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The Completion of the Temple

Scripture Passage: 
Ezra 5:1-17; Ezra 6:1-22
Attached audio files: 

Introduction: Stirred by the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah, the Israelites return to the task of completing the temple. Their work is not without obstacles, but they are faithful in their resolve and the obstacles are turned into bountiful assistance. Their hinderers become their helpers.

  1. STARTING OVER (Ezra 5:1-17)
    1. Renewed Commitment (Ezra 5:1-2)
      1. The message of the prophets (Ezra 5:1)
        1. The prophets (Ezra 6:14)
          1. Haggai the prophet
          2. Zechariah the son of Iddo
        2. Their message
          1. Unto the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem
          2. In the name of the God of Israel (1 Kings 8:17, 20; 2 Chronicles 2:4)
      2. The obedience of the people (Ezra 5:2)
        1. The key played by the leaders (Haggai 1:14)
          1. Zerubbabel and Jeshua
          2. Began to build the house of God
        2. The helping role of the prophets
          1. Importance of helpers (Romans 16:3, 9; 2 Corinthians 8:23)
          2. Ways of helping
            1. By labor (1 Corinthians 16:16)
            2. By prayer (2 Corinthians 1:11)
            3. By joy or encouragement (2 Corinthians 1:24)
            4. By truth or counsel (3 John 1:8)
    2. Renewed Conflict (Ezra 5:3-5)
      1. The questioning of Tatnai (Ezra 5:3-4; Ezra 4:4-5)
        1. Question of authority (Ezra 5:3) – by whose command are you building?
        2. Question of identity (Ezra 5:4) – what are the names of those responsible?; Note: Tatnai and his friends are speaking in verse 4 (compare Ezra 5:10)
        3. Compare this to the questions given to Jesus Christ
          1. By what authority? (Matthew 21:23)
          2. Who is this? (Matthew 21:10; Matthew 16:13)
      2. The determination of the people (Ezra 5:5)
        1. The eye of the Lord was upon them (2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 33:18; 1 Peter 3:12)
        2. They could not be cause to cease (Acts 5:42; Acts 20:31; Colossians 1:9); Application: What does it take to get you to quit? (Proverbs 24:10; Jeremiah 12:4; Galatians 6:9)
        3. A letter was sent to Darius
    3. Renewed Inquiry (Ezra 5:6-17)
      1. The report of Tatnai (Ezra 5:6-10)
        1. The sending of the letter (Ezra 5:6-7)
        2. The building of the house (Ezra 5:8)
          1. Being built with great stones and timber
          2. The work is going fast (Colossians 3:23)
          3. The work is prospering in their hands (Nehemiah 4:6)
        3. The gathering of information (Ezra 5:9-10)
      2. The report of the elders (Ezra 5:11-16)
        1. Rebuilding an ancient building (Ezra 5:11)
        2. Rebuilding a destroyed building (Ezra 5:12)
          1. Because our fathers provoked God to wrath
          2. When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the house
        3. Rebuilding by royal decree (Ezra 5:13-15)
        4. Rebuilding on the established foundation (Ezra 5:16)
          1. The foundation has been laid
          2. But the building was not finished
      3. The request of Tatnai (Ezra 5:17)
        1. To search for the decree of Cyrus
        2. To send the king’s pleasure concerning the matter
  2. RECEIVING SUPPORT (Ezra 6:1-12)
    1. The Decree of Cyrus (Ezra 6:1-5; Ezra 1:1-4)
      1. The search for the decree (Ezra 6:1-2)
        1. Searched for by decree of Darius (Ezra 6:1)
        2. Searched for in the house of rolls (Ezra 6:1)
        3. Found in the palace of the Medes at Achmetha (Ezra 6:2)
      2. The contents of the decree (Ezra 6:3-5)
        1. Concerning the temple (Ezra 6:3-4)
          1. Let the house be built (Ezra 6:3)
          2. Let sacrifices be offered (Ezra 6:3)
          3. Let the foundations be strong (Ezra 6:3)
          4. Let the dimensions be established (Ezra 6:3)
            1. 60 cubits (90 feet) high
            2. 60 cubits (90 feet) wide
          5. Let the materials be placed (Ezra 6:4)
            1. Three rows of stones
            2. One row of new timber
          6. Let the expenses be paid out of the king’s house (Ezra 6:4)
        2. Concerning the vessels (Ezra 6:5)
          1. Let them be returned to Jerusalem
          2. Let them be placed in the house of God
    2. The Decree of Darius (Ezra 6:6-12)
      1. Permission to build (Ezra 6:6-7)
        1. Leave the work on the house of God alone
        2. Allow the Jews to rebuild this house of God in his place
      2. Assistance in building (Ezra 6:8-10; Haggai 2:8)
        1. Pay the expenses of the king’s tribute (Ezra 6:8)
        2. Provide the animals and supplies for the sacrifices (Ezra 6:9)
        3. Offer the sacrifices unto the God of heaven (Ezra 6:10)
        4. Pray for the life of the king and his sons (Ezra 6:10; 1 Timothy 2:1-2)
          1. This request was made in the second year of the reign of Darius (Ezra 4:24); according to history, Darius reigned as king of Persia for approximately 36 years. This prayer was evidently answered.
          2. The son of Darius was Xerxes I. He reigned for 21 years after the death of his father.
      3. Punishment for offenders (Ezra 6:11-12; Ezra 7:26)
        1. The word of the king not to be altered (Ezra 6:11); compare this to the word of the King of Kings (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:17-18)
        2. Those who alter the word to be destroyed (Ezra 6:11)
          1. Timber to be pulled from his house
          2. He to be hung on the destroyed beams
          3. The house to be made a dunghill
        3. The same warning given to kings or peoples who would destroy this house (Ezra 6:12)
        4. Let is be done with speed (Ezra 6:12; Genesis 18:5-8; Genesis 24:18-20; Exodus 12:11; 1 Samuel 21:8; 2 Samuel 17:16; Acts 17:15); God’s work sometimes requires haste and must be done speedily
  3. ACHIEVING VICTORY (Ezra 6:13-22)
    1. The Temple Finished (Ezra 6:13-15)
      1. The obedience of Tatnai (Ezra 6:13)
      2. The prosperity of the people (Ezra 6:14; Haggai 2:19)
        1. They prospered through the prophesying
        2. They built and finished the temple
      3. The completion of God’s house (Ezra 6:15; Zechariah 4:9); took four more years after restarting
    2. The Temple Dedicated (Ezra 6:16-18)
      1. The joy of the dedication (Ezra 6:16)
      2. The offerings of the dedication (Ezra 6:17)
      3. The organizing of the priests (Ezra 6:18; 1 Chronicles 24:1-4, 19; Luke 1:5, 8-9)
    3. The Passover Kept (Ezra 6:19-22)
      1. The purification of the priests and Levites (Ezra 6:19-20; 1 Peter 4:17)
      2. The purification of the people (Ezra 6:21; 2 Corinthians 7:1)
      3. The joy of the feast of unleavened bread (Ezra 6:22)

Conclusion: Because of their obedience and determination, God took the opposition and turned it into a great blessing. The finished work brought much joy. If only we would learn to finish what God has told us to do.

Memory Verses:

Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
Romans 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
Ezra 6:7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 19:8

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.