Ezra 1  The Proclamation of the King!


Ezra is a Continuation of 1-2 Chronicles

A)In those books Ezra was writing to the Remnant that would return to rebuild and Restore


B)He Traces History to remind them of what happens when God’s pp seek Him – He blesses

1)When they don’t/ No blessing at all


C)The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell the story of those who came back –

1)How they were once again established in the Land



July 18, 586 BC was a day of infamy in Judah

A)On that day the Babylonians marched into the city, burned the Temple, destroyed the city and carried thousands into captivity.


B)The prophet Jeremiah was watching this scene from beneath Golgotha.

1)You can hear the grief and passion of Jeremiah in the words of the Book of Lamentation.


C)For over 40 years he preached to Judah telling them that unless they repented  they would perish.

1) Sometimes I want to complain – feel like my message is not being heard

D)40 Yrs He preached, prayed and prophesied and ended up in jail.

1)All of this without ONE convert. He wept over the end of Judah.


Daniel and Ezekiel were alive at this time too.

A)Daniel had already been carried away into Babylon.

God would prosper him – gave him a position of influence { Influenced Kings Neb / Darius / Later Cyrus


B)But he did NOT have it easy.

1)He was thrown into the lion’s den, faced the sentence of death and all sorts of  other precarious predicaments.


C)Ezekiel on the other had did NOT have a ministry to the politicians.

1)But he did have a ministry to the people


He too prophesied and preached and prayed.

A)He had a tough ministry. In order to declare his message, he had to lay in his side in the streets for 340 days.


B)The Lord was into giving ILLUSTRATIVE sermons in order to drive home the point of His prophecies.


C)God had Ezekiel put his underwear (tunic) under a

rock near the river, and then a year later go retrieve them

and put them on and walk around in them.....


D)He had Ezekiel eat cow dung, He had him cut his

hair and burn it.

E)These are the ways that the Lord had Ezekiel preach

in order that the people would grasp the message.

1)Shock Value – grab attention – There are a lot of Crazy things being done today / shock value


F)Difference is God directed Ezra to do these things

1)Today – pp being weird – trendy / read in a book


G)Infact I’m sure the other prophets were saying I am sure Glad I am not Ezekiel

1)No one was trying to immolate his ministry!



Why were the pp carried away into Babylon?

A)Idolatry: Saw in 2 Kings – Israel / 2 Chronicles Judah –


B)The pp were CONTINUALLY seduced into the worship of idols.


C)Note: DON’T think that these people were so stupid as to worship little carved images.

1)These images represented life styles.


D)They kept on finding themselves sucked into the lifestyle of intellectualism, sensual living, materialism. 1)Each of these lifestyles were motivated by demonic entities – appealed to the lust of the flesh/ eyes Pride…


E)The Pp of God kept getting sucked into these idolatrous demonic life styles – living for the flesh

So what does God do? He sends them for 70yrs Babylon which was the CENTER of all false religions.

A)It was there that many of them got burned out on idols.


B)As a nation they would NEVER again fall into idolatry after their time in captivity within the center of false religions.


C)In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul deals with a Problem in the Church – man living in open rebellion

1)Throw him out – turn him over to Satan for the destruction of His flesh that His soul might be saved.


D)Let him live after those desires until he burns out on

that  lifestyle.

1)Let Satan destroy his flesh so that his spirit might be




Sometimes that NEEDS to happen. The Lord allows

one of his people to be turned over to Satan.

A)The flesh gets eaten up and destroyed.


B)NOTE: The purpose is not ex-communication. It is

restoration. It is to see them brought back to the Lord.

1)THAT is what is happening here. After this 70 years in Babylon they NEVER again fall into idolatry.


C)They were cured of it in Babylon


The SECOND reason for their captivity is that they had  ignored the Sabbath year.

A)Every 7th year they were to let the land rest.


B)But they thought that it was a waste to not work the land for a year.

1)They refused to let it rest for the purpose of more profit.


C)For 490 years they ignored the Sabbath year.

1)God was keeping score. God said: You owe Me 70 years.

2) So The land will get it’s 70 years rest while you are in Babylon.


D)APPLICATION: “You NEVER cheat God. He will ALWAYS get what is His.”


So these were the TWO reasons for their captivity


Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. They complete the list of  the 17 historical books of the Old Testament.

A)They belong together as they are the three books which record God’s dealings with the Jews AFTER they went into captivity.


B)Ezra and Nehemiah deal with the REMNANT which returned to Jerusalem and Judea.

(Ezra = Temple/Neh. = Walls)


 C)While the book of Esther deals with those who stayed on in the land of their captivity.


D)There are three prophetic books that coincide with these three historical books - Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, because these were the three prophets raised up by God during the post-exile period.


NOTE: Historic changes had also taken place during their captivity

A)Babylon had fallen to Persia, now the Persian king, Cyrus the Great, was in power.


B)The Jews fared quite well under the Persians.  Prospered in Babylon

1)Not allowed to own land – but they were not slaves – they owned houses – started Business


C)God was going to use this King Cyrus

          RD Ezra 1:1-2


V.1 The Lord stirred up the heart of Cyrus the King of Persia.

A)Daniel’s Role In The Return


In Daniel 9 we see this man of God reading the Scriptures and finding that they were coming to the end of their captivity.


B)Daniel confesses their sin.


C)Daniel was a Godly man. he did NOT congratulate himself on his Godliness or criticize others for their weakness.

1)He confessed the sins of the people, and included himself.


D)He was a man who knew the Scriptures. he has read the prophecies of Jeremiah.


E)It would seem that Daniel informed Cyrus of the events foretold by the prophets.


See Isaiah Prophesied in Isaiah 44:24-28


Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,

And He who formed you from the womb:

"I am the LORD, who makes all things,

Who stretches out the heavens all alone,

Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;

25 Who frustrates the signs of the babblers,

And drives diviners mad;

Who turns wise men backward,

And makes their knowledge foolishness;

26 Who confirms the word of His servant,

And performs the counsel of His messengers;

Who says to Jerusalem, 'You shall be inhabited,'

To the cities of Judah, 'You shall be built,'

And I will raise up her waste places;

27 Who says to the deep, 'Be dry!

And I will dry up your rivers';

28 Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd,

And he shall perform all My pleasure,

Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,"

And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid."'


A)Can you picture Daniel going up to Cyrus and telling him: “Hey, did you know that you’re in the Bible?


B)170 years ago one of our prophets spoke of you by name and how you would conquer the Babylonians

1)and how you would command them to go back into the land and rebuild the Temple.


C)The Lord says to Cyrus – You may not Know me but I know you and have Chosen you.


Jeremiah 1:5

 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;

Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."


D)He Knew Jeremiah – Prophet – Cyrus – He knew you


Ephesians 1:4

“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,”


Chosen for a Particular Work – Ephesians 2 His workmanship.


This was the work God ordained for Cyrus – Vessel used to Fulfill Jeremiah 29 That God was going to bring his pp back from Captivity


Cyrus was going to be God’s vessel. God stirs Cyrus’s heart but He is not a puppet

A)He had to Choose to obey and respond to that Calling – just like you and me.


Ezra 1:3-4

3 Who is among you of all His people? May 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 God), which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.


Now there were about 2 Million Jews living at this time in Jerusalem – we are going to see that a group of around 50,000 respond to this call from the King


Returned in two phases:

It BEGAN under Zerubbabel in the first year of Cyrus (536 BC) and it was COMPLETED 80 years later  under Ezra in the 7th year of Artexerxes (456 BC)


This provides for us the 2 main sections of the Book.

1.) The return under Zerubbabel 1-6


2.) The return under Ezra 7-10


We need to bear in mind the fact that Ezra is NOT the principle character in the account

Ezra is the leader of the the 2nd expedition, but the REAL leader of the remnant is Zerubbabel, 80 years before.

A)It is Zerubbable who is the chief administer of affairs when the remnant came to Jerusalem


B)We won’t even meet Ezra until Ch.7


C) So the book divides into two sections

1)The first section deals with the RESTORATION of the TEMPLE  Z.


The second section deals with the REFORMATION of the PEOPLE  E


The first section deals with REBUILDING and CONSTRUCTION  Z


The second section deals with REVIVAL and INSTRUCTION  E.


Ch.1-6 Zerubb. These Chapters of the book also deal with specific subject matter.

I. The return under Zerubbabel (1-6)


Ch.1 - The king proclaiming


Ch.2-3 - The people reclaiming

(Ch.2 Their genealogy / Ch.3 their theology.)     


Ch.4 - The enemy defaming


Ch.5-6 - The Lord sustaining

(ch.5 Prophetically, ch.6 politically)

So Verses 1-4 we see the proclamation of the King – Next we see who responded. Rd v.5

“Then the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.”


Ch.2:64-65  The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, 65 besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred men and women singers.


So the final # of males/ females and servants were 49,697

A)Out of national total of 2 million that is a remnant.


So the call goes to all out and the Lord is moving on hearts of all

A)But Out of 2 million only about 50,000 respond.


B)What was the problem?   3 things


One was age:

A)During the 70 yrs of Captivity most of the older generation had died off.

1)Those who didn’t were too old to make the Journey.


B)Think about if a young person was 10 yrs old before the captivity

1)Old enough to remember the old Temple – remember the city -  Are now 80 yrs old now

E)Talking a 900 mile journey thru barren desert


#2 Detachment: A whole 2nd generation had grown up in Babylon – no attachment to Jerusalem

A)That was the place of their fore fathers – heard stories


B)The faith of their fathers wasn’t as real to them


C)Problem with young pp – 2nd generation believers

1)Pray – faith would become real –


D)Grown up in the Church – pray for our youth Pastors – Home groups


Notice verse 5 this group of priest and Levites who respond – Kept their lineage

A)Even though they have never sacrificed a sacrifice in their lives


B)Never slit the throat of a lamb – but they are priest

1)They have Levi genes


C)Pp who have maintained their identity and their calling even though they had yet to function in the calling that God had ordained for them


D) Jesus started at 30


#3 Comfort

A)They were doing well in Babylon – Prospering!

What was waiting for them was a 900 mile journey thru barren desert that would take 4 months

A)What is waiting for them in Jerusalem are ruins

So there was no great pull on their hearts


B)Relate – Children’s ministry – Prayer meeting


B) We can relate - Except God was moving on their hearts –

1)Problem most were too comfortable to respond.


C)This is they way that God still works – He moves on our hearts – do something –

1)Respond to a call


D) My life was Baseball – God moved on my heart to quit – Ministry

1)But what if I hadn’t responded – Listen God wasn’t going to force me to be a Pastor.


E)Even though I don’t feel qualified – I am grateful

    1) But I had to respond.


Reason some don’t see God move in their lives they never respond – Play it safe.

A) I wander what the Church would be and do if Christians were responding to God’s call

A)Share their faith with …….


B)Give to His work

1)Go on the mission field /   V.6 interesting

6 And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.

A)Those who didn’t go willingly supplied the ones who did.


B)Missions happens – can’t all go –


C)Notice what happens next:   RD v.7,8


Now this was another name for Zerrubbabel

A)Chaldean name – both names are interesting I think tell us something of his Character. 


B)Tremendous insight for how we are to live in this world as believers


Shesshbazzar = Joy in affliction


Zerrubbabel= a Stranger in Babylon.


So here is this Kid born in Babylon – from the line of David – Prince – parents name him

A)Zerrubbabel – they no doubt were godly pp who wanted him to grow up knowing – this is not your home


B)Stranger in Babylon -  The Bible says of you and I we are strangers to this world – pilgrims sojourners


Wiersbe: A Vagabond is someone who doesn’t have a home - A pilgrim is someone who has left his home - sojourner someone who is going home .


This world not our Home - pilgrims & sojourners who are Just Passing through !



So his Parents name him Zerrubbabel – Stranger in Babylon – Not your Home Son

A)But he is the kind of person who is making the most of life – enjoying life


B)Pleasant to be around – so the Babylonians name him Shesshbazzar – Joy in affliction

1)The guy isn’t complaining – not a pain


C)Kid to a donkey – you must be a Christian you look just like my grandpa


D)Complain about the election candidates

Complain about the economy –

Complain about the Schools –


E)Waiting for Jesus – camp out – Lord come quickly


F)In the meantime – Do business –

1)In everything rejoice –


    RD V.9-11

This is interesting to me the Lord keeps track of the vessels of the temple – vessels used for Sacrifice.

A)If there is going to be a Restoration – the first step back is always going to be back to Jerusalem


B)First step is always back to the altar where the blood flowed


C)This is a remarkable process as we follow it thru the OT there is always a push back to the altar


Jacob going back to Bethel building an altar and Sacrifices

A)Elijah calling the nation on MT Carmel to draw close as he rebuild the altar of the Lord – after mocking the Prophets of Baal


B) Fire comes down –


C)Josiah take the throne and institutes the greatest Passover celebration the nation had ever known.

1)Back to the altar – 41,500 sacrifices -  these 29 knives were probably used to slit throats


D)Always a going back to the altar – we will see the same thing here in Ezra –


I think that if there is going to be a Revival in my heart / your heart/ this Church / America

A)It will initially involve getting back to the altar


B)Back to Christ Crucified and risen from the dead.

1)Back to a place in our hearts where they are moved by the reality of the cross


C)Not just something we know as good theology –

1)Or we know academically


But that which moves us – deeply when we think on and realize how tremendous our sin was that Christ died for.

A)So great that God would have to send His son to die in our place


B)How tremendous the loss was that He would give up His son

1)To watch His only begotten son suffer and restrain Himself


C)I think there is a need for the message of the cross to capture our hearts again

1) Back to our first love


D) 1st step to revival