The Building of the City Jerusalem
The decree of Artaxerxes I [Longimanus] Ahasuerus recorded in Ezra 7:12-26.
King Artaxerxes, in the seventh year of his reign (457 B.C.), authorized Ezra the priest and scribe, and all who wished to join him, to go to Jerusalem, revive and restore the religion and build the city. It was Ezra’s desire to instruct the Jews in the laws of God. Artaxerxes granted him large amounts of silver and gold to furnish the temple, and gave instruction that his treasurers on that side of the river should provide whatever was needed to beautify the Lord’s house.
In the decree, Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus, Longimanus] commanded Ezra to “set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all 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.” (Ezra 7:25, 26).
Ezra left Babylon on the first day of the first month of Artaxerxes’ [Ahasuerus] seventh year, and arrived in Jerusalem exactly four months later on the first day of the fifth month (Ezra 7:7-9). Three days later the gifts brought from Babylon were registered in the temple treasury, and sacrifices were offered to God. Ezra 8:32-35. Either at that time or shortly thereafter, “they delivered the king’s commissions unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river.” (Ezra 8:36).
The second decree of Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus, Longimanus] mentioned in Nehemiah chapters 1 and 2.
The story of Nehemiah begins in the 20th year of Artaxerxes’ reign (444 B.C.). Nehemiah, was the king’s cupbearer. One day after Ahasureus had ordered the construction of the city stopped a few years previously, some of Nehemiah’s brethren from Judah arrived in Shushan where king’s palace was and Nehemiah inquired of them about the condition of things in Jerusalem.
“The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach,” they replied. “The wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.”
Nehemiah sat down and wept. For several days he mourned and fasted and prayed. His prayer is remarkably similar to that of Daniel in Daniel 9. He prayed that somehow God would “grant him mercy in the sight of” the king.
Four months later, Nehemiah was serving wine to the king, and Artaxerxes noticed a sadness on Nehemiah’s countenance. “Why is thy countenance sad?” the king asked.
Nehemiah explained that Jerusalem was still in ruins, the wall and the gates were still not repaired. When the king asked what he would like to do, Nehemiah answered, “If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.”
Artaxerxes consented, and sent with him letters for the governors of the region, authorizing to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.
This commission to BUILD THE CITY, was issued to Ezra in 457 B.C. and later rescinded, then the order was reissued and Nehemiah was authorized to help in the task in 444 B.C., in the 20th year of Artaxerxes’ [Ahasuerus, Longimanus] reign.
The Seventy Weeks prophecy of Daniel reveals that it was the decree to build the City of Jerusalem, and not a decree to build the temple, which began the countdown to the revealing of Messiah.
Daniel 9:25 says, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem [the CITY, not the temple] unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”
The Building of the Temple
- The people went up to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel to build the temple according to the decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C.
- Cyrus appointed Sheshbazzar [the Persian name for Zerubbabel] governor of the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, Ezra 5:16.
- Zerubbabel and Joshua went with the people out of Babylon to Jerusalem under the governor and they build the Altar in time to sacrifice during the Feasts of the seventh month.
- Construction of the temple foundation began in the second year, Ezra 3.
- Little progress was made due to the opposition of the local people and lack of support
- Then Haggai and Zechariah began to prophesy and encourage the people and construction resumed
- Then construction was halted by Artaxerxes [Darius] in 522 B.C. due to complaints from the local people [which came during a period of uprisings in the empire], Ezra 5.
- Then the Persian governor Tatnai wrote to Darius explaining that Cyrus had ordered the construction of the temple 520 B.C.
- After seeing God’s deliverance of Daniel from the lions (Dan 6) Darius then ordered the construction to resume in 520 B.C. and the temple was completed in 516 B.C., Ezra 6.
Restoring true religion and building the city
- Artaxerxes [Ahaseurus Longimanus] put away queen Vashti in his second year (461 B.C.) for her example of rebellion and disobedience.
- He became the husband of Esther in his third year (c 460 B.C.)
- In his seventh year (457 B.C.) king Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus Longimanus], disposed to hold the Jews in favor due to the influence of queen Esther and Mordachi] sent Ezra to rebuild the city Jerusalem.
- Ezra as the high priest was sent to restore the religion and build the city in 457 B.C. Ezra 7
- In Ezra 9, Ezra learns of the marriages to unconverted spouses and idolatry among the people and separates them calling them to repentance Ezra 10.
- Ezra concentrates on restoring true religion and building the city but does not build the walls.
- In the twelfth year (452 B.C.) of king Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus Longimanus], the Jews were saved from Haman who was incensed by the favours granted to the Jews and conspired to destroy them.
- In 444 B.C. Nehemiah was appointed governor and is sent to help Ezra the high priest, and as the governor he begins construction of the city walls to protect the city Nehemiah 3-8 leaving Ezra to fulfill his religious function of teaching the people and restoring true religion as the high priest.
- Nehemiah as Terhasha [governor] and the high priest Ezra read the book of the law before all the people at the Fall Festivals Nehemiah 9
- On the second day after the Feast of the Eighth Day they held a day of fasting and repentance Nehemiah 10, and many people recommitted themselves to the Covenant, Nehemiah 11
- Ezra died in 440 B.C.
- After 12 years as governor, during which he ruled with justice and righteousness, he returned to the king at Susa in 432 B.C.
- After some time he returned to Jerusalem, horrified to find that the people had fallen back into their evil ways. Unconverted people were permitted to conduct business with Jews inside Jerusalem on the Sabbath and the Jews did business with them. Greatly angered, he purified the Temple and the priests and Levites and again separates them from their unconverted spouses and decries their sins of idolatry and Sabbath breaking, Nehemiah 13.
- The city was completed in 408 B.C.
It was during the 49 year period from 457 B.C. when the original decree was given to build the city, that the city was built under extremely trying circumstances, being completed as the angel had foretold to Daniel in 49 years in 408 B.C. After which another 62 weeks (434 years) would pass before the revealing of the Jesus Christ when his ministry began at the age of 30 in autumn 27 A.D.
The Building of the City Jerusalem
The activities of Ezra the priest begin with his pedigree in order to confirm his claim to be a member of the priesthood. Ezra did not go to Jerusalem at the decree of Cyrus, but went up to Jerusalem (457 B.C.) about 100 years later in the reign of Artaxerxes [the term Artaxerxes was simply a general regal name for the Persian kings this king being Ahasuerus Longimanus].
Ezra 7:1 Now after these things [after the building of the temple], in the reign of Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus Longimanus] king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 7:2 The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 7:3 The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 7:4 The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 7:5 The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:
7:6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready 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.
Ezra was a priest of Aaron and made his request to the king that he be allowed to go to Jerusalem to Build the CITY, to teach the commandments, to restore true religion and to officiate at the new Temple.
Ezra was accompanied by other repentant persons. The temple had now been rebuilt and there was a need to restore the true God commanded worship at the temple and to rebuild the city.
7:7 And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims [temple workers, Gibeonites], unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes [Longimanus] the king.
7:8 And he came to Jerusalem in the [first day of the] fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
7:9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.
Ezra had committed himself to zealously keep and teach the Word of God at Jerusalem.
Ezra appears to have been a man of reputation in Babylon for his zeal to God, since so many followed him to Jerusalem.
Ezra was not only a priest by his genealogy from Aaron, he was a scribe who’s work was to copy the Word of God, and he was thoroughly familiar with the whole Word of God as it existed at that time.
It was Ezra who restored the ancient Levitical [synagogue] school system [through which Jesus and the disciples were educated], and established the temple ritual as it remained until the Roman’s destroyed Jerusalem.
Ezra under the inspiration of the God Being who later gave up his God-hood to become flesh as Jesus Christ, established the Ceremony of Light opening the Feast of Tabernacles, and the ceremony of the pouring out of water during the Feast of Tabernacles, which Jesus explained represented the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
Ezra’s commission was to Build the CITY and to Restore True Religion
7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
The Decree of Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus Longimanus]
7:11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel.
7:12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.
7:13 I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.
7:14 Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand; 7:15 And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem, 7:16 And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem: 7:17 That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.
7:18 And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.
7:19 The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.
7:20 And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king’s treasure house.
7:21 And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily, 7:22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
7:23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven [in the Word of God], let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
7:24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.
The Commission of Ezra from King Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus Longimanus]
7:25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.
7:26 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.
EZRA acknowledged that God had inspired the king to authorize the work of restoring true religion.
7:27 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 of the LORD which is in Jerusalem: 7:28 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 [because God had inspired this work.] the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.
These are the people who accompanied Ezra to Jerusalem to teach and restore true religion to prepare the people for the first physical coming of Christ.
In the first century as in today’s Spiritual Ekklesia; those who were faithful to God and looking for Christ were the ones that Jesus came to; while the proud and self-willed did not recognize nor receive Christ.
Ezra 8:1 These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king.
8:2 Of the sons of Phinehas; Gershom: of the sons of Ithamar; Daniel: of the sons of David; Hattush.
8:3 Of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh; Zechariah: and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males an hundred and fifty.
8:4 Of the sons of Pahathmoab; Elihoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males.
8:5 Of the sons of Shechaniah; the son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males.
8:6 Of the sons also of Adin; Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males.
8:7 And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males.
8:8 And of the sons of Shephatiah; Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him fourscore males.
8:9 Of the sons of Joab; Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males.
8:10 And of the sons of Shelomith; the son of Josiphiah, and with him an hundred and threescore males.
8:11 And of the sons of Bebai; Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight males.
8:12 And of the sons of Azgad; Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him an hundred and ten males.
8:13 And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them threescore males.
8:14 Of the sons also of Bigvai; Uthai, and Zabbud, and with them seventy males.
When the volunteers were gathered no Levites were found among those who had remained in Babylon when the first group went to build the temple at Jerusalem 100 years previously.
8:15 And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi.
Then Ezra sent the chief men to speak to the Levites remaining in Babylon.
8:16 Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understanding.
8:17 And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God.
Then 38 Levites responded [many others had gone to Jerusalem to build the temple some 100 years before] with 220 Nethinim [Gibeonites who had become servers in the tabernacle and later the temple].
8:18 And 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; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen; 8:19 And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons, twenty;
8:20 Also of the Nethinims, whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed by name.
Ezra Fasts for the Security of this Company
8:21 Then I 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. 8:22 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.
Remember these words of Ezra spoken to the king, for they are true and we can depend upon them today!
8:23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
Ezra distributes the offerings to the priests to carry in the journey and carefully measures the amounts; later he would again measure the amounts of arriving to make sure that nothing had been lost. Ezra was very careful and zealous for God.
8:24 Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them, 8:25 And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered: 8:26 I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents, and of gold an hundred talents; 8:27 Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold.
The Babylonian “talent” in use at that time is equivalent to 67 pounds today. That is 696,800 ounces of silver and 107,200 ounces of gold. You may compare current prices for an idea of the value of this huge sum.
8:28 And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers. 8:29 Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them before the chief of the priests and the Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the LORD.
Ezra weighed the silver and gold at their departure and weighed them again upon arrival to ensure that nothing was lost on the journey.
8:30 So took the priests and the Levites the weight of the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem unto the house of our God.
8:31 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.
Arrival at Jerusalem
8:32 And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days. 8:33 Now on the fourth day was the silver and the gold and the vessels 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; and with them was Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites; 8:34 By number and by weight of every one: and all the weight was written at that time.
8:35 Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all 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.
The local representatives of the king were informed of the king’s instructions regarding Ezra, and they helped the priests.
8:36 And they delivered the king’s commissions unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they furthered the people, and the house of God.
Ezra called Judah to repentance and restored true religion and God’s temple worship system. God is also calling today’s Spiritual Ekklesia to sincerely repent of our pride and idolatry in exalting our idols of men above the Word of God.
The time is almost at hand for the coming separation of the sincerely repentant and zealous for God; from the proud and self-willed brethren.
Those who returned from Babylon had lapsed into the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, because they had married into them, and had been influenced into paganism by their wives.
While this is a marriage issue, that we should NEVER marry unconverted spouses; it is also a SPIRITUAL issue that we should not accept unconverted people who are openly sinning against the Word of God into our assemblies. Paul instructs us in Corinthians and Titus to reject the openly sinful from the assemblies.
We are NEVER to tolerate sin and false teachings for the sake of organizational unity as many are now doing as a matter of organizational policy.
This seeking of numbers over quality of conversion is one the root causes of the apostasy that has continued to this day. A little leaven leavens the whole lump and we have fallen into a very grave sin.
Large numbers of well meaning people lacking in understanding are brought in; then to keep them the sermons must be dumbed down to their level and much of God’s law is compromised with, resulting in a zeal for the organization and leader and no zeal at all for the practical application of the Word of God.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Ezra 9:1 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. 9:2 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.
When Ezra arrived at Jerusalem he was astonished that these supposedly repentant people who had come from Babylon and built the temple, could have fallen into this wickedness.
The evil devised by Balaam was to entice Israel with the daughters of Moab, to cause Israel to bring destruction on herself. Even so today’s Spiritual Ekklesia has fallen into this evil of bringing in the spiritual unconverted and mixing them with the converted, for the sake of numbers, money.
Cain did what was right in his own eyes and became full of envy of the righteous who did as God had commanded. Balaam taught that the way to destroy both physical and spiritual Israel, was to get physical and spiritual Israel to consort with the unconverted and turn away from God.
Korah led the people in revolt against the mediator of the Mosaic Covenant and today there are many Korah’s in the greater Spiritual Ekklesia who are leading people to follow themselves away from the ONLY MEDIATOR of the Spiritual New Covenant.
Jude 1:11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core [Korah] .
Ezra 9:3 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.
Ezra was deeply vexed that the Ekklesia of his day would be willing to become one flesh with unconverted wives and would mix rank paganism with the Word of God.
Then those who did love the Eternal and realized their error assembled before Ezra in repentance.
The same thing is happening today as the brethren are being told their errors and those who do love the Eternal are called to repentance. Being called to turn from the false traditions of men and organizations and turn away from tolerance for sin; being called to return to the Eternal and to a zeal for the commandments of Jesus Christ to live by every Word of the great Father God in heaven.
Then the faithful gathered around Ezra, as Ezra sat fasting.
9:4 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 until the evening sacrifice.
Ezra as a priest of God; repented for the actions of the brethren of his day.
Since today’s corporate assemblies will not repent it is up to each individual to turn back to the Eternal in real repentance, and revive the zeal of a dedicated loving bride for our espoused Husband and God’s Word.
This also speaks of the general repentance of the brethren during the tribulation.
A prayer of repentance for all who have gone astray including today’s Spiritual Ekklesia.
9:5 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,
9:6 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.
9:7 Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.
9:8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail [fasten us securely] in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
9:9 For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.
9:10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, 9:11 Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is [has become unclean through our sins] an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.
Ezra commanded the brethren of his day and of today to REPENT from mixing the teachings of the unconverted with the Word of God; to repent of the spiritual adultery of consorting with false doctrine and prophecy; to repent of exalting men, organizations and and false traditions above the Word of God; to repent of compromising with God’s Word and of tolerating wickedness in our assemblies!
These words were recorded and preserved for US TODAY as well as spoken for those in that time!
2 Timothy 3:16 ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Ezra 9:12 Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.
Do not intermarry with the unconverted. Do NOT mix or become one with any false traditions of men; either by physical marriage, or by tolerating teachings contrary to scripture, or by tolerating sin and the sinful, in the assemblies.
The prayer of Ezra continues
9:13 And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;
9:14 Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?
9:15 O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped [from Babylon and are not destroyed or returned to captivity yet], as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.
Ezra repented for Judah and the people also began to repent and to seek God with a whole heart; this is an allegory of us today and of the repentance of Laodicea when they go through tribulation and are corrected for these same sins on a spiritual plain.
The wickedness and sins of today’s Spiritual Ekklesia are spread from wall to wall, filling God’s Spiritual Temple with the uncleanness of sin; and they are blind to their condition, being full of pride and accounting themselves righteous as they do what is right in their own eyes in rebellion against the Word of God.
Then the people also wept in repentance.
Ezra 10:1 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.
Then a repentant leader stood up to offer a remedy to correct the matter. For them the solution was to put away their unconverted wives and to repent of the sins that they had been led into.
For us today the solution is on a spiritual level; we are to repent of joining ourselves [fornicating with] to the false doctrines of the unconverted, and of idolizing men and their false traditions above the Word of God!
10:2 And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange [unconverted] wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. 10:3 Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the [unconverted] wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
This was a repeated issue throughout the period of building the temple and the city as unconverted wives led people into apostasy and a lack of zeal to do the work and then they were removed in a revival; and it was only after they had put away their idolatry that the building of the temple or city progressed.
Shechaniah’s call to Judah.
10:4 Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it.
Today we are arriving at the point when the entire Spiritual Ekklesia has been warned to repent over several years and as organizations they have steadfastly refused to do so.
God has been calling all of today’s brethren to stop committing spiritual adultery by idolizing men [some long dead] and corporations: to stop mixing God’s ways with the ways of the unconverted; and to stop clinging to traditions which are contrary to his Word.
They have steadfastly refused to repent from this unnatural marriage between false traditions and the Word of God.
Since most utterly reject parts of God’s Word, and deliberately twist other parts in order to remain in their sins: The time is now fast approaching when the faithful MUST put away their relationships and separate themselves from those who have joined themselves to false doctrines and love them too much to put them away in heart-felt repentance.
God is separating out his pillars from those too spiritually lukewarm to zealously live by every Word of God!
Then Ezra supported this call and all Judah swore to put away their strange wives and strange gods. Remember that the law allowed that anyone who turned to God could be integrated into Israel; so this was about having unconverted wives and was not about race.
Exodus 12:48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
Let us do the same today and put away our idols of men and turn back to the LORD our God!
Please do not misunderstand; I am NOT advocating breaking up marriages today; we are under a different dispensation than the Mosaic Covenant. Yet if we are single we are NOT to knowingly marry the unconverted.
1 Corinthians 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 7:16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
Ezra 10:5 Then arose Ezra, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they sware.
Ezra fasted for the sins of the people of his day; and we should be fasting the fast of sincere repentance for our own sins in today’s Spiritual Ekklesia.
10:6 Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came thither, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away.
10:7 And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem; 10:8 And that whosoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away.
God has chosen Jerusalem as his capital city and the place of his physical temple; and physical Jerusalem and the physical temple are allegorical types of the Spiritual Temple of God’s Spiritual Ekklesia.
Just as those people were called up to a physical Jerusalem; we are called to the heavenly Jerusalem in the spiritual sense, and are called to seek out our God and his ways.
The rulers then FORCED the people to agree to turn from paganism, just as Jesus Christ will FORCE today’s brethren to turn from their idolatry in the tribulation.
Anyone in Judah who would not put away his unconverted wives was to be deprived of all worldly goods; and Jesus Christ will reject and spew out at this time all those who will not repent and turn from their idolizing of men, false traditions and corporate entities today (Rev 3:15-22).
Brethren, this was recorded and preserved for OUR instruction!
Ezra 10:9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month [about November], 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.
Ezra then gave a final warning to repent before all the people.
10:10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange [unconverted] wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. 10:11 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.
The people responded to him: “We will repent as you have said.”
These people who repented in Jerusalem, picture those of today’s Spiritual Ekklesia who will sincerely repent and separate themselves from all sin.
Those who did NOT come up to Jerusalem, picture the unrepentant Laodicean people which make up the vast majority of today’s Spiritual Ekklesia. They will lose everything they have, because of their love of exalting their idols of men and false traditions above the Word of God.
10:12 Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do.
Then the people set about the practical aspects of their repentance; which would include rooting out the false traditions and doctrines they had assimilated. Today our time should be used to root out all error and replace it with the truth of the Word of God!
10:13 But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without [They were unable to travel to be heard by the appointed judges because of the rain.], neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing.
They asked to be called in courses to Jerusalem to formally put away their unconverted wives.
10:14 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.
Then Jonathan and a staff of Levites were tasked with making judgments and issuing the formal divorces.
10:15 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.
10:16 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 [were ordained to judge whether the wives were converted or unconverted and leading their husbands astray] , and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter.
It took 3 1/2 months to purify God’s people from the sin of intermarriage with non believers which was leading them back into the same idolatry that the pagan wives of Solomon had led Israel into.
1 Kings 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.
11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.
11:7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 11:8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
11:9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
Ezra 10:17 And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month.
A list of the leaders who repented and rejected paganism.
10:18 And among the sons of the priests there were found that had taken strange wives: namely, of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren; Maaseiah, and Eliezer, and Jarib, and Gedaliah.
10:19 And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass.
10:20 And of the sons of Immer; Hanani, and Zebadiah.
10:21 And of the sons of Harim; Maaseiah, and Elijah, and Shemaiah, and Jehiel, and Uzziah.
10:22 And of the sons of Pashur; Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethaneel, Jozabad, and Elasah.
10:23 Also of the Levites; Jozabad, and Shimei, and Kelaiah, (the same is Kelita,) Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer.
10:24 Of the singers also; Eliashib: and of the porters; Shallum, and Telem, and Uri.
10:25 Moreover of Israel: of the sons of Parosh; Ramiah, and Jeziah, and Malchiah, and Miamin, and Eleazar, and Malchijah, and Benaiah.
10:26 And of the sons of Elam; Mattaniah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, and Abdi, and Jeremoth, and Eliah.
10:27 And of the sons of Zattu; Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, and Jeremoth, and Zabad, and Aziza.
10:28 Of the sons also of Bebai; Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai.
10:29 And of the sons of Bani; Meshullam, Malluch, and Adaiah, Jashub, and Sheal, and Ramoth.
10:30 And of the sons of Pahathmoab; Adna, and Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezaleel, and Binnui, and Manasseh.
10:31 And of the sons of Harim; Eliezer, Ishijah, Malchiah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 10:32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah.
10:33 Of the sons of Hashum; Mattenai, Mattathah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei.
10:34 Of the sons of Bani; Maadai, Amram, and Uel, 10:35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Chelluh, 10:36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 10:37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, and Jaasau, 10:38 And Bani, and Binnui, Shimei, 10:39 And Shelemiah, and Nathan, and Adaiah, 10:40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai,10:41 Azareel, and Shelemiah, Shemariah, 10:42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph.
10:43 Of the sons of Nebo; Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jadau, and Joel, Benaiah.
10:44 All these had taken strange wives: and some of them had wives by whom they had children.
Brethren, I have been calling on today’s corporate Ekklesia to turn back to our espoused Husband for years now. I have never called on anyone to leave any group, only encouraging all to turn to the Eternal with enthusiastic zeal and to turn away from the false traditions and sins which pollute us.
What person is there that knows he will be living tomorrow?
Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
The time for each person to seek the Eternal is NOW!
Nevertheless, the time of the separating out of the pillars who will seek out and turn to live by every Word of God, from those who are lax and lukewarm to live by every Word of God, is fast approaching!