AMIDST STIFF OPPOSITION

AMIDST STIFF OPPOSITION
Leslie M. John

”Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:5)

Cyrus the king of Persia granted finances to meet the expenses to build the temple. The children of Israel gave to all the workers, the grants of the king, and food. They planned that the cedar trees needed for building the temple could be brought from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, just as the timber was brought during the days of Solomon when he was building the first temple.

The Jews built the altar and offered burnt offerings morning and evening unto the LORD and according to the Mosaic Law they also kept ‘feast of tabernacles’ and offered continual burnt offerings, both of the new moons, and all the set feasts, from the first day of the seventh month, and every one offered willingly freewill offerings to the LORD (cf. Leviticus Chapter 23). They had not laid the foundation of the temple yet, because they feared their adversaries and the local people.

Later on, the children of Israel under the leadership of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and Joshua the son of Josedech laid the foundation to build the temple, and the children of Israel rejoiced in the LORD. They sang songs praising the LORD and giving thanks to Him with trumpets, cymbals, after the ordinances of David, the late King of Israel.

The adversaries sent accusations, against the people of Judah and Benjamin, to King Ahesuerus. The accusations were that the city of Jerusalem had a bad record; the inhabitants were rebellious, and did not pay toll, tribute and custom. They charged that they would not pay revenue to the king and made a request that the king may make a search to examine whether or not their charges are true.

King Artexerxes I made search and found that their allegation about the rebellion of Jews was true, but it was found that they paid toll, tribute and custom to the kings.

However, the king gave a decree that the city of Jerusalem should not be built until, according to him, he would give another command. Thus the work on the temple at Jerusalem came to a halt in the second year of reign of Darius king of Persia. Because of the tough opposition from their adversaries Jews had to stop the work for sixteen years until after Cyrus king of Persia died and Darius was on the throne.

The LORD admonished the children of Israel through prophet Haggai, as detailed in Haggai Chapters 1 and 2, and prophet Zechariah Chapter 1:1-5 that they should build the temple. The LORD promised through the prophets that He will be with them and help them in rebuilding the temple.

The LORD warned the children of Israel in Jerusalem sternly to turn to Him and not behave as their fathers did. He said to them to turn from their evil ways, and from their evil doings and come to Him. Haggai stressed on them to rebuild the temple.

Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest and the Jews feared the LORD and began building the House of the LORD.

In Acts Chapter 4 we see how Peter and John were imprisoned for speaking boldly and testifying Lord Jesus Christ and even though the priests, captains of the temple, and the Sadducees came against them in opposition they refused to be silent. The believers did unite in prayer and praising the Lord.

When rulers, elders, scribes, Annas the high priest and Caiphas, and John and Alexander questioned peter and John under what authority they were speaking about Jesus and healed a lame man, Peter said:

”Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole” (Acts 4:10)