Thru the Bible in 24 Weeks Introduction The Bible contains stories of the greatest EVILS . . . . . betrayals, revenge, deception, and The ultimate Prince of Deception: Satan The Bible contains stories of the greatest GOOD . . . . . miracles, achievements, courage, and The greatest sacrifice for you and me The crucifixion & resurrection Of Jesus Christ our Lord! EZRA, priest & scribe Date of writing: 400 BC Author: Ezra Written in Aramaic Ezra & Nehemiah a single book in Hebrew Old Testament 538BC: Returning from Captivity (how long did this take?) Rebuilding the 2nd Temple & Genealogy (why make list?) Cyrus decree permitting Jews to Jerusalem (Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon & founded Persian Empire) EZRA: Returned to Jerusalem, Sent for the Levites & Temple Servants, Fast to seek Lord’s Protection, Treasure to 12 priests, Prayer of Confession, Reconciliation to God thru Confession, AND credited to establishing “CANNON” – 1st official version of OT Nehemiah Date of writing: 400 BC Author: Nehemiah Ezra & Nehemiah a single book in Hebrew Old Testament Rebuilding Jerusalem’s Walls Ezra recorded building of temple; walls not rebuilt because of laziness of people “back then” Nehemiah’s Memoirs – Prayers (11x) Distress people in Jerusalem; Nehemiah prays & God answers prayers Great Revival under Nehemiah – taught & explained law Nehemiah got officials to cancel debt of poor Confronted people about their sin Reinstated Tithing (first fruits) & Sabbath Observance Rebuked those who married foreigners ERAS • Ezra & Nehemiah: between the Exile in Babylon and the Advent of our Lord Jesus • Babylonian Empire will soon be succeeded by the Persian Empire • Persian Empire will then be succeeded by the Greek Empire (270BC OT translated into Greek Septuagint) • Greek Empire will then be succeeded by the Roman Empire Purpose for Ezra & Nehemiah Writing Of course, rebuilding of temple and temple walls YAHWEH KEPT HIS COVENANT RENEWAL OF GODS COVENANT Religious and social reforms after repentance God’s presence and Israelite’s understanding of God’s divine presence – the need of holiness in God’s people, as individuals, corporately, nationally! (what about US today?) Ancient Writing • Pre-Exile, official secretaries were key figures in religious and civil administration • Time of Hebrew Monarchs, experts in the languages and literature – intl correspondence • Fall of Hebrew Monarchies – temple scribes that copied & interpreted Law of Moses (Ezra) • New Testament (Jesus’ time), powerful religious and political class & MAJOR OPPONENTS of the ministry of Jesus, accusing Jesus of violating Jewish law Building & Rebuilding the Temple Moses built Tabernacle, covenant with God David & Solomon built Temple – Davidic Covenant Ezra & Nehemiah rebuilt Temple as a reminder of expectations as they are surrounded by Pagan world – keep the Law of Moses Nehemiah had lots of resistance with his initiative to repair the walls – Sanballat (Samarian governor), Tobiah the Ammonite (Jerusalem aristocracy) Geshem (Arab official), citizens of Arabs, Ammonites, Ashdod. Covenant violations of the time: spiritual apathy (don’t care) and improper worship, divorce, intermarriage with foreigners, neglect of tithing, moral laxity (COEXIST?), Priest abuse of authority. Final Thoughts: Your Covenant with God Moses was given 10 Commandments from God – Man made 613 rules & regulations from them David, a man after God’s own Heart – Not allowed to build temple / sin Solomon, wisdom & wealth & built temple – turned away from God and worshipped other gods What about you? Next Week: ESTHER I LOVE THE BOOK OF ESTHER!