Ezra (Part 1)By Pastor Boffey on Saturday, March 10, 2012.
Ezra: Rebuilding God's Temple I. The Book of Ezra deals with the return of a great number of the Jews from Babylon to rebuild the temple of God at Jerusalem. A. The present age of the gospel was prophesied of as a time of rebuilding old wastes. ISA 61:1-4; ACT 15:15-16. B. The gospel church is the reformation of the existing church which had fallen into gross disrepair. HEB 9:10; ROM 11:11-21. II. Like its counterpart book which deals with the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Nehemiah), Ezra sets forth tactics of the church's adversary to hinder or stop the building (particularly the rebuilding) of God's temple. c/w 2CO 2:11. A. Satan has an eye to frustrating the rebuilding of the temple of God. B. The gospel church is the temple of God. 1CO 3:16-17; 2CO 6:16. 1. Its ministers are given for its edification (building up). EPH 4:11-12. 2. Its members are to edify one another, which includes rebuilding. JUDE 1:20; 1TH 5:11 c/w JAM 5:19-20; GAL 6:1. 3. Churches sometimes fall into disrepair which will require a rebuilding effort on the part of ministers and members. 1CO 4:14-17; GAL 4:19; REV 2:4-5. 4. Satan loves to see churches fall into doctrinal or practical corruption and does whatever he can from outside and inside to frustrate their repentance/rebuilding. 2CO 11:3. C. The believer's personal body is the temple of God. 1CO 6:19. 1. Fornication is a special sin against that temple. 1CO 6:18 c/w ROM 1:24. 2. “Minor” sexual sins tend to devolve into worse uncleanness. ROM 1:26; EPH 4:19; JUDE 1:7. 3. Satan loves to draw God's people down this drain and keep them there. 4. Satan in general does not want our persons to repent of sin since a broken temple is a less formidable testimony to God's existence, power, and right to demand human service and worship. ROM 2:24; 2TI 3:5 ct/w 1PE 2:12; 3:16. D. The body of the Lord Jesus Christ is the temple of God. JOH 2:19-21. 1. Satan sought to corrupt Christ by bodily temptation while He walked. MAT 4:3. 2. Satan sought to corrupt Christ's flesh by death. 3. Satan sought to prevent the “rebuilding” of Christ's body. MAT 27:62-66. 4. Satan sought to prevent the news of the “rebuilding” from affecting others. MAT 28:11-15. 5. Satan's ploys against that temple all failed. HEB 4:15; ACT 13:28-39, 48-49. E. Rebuilding God's temple is pretty important! F. There is one area where Satan does want us to rebuild. GAL 2:18. III. The Book of Ezra also has important historical, hermeneutical, prophetical and eschatological significance and implications. A. It satisfies previous prophecies about Israel's return and rebuilding. B. It links with other O.T. books which shed more light on the circumstances. C. Its temple would one day be graced by the Son of God. HAG 2:3, 6-9 c/w LUK 2:25-32. IV. Consider some principal persons in Ezra. A. Ezra: a Levitical priest descended from Eleazar and a devoutly Bible-oriented scribe and Ezra Page 1teacher who, when he came on the scene, led the people to understanding through fundamentals of Bible study. EZR 7:1-6, 10 c/w NEH 8:4-9. B. Cyrus: the Persian king who decreed the Jewish return to rebuild the temple. EZR 1:2. C. Sheshbazzar/Zerubbabel: the prince of Judah whom Cyrus appointed governor and whom God promised would be honored with the beginning and finishing of the temple. EZR 1:8; 5:14 c/w EZR 2:2; HAG 2:21; ZEC 4:10. D. Jeshua/Joshua: the high priest (EZR 3:2 c/w HAG 1:1), who was crowned with many crowns and advised of a Royal Priest to come. ZEC 6:11-13 c/w REV 19:12. E. Haggai and Zechariah: contemporary prophets who reignited the project and saw it through. EZR 4:24-5:1; 6:14. F. Artaxerxes and Darius: other Persian kings who enabled the project. EZR 6:14. G. Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel: trouble-making lawyers hired by the snubbed Samaritans. EZR 4:4-7. H. Rehum and Shimshai: lackey secretaries who penned the official complaint to present to King Ahasuerus/Artaxerxes. EZR 4:8. I. Tatnai and Shetharboznai: more trouble-makers who tried to stop the reignited building program. EZR 5:3. V. Consider the spirit of the people who signed on to the project. A. There was willingness to materially support it. EZR 1:6; 2:68-70; 3:5 c/w 2CO 8:1-5. B. There was unity. EZR 3:1 c/w ACT 4:32; PHIL 1:27; 2:2. C. There was a zeal for purity. EZR 2:62; 10:14 c/w 2CO 7:11. D. There was godly response to rebuke. EZR 5:2; 10:15-19 c/w 2CO 7:9. E. There was a joyous zeal for proper order according to the Law and keeping of ordinances. EZR 3:2-5, 10; 6:16-22; 10:3 c/w 1CO 11:2; 1JO 5:3. F. There was humility, confession, fasting and prayer. EZR 8:21-23 c/w ACT 13:1-3. G. They made sure that a good foundation was in place. EZR 3:10 c/w 1CO 3:10-11; EPH 2:20-22; MAT 7:24-27. H. They had no delusions about the relationship of the temple of God to Babylon. c/w REV 18:4. I. Any church which has fallen into disrepair had better have the same spirit if it ever expects to rebuild the way God's temple should be built. Ezra Page 2