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Saturday, September 6 2014

Ezra 3: Zerubbabel's Return

"Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren"

Ezra was a Levite (see When Were The Levites Set Apart? and The Levite Clans) and scribe, a direct descendant of Aaron (see Why Did Jesus Christ Choose Aaron?), through Eleazar (Ezra 7:1-5; see also From Moses And Aaron To Joshua and Eleazar). His father was Seraiah, the chief priest who was executed at Riblah by direct order of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:18-21; see also The Prophet Daniel: A Child Of The Exile). The account of Ezra's activities is found in Ezra chapters 7 to 10 and Nehemiah chapters 8 to 10 (see also the Fact Finder question below). Ezra led the second major group of exiles that returned from Babylon to Jerusalem.

Zerubbabel had been a governor of Judah in Persia (Haggai 1:1). He was a grandson of Jehoiachin, one of the last kings of Judah before the exile (see Why Did Judah Fall To Babylon?). Zerubbabel led the first group of the people of Judah (see also The Origin Of Israelites And Jews) who returned from the Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem.

The chronology (approximate dates) of the return:

  • 536-516 B.C.: Zerubbabel oversaw the beginning of the rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra chapters 3 to 6).

  • 458-432 B.C.: Nehemiah the governor and Ezra the priest oversaw the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem and its restoration as a fortified city (Nehemiah chapters 2 to 7).

Zerubbabel's group began their work in the seventh month of the LORD's calendar (corresponding to early autumn on the Roman calendar that was created by the Romans centuries later).

Rebulding The Walls Of Jerusalem

"3:1 And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.

3:2 Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. 3:3 And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening." (Ezra 3:1-3 KJV)

The LORD was and is Jesus Christ (see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God). The seventh month is when the LORD's Christian autumn Holy Days are observed (see The Christian Feast Of Trumpets: The First Day Of Salvation, Why Do Christians Observe The Messiah's Day Of Atonement?, Why Christians Observe The Messiah's Feast Of Tabernacles and The Eighth Day: Empty Cemeteries).

"3:4 They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required; 3:5 And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD. 3:6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid." (Ezra 3:4-6 KJV)

The original Temple had been constructed of fine cedar from Lebanon (see The Temple Cedar). The rebuilt Temple also used fine cedar from Lebanon.

"3:7 They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia." (Ezra 3:7 KJV)

The rebuilt Temple was not going to be as grandiose as the original built by Solomon, but the purpose of the Temple, like the Tabernacle before it, was an object lesson that physical structures are temporary; the primary prophetic purpose is what is held in its "heart" (see The Temple Heart Prophecy).

"3:8 Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD. 3:9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.

3:10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. 3:11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: 3:13 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 noise was heard afar off." (Ezra 3:8-13 KJV)

Fact Finder: What came before and after the return of the people of Judah to Jerusalem?
See the complete study series included with A History Of Jerusalem: Ezra And Nehemiah


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This Day In History, September 6

394: Theodosius became the sole ruler of the East and West Roman empires after defeating Eugenius at the Battle of the River Frigidus. After he died however, the Roman empire again divided - as illustrated in the two legs of the great prophetic statue seen in Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2:31-25 (see The Prophet Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar's Image and What Is The Mark Of The Beast?).

1492: Christopher Columbus sailed from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, his last stop before crossing the Atlantic for the first time. All of the voyages of Columbus to "America" were actually to the islands of the Caribbean Sea and what is today Mexico and South America (see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).

Voyages of Christopher Columbus 1522: One of the five ships that set out in Ferdinand Magellan's voyage around the world returned to Spain. Only 15 of the original 265 men that set out survived. Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines.

1620: The "Pilgrims" left Plymouth, England, bound for the New World (see also The Pilgrims).

1898: Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands was coronated.

1901: U.S. President William McKinley was shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. He died a week later.

1914: During the First World War (1914-1918), the first Battle of the Marne began along a 500 kilometer (300 mile) front when the French launched a counter-offensive against the German advance.

1941: The Nazi government of Adolf Hitler (see also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation) issued an order that all Jews in Germany were to wear a yellow Star of David at all times in public.

1945: Amidst surrendered Japanese forces, Russian forces brought about the proclamation of The Korean People's Republic (North Korea). To avoid a power vacuum in the south, the U.S. ordered the surrendered Japanese military command to maintain authority until U.S. forces arrived, which they did 2 days later.

1948: Princess Juliana became Queen of The Netherlands following her mother's (Queen Wilhelmina) abdication.

1949: Howard Unruh, a former U.S. Army sharpshooter during the Second World War (1939-1945, the U.S. entered in December 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked), killed 13 people in Camden, New Jersey. He is regarded as the first U.S. single-episode mass murderer.

1970: "Palestinian" (see Where Is Palestine?) terrorists hijacked four airliners traveling to New York from Europe. One Pan Am Jumbo was blown up the next day in Cairo, and two Boeing 707s which landed at Dawson's field in Jordan were blown up on September 12. The fourth plane landed in London.

1977: Leslie MacFarlane died at age 74. The Canadian author from Whitby, Ontario (near Toronto) wrote the first 20 books of the popular "Hardy Boys" series.

1977: Highway signs across Canada were converted to metric. As of 2014, the U.S. is the only country that still uses the old system of pounds, miles and fractions (e.g. writing 9/10 instead of .9). While many regard the "miles and Fahrenheit" system to be an entirely-English creation, miles were actually invented by the ancient Romans and the Fahrenheit temperature scale was invented in 1724 by a German physicist, Daniel Fahrenheit. "Miles and Fahrenheit" are just as European in origin as the Metric System. Even the word "mile" uses the same prefix, "mill," meaning thousand, as the Metric System.

1991: After 67 years as Leningrad, the name St. Petersburg was restored to the Russian city.

1997: The funeral of Princess Diana. Great numbers of people lined the streets of London to view the procession, and hundreds of millions of people around the world watched on television. One of the biggest funerals in human history. She was later that day buried on the Spencer family property in the Northamptonshire countryside.



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