3:1 Now in early autumn, when the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled together as one person in Jerusalem. I see this as a possible picture of the future Bride of Christ! Also, NLT leaves this detail out, but the verse actually reads, "In the seventh month..." The seventh month is "Tishri" which is the month where all the fall Feasts occur. The people are seen celebrating the Feast of Trumpets (vs. 6) which falls 15 days before the Feast of Tabernacles (Shelters), with the day of Atonement in between.
I got goosebumps while studying this passage. Why? Remember yesterday when we saw that the Jews began building an altar last week though there is no Temple? And remember how Cyrus is a definitive Christ-type who rules all the nations and who confiscates the items from the storehouse of the antichrist (Nebby) in order to rebuild the Temple? Well, check out a couple verses in this passage:
3:3 Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site.
3:6 Fifteen days before the Festival of Shelters began (Trumpets), the priests had begun to sacrifice burnt offerings to the LORD. This was also before they had started to lay the foundation of the LORD's Temple. Though the Jews have recently begun the building of the altar, one might wonder if they are going to begin sacrifices again on the altar before the construction of the Temple, and perhaps before the return of Christ. I read this again tonight, I saw that they didn't begin sacrificing until the Feast of Trumpets (remember that Jesus will return on a Feast of Trumpets), which probably means that they don't begin until Jesus has appeared to us at the Trumpets. Plus, Cyrus was already king. And even though there may be no Temple yet, according to this picture, that's okay when you consider the next verse...
3:8 The construction of the Temple of God began in midspring, during the second year after they arrived in Jerusalem. Perhaps this is a clue of when the Temple construction will actually begin in the MK.
3:12 Many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders remembered the first Temple, and they wept aloud when they saw the new Temple's foundation. Picture a future day when those who originally beheld the Temple made by human hands, and they contrast it to the Temple being made by God's hands—a Temple made up of His people! I imagine there will be a lot of weeping and shouts of joy!
4:13 But we wish you to know that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, it will be much to your disadvantage, for the Jews will then refuse to pay their tribute, customs, and tolls to you. If you follow the news in the Middle East, this is happening today. The Jews have so many enemies who do not want them migrating into Israel or expanding their domain, or God forbid, building another Temple! Also confirm today's attitudes toward Israel in verses 15-16!
Yesterday we talked about how the chosen ones or "called out ones" will always appear foolish and be despised by the "wise" of this world system. It reminded me of Papa (from India) today as I was working on his book. I came across this quote:
"Because of God's love, I can love people who are unlovable. When I am deceived and cheated, it makes no difference. I'm not a person loved by rich people, even big fellows. I have only a few people outside of the poor who love me. Because I am trusting and simple, they think I am a fool and try to take advantage of me. But very few people truly love me. I can count them on my fingers. But does that stop me from loving? Never."
I love Papa. I miss him! Wait till you read his biography!! (I hope you do)
Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however,
not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away...
As we share the wisdom of God with those who are called, we will be
able to speak out this wisdom together—a wisdom not understood by those
of this age!
2:7-8 ...but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory... He must be considering the "rulers of this age" as the Jewish teachers and leaders, because they are the ones who truly crucified Jesus. Not the political leaders. Notice He predestined us before the ages to our glory. That is the called out ones he is talking about, and remember that the chosen are chosen by sacred lots.
2:12-13 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit...
28:4 NASB says, "Requite them according to their work and according to the evil of their practices." NLT says, "Give them the punishment they so richly deserve!" The emotional appeal is quite different! One is more matter of fact, "Repay them according to their evil deeds," and the other is, "burn those suckers!" For those new to the blog, I prefer option 1 (just to clear up any doubt).