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Flight EZR01
Ezra 1-10
Skip Heitzig

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Ezra 1 (NKJV™)
1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,
2 Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.
3 Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem.
4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.
5 Then the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.
6 And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.
7 King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods;
8 and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.
9 This is the number of them: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives,
10 thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles.
11 All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Ezra 2 (NKJV™)
1 Now these are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his own city.
2 Those who came with Zerubbabel were Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:
3 the people of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two;
4 the people of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two;
5 the people of Arah, seven hundred and seventy-five;
6 the people of Pahath-Moab, of the people of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve;
7 the people of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four;
8 the people of Zattu, nine hundred and forty-five;
9 the people of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty;
10 the people of Bani, six hundred and forty-two;
11 the people of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-three;
12 the people of Azgad, one thousand two hundred and twenty-two;
13 the people of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-six;
14 the people of Bigvai, two thousand and fifty-six;
15 the people of Adin, four hundred and fifty-four;
16 the people of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-eight;
17 the people of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-three;
18 the people of Jorah, one hundred and twelve;
19 the people of Hashum, two hundred and twenty-three;
20 the people of Gibbar, ninety-five;
21 the people of Bethlehem, one hundred and twenty-three;
22 the men of Netophah, fifty-six;
23 the men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight;
24 the people of Azmaveth, forty-two;
25 the people of Kirjath Arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three;
26 the people of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one;
27 the men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two;
28 the men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred and twenty-three;
29 the people of Nebo, fifty-two;
30 the people of Magbish, one hundred and fifty-six;
31 the people of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four;
32 the people of Harim, three hundred and twenty;
33 the people of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-five;
34 the people of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five;
35 the people of Senaah, three thousand six hundred and thirty.
36 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three;
37 the sons of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two;
38 the sons of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven;
39 the sons of Harim, one thousand and seventeen.
40 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, seventy-four.
41 The singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and twenty-eight.
42 The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-nine in all.
43 The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth,
44 the sons of Keros, the sons of Siaha, the sons of Padon,
45 the sons of Lebanah, the sons of Hagabah, the sons of Akkub,
46 the sons of Hagab, the sons of Shalmai, the sons of Hanan,
47 the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah,
48 the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam,
49 the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai,
50 the sons of Asnah, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephusim,
51 the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur,
52 the sons of Bazluth, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha,
53 the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Tamah,
54 the sons of Neziah, and the sons of Hatipha.
55 The sons of Solomon's servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Peruda,
56 the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel,
57 the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth of Zebaim, and the sons of Ami.
58 All the Nethinim and the children of Solomon's servants were three hundred and ninety-two.
59 And these were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not identify their father's house or their genealogy, whether they were of Israel:
60 the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, and the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and fifty-two;
61 and of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Koz, and the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name.
62 These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled.
63 And the governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.
64 The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty,
65 besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred men and women singers.
66 Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five,
67 their camels four hundred and thirty-five, and their donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty.
68 Some of the heads of the fathers' houses, when they came to the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God, to erect it in its place:
69 According to their ability, they gave to the treasury for the work sixty-one thousand gold drachmas, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly garments.
70 So the priests and the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the Nethinim, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.
Ezra 3 (NKJV™)
1 And when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem.
2 Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, arose and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.
3 Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening burnt offerings.
4 They also kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings in the number required by ordinance for each day.
5 Afterwards they offered the regular burnt offering, and those for New Moons and for all the appointed feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and those of everyone who willingly offered a freewill offering to the LORD.
6 From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD, although the foundation of the temple of the LORD had not been laid.
7 They also gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre to bring cedar logs from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the permission which they had from Cyrus king of Persia.
8 Now in the second month of the second year of their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come out of the captivity to Jerusalem, began work and appointed the Levites from twenty years old and above to oversee the work of the house of the LORD.
9 Then Jeshua with his sons and brothers, Kadmiel with his sons, and the sons of Judah, arose as one to oversee those working on the house of God: the sons of Henadad with their sons and their brethren the Levites.
10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel.
11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel." Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy,
13 so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.
Ezra 4 (NKJV™)
1 Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the LORD God of Israel,
2 they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the fathers' houses, and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do; and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here."
3 But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of the fathers' houses of Israel said to them, "You may do nothing with us to build a house for our God; but we alone will build to the LORD God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us."
4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building,
5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
6 In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
7 In the days of Artaxerxes also, Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabel, and the rest of their companions wrote to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the letter was written in Aramaic script, and translated into the Aramaic language.
8 Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes in this fashion:
9 From Rehum the commander, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions--representatives of the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the people of Persia and Erech and Babylon and Shushan, the Dehavites, the Elamites,
10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnapper took captive and settled in the cities of Samaria and the remainder beyond the River--and so forth.
11 (This is a copy of the letter that they sent him) To King Artaxerxes from your servants, the men of the region beyond the River, and so forth:
12 Let it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you have come to us at Jerusalem, and are building the rebellious and evil city, and are finishing its walls and repairing the foundations.
13 Let it now be known to the king that, if this city is built and the walls completed, they will not pay tax, tribute, or custom, and the king's treasury will be diminished.
14 Now because we receive support from the palace, it was not proper for us to see the king's dishonor; therefore we have sent and informed the king,
15 that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. And you will find in the book of the records and know that this city is a rebellious city, harmful to kings and provinces, and that they have incited sedition within the city in former times, for which cause this city was destroyed.
16 We inform the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the result will be that you will have no dominion beyond the River.
17 The king sent an answer: To Rehum the commander, to Shimshai the scribe, to the rest of their companions who dwell in Samaria, and to the remainder beyond the River: Peace, and so forth.
18 The letter which you sent to us has been clearly read before me.
19 And I gave the command, and a search has been made, and it was found that this city in former times has revolted against kings, and rebellion and sedition have been fostered in it.
20 There have also been mighty kings over Jerusalem, who have ruled over all the region beyond the River; and tax, tribute, and custom were paid to them.
21 Now give the command to make these men cease, that this city may not be built until the command is given by me.
22 Take heed now that you do not fail to do this. Why should damage increase to the hurt of the kings?
23 Now when the copy of King Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem against the Jews, and by force of arms made them cease.
24 Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Ezra 5 (NKJV™)
1 Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them.
2 So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
3 At the same time Tattenai the governor of the region beyond the River and Shethar-Boznai and their companions came to them and spoke thus to them: "Who has commanded you to build this temple and finish this wall?"
4 Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were constructing this building.
5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius. Then a written answer was returned concerning this matter.
6 This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai sent: The governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and his companions, the Persians who were in the region beyond the River, to Darius the king.
7 They sent a letter to him, in which was written thus--To Darius the king: All peace.
8 Let it be known to the king that we went into the province of Judea, to the temple of the great God, which is being built with heavy stones, and timber is being laid in the walls; and this work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands.
9 Then we asked those elders, and spoke thus to them: "Who commanded you to build this temple and to finish these walls?"
10 We also asked them their names to inform you, that we might write the names of the men who were chief among them.
11 And thus they returned us an answer, saying: "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed.
12 "But because our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and carried the people away to Babylon.
13 "However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to build this house of God.
14 "Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple that was in Jerusalem and carried into the temple of Babylon--those King Cyrus took from the temple of Babylon, and they were given to one named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor.
15 "And he said to him, 'Take these articles; go, carry them to the temple site that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its former site.'
16 "Then the same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem; but from that time even until now it has been under construction, and it is not finished."
17 Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the king's treasure house, which is there in Babylon, whether it is so that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send us his pleasure concerning this matter.
Ezra 6 (NKJV™)
1 Then King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon.
2 And at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written thus:
3 In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: "Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices; and let the foundations of it be firmly laid, its height sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits,
4 with three rows of heavy stones and one row of new timber. Let the expenses be paid from the king's treasury.
5 Also let the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple which is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and taken back to the temple which is in Jerusalem, each to its place; and deposit them in the house of God"--
6 Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and your companions the Persians who are beyond the River, keep yourselves far from there.
7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God on its site.
8 Moreover I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of this house of God: Let the cost be paid at the king's expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they are not hindered.
9 And whatever they need--young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem--let it be given them day by day without fail,
10 that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons.
11 Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this.
12 And may the God who causes His name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this house of God which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently.
13 Then Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, Shethar-Boznai, and their companions diligently did according to what King Darius had sent.
14 So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
15 Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
16 Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.
17 And they offered sacrifices at the dedication of this house of God, one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
18 They assigned the priests to their divisions and the Levites to their divisions, over the service of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.
19 And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean. And they slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.
21 Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel.
22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the LORD made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
Ezra 7 (NKJV™)
1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,
2 the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,
3 the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,
4 the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,
5 the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest--
6 this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.
7 Some of the children of Israel, the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the Nethinim came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.
8 And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
9 On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.
10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.
11 This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave Ezra the priest, the scribe, expert in the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of His statutes to Israel:
12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, To Ezra the priest, a scribe of the Law of the God of heaven: Perfect peace, and so forth.
13 I issue a decree that all those of the people of Israel and the priests and Levites in my realm, who volunteer to go up to Jerusalem, may go with you.
14 And whereas you are being sent by the king and his seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, with regard to the Law of your God which is in your hand;
15 and whereas you are to carry the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem;
16 and whereas all the silver and gold that you may find in all the province of Babylon, along with the freewill offering of the people and the priests, are to be freely offered for the house of their God in Jerusalem--
17 now therefore, be careful to buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem.
18 And whatever seems good to you and your brethren to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do it according to the will of your God.
19 Also the articles that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver in full before the God of Jerusalem.
20 And whatever more may be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to provide, pay for it from the king's treasury.
21 And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the region beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, let it be done diligently,
22 up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred kors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribed limit.
23 Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it diligently be done for the house of the God of heaven. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
24 Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tax, tribute, or custom on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, Nethinim, or servants of this house of God.
25 And you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them.
26 Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.
27 Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem,
28 and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty princes. So I was encouraged, as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me.
Ezra 8 (NKJV™)
1 These are the heads of their fathers' houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of King Artaxerxes:
2 of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, Hattush;
3 of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah; and registered with him were one hundred and fifty males;
4 of the sons of Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males;
5 of the sons of Shechaniah, Ben-Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males;
6 of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males;
7 of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males;
8 of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him eighty males;
9 of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males;
10 of the sons of Shelomith, Ben-Josiphiah, and with him one hundred and sixty males;
11 of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty-eight males;
12 of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him one hundred and ten males;
13 of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these--Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah--and with them sixty males;
14 also of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zabbud, and with them seventy males.
15 Now I gathered them by the river that flows to Ahava, and we camped there three days. And I looked among the people and the priests, and found none of the sons of Levi there.
16 Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, leaders; also for Joiarib and Elnathan, men of understanding.
17 And I gave them a command for Iddo the chief man at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say to Iddo and his brethren the Nethinim at the place Casiphia--that they should bring us servants for the house of our God.
18 Then, by the good hand of our God upon us, they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brothers, eighteen men;
19 and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty men;
20 also of the Nethinim, whom David and the leaders had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinim. All of them were designated by name.
21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.
22 For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, "The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him."
23 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.
24 And I separated twelve of the leaders of the priests--Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them--
25 and weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the articles, the offering for the house of our God which the king and his counselors and his princes, and all Israel who were present, had offered.
26 I weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, silver articles weighing one hundred talents, one hundred talents of gold,
27 twenty gold basins worth a thousand drachmas, and two vessels of fine polished bronze, precious as gold.
28 And I said to them, "You are holy to the LORD; the articles are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the LORD God of your fathers.
29 "Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leaders of the priests and the Levites and heads of the fathers' houses of Israel in Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the LORD."
30 So the priests and the Levites received the silver and the gold and the articles by weight, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.
31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road.
32 So we came to Jerusalem, and stayed there three days.
33 Now on the fourth day the silver and the gold and the articles were weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; with them were the Levites, Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui,
34 with the number and weight of everything. All the weight was written down at that time.
35 The children of those who had been carried away captive, who had come from the captivity, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel: twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve male goats as a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering to the LORD.
36 And they delivered the king's orders to the king's satraps and the governors in the region beyond the River. So they gave support to the people and the house of God.
Ezra 9 (NKJV™)
1 When these things were done, the leaders came to me, saying, "The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, with respect to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
2 "For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy seed is mixed with the peoples of those lands. Indeed, the hand of the leaders and rulers has been foremost in this trespass."
3 So when I heard this thing, I tore my garment and my robe, and plucked out some of the hair of my head and beard, and sat down astonished.
4 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because of the transgression of those who had been carried away captive, and I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice.
5 At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God.
6 And I said: "O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.
7 "Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been very guilty, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation, as it is this day.
8 "And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage.
9 "For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
10 "And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commandments,
11 "which You commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, 'The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land, with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from one end to another with their impurity.
12 'Now therefore, do not give your daughters as wives for their sons, nor take their daughters to your sons; and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land, and leave it as an inheritance to your children forever.'
13 "And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this,
14 "should we again break Your commandments, and join in marriage with the people committing these abominations? Would You not be angry with us until You had consumed us, so that there would be no remnant or survivor?
15 "O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!"
Ezra 10 (NKJV™)
1 Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly.
2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, "We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.
3 "Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
4 "Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it."
5 Then Ezra arose, and made the leaders of the priests, the Levites, and all Israel swear an oath that they would do according to this word. So they swore an oath.
6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.
7 And they issued a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the descendants of the captivity, that they must gather at Jerusalem,
8 and that whoever would not come within three days, according to the instructions of the leaders and elders, all his property would be confiscated, and he himself would be separated from the assembly of those from the captivity.
9 So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered at Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth of the month; and all the people sat in the open square of the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of heavy rain.
10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, "You have transgressed and have taken pagan wives, adding to the guilt of Israel.
11 "Now therefore, make confession to the LORD God of your fathers, and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives."
12 Then all the assembly answered and said with a loud voice, "Yes! As you have said, so we must do.
13 "But there are many people; it is the season for heavy rain, and we are not able to stand outside. Nor is this the work of one or two days, for there are many of us who have transgressed in this matter.
14 "Please, let the leaders of our entire assembly stand; and let all those in our cities who have taken pagan wives come at appointed times, together with the elders and judges of their cities, until the fierce wrath of our God is turned away from us in this matter."
15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite gave them support.
16 Then the descendants of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain heads of the fathers' households, were set apart by the fathers' households, each of them by name; and they sat down on the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter.
17 By the first day of the first month they finished questioning all the men who had taken pagan wives.
18 And among the sons of the priests who had taken pagan wives the following were found of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah.
19 And they gave their promise that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they presented a ram of the flock as their trespass offering.
20 Also of the sons of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah;
21 of the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah;
22 of the sons of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethanel, Jozabad, and Elasah.
23 Also of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah (the same is Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.
24 Also of the singers: Eliashib; and of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri.
25 And others of Israel: of the sons of Parosh: Ramiah, Jeziah, Malchiah, Mijamin, Eleazar, Malchijah, and Benaiah;
26 of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Eliah;
27 of the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza;
28 of the sons of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai;
29 of the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Ramoth;
30 of the sons of Pahath-Moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh;
31 of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Ishijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Shimeon,
32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah;
33 of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei;
34 of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel,
35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Cheluh,
36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib,
37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasai,
38 Bani, Binnui, Shimei,
39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah,
40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai,
41 Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah,
42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph;
43 of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai, Joel, and Benaiah.
44 All these had taken pagan wives, and some of them had wives by whom they had children.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Bible from 30,000 Feet - 2018, The

The book of Ezra begins with King Cyrus' decree for the children of Israel to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. Ezra tells of two different returns: the first led by Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple, and the second by Ezra to bring reformation to the people. In this flight, we see God's faithfulness in keeping His promise to return His people to their homeland.

Take your knowledge of the full scope of Scripture to soaring heights with The Bible from 30,000 Feet. In this series, Skip Heitzig pilots you through all sixty-six books of the Bible, revealing major themes, principles, people, and events from Genesis to Revelation. Fasten your seatbelt and open your Bible for this sweeping panorama of Scripture that will increase your faith in God's plan for the world-and for you. Buy series

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Ezra 1-10 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight EZR01

The Bible from 30,000-- Feet Soaring Through the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.

Would you turn in your Bibles to the book of--

Ezra.

--Ezra?

It's a short book-- 10 chapters, easy to cover, a lot better than Isaiah. We'll get to that, but we're in the book of Ezra. Ezra is called the second exodus. The first exodus, of course, is the Exodus, and it took place 1,000 years before this exodus.

But it's called the second exodus because, just as the children of visual had been once in bondage to Egypt, and exited Egypt and came to the promised land, they were, again, displaced in Babylon this time, and they came back again to the Promised Land. In the first exodus, they were in bondage, if you remember, 400 years by the Egyptians.

They were in bondage 70 years to the Babylonians, from the time they were exiled to the time they returned. Now, when we talk about Babylon-- and we've covered this, but we've probably covered it a little fast in the last several weeks, when we've been talking about the captivity in Babylon-- the Babylonians came against Jerusalem not once, not twice, but three separate times.

All three attacks, they took people with them. So there were three different exiles into Babylon, where a portion of the population was taken captive, brought back to Babylon, and then again and then again. The first was 605 BC-- if you're taking notes and want to write that down-- the second, 597 BC, and the final deportation and attack on Jerusalem was 586 BC.

That third time, Jerusalem was burned with fire by the Babylonians army. So three different exiles in the Babylon, and as they were three different exiles into Babylon, there were also three returns from Babylon to Jerusalem-- the first under a guy by the name of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel is of the lineage of King David-- the second under Ezra, the priest and scribe, and the third under Nehemiah.

Those three returns from Babylon back to the land are covered in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Ezra covers the first two, under Zerubbabel and Ezra. Nehemiah covers the third, the return under Nehemiah. The name Ezra is a shortened form of the Hebrew word Azariah, which is a name that means the Lord helps me.

It's a great name-- God helps me, or God has helped me. Yahweh has helped me. It's a fitting name for Ezra because he asks for the Lord's help in prayer, and he says in his own testimony in the book that the Lord has helped him and helped them return from Babylon from the captivity back to Jerusalem.

Now, let me give you the outline of the book. I like to make it simple. I've divided Ezra into two sections. Section 1 is chapters 1 through 6, and the second slice is chapters 7 through 10. In the first section of the book, the first six chapters, the emphasis is on national restoration. The people are restored to their nation. They're restored as a people to their homeland. so it is national restoration.

That's the emphasis of the first half of the book, chapters 1 through 6. The second part, chapters 7 through 10, is spiritual reformation. So we have national restoration, spiritual reformation. Now, according to the Talmud-- Jewish commentary on the Bible, the Old Testament-- according to the Jewish Talmud, the author of the book of Ezra is Ezra.

That's why we think it's Ezra, because that's the source that we get. In antiquity, they believed he wrote it. They also believe he wrote the book of Chronicles. I mentioned that last time-- 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles. And I want to show you this. I mentioned it last time we were together, but I didn't show you.

You're in the book of Ezra. Go back to the last chapter of 2 Chronicles. Are you there? Look at verse 22. "Now, in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, that the word of the Lord, by the mouth of Jeremiah, might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all of his kingdom, and he also put it in writing saying, 'Thus says Cyrus, the King of Persia.'"

Let's just stop there. Go to Ezra chapter 1 verse 1, and notice, "Now, in the first year of Cyrus, the King of Persia, that the word of the Lord, by the mouth of Jeremiah, might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, the King of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all of his kingdom, and also put it in writing saying 'Thus says Cyrus, King of Persia.'"

With just minor alterations, it's the same text. So Ezra begins where 2 Chronicles leaves off, and the wording, in general, is the same-- from the last paragraph of the previous book to the first paragraph of this book. Now, Ezra was a priest. Being a priest, he was a direct descendant of Aaron.

So his lineage even is traced in chapter 7 of this book-- We'll just look at a few of the names, as we get there-- but it's traced through Eleazar, Phinehas, Zadok, all the way back to Aaron. So he is in the priesthood. Not only was he a priest, but he was a scribe. Now, if you're a New Testament reader-- and I know you are-- that's not a great title, because by the time we get to the New Testament, you have scribes and Pharisees, and they were kind of a bad bunch.

And by the New Testament, scribes are just sort of legalistic and very, very narrow-minded, and against Jesus, and against His mission, and always looking to trap Him. But originally, the office of a scribe was an elevated position, and Ezra is the most notable scribe in scripture. It was a noble profession because a scribe would copy the text of scripture from one scroll to another to another.

And it was very exacting. It was very demanding. It was letter for letter. It was a little breathing marked by breathing mark. It was written across the page in translation and down the page. And at the end of a single long parchment page, all of the lines would be counted from top to bottom and from side to side. All the letters had to match exactly. The total number of letters had to match exactly.

If they didn't match exactly, even though he had painstakingly copied one scroll to another, it would be ripped up. That page would be shredded, and he would have to start all over again. So they did it with precision. They did it with care. Ezra was a scribe. Not only did he copy the scriptures, but he taught the law.

And if we had time to really look at it in this-- we're just going to skim over it-- one of the things Ezra made sure he did was teach people the word of God so that they might apply it to their lives. And they were very concerned, when they got back from captivity especially, to apply the word of God to their lives personally, because they-- remember, idolatry and disobedience got them into captivity to begin with.

They did not want to rinse and repeat. They wanted to do that once-- we're done with it. Now, let's do what God says. Ezra was a big part of that. It is also believed that Ezra was the founder of what the Jews have historically called the Great Synagogue-- synagogue means assembly-- the Great Assembly of Jews, who were originally responsible for formulating the canon of the Old Testament scriptures-- so that the Old Testament scripture, as we have it today, was formulated, codified, agreed upon, and composed by the Great Synagogue.

It is believed, in Jewish tradition, that he was the founder of that. OK, so the book opens with Jerusalem having been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The people were in captivity. They had been in captivity in what country?

Babylon

Babylon. But Babylon is passed from the scene, when we open this book. A new kid is on the block-- the Medo-Persian Empire. So Cyrus-- King Cyrus of Persia is on the throne, when the book opens. He's on the throne on Earth. God is on the throne in Heaven. And I love that King Cyrus is on the throne, but you know what Proverbs 21 says, right?

Verse 1, that the king's heart is in God's hand, and like the rivers of water, the courses of water, He moves it wherever He wants. Don't you love that scripture, that even people in power have somebody over them of greater power? And that is the Lord. So yes, Cyrus is on the throne, but God is on His throne directing Cyrus.

So we get, in chapters 1 through 6, that first section I told you about, and that is national restoration. Let me give you three words for the first six chapters-- returning, rebuilding, resisting. Those three words sum up chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. They sum up national restoration.

So they return back to the land, they restore the place of worship, but they resist the enemies who are of the land that they are now in. In chapters 1 and 2, they return. in chapter 3, they rebuild the temple, or they start to rebuild. And in chapter 4, 5, and 6, they resist the enemy. And it's going to be fascinating how they resisted the enemy.

They really resisted the enemy through preaching. They preached their way through it. At least the prophets did. The prophets will come on the scene-- two of them you have heard about-- and they will preach in Jerusalem and motivate the people. So Ezra, I don't know how it all happened, but he must have just been kicking back one day in Persia, knowing that a decree was being given by the King for the Jews to return back to the land.

And he probably thought, I wonder if God wants me to be among that group. I think the Lord is stirring up my heart. And I'm sure he prayed about it. I'm sure he read Jeremiah 25, which says, after 70 years, they'll return. And in all of that-- the word, and worship, that man of prayer-- something stirred in his heart, and he wanted to be one of the leaders that would lead people back on this dangerous trip.

But I'm ahead of myself, because he doesn't do it for several years. At first, it's a group under Zerubbabel. Ezra will come later on. You've heard of DL Moody, yes? DL Moody was a pastor in Chicago-- started the Moody Bible Church. And a moody was sort of a country guy, country bumpkin kind of a guy, but a very fiery preacher.

And it is said that he was having a conversation, I think-- I believe it was in Ireland-- with a guy by the name of Henry Varney. And Henry said to him, the world has yet to see what God will do through one person totally devoted to Him. When Moody heard that sentence, in his heart, he said, by the grace of God, I will be that man.

And that fueled him to come back to America and preach in a whole new way, in a way that would see thousands of people make commitments to Christ. Ezra was such a guy. In the world has yet to see what God can do through one person totally devoted to Him. He devoted his heart to the Lord's work.

Ezra chapter 1 verse 1 begins thus, "Now, in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, that the word of the Lord, by the mouth of Jeremiah, might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, the King of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all of his kingdom, and put it in writing saying, 'Thus says Cyrus, King of Persia.'

All the kingdoms of the Earth, the Lord God of Heaven has given me. And he has commanded me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah." Very strange thing for a pagan king to say. I'm going to give you a hint as to perhaps why he said that in just a few moments. But what he effectively does is he lets the Jews go back to their homeland, which causes a lot of us to scratch our head in puzzlement.

Why would he let them go back? The Jews were captured and brought to Babylon. Now, they're in Babylon. Why would the next kid on the block, the head of the Medo-Persian Empire, let them go back? Well, he had a different policy. Let me explain. In 722 BC, the Assyrian policy was to take the 10 northern tribes out of their land to foreign lands, and repopulate the land with other people they had captured from other countries, and mix it up a bit.

That would sort of demoralize the people. They wouldn't want to get together, or be able to get together and have a common leader, a common ideology, a common worship system. So you just had a mixed bag, a pluralism in that culture so that they really couldn't get together on anything. That was the policy of Ashurbanipal and Esarhaddon, the rulers of Assyria.

And then, when Babylon comes along, under Nebuchadnezzar, or Nabonidus, Nabopalassar, and the rest of those dudes from Babylon, same idea. What they wanted to do is take the people from their land, and they thought, if we keep them as slaves and captives, there won't be any problems with them. But the Medo-Persian mentality under Cyrus was totally different.

He thought, let's let them repatriate their land, go back home, rebuild, make them a vassal state of ours, showing benevolence to them, may win their heart, and they'll stay loyal to us. So his policy, along with the Medo-Persian Empire's, is to let them go back. So 539 BC is that first edict, that first trickling back of the Jews to Jerusalem.

Now, if you remember, the Medo-Persians took over the Babylonian Empire, and it was a night you'll remember, it was a night when a King of Babylon was getting drunk in his palace, and he decided, let's take some of those vessels that we have from the Jerusalem temple. Let's bring him in here, and let's party hardy, and poor booze into those things, and we'll drink from God's vessels.

And that night, as Belshazzar was getting a little tipsy, he saw a man's hand appear in front of him and write on the walls of Babylon "many, many Tekel Upharsin and you've been weighed in the balances, and found lacking." And God is going to take over your kingdom tonight, Daniel the prophet told him. And they did.

In one night the, Medo-Persians came in. Let's keep going, and I'll come back to that. Verse 3-- "Who is among you, of all his people? May his God be with him. Let him go to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God, or Yahweh, the God of Israel." Now, notice this. Do you see the parenthetical statement in that verse?

See what it says? What does it say? He is God. Listen to the edict of the pagan king, the Medo-Persian emperor, the king of the world at the time, who says, "Who's among you, of all of his people? May his God be with him and let him go to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel. He is God." Quite a statement. He is God, which is in Jerusalem.

Now, either this is an editorial comment by Ezra-- who just writes his own, by the way, he's God-- or it is a statement originating from Cyrus himself. And I tend to believe that. Verse 4, "And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver, and gold, and goods, and livestock, beside the free will offerings for the house of God, which is in Jerusalem." So let's subsidize it for them.

"Then the heads of the fathers houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem." By the time we get to Isaiah the prophet, Isaiah chapter 44-- which was written way before what we're reading here-- I know chronologically, it comes later, but it comes before actually in chronology.

So in Isaiah 44, God mentions Cyrus by name-- get this-- 150 years before Cyrus was even born. He's mentioned in scripture before he was born-- a century and a half before he was born. Isaiah 44 says this-- I'm reading a couple versus-- verse 26, "God confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers, who says to Jerusalem, you shall be inhabited.

To the cities of Judah, you shall be built, and I will raise up her waste places; who says of Cyrus, he is my shepherd, he shall perform all my pleasure; saying to Jerusalem, you shall be built, and to the temple, your foundation shall be laid." Now, this was given, this was written, this was spoken by the prophet, while Jerusalem was still standing.

But by saying that he's going to rebuild the city and rebuild the foundation of the temple indicates this temple, which was standing at that time, would be destroyed for it to be rebuilt. You follow? Josephus-- you've heard me mention him for years-- a Jewish historian hired by the Roman government around the time of Jesus, wrote this.

"Now, Cyrus learned this, as to the building of the temple, by reading the book that Isaiah had left of his own processes. These things Isaiah foretold 140 years before the temple was destroyed, when Cyrus therefore read them and had admitted their divine character, in impulse and emulation, seized him to do what was written."

So according to Josephus, somebody approached Cyrus with the writings of Isaiah to say, dude, your name's in here. And this was penned 150 years before you were born, 140 years before the temple was destroyed. That's chapter 44 of Isaiah. A chapter later, Isaiah chapter 45, God calls-- well, he calls Cyrus his shepherd and his anointed.

Isaiah 45, verse 1-- "Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him, to loose the armor of kings"-- now listen carefully-- "to open before him the double doors so that the gates will not be shut. I will go before you and make the crooked places straight. I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron. I give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places."

The night that Babylon was conquered by the Medes and the Persians, one of the generals of Cyrus by the name Ugbaru, it was late September, and by October 12, the Babylonians took it over. But by late September, just about a week and a half before the final takeover, upstream of the Euphrates River, Ugbaru figured out a way to take the Euphrates River and diverted into a different channel of water, so that the water was receding in the city of Babylon.

You remember the Euphrates ran right through the middle of town. So what happened on an evening-- October the 12th, as the city receded, or as the water receded lower and lower under nightfall-- and according to the Greek historian Herodotus, it was the height of a man's thigh-- the army waded through the river into the city of Babylon underneath the two huge gates, and from within, opened them up, allowing the armies to come through and conquer the city of Babylon.

So predicted in scripture 150 years before Cyrus was even born. Now, Cyrus tells the Jews to return, rebuild their temple, and while they're at it, pray for him. Pray to your God for protection for me. He tells the neighbors of the Jews to give them money to help subsidize their work. He orders all of the articles that Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from God's temple in Jerusalem to be given back and returned.

And now, in chapter 2, he lists all of the people who go back. And what is striking about chapter two-- and you can see all the names-- we're not going to read them, we're just going to get a summary verse-- it's not a very large amount. In fact, it's under 50,000. Less than 50,000 Jews return. Go down to verse 64. Let's skip all the names.

"The whole assembly together was 42,360, beside their male and female servants, of whom were 7,337, and they had 200 men and women singers." Now, why so few? After all, we believe that, at this time, there were 1 million Jews in Babylon. A million Jews? At the time of Jesus, just over a million Jews were still in Babylon?

If the king says, go back and rebuild, why do just under a million estate, and only 49,000 or so-- under 50,000 returned? All I can tell you is they got really comfortable. They got used to Babylon. It was home now to them. If you remember a letter, Jeremiah 29-- I know you remember it, because you love the quote 29:11 so frequently-- "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord," right? We quote that.

But the whole chapter kind of goes like this-- the prophet says, look, you're now in Babylon. Make the best of it. Settle down. Build houses and live in them. Plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. Get married. Have children. Pray for the peace of the city. So they did, but they kind of did it a little too well.

They got so comfortable that they thinking, man, I don't want to go rebuild a bunch of ruins and rubble. I've got it made here now. I've got a family here and I've got a home here now. I've got vineyards. I've got fruit. So they settled down and did not want to go back. Verse 70, "So the priests in the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, the Nephanim-- those are workers in the temple-- "dwelt in their cities"-- now watch this-- "and all Israel in their cities."

Did you see that little phrase, "all Israel"? Now, I'm bringing that up for a reason. All Israel. How much of Israel?

All.

All Israel. How many tribes were there?

12.

12 tribes. 722 BC-- remember I gave you that date-- the Assyrians took the northern kingdom, the 10 tribes captive to Assyria. Years later, 586 BC, the Babylonians took Judah and Benjamin to Babylon. Now, there has been talk over the years by certain religious groups about the 10 lost tribes of Israel. Ever heard about that?

Oh, they're lost tribes, they say. Well, really they're not lost, and here's why. Yes, 10 were taken to Assyria, and then Babylon took two tribes to Babylon, but then Medo-Persia came and took over everybody and everything. And the 10 tribes that were taken into Assyria and the different places they were populated were all merged and assimilated into the group that was in Babylon later on.

So by the time we get to Ezra chapter 6, the priest makes an offering-- a ram, an animal offering-- 12 animals, one for each of the tribes of Israel, all 12 of them. So all of the 12 tribes were accounted for, to some degree, in Babylon. By the time we get to revelation chapter 7, in the end times, there are going to be 12 tribes sealed by God during the tribulation judgment period.

Now, people say, but they're lost tribes-- nobody knows what tribe they're from. So? They might be lost to you. You may not be able to figure out who's from Zebulon, Asher, Issachar but not to God. God knows exactly genetically who's from each tribe. So God didn't lose them. And Ezra and Nehemiah will be very careful for the people who come back, especially the priest, to be able to show, to prove their lineage, their heritage to be able to serve in the temple.

Chapter 3 is the rebuilding of the temple-- chapter 3 verse 1-- "When the seventh month had come"-- that's late September in the Jewish calendar-- "and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem. Then"-- now watch this name, and I'll get to it at the end-- "Jeshua, the son of Jozadak"-- he's a priest-- "and his brethren, the priests, and Zerubbabel"-- isn't that a fun word?

Don't name your son Zerubbabel, by the way. It's a good name, but it's hard. "And Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel"-- that's another name-- stay away from that one-- "and his brethren arose and built the altar of the God of Israel." First thing they did is to build the altar. Why? To offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written the law of Moses, the man of God.

Verse 4-- "They also kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is written and offered daily burnt offerings." Verse 5-- "Afterward, they offered the regular bird offering, and those for the new moons, and for the appointed feasts of the Lord that were consecrated." Why the altar first? Because that's the center of everything, man. That's the center of worship.

Without the shedding of blood, there's no remission of sin. That is the problem. Since the temple has been destroyed, after the time of Jesus Christ, the Jews have had no remission of sins, no sacrifices, no temple. So Ezra new-- man, the priests knew-- build that altar. Let's get the animal sacrifices going. We sinned against God. Let's get back to the covenant.

And so the first thing we want to build in this temple are not the walls, not the roof, not the pillars front, but the altar. By the way, sacrifice is still the center of our worship. That's why the Lord, concerning communion, said, take these elements. Do them often. Do them often in remembrance of Me.

I never want you to forget the sacrifice. I want you to remember it. I want you to take these frequently so that your mind always goes back, not to the Passover, but to the ultimate Passover. Then in this chapter, the Feast of Tabernacles is kept. Money is donated. It's given to the people who go back, especially the priests given by the king in verse 7.

The people celebrate joyfully. It's party time. They're back. They're sacrificing. They're starting to build the temple. But not everybody's happy. Some people, it seems, are still living in the past. Look at verse 10 chapter 3-- "When the builders laid the foundation of the Temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their a with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph with symbols to praise the Lord according to the ordinance of David, King of Israel.

And they sang responsively"-- that means one group would sing. The other group would sing in response to a phrase. They'd sing their part. "They sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord"-- and here's what they said-- "for He is good, for His mercy endures forever toward Israel." Then all the people"-- not some of the people-- not just the worship team, not just the band-- "all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid."

Worship is always meant to be a participation activity. Everybody does it. Everybody is to take part in it. It is not a spectator sport. It's a participation activity. You join in. The congregation is not the audience. God is the audience. Well, where's the choir? I'm looking at them. You're the choir.

I don't sing very well, you say. Good. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, the Bible says. You can do that. I've heard some of you. And the Lord loves it. And if somebody next to you sings horribly, then you, who sing beautifully, sing louder. Tried to drown each other out.

"But"-- verse 12-- "many of the priests, and the Levites, and the heads of fathers houses"-- old men-- "who had seen the first temple wept with a loud voice." Wait a minute, wept? They're back, man. The temple is being built. The foundations are built. They wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes, yet many shouted for joy.

So you've got weeping and shouts of joy in the same assembly. "So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people." Are they worshipping or are they wailing? Sort of hard to tell. "For the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off."

It seems that, compared to the first temple that Solomon built-- that the Babylonians destroyed 586 BC-- that first temple, that was the standard. This new temple is obviously less impressive. And this is what it means in the book of Zechariah-- and this is why it says this-- you'll remember it-- in Zechariah, it says, this is the word of the Zerubbabel.

You should not despise the day of small beginnings. He was referring to the temple that was built, and some of the people going, it's not like it used to be. It used to be so awesome here, but it's not like that. I don't like these songs. I don't like this temple. They just got all out of joint. It's hard to move forward, when you're always looking backward.

And some people just always want to live in the past and never looked to the future. If you want to be a miserable person-- and I doubt most of you do-- but if you do, I can give you the recipe. Always look back over your shoulder. Always compare now to what it used to be like.

In Philippians, Paul had a motto. He said, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. If we always compare to something that happened previously, here's what we're going to get into trouble. I think the work the Lord is doing here and has done here is pretty awesome.

But if I'm to compare this to the day of Pentecost, I'm going to get depressed. If I'm going to compare this to the Great Awakening in American history, I'm going to get pretty despondent. But if I forget those comparisons and just enjoy where God is taking us, then I can get really excited. I can move forward.

[APPLAUSE]

So the foundation was laid. The temple was being built. According to the Babylonian Talmud-- remember the Talmud, that commentary-- there were five things lacking in the temple rebuilt by Zerubbabel-- five things that were not in that one, that were in Solomon's Temple-- number one, the Ark of the Covenant.

That's a whole other study. Don't have time to get into it. But it's a fascinating one. He said there was no Ark of the Covenant in this temple. There was no holy fire, that fire that was-- always kept burning all the time, that lit the altar of sacrifice in the outer courtyard. There was no Shekinah glory that came down on Solomon's temple to inaugurate, that cloud that filled the temple.

Also, it says there was no spirit of prophecy. And number five, there was no Urim and Thummim. Do you know what the Urim and Thummim is? Those two stones-- black and white stones priests used to find out the will of God in difficult cases. Those things, according to the Babylonian Talmud, were absent.

Nevertheless, they're back. They're rebuilding. God's promises are being fulfilled, and those that are rejoicing, man, they got the hang of it. I remember the height of what we used to call the Jesus movement. I remember on the west coast, kids coming off, drugs coming off the streets, getting radically saved, radically change, this incredible revival.

And I meet some of my compadres from way back from time to time-- oh man, remember the Jesus movement? And yes I do, and yes it was awesome, and yes it was cool and glorious, but guess what-- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He's still moving.

[APPLAUSE]

So chapters 1 through 3, they returned, they rebuild. And now, chapter 4, 5, and 6, they resist the enemy. Sir Isaac Newton came up with the laws of motion. His third law of motion is that every action brings an equal and opposite--

Reaction.

--reaction. Third law of motion-- every action, equal and opposite reaction. That's a spiritual law, as well. You serve God, the King of Kings? You will have a reaction from the prince of demons. You serve Heaven? Hell will not give you a standing ovation.

You give your life to God and you aim high? The forces down low will be able to get you. They come to build the temple, there are some people who aren't excited about the building of the temple, so get used to that. So by the spring of 535 BC-- 70 years after 605 BC-- 70 years after that captivity-- the foundation was laid, and the trouble comes.

The trouble comes in form of hostility by neighbors. Now, here's what complicates it. Cyrus, the guy on the throne, the king, he's dead. He died. And in his place is a guy named Cambyses, also known as has Ahasuerus. His name comes to us in Ezra chapter 4. So that guy's on the throne. The people of the land, where the temple is being rebuilt, aren't so excited.

They sent a letter back to Cambyses to get this thing stopped. Chapter 4 verse 1, "When the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard the descendants of captivity were building the temple of the Lord God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel and the heads of the father's houses and said to them, let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do, as we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhaddon and the king of Assyria, who brought us here."

Let me just quickly wrap it up without giving you a long explanation, because of time. Yes, they worshipped Yahweh, along with all of the other gods and goddesses from all the different places they were brought. This is a method of worship called syncretism, where I take God, and I worship God along with Buddha, and Muhammad, and all-- they just kind of put them all together.

And they're all the same, and we would just call them different things. That syncretism. So they're not worshiping Him exclusively. And I bring that up because you need to know that so you'll understand the response of the builders. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of the fathers houses of Israel said to them, you may do nothing with us to build a house for our God, but we alone will build to the Lord God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the King of Persia, has commanded us.

And now, we're going to see that these people were so happy to help really didn't want to help at all. It was an ulterior motive to stop it. "Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building." I have more to say, but I don't have time, so let's go. 5, "and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus, the King of Persia, even until the reign of Darius, the King of Persia.

In the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem." So let me sum up the letter. The people of the land write a letter to the king and they say, look, these Jews have a long history of rebellion, and now they're building this temple because they want to gain power and strength, and they're going to rebel against you in the future.

So the new king of Persia orders a stop to the building of the temple. Verse 24-- "Thus the work of the house of God, which is that Jerusalem, ceased." It stopped. And it was discontinued until the second year if the reign of Darius, King of Persia, which is 520 BC. What that means is between chapter 4 and 5, there is a gap of 16 years.

16 years, the work of God in the building of that temple stopped. They're not doing it anymore. 16 long years-- nothing, no building. Well, what is God going to do? Easy-- send preachers. Sends two prophets to them, one by the name of Haggai-- he's one of the minor prophets in your Bible-- and the other by the name of Zechariah-- also one of the minor prophets in your Bible.

Haggai-- if you remember that little book of the minor prophets-- Haggai preaches four messages just to Zerubbabel to inspire him, and to Jeshua-- so to the political leader and the spiritual leader. Chapter 5 verse 1, "Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah, the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them."

Now, what is going on is there was enough flak from the people in the land will make them stop and turn all of their energies inward to themselves, their families, their own lives, their private world. Forget the work of God and building the temple. I'm going to build my little house, my little kingdom, my little estate.

So in the little prophecy of Haggai-- chapter 1 verse 2-- he quotes them. They say, the time has not come to build the temple of the Lord. The time has come for us to build our own houses. And so Haggai unleashes on them, and says, really? It's time for you to get selfish? It's not time to do God's work? It's always time to do God's work.

So verse 2, "Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, rose up and began to build the house of God, which is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them helping them. What does that tell us? That the word of God does the work of God in the hearts of the people of God.

When you face adversity, get somebody who can give you God's truth to frame the situation so you understand it from a spiritual perspective, which will give you courage to move forward, and not go backward or stay still, but to go forward. So they do that. Chapters 5 and 6, again the enemies write a letter, this time to a new ruler by the name of Darius, to tell them to stop.

Now, Darius, the present king of Medo-Persia, decides to search the archives of his kingdom to see if, indeed, Cyrus did tell them they could-- the Jews could go back. So he goes through-- there's a city there called Ecbatana. You who have studied archaeology, you know that it was a treasure trove of archaeological find.

They found the Cyrus Cylinder there. But in Ecbatana, which that's the place where all of the records were kept, the annals were kept. It was sort of the storehouse for all the royal decrees. So they search in Ecbatana, and they find the ruling of King Cyrus to, indeed, let the Jews go back and for the government of Persia to subsidize the building of it.

He finds it. This is the third king from the first guy. So he sends a letter back to the people of the land who are getting bummed out, and he adds his own decree. Chapter 6 verse 8, "Moreover, I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of the house of God.

Let the costs be paid at the king's expense from the taxes on the region beyond the river. This is to be given immediately to these men so that they are not hindered. Now, the governor of that land of-- what we call Israel at that time-- is a guy by the name of Tattenai he's the governor of Samaria and the central region, and doesn't like the Judah is building this temple.

When Tattenai gets the letter, this cuts him to the heart, because it means that money he collects for taxes is going to be given to the Jews, the very people he does not want to build the temple. Now, he has to help subsidize it. Love it. Verse 9, "And whatever they need, young bulls, rams, lambs, for the burnt offering of the God of Heaven-- wheat, salt, wine, and oil. According to the request of the priests, who are in Jerusalem, let it be given to them day by day without fail, that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of Heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons.

So the temple gets completed. The people rejoice. They celebrate the Passover, one of the most memorial-- memorable Passovers written about in scripture. But what I love is that what inspired them to finish the task was the preaching of these two fellas, these two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah. Over the years, I have seen the value of the word of God in changing a life, changing the direction.

A little example from my own life-- years ago, my wife and I traveled to India. I was asked to simply stand up and give my testimony and talk about how God uses people. So I just spent a few minutes telling that I had a background in college. It was a UCLA program. I was studying medicine radiology. And then I was going to keep going, but the Lord wanted me to go pastor somewhere.

So I started a church, and now I am a pastor, and then I left. I get a letter months later from a young man who is there in the assembly that I spoke to, and he said, I was studying to be a doctor. I was in the middle of medical school, but I heard your talk. I quit medical school and now I am a missionary and I'm a church planner over here in India. The Lord has inspired that.

[APPLAUSE]

So just the value of sharing that how God uses a person, how God uses people can inspire somebody else. So I say that to ask you, what work is God calling you to? What work has He called you to? Is there something that you started, but you just got discouraged and stopped pursuing, you stopped building?

You decided, I'm going to quit and not finish it. You go, well, I thought this, but then I don't know. in. Psalm 37, it says, delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. I don't think that means just read your Bible every day, and God will give you your little heart's desires. I don't think it means that.

I think it means God will put desires in your heart. He will put His desire in your heart, so you have a new desire you never had before. I got to tell you something-- I never wanted to read the Bible. I never had that desire growing up. I never said, I really want to find out what's in the Bible. Could care less. I went to church religiously, but I wasn't interested on a personal level.

I didn't want to go to church. I didn't want to pray. I didn't want to read a Bible. I certainly didn't want to be a preacher. But then God changed my heart, and I want to read the Bible, and I want to pray. And I want to go to church, and I love to be preacher. God gave me different desires. Delight yourself in the Lord. See what desires He puts within you to finish the task.

So the first part, national restoration, they're back. Now, the second part, spiritual reformation, chapter 7 through 10, they're blessed. We're in chapter 7, and we're going to finish this off very quickly. "Ezra comes to Jerusalem. He comes to Jerusalem 58 years later Zerubbabel. There's a 58-year gap between chapter 6 and chapter 7, between the completing of the temple under Zerubbabel and Jeshua the priest, and the second return under Ezra.

Remember, there's three returns-- Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah. This is the second group under Ezra. Now, let me add a little FYI, a little note. During this period between chapter 6 and 7-- sandwiched between chapter 6 and 7-- and if you're taking notes and you feel free to write in your Bible, write between chapter 6 and 7, book of Esther.

All of the events of the book of Esther occur between Ezra chapter 6 and chapter 7, when the king is in Shushan or Susa the palace in Persia. In the book of Esther, the king Ahasuerus was there. He succeeded his dad, Darius the first. The next son is Artaxerxes.

Chapter 7 verse 1-- "Now, after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes"-- his formal name was Artaxerxes Longimanus, which means long-handed-- "the King of Persia, Ezra, the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of"-- et cetera-- his lineage is given. Verse 6-- "This Ezra was a scribe well-versed in the law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel had given to the people of Israel.

He came to Jerusalem from Babylon, and the king gave him everything he asked for because the gracious hand of the Lord his God was on him." Go down to verse 27. He tells the story, he gets money from the treasury of Persia, and he utters this doxology of thanksgiving. Verse 27-- "Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king's, heart to beautify the house of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem.

And He has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty princes. So I was encouraged, as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me. And I gathered leading men of Israel to go with me." In chapter 8, they gathered together at a canal at a little place called Ahava. Ahava is a Hebrew word that means love, by the way, and it's also a company by the Dead Sea in Israel that makes really great lotion for the body Ahava. I like to use it.

So they gather. They pray for the trip. They fast for the trip. He disperses the money to the priest to give to the temple treasury. But in chapter 9, when Ezra gets to Jerusalem, he is told of a problem, an intermarriage problem-- that the people of Israel, including priests and leaders, are marrying some of the people of the land-- some of the non-Jewish pagan people of the land.

And Ezra just becomes unglued. He rips his clothes, pulls his beard out, or parts of it-- ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. I don't know why he did that, but he did. He was he was having a-- my mom would say a conniption fit. And he prays. And let's just eavesdrop a few verses of his prayer in chapter 9, because it reads a lot like Daniel's prayer in Daniel chapter 9, Nehemiah's prayer in Nehemiah chapter 1.

"At evening sacrifice"-- verse 5-- "I arose from my fasting. Having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees, spread out my hands to the Lord my God, and I said, 'Oh my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift my face to You, my God, for our iniquities'"-- notice he includes himself-- "'have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.

Verse 14-- "Should we again break Your commandments and join in marriage with the people committing these abominations? Would You not be angry with us until You had consumed us, so there would be no remnant or survivor? O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this."

Chapter 10 verse 1, while Ezra was praying, while he was confessing, weeping, bowing down before the House of God, a very large assembly of men, women, children gathered to him from Israel, for the people wept very bitterly. So God answers Ezra's prayer. As Ezra prays, the people who have committed this intermarriage thing get really convicted.

Many come join him in Jerusalem, start confessing their sins. They make a covenant with God to put away their unclean wives, their pagan wives. Now, I just want to say something quickly about this. Don't take this scripture as a scripture for divorcing your spouse and remarrying that cute little hot Christian girl that you saw at church.

People read this and they go, oh, well, they did it back then. And now I realize I've given my life to Christ, and now I'm married. I'm unequally yoked. I'm married to an unbeliever. Besides this, I found this really cute Christian at church, and-- this was a very unique time. It's a specific solution for a very specific and fragile time in Israel's history. The lineages must be preserved.

If the lineages aren't preserved, then the lineages of the tribe of Judah may not be preserved from where the Messiah is going to come. This becomes very critical in redemptive history. So this very unique time, this is what they do-- extreme response to an extreme problem. But in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 7 tells us, "A woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him, and vise versa."

So verse 9-- "All the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered in Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month. And on the 20th day of the month"-- this is December of 457 BC-- "all the people sat in the open square at the house of God trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain." It's cold in Jerusalem at that time.

It took from December to April to straighten out the problem. It began with the priests. They obeyed. Then the people followed suit, and they obeyed. They realized they went into captivity because of sins like this in compromise. And so they fix it. That's a good. Question-- how long does this spiritual reformation last? 25 years.

Next generation, that's how it works, you know. We're only one generation away from extinction. Next generation-- 25 years later, Nehemiah finds almost exactly the same issue going on. Sometimes it's difficult to pass on faith to the next generation. We want them so badly. We tell them about what God did with us and the movement that we experience.

They need to have their own encounter and their own movement with God. It can't be yours. It has to be theirs. Pray for that. Encourage that. Well, Ezra is called the second exodus, but let me close on this thought. Isaiah the prophet writes about and predicts that Israel will go into captivity, and they did, and predicts they will come back.

So from Isaiah's perspective, he predicts they're going to leave again, go to captivity in Babylon, but they're going to return. But he sees them leaving again and coming back to the land again. Let me just read this to you quickly, Isaiah chapter 11 verse 11. "It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again, the second time, to recover the remnant of his people."

The first time was Babylonian captivity. But he says it's going to happen again, and they're going to come back to the land again. And he will assemble the outcasts of Israel and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the Earth. The first time it happened, Cyrus gave the decree. The second time it happened, it happened in the first half of the 20th century.

May 14, 1948, the United Nations decreed, for the first time after thousands of years, that Jerusalem, or that Israel was a nation belonging to the Jewish people once again. May 14, 1948-- that's the second time. I believe that is exactly what Isaiah 11:11 predicted. So David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, announced in Tel Aviv, today is the rebirth of the ancient homeland of the Jews, as in scripture, the nation of Israel.

So I do have to bring that up because there are some who doubt the literalness of Israel, and they see the promises God made to Israel aren't existing anymore. They really belong to the church. It's not literal. It's figured. May 14, 1948 should have solved that problem, as it happened before our very eyes-- not figuratively, but literally.

So that was the first part of Ezekiel 37's fulfillment, that the dry bones will come to life, gather into their land. But he also predicts a spiritual awakening. We're praying for that now. As we close, I see a hint of Jesus in the book about Ezra. Jesus is called our great high priest Jesus's Jewish name is Yeshua. The high priest mentioned throughout this book is Jeshua.

That's the English pronunciation of Yeshua. The high priest mentioned in Ezra is Jesus. That's his name. That would be his modern day name. It's Yeshua. So it's just interesting that the high priest is named Jeshua. Zerubbabel is from the line of King David, and part of the genealogical record of, the bloodline of Jesus Christ.

And so I love the fact that Zechariah will say, this is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel. It's not by might. It's not by power, but it's by my spirit, says the Lord of Hosts. Remember that scripture? That's to this guy. So I think we see hints of Jesus, even just sort of couched in some of the names in those in the lineage of Jesus.

So just as Jerusalem would be built and the temple would be built, Jesus will come, not by might, not by power, but by His spirit, and say one greater than the temple is here-- Himself. Father, how thankful we are that Jesus, our Messiah, greater than the temple that was built-- first temple, second temple, any temple-- He was much better.

In fact, in Heaven, there will be no temple. It says that God and the lamb are the temple and the light thereof. Until then, Lord, we are the temple of Your Holy Spirit. You live in us. You dwell among us as Immanuel. I pray, Lord, that You would rebuild and rekindle the hope that in some of us have died, the calling that maybe we've stopped building on.

Maybe we've gotten discouraged and we just put that aside. God doesn't really want to use me, or I'm not gifted, or I'm not qualified, or I'm not called. Put desires, Lord, in our heart. Fuel them by Your spirit, so that it's not by might or power, but by Your spirit moving in us, moving through us, to see this city touched, this state touched, this country touched, and this world touched by the hand of God.

That's Your desire, Lord. That's Your will. And You said, if we pray anything according to Your will, You do it. So we pray it in faith. Use us. You used 12 men to turn the world upside-down in their generation. Do it again through even more, as we place our bodies before you as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service. And we all said, amen.

We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit CalvaryNM.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from The Bible from 30,000 Feet.

Additional Messages in this Series

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8/8/2018
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Flight GEN01
Genesis 1-11
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
We're going back to the beginning in this first flight. Written by Moses and inspired by God Himself, Genesis means origin. From the formation of all created things and the fall of man to the flood and the fallout of man's rebellion, Genesis 1-11 chronicles the beginning of everything. It all starts here.
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8/15/2018
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Flight GEN02
Genesis 12-50
Skip Heitzig
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This flight takes us through the biographical part of Genesis and God's response to man's rebellion. Four men are prominent in the formation of the nation of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Through this lineage, God would fulfill His promise of salvation for humanity.
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8/22/2018
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Flight EXO01
Exodus 1-18
Skip Heitzig
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The central event in this flight through Exodus is the redemption of God's people, the Israelites, from their bondage in Egypt. We fly over Egypt and the wilderness where Israel wandered for forty years. The plight of the Israelites, their disobedience, and God's deliverance all foreshadow Jesus Christ.
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9/5/2018
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Flight EXO02
Exodus 19-40
Skip Heitzig
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The Sinai Peninsula is the backdrop for this flight to Exodus, where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments along with detailed instructions for how He was to be worshiped. Miraculous signs of God's absolute power abound, along with the revelation from God that would define Israel's national identity.
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9/12/2018
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Flight LEV01
Leviticus 1-27
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Leviticus describes the worship life of the nation of Israel. We discover how the Israelites were instructed to make atonement for their sin through sacrifice. The overarching theme of this book can be summed up in one word: holiness. After centuries of captivity in Egypt, the Israelites needed a reminder of who God is, His absolute holiness, and how they were to live set apart for Him.
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10/10/2018
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Flight NUM01
Numbers 1-36
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Numbers contains two censuses of the Hebrew people. The first is of the generation that left Egypt, including how they were organized, their journey in the wilderness, and their refusal to enter the Promised Land. Due to their disobedience, the first generation of Israelites failed to enter the land God had promised; however, God remained faithful by leading a new generation into the Promised Land.
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10/17/2018
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Flight DEU01
Deuteronomy 1-34
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After forty years of wandering, the Israelites were finally ready to enter the Promised Land. The book of Deuteronomy can be organized around three messages Moses gave while the Israelites waited to enter the land. With the key word of this book being covenant, Deuteronomy speaks of the special relationship God established with His people.
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10/24/2018
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Flight JOS01
Joshua 1-24
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In this flight over the book of Joshua, we get to know its namesake, who shared in all the events since Exodus and held the place of military commander under Moses' leadership. We'll also get a tour of the Promised Land and follow Israel's conquest of Canaan, after which Joshua divided the land among the twelve tribes.
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11/7/2018
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Flight JUD01
Judges 1-21
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The Israelites experienced a period of victorious conquests in Canaan after Joshua's death. But as their obedience to God's laws and their faith in God's promises diminished, Israel became entrenched in the sin cycle. God divinely appointed Judges to provide leadership and deliverance during this chaotic time. Sadly, God's people repeatedly did what was right in their own eyes.
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11/28/2018
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Flight RUT01
Ruth 1-4
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In this flight, we'll see the godly love and courage of two very different women from very different backgrounds. And we'll meet Boaz, who became Ruth's kinsman-redeemer, a type of Christ. Although the book of Ruth is short, it is prophetically important in terms of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Ruth's story of romantic grace places love at the center of each of its four chapters.
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12/5/2018
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Flight 1SAM1
1 Samuel 1-31
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In this flight, we find the nation of Israel in desperate need of direction and leadership. We will meet the man whose good looks, physical stature, and success in war made him an obvious choice from a human perspective, but Israel's first king had a tragic flaw: pride. From the ashes of King Saul's calamitous reign, God raised up an unlikely man who would become Israel's next king, a man after His own heart.
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1/16/2019
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Flight 2SAM1
2 Samuel 1-24
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David went from shepherding livestock to serving as God's sovereign king in Israel. His faith and obedience assured him military and political victory as one by one he defeated Israel's enemies. In this flight, we both celebrate David's successes and identify with his failures as we get to know this man whom God called, "a man after My own heart."
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1/23/2019
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Flight 1KIN1
1 Kings 1-22
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After years of being a powerful unified nation under King David, Israel, because of their disobedience, became a divided nation under many different kings. This book reveals a story of good kings and bad kings, true prophets and false prophets, and faithfulness and disobedience to God.
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2/6/2019
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Flight 2KIN1
2 Kings 1-25
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Despite the many kings who took control of Israel, the nation still lacked true leadership. Second Kings continues the history of a divided Israel, and we see what happens when a nation passes from affluence and influence to poverty and paralysis.
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2/13/2019
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Flight 1CHR1
1 Chronicles 1-29
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The book of 1 Chronicles recounts the lineage of King David as well as God's promise that He would establish His reign on earth through this man after His own heart. As we see how God fulfilled His promises to David, we discover how that presents a witness of His faithfulness to us today.
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3/6/2019
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Flight 2CHR1
2 Chronicles 1-36
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After King Solomon's reign and death, the nation of Israel went on a spiritual roller coaster ride that ended with the division of the kingdom and the people's exile. From the temple's building to its decline and destruction, we see a parallel to 1 and 2 Kings from a spiritual viewpoint.
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4/3/2019
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Flight NEH01
Nehemiah 1-13
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At the end of Ezra, the temple in Jerusalem had been rebuilt and dedicated, but the city walls were still in ruins. After gaining permission from the king of Persia, Nehemiah led a group to repair and rebuild the walls. Though he was met with hostility and conflict, we see how Nehemiah gathered his spiritual strength from God during trialing times.
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4/10/2019
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Flight EST01
Esther 1-10
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Esther reads almost like a fairy tale: A Jewish maiden becomes queen of Persia. The villain launches an attack to destroy the Jews. In the end, his plot is thwarted by the hero and the brave maiden, who risks her life to save her people. Though the name of God isn't mentioned once in this short book, we clearly see God's providence and faithfulness in dealing with His people.
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4/24/2019
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Flight JOB01
Job 1-42
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The book of Job opens in the throne room of heaven with a conversation between God and Satan regarding the faithfulness of a man named Job. God allowed Satan to test Job, and Satan caused Job to lose his health, wealth, and even his beloved family. But in the midst of Job's tragic circumstances, God revealed His sovereignty and faithfulness, and Job's steadfast faith prevailed.
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5/1/2019
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Flight PSA01
Psalms 1-150
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The book of Psalms is a collection of songs, prayers, and poetry that express the deepest of human emotions. These artistic masterpieces were compiled over a period of roughly 1,000 years from the time of Moses to the time of Ezra and the return from the Babylonian exile. As we fly over the Psalms, we'll see beautiful writings of gladness and grief, pleading and prayers, and reverence and worship—all with one overarching theme: a complete dependence on the love and power of God.
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5/8/2019
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Flight PRO01
Proverbs 1-31
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Known for the wisdom it contains, the book of Proverbs reveals how to deal with everyday situations. But more than just good advice, it is God's words of wisdom, which we need in order to live righteously. These proverbs are universal principles that apply to all people for all times, because they speak of the character of God and the nature of man—both of which remain constant.
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5/15/2019
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Flight ECC01
Ecclesiastes 1- 12
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The book of Ecclesiastes records King Solomon's intense search to find meaning and fulfillment in life. In this flight, we discover some significant truths—namely, that all worldly things are empty and that life's pursuits only lead to frustration. After tasting all that this world has to offer, Solomon ultimately concluded that life without God is meaningless.
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5/22/2019
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Flight SON01
Song of Solomon 1-8
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The Song of Solomon portrays a moving love story between King Solomon and a shepherdess. The story reveals the intimacy, love, and passion that a bridegroom and his bride share in a marriage relationship. Even more than the fulfillment found in the love between a husband and wife, we'll discover that the spiritual life finds its greatest joy in the love God has for His people and Christ has for His church.
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5/29/2019
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Flight ISA01
Isaiah 1-27
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The prophet Isaiah's ministry lasted around fifty years and spanned the reigns of four kings in Judah. His prophecies are quoted in the New Testament more often than any other prophet's. In this first flight over Isaiah, we focus on his prophecies of condemnation that pulled no punches and pointed out Israel's need for God.
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6/26/2019
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Flight ISA02
Isaiah 28-66
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Of all the Old Testament prophets, Isaiah is thought by many to be the greatest, in part because of his clear prophecies about the Messiah. In this second flight over his book, we see his continued work and how God used his prophecies of both condemnation and comfort to generate change in the individuals he encountered.
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7/3/2019
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Flight JER01
Jeremiah 1-20
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The book of Jeremiah is a series of oracles written in the southern kingdom of Judah over a period of fifty-plus years. It speaks of judgment, the promise of restoration, and the protective hand of God over those He loves. In this flight, we catch a glimpse of the man behind the prophecies as he allowed God to speak through him in unusual ways to open the eyes of the people of Israel.
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7/10/2019
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Flight JLA01
Jeremiah 21-52; Lamentations 1-5
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The prophet Jeremiah allowed God to speak through him in unusual ways to open the eyes of the people of Israel. As we complete our flight over his book, we find the prophet reinvigorated by God's promises as he continued to prophesy Babylon's impending invasions and, ultimately, Judah's captivity. Then our flight continues over the poetic book of Lamentations, which Jeremiah wrote as he wept and grieved over Jerusalem's destruction, ending the book with a prayer for Israel's restoration from captivity.
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7/17/2019
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Flight EZE01
Ezekiel 1-48
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Written by Ezekiel the priest, this book takes place during the second Babylonian captivity and documents the fulfillment of several prophecies from previous Old Testament books. In this flight, we see God continue to offer promises of restoration through Ezekiel, bringing the nation hope despite their tribulations.
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7/24/2019
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Flight DAN01
Daniel 1-8
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Chronologically, the book of Daniel links the time of the kings in 2 Chronicles to the restoration of Jerusalem in the book of Ezra. It begins with the first Babylonian captivity and ends with Daniel's vision of seventy weeks. In it, we witness both prophetic history and the four prophetic visions of Daniel, as well as powerful stories that reveal a faithful man of God who was unwilling to compromise his beliefs.
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7/31/2019
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Flight DAN02
Daniel 9-12
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Midway through the book of Daniel, the focus shifts from the historic to the prophetic. Daniel's four prophetic visions reveal the stunning accuracy of biblical prophecy, as well as Daniel's uncompromising faith in God's fulfillment. From the rise and fall of human kingdoms to the Messiah and the day of judgment, Daniel's visions drove him to his knees in fervent prayer for the people of Israel.
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8/7/2019
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Flight HOS01
Hosea 1-14
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Hosea prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam II, and he had a clear message to deliver: Israel had rejected God, so they would be sent into exile and become wanderers in other nations. On this flight, we see a clear parallel between Hosea's adulterous wife—whom God had instructed Hosea to marry—and Israel's unfaithfulness. But even as Hosea endured a rocky marriage, he continued to share God's plan that He would bring His people back to Himself.
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8/14/2019
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Flight JAO01
Joel 1-3; Amos 1-9; Obadiah
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Through three ordinary men—Joel, Amos, and Obadiah—God delivered extraordinary messages to His people, warning them against greed, injustice, false worship, and self-righteousness. On this flight, we witness God's patience and love for Israel, and we see how He stands ready to forgive and restore all who turn away from their sin.
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8/21/2019
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Flight JON01
Jonah 1-4
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Rather than focusing on prophecy, the book of Jonah narrates a prophet's story. Jonah was blatantly disobedient to God's call, but despite his defiance, God redirected his path through a unique situation. The resulting revival in Nineveh shows us that God's grace reaches beyond the boundaries of Israel to embrace all nations.
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8/28/2019
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Flight MNH01
Micah 1-7; Nahum 1-3; Habakkuk 1-3
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God used three prophets—Micah, Nahum, and Habakkuk—to criticize, comfort, and inspire: Micah encouraged social justice and the authentic worship of God. Nahum prophesied against the Assyrians for returning to their evil practices. And though Habakkuk didn't address Israel directly, his message assured them that evil does not endure forever. Through these prophets, God's people confessed their sins and grew confident in His salvation.
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9/4/2019
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Flight ZHA01
Zephaniah 1-3; Haggai 1-2
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The prophet Zephaniah addressed the social injustice and moral decay of Judah and her neighbors, proclaiming the coming day of the Lord and His wrath upon the nations—both an immediate judgment and a future end-times judgment. God sent Haggai the prophet to preach to the restored community of Jews in Jerusalem after their return from exile in Babylonia. Haggai encouraged the nation to set aside their selfishness and finish rebuilding the temple, an act of obedience that would align their desire with God's desire.
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9/18/2019
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Flight ZMA01
Zechariah 1-14; Malachi 1-4
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As we fly over the last books of the Old Testament, we first look at the expanded message of rebuilding the temple when Zechariah encouraged Israel to anticipate their ultimate deliverance and the Messiah's future reign. One hundred years after the temple was rebuilt, the book of Malachi revealed that God's chosen people had once again slid back into their sinful practices. Malachi declared God's promise of a coming messenger, John the Baptist, and a coming Messiah.
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10/2/2019
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Flight INT01
Intertestamental Period
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In between the Old and New Testaments lies 400 years of history. During this intertestamental period, God chose not to speak to His people through prophets as He orchestrated people, politics, and events in preparation of the coming Messiah. Scholars have come to call these four centuries the silent years. Remarkably, the silence would be broken by a newborn baby's cry in Bethlehem.
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10/9/2019
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Flight MML01
Matthew 1-28; Mark 1-16; Luke 1-24
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These three Synoptic Gospels give us our first glimpses of Jesus' life and death here on earth. Matthew, Mark, and Luke present Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah, the Servant of the Lord, and the Son of Man, respectively. On this flight, we'll see the service, sermons, sacrifices, and sovereignty of Jesus as we witness the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies.
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10/16/2019
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Flight JOH01
John 1-21
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The spiritual depth of John sets it apart from the other Gospels, with one-third of its content dedicated to the last week of Jesus' life. Rather than focusing on what Jesus did, John focused on who Jesus is, presenting Him as God incarnate and highlighting His deity. On this flight, we'll see seven miraculous signs of Jesus, as well as seven statements that He used to identify Himself as God.
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10/23/2019
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Flight ACT01
Acts 1-28
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The book of Acts presents the history of a dynamic, growing community of believers that started in Jerusalem and went on to spread the gospel throughout the known world. In this book, the gospel writer Luke also recorded how the early church received the Holy Spirit, who enabled them to witness, love, and serve with boldness and courage, even when faced with persecution.
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10/30/2019
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Flight ROM01
Romans 1-16
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The book of Romans is the apostle Paul's letter to the church in Rome, and it focuses on God's plan of salvation for all humankind. Romans is the most systematic of Paul's letters, reading more like an elaborate theological essay rather than a letter. On this flight, we look at Paul's strong emphasis on Christian doctrine as well as his concern for Israel.
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11/13/2019
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Flight 1COR1
1 Corinthians 1-16
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In 1 Corinthians, Paul confronted the problems that had infiltrated the influential church at Corinth and defended his position as an apostle of Christ. He later rejoiced over their repentance and acceptance of his God-given authority. On this flight, we discover the power of a new life in Jesus as we see how Paul shared the heart of the gospel with his fellow believers.
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11/20/2019
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Flight 2COR1
2 Corinthians 1-13
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After Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, false teachers began spreading opposition to him in the Corinthian church. Paul sent Titus as his representative to deal with them, and most of the church repented. Paul wrote this epistle to express his joy at the turnaround and to appeal to them to accept his authority, which was confirmed by the many hardships he suffered for the gospel. On this flight, we find beautiful truths to carry with us through our own times of suffering.
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12/4/2019
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Flight GAL01
Galatians 1-6
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Galatians is a firm statement of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. When Paul wrote this letter, the false doctrine of legalism and faith by works had infiltrated the church throughout Galatia. As a result, believers had traded their freedom in Christ for bondage to the old Jewish law that had been fulfilled by Jesus. On this flight, we discover the differences between law and grace as well as the practical application and results of the proper doctrine of grace.
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There are 44 additional messages in this series.