Author: The Book of Ezra does not specifically name its  author. The tradition is that the prophet Ezra wrote the Book of Ezra. It is  interesting to note that once Ezra appears on the scene in chapter 7, the author  of the Book of Ezra switches from writing in the third person to first person.  This would also lend credibility to Ezra being the author.

Date  of Writing: The Book of Ezra was likely written between 460 and 440  B.C.

Purpose of Writing: The Book of Ezra is devoted to  events occurring in the land of Israel at the time of the return from the  Babylonian captivity and subsequent years, covering a period of approximately  one century, beginning in 538 B.C. The emphasis in Ezra is on the rebuilding of  the Temple. The book contains extensive genealogical records, principally for  the purpose of establishing the claims to the priesthood on the part of the  descendants of Aaron.

Key Verses: Ezra 3:11 “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the  LORD: ‘He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.’ And all the people gave  a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the  LORD was laid.”

Ezra 7:6,  “…this Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of  Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him  everything he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on  him.”

Brief Summary: The book may be divided as  follows: Chapters 1-6—The First Return under Zerubbabel, and the Building of the  Second Temple. Chapters 7-10—The Ministry of Ezra. Since well over half a  century elapsed between chapters 6 and 7, the characters of the first part of  the book had died by the time Ezra began his ministry in Jerusalem. Ezra is the  one person who is prominent in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Both books end  with prayers of confession (Ezra 9; Nehemiah 9) and a subsequent separation of  the people from the sinful practices into which they had fallen. Some concept of  the nature of the encouraging messages of Haggai and Zechariah, who are  introduced in this narrative (Ezra 5:1), may  be seen in the prophetic books that bear their names.

The Book of Ezra  covers the return from captivity to rebuild the Temple up to the decree of  Artaxerxes, the event covered at the beginning of the Book of Nehemiah. Haggai  was the main prophet in the day of Ezra, and Zechariah was the prophet in the  day of Nehemiah.

Foreshadowings: We see in the Book of  Ezra a continuation of the biblical theme of the remnant. Whenever disaster or  judgment falls, God always saves a tiny remnant for Himself—Noah and his family  from the destruction of the flood; Lot’s family from Sodom and Gomorrah; the  7000 prophets reserved in Israel despite the persecution of Ahab and Jezebel.  When the Israelites were taken into captivity in Egypt, God delivered His  remnant and took them to the Promised Land. Some fifty thousand people return to  the land of Judea in Ezra  2:64-67, and yet, as they compare themselves with the numbers in Israel  during its prosperous days under King David, their comment is, “We are left this  day as a remnant.” The remnant theme is carried into the New Testament where  Paul tells us that “at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5). Although most  people of Jesus’ day rejected Him, there remained a set of people whom God had  reserved and preserved in his Son, and in the covenant of His grace. Throughout  all generations since Christ, there is the remnant of the faithful whose feet  are on the narrow road that leads to eternal life (Matthew  7:13-14). This remnant will be preserved through the power of the Holy  Spirit who has sealed them and who will deliver them safely at the last day (2  Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians  4:30).

Practical Application: The Book of Ezra is a  chronicle of hope and restoration. For the Christian whose life is scarred by  sin and rebellion against God, there is great hope that ours is a God of  forgiveness, a God who will not turn His back on us when we seek Him in  repentance and brokenness (1 John 1:9).  The return of the Israelites to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple are  repeated in the life of every Christian who returns from the captivity of sin  and rebellion against God and finds in Him a loving welcome home. No matter how  long we have been away, He is ready to forgive us and receive us back into His  family. He is willing to show us how to rebuild our lives and resurrect our  hearts, wherein is the temple of the Holy Spirit. As with the rebuilding of the  temple in Jerusalem, God superintends the work of renovating and rededicating  our lives to His service.

The opposition of the adversaries of God to  the rebuilding of the temple displays a pattern that is typical of that of the  enemy of our souls. Satan uses those who would appear to be in sync with God’s  purposes to deceive us and attempt to thwart God’s plans. Ezra 4:2 describes the deceptive speech of those who  claim to worship Christ but whose real intent is to tear down, not to build up.  We are to be on guard against such deceivers, respond to them as the Israelites  did, and refuse to be fooled by their smooth words and false professions of  faith.

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