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Most Christians know of the writings of Ezra in the bible.  Ezra was a scribe and prophet that lived around the time of the return of the Jews from the Babylon captivity to Jerusalem. It was Ezra and Nehemiah that prophesied of this return to Jerusalem, and prophesied on God’s behalf to the leaders and people of the time. Ezra is known for some other writings that weren’t included in the canon- 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras.  These books can be found today in what is called the Apocrypha. Studying these books can definitely be a blessing to you. The book of 1 Esdras covers the time when Zerubbabel (the man who governed over the people of Israel returning to Jerusalem) and Joshua (aka Yahshua, who became the first high priest of the people upon their return to Jerusalem) were tasked with rebuilding Jerusalem, a city that laid in rubble having been destroyed by the Babylonians. These men were also tasked with restoring the temple of God. This book takes us into the details of the historic account of what happened during this time. You can see in their restoration of the city, how they worked to reestablish the laws and times of God:

“But when the seventh month was at hand, and when the children of Israel were every man in his own place, they came all together with one consent into the open place of the first gate which is toward the east. Then stood up Jesus the son of Josedec, and his brethren the priests and Zorobabel the son of Salathiel, and his brethren, and made ready the altar of the God of Israel, To offer burnt sacrifices upon it, according as it is expressly commanded in the book of Moses the man of God. And there were gathered unto them out of the other nations of the land, and they erected the altar upon his own place, because all the nations of the land were at enmity with them, and oppressed them; and they offered sacrifices according to the time, and burnt offerings to the Lord both morning and evening. Also they held the feast of tabernacles, as it is commanded in the law, and offered sacrifices daily, as was meet: And after that, the continual oblations, and the sacrifice of the sabbaths, and of the new moons, and of all holy feasts. And all they that had made any vow to God began to offer sacrifices to God from the first day of the seventh month, although the temple of the Lord was not yet built. And they gave unto the masons and carpenters money, meat, and drink, with cheerfulness.” ~ 1 Esdras 5:47-54

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What an interesting account of exactly what these men were tasked with.  Not only did they have to rebuild the city of God from scratch, they also were tasked with restoring the times and laws of God. You can also see here, that the feasts are “commanded by the law.” We encourage you to check out and read the entire book of 1 Esdras.  The book of 2 Esdras has a bit of a different tone.  You could call it the Apocalypse of Esdras if you want, as it is rich with prophecy of the last days and visions/revelations from an angel of God. Today, I’d just like to mention some highlights from this awesome book. First, Ezra talks about a people (US) who would one day believe in the ways of God without seeing, or even without having the prophets or a sign:

“Your houses will I give to a people that shall come; which not having heard of me yet shall believe me; to whom I have shewed no signs, yet they shall do that I have commanded them. They have seen no prophets, yet they shall call their sins to remembrance, and acknowledge them. I take to witness the grace of the people to come, whose little ones rejoice in gladness: and though they have not seen me with bodily eyes, yet in spirit they believe the thing that I say.” ~ 2 Esdras 1:35-37

What an interesting text, speaking of those even in our time, that believe without seeing, without a sign, and they acknowledge their sins.  This indicates that the Jews of this time were arrogant, unable to acknowledge their sin maybe walking in a state of self righteousness. This next quote from 2 Esdras is profound. I once had a conversation with someone who believed that since Jesus fulfilled the law of God, we are no longer required to fulfill it.  See what Ezra has to say here:

“Be ready to the reward of the kingdom, for the everlasting light shall shine upon you for evermore. Flee the shadow of this world, receive the joyfulness of your glory: I testify my Saviour openly. O receive the gift that is given you, and be glad, giving thanks unto him that hath led you to the heavenly kingdom. Arise up and stand, behold the number of those that be sealed in the feast of the Lord; Which are departed from the shadow of the world, and have received glorious garments of the Lord. Take thy number, O Sion, and shut up those of thine that are clothed in white, which have fulfilled the law of the Lord.” ~ 2 Esdras 2:35-40

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Here Ezra speaks of the inheritance of the Kingdom of Heaven which we know comes at the return of Jesus. He speaks of those clothed in white, “which have fulfilled the law of the Lord.” Notice that even once we’ve received Christ and repented, we must constantly seek to obey God and his way/law. We repent for our disobedience to the law, and change our lives to become obedient to it, walking in the Holy Spirit that is placed within us. We are tasked with prayerfully searching the scriptures to understand His law, while the Holy Spirit teaches us. This next text speaks of the “latter times”, and those that have “despised the law of God.”

“And therefore ask thou no more questions concerning the multitude of them that perish. For when they had taken liberty, they despised the most High, thought scorn of his law, and forsook his ways. Moreover they have trodden down his righteous, But they which be created have defiled the name of him that made them, and were unthankful unto him which prepared life for them. And therefore is my judgment now at hand. These things have I not shewed unto all men, but unto thee, and a few like thee. Then answered I and said, Behold, O Lord, now hast thou shewed me the multitude of the wonders, which thou wilt begin to do in the last times: but at what time, thou hast not shewed me.” ~ 2 Esdras 8:55-63

“Even so the times also of the Highest have plain beginnings in wonder and powerful works, and endings in effects and signs. And every one that shall be saved, and shall be able to escape by his works, and by faith, whereby ye have believed, Shall be preserved from the said perils, and shall see my salvation in my land, and within my borders: for I have sanctified them for me from the beginning. Then shall they be in pitiful case, which now have abused my ways: and they that have cast them away despitefully shall dwell in torments. For such as in their life have received benefits, and have not known me; And they that have loathed my law, while they had yet liberty, and, when as yet place of repentance was open unto them, understood not, but despised it; The same must know it after death by pain. And therefore be thou not curious how the ungodly shall be punished, and when: but enquire how the righteous shall be saved, whose the world is, and for whom the world is created. I have said before, and now do speak, and will speak it also hereafter, that there be many more of them which perish, than of them which shall be saved: Like as a wave is greater than a drop.” ~ 2 Esdras 9:6-16

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This is a powerful testimony of the judgment that comes for those that despise the law of God- a law that has never changed. Ezra, like all of the prophets, like Moses, like John the Baptist, like Jesus, and like the Apostles brings the message of the importance of obeying the commandments of God, even for those in the latter times as here he speaks about these latter times:

Woe to them that sin, and keep not my commandments! saith the Lord. I will not spare them: go your way, ye children, from the power, defile not my sanctuary. For the Lord knoweth all them that sin against him, and therefore delivereth he them unto death and destruction. For now are the plagues come upon the whole earth and ye shall remain in them: for God shall not deliver you, because ye have sinned against him. Behold an horrible vision, and the appearance thereof from the east:” ~ 2 Esdras 15:24-28

“And they that consent unto them shall be had in derision and in reproach, and trodden under foot. For there shall be in every place, and in the next cities, a great insurrection upon those that fear the LordThey shall be like mad men, sparing none, but still spoiling and destroying those that fear the Lord. For they shall waste and take away their goods, and cast them out of their housesThen shall they be known, who are my chosen; and they shall be tried as the gold in the fire. Hear, O ye my beloved, saith the Lord: behold, the days of trouble are at hand, but I will deliver you from the same. Be ye not afraid neither doubt; for God is your guide, And the guide of them who keep my commandments and precepts, saith the Lord God:” ~ 2 Esdras 16:69-76

This last quote mentions a time of tribulation for those that fear God.  They will be cast out of their homes, their goods will be stolen, and they will be tried as “gold tried in the fire.” He confirms that God will deliver his people, and identifies his people as those who keep “His commandments and precepts.” Ezra goes on to prophecy about the latter days in detail, and we encourage you to read these writings.  Though they aren’t in the Canon, these books are widely known and accepted as additional writings of the prophet Ezra, even by the Jewish people. If you haven’t come to Christ already, cry out and repent to Jesus for your disobedience to His laws and precepts, and become baptized for the remission of your sins! Receive the Holy Spirit, a new and perfect spirit which will be placed inside of you to teach you the ways and laws of God which will from this day forward be written into your heart. Please prayerfully consider the testimony of Ezra.