The Medo-Persian Rule 536-333

Israel had numerous threats and allies. Suzerainty is where a region is tributary to a more powerful entity which control over affairs of state although the suzerain allows limited domestic autonomy. Tributes and obligations were set out in treaties. Makes it easy to see what a temptation it was to make a deal with the neighbors if threatened by another. Hendriksen dates Malachi with Joel, but Calvin says Joel does not give us a date since the Holy Spirit intends the message to be timeless: i.e. of repentance. The Persian empire. Zechariah 6:12-13 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord : Even he shall build the temple of the Lord ; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. At this time the there was a watering down of the Jews. Removing repentance or softening it or externalising the law’s demands they evaluate God from their religion. Perhaps for some their intentions were good. Hedging the law with their tradition. So there are dangers on many sides. We must be subject to the Word of God. It is a good test of a commentator. Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Irony here of the heart being vile , utterly so in God’s okeyes, while the outward appearance is good.

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Survey of the Bible: Exile (586-536BC)

Bob Lewington took today’s class. Reading Psalm 115: especially the verses about idols. The dates of the Exile are given by Hendriksen as 586BC (fall Of Jerusalem) until 536BC (fall of Babylon).

Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail….

Matt 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass. The wonderful solidity of Christ’s kingdom!

597-586 Zedekiah: a bad king: And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat (2 Kings 15:9).

There were actually quite a few ‘exiles’ incurred by the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

Initially some presumptuously thought their exile would be short, in spite of Jeremiah’s message to them to settle down where they were. Jehoiakim even cut and burned God’s message from Jeremiah! (Jeremiah 36) How hard are people’s hearts! When the temple was sacked, they lapsed into hopelessness! (Psalm 137). God sent Ezekiel to inspire the exiles (Ezek 33-36), and Daniel intercedes for them.  Thus followed a season of revived hopefulness. But even that led to sinful indifference with many who chose to stay in exile rather than return to help restore Jerusalem.

Hendriksen says that the exile can be viewed as serving three purposes:

  1. Punishment for sin: we linked with this morning’s sermon which emphasised the holiness of God.
  2. Purging and sanctification for the remnant
  3. God’s people were a blessing to those whom they dwelt amongst

Micah 5:7  And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men

We need heavenly dew as we dwell as dew amongst the world.