God’s Eternal Plan
The Bible reveals History, His Story, God’s story, from Genesis to Revelation. That’s why it’s so exciting and powerful to the saving of souls.
In Genesis 3:15 is the SEED PLOT of the Bible. It refers to two seeds. The Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. The seed of the woman is Jesus and those who belong to Him and the seed of the serpent is Satan and those who belong to him. The promise of Genesis 3:15 is that although Satan would do everything in his power to destroy Jesus; Jesus would eventually conquer and destroy Satan. That’s the story line of the Bible.
In Genesis we learn of the creation of man and the story of how sin entered the world through Adam and Eve and the serpent, Satan, who beguiled them and tempted them to sin against God, their Creator.
Starting with Genesis 4 we are confronted with the truth that salvation is by a blood sacrifice and that good works do not save. We see in the story of Cain and Abel the enmity between God’s Seed and Satan’s seed.
Genesis 12 introduces God’s plan of redemption through Jesus who would come through Abraham’s son Isaac, and Isaac’s son, Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, and through one of the twelve sons of Jacob, Judah, through whom Jesus came in the fullness of time.
In the final chapters of Genesis we find Israel leaving their homeland because of a famine and settling in the land of Goshen, a fertile area of Egypt. In Exodus we learn of Israel’s enslavement by the Egyptian Pharaohs for four hundred years. At the end of that 400 years God raised up Moses to lead them out of the bondage of Egypt back to their Promised Land of Israel.
Years later in 606 BC to 536 BC, Judah was conquered and enslaved for seventy years by the Babylonian Empire. Their deliverance from Babylon is the theme of this series in Ezra.
God’s eternal plan for His chosen people, the Jews, was for them to return to their own land of Palestine so that in the fullness of time Jesus, their Messiah and Saviour of the world would fulfill prophecy by being born in Bethlehem, dying on the cross, sacrificing His blood for our sins. and rising again from the dead the third day so that He could save all who come to Him by faith.
God’s eternal plan for us, His Church, concerns worship, spiritual growth, fellowship, discipleship and evangelism. Those needs are met and we are equipped for service as we spend time in His Word, obeying whatever He shows us.
The devil did all in his power to hinder God’s plan for the Jews and he continues to try to hinder God’s plan for us. That’s why Satan tempts us to sin and hinder our fellowship with God.
That’s why restoration, renewal and revival are necessary. That’s the theme of the Book of Ezra, being restored back to God.
Because of the sin of rebellion towards God, Israel was in captivity under Babylon for seventy years just as they had been enslaved by Egypt a thousand years earlier and just as they have been scattered throughout the world for the past two thousand years.
But God is not finished with Israel. He has an eternal, wonderful plan for them when Jesus returns one day and they meet Him and receive Him as their Messiah. Zechariah prophesies this in chapters 12-14.
Nor is God finished with us gentiles: helpless and hopeless in our sins. Through faith in the Lord Jesus, who died on the cross, paying the full penalty for our sins; we can be saved and brought into fellowship with Him, our Saviour and Heavenly Bridegroom.
DELIVERANCE FROM BABYLONIAN EXILE
The book of Ezra tells that story of deliverance which took place over 2500 years ago back in 538 BC. The Jewish remnant experienced deliverance from Babylonian captivity and restoration back to their homeland of Israel. God prepared the way for the birth of Jesus and His death and resurrection so that all who receive Him as Saviour may be saved.
To grasp the history of this period of time, read Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. To grasp God’s message to His people during this time of captivity and restoration, read the prophets, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Also read the book of Daniel to get the big picture of what God was doing through Israel at this time and what He has in store for us in the future.
If you are familiar with ancient history, you are aware of the four major world empires: Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome
You are also aware that King Belshazzar and His Babylonian world empire fell to the conquering King Cyrus of Persia in 536 BC.
That’s where the story of the Book of Ezra comes in. We’ll get started with that the next time.
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