Sabbath School Summary
Making Sense of History: Zerubbabel and Ezra
Memory Text: Ezra 1:2
SATURDAY: God, the Unseen Watcher, ordained Cyrus to cause the fall of Babylon and redeem His people from captivity after 70 years. This prophecy recorded in the book of Jeremiah was fulfilled in 538 B.C., God’s people returned to rebuild Jerusalem (Isa. 45:1, 44:38). God’s people heeded to His call to build Him a temple (Ezra 1:5). The best in us is unveiled when we abide & believe in God.
SUNDAY: Israel was in exile from 606/605 B.C.-537/536 B.C., marking the 70 years when God promised to visit them. Seeing no sign from God when time was nearly up, Daniel fell to his knees & pleaded with God to act. Yet, God does not tarry, He’s always on time. He assured Daniel of a savior in the person of Cyrus, a type of Christ—the true Savior (Dan. 9:24-27). About 50,000 returned with gifts.
MONDAY: The first task of the first returnees was to put God first—by rebuilding His temple. Yet, it took so many years, from the reign of one king to another before the temple was rebuilt. The opposition to the rebuilding occurred during the reign of five kings; Cyrus II (559-530 B.C.), Cambyses II (530-522 B.C), Darius I (522-486 B.C, Xerxes I/Ahasuerus (485-465 B.C), & Artaxerxes I (465-424 B.C.)
TUESDAY: In 457 B.C, during the reign of Artaxerxes I, Ezra was given the chance to take with him any captive willing to return. 12 known tribes symbolizing the 12 tribes of Israel returned. About 1,500 men (5,000-6,000 in all; with women & children) were the second sect that went back. This was lesser than the first batch. Ezra is known to be a skilled scribe & a devoted priest (Ezra 7:1-10).
WEDNESDAY: As Cyrus decreed that all captives could return to rebuild God’s temple, Artaxerxes also decreed that his treasurers should aid Ezra in the building in the form of silver & gold. God touched the kings’ heart and he made all help available for Ezra (Ezra 7:11-28). He also counseled the noble priest to establish a judicial system to ensure justice. Yet, the king never got converted.
THURSDAY: “Study to show thyself approved unto God”. Ezra had this as his hallmark (Ezra 7:6, 10). Thus, he was prepared “for a greater ministry in Israel”. “Born of the sons of Aaron” (the first priest of Israel), Ezra committed himself to priestly training, & educated himself with the writings of the wise men of Medes & Persia. He unlearned the ways of the world & studied the Word of God (PK, p. 608, 609).
FRIDAY: God used Ezra as an instrument of good. He was God’s mouthpiece. The priest & scribe had an influence not only on the youth but everyone who came near to him. He sought God earnestly and revived the zeal of others in studying the word of God. To reform our world, our society, our churches, and our lives, we need to possess the spirit of Ezra & Nehemiah. They never excused sin.
—Ellen G. White, “Ezra, the Priest and Scribe,” pp. 607-617, 675 in Prophets and Kings.
PK- Prophets & Kings
B.C.- Before Christ
Xerxes I- In the book of Esther he’s known as Ahasuerus
Cyrus II- Also called “the Great”
SUNDAY- The First Return Of The Exiles
MONDAY- Overview Of Kings And Events
TUESDAY- The Second Return Of The Exiles
WEDNESDAY- Artaxerxes’s Decree
THURSDAY- Importance Of Education
📌 Yes, we have many wonderful promises from the Lord. At the same time, however, God does not force Himself upon us. What choices might we be making in our own lives that could hinder the fulfillment of His promises to us?
📌 Read the prayer of Daniel 9:1-23. What are the principles you see there that could be applied in a personal way to your own experience? That is, what was Daniel doing, what was his attitude, and what was he asking for? What else do you see there that could be applicable to us today?
📌 In Thursday’s study we read what Ellen G. White wrote about how central the Word of God was to the ministry of Ezra and about how diligently he worked to spread it among the people. What is the obvious and important lesson here for us today regarding the centrality that God’s Word should have in our lives and church?
Inside Story; Banza Mwela, a Sunday church pastor who baptized to become an SDA member had acid poured on him by his wife & son. He has been trained as an SDA pastor & still at the hospital receiving treatment. His wife & son are on the run.
For September 28-October 4. Happy Sabbath.