Ezra 2 & Acts 2

Ezra 2

    Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town. They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

    The number of the men of the people of Israel: the sons of Parosh, 2,172. The sons of Shephatiah, 372. The sons of Arah, 775. The sons of Pahath-moab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,812. The sons of Elam, 1,254. The sons of Zattu, 945. The sons of Zaccai, 760. The sons of Bani, 642. The sons of Bebai, 623. The sons of Azgad, 1,222. The sons of Adonikam, 666. The sons of Bigvai, 2,056. The sons of Adin, 454. The sons of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, 98. The sons of Bezai, 323. The sons of Jorah, 112. The sons of Hashum, 223. The sons of Gibbar, 95. The sons of Bethlehem, 123. The men of Netophah, 56. The men of Anathoth, 128. The sons of Azmaveth, 42. The sons of Kiriath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, 743. The sons of Ramah and Geba, 621. The men of Michmas, 122. The men of Bethel and Ai, 223. The sons of Nebo, 52. The sons of Magbish, 156. The sons of the other Elam, 1,254. The sons of Harim, 320. The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 725. The sons of Jericho, 345. The sons of Senaah, 3,630.

    The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, 973. The sons of Immer, 1,052. The sons of Pashhur, 1,247. The sons of Harim, 1,017.

    The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, 74. The singers: the sons of Asaph, 128. The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, in all 139.

    The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, the sons of Keros, the sons of Siaha, the sons of Padon, the sons of Lebanah, the sons of Hagabah, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hagab, the sons of Shamlai, the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai, the sons of Asnah, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephisim, the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, the sons of Bazluth, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Temah, the sons of Neziah, and the sons of Hatipha.

    The sons of Solomon's servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Hassophereth, the sons of Peruda, the sons of Jaalah, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth-hazzebaim, and the sons of Ami.

    All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon's servants were 392.

    The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, though they could not prove their fathers' houses or their descent, whether they belonged to Israel: the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, and the sons of Nekoda, 652. Also, of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, and the sons of Barzillai (who had taken a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name). These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but they were not found there, and so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until there should be a priest to consult Urim and Thummim.

    The whole assembly together was 42,360, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337, and they had 200 male and female singers. Their horses were 736, their mules were 245, their camels were 435, and their donkeys were 6,720.

    Some of the heads of families, when they came to the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem, made freewill offerings for the house of God, to erect it on its site. According to their ability they gave to the treasury of the work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver, and 100 priests' garments.

    Now the priests, the Levites, some of the people, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants lived in their towns, and all the rest of Israel in their towns.

(Ezra 2 ESV)

Acts 2

    When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

    Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

    But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

    “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
    that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
        and your young men shall see visions,
        and your old men shall dream dreams;
    even on my male servants and female servants
        in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
    And I will show wonders in the heavens above
        and signs on the earth below,
        blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
    the sun shall be turned to darkness
        and the moon to blood,
        before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
    And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
    
        “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,

    “‘I saw the Lord always before me,
        for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
    therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
        my flesh also will dwell in hope.
    For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
        or let your Holy One see corruption.
    You have made known to me the paths of life;
        you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
    
        “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

    “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
    “Sit at my right hand,
        until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
    
        Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

    Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

    And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

(Acts 2 ESV)

Something to Consider

Ezra 2: Genealogies in Scripture have a way of symbolizing the detailed way in which God knows His people personally and with a specific purpose in mind. Scripture unfolds the long history and our unique heritage as God’s chosen people. What an extraordinary privilege for us today to be named among these ancestors as the 'People of God'. 

We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession (1 Peter 2). However, some of us may be seek “registration” among God's people but come to find out that we don't have the proper credentials to prove our citizenship in the Kingdom of God. An absence of the necessary credential will lead to our exclusion from the royal priesthood of God's people.

"And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20)

Citizenship in the Kingdom of heaven is granted exclusively to those who claim the name of Christ. Christ alone is our necessary credential. No matter how noble or how notorious our lineage might be, those who trust in the name of Christ alone are the ones to be found registered and included among the true 'People of God'.

 

Acts 2: What shall we do in response to hearing the gospel? Sometimes the answer given is one that is surely different than the one Peter gives here. Perhaps we've heard something like this: “Close your eyes, repeat this prayer, ask Jesus into your heart, raise your hand if you prayed.” If this was indeed the way we were intended to respond to the gospel then there’s no doubt that it would have been made clear right here in Scripture. However, Scripture provides a different answer concerning “What shall we do?”

Peter was clear and concise, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That moment the gospel pierces our heart we ought to feel the wound of our depravity leading to an outflow of godly sorrow. A sword through our heart signals it’s time to surrender. It’s time to turn away from our own self-ruled kingdom, and time to turn towards the King and His Kingdom. It’s time to repent and to identify our allegiance to our new King through the rite of baptism.  

Repentance is not repeating a prayer and raising our hand. Repentance is the Spirit of God sparking a revolution in the depths of our soul. It is a radical change of our head, heart and hands. It means to completely change our mind, desires, and actions. Repentance is the only proper response to God's gospel of grace, and baptism is the proper affirmation of our new allegiance.

"Brothers, What shall we do?" There's only one answer. Repent and be baptized. Surrender and swear a new allegiance. You are no longer your own.