EZRA

The History of Israel and the Law, the Ark of the Covenant, the Day of Atonement and the legitimacy of the Messiah [Jesus Christ] who was born under the Law (Galatians 4:4) and who fulfilled and removed the Law — ‘2 Chronicles 35:3 And said [King Josiah] unto the [Zadok] Levites that taught [Ministry of Teaching the Word of God a higher Testimony Ministry than the Temple Testimony Ministry with the blood of animals] all Israel, which were holy unto the LORD, **put the Holy Ark [back] in the House [Temple] which Solomon the son of David King of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders [it is hidden close by, in one of several nearby caves, tunnels and cistern hiding locations]: serve now [also with the Testimony of the blood and animal sacrifices] the LORD your God, and His people Israel’ — ‘Matthew 3:15 And Jesus answering said unto him [John the Baptist], Suffer it to be so now: for thus **it becometh us ***to fulfill all righteousness [in order to do away with the Levitical-Aaronic Laws and Priesthood and to then replace it with Jesus’s Royal Laws and His Royal ‘Righteous’ eternal life Priesthood]. Then he suffered Him [and John baptized Jesus].’ – Also Note: “all righteousness” is also a direct reference to Jesus’ Melchizedek Priesthood as Melchizedek means “To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of Righteousness” Hebrews: 7:2 – All of the Old Testament Promises, Covenants, Commandments, Offices (King, High Priest, Prophet), Laws, Priesthoods (Aaronic, Eli, Zadok), Feast Days, Prophecies (Revelation 19:10) and Messianic Biblical Types and Shadows are directly combined and fulfilled in the one person of Jesus Christ and in the one New Testament Covenant and Ministry of Jesus Christ the True Messiah!

Note: Regarding the Tabernacle and the Temples and the Ark of the Covenant. In reading the Bible's history of ancient Israel regarding the Ark of the Covenant it quickly becomes obvious, painfully obvious, that the Ark of the Covenant is missing from the Holy of Holies more often than it is there. For instance from the time of King Saul until the reign of King Solomon and the building of the 1st Temple the Ark of the Covenant is not in its proper location within the Holy of Hollies. That means that throughout the entire Kingdom of King David the Ark was not in the Holy of Holies and therefore a proper observance of the feast of "The Day of Atonement" could not be observed and fulfilled. In other words it would probably not be possible for the Messiah to arrive (or be born) w/o having had the Ark of the Covenant located inside the Holy of Holies. - If it was necessary in "fulfilling all righteousness" and it probably was then the Ark of the Covenant was within the Holy of Hollies in the 2nd Temple [Cyrus'/Herod's Temple] at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. -- Having King David as a Biblical example of the Messiah [Jesus Christ] and King Solomon as a Biblical example of the coming Antichrist. -- King David was born in Bethlehem; King Solomon was born in Jerusalem [outside of Bethlehem]. King David was born when the Ark of the Covenant was located within the Holy of Hollies in the Tabernacle at Shiloh. King Solomon was born while the Ark of the Covenant was missing from within the Holy of Hollies, the Tabernacle having been moved from Shiloh to Gibeon without the Ark. - According to the book of Daniel - 'Daniel 9:27 And he [Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [7 years]: and in the midst of the week [at 3½ years] he shall cause the [3rd Temple] sacrifice [animal blood sacrifices] and the oblation [Temple offerings] to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate [unholy], even until the consummation [end of the Book of Revelation], and that determined [judgments of Revelation] shall be poured upon the desolate [earth].' - Note: It's possible that what Daniel is prophesying about is a Theological shift and not a Political shift {a point where Antichrist Politics (currently in progress in some form i.e. UN) **completely merges with Antichrist Theology (currently in progress in some form i.e. purposely corrupted Bible versions, NKJV, MESSAGE, NIV, and Wikipedia)}. The coming 3rd Temple in Jerusalem is briefly going to reinstitute the animal sacrifices of the Eli Priesthood of the Old Testament then as the Antichrist claims to be the true Messiah it seems he will declare himself to be legitimate over Jesus Christ because the Antichrist will have the Ark of the Covenant within the Holy of Holies and of course could claim that Jesus did not - though Jesus did fulfilled all righteousness and if it was necessary then the Ark of the Covent was within the Holy of Holies during the "Day of Atonement" for the year of the birth of Jesus Christ, if it was necessary and it probably was necessary as Jesus was born under the Law (Galatians 4:4) and came to fulfill the Law in order to abolish once and for all the Law. - Therefore there is a possible event where the Antichrist stops the Temple animal sacrifices because he is declaring himself to be the biblical fulfillment and then Theologically switches from the life of the animal blood [Eli's Priesthood] to his counterfeit ministry of [spirit life] through his words and his lies [imitating the Zadok Ministry], initiating the same Theological shift that the Bible initiates in Ministry from the physical life of the blood to the Spiritual life of the Word and completely counterfeiting the life and Ministry of the True Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Background of Ezra – Ezra himself returned to Jerusalem in 457 B.C. with the second group of exiles – He had asked [King] Artaxerxes I (Ester was Queen) for permission to return in order to help bring stability to the project – However many [Hebrews/Jews] stayed behind [remaining] in Babylon, choosing to support the work with gifts and money – The book of Ezra displays the sovereignty of God in the human hearts of rulers and people alike to move them to accomplish His redemptive purposes – “The Lord moved their spirits to carry out His purposes” (Ezra 1:1; 1:5; 7:9; 7:27)

Background: The While Ezra and Nehemiah were originally separate books, they were joined together in the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud. Josephus (c. A.D. 37-100) only mentions the book of Ezra assuming that Nehemiah was joined with it at the time of his writing. The books were first separated in around 200 A.D. by the Church father Origin. The language of the book is late Hebrew with a section in Aramaic (Ezra 4:8-6, 18; 7:12-26), the international language of the day. Aramaic was introduced by King Darius I as the diplomatic language throughout the empire. These portions are texts written between Syrian kings and the Samaritans, which necessitated the international language for diplomacy. The purpose of the book is to give the account of Israel's returning to the land of promise and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and the temple. It is written from a religious rather than historical perspective. It places the emphasis upon a holy nation and a kingdom of priests under God's holy law. King Cyrus of Persia captured Nineveah, the Babylonian capital, in 539 B.C. bringing to an end the Babylonian Exile. Many of the prophets like Isaiah, Micah and Jeremiah all prophesied the Babylonian captivity, the fall of Babylon and their restoration. Jeremiah states that it would last for seventy years. Jeremiah 25:11,12; 29:10. Isaiah mentions by name that Cyrus would be the King who would allow God's people to return Isaiah 44:28. -- **A clay cylinder has been discovered with Cyrus's decree permitting the Jews to return to their land. Under a decree from Cyrus, King of Persia, the Jews were permitted to return to their own land. He even encouraged them in their religion, provided that he be considered the supreme ruler. Under God's hand then Israel was allowed to return to their land and rebuild the temple and reinstate the sacrifices. The first group of exiles who returned numbered about 50,000 in 538 B.C. They took with them many of the furnishings for the temple. Zerubbabel a relative in David's royal line and Joshua who served as high priest both returned with this group. The altar is re-established in chapters 3 and 4. Money is collected to purchase materials from the Phoenicians to build the temple. Construction began in the second year and the foundation of the temple was laid. The older people who remembered the glory and beauty of Solomon's temple wept, ashamed of the work. When the Samaritans wanted to help build the temple they were refused, and so interrupted the building of the temple with violence until 520 B.C. In the second year of Darius the Jews were instructed to resume building. Haggai and Zechariah both encouraged the people in their efforts. Money was taken from the royal treasury to support the project. It took five years to complete the temple. Ezra himself returned to Jerusalem in 457 B.C. with the second group of exiles. He had asked Artaxerxes for permission to return in order to help bring stability to the project. However many stayed behind in Babylon, choosing to support the work with gifts and money. [link]

Wikipedia.org: Cyrus cylinder – The Cyrus cylinder, also known as the Cyrus the Great cylinder, is a document issued by the Persian [Iran] ruler Cyrus the Great in the form of a clay cylinder inscribed in Akkadian cuneiform script – The cylinder has also attracted attention in the context of the repatriation of the Jews to Jerusalem following their Babylonian captivity; it has generally been viewed as corroboration of the Biblical account in the Book of Ezra [and the prophesies of Isaiah] – Extract from the Cyrus Cylinder (lines 15-21), giving the genealogy of Cyrus the Great and an account of his capture of Babylon in 539 B.C. (Photos)

The Cyrus cylinder, also known as the Cyrus the Great cylinder, is a document issued by the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great in the form of a clay cylinder inscribed in Akkadian cuneiform script. The cylinder was created following the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, when Cyrus overthrew the Babylonian king Nabonidus and replaced him as ruler, ending the Neo-Babylonian Empire. The text of the cylinder denounces Nabonidus as impious and portrays the victorious Cyrus as pleasing to the chief Babylonian god Marduk. It goes on to describe how Cyrus had improved the lives of the citizens of Babylonia, repatriated displaced peoples and restored temples and cult sanctuaries. The cylinder was discovered in 1879 by the Assyro-British archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam in the foundations of the Esagila, the main temple of Babylon, where it had been placed as a foundation deposit. It is today kept in the British Museum in London. There have been reports of attempts by the directors of the British Museum and the National Museum of Iran in Tehran to arrange a loan of the Cyrus Cylinder to be temporarily displayed in the National Museum of Iran for a special exhibition. According to the British Museum, the cylinder "reflects a long tradition in Mesopotamia where, from as early as the third millennium BC, kings began their reigns with declarations of reforms." It is composed in a form that broadly matches long-standing Babylonian styles and themes, although the use of the first person marks a striking departure from this pattern. The cylinder may be seen as an example of Cyrus seeking the loyalty of his new Babylonian subjects by stressing his legitimacy as king, and showing his respect for the religious and political traditions of Babylonia. It has been regarded for over a century as an instrument of ancient Mesopotamian propaganda. In the early 1970s, the Shah of Iran adopted it as a symbol of his reign and celebrating 2,500 years of Iranian monarchy, asserting that it was "the first human rights charter in history", **The cylinder has also attracted attention in the context of the repatriation of the Jews to Jerusalem following their Babylonian captivity; it has generally been viewed as corroboration of the Biblical account in the Book of Ezra (see: Ezra 1.1-6, 6.1-5; Isaiah 44.23-45.8; 2 Chronicles 36.22-23). ... Discovery: The cylinder was discovered following an earlier, fruitless excavation by the British archaeologist Austen Henry Layard. In 1850 Layard dug into three mounds on the site of the ruined city of Babylon but found little of importance and concluded that it was not worth his time continuing there. His assistant Hormuzd Rassam, a controversial figure remembered as much for his brutal tactics as his discoveries, returned to the mounds in 1879 on behalf of the British Museum. He uncovered a number of important buildings, most notably the Esagila - a major temple to Marduk, though it was not identified as such until Robert Koldewey's excavation of 1900. Rassam's excavations found a large quantity of business documents and, buried in the temple's foundations, the Cyrus Cylinder. Rassam's excavations went on until 1882. The cylinder was announced to the public by Sir Henry Rawlinson at a meeting of the Royal Asiatic Society on 17 November 1879. Rawlinson's paper on "Notes on a newly-discovered Clay Cylinder of Cyrus the Great" was published in the society's journal the following year. [link]

Ezra Overview: Rebuilding the Temple – The Book of Ezra starts off where 2 Chronicles finishes by completing the unfinished story of the return to Jerusalem and Israel of the [Jewish/Hebrew] exiles – Seventy years had passed, and God fulfilled His promise by bringing the exiles back to the land [the Promise Land] – The Second Temple is also known as the Herod’s Temple because in 19 B.C. Herod largely rebuilt it [Cyrus’s Temple] – The book of Ezra focuses on the rebuilding of the Temple and then it is followed by the book of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall

The book of Ezra is [slightly] confusing because it starts long before Ezra the scribe comes on the scene. Ezra doesn't appear until chapter 7. About 57 years pass between chapters 6 and 7. We should note that the later period [could] never officially be called a 'kingdom' [Israel would remain w/o a Jewish King] but only a 'people.' **There were at least three waves of returning exiles as Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah all led groups back [there had been three primary waves going into captivity as well, Daniel had been in the first group and Ezekiel was a captive the second group of Jews taken from Jerusalem/Israel to captivity in Babylon. -- Note: Persia (modern Iran) defeated Babylon (modern Iraq) and Persia was freeing some of Babylon's captives]. Ezra and Nehemiah worked together for a period. **The book of Ezra focuses on the rebuilding of the Temple and then it is followed by the book of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem's wall. [link]

Judaism Online: The Second Temple – The Temple [Solomon’s Temple] the Babylonians destroyed is rebuilt, but it is never the same – the Ark of the Covenant is missing [or was it missing – defiantly not!] – The rebuilding of the Temple, which had begun under Cyrus when the Persians first took over the Babylonian empire, and which was then interrupted for 18 years, resumed with blessing of Darius II, the Persian king whom we believe to be the son of Esther – The work is completed in 350 BCE (B.C.) and the Temple is re-dedicated – But it is not the same – The intense spiritually of the First Temple cannot be compared to the Second – ***The other opinion (of the location of the Ark) says that it was hidden by King Josiah – Note: The last Biblical reference to the Ark being placed back into the Temple is during Josiah’s reign (2 Chronicles 35:3)

The work is completed in 350 BCE and the Temple is re-dedicated. But it is not the same. The intense spiritually of the First Temple cannot be compared to the Second. The constant open miracles are gone. Prophecy will also disappear during the early years of the second Temple. The Ark of the Covenant is gone-and although there is a Holy of Holies, it stands empty. The Ark-this special gold-lined cedar chest which had contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments-was the place where the Shechina, the Presence of God, descended from heaven between the outstretched wings of the two golden cherubs. What happened to it? The Talmud talks about it and relates two opinions. (1) One opinion says the Babylonians took it into captivity. ***The other opinion says that it was hidden by King Josiah [the last Biblical reference to the Ark being placed back into the Temple is during Josiah's reign (2 Chronicles 35:3)] who had anticipated the impending invasion and destruction. There's a well-known story told in the Talmud of a Cohen, a Priest, who finds a loose stone on the Temple Mount and realizes that's where the Ark is hidden. On the way to tell others about it, he dies. (2) The point of the story is that the Ark is not meant to be found. Not yet. - EZRA AND NECHEMIAH (Nehemiah): The Jews who rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem were faced with many challenges and difficulties. Strong leadership would be essential for them to be able to both rebuilt the Temple and re-establish a strong community. Two individuals played a critical role in the re-establishment of the Jewish community in Israel. One was Ezra. A scribe and scholar and a Jewish community leader in Persia, Ezra, a Cohen, hears that the Jewish community in the Holy Land is floundering with neither king nor prophet. So, he takes with him 1,496 well-chosen men with leadership abilities and comes to the rescue. Ezra is so well thought of in the Talmud that it is written of him that "the Torah could have been given to Israel through Ezra, if not that Moses preceded him" (Sanhedrin 21b). *This high praise goes to Ezra for the spiritual rebuilding of the Jewish people and **his efforts to reinstate Torah law in the land. ... SPIRITUAL VACUUM: Despite Ezra's efforts (and those of the other leaders) the Temple is spiritually a shadow of its former self. The returnees from Babylon are not in a position to rebuild the Temple as splendid as Solomon's. Eventually (circa 30 BC) it will be rebuilt again by Herod the Great, and made into a spectacular structure, but even though it is going to be physically beautiful, it will be spiritually empty when compared with the First Temple. And even though there are going to be High Priests, the institution will become corrupt. According to the Talmud, during the First Temple period of about 410 years, there were only 18 High Priests. During the Second Temple period of 420 years, there were more than 300 High Priests! We know (from the Talmud, Yoma 9a) that Yochanan was High Priest for 80 years, Shimon was High Priest for 40 years, and Yishmael ben Pabi was High Priest for 10 years. That means in the remaining 290 years there were at least 300 priests-one every year or so. What accounts for that? The Talmud tells us that the Holy of Holies was forbidden ground, except for Yom Kippur. On that one day only, the High Priests entered to perform special rites before God. But if he himself was not spiritually pure and unable to focus, he would not be able to stand the intense encounter with God and would die on the spot. We know that during the Second Temple Period a rope had to be tied to the High Priest, so that in case he died, he could be pulled out of the Holy of Holies. Because the whole High Priesthood was a corrupted institution for most of the Second Temple period, the High Priests died or were replaced every year. (4) And yet people clamored for the job, which went to the highest bidder. So the question has to be asked: If he was going to die on Yom Kippur, who would want the position? One possible answer is that many of the candidates strongly believed that their incorrect Temple service was actually the correct way to do it. That is how bad things got. ... LOSS OF PROPHECY: As we saw from the Purim story-by the time we arrive *at the period of the Second Temple, God's presence is hidden, **the Ark of the Covenant is hidden **as is prophecy [there were still Prophets and Prophecy in Israel; Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Simeon, Anna, etc.]. The Talmud says there were definitely individuals living at this time, who, had they lived earlier, would most certainly have been prophets. "There is one among you who deserves that the Shechinah (Divine Presence) should rest on him as it did on Moses, but his generation is not deserving." (Sanhedrin 11a) But the door to prophecy had been slammed in the face of the Jewish people. **And we are told that it will not be opened again until the Messianic Era [the counterfeit Messianic Era - the era of the Antichrist]. [link]

Ron Wyatt in Zedekiahs cave – Ron Wyatt telling about the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant – part 1 of 6 (YouTube)

Ron Wyatt telling about the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant. This is recorded near the entrance tunnel leading to the Ark. [link]

Ron Wyatt – Ark of the Covenant 1999 (YouTube)

Ron Wyatt talks about finding the Ark in a cave North of Jerusalem, and takes questions from the audience. [link]

Danny and Ronnie Wyatt EXODUS/SAUDI ARABIA – part 1 of 3 {the first video has a couple of brief sound issues} (YouTube)

From part of a 2007 independent British TV documentary. [link]

Danny and Ronnie Wyatt back in Israel: The Ark – part 1 of 2 (YouTube)

Ron Wyatt's search for the Ark of the Covenant. Both Danny and Ronnie was there when they started the excavations and helped their father. [link]

Ron Wyatt – The Ron Wyatt Discovery Series: Ron Wyatt Discoveries of Noah’s Ark, Ark of the Covenant, Sodom and Gomorra – 84 Videos (YouTube)

Ron Wyatt Discoveries - Ron Wyatt Discoveries of Noah's Ark, Ark of the Covenant, Sodom and Gomorra. [link]

Ezra 1 – The Book of Ezra covers the Jewish return from Babylon and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem – The Book of Ezra is like the Book of Acts where Luke wrote a complete history though Luke himself did not show up until Acts 16:11 – Ezra himself writes some history before showing up in Ezra 7:1 — ‘Ezra 1:1-4 Now in the first year of Cyrus King of Persia (Iran), 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, that he made a proclamation throughout all his Kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me *all the Kingdoms of the earth [Persia the 4th Kingdom of the world – Revelation 17:10]; and He hath charged me to build Him an House [Temple] at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? 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 the God, which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him [returning Jews] with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the House of God that is in Jerusalem.’

Ezra 1:5-11 Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered. Also Cyrus the King brought forth the vessels [Temple cups and bowls] of the House of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar [King of Babylon the 3rd Kingdom of the world - Revelation 17:10] had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; Even those did Cyrus King of Persia [Persian defeated Babylon - In 539 B.C. Cyrus invaded Babylonia - on the 16th day of Tammuz, two days after the capture of Sippara, "the soldiers of Cyrus entered Babylon without fighting" - Cyrus did not arrive until the 3rd of Marchesvan (October)] bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar [probably the Babylonian or Persian name of Zerubbabel], the Prince (a Royalty) of Judah. And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives, Thirty basins of gold, silver basins of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand. All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem [Zerubbabel led the first of three main returens from Babylon back to Jerusalem]. - Note: Zerubbabel the grandson of Jewish King Jehoiachin he became the Governor of Jerusalem at the return to Jerusalem , Israel was no longer permitted to have a King of its own. Zerubbabel led the first band of Jews, numbering 42,360, who returned from the Babylonian Captivity in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia in 538 BC. Zerubbabel also laid the foundation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem the next year [the second year of their return to Jerusalem (Ezra 3:8)] (Wiki.com).

Ezra 2 – Ezra lists the Jews who returned to Israel with Zerubbabel — ‘Ezra 2:1-2 Now these are the children of the province [outside of Jerusalem – countryside] that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one [returning] unto his city [in Israel]; Which came with Zerubbabel …’

Ezra 2:61-70 And of the children of the [Zadok] Priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name: These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted [ineligible], put from the Priesthood. And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy [Priesthood] things [foods], till there stood up a Priest with *Urim and with *Thummim [the Priests usually not directly being a Prophet used the stones to discern the will of God]. **The whole [first returning] congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore [42,360], Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women. Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred forty and five; Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty. And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the House of the LORD [then in ruins] which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the House of God to set it up [rebuild] in His place: They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred Priests garments. So the Priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims [servants], dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.

Ezra 3 – The Children of God return from Babylon with what is now our Old Testament Bible – While in Babylon the Jewish Scribes complied and condensed the Temple records that they had brought with them into captivity and wrote the Hebrew [O.T.] Bible making the Bible for the first time commonly available to the average person – The Temple records were also returned to Jerusalem and the second Temple but were eventually destroyed in the 70 A.D. Temple fire and destruction by Roman forces — ‘Ezra 3:1-6 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. 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. And they set the altar upon his bases [did it correctly]; for fear was upon them because of the people of those [surrounding] countries {they didn’t want to offend God and be judged by again by the surrounding hostile nations}: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening. **They kept also the Feast of Tabernacles, *as it is written [in the Bible], and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required; And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons [the Jewish calendar was lunar, moon month to moon month – our calendar is solar, the days are counted as the earth rotates around the sun], and of *all the set Feasts [Leviticus Chapter 23] of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD. 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.’

Work begins on building the 2nd Jewish Temple in Jerusalem: Ezra 3:7-13 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 [just like the building of Solomon's Temple] to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia. **Now in the second year of their coming unto the House [Temple] 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 [at verious ages a Levite could assist in Temple work and activity but a Levite had to reach the age of 30 before actually becoming a Levit/Aaronic priest]. 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. ***And when the builders laid the foundation of the [2nd] 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 [and Psalms] of David King of Israel. 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 [Temple] of the LORD was laid. 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 [because the 2nd Temple was going to be much smaller than the 1st temple - until about 19 B.C. when the Roman, Herod would greatly expand the Temple]; and many shouted aloud for joy: 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 4 – The uncircumcised people of the area want to be a part of what God is doing and want to help but unfortunately it in their own way and not Truly God’s way in building of God’s Temple – If the people really did want to help or really did want to worship God then they had every opportunity to become circumcised and to Worship God in Spirit and in Truth and not just in their emotions and imagination — ‘Ezra 4:1-3 Now when the *adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, *Let us build with you: for we seek your God [uncircumcised], [not] as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar-haddon King of Assur (Assyria), which brought us up hither [into Samaria]. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye [uncircumcised] have nothing to do with us to build an House unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as King Cyrus the King of Persia hath commanded us.’

Those who oppose the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem are able to get the work stopped for 16 years: Ezra 4:4-16 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, 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. And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue. Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort: Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites, And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnapper brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side the river, and at such a time. This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artaxerxes the king; Thy servants the men on this side the river, and at such a time. Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations. Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings. Now because we have maintenance from the king's palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king's dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king; That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed. We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river. ... Ezra 4:23-24 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. **Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased [for 16 years] unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezra 5 – With God’s worked stalled Prophets begin to prophesy again in Israel and then with their message to the people of confidence and reassurance regarding the plans of God for Israel the work of God then begins again among the people of Israel — ‘Ezra 5:1-2 Then the Prophets, *Haggai the Prophet, and *Zechariah [the Prophet] the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the Name of the God of Israel, even unto them. Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the House of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the Prophets of God helping [to encourage and strengthen] them.’

The rebuilding of the Temple is again challenged by outsiders but this time the leaders of Israel do not slow the rebuilding process so yet another letter is sent to the King in Persia regarding the legality of the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem: Ezra 5:3-5 At the same time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar- boznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, Who hath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall? Then said we unto them after this manner, What are the names of the men that make this building? But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius [King Darius I]: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter.

Ezra 6 – The earlier decree of King Cyrus regarding the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem is located and building of the Temple is allowed to be completed — ‘Ezra 6:1-7 Then [earlier] Darius the King [had] made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written: In the first year of Cyrus the King the same Cyrus the King made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the House be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits; With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expences be given out of the King’s house: And also let the golden and silver vessels of the House of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the [1st] Temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the [2nd] Temple which is [to be rebuilt] at Jerusalem, everyone to his place, and place them in the House of God. Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shethar-boznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: **Let the work of this House of God alone; let the Governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this House [Temple] of God in His place.’

The rebuilt Temple is completed and dedicated and the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread are observed: Ezra 6:14-22 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered [progressed] **through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And *they builded, and finished it, **according to the Commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes King of Persia [Artaxerxes was the son of Xerxes and grandson Darius I - though not a King at the time Artaxerxes as a clerk of records in Persia was probably who located the original rebuild edict of King Cyrus]. And this House was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the King. And the children of Israel, the Priests [teachers], and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this House of God with joy, And offered at the dedication of this House of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the Tribes of Israel. And they set the Priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the Book of Moses [Genesis - Deuteronomy]. And the Children of the Captivity kept the **Passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. For the Priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, and killed the Passover for all the Children of the Captivity, and for their brethren the Priests, and for themselves. And the Children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat, And **kept the Feast of Unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the King of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the Jouse of God, the God of Israel.

Ezra 7 – Ezra the Levitical/Zadok Priest and Bible Scribe leads the 2nd group of exiles in their return to Jerusalem – Like Ezra most of this group of returning Jews were born in Babylon — ‘Ezra 7:1-8 Now after these things {58 years between the Temple dedication and the arrival of Ezra in Jerusalem}, in the reign of Artaxerxes {possibly aka Ahasuerus and probably when Ester was Queen} King of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, The son of Shallum, the son of *Zadok, the son of Ahitub, The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of *Aaron {Aaron the brother of Moses} the [first Levitical] Chief Priest [High Priest appointed by God at Mt. Sinai]: This Ezra went up from Babylon; and *he was a ready (Bible) Scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the King granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. And there went up [the 2nd group of returning exiles] some of the Children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims [indentured servants], unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the King. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the King.’

Ezra is going to Jerusalem with a mandate from the King and with the people capable of carrying out the task of establishing Jewish Torah Law and to solidify Jewish customs and traditions within Jerusalem and throughout the area of Israel: Ezra 7:25-28 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates [officials] and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all [Jews] such as know the Laws of thy God; **and teach ye them that know them not. And whosoever will not do the Law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment. Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the House [Temple] of the LORD which is in Jerusalem: And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king's mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel [in Persia] chief men to go up with me.

Ezra 8 – During the journey from Persia- Babylon back to Jerusalem Ezra stopped the caravan to fast and pray – Ezra had told the King of Persia that God would protect them [they had an extremely rich caravan]yet the caravan was being protected by Persian soldiers – After prayer Ezra sent the Persian soldiers back to Persia and the unprotected caravan, protected by God, proceeded on to Jerusalem – Ezra had also divided up the gold, silver and valuables giving each family leader the responsibility for an equal amount of the gold, silver and jewels intended for ‘beautifying’ the Temple – Then on the fourth day after arriving in Jerusalem each family leader brought his amount of gold, silver and materials that he was entrusted with and all of the material had arrived safely in Jerusalem and was given to the Temple service — ‘Ezra 8:21-23 Then [during the journey from Persia-Babylon to Jerusalem] I [Ezra] proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of Him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance [the great wealth of the caravan]. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him; but His power and His wrath is against all them that forsake Him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.’

The 2nd group of exiles being led by Ezra makes it safely to Jerusalem: Ezra 8:31-36 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and **He delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way. *And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days. Now on the fourth day was the silver and the gold and the vessels weighed in the House [Temple] of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the Priest; and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them was Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites; By number and by weight of every one [each family group]: and all the weight was written at that time. Also *the children of those that had been carried away {this entire 2nd group of returning Jews was probably born in Babylon}, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all [12 Tribes of] Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD. And they delivered the king's commissions unto the king's lieutenants, and to the Governors on this side the river: and they *furthered (improved) the people, and the House of God.

Ezra 9-10 – Ezra finds out that in realty the Children of God, after everything that the Nation of Israel had gone through, as a whole the people of God had not gotten any better or more religious towards the things of God – Even the new leaders of Israel were highly corrupt and compromised with the foreign customs and traditions of other people and of other nations — ‘Ezra 9:1-6 Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the Priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied (astonished). Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied (astonished) until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God. And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for **our iniquities are **increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.’ – Note: As result of this (in the Book of Nehemiah) Ezra the Leaders, Scribes and Priests of Israel are going to institute public Torah (Bible) study, teachings and devotions and it is out of the system initiated by Ezra that the Synagogue, Bible Scrolls, teachings and devotions emerge in Israel. Traditions and customs that are then later adopted directly into the Christian Church and Church fellowships. – Also Note: What occurred later in Nehemiah Chapter 8 is identical to both a modern Jewish Synagogue service and a modern Christian Church service.

The Biblical Priesthoods (Levitical or Melchizedek the 'King of Righteousness Priesthood') are both based entirely on a family relationship. A person must be born [entirely - N.T.] into the Priestly family [or have entered legally into the Priestly family - O.T.] in order to have access to God through the family and having access to God [as a family member] then having the ability to perform Priestly duties on behalf of man and on behalf of God: Ezra 10:9-17 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain. And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do. But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing. Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them which have taken strange wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and the judges thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned from us. Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were employed about this matter: and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite helped them. And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter. And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month. - Note: There is a New Testament equivalent (Acts 19:13-16) to this Old Testament Priesthood purity where later Jewish Priests were attempting to minister in the name of Jesus [salvation] and were unable to do so because they were not [yet] completely in the [new] family. Being Jewish [having redemption - in a sense being half Christian, like the children in question in ancient Israel were half Jewish but ineligible to minister as Levitical Priests] and not being Christians [not having the full family Salvation of Jesus] they were unable to Minister in the Name of Jesus. -- Acts 19:13-16 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists (Priests), took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits *the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, **We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the *Priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul [a Priest of Jesus] I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

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