Christian Churches of God

Leaving Babylon (No. 123)

(Edition 2.0 20020720-20060107)

The departure of Ezra from Babylon on the First Day of the First Month and his arrival at Jerusalem on the First Day of the Fifth Month is often incorrectly used as an example that Ezra did not keep the New Moons. When we examine the powerful Spiritual message behind these dates it adds immense power to the understanding of the New Moons and Godís Plan of Salvation as revealed in Scripture.

 


Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright ã 200, 2006 Wade Cox, and Peter Donis)

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Leaving Babylon

Introduction

Ezraís return to Jerusalem is not just a story about a scribe who returned from captivity to build the temple of the Lord God in Jerusalem. It has significant spiritual relevance for people today. It depicts us leaving a spiritual captivity, returning to God, reconstructing the temple, which we are, and entering His millennial rest.

Ezra 1:1-6  In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia so that he sent a herald throughout all his kingdom, and also in a written edict declared: "Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem in Judah.

The time sequence of the journey also reveals the development of the people of God as the Temple of God within the Plan of Salvation. The days on which events occur in this story have great significance for the development of the Temple of God, in accordance with the sequence laid out by God in the Law and the Holy Days, New Moons and Sabbaths as they reveal the Plan of God.

The Chosen

God the Father always fulfils His word. He never breaks His promise. He decides who will govern and rule kingdoms. He is able to raise up, or bring low, anyone He chooses. He can choose anyone for any purpose. It demonstrates that Godís prophets do not do their will, but the Will of the God Almighty. So, we can see that the Lord God Almighty raises kings to accomplish His will. King Cyrus of Persia was identified 200 years previously, and was known in Scripture (Isa. 44:28, 46:1-4).

According to the plan of God, in the first year of his reign, Cyrus was charged with the responsibility to begin reconstruction efforts of the temple of God. God shows that He does not necessarily have to work with people who are called into the church. He knows who He will raise up, and if and how they might be used for the purpose of the church or His nation.

3 Any of those among you who are of his peopleómay their God be with them! óare now permitted to go up to Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israelóhe is the God who is in Jerusalem;

The decree went forth Ė " To those who are of his people". Not everyone who was taken into the captivity wanted to return to Jerusalem. This also relates to us today and over the last age since Messiah. Those willing to return are those who want to return to God. These people today are those who are led by the Spirit. It is these people who are permitted to go to Jerusalem, which represents our future home, the new Jerusalem, which is the mother of us all. Itís where God has put His name forever. God the Father in His set time has determined who will be called in this age. People cannot come to God, unless they are called by the Father, and then given to Christ.

4 and let all survivors, in whatever place they reside, be assisted by the people of their place with silver and gold, with goods and with animals, besides freewill offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem." The heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levitesóeveryone whose spirit God had stirredógot ready to go up and rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. All their neighbors aided them with silver vessels, with gold, with goods, with animals, and with valuable gifts, besides all that was freely offered.

The survivors here are the elect. The elect are scattered in the four corners of the earth. We are the salt of the earth (Mat.5:13). We are not concentrated anywhere. On the contrary, we are in the most unlikely locations. This text is reminiscent of the Exodus and will be re-enacted in the second Exodus prophesied in Isaiah 66:18-24.

God must stir up an individual by the power of His Holy Spirit. Once we respond to Godís calling, we then begin to prepare ourselves. God knows what we need, and He will assist us in providing those needs. That could be in the form of other brethren, more understanding, booklets or papers on certain topics etc.

Ezra 2:1  Now these were the people of the province who came from those captive exiles whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia; they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, all to their own towns.

Ezra Chapter 2 deals with the people who were taken captive. It shows that everyone is accounted for, and that everyone is important to God. No man is forgotten. Everyone is allotted tasks within the system of the priesthood of the Temple, which we know is the system of Melchisedek, as appointed by Christ, from his incarnation and resurrection from the dead, and acceptance as the Wave Sheaf offering. They were nominated according to the towns, signifying their place and also the significance of the duty they were to perform. They were numbered even to their asses and camels.

It is written in Ezra 2:61-63 that those not found written in the genealogy of the priesthood, which here is representative of the book of life of the Lord, were put from the priesthood as polluted. The Tirshatha said to them that they should not eat of the holy things, until there stood among them a priest of the Urim and the Thummin. This is the power of prophecy and the power of the judgment. This priest was Christ. The Tirshatha here is the governor, and is a Persian title. It refers to Nehemiah who gave instructions that the people of non-specific lineage were to wait on the coming of the new priest of the Urim and the Thummin. That would then enable them to eat of the Most Holy things of the priesthood under Melchisedek.

In other words, the priesthood derived from non-Aaronic and non-Levitical, or Gentile lineage, had to wait on Messiah, to be enabled to officiate in the Temple system under Messiah. Nehemiah was the first anointed one of Daniel 9:25 ff, and the Messiah or anointed one after him is the last bishop of Jerusalem, before the destruction, namely James. This aspect is covered in the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13). The story of Melchisedek is covered in the paper Melchisedek (No. 128).

The chief of the fathers who came to Jerusalem offered freely of what they had, to build the house (Ezra 2:68). Thus only by freewill offering is the Temple, which is the house of God, to be built.

Ezra 2:70 The priests, the Levites, and some of the people lived in Jerusalem and its vicinity; and the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all Israel in their towns.

Every person will be allotted his or her place in the Kingdom (cf. Ps.16:5-6). We are to be kings and priests in the new kingdom. We will be allotted our place of residence so to speak, or our chambers in the Temple. These are the chambers or "many mansions" referred to by Christ that are prepared for us (Jn. 14:2). We are to be elohim, like Christ who is at our head (Zech. 12:8). Each group of people will be allocated their own areas or towns.

The Journey

The Journey commenced on the First Day of the First Month of the Sacred Year. This was not to make any such statement that the New Moon of the First Month was not to be kept, because Scripture records that it is to be kept as a solemn feast day. It represents the beginning of the year and the month of the removal of the sons of Israel from Egypt and slavery (Ps. 81:1-16). To cover their iniquity, those who fail to keep the New Moons and the Sanctification process of the First Month, say it refers to the Seventh Month, which is Tishri in the Jewish calendar. The Psalm makes it obvious that it cannot be the Seventh Month, because Israel was brought out in the First Month of Abib (or Nisan).

The First Day of the First Month is the commencement of the Sanctification of the Temple of God, in the preparation for the Passover. As such it was often used to commence major events in the Bible, and was a day of prophecy and solemn assembly. It was on this day that the recovery of the creation was commenced, after Adam had sinned and Satan was placed as God of this world under judgment (See the paper Sanctification of the Temple of God (No. 241)).

From the Passover season and the death of the Messiah, we can be brought into our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

The journey went to the sequence of the months, from the First Day of the First Month to the First Day of the Seventh Month. The people who gathered together at Jerusalem did so under Jeshua, the son of Jozadak and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel the prince. Both of these figures were to represent the two branches of the priesthood and the kingship reflected in the Messiah.

Ezra 3:1-2  When the seventh month came, and the Israelites were in the towns, the people gathered together in Jerusalem. Then Jeshua son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his kin set out to build the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as prescribed in the law of Moses the man of God.

The feast of Trumpets had arrived. The people were established in their towns. But because it was a feast, the people had gathered in Jerusalem. The people assisted the two anointed leaders in the construction of the altar and the beginning of the foundations of the Temple. These are the saints who set out to build the altar of the God of Israel, which is a spiritual altar, to offer burnt offerings, which are the prayers of the saints and those who do the will of God. This is all done as prescribed in the Law of Moses. All of this procedure shows that the law is not done away with or obsolete.

Ezra 3:3-6  They set up the altar on its foundation, because they were in dread of the neighboring peoples, and they offered burnt offerings upon it to the Lord, morning and evening. 4 And they kept the festival of booths, as prescribed, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the ordinance, as required for each day, and after that the regular burnt offerings, the offerings at the new moon and at all the sacred festivals of the Lord, and the offerings of everyone who made a freewill offering to the Lord. From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord.

The people had now begun to turn toward God and to obey Him. The people kept the Day of Trumpets, which falls on the First Day of the 7th month, which is a New Moon. The congregation also kept the festival of Booths or Tabernacles. This is a commanded feast, which must be kept. This is not done away with, or nailed to anything. Isaiah 66:23 shows that this feast will be kept in the millennium. Many churches today overlook the burnt offerings, which were required on the New Moons. Israel was keeping the New Moons, and the Feasts and also the free will offerings, which must be given three times a year.

It is written that after this they offered continual burnt offerings, both of the New Moons, and all of the set feasts of the Lord that were consecrated. The explanations of the commencement of the Journey on the First Day of the First Month and the cessation of the Journey in the First Day of the Month are that they began and ended by consecration to the Lord by burnt offerings, as a sacrifice to the Lord in worship. Thus, the meaning was that they were days of worship, set aside to begin the most important event since the consecration of the temple centuries before, namely the restoration of the system of worship and the reconstruction of the Temple.

With any attempt by a person(s) trying to return to God, they will inevitably encounter resistance from the adversary.

Ezra 4:1-2  When the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of families and said to them, "Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever since the days of King Esar-haddon of Assyria who brought us here."

We all have spiritual adversaries. Some we donít even know. They may even be someone close to us. When weíre spiritually low, and begin to slip into bad habits, or the ways of this world, we will find that our relationships with the people of this world improve. But thatís not our calling. We are to obey God. When we begin to do this, we see that people begin to take an active interest in our attempt to return to Godís way.

Our adversaries may not always seem threatening. They will approach us so we donít even see them coming. Many people will want to Ďbuild with usí. They see that we are beginning to change, so they want to help us by teaching or building us in false doctrines that will eventually bring us to collapse and ruin. We are told to be wise, and build our house on a rock, the God of Truth and to be like the seed that fell on good soil.

Modern Christianity professes to worship God. They believe they are servants of the Most High God. When they see someone who is called by God, obeying and keeping His commandments, they see that person as a threat. It brings to light all that personís error.

Ezra 4:3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of families in Israel said to them, "You shall have no part with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus of Persia has commanded us."

We are to have no part in building our spiritual temple, mixed with any false doctrines. We are to stand strong in the face of our adversaries, not fearing or crumbling to meet their demands. Our faith must be solid. We are to be holy, just as our Father in heaven is holy (2Peter 3:11). So to accomplish this, we cannot take on board false doctrine with which we may have been swayed in the past, or allow mistruths to deter us or corrupt us. God is truth (Deut. 32:4). God will not allow anyone who is holding on to deceit, or lies, to enter His kingdom.

Ezra 4:4-5  Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and made them afraid to build, and they bribed officials to frustrate their plan throughout the reign of King Cyrus of Persia and until the reign of King Darius of Persia.

If gentle persuasion doesnít work, the adversary turns to fear. One of the adversaryís greatest weapons is discouragement. The people of the land can literally mean those close to us. This could be in the form of a partner, spouse, or friend. These people whom we care for and love dearly, can often be caught up in the battle to stop us from our calling. They sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that we donít follow in the way of the One True God. When people who are dear and close to us, turn against us, it has an effect on us. We are human, not robots. Our confidence levels are hampered, because those closest to us, have the greatest mental pulls on us. We are given a choice. Christ said we cannot follow him if we love mother, father, brother, sister husband or wife more than him. We must come to the conclusion that the dead must bury the spiritually dead (see the paper Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (No. 16)).

This world is built upon a false system. A great many people want it to remain that way. The adversary has many of his people in high places.

Ezra 4:6-10  In the reign of Ahasuerus, in his accession year, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. And in the days of Artaxerxes, Bishlam and Mithredath and Tabeel and the rest of their associates wrote to King Artaxerxes of Persia; the letter was written in Aramaic and translated. 8 Rehum the royal deputy and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes as follows (then Rehum the royal deputy, Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their associates, the judges, the envoys, the officials, the Persians, the people of Erech, the Babylonians, the people of Susa, that is, the Elamites, 10 and the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Osnappar deported and settled in the cities of Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River wrote.

The people of this world will band together to stop others from worshipping God. No matter who is in power over our nations, Satan has people who are willing participants in his type of new world order. We see that many nations go after the saints. It will be of a universal attack on the brethren.

Ezra 4:11-16  this is a copy of the letter that they sent): "To King Artaxerxes: Your servants, the people of the province Beyond the River, send greeting. And now 12 may it be known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city; they are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Now may it be known to the king that, if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be reduced. 14 Now because we share the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king's dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king, 15 so that a search may be made in the annals of your ancestors. You will discover in the annals that this is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from long ago. On that account this city was laid waste. 16 We make known to the king that, if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River."

Those against us will purport to tell lies about us. This should not come as any surprise to anyone. They will do and say anything that may hamper us from worshipping Eloah. They will even go to the extent of changing laws of the land so that those laws will deter us.

Ezra 4:21-23  Therefore issue an order that these people be made to cease, and that this city not be rebuilt, until I make a decree. 22 Moreover, take care not to be slack in this matter; why should damage grow to the hurt of the king?" 23 Then when the copy of King Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum and the scribe Shimshai and their associates, they hurried to the Jews in Jerusalem and by force and power made them cease.

Thus in the reign of Artaxerxes 1 construction of the Temple of God was stopped, and it remained uncompleted until the reign of Darius the Persian, who was Darius II. Though things may look grim sometimes, God always has a watchful eye on us. We cannot stop worshipping and obeying God when the laws of the land come into conflict with what God demands of us. We have to stand up and be counted. This also means that we have to count the cost before we begin our journey.

When the edict first went out to the captives to return to Jerusalem, many people would have counted the cost before leaving. They would have reckoned it was too far; or that it was too hard, or perhaps they didnít have the desire to go back to Israel, where God had placed his name. They might have thought it was more comfortable where they were, and they preferred that way of life. This is reflected in the way we obey God. We might not like that way. Or it might be too difficult. We must choose the path that leads to life.

Ezra 5:2-5  Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak set out to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, helping them. 3 At the same time Tattenai the governor of the province Beyond the River and Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them and spoke to them thus, "Who gave you a decree to build this house and to finish this structure?" 4 They also asked them this, "What are the names of the men who are building this building?" But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until a report reached Darius and then answer was returned by letter in reply to it.

This world seeks to find those worshipping the Almighty. It shows us that people in opposition to the saints do not want them to worship their God. Itís not a case of let bygones be bygones. Satan wants to stamp out all knowledge of the One True God, His laws and His statutes. We will not be given a free ride in this life, when we choose to follow Godís commands. Society is being structured so it will be easier to find those who do worship the Lord God. But take courage. The Father has His eye on us. No harm can befall us without the Father knowing. We must obey God, even if it goes against laws that govern our nation.

Ezra 5:11 This was their reply to us: "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished.

Our position is that we serve God. We are to be servants. That means we serve Him by obedience to His Law and statutes. We should also note, that we must understand who we serve. It is the God of heaven and earth. There is only One True God (Eloah) (Deut. 6:4) We are to be strong in the faith when we are questioned concerning our beliefs. We must also know what we are doing. ĎWe are rebuilding the houseí. Israel knew whom they were worshipping and what they were commissioned to do. So must we. We must know what is expected of us. We must know when, how and where we are to worship Eloah. The Israelites knew where they were to build the temple, and when.

Ezra 5:8 May it be known to the king that we went to the province of Judah, to the house of the great God. It is being built of hewn stone, and timber is laid in the walls; this work is being done diligently and prospers in their hands.

The Israelites knew what materials to use to build the temple. God is the rock, from which all are hewn. He is the rock of salvation. We must build ourselves with the right materials, or we are destined to fail. We must build ourselves with spiritual material, which is hewn from the word of God. We must read and understand the Holy Bible, diligently, obeying the commands the Father has laid down for us. If we complete our side of the bargain, so to speak, the Father will increase our knowledge and understanding, writing the laws on our hearts and in our minds. We will prosper in the knowledge of the One True God and the Son whom He sent.

Ezra 5:16 Then this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem; and from that time until now it has been under construction, and it is not yet finished.'

The temple of God is still under construction. Ancient Israel only knew of the physical temple. They could only think within a physical paradigm. When Christ was in the flesh, he introduced to the populace the concept of us, as a people becoming spiritual temples, in which he and his Father would dwell in us. This phase of Godís Plan has not yet been completed. It is Godís will that we all become His sons. We are to become Sons of the Spirit and not of the flesh. He is Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:6).

Ezra 7:6-8   this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses that the Lord the God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was upon him. 7 Some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants also went up to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. They came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.

We must all make the choice to leave Babylon. Ezra could have comfortably stayed where he was, but he knew where he had to be. Once we commit our works to the Lord God, obeying His commands, He will keep His word and Ďwill establish our thoughts" (Prov 16:3). Ezra is living proof of this.

We can rest assured that God will remove all our obstacles. God moved the heart of the king so that all that Ezra asked for was given unto him. No person, no matter how great, important or powerful is unable to be persuaded by God to help any of us. God will move mountains for us (Mat. 17:20).

We read that some of the people and priests decided to return, as well as the singers and gatekeepers. But not everyone decided to return. As mentioned previously, these people counted the cost. Also, not everyone is called at this present time. Many are called, but few are chosen. Those who did leave with Ezra represent the body of Christ. These people had specific functions in the worship of the One True God. So too do we. We all have gifts, according to Godís great purpose and understanding. We are temple servants. We are the temple and we serve the One True God.

The seventh year of the King represents the sabbatical rest. We see from the text that it was the seventh year of the King. This reflects our calling. We leave spiritual Babylon and arrive at our spiritual home, that is Jerusalem, entering the millennium or the 7000th year of human kind.

Ezra was skilled in the law. This law is defined as the Law of Moses that the Lord the God of Israel had given. We as Christians must follow that lead also. We cannot decide to turn from our captivity and leave spiritual Babylon, if we are not skilled in the Law of Moses. Those who profess that the law is done away with, have not left Babylon, but have comfortably adjusted to their surroundings. They are not on the path to Jerusalem, as we know it. We have to know what the laws are, and how and when they have to be applied. If not, we cannot draw near to God. Not only do we have to know them, but also we have to be skilled in understanding their spiritual intent, since Christ has magnified the Law.

Ezra was granted everything that he asked for.

Ezra 7:6 and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was upon him.

We are to have faith when we decide to follow God. Our heavenly Father is able to persuade and stir the spirit of any person, who has a position of authority over us in this world. We should take comfort that God stirred the spirit of King Darius, so that he would allow captives to re-build the Temple at Jerusalem. We should not fear losing our job because we might feel we have an unreasonable boss. God is able to turn a personís initial response of anger and suspicion towards the brethren, into a spirit of understanding and mercy towards us.

Ezra 7:9-10 On the first day of the first month the journey up from Babylon was begun, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the gracious hand of his God was upon him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach the statutes and ordinances in Israel.

Now if we look at Scripture carefully, we see that Ezra began his journey on the First Day of the First Month. But which journey are we talking about here? It could not have been a physical journey, for Ezra was well versed in the laws of God. He knew that the New Moon was to be kept as a Sabbath. Even the nation, which was in Jerusalem, was observing the New Moons, with the ceremonial sacrifices (Ezra 3:5). So it would be ridiculous to assume that Ezra travelled all day rendering the New Moon void.

They set out on the First Day of the First Month, which represents the Sanctification of the Temple. A journey of many miles begins with the first step. So, the first step was to go before God in sacrifice, and ask for His divine intervention and protection in that great endeavour, and to set the group apart in sanctification.

The journey Ezra undertook was one of a spiritual journey. Ezra was leaving spiritual Babylon. Each and every one of us takes this journey. We were all once spiritual captives. Ezra, like all of us, must make the journey, which leads us to our spiritual home.

Ezra knew Godís Calendar (see Godís Calendar (No. 156)). To faithfully follow and obey the One True God, we must know when to worship Him. The Bible states these times of departure and arrival for very good reasons. It showed that Ezra knew when the First Day of the First Month was. Knowing when the First Day of Abib is, we can deduce when other feasts and holy days occur, observing them at their correct times.

Ezra might have started on any other feast day to calculate the other feasts. This is true, but the symbolism and the importance would have been lost. The First Month in Godís calendar is very significant to every Christian. Ezra would have seen the parallel with the departure of ancient Israel under Moses from Egypt. We must also see the spiritual parallel of leaving spiritual Egypt or Babylon.

Ezra went back to rebuild the temple. It is in the First Month that we begin to sanctify and rebuild our temples. We rebuild our hearts and minds. It is a time of rebuilding and repairing our relationship with our God, and our fellow brethren. In the First Month we celebrate the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread and fast for the Simple and Erroneous. It points to Christ, who was our Passover, and is the mediator between man and God. Because of Christís sacrifice, we are able to go into the holy of holies, becoming a spiritual temple for our God to dwell within us through His Holy Spirit. It is a required outward expression of the inner digestion of the truth of the words of the One True God.

The calendar is calculated from the First Month. The month of Nisan or Abib starts Godís Holy calendar. The Jews today calculate their holy days from the Seventh Month. We see that our journey, which is depicted in the feasts of God, begins in the First Month. So it only goes to show, that we should not begin to calculate the feasts at any other point, other than the start of Godís calendar, which is the month of Abib.

Scripture revealed that the journey took four months. It began on the First of Abib and Ezra arrived on the First of the Fifth Month (Ab). This is parallel to the 40 years ancient Israel travelled in the wilderness. It is also interesting to note that the journey took 120 days. For a jubilee for a day, this equates to 6000 years, which reflects manís journey to enter the spiritual rest and kingdom. This in turn is reflected in the Sabbath or seventh day. This is emphasised by the fact that those who left with Ezra arrived in the seventh year of the King. This represents the millennium and the Sabbath rest of God in Christ, under that rule and system.

The journey covers five new moons. The moon is symbolic of the church, which reflects the light of the sun of righteousness. This may refer to the five stones that David drew from the brook/stream to defeat Goliath. These stones picture the five churches, which defeat this world system, represented by Goliath. So we see also, the same symbolism of the five new moons that Ezra and those who left with him kept holy, are the five churches which were considered holy, and made it into the kingís seven-year reign, or rest.

By arriving on the First Day of the Fifth Month (Ab), we see another significant point. Some people today are professing that Ezra travelled on the New Moons. This is false doctrine. The new moons are integral to the understanding and worship of the One True God. Arriving on the First Day of Ab shows that it is an important day in itself. There is no other significance to this day, except that it is a New Moon. It highlights its importance, and reinstates its observance in the overall plan of God. It cannot be mistaken to mean any other Holy day.

However, it also signifies another aspect of the journey to the Millennium.

If we take the months as millennia or thousand year periods, we know when Messiah was to come. That was at the end of the four thousand years of the creation.

The Fifth Month is a number of Grace and we can see that in this event grace was given to us and by grace we entered the kingdom of God.

We were in Israel, the Promised Land, at the First Day of the Fifth Month by Grace. But we took another two months to reach the place where we laid the altar of the Temple of God, and restored the New Moons and the Holy Days, or Sabbaths of the set feasts of the Lord.

Thus it is at the end of the Sixth millennium in 2027 (see the paper Reading the Law with Ezra and Nehemiah (No. 250)), that we enter the Sabbath rest of the Lord God. At that time we take up our duties and the planet is restored to the Law of God.

The New Moons will be mandatory from then on, and the Sabbaths and New Moons and Feasts will be kept. Those not keeping them will no longer be with us, and certainly they will not be in the kingdom of God (Isa. 66:23; Zech. 14:16-19).

Our walk from Babylon should be as with Ezra and Nehemiah. We set out from the New Moon, which is the Solemn Assembly of the Sanctification of the Temple and the Passover of the Lamb of God. Through grace, we then go on until the millennial rest of Jesus Christ.

 

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