Reflection on Ezra 4:1-5

“Now the enemies of Juda and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity were building a temple to the Lord the God of Israel. And they came to Zorobabel, and the chief of the fathers, and said to them: Let us build with you, for we seek your God as ye do: behold we have sacrificed to him, since the days of Asor Haddan king of Assyria, who brought us hither. But Zorobabel, and Josue, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel said to them: You have nothing to do with us to build a house to our God, but we ourselves alone will build to the Lord our God, as Cyrus king of the Persians hath commanded us. Then the people of the land hindered the hands of the people of Juda, and troubled them in building. And they hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their design all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of the Persians.”  (Ezra 4:1-5)

Literal Sense: As God’s covenant people began to rebuild God’s Temple, having been instructed to do so by King Cyrus, their enemies offered to help build the Temple. God’s people recognized this was a wicked plot to sabotage their plan so they rightly rejected their help. After doing so their enemies sought to frustrate their rebuilding of the temple by hiring counselors against them.

Allegorical Sense: King Cyrus is a type of Christ, the children of the captivity and the temple are both a type of the Church and their enemies are a type of the non believers. As King Cyrus instructed God’s people to rebuild God’s temple, Christ instructed His followers to build His church (Matthew 28:16-20). Just as God’s enemies attempted to sabotage the building of the temple by offering their services, unbelievers continually attempt to instruct God’s people how to build the church. As God’s people rejected the help of their enemies, so too God’s people in the New Covenant are to reject the help of her enemies, who would seek to destroy the church by their corrupt suggestions and input. As God’s enemies sought to undermine and frustrate the design of the temple, so do unbelievers seek to destroy the expansion of the church throughout the world.

Moral Sense:  These things were written to instruct us as to how we should behave when building our own temple, a Godly life as an acceptable sacrifice to God.  As God’s covenant people rejected the help of their enemies in building the temple, we too should reject the ways of the world and their ungodly advise on how to live a Godly life.

Anagogical Sense:  Though God’s enemies seek to undermine the building of His church, there will come a day when all of God’s enemies will be conquered and the endeavors of God’s people will go unchallenged.

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