Before going to Ezra, I want to say that one can do a whole lot of digging deeper in the last two chapters of Daniel. History tells about those kings, and we know from what Jesus said and what is written in Revelation, that God plans for history to repeat itself. The main ‘take-away’ points are clear, just as they are in Revelation: Blessed are those who endure and live wise and holy lives.
It is a great time now to return to those three small remaining books of history remaining for us to read this year: Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. These books allow us to see the fulfilment of prophecies we have read about. King Cyrus was one of the kings served by Daniel and alluded to in his prophetic visions. Now, in Ezra, we will read Cyrus’ proclamation, which is in accordance with Jeremiah’s prophecy about the 70 year duration of the exile in Babylonia. And we haven’t read it yet, but Isaiah specifically names Cyrus twice— writing about him some 150 to 200 years before Cyrus was born.
The advantage of reading a meaning based translation like the GNT/NLT is that you readers and listeners had the pleasure of understanding the mocking of Isaiah (or God, in the NLT) by the people of Israel, and Isaiah and God’s mocking response (28:7-13). Then in that context, it is shocking to find the famous verses quoted in the New Testament:
Is. 28:16 NLT Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken.
The New Testament quotes this verse three times. In all three, the last line has the object “believes in him” (Jesus) because Paul and Peter quoted from the Septuagint, the ancient translation of the OT into Greek.
The heart of what Paul was teaching about in chapter 9 about the practice of Christian charity is this:
2Cor. 9:6 GNT Remember that the person who plants few seeds will have a small crop; the one who plants many seeds will have a large crop.
8 And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause.
15 Let us thank God for his priceless gift!
Just like Philippians 4, it should never be forgotten that the promise of God providing (such as v.8) is found in the context of people who are already unselfishly supporting God’s work.
GNT Translation note:
2Cor. 10:3 It is true that we live in the world, but we do not fight [with worldly motives or methods//from worldly motives].
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