READING THROUGH THE BIBLE: 2008 - 2009
The Book of Nehemiah
April 2009


Nehemiah has 13 chapters.
If you read 3 chapters a day
you will finish the book in 5 days
 
 Nehemiah is the writer of the book that reads like a diary or journal of the events surrounding the rebuilding of the walls and gates of the Holy City. His name means : Comfort of the LORD YHWH.
 
Some believe Ezra wrote Nehemiah but it is obvious from the first verse it was written by Nehemiah. Ezra could have recorded the book being a Scribe, but it was clearly written with the pen of Nehemiah.
 
The book of Nehemiah has very significant prophetic importance to Israel today and the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 We do not want to lose the importance of the re-building of the Temple under Ezra and Zerrubabel in Jerusalem and then the walls and gates under Nehemiah as being of extreme importance and understanding why the books are originally one book in the Hebrew canon.
 
What we have is a picture of the Return or Aliyah of the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity and their predicament later as exiles within the Persian Empire.
 
We come to Nehemiah's role. Ezra a priest and scribe was sent by God for the re-building of the Temple and revival of the spiritual life of the people. The Word of God was central. The Temple could not be restored without it.
 
Nehemiah was sent after Ezra to rebuild the walls and restore the gates of Jerusalem and thereby restore the public and governmental aspects of the nation. This included Israel becoming a sovereign nation.
 
Ezra was priest and scribe. Nehemiah would be called a layman by many today. His job was cupbearer to the king of the Medo Persian Empire. He in other words, held the closest position to the king,  in a trusted, secular capacity within the government of king Artexes. Many Christians understand this as we all have had jobs in the world to perform working with and around unbelievers. Nehemiah worked for the King and his position gave him great access and favor before the king.
 
But to ask permission to go and re-build the walls of Jerusalem was no small matter. Jerusalem was under Medo-Persian control. Persia had conquered the Babylonian empire. The Jews were set free from there control only to remain exiled under Persian dominance.
 
What Nehemiah was requesting of the king was a dangerous request and could have cost him his life to even suggest Israel be allowed soveriegn independence, to restore and re-establish the City of David in all it's sovereign glory politcally.
 
The Religious aspect being restored was a small matter in the eyes of a super power as the Medo Persian Kingdom but the political/governmental restoration meant Persia would lose it's control of the Holy City and Israel.
 
We will see God's favor time and again beginning with Nehemiah's request before the king to go up to Jerusalem after he hears news from his fellow country men that the walls of the City still lay in ruins and the gates burned with fire. Nehemiah had a right to be afraid to ask such a thing and to call upon God to be with him.
 
Nehemiah represents the heart of the Jewish people in Diaspora, in great anguish over the condition of their beloved city and country. In God's Prophetic timeline is something of major importance concerning Daniel's Seventy Weeks. There is so much debate over the timeline it would have to be a subject unto itself.
 
I do not believe Daniel's Seventy Weeks began with Ezra but with Nehemiah and the political restoration of the holy City. I am not a scholar in these matters but we can understand the Holy City had to be restored both spiritually and politically.
 
The spiritual restoration assigned to Ezra still left the walls in ruins and the gates burned to the ground which opened the door for God to touch Nehemiah's heart to go up to Jerusalem to complete the work.
 
The people were still in exile and Jerusalem under control of the Medo Persian Empire until Nehemiah. His position to the king in the Persian Empire is to be noted. God placed him there for such a time as this.
 
WALLS AND GATES
 
Walls and gates represent entrance and exit. They are borders protecting those within them. Gates represent throughout Scripture the place where governmental and political activity took place. Elders met at the gates to discuss and decide judicial matters of the Jewish community. (See Proverbs 8:3, Rev. 2:14. Proverbs 31:23, Ruth 4:1) Watchmen were positioned on the walls of a city to watch for approaching intruders, travelers, friends and enemies (See Isaiah 62:6, Jeremiah 51:12) particularly during times of trouble and war, wherein they would probably increase the number of watchmen.
 
Therefore, Nehemiah returning to re-build the walls and gates represents Israel becoming a nation free of any outward control by other nations, restoration of their political/governmental power as a soveriegn nation before YAHWEH. Dangerous to the surrounding nations as we well understand today.
 
In conjunction with Daniel's Seventy Weeks in Daniel 9:24-25 we can make this connection for now:
 
...Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
 
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times...
 
Daniel's Seventy Weeks we will get into in Daniel.
 
 
CHAPTER ONE
 
We understand why Nehemiah was chosen to go up to Jerusalem in a governmental capacity. This is a political statment God is revealing. Israel exists with both spiritual and political strength. Her armies are just as important as her priesthood and culture. We can clearly see Nehemiah's high and trusted position within the government of Persia was part of God's plan.
 
More important, he was a man of prayer also part of God's plan. Without prayer and when needed, fasting, we cannot see God's plans clearly. So his first assignment is to seek God in prayer and fasting. This is where the battle is won for the Kingdom of God.
 
CHAPTER TWO
 
Nehemiah is now ready to approach the king of Persia. God opens the king's heart to recieve Nehemiah's request. God gives Nehemiah a plan, instructions, faith, courage and great favor. As it is often said, Where God guides, He provides. He uses the resources in the world to accomplish His purposes. With all the provision he needs, Nehemiah goes up to Jerusalem. ...And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me. (Nehemiah 2:8)
 
God's enemies are already in place when Nehemiah arrives. If I would suggest Old Testament books that reveal for the New Testament Church visual details of spiritual warfare and victory over the enemy, It would be Ezra and Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 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.

What God accomplished for the nation of Israel through Ezra, Nehemiah and those with them set the course for the end times, the Church of Jesus Christ our Messiah, the Tribulation Period and the final victory of all who love God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Nehemiah 2:18-20  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. 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?

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.

Controversy among the nations of the world over who the Holy City and the land of Israel belong to is much debated, but throughout the Old Testament it is made plain who has soveriegn right to the land. To this day nations approaching Israel to conquer and control it do so at their own peril.

CHAPTER THREE

Records the tribes and their specific roles in rebuilding the walls and restoring the gates.
 
CHAPTER FOUR
 
As they continue to build the enemy continues to taunt them. Nehemiah's response is prayer to the God of Heaven and to build despite the adversaries in their midst which provoked their enemies to greater anger. They gather together as one to fight against Israel to stop the work. God's people are discouraged. Nehemiah forms armies from among the families and watchmen.
 
CHAPTER FIVE
 
Discouragement builds. Economics come into play. The people are burdened with taxation and their brethren are charging them illegal and high interest rates on their properties and goods. Nehemiah rebukes the leaders and requires them to return what they have illegally acquired from their brethren.
 
Nehemiah is an example of the highest form of character and integrity in government setting an example for his people. If the people are burdened with debt they will not be able to build or dwell in what they have built. Oh the wisdom of God.
 
CHAPTER SIX
 
The enemies tactics have not worked. Now they come closer and communicate directly with Nehemiah to cause him to stop the work. The Word of God tells us satan is the father of lies. Here we see him in action as Sanballat attempts to forge a lie to discredit Nehemiah. When this does not work the enemy infiltrates their ranks bribing a fellow Israeli (verse 12) to trick Nehemiah to go into the Temple. But God is with him and he sees the plan of Sanballat in bribing Shemaiah. Still the enemy persists.

CHAPTER SEVEN

It is not a coincedence that chapter seven reveals the completion of the walls, gates and doors of the Holy City. The number Seven is representative of Sabbath, rest and completion ordained of God in Genesis (Genesis, chapter 2). They prepare to worship God.

Nehemiah appoints Hananiah ruler of the Palace, as governor over Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 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 a God of order. It is time for the communities of the families to be ordered. Nehemiah finds the registry of the genealogy according to the Babylonian captivity who came up to Jerusalem and Judah. Those who wer not written in the registry unable to prove their seed were considered polluted and denied of the priesthood.

Nehemiah 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 seventh month (Between September and October) is when Israel celebrates the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). It lasts seven days.The Israelites dwelt in booths during Sukkot as a reminder of the temporary dwellings their ancestors occupied during their 40 years of wanderings in the wilderness.

For the Church it reveals the 'Hebrew' roots of our Saviour and His mission. It represents the spiritual place we have in Yehua who is our Tabernacle. The feast for us is a shadow helping us understand the Gospel, converting of people among the nations of the world to a saving faith in Messiah. The Feast is for us the holy joy of being indwelt by and covered in His Spirit. belonging to Messiah, joy in the Holy Ghost. We celebrate Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles. It is a pcture of the future establishment of the Millenial Kingdom.

For the Church it also represents this world and our bodies as temporary dwellings until we are physically with our Lord in our eternal place in heaven. As believers we are strangers and aliens in this world. We live in the world but we are not of the world and should look at no place in the world as being permanent. We are as Abraham was. Galatians chapter three is a wonderful chapter on our inheritance as the Church which is neither Jew nor Gentile but all are in Christ our Messiah.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Now we see why Ezra and Nehemiah are one book in the Hebrew canon. Ezra is called forth to bring the Torah of Moses which the Lord had given to him. A pulpit is made of wood for Ezra to stand above the people and speak the Torah into the ears of God's people. This is the only place in Scripture where the word pulpit is used. 

Pulpit means - Place of honor, to tower above, it represents promotion in the sight of God that HE alone may be exalted. It is a place from which nourishment, excellence and increase flows out, to exceed and magmify. It is appropriate for the occasion. It remains symbolic of God's appointment to the ministry of the Word to this day in a great majority of churches and synagogues.

(Again note, the number eight of the chapter, no coincedence. It is the number that is representative of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Word of God and ushers in a new beginning, harvest and abundance)

CHAPTER NINE

Nehemiah 9:1-3  Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. 2 And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.

Worship exalts the Word of God above all things. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Law. On this day Israel (not just Judah) separates themselves from strangers. We see a shadow of what the church of the New Testament is. Separate from the World through our Messiah in the forgiveness of Sin. From the Word Israel is reminded of their sojourn in the world starting with Abram whom God named Abraham.(See Ephesians, chapter 2)

CHAPTER TEN

Israel enters into covenant agreement with God. A document is created and signed. This is a significant shadow of things to come in our covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. When we recieve the Gospel of Jesus Christ we enter into covenant relationship through His sacrifice on the Cross. His blood is the covenant and is sealed by the Holy Spirit. (See Ephesians chapter 1). He is the wall and the Gate. We are separated from the world through our Lord.

CHAPTERS ELEVEN AND TWELVE

It is decided what leaders would remain in Jerusalem. The families are then distributed land in other cities in Israel to inhabit.

Nehemiah 11:1-2  And the rulers of the people dwelt at Jerusalem: the rest of the people also cast lots, to bring one of ten to dwell in Jerusalem the holy city, and nine parts to dwell in other cities. 2 And the people blessed all the men, that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Nehemiah was not in Jerusalem. Upon his return the people had laxed in their covenant with God. Nehemiah severely rebukes and corrects the people. In the key verses below is explanation why a mixed population should not be allowed among them. As we have read in Genesis, seed produces after it's own kind. A key strategy in attempts to destroy a people is to cause mixture and weaken the seed wherein eventually the parent seed disappears.

Nehemiah 13:1-3  On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; 2 Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.

Baalim whose name is derived from Baal devised a wicked plan to infiltrate Israel through the worship of false gods and was successful in tempting the Israelite men to lust after strange flesh. The intent being to weaken and eventually destroy pure seed.

Nehemiah 13:25-27  And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. 27 Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?

That the book of Nehemiah ends with this admonition suggests the importance of it.


Revelation 2:11-17  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.  12  And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 

13  I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.  14  But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 

15  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.  16  Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.  17  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.