Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bible Study: EZRA AND NEHEMIAH Week # 7

"Re-Building God's Temple"



Subject:      A Spiritual Message: Part 1

Scripture Reading: John 2:19; 2:21, I Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19, Revelations 11:19, Luke 18:1; 21:36, Romans 8:26

         

Here are six steps Nehemiah took to rebuild the walls that had crumbled after the previous invasion:

 

  1. He began with prayer. 
    He prayed for himself, he prayed for his nation and he even confessed the sins of the forefathers who had brought destruction to Jerusalem. In fact, he said he prayed night and day. The burden he had for his city was very clear. He knew that even though the rebuilding of the walls was a physical project, at the end of the day it was only God who would enable them to complete it. He was a desperate man seeking the Lord. We face similarly desperate times, yet the church has largely quit the practice of consistent, deep, pleading corporate prayer. We must ask, "How desperate must the situation become before you begin a ministry of prayer in your church?"
  2. He invited other people to join him 
    (See Nehemiah 2:17). He said, "Let us build the wall." In other words, he was going to be part of the rebuilding he was called to complete, but he knew that this was a community project. He threw out the invitation to see who among his kinsmen would buy into his vision.
  3. The priests were the first to volunteer 
    (Nehemiah 3:1). Translating that into today's language, the pastors are to lead the way. We are the gatekeepers for the people whom God entrusts to us. Here in America we desperately need pastors who have the vision to be able to lead their people with a Gospel-centered redemptive ministry that affects the culture.
  4. Whole families were included. 
    There are long lists of families, and the reason they were included is that Nehemiah knew these families had to have a sense of ownership. In fact, each family built their own part of the wall. They were essentially saying, "If the enemy comes in, I don't want him coming over my part of the wall." The families bought in. If America is going to be spiritually rebuilt, it will not be from the top down; it will be built from the bottom up, so to speak, and families need to be rebuilt.
    Parents must train their children spiritually in ways that we once took for granted. It is no longer valid to expect the church to do it or society to be sympathetic to it. Parents must be involved to see their loved ones preserved and the larger culture changed.
  5. Nehemiah was not distracted by opposition. 
    From the beginning of his obedience, Nehemiah faced ridicule from Sanballat, Tobiah and their sympathizers. Lies were spoken against him, and a pesky contingent opposed the fact that he was rebuilding the walls. Nehemiah took note of his enemies, but their opposition did not deter him.
  6. Nehemiah resolved injustice and conflicts. 
    He knew that the resolution of conflicts and injustices were necessary in order to continue rebuilding. You will never have a situation in which everything will run flawlessly, and there will nearly always be some level of conflict in any great task. As we see both in our country, and within the church, there is frequent conflict and disagreement. The church alone has a remedy, a Person, who can bring peace to any situation. We must bring Him to bear at every turn. Of course, it is important to acknowledge that many Christians are praying for revival in America. We want God to revive His church. In fact, things are so desperate that apart from a widespread turning to God, we will not reverse the trends in American culture. But I fear that we want revival to do what we are unwilling to do ourselves—namely, to personally witness to our culture along the highways and byways of everyday life. We want God to come in great power to convert people, but the Bible stresses the need for personal evangelism. I believe that America's crumbling walls cannot be rebuilt until Christians—bankers, lawyers, nurses, factory workers—all see themselves as representatives of Christ wherever He has planted them. One of my greatest disappointments is the number of Christians who work next to unbelievers without ever making it clear that they are Christians. Lovingly and winsomely, we must share the Gospel message through our lips and testify to its transformative power by our lives. Unless that happens, America's walls will not be rebuilt. We as the church, through the power of the Gospel, have the seeds of renewal. Unless they are watered, cared for and cultivated, we will not rebuild our 

    Week # 7     QUESTIONS:
    Questions for Review  
  1. Did God give us human bodies to use and abuse as we like, or does He expect more?
  2. How does He expect us to view and care for the marvelous bodies He designed?
  3. Our body is what to the Holy Spirit?
  4. How does God want us to think, and what mind should we have?
  5. Who enabled Nehemiah and the people to rebuild the wall?
  6. When Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall what did he ask them?
  7. When Nehemiah ask the people to help who volunteer first?
  8. Should we include our families to pray with us?
  9. Who was Sanballat, and what was his problem?
  10. Who was Tobiah?
  11. Did Nehemiah stop working when the enemy started his attack?
  12. What was the conflict and injustice at this time?
  13. When conflict come what must we do as a Church and an individual?
  14. How many chapters are in the book of Nehemiah?

     Weekly Word # 7Ark of the Covenant.
    Our weekly reading for this week:    Nehemiah 10-13

WEEK # 6 Our weekly reading for this week:

Nehemiah 7-9

 

I have really enjoyed reading these chapters; I read II Chronicles 26 through chapter 35 verse 8 so far, and Nehemiah 7-9 just to bring this together with understanding, and it was amazing! Read the book of Nehemiah, because he played a big part, and was a man of integrity. He loved God and his people.


 

ANSWERS

Week # 6      QUSTIONS:

 

 

1.     Why was it important to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem?

It was important, because the lack of fortified walls around the city left the people defenseless against enemies.

2.     The lack of fortified walls around the city left the people in what state?

They were exposed to any and everything around them, even their enemies; also they were ashamed.

3.     What did Nehemiah tell the Jewish leaders concerning the state of their city?

Let us build the walls of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.

4.     What was the quote of Moses did Nehemiah quote?

"If you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name" (Nehemiah 1:9).

5.     Rebuilding Jerusalem's walls was what kind of sign to the enemy?

This was a sign that their God had not left them; it was an important to the enemy of Israel, God's chosen people.

6.     When was the completion of the walls?

The walls around the city of Jerusalem were completed during sometime in the year (444 BC).

7.     Why do you suppose Nehemiah made this statement? (Nehemiah 6:16)

""When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God" I would think he had confident in God, and knew man was limited, and that the people (their enemies) didn't believe they could have done it by themselves, I would think!!!

8.     How did the destruction of Jerusalem leave the people then?

This left the people with shame, because they had a reputation of having a God that stood by them and protected them, even brought them out of bondage to the Egyptians. God's name was well known through-out these nations.

9.     What did the rebuilding reveal about God?

It revealed that God is a God of mercy, grace, and love. He kept His Word as He had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob concerning that He will never leave them nor forsake them. It revealed God's character! Also, that He is a Mighty God!

10.                        Who did Nehemiah say would fight for the people if their enemies attacked?

Nehemiah 4:20 says, "In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.

11.                        What did the men do while rebuilding the wall concern protection?

Some of the men stood guard with weapons while others worked on the wall. God's people were ready to fight, but God protected them from their enemies. Jesus protects us from our enemies. When we know and love Jesus, He keeps us safe and we will live with Him forever.

12.                        How many times the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt?

After the Babylonian captivity and the Persian conquest of Babylonia, Cyrus II of Persia allowed the Jews to return to Judea and rebuild the Temple. The construction was finished in 516 BCE or 430 BCE. Then, Artaxerxes I or possibly Darius II allowed Ezra and Nehemiah to return and rebuild the city's walls and to govern Judea, which was ruled as Yehud province under the Persians. During the Second Temple period, especially during the Hasmonean period, the city walls were expanded and renovated, constituting what Josephus calls the First Wall. Herod the Great added what Josephus called the Second Wall somewhere in the area between today's Jaffa Gate and Temple Mount. Agrippa I later began the construction of the Third Wall, which was completed just at the beginning of the First Jewish–Roman War. Some remains of this wall are located today near the Mandelbaum Gate gas station.

13.                        In what ways do the enemies of Nehemiah from without begin to oppose his work?

They used craftiness to try and trick them to stop building the walls; they also they sent letters to put fear in Nehemiah, but God was with him.

14.                        How does Nehemiah respond?

God gave him spiritual perception and he prayed to God concerning this matter.

15.                        With what kind of trick do the enemies continue to oppose Nehemiah?

Five times Sanballat sent letters trying to intimidate Nehemiah, saying he was rebuilding these walls to become king over Israel, which was not true.

16.                        What kind of defensive action does Nehemiah take this time?

Nehemiah withstood Sanballat and told him the true about himself, and what his intension were; (Nehemiah 6:8).

17.                        What kind of problems arise from within Jerusalem?

There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.

18.                        What action does Nehemiah take to settle this problem?

And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath. (WOW!!) He meant busy, amen.

19.                        Show how enemies from both without and within try to lure Nehemiah into a trap.  

As to my reading, maybe wrong but that would be found in Nehemiah 13:25-28); "And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives? And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me." 

20.                        What have you learn from these studies?

I have learned about God's mercy and grace on His people. Also, God is a God that will keep His Word, even if it's not what we want. Down through the History God showed mercy, but His people didn't listen. I saw God preparing a way for our redemption too. It was a way for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth, in our soul, spirit, and mind, and not just in a building. 

SHARING

The Revelation of "the Mystery"

 

Through Christ (who was the sin-offering that God first told Cain about, which God would place on the altar at the door of the Garden by grace) through that offering the whole barrier system was to be abolished. Instead of a step-by-step expelling of man eastward into relative oblivion (as happened with Adam, Eve, Cain, the antediluvian world, and those at the tower of Babel), all the barriers to God as shown by the temple (and the Garden) were to be removed in Christ. Paul said, "The middle wall of partition" has now been broken down (Ephesians 2:14). This means that the Gentiles (like Cain) who were in a state of wandering and without any fixed spiritual home, can come into the court of Israel where the altar is located. This got them back to Eden. But there is more than simply getting access to the holy altar.

Once the "sin-offering at the door" is accepted they can join hands with Israelites (with both peoples now called "the new man" — not Israelite or Gentile), and both walk up the fifteen steps into the Holy Place. The Cherubim no longer will keep them out with their flaming sword. They are now back in the Garden from whence our first parents were expelled. But that is not the end. When Christ died on the cross, the curtain in the temple that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies ("the midst of the Garden") was supernaturally torn in two from the top down (Matthew 27:50–51). In Hebrews we are told that the destruction of this final barrier now gives us "boldness to enter into the holiest [the Holy of Holies] by the blood of Christ ... through the vail" (Hebrews 10:19–20).

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

Hebrews 4:16

What glorious teaching! All the obstacles that God set up in a progressive sense to alienate Himself from man (in a spiritual way) from the time of Adam and Eve onward, He has systematically abolished through the work of Christ Jesus.

"Having ABOLISHED in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances [decrees of separation]; for to make in himself of two one new man, so making peace."

Ephesians 2:15

All the commandments and decrees which God formerly ordained to separate Himself from various peoples, have been removed in Christ. Adam and Eve, Abel and Cain, Israelite and Gentile, you and I, are now back "in the Garden" — and now in the very midst of it. We do not even have to wait for "the cool of the day" to come into contact with our Father. We now have a constant presence — in a spiritual sense. And the day is soon coming when we ourselves will be spirit beings (1 Corinthians 15:42–55).

When that day arrives, we will not only be able to talk with God face to face as did our first parents, but "we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). As God is Spirit, so will we be. We will then be "as he is" — as His own Spirit-born children. This is far more glorious than it was with our first parents. Indeed, reaching this position is the very purpose for living. Our experience with sin, with an alienation from God, with suffering, will help us for all eternity to love God our Father in a much greater way than our first parents were able to experience. What a glorious future awaits mankind through Christ.

The Holy of Holies is now open to all people on earth without social, racial, or outward religious distinction. It is Christ who has redeemed Adam and his family to Himself. Christ's death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead are mankind's guarantee of a certain salvation. It comes to us by God's grace, not man's works. One day all humanity will understand this truth.

OUR WEEKLY WORD WEEK # 6


  WORD.........................

Veil (curtain)

 

In the Jewish temple, the veil served as the barrier to the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was said to be where God's presence rested and it housed the Ark of the Covenant. Only the high priest could enter this area, and then only one time per year, to make atonement for the sins of Israel (Exodus 30:10).

During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. The temple was the place where animal sacrifices were carried out and worship according to the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. Hebrews 9:1-9 tells us that in the temple a veil separated the Holy of Holies—the earthly dwelling place of God's presence—from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7) to enter into God's presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16). Solomon's temple was 30 cubits high (1 Kings 6:2), but Herod had increased the height to 40 cubits, according to the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to assume that this veil was somewhere near 60 feet high. An early Jewish tradition says that the veil was about four inches thick, but the Bible does not confirm that measurement. The book of Exodus teaches that this thick veil was fashioned from blue, purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. The size and thickness of the veil makes the events occurring at the moment of Jesus' death on the cross so much more momentous. "And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Matthew 27:50-51).
So, what do we make of this? What significance does this torn veil have for us today? Above all, the tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus' death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins. It signified that now the way into the Holy of Holies was open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile. When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place never again to dwell in a temple made with hands (Acts 17:24). God was through with that temple and its religious system, and the temple and Jerusalem were left "desolate" (destroyed by the Romans) in A.D. 70, just as Jesus prophesied in Luke 13:35. As long as the temple stood, it signified the continuation of the Old Covenant. Hebrews 9:8-9 refers to the age that was passing away as the new covenant was being established (Hebrews 8:13). In a sense, the veil was symbolic of Christ Himself as the only way to the Father (John 14:6). This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies through the veil. Now Christ is our superior High Priest, and as believers in His finished work, we partake of His better priesthood. We can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him. Hebrews 10:19-20 says that the faithful enter into the sanctuary by the "blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the veil, that is, through his flesh." Here we see the image of Jesus' flesh being torn for us just as He was tearing the veil for us. The veil being torn from top to bottom is a fact of history. The profound significance of this event is explained in glorious detail in Hebrews. The things of the temple were shadows of things to come, and they all ultimately point us to Jesus Christ. He was the veil to the Holy of Holies, and through His death the faithful now have free access to God.
The veil in the temple was a constant reminder that sin renders humanity unfit for the presence of God. The fact that the sin offering was offered annually and countless other sacrifices repeated daily showed graphically that sin could not truly be atoned for or erased by mere animal sacrifices. Jesus Christ, through His death, has removed the barriers between God and man, and now we may approach Him with confidence and boldness (Hebrews 4:14-16).


Saturday, June 24, 2017

This week’s Prayer:


 

Father God, we come to in Jesus' name, we honor You, we give glory and praise for the things You have done; Thank You for the gift You have put in our lives. Thank You for understanding us, and for Your grace and mercy in our lives. Help us to accept Your discipline, and honor Who You are. Please bless us so we want disappoint You. Help us to make it our priority to obey You in everything. Forgive us so we can enter into Your presence with thanksgiving in our hearts. Bless us to bold to come before You with all our problems, and our praises. We will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in our heart, and into Your courts with praises. Thank You, Father. Bless us to learn from all the mistakes we learn about King Hezekiah in this study. Help us to be bold like Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Zerubbabel, and all those prophets who came before us. Help us not to accept anything from the enemy, in Jesus' name. Bless us to keep our temple clean and presentable and acceptable for Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us always. Thank You for Jesus bringing us out of captivity and darkness, and place us in Your marvelous light. AMEN.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bible Study: EZRA AND NEHEMIAH Week # 6

"Re-Building God's Temple"


Subject:  Re-building of the Walls of Jerusalem:

 

Scripture Reading:        Nehemiah chapter 1 and 2

 

"Why was it important to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem?"

 

The answer to why it was important to rebuild Jerusalem's walls is found in Nehemiah 1:3. Some Jews who visited Jerusalem returned to Persia and reported to Nehemiah, the king's cupbearer. The men said, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."
After the Babylonian Captivity, a remnant of the Jewish people had returned to Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Ezra. These returned exiles had rebuilt the temple, but they were now in need of protection. The lack of fortified walls around the city left the people defenseless against enemies. Weather, wild animals, opposing people, and other opponents could easily enter and cause "great trouble" to the people.
According to the report Nehemiah received, the remnant in Jerusalem was shamed. A city with broken walls revealed a defeated people. The Jews who had returned to their homeland were both in unsafe conditions and humiliated at living in a destroyed city. In Nehemiah 2:17, Nehemiah told the Jewish leaders, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace."
Also, the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls would show God's blessing upon His people again. Nehemiah quoted God's words to Moses in his prayer, saying, "If you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name" (Nehemiah 1:9).
Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was an important sign to the enemies of Israel. Nehemiah told their enemies, "The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it" (Nehemiah 2:20).
And rebuilding the walls showed that God was with His people. Upon the completion of the walls, Nehemiah wrote, "When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God" (Nehemiah 6:16)
The destruction of Jerusalem's walls left its people exposed to great trouble and shame. Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was important because it revealed God's blessing, served as a sign to Israel's enemies, and showed God was with His people. The walls provided protection and dignity to a people who had suffered the judgment of God but had later been restored and returned to the Promised Land.

Week # 6      QUESTIONS:

 

Questions for Review  

  1. Why was it important to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem?
  2. The lack of fortified walls around the city left the people in what state?
  3. What did Nehemiah tell the Jewish leaders concerning the state of their city?
  4. What was the quote of Moses did Nehemiah quote?
  5. Rebuilding Jerusalem's walls was what kind of sign to the enemy?
  6. When was the completion of the walls?
  7. Why do you suppose Nehemiah made this statement? (Nehemiah 6:16)
  8. How did the destruction of Jerusalem leave the people then?
  9. What did the rebuilding reveal about God?
  10. Who did Nehemiah say would fight for the people if their enemies attacked?
  11. What did the men do while rebuilding the wall concern protection?
  12. How many times the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt?
  13. In what ways do the enemies of Nehemiah from without begin to oppose his work?
  14.  How does Nehemiah respond?
  15. With what kind of trick do the enemies continue to oppose Nehemiah?
  16. What kind of defensive action does Nehemiah take this time?
  17. What kind of problems arise from within Jerusalem?
  18. What action does Nehemiah take to settle this problem?
  19. Show how enemies from both without and within try to lure Nehemiah into a trap.
  20.  What have you learn from these studies?

     Word # 6: Veil (Curtain)
    Weekly # 6  Our weekly reading for this week:    Nehemiah 6-8

Casting All Your Care Upon Him

Casting All Your Care Upon Him
1 Peter 5:7

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