Ezra 5:1-23 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Temple is Completed
Comments for Study 4

Ezra 5:1-23
Memory Verse: 4

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I. Prophets in Jerusalem and Judah (5:1-5)

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>1. While the enemies of God had succeeded in stopping the temple from being finished did God abandon his people? (1)

* Ezra 5:1 "Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them.

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>Who did he send?

* "Haggai the prophet" -The book of the Bible that bares his name contain some of his prophecies.

* "Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo" -The book of the Bible that bares his name contain some of his prophecies.

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>Does he send people to encourage us even to this day? (Eph. 4:11-13)

* Ephesians 4:11-13 "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

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>2. Who restarted the work of building the temple?

* Ezra 5:2 "Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem. And the prophets of God were with them, helping them."

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* "Jeshua son of Jozadak"

* "the prophets of God were with them, helping them"

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>3. What did the enemies of God and his people do?

* Ezra 5:3 "At that time Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates went to them and asked, "Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and restore this structure?"

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>Why did they want the names of the leaders?

* Ezra 5:4 "They also asked, "What are the names of the men constructing this building?"

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>Did the workers stop?

* Ezra 5:5 "But the eye of their God was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received."

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>What kind of faith did it take? (James 2:18-19)

* James 2:18-19 "But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. "

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II. Why We Are Rebuilding the Temple (5:6-17)

>4. Who sent a letter to whom? (6-7)

* Ezra 5:6-7 "This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates, the officials of Trans-Euphrates, sent to King Darius. The report they sent him read as follows: To King Darius: Cordial greetings."

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>What did they state was happening?

* Ezra 5:8-10 "The king should know that we went to the district of Judah, to the temple of the great God. The people are building it with large stones and placing the timbers in the walls. The work is being carried on with diligence and is making rapid progress under their direction. We questioned the elders and asked them, "Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and restore this structure?" We also asked them their names, so that we could write down the names of their leaders for your information."

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>How did they make themselves sound?

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>5. Was the historical account in verses 11 and 12 accurate?

* Ezra 5:11-12 "This is the answer they gave us: "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished. But because our fathers angered the God of heaven, he handed them over to Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean, king of Babylon, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon."

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>What about 16 and 17?

* Ezra 5:13-16 "However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God. He even removed from the temple of Babylon the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to the temple in Babylon. "Then King Cyrus gave them to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor, and he told him, 'Take these articles and go and deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem. And rebuild the house of God on its site.' So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem. From that day to the present it has been under construction but is not yet finished.""

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>Based on this what did they ask him to do?

* Ezra 5:17 "Now if it pleases the king, let a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to see if King Cyrus did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter."

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III. God's Name Dwells There (6:1-12)

>6. What did the new king Darius do?

* Ezra 6:1-2 "King Darius then issued an order, and they searched in the archives stored in the treasury at Babylon. A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana in the province of Media, and this was written on it: Memorandum:"

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>What did he discover?

* Ezra 6:3-5 "In the first year of King Cyrus, the king issued a decree concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid. It is to be ninety feet high and ninety feet wide, with three courses of large stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury. Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in the house of God."

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>7. What did King Darius tell the enemies of God to do in 6-7?

* Ezra 6:6-7 "Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you, their fellow officials of that province, stay away from there. Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site."

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>In 8-10?

* Ezra 6:8-10 "Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God: The expenses of these men are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. 9 Whatever is needed--young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem--must be given them daily without fail, 10 so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons."

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>What did Darius declare about the temple in Jerusalem?

* Ezra 6:11-12 "Furthermore, I decree that if anyone changes this edict, a beam is to be pulled from his house and he is to be lifted up and impaled on it. And for this crime his house is to be made a pile of rubble. May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem. I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence."

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>To what extend did he believe this?

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>What is the temple of God now and how does it parallel to what happened in Ezra's time? (1 Cor. 3:16-17; Eph. 2:19-22)

* 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."

* Ephesians 2:19-22 "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."

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IV. Dedicating God's House (6:13-23)

>8. How did God bless the faith of the builders? (13-15)

* Ezra 6:13-15 "Then, because of the decree King Darius had sent, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates carried it out with diligence. 14 So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. 15 The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius."

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>How should this spur us on?

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>9. After the Lord delivered the Israelites from their enemies what did they do?

* Ezra 6:16-18 "Then the people of Israel--the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles--celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy. 17 For the dedication of this house of God they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and, as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, one for each of the tribes of Israel. 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."

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>What does this teach about keeping faith in opposition?

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>10. What was Passover? (19-20)

* Ezra 6:19-20 "On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover. The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their brothers the priests and for themselves."

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>What did they do to seek the Lord? (21)

* Ezra 6:21 "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."

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>What was the Feast of Unleavened Bread?

* Ezra 6:22 "For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast 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."

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>How were they fulfilled?

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