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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nehemiah Part 11

Nehemiah Part 11   Water Gate 

The Water Gate symbolizes the Word of God.  It was at the square in front of the Water Gate that Ezra, the High Priest, called God's people back to the Word (Law).  “For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. Ezra 7:10  The people had a renewed interest in the Word of God. The faithful remnant of God’s people was brought to confession and repentance at the hearing of the Word. When the people heard the Word of God and Ezra's teaching, the people felt a deep conviction of sin. One of the greatest evidences of true revival is a deep hunger to hear, read and understand God's Word, humble ourselves under it and then act upon it.
Again in Nehemiah 8:1-6, all of the faithful remnant gathered to hear the Word of God at the square in front of the Water Gate after the repair of the wall and gates were completed. No one was missing! They gathered as one man with listening, open ears. They put themselves under the authority of the Word. All were in order—the wall, the gates/doors, the leaders and the people.
It was the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. Ezra read the Word of God for 7 days, 6 hours a day. Can you imagine the grumbling and complaining that would take place in today's church if one Bible study took six hours, let alone to have it take place for seven days? But in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, men, women and all who were able to understand gathered in front of the Water Gate to hear and be taught the Word. There was a hunger and thirst for God's Word. They had seen firsthand in their captivity what a lack of the Word of God can do. Now that they have been restored to God's Land and His place of worship, they hunger and thirst after the knowledge and understanding of God's Word. Even the priests (Levites) “read from the book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.” Neh. 8:8 Ezra, the High Priest, and Nehemiah, the Ruler, had instilled a desire in the hearts of God's people to hear, understand and do the Word of God once again. Revival fires were burning! The altar, temple and wall of protection were being restored and rebuilt setting all in order.
After all was rebuilt, at first the people were weeping over their sin and bowing down in humility and repentance to the Lord. But Nehemiah told them to rejoice and celebrate, not weep. “Do not weep, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” 8:10 Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning (in the light of a new day). It was a time for rejoicing, not weeping. All has been restored and rebuilt to its original condition. This will happen again when Jesus comes to restore and make new the heavens and the earth and all within. There will be no more weeping. Instead will be fullness of joy and peace.
Believers are the Lord's altar, His Temple and priests and kings in the Father's Kingdom. God doesn't want us to be a heap of ruins without order like the wall and temple of Jerusalem. Instead we are to be knitted together in Spirit and in Truth so the gates of hell will not prevail against us. Nehemiah cared about God, His people and His city. So much so that he left the glory and opulence of the king's palace to go to a place of ruins. Jesus did this for every human. He wants us to go, seek and save those who are lost and in ruins and bring them into His Kingdom home.
God told His prophet, Ezekiel, to prophecy against the prophets of Israel who had not “gone up to the breaks in the wall to repair it for the house of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord.” Ezek. 13:5 God tells Ezekiel to further say, “Because they lead My people astray, saying, “Peace” when there is no peace, and because when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall.” v10-11 God did tear down this wall of their own making!
God's people are in a spiritual battle every day. Unless the wall of protection is well-built and firm through the teaching of the Word, it will not stand at the time of battle. If we don't know the enemy's ways and the ways of God to defeat the devil, who will be able to stand? And who will defeat Satan? Truth is not to be watered-down or whitewashed. And Jesus made it clear that we are not to be whitewashed tombs.  It is the Truth that sets a person free from sin and establishes a firm foundation for every follower of Christ. Jesus is the Truth.
Ezra, the High Priest, and Nehemiah, the Ruler (Governor) worked together. Together, they are a foreshadowing of Jesus, our Great High Priest and King. Jesus came to earth not only to save but to correct the distortions of truth that were being taught. The religious leaders of God's people had put their own face upon the Word of God. In other words, they added to it their own interpretations, rules and regulations. Since the written Word of God is Divinely-inspired, it is Divinely-interpreted. Scripture interprets scripture. We must understand that the Word is a progressive revelation of Christ using symbolism. God uses the things of the earth to teach spiritual truths. Why? Because He created it all so it all has a Divine message from Him. In God, the earthly and the spiritual harmonize.
At the Water Gate, we hear the Word and do it as the faithful remnant heard, reverenced and did the Word in the book of Nehemiah. The Fountain Gate that symbolizes the Holy Spirit and the Water Gate that symbolizes the Word of God are connected by Hezekiah's underground tunnel. A deep spring (Gihon meaning "bursting forth") fed the Fountain Gate and the Water Gate. God's ways are deep....a fountain of living water. The Holy Spirit and Word work together in preparing us for service and spiritual warfare. They cannot be separated. They work together as One. Jesus is the Anointed Word -- fullness of Truth anointed by the fullness of the Holy Spirit. We are sanctified by the water of the Word/Jesus and the Holy Spirit. There is no repair mentioned of this Water Gate. The Word doesn't need repair if it is rightly-divided, nor does the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth. They are Eternal and holy. Hezekiah built the tunnel so the people of Jerusalem could have fresh water. Jesus, the Living Word and the Holy Spirit, the Living Water, give us fresh spiritual bread and water every day. Together they will teach, lead, guide, direct, strengthen, comfort and encourage us to become all that Jesus wants us to be in fullness. We will then be more than overcomers over all the works of the enemy.
The Fountain Gate and the Water Gate prepare us for the Horse Gate which is next.



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