Friday, January 13, 2023

The Doctrine Of Scripture Series: Jesus In All 66 Books Of The Bible - Faithful, The Rebuilder, The Preserver (Ezra-Esther)


    As we continue in our journey through seeing Jesus in the 66 books of the Bible, let us first review where we have journeyed. In the Books of the Law, we see Jesus Christ patterned. As we saw in Genesis through Deuteronomy, Jesus is found in the following patterns.

1. In Genesis, He is my Creator and Sustainer.

2. In Exodus, Jesus is my Redeemer, as seen 
    in the patterns of the Exodus and 

3. In Leviticus, Jesus is my High Priest, as 
   patterned in the Levitical preisthood.

4. In Numbers, Jesus is that Great Shepherd 
   that leads His people through the dry 

In Deuteronomy, Jesus is the source of
    life, physically and spiritually.

You can read the post associated with Jesus in the Books of the Law here:

    We then witnessed how Jesus Christ was anticipated in the historical books, looking last post at Joshua through 2 Chronicles.

1. In Joshua, Jesus is the Captain of my 

2. In Judges, He is the deliverer of my soul.

3. In Ruth, Jesus is anticipated as that 
   kinsmen-redeemer who took on my debts 
   and liabilities so I could be espoused to     
   Him, being credited with His riches and 

4. In 1 and 2 Samuel, we saw Jesus
anticipated as the King of Kings. We also
observed by the contrasts of King Saul in
1 Samuel and King David in 2 Samuel the
foreshadowing of the original Adam and
second Adam. Saul failed like first Adam.
David would be a man after God's own
heart, forecasting Jesus (the "seed of
David", Romans 1:1-3) who would come to
be the "Second Adam" (Romans 5:12-21).

5. In 1 and 2 Kings, we saw Jesus as our 
   Sovereign, exercising Providence in the    
    course of the kinglines of the Northern 
    and Southern Kingdoms of Israel and 
    Judah respectively.

6. In 1 &2 Chronicles, we identified the same 
    theme of "Sovereign Lord" we saw in the 
    books of Kings. The books of Chronicles 
    cover from the beginning of creation to 
    the particular history of the Southern 
    Kingdom of Judah. This anticipated the 
    bloodline that would bring about the Lord 
   Jesus' humanity, stretching from Adam to 
    Noah to Abraham to David to Jesus (see 
    Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3).

Readers may review the post associated with our observations about Jesus in Joshua through 2 Chronicles here:

    In today's post, we will observe Jesus in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.

Ezra = Jesus is faithful

    Ezra depicts for us the first two returns of the Jewish people of Judah from their seventy year sojourn in Babylon. In reality, it is likely Ezra himself compiled 1 & 2 Chronicles, with Ezra and Nehemiah being the sequels. Ezra and Nehemiah operate in relationship to 1 & 2 Chronicles like Luke's Gospel in the New Testament, providing "volume one" and the follow up sequel of the book of Acts supplying "volume 2". The book of Ezra is divisible into two halves, with each providing an anticipation of Jesus Christ as our Faithful One.

    Ezra 1-6 captures how the first group of Jews returned from their seventy year exile in Babylon under the leadership of Zerubabbel. Zerubbabel was a direct descendant of the Davidic bloodline, being a legal heir to the throne of Jerusalem. The prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah would feature God restablishing the continuance of David's throne through Zerubbabel (see especially Haggai 2:23). 

    Zerubbabel was faithful in the discharge of his duties. Those duties included governing the people as they heeded the prophetic calls from Haggai and Zechariah to begin rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem. It proved difficult. Zerubbabel needed encouragement, but he saw them through the first twenty years after their return to a ruined city. Jesus Christ presides over His church. He is called "Faithful and True"in Revelation 19:11.

    Ezra 7-10 records the second group of Jewish returnees from Babylon, some 57 years later, under the leadership of the faithful scribe and priest called "Ezra". Ezra 7:10 records the following description about Ezra:

"For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel."

    Ezra would come to be the first great expositor of God's Word. His diligence to study the Scriptures and to expound them give us a pattern for Biblical preaching. Jewish history would record how Ezra established the so-called "great Synagogue", the precursor to the Jewish Synagogues that would dot the Mediterranean world in the centuries between the Old and New Testaments. 

    We know the Lord Jesus Christ came to preach the Scriptures and to fulfill them. The faithfulness of Jesus going to the cross and rising from the dead would result in the sending of the Holy Spirit and the formation of the church. No doubt, Ezra's activities were used by God to point the way to Jesus Christ in later centuries.

Nehemiah = Jesus is the rebuilder of lives.

    Nehemiah gives us the details of the third and final return of the Jews back to Jerusalem. Between the end of the Book of Ezra to Nehemiah's actions would span a twelve-year gap. It was likely that Nehemiah and Ezra's efforts overlapped. 

    Under the first return led by Zerubbabel in 536 b.c., the people came to rebuild the temple. During the second return under Ezra in 458 b.c., the people needed to rebuild their spiritual lives and finish the temple. In the book of Nehemiah (444-432 b.c.), we find the people rebuilding the wall and needing to reinforce the spiritual ground lost in the course of time.

    Walls provided protection and stability for ancient cities. As you read the book of Nehemiah, you find Nehemiah's faith, prayer-life, and leadership used by God to finish the rebuilding of the city walls in less than two months. The Book of Nehemiah provides a wonderful picture of how Jesus Christ rebuilds what the enemy had torn asunder. Jesus Christ is the Author and Finished of faith. It is He who teaches us that His project of sanctification is meant to rebuild what the enemy tore apart, thus making us into a people of God. As Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us: "the joy of the Lord is my strength".

Esther = Jesus our Preserver

    Esther was used by God to save her people from destruction. Although Esther does not directly contain the name of God or Yahweh, it nonetheless portrays His providential actions in undoing the wicked schemes of the wicked Haman. Hebrew scholarship has identified a potential acrostic in the Hebrew text of Esther that hints at the name of the Lord. Although He is hidden in Esther, God is nonetheless guiding the scenes by His Providence. 

    The setting of Esther occurs in the days following the Babylonian empire. The Persians are in power as the world's leading empire. God had his hand on His people. We read in Esther 7:3 the following actions of Esther on behalf of her people:

"Then Queen Esther replied, “If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request."

    Queen Esther risked her life. Her entry into the King's court without announcement was grounds for execution, since Persian law forbade anyone from entering before the king without invitation. Nevertheless, Esther came before King Ahasuerus. He extended his scepter toward her for her to touch, indicating He found her favorable in His sight. She pleaded for her people. Haman was condemned. The Jewish people were saved.

    Truly the Lord Jesus Christ undergirds the believer in seasons where it seems He is absent. He preserves the believer in their faith, interceding in the heavenly realms (Hebrews 7:24-25). Jesus is the Mediator and Intercessor for His people. He is ever acceptable before the Father. As man, the Lord Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and earned by His life, death, and resurrection the salvation which the sinner must receive by grace through faith. As eternal God, Jesus the Son has ever been the Beloved One, ever pleasing in the Father's sight, with Whom He, the Son, and the Holy Spirit share in that blessed union as the One Triune God. As eternal God and man, Jesus is the Word made flesh, peerless and alone qualified to be our Advocate (John 1:14; 1 John 2:1-2). 
    Just as Esther pled for her people before the King, Christ ever intercedes for His people before the Father. He is the One who preserves His people.

Closing thought:

    In our next post, we will explore how Jesus Christ is personified in the poetical books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.