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“Written documents play a major role in the book of Ezra. Official letters stop and start the work in the temple (4:23; 6:6-7). A letter gives Ezra authority to carry out reforms (7:25-26). The written word of God is a moving force in the narrative (3:2; 10:3). It has been noted that the significance of this theme in Ezra is rooted in the fact that the era involved is that of the last Old Testament prophets (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi). After them, there was to be a period of prophetic silence, during which the people of God would be governed exclusively by the written word. John the Baptist would break this silence, and new revelation would once more be given through Christ and His apostles, in whom God’s definitive word for His Church would be finally completed and sealed.

Ezra himself is described as ‘expert in the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel’ and as one who ‘prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances to Israel.’ Perhaps even more striking are the words that God laid upon the heart of King Artaxerxes in his letter to Ezra. Verse 23 reads, ‘Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven.’ For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?’

That sounds like a statement of the Regulative Principle of Worship, from the pen of a pagan king-one who had been moved to realize that God was extremely jealous for the restoration of His pure worship according to His explicit commands. Once more, then, we are directed to the sufficiency and authority of the written word of God as the only rule for worship and life.

Ezra tells us that the restoration of pure worship in Jerusalem was the result of ‘the good hand of his God upon him.’ And God’s good hand moved Ezra first, to study God’s word concerning worship; second, to personally submit to it; third, to teach others. This is the calling of the Church in every age and will always be the key to her restoration.” (Comin, 155-156)

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