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Summary: Sermon 7 of the series. Ezra is very quick to remind us of the truth that ... 2 Tim. 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. While Ezra is recording the opposition to the rebuilding of the temple, he adds materia

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The Book of Ezra

Study #9

(Ezra 4:6-23)

Opposition: Part II

INTRODUCTION:

1. In what ways does Christianity go against the flow of society today?

2. What sacrifices do you think Christians have to make for their faith today?

3. What would you do if it were illegal to go to church?

4. What sacrifices do you think Christians may have to make in the future?

SUMMARY STATEMENT:

• Chapter 3 told us of the rebuilding of the altar, the renewed sacrifices and feasts, and the laying of the foundation of the Temple.

• Now, chapter 4 takes a drastic turn.

• In our last study we saw the beginnings of the opposition to the rebuilding of the temple.

• The locals had a two-fold attack:

1) Compromise

2) Conflict

• The Jews knew that true worship of Jehovah could not be fully enjoyed until the Temple stood again!

• Satan knew this too. And he rears his ugly head to oppose it’s construction.

• Ezra is very quick to remind us of the truth that ...

2 Tim. 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

• While Ezra is recording the opposition to the rebuilding of the temple, he adds material that relates to a much later time.

• Here we find the later opposition to Nehemiah as he rebuilds the walls.

I. Opposition Under Ahasuerus (6)

Ezra 4:6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

• Ezra first referred to the opposition from Israel’s enemies under King Ahasuerus (a regal title) or Xerxes (His Greek Name)

• Xerxes ruled at the time of Esther.

• We have all heard of Queen Esther.

• This is the king that made Esther his queen.

• This would be approximately (486-464 b.c.) (MacArthur)

• Since the Jews had already completed the temple in 515 B.C., this shows that the opposition was a constant and enduring obstacle.

QUOTE: "Without this foretaste of history to reveal the full seriousness of the opposition, we would not properly appreciate the achievements recorded in the next two chapters (5 and 6) nor the dangers hidden in the mixed marriages which Ezra would set himself to stamp out (chaps. 7—10)." (Kidner as quoted by Constable)

II. Opposition Under Artaxerxes (7-23)

Ezra 4:7–23 then recounts opposition in Nehemiah’s day under Artaxerxes I (ca. 464–423 b.c.) expressed in a detailed letter of accusation against the Jews (vv. 7–16).

• Artaxerxes was the successor of Ahasuerus (Xerxes) who ruled the Persian Empire from 464 to 424 B.C.

• As best as we are able to determine, this opposition may be dated to 446 B.C.

• As we will see, this was a very serious and effective opposition.

• Most likely, this opposition is that also spoken of in Neh. 1:3.

A. The Companions in the Letter (7-10)

1. The Samaritans (7)

[7] And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.

• The Samaritans vented their hostility by sending letters to Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes.


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