that is so relevant now!  “How is Jesus from the line of David if The Virgin Mary isn’t from the tribe of Judah”? And why is her tribe line significant?  Can you figure it out? 🧐


Vision 6- The flying scroll (a very large one)- it is seeking unrepentant sin.

Zechariah/ Malachi | JCCS Presents Mysteries of the Bible

The Lord Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name.

Judgement will come on those who sin against their neighbor (example: thieves) as well as,  those who sin against God (swears falsly by the Lord)


Vision 7: Many times things in the BIble were personified.  Wisdom for example was a woman.  This time: Sin is personified.

Zechariah's Vision of the Woman in the Basket means God Will Rid The World of Sin - Theology in Perspective

The sin is held in the Basket and two messengers of the Lord take the basket out of the Land and over to Babylon.


Vision 8- Go back and look at vision 1- The horse was bringing back a message of Peace.  Now the horses are going out in Judgement.  Have you ever heard of the 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse!  Can you believe in 3 months we will be at Revelation!!

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Tarot Spread - Intuitive Reading on Storenvy

Four Horsemen | Horsemen of the apocalypse, Four horsemen, Horseman


The crowning of Joshua-(Joshua means The Lord is Salvation)

12 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’

The harmony of bringing both Priest and King together represent Jesus.


I am going to stop there.  That was exhauting!

Book Overviews · Zechariah

Zechariah Overview for tomorrow

Ten days to go and you are done with the OT!!  YOU GOT THIS!!! (if you are behind…have you thought about jumping in for the NT??) Oct.1.

Zechariah 12 and Biblical Prophecy | Remember… God Is in Control - Sponsor an Olive Tree in Israel

This book is about the past, present and the future. Zechariah is called the Messianic Prophet.  The book of Zechariah is quoted 40 times in the New Testament!  Look below to see why we are squeezing it in here.

Zechariah

This book has 3 major parts to it.  The 8 Visions (given all in one night), the 4 Messages, and the 2 Oracles.  Do I understand this book!  Nope!  But let’s just chew on what we can and every time we read it we will peel off another layer.

11. Zechariah | Bible.org

This is a book of Eschatology (future events) just like Daniel and Ezekiel.  Tomorrow we are going to jump into the first 7 chapters.  It is not a long read BUT I do want you to know it is a Chiastic:  a-b1-b2-c2-c2-b1-b2-a.  If you need that in a visual here is an example:(but without the D’s)

Was the Gospel of John "simply" written or carefully designed? (John 5.19-30)

Many chapters in the bible are chiastic however, it is not my thing.  I took a class on it once and never went to the send session.  Ha!  BUT this one is worth looking at.

  • Vision 1 and 8 correspond
  • Vision 2 and 3 together correspond with 6 and 7
  • Vision 4 and 5 are the center.

Good Luck! 🙃

If you want a little more, watch this.  It definitely helped me. (the structure is at 1:45) BUT watch the whole thing..it’s so good!

 

Haggai

Haggai

Only 2 chapters in this book

  • Click here to read
  • Click here to listen
  • 2nd shortest book in the old Testament.  38 verses. BUT a BIG Message.
  • The year is 520 BC.  16 years after the foundation was built and then construction haulted.

People to note:

 

As most prophets do, he time stamps his message: it is 520 BC

In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”

This people meaning-The Jewish.

Did the Lord tell them to stop building??  Oh how easy it is when an obstacle comes today “Oh well, the Lord is closing that door”  “If it was His will, it wouldn’t be this hard” “It is not the right time for me to…..”  Mercy!  Imagine if Paul in the New Testament said that!  One letter was written and the people put down their hammers and said “Well, I will stop the Lord’s work and work on my own stuff for now”

 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”   

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.  (He will say that 4 times!)

After the message they obeyed!  So they heard what they Lord wants and they did it.  They did not ignore it.  Rationalize it.  Make an excuse…like I do.


Chapter 2

Do you remember in Ezra 3:

11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:

“He is good;
    his love toward Israel endures forever.”

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 

He now says in Haggai to those people:‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 

He is saying: Don’t compare!  I am with you! (and that is all that matters.)  Solomon’s temple may have been more beautiful…but Zerrubbabel’s Temple will bring the Messiah!

‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”


The Blessings for defiled people.   If you bring something pure to something unclean will it make it pure?  NO.  BUT if you bring something unclean to something pure, does it make it unclean? YES!  Let’s make a fake example out of Covid 19-

If I am healthy and you have Covid-does my healthiness heal you?  NO

If you have Covid- and I do not, do you make me unhealthy? YES

In this context- Do the work of the Lord BUT your unrepentant sin defiles the Temple.


Signet Ring

Alwin Thomas on Twitter: "I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,'declares the Lord Almighty.” Haggai 2.23 #dailybreath #ruah #ruahchurch #ruahministries #promiseverse #promiseoftheday #blessingword #wordofgod #Ihavechosenyou #haggai…

 

Book Overviews · Haggai

Haggai Overview for tomorrow

We are in the home stretch to the New Testament.  Less than 2 weeks to go and we have 11 days of excellent reading to do!

Let’s do some summary here so we can feel this book come alive.  There are 16 prophecy books, right?

  • 11 Before the Captivity
  • 2 During the Captivity
  • 3 After the captivity

So who are the last 3? Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi! 

So here is the 1 minute recap:

Judah (the southern nation) has been conquered by Babylon under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.  The capital (Jerusalem) was demolished and all the plunder carried away. (586 BC).  This is called the captivity.  70 years has passed and just as prophesied a Persian King named Cyrus released the Jews to go back to the homeland but only about 50,000 go. :(   They began to rebuild the temple and after they laid the foundation the work stopped, due to pressure from the enemies.  Nothing advanced in construction for 15 years.  A new king is on the throne named Darius and 2 men began to bring a message to the people of encouragement to complete God’s work: Haggai and Zechariah.

Haggai is an elder who probably remembers the first temple.   So here is a book that I know will give you a personal message from the Lord about staying the course when it looks like you should give up on a task the Lord has given you.  Don’t let the enemy win.

Ezra

Ezra 4-6

Chapter 4-

As they were building the Temple the “enemies” that were currently living there said “We will help”.  They were liars.  They knew that the Jewish nation would become powerful again so they wanted to keep their thumb on them.  Verse 6 -12 is a “recap of the complete history of the rebuilding of the Temple. Here is a list of the Persian kings through Biblical history:

Nehemiah: The Governor - William Struse

Take a look at the letter that was written to Artaxerxes in verse 12.  Basically the letter said “If these people build their temple, they will rebel, they will stop paying taxes, and they will rebel against the king and overtake him”.  So Artaxerxes researched their history of rebellion against kings in the past and said “You’re right!”

24 Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

For years all construction stopped!


Chapter 5- There is a gap here in time.  What does God do in this gap?  He send a Word to them.  He sends Haggai and Zechariah to encourage them.

Another letter is written when they began rebuilding,  this time to Darius.  The letter simply states: We asked the Jewish people WHO gave you permission to build this Temple??  They said- King Cyrus, the king that conquered Babylon did!  AND he gave us our Temple belongings back AND he gave us money to do this!  (so can we get back to work now because even Haggai and Zechariah are helping us with this construction!)


Chapter 6: Darius researches the claims.  He found a scroll in the province of Media from Cyrus: Here is a scroll of you would like to read it for yourself 😉

Cyrus Cylinder loaned to Iran | Ferrell's Travel Blog

Darius writes back- #TrueStory!!

  • Let them rebuild the Temple…
  • oh, and wait for this..the cost will be paid for by the royal treasure!
  • AND the governor, Tatternai…stay away from the project
  • Oh and Tatternai..when I said “royal treasure” I meant from your city funds…so give them a blank check!
  • Last, “I dare anyone to interfere!  I dare you”

Verse 12- I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.

If you have already read,  go back and soak up the beauty of verse 13-22.

18 And they installed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.

I can’t help but to think back to where they started, how far they moved from the Lord, but the Lord NEVER gave up and always promised a restoration.  So undeserved!   And here we are, all for the purpose of bringing the Messiah to the whole world.

The Passover

19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover. 20 The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their relatives the priests and for themselves. 21 So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.

 

 

 

Ezra

Ezra 1-3

(Late last night…sorry…I posted an Overview, you can go back and read it but it is not necessary for this read)

First let’s go back to Isaiah 44 and 45- The Prophecy of Cyrus:

who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’
    of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’
    and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’
27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,
    and I will dry up your streams,’
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd
    and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”
    and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’

“This is what the Lord says to his anointed,
    to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
    and to strip kings of their armor,


Chapter 1:

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:

In bullet form:

  • The captives may go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple
  • the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem
  • articles belonging to the temple of the Lord (even the ones they partied with) were returned

This was the inventory:

gold dishes 30
silver dishes 1,000
silver pans 29
10 gold bowls 30
matching silver bowls 410
other articles 1,000

11 In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along with the exiles when they came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.


Chapter 2

Yes,  of course I skimmed😝 but stop at verse 59 for a second.

59 The following came up from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer, but they could not show that their families were descended from Israel:

70 years of captivity some people are going to lost their papers:  So what do they do?  There wasn’t an Ancestry.com to go to.  Remember this book is written by Ezra, he writes everything from the Priestly perspective.

62 These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. 63 The governor ordered them not to eat any of the most sacred food until there was a priest ministering with the Urim and Thummim.

I know that rings a bell!  2 stones were used to “cast lots”….in my weird brain it was like a “Magic 8 Ball” that god controlled and it was right everytime.

PPT - THE PRIESTLY GARMENTS OF GRACE PowerPoint Presentation, free download - ID:2272191

They went back to a Jerusalem and settled the land:

70 The priests, the Levites, the musicians, the gatekeepers and the temple servants settled in their own towns, along with some of the other people, and the rest of the Israelite settled in their towns.

Keep in mind that only about 50,000 people returned.  Not many!  They had established a new life and made new homes.  The around around the Mediterranean Sea was beginning to thrive and many many people went to Alexandria in Egypt where life was good.  Look at the surrounding areas that were growing economically and culturally.  Would you have uprooted your family to return to a ruined town or would you rather drink wine in one of these cities?

02.01.03.Z MAP OF THE TWO JEWISH DIASPORAS

Put this in your other pocket, because this will completely make sense when we get to the New Testament and Paul needs to go on trips to bring sermons to the Jewish people.


Chapter 3: When you read chapter 3 you will notice a few things

  • They built the altar first-YES!! to worship the Lord!
  • They feared the people that were currenlty living there.  Well, think about it-they went back to a land that others had inhabited…Even though it was their land they were kind of coming in like the British did to the Native Indians in America. (I have a test this week on the 13 Colonies….it’s on my mind 😝)
  • Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day.
    • Since the Exodus with Moses they were to commemorate what is called the Festival of Booths or Tabernacle to remember when they exited Egypt.  How fitting since we called this the 2nd Exodus.
  • The ending is bittersweet: many cried with joy as the new Temple was being built, but some elders remembered the day when Solomon’s Temple was at this very place and cried when they saw what it looked like now.

 

Book Overviews · Ezra

Ezra overview for tomorrow

Ezra - Complete Bible Book Chapters and Summary - New International Version

If you have a Bible near you, look at where Ezra is placed in the Bible.  It is with the Chronicles. Well, it is there because it is with the History books.  Also,  because Ezra was the writer of the Chronicles and Nehemiah.  I point this out because if anyone ever says “I tried reading the Bible, it was confusing”,  suggest to them a chronological schedule.  Going from Chronicles to Ezra would confuse anyone!


Ezra and Nehemiah were one book in the Hebrew Bible.  They give and account for one of the most important events in history…the return from exile (captivity).  An important chapter to reread would be Jeremiah 29 (my favorite!)

This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

We all read Exodus, this is the second Exodus.  Time to exit Babylon instead of Egypt.   Ezra was a priest, the great grandson of the priest who found the lost scrolls in the deserted temple that brought them to King Josiah that began a revival (Jeremiah’s dad)!  He is a scribe (a historian), and learned under Baruch (Jeremiah’s scribe)  

 

01 January 4, 2015, EZRA, God Commands Obedience

However, most of the events recorded took place in 537-516 B.C. (chapters 1—6) and 458 B.C. (chapters 7—10) Between these two separate series of events the Book of Ezra records nothing. The events in the Book of Esther transpired during those years (in 482-473 B.C.). The books of Ezra and then Nehemiah record the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament.

PPT - EZRA PowerPoint Presentation, free download - ID:162965

So if you click here for the reading checklist…it will make sense.