30 Days to Understanding the Bible Session 4

Faith Church May 1, 2004

Overview:  This session covers the material in Chapters 10-12


I.  Exile

Now, During the time of the exile, there were some great spiritual leaders, and there was repentance on the part of a segment of the Jewish people.  However, this did not remove the penalty for the years of rebellion.


One of those great spiritual leader’s was Daniel.

We were studying Daniel last year at this time in our worship and you can get the sermon notes off the web site if you would like to supplement your studies.

Now, here is the story line for this era


Story-Line Summary:  Daniel gives leadership and encourages faithfulness among the exiles for the next 70 years.

(Repeat for memorization purposes)


Now let’s look at this period in a little more detail.  There are four main divisions in the Exile Era:  1.  Prophecy, 2.  Prophets, 3. Exiles, 4. Power Change


1.  Prophecy:  Warning of impending captivity (Jeremiah)

The northern Kingdom had already seen the fulfillment of God’s promised consequences by being hauled off to Assyria in  722 BC.  Now Judah the southern Kingdom begins receiving warnings from the prophets.


(May want to draw an abbreviated timeline time line 2100 BC—Abraham, 1445 Moses, 1000 David, 930 Divided Kingdom, 722 Assyria invades Northern Kingdom, 605 BC  Nebuchanezzar takes first captives from Judah, 586 Jerusalem destroyed by Babylon)


So now, Judah the southern kingdom has the example God made of the Northern Kingdom and also they have the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah.

(peruse Jeremiah 2:1-3--former devotion, Jer 3:11-12—call for repentence, Jer 4:4:1-2 & 6-8 what God will do if they repent or if they don’t, Jer 29:10-11 great verses)


INPUT:  What lessons can we learn about God sending His word and His prophets to warn?  (God of grace and mercy)


Unfortunately however, the nation did not as a whole respond to God’s grace and mercy and repent.  They were taken captive

2.  Prophets:  Encouraging faithfulness of exiles (Ezekiel and Daniel)

God still showed his grace and mercy by providing prophets to encourage the exiles in captivity.

The two Major Prophets during this time of exile was Daniel and Ezekiel.

INPUT:  What do you know about their prophecies or lives that would have been an encouragement to the exiles?  (Daniel’s faithful life, Prophecies of a future kingdom, a restored kingdom under a coming Messiah, etc.)


3.  Exiles:  Assimilated into a foreign culture (Just briefly mention)



4.  Power change:  Babylon Falls and Persian Empire expands

(May just want to point to the movement of world powers on your map transparency.  I.e. Assyria comes and gets the Northern Kingdom, then Babylon conquers Assyria and conquers the southern Kingdom, then Persia conquers Babylon which ultimately sets the stage for the return of the exiles, pg. 74)


INPUT:  What lessons can we learn from the period of exile?  (God keeps his word about consequence, sin is serious, God always balances his justice with grace and mercy)

Review Quiz:  Pg. 73 A & B


II.  Return:

(Illustrate by using story on pg. 76)

The Israelites went into exile a drifting, idolatrous, and confused people.

They spent agonizing years in solitude and in physical and mental torment

They did return to Israel to some extent like Peter Jenkins, a sobered, more mature people


INPUT:   What was one of God’s major disappointments with Israel prior to the exile?  (Idolatry)

It is interesting that after the time of exile we never find Israel worshiping idols any more.  Even today you don’t see Jewish folks worshiping idols.  They may be thoroughly secularized today but they are not like the culture of India or other oriental cultures that worship idols.


Now, again, through out this period we have some leaders who take a prominent role in leading the people


INPUT:  Who are the prominent leaders in this period.  (Ezra & Nehemiah)

INPUT:  What did Ezra do?  (rebuild the temple—the center piece of Jerusalem)

INPUT:  What did Nehemiah do? (rebuild the


So a concise story line for this period might be

Story-line:  Ezra leads the people back from exile to rebuild Jerusalem


Like always we are expanding this story line just a bit so you know a little more about this period and we have four major subjects in the return era  1. Disrepair, 2.  Temple, 3. People, 4 Walls


1.  Disrepair:  Destruction from war and neglect

(Read Nehemiah 1:1-3)


2.  Temple:  Rebuilding the temple

(Read Ezra 1:1-7)


3.  People:  Spiritual rebuilding (Read Ezra 7:9-10, cf. Neh 8:1-8)

Most of the Jews at that time had never seen or heard of the Law of Moses

Remember, at least a generation had past in captivity, where they lost their documents, traditions, and temple worship

Most of these returning exiles were probably born in captivity and thus never had  the experience of the Jewish culture

They had to be instructed in a national reeducation program

So Ezra sets his heart on studying the Law of the Lord in order to practice it, and to teach God’s statutes and ordinances in all Israel.

One of the people’s first lesson was in confession of sin.

Take a look at Nehemiah 9:

This whole chapter is one long prayer confessing God’s greatness and the people’s wickedness.


INPUT:  What do you learn about confession of sin from this account?  (May want to park on verses 32-37)  Acknowledgement of wrong doing, using words that God  would use—wickedness, sin, evil, acknowledging his justice in bringing about whatever consequences he choses, etc.


4.  Walls:  Restoration complete  (Read Neh 6:15-16)


INPUT:  What are some lessons about God we can learn from this period of time with Nehemiah?  With Ezra?  With Ester?



Review Quiz pp. 79-80 A & B


III.  Silence


Turn to the book of Malachi

This is the last book written in the Old Testament to Israel before God enter into a period of silence

As you just thumb through the book you do notice (note titles of sections) that the people are still struggling in sinful living (sins of priest, priests to be disciplined, robbing God of the tithes, etc)


God ends the book with Malachi 4:4-6 (I’m going to send Elijah)

This was the last message to the people prior to a 400-year period of silence from God

If the people had remembered this message, they would have been ready to receive their promised Messiah. 

Note what Jesus said in Matthew 17:9-13


But you notice that the Jews didn’t receive John the Baptist nor Jesus Christ, even though the last message God spoke to them about was a coming messenger.


Also, God was preparing the world to receive the Messiah. . .

  • The changing Guard:  The march of nations.

Through these 400 years the world Power of Persia is replace by the Greek Empire.

The Greek language and culture  become the language of the world.

Even when the Greeks fall and Rome rises to be a world power, the Greek language is still the world’s language

The Roman Empire brought this region military peace and an extensive system of roads and sea travel, and a common government so that people can travel extensively without interference

(May want to park on the Sovereignty of God right here and make some practical application)


  • The Messianic Hope:  Expectation of a savior

Throughout all of this Jews are suffering such religious persecution and political humiliation that widespread hope and the expectation of a Messiah exists.


Even with all God’s preparation of the nations and the Messianic expectations of the Jews, the Jewish people were still blinded to what God was going to do


  • Religious Sects:  Pharisees and Sadducees

Part of that was because during these years of silence, a sense of pride developed and a pattern or religious hypocrisy developed among the spiritual leaders which we now know as the Pharisees and Sadducees

(Illustration with Lion story on p. 83)

(May want to read description of groups on p. 86)

INPUT:  How do you see this description based upon accounts in the Gospels?



That’s why the storyline of this era is “Pharisees and others entomb the Israelites in legalism for the next four hundred years”


These facts make the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, claiming to be the Messiah, an event that captures the attention of the entire Jewish world and sets the stage for the rapid spread of the Gospel among gentiles after the ascension of Christ


Review quiz pp. 87-90

Faith Church