5:5 But because their God was watching over them, the leaders of the Jews were not prevented from building until a report was sent to Darius and he returned his decision. God's will always, always takes precedent over man's plans. If God wants the Jews to currently finish building their altar (talked about for the past few days), despite the heavy opposition they are facing over there right now with the Palestinians, Iranians, and the rest of the Muslim world, they will get their altar (for greater purposes than themselves)! It will certainly be a miracle.
6:21 The Passover meal was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile and by the others in the land who had turned from their immoral customs to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. So if this is a picture of a future Passover meal in the Kingdom (and I believe it is in context of what we've studied so far), it is a special picture because it shows Jews and Gentiles together, celebrating Christ in the Kingdom.
Why is this important? Lately I keep coming across people who believe that Jews and Gentiles have separate destinies in the hereafter (if you don't know about this I won't try to confuse you). Of course I don't believe this because it's not biblical. And even though I can show them this is not the case with Scripture, they still try to say it's true. One man I spoke to tonight about this even said, "There is not one place in the Old Testament that shows Jews and Gentiles together in the future Kingdom." Hmmm...really? For further study on whether there is division or separation ever again, of any kind, between Jews and Gentiles, see Ephesians 2:11-22, which is only one of many teachings in the NT on the unity for all time of Jews and Gentiles because of the work of Christ.
I do realize that not everyone gets the pictures that I see, and that many would even say I'm smoking dope to see them (hey, that might improve my imagination—maybe I should try it sometime while studying), so I can't fault them for that. I thank God He gave me the ability to see that the OT was a series of pictures and prophecies for the future. Many people scoff at this idea. I feel sorry for them. It is like missing the ocean on the way to the pond. And I notice that Mark Biltz and many other Messianic teachers online see all these pictures too, which gives me much more (humble) confidence in my ability to perceive them correctly.
6:22 for the LORD had caused them to rejoice, and had turned* the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to encourage them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. Imagine that...we see God turning people's hearts for His purposes again. Whatever happened to "free will"? B-)
Young's literal adds "round" as in turned around.
3:13 ...for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. I have been learning a lot about fire lately. Did you know God is described as a consuming fire at least 8 times in the Bible, starting in Exodus? Have you ever thought about what this means? What is He consuming? What does "consuming" mean? Here I don't even think this is a literal fire that our works are tested by. It can't be. How are you going to put something I DO into a fire? It is a purity checker that is going to test my work, and I believe the fire is part of the very presence of God that tests and destroys all that is impure and unnecessary, and only the beautiful and worthy is left. Of course, this is works we're taking about, not people, because notice what verse 15 says:
If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Remember that fire is used throughout the Bible for a variety of purposes—cleansing, anointing, testing, refining, correcting, empowering, destroying, etc. But it is all a part of being "consumed" in God's presence, and it is all for eventual good.
29:3, 7 The God of glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. The voice of the Lord strikes with bolts of lightning. Do you ever wonder how literal this kind of stuff is? I do.
29:10 Note Young's Literal: And Jehovah sitteth king -- to the age. We've discussed this before.
20:26 A wise king winnows out the wicked [from among the good] and brings the threshing wheel over them [to separate the chaff from the grain]. Amplified.
So here is a picture of God taking bad wheat—wheat with hard, yucky chaff—and threshing it so that it is good. This is exactly what Jesus spoke of in Luke 3:17:
"His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Some people try to make the chaff bad people, but the chaff a part of the wheat. It is the useless outer shell that cannot be consumed or made good. What do we see Jesus saying here? He burns up the chaff located on the wheat with FIRE. There's that word again!