Then Eliashib, the chief priest, got up with his brothers the priests, and took in hand the building of the sheep doorway; they made it holy and put its doors in position; as far as the tower of Hammeah they made it holy, even to the tower of Hananel. And by his side the men of Jericho were building. And after them, Zaccur, the son of Imri. Neh 3:1-3
Nehemiah started to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Above are the names of the first mentioned in the building. Going down the list, one thing springs to the eye. Even though in English it is not so obvious, as we were told by our teachers not to repeat ourselves. Remember that our first stories were a bunch of sentences connected by “And then”‘? Hebrew is different. It encourages repetition as an element of style. So here, all the men working on the wall are listed and connected by “at the hand of”, or “next to them”.
Building the wall is a relational thing. We build hand in hand. We build together.
And look at how it starts: Eliaship the high priest stood up with his fellow priests. Eliaship means “God will restore”. Jesus himself said that
Elijah indeed cometh, and shall restore all things. Mat 17:11
What did he say? God, my Lord, comes and will restore all things.
Jesus is our high priest and we are his fellow priests after the order of Melchizedek. The first that has to be built is the sheep gate. The sheep gate is the only legal way into the sheep-pen. There has to be an entry from the supernatural to the natural, a river flowing from Paradise into the garden, from the temple to the city, from the throne to the world.
There has to be an entry point, a gate with elders that admit the shepherd in.
Yes, indeed! I tell you, the person who doesn’t enter the sheep- pen through the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. But the one who goes in through the gate is the sheep’s own shepherd. This is the one the gate- keeper admits, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep, each one by name, and leads them out. Jn 10:1-3
Whosoever comes in another way is a thief and comes to rob, steal, and kill.
So God first restores the sheep gate. This is the cross. The river flows from the cross, from the side of Jesus. Blood and water.
The sheep gate is made holy, set apart. It is the only way to the father. Only through Jesus, only through the cross we are saved. Passah is absolutely necessary and the starting and ending point of everything. Jesus is. In his blood we are saved.
But let us look at it from another angle. The ones to start the building process were foundational. They came in the name of another. God will restore – but actually, he is doing it through them. He sent them to restore. Apostolos. After the gate they build two towers. One tower is the tower of hundreds, the other the tower of the gift of God.
Two towers. Twins. Next to each other. Castles, fortresses, but also pulpits (from the Hebrew). Two witnesses. One a multitude (hundreds), the other the gift of God. Jesus, the gift of God, and us. He the head, we the body. We his bride. The church. From these pulpits the message goes forth. In these castles rescue is found.
The next people to build are from Jericho. Jericho is the fragrant place. It is the place of the demonstration of the power of God. To me this speaks of the prophetic ministry. It brings the fragrance of the throne room to earth, it demonstrates the power of God. One would say why the prophetic? The power lies in the word. Jericho was not torn down by might or power. It was torn down the minute the word went forth, first by the angel of the Lord. Then Joshua expressed faith by instructing the Israelites. They again expressed their faith by obeying. And when they sounded the word forth in obedience through a battle cry, it happened. A powerful demonstration of the prophetic at work. God stating a truth, the prophet instructing a people, the people shouting the word, the word becoming a fact.
On we go with Zaccur, the son of Imri. Let’s translate this into English: Zaccur means mindful, and Imri means rich in words, exalting, bitter, a lamb.
For me that depicts the teacher. A person that mindfully speaks words exalting the lamb, a true son. It also means wordy. A teacher brings the word in season and out of season. And it means bitter, because sometimes truths are sweet in the mouth, but become bitter in the belly. The teacher’s words often mean work for us. Work of change.
For this reason every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house, who gives out from his store things new and old. Mat 13:52
The first three to build the wall around Jerusalem, to restore the truth to the church, are the apostle, prophet, and teacher.
And God has put some in the church, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers. 1Co 12:28
This is how God will build the church. This is how God restores the truths. But it does not stop there. Next comes the fish gate, speaking of the miracle working power and provision demonstrated in the feeding of the 5000. Then come people with names likes Heights, Flame of God, Thorn, Allied, Blessing of God, Delivered by God, but also Just, son of the afflicted.
Wonders, healing, helpers, wise guys – everybody hand in hand. Starting and ending at the sheep gate, the only way to the father, the real truth. Jesus, our high priest.
God will restore.
Now is the time.
Do you believe it? Leave a comment.