This is not the book of Acts! Not the Gospel of Luke. Not really like any of Paul’s or Peter’s letters. This one is different BUT it can be understood.
This book of Ezra is only ten chapters long. It has a long list of names of Jewish head’s of households. It is a number of personal letters and open general letters from both head’s of state and local men. There are a number of characters yet the main ones do not run thru the whole book.
The key verse, Ezra 7:10 stands out among the 280 verses.
The Book of Ezra was formerly associated with the Book of Nehemiah. Some times, both books were treated as one book. They give an account of the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylonia to Jerusalem. They tell of the re-establishment of the Temple, their worship, and national life in their original homeland. Ezra, whose name means "help", was a wonderful priest who led the people home. He wrote a very simple history and did not give much direct teaching. He made no effort to tell a continuous story. In fact, between Ezr.6 and Ezr.7 almost sixty years passed.
You should read the companion Book of Esther to discover what was happening elsewhere during this general time period. It would also be helpful to read the Books of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, who lived and preached during this restoration age. The two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, were closely connected with the first return of Zerubbabel in 536 B.C. God encouraged the Jews to complete His temple through these men, despite much opposition. Actually, there were three groups which returned to Palestine. They were led respectively by Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Ezra's group went in 457 B.C., taking four months for travel. It is not known whether any women or children made the trip. Nehemiah came later as governor in 444 B.C. The Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther cover about 100 years (536-432 B.C.).
The main message of Ezra is that God uses whomever suits His purpose, whether Cyrus and Artaxerxes, or Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah. God empowered His chosen people to overcome all opposition, even against impossible odds.
Let’s start our study of this small book of reforms and restoration. A few items to fill our bag with:
Purpose of Ezra:
1. Long ago historical events,
a. hard not to get involved in fast action historical events
2. Whole sections that consist only of names,
b. Once the literal facts are understood, you can extract general principles.
3. How to interpret the wholesale divorces undertaken by Jewish men who married foreign wives.
c. A graphic way to understand the need to separate from evil and to protect the covenant.
1 Preparations for the return 2 List of those who return
1 & 2 First return
3 Rebuilding the Temple begun 4-5 Rebuilding halted by Hostile challenge 6 Rebuilding permitted and finished
3-6 Rebuilding the Temple
1-6 the Restoration under Zerubbabel
7 Royal permission for Remnant to return 8 Return of the Remnant
Second Return under Ezra
9-10 Ezra’s decisiveness concerning intermarriage
Reforming the life of the community
7-9 Reform under Ezra
God Spoke #1 in Genesis
Noah (the Flood
Joseph -sold into slavery by bothers(!)
Egypt for 400 years until Moses took them out!
Wanderings for 40 years because of sin in the Camp
Joshua -took the nation into the Promised Land
(Saul) - People want a King like all the other countries ... Not God's Man
Temple - was built
2 South stayed in the South Capital city with Temple
“A ” Assyria
70 in captivity (predicted to last 70 years)
Return to Jerusalem -set up the Temple again!
400 Years of silence from God
God Spoke #3 for the LAST time in the Person of Jesus!
The LIGHT Comes
Until the time you heard. Now, the message needs to be brought to others beyond your country, people and nations-being faithful to spread the Word of God to others!