35. Israel Restored to Receive Christ

Israel’s priests and kings crumble. Prophets are sidelined. Yet God’s all-powerful hand orchestrates the return of Israel through the hand of pagan Kings.

Presentation Overview

  • Timelines
  • The Jews Return
  • Leaders
  • Opposition
  • God’s Faithfulness
  • Discussion

End of Babylonian Empire

Isaiah 13:19 Babylon, the most admired of kingdoms, the Chaldeans’ source of honor and pride, will be destroyed by God just as Sodom and Gomorrah were.

The Kingdoms of the Earth

Chapter Parallel sequence of prophetic elements as understood by Historicists
  Past Past, Current and Future?* Future
Daniel 2 Head
Gold
(Babylon)
Chest & 2 arms
Silver
(Persia)
Belly and thighs
Bronze
(Greece)
2 Legs
Iron
(Rome)
2 Feet with 10 toes
Clay & Iron
Rock
God’s unending kingdom
left to no other people
Daniel 7 Winged Lion Lopsided Bear 4 Headed/ 4 Winged
Leopard
  Iron toothed Beast
w/Little Horn  and 10 heads

 

Ref. Rev 13, Rev 17

son of man comes in clouds
Given everlasting dominion
He gives it to the saints.

 

The Jews Return [2]

1) Zerubbabel led the first wave of Jewish exiles to return in 536 B.C. (Ezra 1-6)

(There is a big gap of 57 years – Mordecai and Esther’s time. During this time Haggai and Zecharaih motivate the Jews to continue)

In 535 B.C. the construction of the temple began.

In Feb 18, 516 B.C. the temple was completed and dedicated.

2) Ezra led the second in 455 B.C. (Ezra 7-10)

Ezra left with about 1500 men and their families in mid-March 455 B.C.

In August of 455 B.C., the little group arrives safely in Jerusalem.

3) Nehemiah led the third in 445 B.C. (Neh 1-3)

Zerubbabel Prince of Judah

  • Born at Babylon of David’s line
  • Head of tribe of Judah
  • Possibly in service of King and appointed to govern Judah
  • Tradition claims that he was taken in chains to Darius and wins his support
  • Led first set of exiles back to Jerusalem
  • Built foundation of temple in two years

Opposition - Discouragement

  • The Samaritan settlers who tried to forge a treaty – Zerubbabel opposed it.
  • They then discouraged them and bribed officials.
  • Other influential leaders in surrounding kingdoms persuaded King Artaxerxes to stop the building

Opposition - Discouragement

 Ezra 4:4 Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. 5 They bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign” of Cyrus and till the second year of King Darius

Work stopped for 10 years, after the foundation was laid.

Mordecai and Queen Esther

Between Zerubbabel’s and Ezra’s contingents of exiles, while the nation of Israel regroups, Esther and Mordecai’s leadership in Persia protects and strengthens the position of Jews in captivity 

Opposition - Death

  • The Jews, under a foreign hand faced the greatest threat under Haman and his allies of death and elimination.
  • Again God demonstrated his strength and faithfulness. -Esther

God’s Faithfulness

  • In Persia, God protects the Jews under Queen Esther and Mordecai
  • In Jerusalem He sends Haggai and Zachariah to motivate the Jews to continue the building. Haggai 1:2,3. Ezra 5:1

Haggai and Zachariah

  • Prophecy the temple building is to continue (Haggai 1:7-9, Zechariah 6:11-15)

..Zerubbabel continues it…and completes it

Ezra, the prophet and Priest

  • Descendent of Aaron
  • Led the second wave of exiles back to Jerusalem
  • Deeply rooted in the word of God
  • Built the temple
  • Lived 40 years (480-440 BC)

Opposition – Dangers

Ezra 8:31 We set out from the Ahava River on the twelfth day of the first month to go to Jerusalem. We were strengthened by our God, and He protected us from the power of the enemy and from ambush along the way. 

Opposition – Defilement

Ezra 9:2 Indeed, the Israelite men have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy seed has become mixed with the surrounding peoples. The leaders and officials have taken the lead in this unfaithfulness!” 3 When I heard this report, I tore my tunic and robe, pulled out some of the hair from my head and beard, and sat down devastated.

Nehemiah, Governor of Judah

  • Led the third contingent of exiles to Jerusalem
  • Persuaded the King to support construction of temple walls
  • Demonstrated the power of prayer and persevering leadership – Nehemiah

Opposition – Discontentment

  • Taunts from enemies
  • Attacks from enemies
  • Discontentment from within – Nehemiah

Most impactful – The kings of Persia

  • Initiated by Cyrus, it was the Persian Kings who were God’s powerful instruments to:
  • Rebuild the temple
  • Restore the lost riches
  • Reinforce obedience to God and His word.
  • 2 Chronicles 36:22–23 and Ezra 1:1–11

Role of Persian Kings in Bible

Date B.C.

Bible Background

Bible Name

Role

539-530

Isaiah 45, Daniel, Ezra 1-3

Cyrus

Authorized return from exile, building of temple and catalogued and returned gold and silver.

530-521

Ezra 4:5-7

Ahasurerus

Enemies sent accusation against those living in Judah and Jerusalem to King

521

Ezra 4:7-23

Artaxerxes

Influenced by enemies to stop the work which was stopped till 2nd year of Darius. Morale beating exercises were propagated for 15 years

521-486

Ezra 5,6

Darius

Tattenai, governor of land beyond Euphrates sent negative letter. Darius checked records, circulated and reinforced Cyrus’s decree.

486-465

Esther 1-10

Ahasurerus

Saved lives of Jews through Esther and Mordecai

464-423

Nehemiah 1 – 13, Ezra 7-10

Artaxerxes

Authorises Nehemiah to rebuild wall, Ezra to teach word. provides resources.

Opposition - None

  • No one could oppose the King’s decrees

Above all Powers

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases. NLT

Discussion

Out of the opposing forces of danger, death, discouragement, defilement and discontentment, which were the most dangerous then? For us today?

How do we compare the Persian Kings vs. the Kings of Israel.

Who are their equivalents today, and how do they compare? What do we learn?

The Degenerating Cycles of Spiritual Leadership

Each cycle reached complete

spiritual degeneration.

Can we assume the same

about the church?

The Antichrist Prototype – Antiochus Epiphenes

  • Antiochus IV Epiphanes, (Greek: “God Manifest”) [6]
  • He is described in Daniel as the Antichrist prototype (Daniel 8:9-14 ; 11:21-32) – both passages largely fit both description of Antiochus (past) and Antichrist (future).

Usurping God’s Authority over His Church

1 Kings 14:14-16 “Then God will appoint a king over Israel who will wipe out Jeroboam’s family, wipe them right off the map—doomsday for Jeroboam! He will hit Israel hard, as a storm slaps reeds about; he’ll pull them up by the roots from this good land of their inheritance, weeding them out, and then scatter them to the four winds. And why? Because they made God so angry with Asherah sex-and-religion shrines. He’ll wash his hands off Israel because of Jeroboam’s sins, which have led Israel into a life of sin.”

Reference: Kings of Persia in the Bible [3]

NAME

Date B.C.

Persian Name

Bible Name

Bible Background

Cyrus

539-530

Koorush

Cyrus

Isaiah 45, Daniel, Ezra 1-3

Cambysses

530-521

Cambujieh

Ahasurerus

Ezra 4:5-7

Pseudo Smerdis

521

Berooyeh Doroughi

Artaxerxes

Ezra 4:7-23

Darius the Great

521-486

Darryoosh

Darius

Ezra 5,6

Xerxes

486-465

Khashayarshah

Ahasurerus

Esther 1-10

Artaxerxes I

464-423

Ardeshier Deraz Dast

Artaxerxes

Nehemiah 1 – 13, Ezra 7-10

References: Authorization of Cyrus [3]

Cyrus Charter of Human Rights

“I am Cyrus. King of the world. When I entered Babylon… I did not allow anyone to terrorize the land… I kept in view the needs of people and all its sanctuaries to promote their well-being… I put an end to their misfortune. The Great God has delivered all the lands into my hand; the lands that I have made to dwell in a peaceful habitation…. . .When my soldiers in great numbers peacefully entered Babylon… I did not allow anyone to terrorize the people… I kept in view the needs of people and all its sanctuaries to promote their well-being… Freed all the slaves… I put an end to their misfortune and slavery (referring to the Jews and other religious minorities). The Great God has delivered all the lands into my hand; the lands that I have made to dwell in a peaceful habitation… “

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