St. Irenaeus Ministries
Scripture Studies brought to you by the St. Irenaeus Center.
St. Irenaeus Ministries - a center of orthodox Catholic mission and renewal in Rochester, NY

The book of Ezra continues with the story of the people separated (or set aside) for God, starting with a census. Some were not able to prove their lineage, and were given a separate designation. Professed priests who fell into this category were excluded as unclean until the Urim and Thummim could be consulted. These people came back to a dry, desolate land with high ideals and many gifts for the restoration of the land, but they would be called to a greater purity than many were prepared to undertake.

Direct download: EzraNehemiah02.mp3
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The books of Ezra and Nehemiah mark the greatest reform of God's people in the Old Testament. God gave the law to Moses, a temple and kingdom to the Israelites, and prophets to proclaim that the people would be carried into captivity if they were not faithful. The people remained lukewarm, and were carried off to Babylon.

In the Babylonian captivity, we see the Israelites become the Jewish people, and they restore the land starting in 538 with the great decree of the Persian king Cyrus that the Jews were to return to Israel. God stirred Cyrus up to ask the Jews to rebuild the temple, which is something very unusual for the Persian Empire until that point.

Sheshbazzar, a Jewish prince, begins this return from exile, but after this, we do not see his name show up in the Bible. Zerubbabel continues the return.

Direct download: EzraNehemiah01.mp3
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Central to the incarnation is the fact that it is a great act of humbling God's self. The God of the universe exists outside of time and space, and knows the incarnation, the passion, and even the fall of Adam before creation. It is humbling in  the extreme to know that we were created even knowing the fall would come.

Direct download: Incarnation10.mp3
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Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, united in something called a hypostatic union. Some have called into doubt just how much He knew about His divinity at different points in His life on Earth, but it is clear that Jesus knew from earliest times that He is God. He knew that He should be about His father's business in the temple, He proclaimed Himself as the Son of God, not as an adopted sonship, but as a natural son.

His opponents used the very same statements to condemn Him, stating that He had called Himself God, and when they gave Him an opportunity to clarify what He meant, Jesus did not deny that He is God. Heresies arose about this doctrine from both sides, with some like the Arians denying Christ's divinity, and the Docetists attacking His humanity. The Church has made statements several times refuting these errors.

Direct download: Incarnation09.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT