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Preparing for the Future Hope What I want to do is two main things First, just to give some really

bare facts about the return from exile Second, to look a little bit at the prophets - and especially the prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament First, then 1. The Return from Exile Remember that the Northern Kingdom of Israel - had been eradicated by the Assyrians Which just left the Southern Kingdom of Judah And in 587 BC, the southern kingdom of Judah - was invaded by the Babylonians - and the people were taken into captivity in Babylon And, of course, this was a momentous event in their history It was Gods judgement on the people for their sins - and for the next 70 years - they had to focus on what it meant to be the people of God - in a foreign land - and to repent and ask God to restore them And eventually, the Babylonians were vanquished by the Persians - and the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland Two Old Testament books deal with the history of the return: - Ezra and Nehemiah There are other books from the period: - we saw that in our first session There were prophets, Haggai, Malachi and Zechariah There was also the Book of Esther - but that is the story of a Jewish Queen in the Persian Court

So the history of this period is found just in these two books - Ezra and Nehemiah The Book of Nehemiah just talks about his ministry - in rebuilding the city walls in Jerusalem But the Book of Ezra has both Ezras ministry and Nehemiahs - Ezra 1-6 is the story of the return from exile - and the re-building of the Temple - Ezra 7-10 has the stories of both Ezra and Nehemiah The bottom line is this: Nehemiah was responsible for rebuilding the city walls Ezra was responsible for rebuilding the spiritual life of the nation But who came first, Ezra or Nehemiah? Well, whoever wrote these books thinks that Ezra came first - and when Nehemiah came along a bit later - they both worked together In Ezra 7:7-9, it says that Ezra returned in the 7th year - of the reign of Artaxerxes In Nehemiah 1:1, it mentions the 20th year - of the reign of Artaxerxes - as when he returned Simple enough But there is evidence to suggest that, actually, Nehemiah came first The feeling is amongst many scholars - that Nehemiah was working under Artaxerxes I - but Ezra was working under Artaxerxes III So, if that is the case - Nehemiah got to Jerusalem about 445 BC - and Ezra arrived somewhere between 428BC-397 BC So, if thats right,

- why would the writer of the books put the order - the other way round? Well, probably because he had the same emphasis - as the Chronicler Do you remember last time - we said that the writer of Chronicles - was particularly interested in the worship of Israel - and that their life of worship - defined who they were as a nation And the same goes with the story of their return It would suit the writers theological purpose - to suggest that the re-building of the Temple worship life - was of supreme importance What he was saying is this: The goal of Israelite history - is reached with the establishment of - a worshipping and obedient community in Jerusalem O.K., lets just put a bit of a timeline together - for the return from exile [OHP 1] It happened in 4 stages: 537 Sheshbazar was appointed governor - and led the first group back (Ezra 1:7-11; 5:13-16)


Zerubbabel and Joshua lead another returning group - supported by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 6:14) The new Temple completed in 515 Malachi tries to encourage the people as a prophet of God


Nehemiah is appointed Governor and the walls are rebuilt



Ezra returns with some more exiles

O.K., well weve been dealing with worldviews - over the last few sessions What was the worldview of the Returning and Returned Exiles? [OHP 2] Story Gods chosen people, chastened by judgement, returning to the Promised Land according to His sovereign action and renewed promises Questions Who are we? Where are we? The chosen people (or those who are left!) In the Promised Land

What went wrong? Sin, disobedience that needed punishing Now vulnerability to enemies, a struggle to survive What is the solution? Symbols Jewish governors Rebuilt city walls A new Temple [note the permanency over against the nomadic Patriarchal symbols] Lifestyle Putting homes before Gods house, mixed marriages, cheap offering And there the Old Testament finishes What happened over the next 400 years? In brief [OHP 3] 1. The Persians were conquered by the Greeks - Alexander the Great came in 333 BC

City walls, racial purity, keep the Law, hope

2. Alexander died in 323 - his Generals divided up the empire 3. Ptolemy established a dynasty based in Egypt - which ruled Judah - now known as Judea 4. Ptolemy was defeated by the Syrian Seleucids in 198 BC

5. 168 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes passed draconian - anti-Semitic laws 6. There was passive resistance and then armed rebellion - recorded in the Apocrypha books of 1 and 2 Maccabees 7. 8. 9. 10. The Temple was re-dedicated in 164 BC There followed a period of political independence 63 BC, Jerusalem was captured by the Roman general, Pompey The rest is New Testament history

3. The Prophecies of Christ O.K., I want to move on in the rest of this session - to look a bit at prophecy Now, I dont think we really have the time to examine the prophets - in any real detail Weve done a bit of thinking already - about how the prophetic books are split up - into Major Prophets and Minor Prophets And also, we know that not all the prophets in the Old Testament - have a book in their honour Thinking ofSamuel, Elijah and so on But what I want to do now - is focus in most especially on those prophecies in the Old Testament - that foreshadow the coming of Christ

We know that the people of Israel were waiting for their Messiah - what does Messiah mean? Anointed In Greek, the word Messiah is translated as Christ - so the word Christ means anointed Jesus Christ was the anointed one of God - who was sent to set the people free and to bring them salvation And of course, the people of the Old Testament - were eagerly awaiting the coming of the Messiah And there are many prophecies given - that seem to point to Jesus Christ as the Messiah And so, what I want to do now - is just look at a few of those prophecies - and see how they were used by the New Testament writers And there are 4 main groups of prophecies in the Old Testament - that were taken by New Testament writers - and applied to Christ A. Jesus as the King who is to come

We cant go through all of these - but lets just pull out the most relevant verses: Isaiah 11:1 A shoot shall come out of the stump of Jessethe Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him

Jeremiah 23:5 The days are surely comingwhen I will raise up for David a righteous branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. Ezekiel 34:24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them.

These are verses that refer to the salvation of Israel - as being in the hands of a descendent of the house of David And so Matthew begins his Gospel - by producing a genealogy that proves this to be Jesus, the Christ B. Jesus as the Son of God

Psalm 2:6-8 I have set my king on Zion, my holy hillyou are my son; today I have begotten you. Mark 1:1 Mark pronounces Jesus to be the Son of God C. Jesus as the Suffering Servant

We looked at these Isaiah passages last time D. Jesus as the Son of Man

Daniel 7:13 a massively important verse in the 1st century As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. This is a verse that is picked up and used by John - in Revelation 1 And it is also a title that Jesus used for himself - so he is taking the prophecy and applying it to himself Now, I dont want to say much more about these prophecies - from the Old Testament - but which are taken to refer to Christ Because I want you to work through some of them - in your group work in a few minutes time But let me just refer you to a classic text on this subject - called Christ in Isaiah by F.B. Meyer

If you want to follow up on the issue - of how some Old Testament prophecies are applied to Christ - and it would be worth your while doing that - then this is a good book to read Its a bit old-fashioned in the way it reads - but it is still a motivating read 4. The Worldview at the Time of Jesus I just want to wrap up the teaching on this session - by looking at a final worldview matrix Which is the Worldview at the time of Jesus Worldview at the time of Jesus Story We are Gods chosen people in the Promised Land but still not free. Our story is awaiting a conclusion.

Questions Who are we? Where are we? What went wrong? What is the solution? Symbols Lifestyle Israel, the chosen people of God In the Promised Land but, ironically, still in exile Wrong rulers: pagans, compromised Jews, Herod and his family God must act again to set up His true rule Temple, Land, Torah, Synagogue Worship and Festivals Study and Learning (Priests and Scribes) Torah keeping (sabbath, circumcision etc) A STORY SEEKING AN ENDING