105 Nehemiah 1 – 8

Nehemiah 1

Ezra had gone to restore the religion and build the city at the command of Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus] Longimanus in c457 B.C.  Ezra had logically placed his first priority on restoring the true worship of YHVH, and building the city had been largely neglected until Nehemiah arrived in 444 B.C. and even then there were many interruptions in the work. 

It was during the 49 year period from c457 B.C. when the original decree was given to build the city, that the city was built under extremely trying circumstances, being completed as the angel had foretold to Daniel in 49 years in 408 B.C. After which another 62 weeks (434 years) would pass before the revealing of the Christ.

In 444 B.C. the twentieth year of Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus] Longimanus Nehemiah asks about the welfare of Jerusalem from a traveler and hears that the city walls had not yet been rebuilt.

Nehemiah 1:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, 1:2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

1:3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

Nehemiah laments the troubles of Jerusalem, he fasts and beseeches the Eternal. 

When we carefully examine the state of today’s Spiritual Ekklesia according to scripture our similarly terrible spiritual situation is obvious.  Do we mourn and cry and sigh over the idolatry and lack of zeal for God’s Word in today’s Ekklesia as Nehemiah mourned over Jerusalem in his day? 

Ezekiel 9:3   And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side;

9:4 And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem [which is typical of spiritual Jerusalem; the called out spiritual Ekklesia], and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

9:5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: 9:6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary [the correction of the tribulation is to begin physically at the temple site in Jerusalem (Mat 24:15) and will fall on the majority in today’s called out Spiritual Ekklesia]. Then they began at the ancient men [the leaders and elders] which were before the house. 

Consider here that Ezekiel 9 is obviously a prophecy of a future time. It was fulfilled in part in the first century by Rome when the faithful fled to Pella, and it will be fulfilled more fully in the immediate future.

Nehemiah 1:4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

Nehemiah’s prayer of repentance for the sins of the people and his request that the city be built.

1:5 And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

1:6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.

1:7 We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

This same prayer will be repeated by many during the tribulation,  repenting for calling the Sabbath and High Days holy and then routinely polluting them, and repenting from our many false traditions and spiritual idolatry against the God of our calling.

1:8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 1:9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

Yes, there is hope for the sincerely repentant, even in great tribulation; because those God has scattered, he will yet gather up again.  The truly wholeheartedly repentant will be accepted back into the family of the Father: 

Luke 15:10   Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Nehemiah 1:10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.

1:11 O LORD, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

 

Nehemiah 2

God answers Nehemiah’s prayer by inspiring the king

After his fasting’s and mourning, Nehemiah appears before the king to perform his duties.

Nehemiah 2:1 And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year [c444 B.C.] of Artaxerxes [Longimanus] the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.

The king notices that Nehemiah was very downcast and makes a point of asking him why. Remember that this same king Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus] Longimanus had sent Ezra to restore true religion after he had saved Judah from Haman the Amalekite and made Esther the Jew his Queen. 

2:2 Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,

Nehemiah explained the cause of his sorrow.

2:3 And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?

The king then asks Nehemiah to make his request.  Nehemiah first immediately prays to God for help and wisdom and only then makes his request known to the king; an example that we should follow. 

The whole context being one of sincere repentance and zeal for the will of God.

2:4 Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.

Nehemiah then quickly asked for inspiration from God and then makes his request of the king.

2:5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

Then the second decree of Artaxerxes reconfirming the building of the city of Jerusalem – the first decree having been made to Ezra in c457 B.C. – was then made to Nehemiah in c444 B.C.

2:6 And the king said unto me, (the queen [Esther] also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.

Nehemiah understanding God’s intent, then gets bolder and asks for the help of the king.

2:7 Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; 2:8 And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

2:9 Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.

Nehemiah proceeds to Jerusalem with a royal escort from the king; and as he arrives resistance immediately arises from the Samaritans and Ammonites.

It was during the 49 year period from c457 B.C. when the original decree was given to build the city, that the city was built under extremely trying circumstances, being completed as the angel had foretold to Daniel in 49 years in c408 B.C.

2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel [Judah].

2:11 So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.

Then Nehemiah made a secret inspection tour of the city with a handful of men.

2:12 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon. 2:13 And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.

2:14 Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. 2:15 Then went I up in the night by the brook, and viewed the wall, and turned back, and entered by the gate of the valley, and so returned.

2:16 And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.

After his inspection tour Nehemiah addressed the leaders in the city telling them of his mission from God and the king to build the city of Jerusalem.

2:17 Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. 2:18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

They began to build and enemies rose up around them and laughed them to scorn, but the people began to build up the city in fulfillment of the 70 Weeks Prophecy of Messiah in Daniel 9 and their God was with them. 

Today the Master Builder, Jesus Christ, is working to build the Spiritual Temple of God the Father and he WILL accomplish that task! 

It is up to each one of us as to whether we love God enough to zealously work to cleanse ourselves of all uncleanness and sin; growing into a pure, clean, chaste Spiritual Temple for the dwelling place of God the Father through the Holy Spirit, or not.

2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king? 2:20 Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

The following is a list of those who were courageous in the LORD and rose up to build various parts of the city.

May we all have the same love of God and the courage, faith and strength in our God, to build our personal character houses as a fitting residence for our God through his Spirit.

Brethren, we often admire the selfless courage of men in war time: and we MUST personally have great courage in our spiritual warfare against the powers of evil in our lives.

Many a soldier has been willing to die for his comrades and we must also be willing to live for our God and his ways; giving ourselves fully to him as a LIVING SACRIFICE and putting away the former things of the flesh to put on and internalize the very mind and nature of God within ourselves.

Romans 12:1   I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind [into the very mind of God], that ye may prove [demonstrate by our actions] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

Nehemiah 3

Building the city of Jerusalem

Notice that after the time that the Temple was built and completed in 517 – 516 B.C. decades earlier, the high priest had been changed from Jeshua [Yeshua, called Joshua the high priest] the son of Jozadak, to a new high priest, Eliashib. 

Jeshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor built the Temple, and some sixty years later Ezra went to restore true religion in c457 C.C. and then in c444 B.C. Eliashib and Nehemiah built the walls of the city of Jerusalem. 

A list of those who built their parts of the city walls. 

This is an extensive list filling this chapter.

Nehemiah 3:1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.

3:2 And next unto him builded the men of Jericho. And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.

3:3 But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.

3:4 And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana.

3:5 And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their LORD.

3:6 Moreover the old gate repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.

3:7 And next unto them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, unto the throne of the governor on this side the river.

3:8 Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths.

Next unto him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries, and they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall.

3:9 And next unto them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem.

3:10 And next unto them repaired Jedaiah the son of Harumaph, even over against his house. And next unto him repaired Hattush the son of Hashabniah.

3:11 Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces.

3:12 And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters.

3:13 The valley gate repaired Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and a thousand cubits on the wall unto the dung gate.

3:14 But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.

3:15 But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king’s garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David.

3:16 After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, unto the place over against the sepulchres of David, and to the pool that was made, and unto the house of the mighty.

3:17 After him repaired the Levites, Rehum the son of Bani. Next unto him repaired Hashabiah, the ruler of the half part of Keilah, in his part.

3:18 After him repaired their brethren, Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah.

3:19 And next to him repaired Ezer the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, another piece over against the going up to the armoury at the turning of the wall.

3:20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai earnestly repaired the other piece, from the turning of the wall unto the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest.

3:21 After him repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah the son of Koz another piece, from the door of the house of Eliashib even to the end of the house of Eliashib.

3:22 And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain.

3:23 After him repaired Benjamin and Hashub over against their house.

After him repaired Azariah the son of Maaseiah the son of Ananiah by his house.

3:24 After him repaired Binnui the son of Henadad another piece, from the house of Azariah unto the turning of the wall, even unto the corner.

3:25 Palal the son of Uzai, over against the turning of the wall, and the tower which lieth out from the king’s high house, that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh.

3:26 Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out.

3:27 After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel.

3:28 From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house.

3:29 After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house.

After him repaired also Shemaiah t

3:31 After him repaired Malchiah he son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the east gate.

3:30 After him repaired Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, another piece. After him repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah over against his chamber. the goldsmith’s son unto the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate Miphkad, and to the going up of the corner.

3:32 And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.

 

Nehemiah 4

Then those enemies who opposed the building of the city rose up against the builders, for they saw the great progress that was made in building the city wall.

Nehemiah 4:1 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat [the Samaritan] heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. 4:2 And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?

Then the Ammonites mocked, saying that a small animal could bring down the walls being built.

4:3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.

Then Nehemiah cries out to God for deliverance and for the furtherance of the work.

4:4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: 4:5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.

The walls were completed!  Today many mock the small Spiritual Ekklesia and the even smaller number of those who are faithful and zealous to live by every Word of God, but the Master Builder will complete his work of building and perfecting the Spiritual Temple of the God the Father the Almighty! 

4:6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.

The Samaritans and their allies rose up to attack the workers on the city walls of Jerusalem. 

Do you begin to see why the Jews despised the Samaritans even in the days of Christ?  and how the Jews were offended in Christ over his speaking to Samaritans and his parable of the Good Samaritan?

4:7 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites [Philistines], heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, 4:8 And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.

4:9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.

Then because of the amount of broken stone and other rubbish, the people feared a possible ambushment by their enemies.

4:10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.

The local people warned the workers that they were subject to attack whenever they traveled or worked, because enemies could hide in the mountains of debris.

4:11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.

4:12 And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return [commute from home to the work of building the walls] unto us they will be upon you.

Nehemiah then sets up guards to protect the workers and encourages the people to remember the great strength of  God.

4:13 Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.

Judah with Nehemiah fought for Jerusalem and their families: Let us also fight valiantly, the good spiritual fight against the powers of darkness which assail us and seek to prevent us from building ourselves into the Spiritual Temple of God.

4:14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

4:15 And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it [their plans] was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.

The counsel of the wicked against the builders of Judah working on the walls of Jerusalem was brought to nothing; even as the council of the wicked against the building of God’s Spiritual Ekklesia will be brought to nothing by the watchful care and zeal of the faithful for the whole Word of God and by the power of the Master Builder! 

Brethren, it may seem that today the zealous and faithful are very small in number, weak and persecuted, but we are on the winning side, the side of our Mighty God:  And in due time our brethren will also understand, and the designs of the Adversary will come to nothing! 

Then half of the men worked and half stood guard.  Let us also stand guard against the wiles and attacks of the Adversary, and let us be zealous to work and to build up the spiritual Ekklesia as a fit Spiritual dwelling place for our Mighty God!

4:16 And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.

Let us build ourselves into a fit collective bride for our Master Husband and for our Father God,  wielding the sharp two edged sword of truth.

4:17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.

The trumpeter stood by the leader Nehemiah at all times, to immediately sound the alarm against any attack.  Today we too must be ever on the alert for often subtle and insidious spiritual attacks, and we must always be ready to blast the trumpet and sound the warning alarm.

4:18 For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.

Brethren, WE MUST do this very same thing!  Yet our weapons are not of men, our weapon is the sharp two edged sword of the Truth of Almighty God!

Ephesians 6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

We can only stand before the Adversary and the faithless and lukewarm, by standing on the solid foundation of God’s Word; and by being well armed with the sharp two edged sword of the TRUTH of God’s Word!

Nehemiah then gave instructions in case of attack, ordering that the workers who were building in various places should come running together when the trumpet of alarm is sounded.

WE MUST also do the same thing!  When the  trumpet of alarm sounds, we must run to obey the Word of our God!  We must run to the shelter of his Mighty Arms!

Nehemiah 4:19 And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. 4:20 In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.

The labor was long and hard, working throughout the day to build the city.  Even so the Spiritual Ekklesia must labor long and hard with the help of our Beloved to internalize the very nature of our Awesome Father God and to build ourselves into a suitable Temple for his Spirit.

4:21 So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.

Nehemiah then told the workers to stay within the city because they would be secure there.  We must also stay within the Word [the city] of our God; being faithful, loyal and obedient to every Word of God with zeal; which is our appointed task.

4:22 Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day.

They wore their clothes day and night in readiness for the Adversary’s attacks, only changing them for washing. 

We are also to be continually clothed with the righteousness of God, ready for any attack from the Adversary!

4:23 So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.

 

Nehemiah 5 

Then the workers complained that they did not get enough support in food and necessities from those who lived in the countryside outside of Jerusalem. 

Just like those builders needed support for their daily needs so the workers in spiritual things need help and support for their daily necessities.  

Brethren, I thank you for all your prayers and financial support for this work.

Nehemiah 5:1 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews.

5:2 For there were [some] that said, We, our sons, and our daughters, are many: therefore we [workers on the city walls who needed food] take up corn [need grain from the farmers] for them, that we may eat, and live.  5:3 Some also there were [some workers on the walls] that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. 5:4 There were also that said, We have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards.

The workers on the city were not sufficiently supported.  I can also say that this work is run hand to mouth and is in need of your help in prayers and offerings. 

5:5 Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought unto bondage already: neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and vineyards.

Then Nehemiah was angry at the situation and reproved the people who were not helping with the building of the city of Jerusalem. 

Brethren, we are building a Spiritual Temple and preparing the spiritual bride by working to help turn people away from their own ways and false traditions; to turn and exalt the Eternal above all else. 

Today the warning is going out: Repent and turn to the Eternal with a wholehearted passionate zeal to learn and live by every Word of God!  Your help and support in prayers and offerings is badly needed.

5:6 And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.

Nehemiah rebuked the people for loaning to the workers on usury and for not helping them to build the city. 

5:7 Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them. 5:8 And I said unto them, We after our ability have redeemed our brethren the Jews, which were sold unto the heathen; and will ye even sell your brethren? or shall they be sold unto us? Then held they their peace, and found nothing to answer.

5:9 Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies? 5:10 I likewise, and my brethren, and my servants, might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury.

5:11 Restore, I pray you, [to return to your brethren what has been taken in usury] to them, even this day, their lands, their vineyards, their oliveyards, and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money, and of the corn, the wine, and the oil, that ye exact of them.

The evil doers then repented at the rebuke of Nehemiah the man of God!  They restored what they had taken from the poor workers in usury and turned to support them in the building of the city.

Oh, that there were such a heart in today’s Ekklesia of God that they would humble themselves before our God and repent of their evil deeds in departing from the practical application of God’s Word.

5:12 Then said they, We will restore them, and will require nothing of them; so will we do as thou sayest. Then I called the priests, and took an oath of them, that they should do according to this promise.

Brethren, God is watching us to see who is working to build up his Spiritual Temple and his Ekklesia [represented by Jerusalem and the ancient physical temple] and who is not helping. 

5:13 Also I shook my lap [cloak], and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the LORD. And the people did according to this promise.

5:14 Moreover from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even unto the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that is, twelve years, I and my brethren have not eaten the bread of the governor [taxed the people as governor].

Nehemiah took nothing from the people for his own personal advantage, because he feared and respected God:  How unlike many leaders in today’s brotherhood who have enriched themselves and lived like kings.

Today many build great “auditoriums” while  perverting the Gospel and the Word of God into a bland business model effort to appeal to the masses and to deliberately bring in tares for the sake of numbers and money to support such excesses; instead of warning the world to repent.  Such things are  a shame, a disgrace and an execration among the brethren.

Quite honestly, the righteousness of a church is not judged by its numbers, wealth or its buildings; but by the Godliness of its people. 

5:15 But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God.

Not concentrating on his own advantage, Nehemiah concentrated on doing the work that God had given him to do. 

Today most leaders, elders and groups shrink back from boldly declaring the true Gospel of Warning and Repentance, instead offering a watered down wishy-washy business model outreach designed to gain personal advantage by bringing in numbers, wealth and establishing personal popularity.

No buying of land and the building of expensive edifices in the work of TheShiningLight; only the fulfilling of God’s commission to build the Spiritual Ekklesia.

Oh, if we would all only follow Nehemiah’s example and build the brethren into a fitting Spiritual Temple for our God and a fitting bride for our espoused Husband!  Oh, if we would only all boldly proclaim the true Gospel of Warning and Repentance and the WAY INTO the kingdom of God.

Instead the assemblies are dumbing down the Gospel message, instead of teaching people the way into God’s Kingdom and proclaiming the truth; that the zealous keeping of ALL of God’s Word without compromise is THE ONLY WAY into that Kingdom.

Where is the Warning; that no one who compromises with any part of God’s Word or tolerates sin will be changed to spirit and fully united with God the Father and Jesus Christ or have any part in the resurrection to spirit?

Matthew 23:11   But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Nehemiah 5:16 Yea, also I continued in the work of this wall, neither bought we any land: and all my servants were gathered thither unto the work.

Nehemiah did not tax the people as a governor over them, but supported many out of the funds voluntarily given to him by the king and the people.  He did not demand, he did accept what was offered for the work.

5:17 Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers, beside those that came unto us from among the heathen that are about us.

5:18 Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the [did not tax the people as a] governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people.

5:19 Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.

Brethren, you know that all of these groups send out regular letters begging for money, often for acquiring land or for building projects.  I have only this outlet to make my needs known.

As we see these things being fulfilled, the need to continue and increase this warning to our beloved brethren is our top priority.  This is NOT the time for buying land or building projects; it is the time to proclaim the warning to our brethren and to provide sound doctrine from the Holy Scriptures for their edification.

It is now time for a big push in this work, we need your help.  Please pray that God will stir up his people to return to him with all their hearts; and follow up those prayers with your help and support.

May God bless all those who serve HIM with a whole heart!

 

Nehemiah 6

The enemies continue their intrigues .  This is an example for us of how the Adversary fights against our efforts to perfect the collective bride, and the Spiritual Temple of God’s Spirit.

Nehemiah 6:1 Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) 6:2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.

6:3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? 6:4 Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner.

Nehemiah is threatened that lies will be told the king about him and his work.  Then the enemy falsely begins to spread a rumor that Nehemiah and Judah seek to rebel against the king.

6:5 Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand;  6:6 Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.

Nehemiah is also accused of appointing preachers to say that he is the king, to rebel against Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus Longimanus].

6:7 And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.

Nehemiah writes back calling Sanballat false.

6:8 Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.

Nehemiah does not give up, but zealously turns to God for help and continues the work.  This is an example for us that we must not give up, but that we must seek our help from the Eternal and continue the fight against sin and uncleanness in ourselves and in the collective bride!

6:9 For they all [the enemy seeks to make us fear and so weaken the work] made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

An intrigue is set against Nehemiah’s life which is foiled by his courage and dedication to God.

6:10 Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple [to take refuge in the temple]: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee.

Nehemiah responded by saying that he was not a man to hide himself away; and that fearing man when the Eternal was his refuge and defense; was a sin!

6:11 And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. 6:12 And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 6:13 Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so [and hide away], and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me.

Nehemiah then asks God to consider this matter;  he does not call for vengeance, he calls only for God to do according to God’s judgment.

6:14 My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.

The WALL of Jerusalem was completed in 52 days of courageous hard work.

6:15 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.

Then the people [even the enemies] understood that this was of God and not of men.

6:16 And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

Certain Jewish nobles conspired with the enemy against Nehemiah.  Many in today’s Spiritual Ekklesia also consort with the Adversary by following their idols of men and not living by every Word of God; indeed many also sin by fearing man more than they fear God.

6:17 Moreover in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters unto Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came unto them. 6:18 For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.

6:19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and uttered my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to [try to] put me in fear.

Nehemiah persevered in building the physical city walls; and we must likewise persevere in building up the Temple of our minds to be a fitting place for God to dwell through his Spirit; by rooting out all error and sin as soon as it is discovered and living by and fully internalizing the entire nature and Word of God.

 

Nehemiah 7

After the walls were built the next step was to set up the gates to the city

Nehemiah 7:1 Now it came to pass, when the wall was built, and I had set up the doors [gates], and the porters and the singers and the Levites were appointed, 7:2 That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.

God is watching us and he is seeing who is faithful and zealously seeking him today.  Such people will have their reward in the resurrection of the faithful chosen.

The city gates were not to be opened until after sunrise, so that they would not be open in the dark because of the enemies all around. They were careful also to put watchmen on the city walls.

Today God has provided a watchman to warn the brethren of the approaching correction of the Spiritual Ekklesia, and to adjure them to make ready by turning to the Eternal with a whole heart.

7:3 And I said unto them, Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun be hot; and while they stand by, let them shut the doors, and bar them: and appoint watches of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, every one in his watch, and every one to be over against his house.

7:4 Now the city was large and great: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded.  7:5 And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found [their names] written therein,

A list of those who had come up out of Babylon is now provided.

7:6 These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city;

Notice here that Mordecai the uncle and adviser of Hadassah who saved Judah from Haman the Amalekite by wisely advising Hadassah [Esther], and then became the prime minister to king Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus] Longimanus for a time;  is on this list of people that returned to Judah and Jerusalem. 

The wise and faithful Mordecai was allowed to see Jerusalem before he died physically. 

The books of Esther, Ezra and Nehemiah record how Satan – through Haman and the opposition in Palestine  – tried hard to prevent the restoration of Jerusalem and the fulfillment of the 70 Weeks Prophecy of Daniel 9.

7:7 Who [the people who went to Jerusalem included] came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number, I say, of the men of the people of Israel was this;

7:8 The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.

7:9 The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two.

7:10 The children of Arah, six hundred fifty and two.

7:11 The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand and eight hundred and eighteen.

7:12 The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

7:13 The children of Zattu, eight hundred forty and five.

7:14 The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore.

7:15 The children of Binnui, six hundred forty and eight.

7:16 The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and eight.

7:17 The children of Azgad, two thousand three hundred twenty and two.

7:18 The children of Adonikam, six hundred threescore and seven.

7:19 The children of Bigvai, two thousand threescore and seven.

7:20 The children of Adin, six hundred fifty and five.

7:21 The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight.

7:22 The children of Hashum, three hundred twenty and eight.

7:23 The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and four.

7:24 The children of Hariph, an hundred and twelve.

7:25 The children of Gibeon, ninety and five.

7:26 The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, an hundred fourscore and eight.

7:27 The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight.

7:28 The men of Bethazmaveth, forty and two.

7:29 The men of Kirjathjearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty and three.

7:30 The men of Ramah and Gaba, six hundred twenty and one.

7:31 The men of Michmas, an hundred and twenty and two.

7:32 The men of Bethel and Ai, an hundred twenty and three.

7:33 The men of the other Nebo, fifty and two.

7:34 The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

7:35 The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty.

7:36 The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.

7:37 The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and one.

7:38 The children of Senaah, three thousand nine hundred and thirty.

7:39 The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.

7:40 The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two.

7:41 The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven.

7:42 The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.

7:43 The Levites: the children of Jeshua, of Kadmiel, and of the children of Hodevah, seventy and four.

7:44 The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred forty and eight.

7:45 The porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, an hundred thirty and eight.

7:46 The Nethinims [the Gibeonites]: the children of Ziha, the children of Hashupha, the children of Tabbaoth,

7:47 The children of Keros, the children of Sia, the children of Padon,

7:48 The children of Lebana, the children of Hagaba, the children of Shalmai,

7:49 The children of Hanan, the children of Giddel, the children of Gahar,

7:50 The children of Reaiah, the children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda,

7:51 The children of Gazzam, the children of Uzza, the children of Phaseah,

7:52 The children of Besai, the children of Meunim, the children of Nephishesim,

7:53 The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,

7:54 The children of Bazlith, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,

7:55 The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Tamah,

7:56 The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.

7:57 The children of Solomon’s servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Perida,

7:58 The children of Jaala, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,

7:59 The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Amon.

7:60 All the Nethinims [Gibeonites], and the children of Solomon’s servants, were three hundred ninety and two.

7:61 And these were they which went up also from Telmelah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they could not shew their father’s house, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel.

7:62 The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred forty and two.

The Priests

7:63 And of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai, which took one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite to wife, and was called after their name. 7:64 These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.

Certain others could not be priests because of their uncertain ancestry; until they had inquired of the Eternal for his judgment.

7:65 And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.

The number of the whole assembly

7:66 The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore, 7:67 Beside their manservants and their maidservants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and they had two hundred forty and five singing men and singing women.

7:68 Their horses, seven hundred thirty and six: their mules, two hundred forty and five: 7:69 Their camels, four hundred thirty and five: six thousand seven hundred and twenty asses.

The offerings for the work.

7:70 And some of the chief of the fathers gave unto the work. The Tirshatha gave to the treasure a thousand drams of gold, fifty basons, five hundred and thirty priests’ garments.

7:71 And some of the chief of the fathers gave to the treasure of the work twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand and two hundred pound of silver.

7:72 And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand drams of gold, and two thousand pound of silver, and threescore and seven priests’ garments.

The people then returned to their own cities until the Seventh Month.

7:73 So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.

The People gathered in Jerusalem at the Feast of Ingathering called Tabernacles, and sought that Ezra would read the Book of the Law {Deuteronomy] as God had commanded Moses to ordain to be read at that Feast in the year of the land Sabbath or sabbatical year:

Deuteronomy 31:9   And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. 31:10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release [Lev 25], in the feast of tabernacles. 31:11 When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.

31:12  Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 31:13  And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. 

 

Nehemiah 8

Nehemiah 8:1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.

8:2 And Ezra the priest [who had come to restore true religion and build the city by the first decree of Artaxerxes (Ahasuerus Longimanus) in c457 B.C.] brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day [the New Moon Feast of Trumpets] of the seventh month. . .

The Feast of Trumpets only comes on a New Moon by the Biblical Calendar and does not do so in today’s Rabbinic Calendar [unless there is a postponement].  Ezra read the Book aloud before Judah, as the LORD had commanded to Israel. 

8:2 . . . And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day [the New Moon Feast of Trumpets] of the seventh month.

8:3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

First Ezra stood upon an elevated platform behind a pulpit and opened the Book of Deuteronomy; then praise and prayer was made to God and then a portion of the Book was read to all the people and the Levites expounded on the reading to give the people a good understanding.

8:4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit [platform or stage] of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

8:5 And Ezra [the priest] opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people on his platform;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 8:6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

From this comes the concept of a teacher being elevated so that all the people could see and hear, and also the tradition of the people respectfully standing for public prayer.  The book was read in the morning and the elders taught the meaning in the afternoon.

8:7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

The people began to be sorrowful for their past wickedness and Ezra and Nehemiah told the people that the day was holy and that they should obey God by rejoicing before their God.

8:9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha [governor], and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. 8:11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.

8:12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.

Here they turned the Feast of the seventh New Moon into a two day Feast out of eagerness to hear the scriptures.

8:13 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law.

In their reading they found the command to keep the Feast of Booths for seven days, and not understanding that they might dwell in any temporary structure and were to rejoice with the branches, they built the booths out of the branches. 

This was a good thing and was in no wise unlawful.

8:14 And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:

8:15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.

8:16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.

8:17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.

8:18 Also day by day, from the first day [of the Feast of Tabernacles] unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.

It was after this that Ezra understood that we are to rejoice with the branches and need not build our booths out of branches; and instituted that into the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles. 

See our article on Branches and Booths

 

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