The background and beginning of the New Testament Story
Grand Canyon University
May 8, 2009
The background and beginning of the New Testament story
About 450 B.C. Ezra gains permission from Artaxerxes to reestablish Moses law in Israel. A priest himself Ezra leads several other priests, Levites and singers to Jerusalem, Atraxerxes gives him money for sacrifices and the needs of the house of God. Ezra is also to appoint judges who will enforce the laws of Moses and of Persia. He finds out about the intermarriages he confesses Israel’s sins and waits for God to answer. The men decide to divorce their wives and send them away with their children. Ezra commands them to do so in three days. The elders grant some extra time, this decision saves Israel’s purity.
Ezra and Nehemiah work together for and unspecified amount of time, both men stress the importance of repentance and worship. Ezra already emphasized in marriage now he and Nehemiah help the people renew their covenant with Yahweh. Ezra and the priest’s read and explain the law while standing on a specially built platform. They have the people celebrate instead of mourn when they hear the teachings.
Ezra and Nehemiah demonstrate that Isreal can emerge from the ashes of exile. How? By appreciating effort of the first exiles to return, by insisting on religious and marital purity by following unyielding and visionary leaders by obeying God’s word and renewing the covenant. None of these tasks are easy they demand discipline and perseverance.
HEROD THE GREAT
Herod is remembered as a builder of cities and the lavish builder of the temple in Jerusalem, but he also destroyed people. He showed little greatness in either his personal actions or his character. He was ruthless in ruling his territory. His suspicions and jelousy led to the murder of some of his own children, and the death of his wife Mariamme.
Herod’s title king of the Jew’s was granted by Rome...