Ezra and Nehemiah as a forepicture of the Holy Spirit?

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JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Sophomore
Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as the paraclete, which is translated mostly as "helper" or "comforter" (John 14).

Somehow I had never had this thought. I knew "Ezra" means "help" and I think I knew that Nehemiah means "the Lord comforts", but this had never occurred to me.

Typologically, we know that the temple was a forepicture of the church, but it is also a picture of Christ. "Destroy this temple and after three days I will raise it." It's the same imagery from the OT. The first temple was "destroyed", but in the promise of the new covenant, that temple would again be rebuilt. Thus, the destruction and rebuilding of the temple of Solomon seems to point us to the death and resurrection of Christ.

Well, the work of Ezra and Nehemiah comes AFTER the temple had already been rebuilt/raised up again. Their work isn't to rebuild the temple, that's already done. It's rather adorning the temple. The temple has been rebuilt but God's people still need a TON of help (Ezra) and comfort (Nehemiah). So, it's after the temple had been raised up again that Ezra and Nehemiah are sent to God's people in order to be a help and comfort to them as they sought to glorify the Lord in the work of His kingdom.

Thoughts?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
It's an interesting thesis, but I think you would want to try to prove or disprove it. Don't assume it must be right, or is unlikely to be so. But investigate the matter, to see if the hypothesis can be validated by exegetical argument.

And, have there been others (especially in our tradition) who give hints in their studies or sermons that they saw something similar? It doesn't have to be deep and explicit; sometimes we may actually be breaking new ground. But it helps if there are others who have discerned some treasure there of the ore you think to mine.

By way of comparison, I am starting a study of Joshua. I am starting with a working assumption, a kind of template that I hope will become a stronger and stronger thesis, though perhaps it will be modified somewhat through the study. But it's the kind of thing that compares to your proposal here: a NT-informed regard for what God had in mind for his people to get from this book in this place in the history and in the canon.

You've seen something (as you think it). It seems like a strong beginning; but you don't want to fall into the pit of allegory or the blind struggle to force a conclusion to fit your pet conception. The question to answer is: how often is the NT doctrine of the Holy Spirit and his work foreshadowed by specific, demonstrable anchors in the text, and in the explicit testimony of the passage (as opposed to fanciful leaps of "spiritualizing").

That's my :2cents:
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Sophomore
And, have there been others (especially in our tradition) who give hints in their studies or sermons that they saw something similar? It doesn't have to be deep and explicit; sometimes we may actually be breaking new ground. But it helps if there are others who have discerned some treasure there of the ore you think to mine.

Thanks Bruce. I sure hope I'm not breaking new ground. That would be scary to me and make me think more than anything that I'm off base. Yes, it would be incredibly helpful to know if Calvin, the Puritans, or others had any similar thoughts.

I also haven't thought about this any more deeply than what I wrote. It would be good like you said to go more in-depth with the comparison to find/confirm similarities/parallels or disconfirm.
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as the paraclete, which is translated mostly as "helper" or "comforter" (John 14).

Somehow I had never had this thought. I knew "Ezra" means "help" and I think I knew that Nehemiah means "the Lord comforts", but this had never occurred to me.

Typologically, we know that the temple was a forepicture of the church, but it is also a picture of Christ. "Destroy this temple and after three days I will raise it." It's the same imagery from the OT. The first temple was "destroyed", but in the promise of the new covenant, that temple would again be rebuilt. Thus, the destruction and rebuilding of the temple of Solomon seems to point us to the death and resurrection of Christ.

Well, the work of Ezra and Nehemiah comes AFTER the temple had already been rebuilt/raised up again. Their work isn't to rebuild the temple, that's already done. It's rather adorning the temple. The temple has been rebuilt but God's people still need a TON of help (Ezra) and comfort (Nehemiah). So, it's after the temple had been raised up again that Ezra and Nehemiah are sent to God's people in order to be a help and comfort to them as they sought to glorify the Lord in the work of His kingdom.

Thoughts?
Interesting angle. Perhaps a few other parallels I can think off the top of my head...

Ezra and Nehemiah were both sent (though they of course had requested) by the King, perhaps similarly to how the Holy Spirit was sent by God the Father.

They were both grieved by the people’s sins (particularly intermarriage with foreigners) just as the Holy Spirit is grieved (Ephesians 4:30).

Neither were in the kingly line, yet effectively had power and authority (similar to how the Holy Spirit is not described as the King, which is Christ’s role, but is in power)...

And that’s about the extent I’ll take this before I plunge into over spiritualizing... Bruce’s points resonate strongly with me as I’ve probably been guilty of that, especially when I was heavy into reading John Gill commentaries.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Sophomore
Interesting angle. Perhaps a few other parallels I can think off the top of my head...

Ezra and Nehemiah were both sent (though they of course had requested) by the King, perhaps similarly to how the Holy Spirit was sent by God the Father.

They were both grieved by the people’s sins (particularly intermarriage with foreigners) just as the Holy Spirit is grieved (Ephesians 4:30).

Neither were in the kingly line, yet effectively had power and authority (similar to how the Holy Spirit is not described as the King, which is Christ’s role, but is in power)...

And that’s about the extent I’ll take this before I plunge into over spiritualizing... Bruce’s points resonate strongly with me as I’ve probably been guilty of that, especially when I was heavy into reading John Gill commentaries.
Good stuff Nathan.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
If you put post #1 and post #4 together, you see why Bruce's warnings in post #2 are so right and necessary.
 
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