The Return

Isaiah 46:13 - ...and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.

Lesson 64: Troublous Times (Pt. 1)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Jul. 27, 2022  |  Dan. 9:25; Ezr. 1:1-11; 6:1-12; 7:11-26  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we begin to evaluate the troublous times of the second installment of the fifth course of punishment.  Within this timeframe, we are anticipating the coming of a commandment from Judah's Gentiles lords for the restoration and rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem.  As our attention turns to the book of Ezra, we find 3 commandments concerning Jerusalem.  Two of the three pertain to the reconstruction of the temple and the work of the first band of Jews that had migrated back to Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel.  While these are certainly prophetically significant, they are not the signal of the start of the initial seven weeks of Daniel's vision.  It is the third commandment, issued by Artaxerxes in the days of Ezra that first pertains to the reconstruction of the city.  Through an examination of each one of these commandments we come to place the start of the second installment at that time.  This is a very detailed and interesting section of scripture, so keep your Bible handy and compare the passages with us as we draw this conclusion.

Lesson 65: Troublous Times (Pt. 2)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Aug. 3, 2022  |  Isa. 13:1, 17-22; 44:21-28; 45:1-4; Ezr. 1:1-4; 3:8-13; 4:1-6, 24; 5:1-2; 6:14-15  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we begin to dive into the details of the Medo-Persian period of the times of the Gentiles.  We start out looking at a pair of prophecies given concerning the rise of the Medes and drill into the depth of God's foreknowledge as He calls Cyrus by name a century and a half prior to his use for Israel's sake and the return to the land.  After the prophetic utterances are established, we jump back into the history of Ezra, beginning with the decree of Cyrus for the temple's reconstruction in Jerusalem.  We follow Zerubbabel and the returning remnant through the foundation work, see the arrival of opposition through their adversaries  and the idle neglect of the work that is rebuked by God's prophets.  This is an action packed message with numerous references that are worth your time in invested study.

Lesson 66: Troublous Times (Pt. 3)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Aug. 10, 2022  |  Ezra 4:7-16, 21-23; 7:1, 6-25; Neh. 1:1-11; 2:1-20; 6:15-16  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we enter the second installment in earnest as Ezra is authorized by Artaxerxes to return to Jerusalem for the teaching of the law of the LORD and the restitution of the city of Jerusalem.  As we consider Ezra, a ready scribe in the law of Moses, we are given to see parallels with the times of the work of the temple reconstruction with respect to commandments, opposition, and reauthorization from the Gentiles.  The times of Nehemiah also factor into this as the initial seven weeks of Daniel's visions get underway.

Lesson 67: Troublous Times (Pt. 4)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Aug. 17, 2022  |  Esther 1:1-12, 19-22; 2:1-11, 15-23; 3:1-15; 4:1-17; 5:1-3, 9-14; 6:1-10; 7:1-10  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we survey the book of Esther and take note of how it fits into the program of God with Israel in the second installment of the fifth course of punishment.  Many verses are read as we follow the narrative through the days of Ahasuerus, Haman, Mordecai & Esther and the ancient conflict between the Jews and Amalekites.  While the name of God is never mentioned, He is active and present among His people in the land of their enemies despite their deservingness and is faithful to His own word and program.  This marvelous reality is very evident despite the absence of explicit reference to Him.  This thrilling narrative is sure to charge the soul with awe for God and the excellency of His word!

Lesson 68: The Silence of God (Pt. 1)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Aug. 24, 2022  |  Neh. 7:1-4; 9:6-38; 10:28-39; 13:6-27; Mal. 1:6-14; 2:10-17; 3:1-11  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we prepare for a transition on the timeline from the second installment of the fifth course of punishment into the third which is characterized by the silence of God.  The space of time between the labeled testaments of the Bible was a long and chaotic period.  With no new, prophetic revelation during this period, this section has obvious challenges for Bible study.  However, in the wisdom of God, He did not leave Israel (nor us) in the dark as to what to expect.  Rather, what He had already given by way of revelation contained all the wisdom and understanding needed for his people to navigate this time in anticipation of the coming Messiah.  We begin to familiarize ourselves with these concepts in this study and lay the groundwork for the upcoming messages devoted to this period of the silence of God.

Lesson 69: The Silence of God (Pt. 2)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Aug. 31, 2022  |  Isa. 50:1-7; Jer. 3:1-8, 20; Hos. 2:1-23; 5:14-15; 6:1-3; Amo. 8:1-12; Mic. 5:1-3  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we continue to look at the scriptures that instruct us concerning the judgment of the silence of God that Israel experienced as part of the fifth course of punishment after Malachi's prophecy was concluded.  Although the LORD would send a famine of hearing the words of the LORD during this long period of time, He did not leave them without witness as to what He would be doing and what they should be doing during that time as they awaited the arrival of Jehovah's messenger and presence of the Christ among them.  One of the notable issues for that time was the bill of divorcement that had put away the married relationship of Israel and Judah to the LORD on the basis of the Sinaitic covenant.  The hope of any living union relationship in the land between the LORD and the nation on that basis was for ever gone.  Despite the hopeless outlook of such a predicament, the LORD nevertheless promised to undertake their redemption and provide for a new covenant and an altering of the nation's former, adulterous identity whereby they might be for ever joined to the LORD and abide in His land.  These points and more are highlighted in this message as we continue the series, Israel My Glory.

Lesson 70: The Silence of God (Pt. 3)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Sep. 7, 2022  |  Isa. 49:24-26; Job 1:1-42:17  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we begin to explore the books of scripture that set forth the lessons that Israel needed to learn during God's long period of silence.  Conveniently located after Esther and the conclusion of the second installment of the fifth course of punishment are the poetical and prophetical books of the time past era.  While these books are not historical in nature and had been written prior to the fifth course of punishment, contained within them are the doctrinal components that would prepare them for the coming of Messiah and the last times of the fourth and fifth installments.  The issues of Israel's lawful captivity, their redemption through the Son of David and their many tribulations preceding the establishment of the kingdom are covered by these scriptures.  Special focus in this message is given to the book of Job and the satanic captivity that he endures; a parallel to the nation and the condition of the remnant for the remainder of the program.

Lesson 71: The Silence of God (Pt. 4)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Sep. 14, 2022  |  Psalms 1:1-150:6; Proverbs 1:1-31:31  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we continue to explore the books of scripture that set forth the lessons that Israel needed to learn during God's long period of silence.  Having covered Israel's satanic captivity and the sufferings of the remnant under his hand, we move on to the Psalms and review the mechanical details of how Israel's captive predicaments are to find their solution in the coming Son of David.  Psalms expounds the mandates of the Davidic Covenant and the full package of saving health that will be brought to Israel by their coming Messiah, David's greater Son.  We briefly touch on these topics in the present context of our study and then point the listeners back to Lesson #47 where these concepts were explained previously.  Afterward, we move on to the Proverbs and the contrast that is set before the believing remnant concerning the wisdom of God vs. the foolishness of Israel's vain religious system.  We see the wisdom that will make a separation in Israel during the coming time of purging and the preparatory work that the doctrine begins to establish in them in anticipation of the coming days of the Son of man.

Lesson 72: The Silence of God (Pt. 5)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Sep. 21, 2022  |  Ecclesiastes 1:1-4, 12-18; 12:13-14; Song of Solomon 1:1-4; 7:10-13; 8:10-14  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we continue to explore the books of scripture that set forth the lessons that Israel needed to learn during God's long period of silence.  We take a brief look at both Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon to round out our understanding of the poetical books and begin to lay the groundwork for the edification of the writing prophets.  We see God's work of providing sense and sequence to the believers in Israel and learn the doctrinal gist of the lessons these books are to serve in the edification of the remnant of Israel as the program moves along.

Lesson 73: The Silence of God (Pt. 6)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Sep. 28, 2022  |  Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:24-28; Lev. 26:11-13, 32-35; Deut. 29:1l; 30:1-10  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we run through a listing of prophetic themes that are covered by the writing prophets and then we begin to set the context for an examination of the new covenant as the prophets set it forth to Israel.  The primary aim of this lesson is to review the major covenants in God's program with Israel and their relationship to the nation in view of their occupation of the land and spiritual functioning as God's people upon it.  We talk briefly about the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, the Palestinian Covenant (mentioning the Davidic Covenant) and finally the New Covenant in its relation to the others.

Lesson 74: The Silence of God (Pt. 7)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Oct. 5, 2022  |  Jer. 31:31-34; Eze. 36:24-28; Hos. 1:8-10; 2:17-23  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we continue to examine this doctrine of the new covenant as taught by the writing prophets.  With the contextual background set forth in the previous message, we advance further into the prophets and highlight a few key passages that give the looping details of this prophetic theme.  Our initial focus is with Jeremiah and the hallmark passage concerning the new covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34.  A few other passages from Jeremiah's prophecy are touched upon, followed by a brief look at texts within Isaiah, Ezekiel and Hosea.  Through this selection of passages we seek to demonstrate that the details of the new covenant is indeed a prophetic theme covered in the writing prophets for Israel's edification.

Lesson 75: The Silence of God (Pt. 8)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Oct. 12, 2022  |  Eze. 36:24-30; Mal. 3:1-4; Lev. 15:19-33  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we move on to another theme of the writing prophets and consider the details of Israel's prescription for national cleansing.  Due to the defilement that soiled the nation through their many legal transgressions, Israel had become unclean through their abominations and filthy association with Gentile practices.  Their pollution of uncleanness was likened to that of a removed woman, and as such they were legally unclean and unable to function in Jehovah's priestly service in the land.  Israel's need, therefore, was to be cleansed, and Jehovah's prophets set forth the divine prescription for how they will be washed and purged to refine them and bring forth the pure gold and silver to enter and serve in His kingdom.  These concepts are the subject of this teaching as we explore the doctrine of the remnant, the legal context of Israel's uncleanness and finally the divine solution for their cleansing.

Lesson 76: The Silence of God (Pt. 9)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Oct. 19, 2022  |  Isaiah 4:2-6; 5:1-7; 10:5-6, 15, 33-34; 11:1-10  |  Download Audio  |  Youtube

In this message, we consider the concept of "the branch of the LORD" with respect to the nation of Israel and the Messiah Himself.  As the vine taken out of Egypt, Israel was designed to be planted in the LORD's vineyard and grow into a mighty tree that blessed the nations and brought them under the shadow of the Almighty's kingdom.  However, Israel's vine was of the vine of Sodom and rather than yielding the peaceable fruits of righteousness and holiness meet for Jehovah's good pleasure, she yielded the wild grapes of oppression and ungodliness. At last, the Gentile axe was brought against the abominable vine and lopped it even with the ground.  Israel and the Davidic kingdom tree in Judah was hewn down as the fifth course of punishment came upon them.  It is amid this devastation, that the true Branch, the Messiah, will spring forth as the rod out of the stem of Jesse and identify with His nation to be their Redeemer.  Likewise those of the nation that become identified with Him and His generation will find the source of life in the True Vine that finally enables the remnant nation to bear the good fruits of the kingdom unto God's glory.  These matters and more are the subjects of this study.

Lesson 77: The Silence of God (Pt. 10)

Bro. Joshua Edwards  |  Oct. 26, 2022  |  Isa. 4:2; 40:9-11; 42:1; 52:13; Jer. 23:5-6; 33:15-16; Eze. 34:19-31; Zec. 3:8; 6:12; 9:9; 13:7
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In this message, we finish our examination of the Branch of the LORD by a focused look at the doctrinal development within the writings of the prophets themselves.  Based on the foundation laid in the previous message, we have the necessary understanding to see why the prophets talk about the Branch in the way that they do and apply their references to both Israel and the Messiah.  The essence of the doctrine is expressed in what Israel is to BEHOLD in the coming Branch.  The prophets' fourfold presentation of Him is that which lays the foundation for the gospels and led by the Holy Spirit the evangelists amplify upon these prophetic themes to set forth to Israel the Christ that they must behold!  These items and more are the subjects of this message.