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Letter From God 23

Rebuilding Jerusalem and Queen Esther's Courage


There are many exciting events in Book 23. We see God’s plan unfolding to line the right people in the right place for — His plan. God did not want to punish Israel, but God knew this would humble them and bring his people back to Him.

The book opens with the Jews held captive in Persia. Cyrus was the King-Ruler of the huge Persian Expire. The Jew Daniel was one of the three rulers under Cyrus. Perhaps Daniel showed the king the Isaiah scroll written 150 years before, which predicted Cyrus would decree that the Jews could return to their land.

Under the leadership of Governor Zerubbabel and the High Priest Joshua, 50,000 Jews returned in 538 B.C. The Samaritans who were living in the land thought the land belonged to them and had the rebuilding of the Temple stopped in 530 B.C.

16 years later the LORD sent his prophet Haggai to encourage the people. The Jews turned to the LORD and began building the Temple again. The LORD also sent His prophet Zechariah who received eight visions from the LORD’s angel in one night. The Temple was completed in 516 B.C. The LORD’s Passover was again held in Judah 515 B.C.

In the book of Esther we see Satan working hard to destroy the Jews. At one point the Jews were to be completely wiped out in all the provinces of Persia. God used the faith of Queen Esther and Mordecai to save the Jewish race.

The LORD’s prophet Ezra had a desire to go to Jerusalem to teach God’s people about God and how the LORD wanted them to live. King Artazerzes was kind. He not only permitted Ezra to go, but also any Jew that wanted to go with him. The king wanted to honor the God of heaven and gave Ezra huge amounts of gold and silver. Ezra’s group was small — 2,000.

Ezra encountered a big problem in Jerusalem. After taking care of the problem, Ezra helped reform the Temple service. He gave hope to the Jewish people in their land, especially the faith remnant.

When Nehemiah, the personal cupbearer to King Artazerses, heard the wall of Jerusalem had not been repaired, he was very sad and decided he should go to help with the repairs. In just fifty-two days of work, the walls of Jerusalem were finished in 444 B.C. It was special to see the dedication of Jerusalem’s wall.

Before the 400 years of God’s silence, we see the final warning from the LORD’s prophet Malachi. The last verses of the Old Testament are filled with hope.

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