DISCIPLES OF THE ROYAL DECREE
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. 3 Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:1-4)When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the people who returned from exile were building a temple for the LORD God of Israel, 2 they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of the families. They told them, "We want to help you build because we worship the same God you worship. We have been sacrificing to him since the time of King Esarhaddon of Assyria, who brought us here." 3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of Israel's families told them, "It isn't right for your people and our people to build a temple for our God together. We must build it alone for the LORD God of Israel, as King Cyrus of Persia ordered us to do." 4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, 5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. (Ezra 4:1-5) The Babylonian captivity was coming to an end and a new king was emerging a Media-Persian King by the name of Cyrus. King Cyrus released a decree that authorized advancement. The decree was to rebuild the house of the Lord. This decree would bring restoration to the temple and reformation to the people and its government. (Ezra 7:20-25) Daily provision for the project came from the king’s treasury. All needs were met, and even items that the enemy (Nebuchadnezzar) had stolen were returned. (Ezra 1:4-7) With all this momentum the people were able to lay the foundation of the temple. There was a great rejoicing that occurred with a mixture of crying and shouts of joy. However after the foundation was laid all hell broke loose. Opposition rose up to stop the progress of the people that were making a place for the Lord to dwell. (Ezra 4:1-5) The opposition rose up when the believers were ready to rebuild the walls. The walls were the defense mechanism for the city. When walls are down it leaves the foundation open for an attack. The enemy would love to keep our defenses down so he can attack our foundations. The attack was subtle at first then it escalated. The adversaries came to the father’s houses under the guise of seekers that had previous experience in worship and sacrifice to the God of Israel. (Ezra 4:2) After the adversaries were denied access by the fathers their true motives were revealed. I believe we are about to see a separation of those that are truly following after the royal decree of the King of Kings “go into all the world make disciples,” and those that are in opposition to the decree. There will be those in this hour that will come to where the Lord’s house is advancing, confessing with their mouths that they love the Lord, but their heart is far from him. They are like artificial wax fruit. They appear to fill up the bowl (congregation) and make the church look as if they have reaped a great harvest; however, wax fruit doesn’t contain seed, can never reproduce, and it has never been connected to a tree or a vine. They look polished and glossy when the light is on them, and if anyone partakes of this fruit it would bring poison to the body instead of nourishment. They are willing to make sacrifices only to gain access and destroy the house from within. I want to point out that the attack came to the heads of the fathers’ houses first. It’s a picture of how this attack comes against those in leadership positions or those in authority. It tries to bring discouragement, fear, delay, and frustration. (Ezra 4:4-5) In Ezra 4:6 there is a change in government from Cyrus to Ahasuerus. The name/title “Ahasuerus” means “I will be silent and poor”. This is how the enemy would love to keep the church, silent and poor. After Ahasuerus the opposition continued under a new king, Artaxerxes (Pseudo Smerdis). The adversaries accused the Jews of building a rebellious and evil city as they were repairing the walls and the foundations. Artaxerxes released a decree to cease the building of the temple and it was carried out by force. (Ezra 4:6, 12-23) By this time about 16 years had passed since Cyrus’ decree to rebuild. Many of the people had quit working on the Lord’s house and went to work on their own houses and lands. Once the worked had ceased God raised up some prophets by the name of Haggai and Zechariah to remind the people of the original decree to rebuild. (Hag. 1:1, Zech 1:1) The people prospered through the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah. The work resumed during the 2nd year of a new King/Artaxerxes Darius and was completed in the 6th year of his reign. (Ezra 4:24, 6:15) Here is the parallel for us today. Ephesians 2:20 says that we are, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. In Malachi 4, Matthew 17, and Acts 3 we read about the spirit of Elijah and the restoration of all things. Restoration means to return to a former state. Reformation is a condition that is superior to an earlier state or an improvement in the existing form or condition. Transformation is a change in nature, function, or condition. Restoration was John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, Reformation was Jesus crying out on the cross. Transformation was Peter crying out on Pentecost and 3000 people were saved. We have seen the laying of the foundation with the restoration of the Apostolic and Prophetic ministries. Now that the five-fold ministries are functioning again it is time for the equipping of the saints. When the saints are equipped the decree of reformation is carried out. When reformation is carried out cities are transformed. We must contend for reformation. There is a spirit of opposition/hindrance that is released by the enemy when the decree of reformation is made. It will attempt to wear out the saints of the most high. (Dan.7:25) The believers must remember the original decree of our king and wage the warfare with it. We can’t allow ourselves to grow weary in well doing. It is time to become disciples of the royal decree. We must keep the sword in one hand and a trowel in the other while we continue to defend what we have been called to build.