Ezra - Nehemiah
Sermon notes by Jim Jester
September 18, 2020
SCRIPTURE READING: Ezra 1:1-3
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (he is God), which is in Jerusalem.
At this time in history, two events have occurred that have been obscured or deliberately hidden. These events are crucial to two purposes of the book of Ezra: 1) to identify the Israelites throughout their history, and 2) to negate the claim that the jews, as we know them today, have any relationship with Israelites.
The ten northern tribes of Israel had been captured by the Assyrians, never to return to their land. Judah as well was captured and spent 70 years in Babylon, at the end of which time, they were permitted to return to rebuild the temple.
There seems to be silence and mystery surrounding the fate of the “lost ten tribes” of Israel. According to the teaching of most churches, this horde seems to have just vanished into the landscape, never to be heard of again. Adam Clarke writes:
The former [speaking of the ten tribes] never recovered their ancient territories, and were so disposed of by their enemies that they either became amalgamated with the heathen nations, so as to be utterly undistinguishable, or they were transported to some foreign and recluse place of settlement, that the place of their existence, though repeatedly guessed at, has for more than two thousand years been totally unknown. (Adam Clarke’s Commentary, 1967, p. 410)
Notice Clarke’s either/or statement; the ten tribes were either amalgamated or transported. He declares that he does not know what happened to the ten tribes. Yet, he then ridicules those who would “guess” at what happened to them. How is it that Clarke has been able to make these statements without receiving the scorn of all thinking Christians? The tragic result is, that Bible students who read Clarke, and others, whose scholarship is so unreliable, believes him and preaches this as gospel truth. So, after generations of repeated error, the error becomes “fact.”
Other commentaries speak of a “Jewish dispersion.” This is a misuse of the word “Jew” again. How could there be a jewish dispersion when the word jew was not invented yet? “Jew” was to refer to Judah or Judea, not the other ten tribes. The ten tribes of Israel could not be part of the jewish dispersion — they were the dispersion. Fausset’s Bible Dictionary gets it right: “The dispersion (diaspora) included all the twelve tribes, the ten carried away by the Assyrians as well as Judah carried to Babylon.” (Fausset, A. R., 1966, p. 174) How then, could the ten tribes become part of the dispersion when they were the main dispersion? And on what basis can it be referred to as the “Jewish dispersion” except to accommodate the heresy of equating Israel with jews and jews with Israel? The Christian world is so infatuated with the jew, so blinded by satan’s attempt to usurp the position of God, that the Christians are utterly confused. This is the result of believing lies; and nothing will change it outside of a national catastrophe.
To support and maintain the chosen people status for the jews, one thing is mandatory — the Israelites must not be identified. Jews have worked hard and long to quiet any discovery of the Israelites. You mean to tell me that Christians cannot trace the migration and present location of millions upon millions of Israelites of the dispersion? Too many of them believe the lie; and too many find it “politically incorrect.” This is Christianity’s condition — they will not believe the identity of Israel, because they cannot believe the truth. Without ambiguity, the White Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Scandinavian, Germanic people of the world are the Israelite people of God. There is enough evidence and literature available on the subject that any person wanting to believe can be easily persuaded. For those caught in the jewish lie, no amount of evidence or documentation will carry any weight in changing their minds. It will take the workings of the Holy Spirit to convince them of this truth.
IMPORTANCE OF THE EZRA-NEHEMIAH PERIOD
From the age of Nehemiah and the period immediately preceding it came influences of the utmost moment for the future. “Within these hundred years,” says the late Dr. P. Hay Hunter in After the Exile (I, xvi), “the teaching of Moses was established as the basis of the national life, the first steps were taken toward the formation of a canon of Scripture. Jewish [Judean] society was molded into a shape which succeeding centuries modified, but did not essentially change. During this period the Judea of the days of our Lord came into being. Within this period, the forces which opposed Christ and the forces which rallied to His side, had their origin. This century saw the rise of parties, which afterward became sects under the names of Pharisees and Sadducees. It laid the foundation of Rabbinism. It fixed the attitude of the Jews toward the Gentiles. It put the priesthood in the way to supreme authority. It gave birth to the Samaritan schism.” (Captivity, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)[Emphasis mine]
Jesus came into a world of mixed race Judeans: there were satanic jews among godly jews, and mixed race jews (Idumeans) among pure race jews (Hebrews). Can we see the absurdity here in referring to anyone connected with Israel a jew? Jeremiah referred to these Judeans as “good figs” and “bad figs,” and John the revelator called them “true jews” and “false jews.”
“Jew” is a confusing word, and they want it that way. This is why mainstream Christianity is so misled and confused and do not know what is going on in the world; and furthermore, they make no attempt to racially identify the players on the world stage. In our day “jew” means only one people group. But in the Scriptures it can mean many things.
During the seventy years of Babylonian captivity, Babylon was taken by Persia. The people of Judah then came under the rule of Cyrus, king of Persia, a friendly king who said:
…The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:2-3, RSV)
Cyrus acknowledged the God of Israel and His people; unlike today’s political climate where neither is recognized, and if it is supposedly recognized, it is the wrong people. Since the reference to “His people” meant the people of Judah, we must concede that these were Judahites, or racial Israelites. To further remove any questions about these returnees, verse five of chapter one states:
Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, every one whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:5, RSV)
Chapter two lists the “heads” (or leaders), among whom was Mordecai, and “the men of the people of Israel.” (Ezra 2:2) The whole assembly amounted to 42,360 (q.v., Ezra 2:64)
It must be noted that many foreigners were in the land when the people of the exile returned. They offered to help rebuild the temple. But the leaders of these Israelites said:
You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us. (Ezra 4:3, RSV)
The foreigners had nothing in common with Israelites or the God of Israel. This was an offense to the foreigners, who in due time, wrote to King Artaxerxes, a successor to Cyrus, to complain. The text of the letter reads:
…Be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city; they are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. (Ezra 4:12)
Take notice, that this letter from the foreigners referred to the Israelites as “Jews.” Also, they referred to Jerusalem as “rebellious and wicked.” Isn’t that the way of the hypocrite — accuse us of things they actually are guilty of? Their letter succeeded in getting a stop-work order from the king (q.v., Ezra 4:23-24).
Let us spiritualize this a little — shouldn’t we, of Israel, be “finishing the walls and repairing the foundations” of our Christian faith? Walls have the purpose in keeping others out; and our heritage of God’s Law is the foundation for keeping the nation God has blest us with.
At this point in the book of Ezra, we have the beginning of Israelites in Judah and Jerusalem being called “Jews.” And it all began with this letter from the foreigners living in the former lands of Israel. In Ezra, chapter five, we read:
Now the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews[sic] who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel the son of She-alti-el and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them. (Ezra 5:1-2)
What began in the letter from the foreigners, was now confirmed in the words of Ezra; i.e., the Israelites, at this time, were now being called “Jews.”
CORRUPTION OF A WORD
From a literary point of view, the word “Judah” became corrupted, i.e., it went through a change, or series of changes. It was customary in Israel to refer to the people after their tribes: those from Gad were known as Gadites, those from Benjamin became Benjaminites, and those from Judah were called Judahites, etc. From this point, the terms Judah and Judahites begin their changes. We see in Strong’s Concordance that the pronunciation of the Hebrew word for Judah is Yehuwdah, which when transliterated becomes Jehudah. From this we get Jehudite, then Jehudaite, then Judaite. From here it is a short step to Jude or Judes, the actual spelling in the German language for our word “Jews.” Thus, the final change to English became “Jews.” Therefore, it can be reasonably concluded that our term “Jew” today is a corrupted form of the Hebrew word for Judah, and that a Jew is from the land of Jehudah, or Judah.
So this being the case, by what right or reasoning, are the people from Judah alone referred to as God’s chosen people when there are eleven other tribes which are God’s chosen also? There is no rhyme or reason about it! Yet, so-called Christian leaders, with their intellects bound by a satanic lie, refer to this one tribe as the chosen people, without a thought given to the other tribes. Christians have served this lie long enough, even if the jews today are (not) the Judahites of the Old Testament. It gives them no more claim to the chosen people status than the other descendants of Israel. That all of orthodox (alleged) Christianity has not objected to this obvious error is a sure sign that a power stronger than themselves has kept them in delusion.
On another note, it is this same time period (inter-testamental) in which the whole Hebrew language and script went through changes. The Hebrew prior to this period was very similar to the ancient Greek. It was from this period that we received the “Yah” (tetragrammaton, YHWH) words in reference to God. We know the jews hate the name of Jesus the Christ. The words Yeshu and Yahshua means: “May His name and memory be blotted out.” We should not be using these appellations for our God and Christ.
CORRUPTION OF PEOPLE
Another consideration in the book of Ezra, is the corruption of people living in the promised land after the dispersion. It is clear that when the two captivities took place, not every Israelite was taken from the land. “But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen.” (II Kings 25:12, RSV) Thus, a residue of Israelites were left after each captivity, and foreigners were imported to occupy the land (q.v., II Kings 17:24).
It was the foreigners who wrote to King Artaxerxes to stop the rebuilding in Jerusalem. It was the foreigners who first used the term “Jews” in their letter to the king. Using a little imagination, we can believe that these imported people came in somewhat was conquerors of the Israelites, or Judahites. They undoubtedly showed disrespect for the “Judes,” and probably abused them, as indicated by the fear of those who returned from the captivity. This same intimidation and superiority will be seen in our country too, as the process of illegal immigration continues.
Yet, during the 70 years, the residual Judahites maintained some of their habits of worship, which not only brought scorn from the foreigners, but also brought many foreigners into Israelite worship.
And the children of Israel ate the passover, even they that were of the captivity, and every one who separated himself to them from the uncleanness of the nations of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel. (Ezra 6:21, Brenton)
So the temple was rebuilt, and even the foreigners took part in the Passover and feast days. This all sounds right and good, just like equal rights in America sounds good. But the inevitable disaster occurred once again.
In the seventh year of King Artaxerxes, the priest Ezra received a decree from the king to return to Jerusalem, taking with him priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants and a huge amount of gold and silver, freely offered to the God of Israel by the king and his counselors. Ezra and company arrived in Jerusalem, weighed the gold and silver, and then offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel. We now pick up the narrative in chapter 9 of Ezra:
After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2 For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons; so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.”
3 When I heard this, I rent my garments and my mantle, and pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat appalled. 4 Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered round me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice.
5 And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garments and my mantle rent, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God, 6 saying: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to thee, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.” (Ezra 9:1-6, RSV)
Continuing in Chapter 10:
While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel; for the people wept bitterly. 2 And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. 3 Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.” (Ezra 10:1-3, RSV)
The word of God here is so clear we need not explain. It is simply one more case showing the evil and ungodly results of racial pollution. Ezra did the right thing; but remember, the children of this transgression survived, and their children survived, and in the next 500 years the same tragic unfaithfulness continued until the time our Lord came on the scene in Jerusalem. From this came the foreign admixture referred to in the New Testament writings. Jesus’ acknowledgment of the jews’ claim to Abraham came right through these events, with these race-mixing Israelites to blame.
It is not difficult to believe that the faithful Israelites broke away from the foreigners and the race-mixed children which resulted. It is also possible that the mixed people who remained continued to worship the God of Israel, and soon found places of importance in temple worship. This is evident by their prominence in Jerusalem during Jesus’ time and in the temple rites of Judaism. The descendants of these foreigners and their race-mixed children became the jews in Jesus’ time.
The book of Nehemiah bolsters everything we have covered in Ezra, therefore, it will be a conclusion. It was Nehemiah who was appointed governor over Judah by King Artaxerxes. Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem and was overseer of the rebuilding of the wall around the city, over the protests and threats of the foreigners in the area.
The word “Jew” is used again, but of course these returnees were actually Israelites as evident because they risked their lives to finish the rebuilding. Nehemiah said:
Then God put it into my mind to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first… [speaking of Ezra, Chp. 2] (Neh. 7:5, RSV)
A long list of people follows in chapter seven, and then we read this:
The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but they could not prove their fathers’ houses nor their descent, whether they belonged to Israel. (Neh. 7:61, RSV)
Well, imagine this taking place at the church door on Sunday mornings — checking people’s genealogy to see if they are of Israel, and if so, allow them in for worship. Once again, a list of people are given in the Scripture; and then follows this statement:
These people searched for their ancestral records, but they couldn’t be located. Accordingly, they were considered disqualified from the priesthood. (Neh. 7:64, ISV)
There is nothing more racial than “ancestral records” or “father’s houses” or “enrolled by genealogy.” God put this into Nehemiah’s heart and mind, to enroll the people by their genealogies. The purpose of this is clear — to assure the purity of God’s family. To those today who deny the identity crisis of God’s people, Nehemiah and Ezra were certainly racists and bigots. And I mean that in the good sense of the word. They were not “woke” — but they were awake to the racial context of the Bible. And they proved it thusly:
And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. (Neh. 9:2, RSV)
Then they agreed in writing, to be the covenant keeping children who would:
…Walk in God’s law which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord and his ordinances and his statutes. 30 We will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons. (Neh. 10:29-30, RSV)
But Israel always falls short of keeping their promise for very long. Murder, stealing, lying or coveting was never Israel’s great sin. It is adultery — the mixing of the pure family seed with other races — that was, and is, the great sin of Israel. Destroying the precious seed of God is the greatest abomination in all the earth. This is the sin which perpetuates itself in the offspring it creates. It is the “sin unto death,” for only in death can the sin be blotted out.
It was under Nehemiah that the temple services were fully reinstated. Great sacrifices were offered as in the former days of Israel, and they “rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.” (Neh. 12:43) But Nehemiah pointed out that even one of the sons of the high priests of Israel had married a foreign woman, “…therefore I chased him from me.” (Neh. 13:28, RSV) Some of us have had race-mixers within our own families, but we ought to be like Nehemiah and keep our separation vow to God intact (push them away).
Nehemiah went on to say, “Thus I cleansed them [the priests] from everything foreign.” (Neh. 13:30) The racial context of the book of Nehemiah is evident.
It ought to be clear why modern pastors never preach from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. If they avoid all racial evidence in these books (and avoid it they must) there is nothing left to preach on! Other than historical information, why did our heavenly Father give us these books, other than to point out what has been given in this sermon? The purpose of these two books is to lay on the minds of God’s people the awfulness of mixing the seed of His children. To fail to understand this is to fail to understand God.