WE ENDED OUR LAST CHAPTER AFTER TATTENAI, THE VICE-REGENT OF THE PROVINCE, HAD ACCOMPLISHED A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION TO SEE IF THE JEWS HAD THE PROPER GOVERNMENT-AUTHORISATION FOR THE TEMPLE BUILDING PROJECT, HE SENT A LETTER TO PERSIAN KING DARIUS OUTLINING WHAT HE'D OBSERVED, ASKING THAT THE KING REFER TO THE RECORD-LIBRARIES OF THE PERSIANS TO MAKE SURE A WRITTEN RECORD FROM KING CYRUS COULD CORROBORATE (OR INVALIDATE) ZERUBBABEL’S CLAIMS THAT KING CYRUS HAD ORDERED THAT THE JEWS RETURN TO JERUSALEM AND BUILD THEIR TEMPLE AGAIN ...
1So King Darius gave an order to search the writings of the Kings before him. The writings were kept in Babylon in the same place the money and treasures were kept. 2And a scroll was indeed found in the Palace of Ecbatana (in the province of Media) written by Cyrus the King.
BEING A PROFESSIONAL AND ENLIGHTENED KING, DARIUS SAW FIT TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH TATTENAI’S REQUEST, ORDERING THE RECORDS-SEARCH TO BEGIN. THERE WERE 3 RECORDS CITIES USED BY THE FIRST SEVERAL KINGS OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE: BABYLON, ECBATANA AND SUSA. THERE WERE ROYAL CAPITALS ESTABLISHED IN EACH OF THESE CITIES AND THE KING LIVED IN EACH ONE ACCORDING TO THE SEASON OF THE YEAR. THE RECORD OF CYRUS’S DECREE TO BUILD THE TEMPLE AGAIN WAS INDEED FOUND AT ECBATANA, THE KING’S SUMMER PALACE.
This is what was written on that scroll: 3During the first year that Cyrus was King, he gave an order about the Temple of YAHUAH in Jerusalem. The order said:
"Let the Temple of YAHUAH be built again. It will be a place to offer sacrifices. Let its foundations be built.
The Temple must be 60 cubits [31m] high and 60 cubits [31m] wide. 4Its wall will be in layers that have three rows of large marble stones and one row of wooden timbers. The cost of building the Temple must be paid for from the King’s treasury. 5Also, the gold and silver things from YAHUAH’S Temple must be put back in their places. Nebuchadnezzar took them from the Temple in Jerusalem at its destruction and brought them to Babylon. And they must be put back in YAHUAH’S Temple".
THE PROPORTIONS AS RECORDED ARE ODD AND NOT THOSE OF SOLOMON'S ORIGINAL TEMPLE. WHY THE ATTENTION TO THESE DIMENSIONS AND MATERIALS? BECAUSE THE ROYAL PERSIAN TREASURY WAS TO PAY FOR THE CONSTRUCTION, SO THESE SPECIFICATIONS SET BOTH UPPER AND LOWER COST LIMITS.
6So King Darius sent this message to his officials:
"To Tattenai, Governor of the area west of the Euphrates River, to Shethar Bozenai, and to all the officials living in that province. I order you to stay away from Jerusalem. 7Don’t bother the workers. Don’t try to stop the work on this Temple of YAHUAH. Let the Jewish Governor and the Jewish leaders build it again in the same place it was in the past.
EVERYTHING THAT ZERUBBABEL CLAIMED TO TATTENAI HAS BEEN PROVEN TO BE ACCURATE. THEREFORE KING DARIUS INSTRUCTS TATNAI THAT THE GOVERNOR AND HIS OFFICIALS ARE TO STAY AWAY FROM THE WORK SITE, AND LEAVE THE JEWS IN PEACE TO BUILD THEIR TEMPLE. NO INTERFERENCE WILL BE TOLERATED.
8Now I give this order. You must do this for the Jewish Leaders building YAHUAH’S Temple: The cost of the building must be fully paid from the King’s treasury. The money will come from the taxes collected from the provinces in the area west of the Euphrates River. Do these things quickly, so the work will not stop. 9Give them anything they need. If they need young bulls, rams, or male lambs for sacrifices to the Alahim of Heaven, give these things to them.
If the Priests of Jerusalem ask for wheat, salt, wine and oil, then give these things to them every day without fail. 10Give them to the Jewish Priests so that they may offer sacrifices that please the Alahim of Heaven. Give these things so that the Priests may pray for me and my sons.
THEN TATTENAI GETS A BIT OF BAD NEWS. IT SEEMS AS THOUGH THE MONEY FOR THE PROJECT IS TO COME FROM THE TAXES COLLECTED ONLY FROM TATTENAI’S GOVERNING DISTRICT.
IN THE FAMOUS CYRUS-CYLINDER ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND, IS RECORDED THIS GENERAL INSTRUCTION THAT IS TO BE FOLLOWED THROUGHOUT HIS EMPIRE AND IT READS: “MAY ALL THE GODS WHOM I HAVE RESETTLED IN THEIR SACRED CITIES ASK BEL AND NEBO DAILY FOR A LONG LIFE FOR ME. TO MARDUK, MY MASTER, THEY SHOULD SAY THIS: CYRUS, THE KING WHO WORSHIPS YOU, AND CAMBYSES HIS SON...” IN OTHER WORDS, CYRUS HAD ORDERED THAT ALL THE IDOLS THAT HAD BEEN CAPTURED BY NEBUCHADNEZZAR WERE TO BE RETURNED TO THE VARIOUS CULTURES AND RELIGIONS FROM WHENCE THEY WERE TAKEN SO THAT THEY COULD REINSTITUTE THEIR RELIGIOUS CULTS AND WORSHIP THEIR OWN DEITIES AS THEY PLEASED.
HOWEVER, THESE SAME RELIGIOUS CULTS WERE TO ADD TO THE WORSHIP OF THEIR OWN DEITIES, A PETITION TO THE PERSIAN GODS BEL, NEBO AND MARDUK FOR THE SAKE OF KING CYRUS AND HIS FAMILY. SO WHAT WE SHOULD UNDERSTAND FROM THIS INSCRIPTION IS SOMETHING THAT WAS A TRUISM FOR ANCIENT TIMES, EVEN AMONG THE HEBREWS:
THEY ALL BELIEVED IN MANY DEITIES EXISTING.
THE CONCEPT OF MONOTHEISM FOR THE HEBREWS, ESPECIALLY AT FIRST, WAS NOT THAT THERE WAS ONLY ONE ALAHIM IN EXISTENCE - IT’S THAT WHILE ALL OTHER CULTURES HAD MANY ALAHIMS, THE HEBREWS WERE CONSIDERED `GOD-POOR' -
BEING ONLY ALLOWED TO HAVE ONE !
11Also, I give this order: If anyone changes this order, a wooden beam must be pulled from their house and they must be impaled on the timber. Then their house must be destroyed until it’s only a pile of rocks. 12YAHUAH rested His Name there in Jerusalem. So may YAHUAH defeat any King or other person who tries to change this order. If anyone tries to destroy this Temple in Jerusalem, may YAHUAH destroy that person.
I, Darius, have ordered it, and this order must be obeyed quickly and completely.
I’M SURE ZERUBBABEL AND HIS MATES COULD HAVE BEEN KNOCKED OVER WITH A FEATHER AT THIS NEWS. AFTER ALL, TO THIS POINT THEY HAD BEEN BULLIED, THREATENED AND COMPLETELY FRUSTRATED FOR SO MANY YEARS IN THEIR EFFORTS TO BUILD A NEW TEMPLE FOR YAHUAH. BUT THIS LATEST PERSIAN KING WAS EVEN MORE ENTHUSIASTIC AND SUPPORTIVE OF THE JEWS’ RENO PROJECT THAN CYRUS WAS. NOT ONLY WAS THERE COMPLETE ABSENCE OF PREDJUDICE AGAINST THEM, IT SEEMS THE KING ACTUALLY HAD SOME KIND OF MYSTERIOUS UNEXPLAINED ADMIRATION FOR THE JEWS. WHAT ELSE COULD THIS MEAN THAN IT WAS THE FAVOUR OF YAHUAH TO SUPERNATURALLY CAUSE THE GENTILE KING OF THE MOST EXPANSIVE EMPIRE THAT THE WORLD HAD EVER KNOWN TO SHOW SUCH KINDNESS AND CONCERN FOR THESE WORSHIPPERS OF YAHUAH?
REMEMBER IN HAGGAI CHAPTER 2 (LAST SESSION) THAT YAHUAH’S FAVOUR WAS PROMISED IF ONLY THE JEWS WOULD TAKE COURAGE, OBEY HIM, GET OFF THEIR ORTS AND BUILD HIS TEMPLE.
WELL YAHUAH KEPT HIS WORD AND AS USUAL HE KEPT IT IN WAYS THAT NEITHER ZERUBBABEL NOR THE PROPHETS HAGGAI AND ZECHARIAH COULD EVER IMAGINE. WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED THAT A PERSIAN OFFICIAL WOULD COME TO INVESTIGATE THEIR RENO PROJECT, ONCE AGAIN THROWING IT INTO DOUBT, BUT THAT THE CURRENT PERSIAN KING WOULD ENTHUSIASTICALLY SUPPORT IT TO SUCH A GREAT EXTENT THAT HE EVEN VOWED A CURSE AGAINST ANYONE WHO MIGHT THINK TO INTERFERE WITH IT! WHEN YAHUAH MAKES A PROMISE, IT IS SEALED AND IT WILL HAPPEN. YAHUAH IS THE ALAHIM OF EVERYONE, NOT JUST THE HEBREWS. WHAT A GREAT COMFORT TO US ALL. BUT THE PROMISE IS ALSO CONDITIONAL ON HIS PEOPLE TRUSTING HIM AND BEING OBEDIENT EVEN IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY AND CHALLENGE.
13So Tattenai the Governor of the area west of the Euphrates River, Shethar Bozenai, and the men with them, obeyed King Darius’ order quickly. 14So the Jewish leaders continued to build with great success, encouraged by the words of prophesy from Haggai the prophet and Zechariah (son of Iddo). They finished building the Temple as the Alahim of Israel had commanded and as Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, the Kings of Persia, had ordered.
15The Temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar [FEB–MARCH]. That was in the sixth year of the rule of King Darius.[AROUND 515 B.C]
IN BUT THE BRIEFEST OF STATEMENTS THE EDITOR OF EZRA SAYS THAT ONCE THEY BEGAN THEIR WORK AGAIN, THE JEWS PROCEEDED STEADILY AND DIDN’T STOP UNTIL THE TEMPLE WAS COMPLETED.
And they offered twelve male goats for all Israel for a sin (PURIFYING) offering (one goat for each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel). 18Then they chose the Priests in their groups and the Levites in their groups to serve in YAHUAH’S Temple in Jerusalem, just as it is written in the Book of Moses.
21So all the Israelites who came back from captivity ate the Passover meal. Other people washed themselves and made themselves pure from the unclean things of the nations (gentiles) living in that country. Then these pure people also shared in the Passover meal. They did this so that they could seek YAHUAH, the Alahim of Israel, for help and deliverance.
16Then the Israelites celebrated the dedication of YAHUAH’S Temple with much joy and happiness. The Priests, the Levites, and all the other people who came back from captivity joined in the celebration.
17This is the way they dedicated YAHUAH’S Temple: They offered 100 bulls, 200 rams and 400 male lambs.
19On the 14th day of the first month [MAR–APRIL, 515 B.C] the Jews who came back from captivity celebrated the Passover. 20The Priests and Levites made themselves pure again, making themselves clean and ready to celebrate the Passover. The Levites killed the Passover lamb for all the Jews who came back from captivity. They did that for their brothers the Priests, and for themselves too.
22They celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread with much joy for seven days. And YAHUAH made them very happy because He had changed the attitude of the King of Assyria (DARIUS), who had helped them do the work on YAHUAH’S Temple.
AFTER A PURIFICATION CEREMONY AND MANY SACRIFICES TO RITUALLY CLEANSE AND DEDICATE THE BUILDING INTO SERVICE, NEXT THE PRIESTS AND LEVITES WERE PURIFIED, SET-APART AND DEDICATED. AND BECAUSE THE LEVITES AND PRIESTS WERE MADE RITUALLY CLEAN AND THEY WERE ESTABLISHED INTO SERVICE, THIS IS WHAT ALLOWED THEM TO BE ABLE TO SLAUGHTER THE LAMBS THAT WERE THE CENTRAL FEATURE OF PASSOVER. IF THEY COULDN’T SLAUGHTER THE LAMBS AT THE TEMPLE THEN THEY COULDN’T DO PASSOVER. A SMALL CHANGE, BUT IT ADDS SIGNIFICANT MEANING IN THAT NOTHING COULD HAPPEN AT THE TEMPLE UNTIL THE PRIESTS AND LEVITES HAD BEEN RITUALLY PURIFIED.
IT EMPHASES THE JOY WITH WHICH THEY CELEBRATED THESE SPRINGTIME SCRIPTURAL FEASTS. NO DOUBT THE JOY COMES FROM HAVING BEEN UNABLE TO CELEBRATE THEM FOR SO LONG, BUT ALSO BECAUSE JOY OUGHT TO BE THE TONE THAT THESE FEASTS ARE CELEBRATED IN BECAUSE THEY SIGNIFY DELIVERANCE FROM SLAVERY AND OPPRESSION. FOR THE JEWS OF ANCIENT TIMES, IT WAS FROM THE OPPRESSION OF BEING SLAVES IN EGYPT (AND LATELY CAPTIVES OF BABYLON). BUT FOR THE MODERN BRIDE OF YAHUSHA, WE SHOULD CELEBRATE THESE SAME FEASTS AND DO THEM WITH JOY BECAUSE WE’VE BEEN DELIVERED FROM BEING SLAVES TO SIN AND OPPRESSED BY SATAN AND HIS DEMONS, INTO ETERNAL FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM.
"He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his being to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from Yahuah and righteousness".
Search results for "PURE":
1249 beloved, empty, choice, clean, clear, uncontaminated.
1305 to clarify (i.e. brighten), examine, select, make bright, chosen, cleanse, clearly, polished, (show self) purify, purge out.
1865 to move rapidly, freedom, spontaneity of outflow, and so clear, liberty, morally clean.
2135 to be translucent, to be innocent, be clear, count pure, shining from the power of fire.
"Create in me a clean heart, O' Yahuah, and put a right spirit within me".
"Truly Yahuah is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart".
"How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word".
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see Yahuah".
2 CORINTHIANS 7:1
"Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing set-apartness to completion in the fear of Yahuah".
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things".
"To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled".
1 PETER 1:22
"Having purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart".