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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Work of Restoration, #18
But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing. Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them which have taken strange wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and the judges thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned from us. (Ezra 10:13,14)
It was not convenient or joyous for the Jews to separate themselves from their Canaanite wives and children. They were required to take a strong, painful stand for God.
One can imagine the intense grief of the families involved as the Israelite men were compelled to send away their wives and the children born of them. There was much pain here, much tragedy, much heartbreak. On top of everything else, it was raining. When we decide to take a stand for Jesus circumstances may work against us.
Today we are hearing a weak version of the new covenant. Contemporary preaching and teaching by no means reflect the severity and sternness of Christ and his apostles. The realities of the Day of the Lord will be upon us before long and they will be as terrible as the prophets and the Lord Jesus have foretold. The faithful prophets and witnesses have warned us but we are not prepared.
Every person who decides to separate himself to the work of restoration must be ready to suffer any inconvenience, any pain—even to martyrdom. We are not playing church games. We are in a struggle to save our own souls and the souls of those around us (I Timothy 4:16).
It may not be convenient for us to separate ourselves from the lust, the violence, the pursuit of money, the greed, the sorcery, and the carousing and partying—these "strange wives" that the Lord's people have "married" during the period of time that there has been no strong word of righteousness and holiness, no vision of consecration and separation from the world coming from the Lord's preachers and teachers.
Now it is time for the Lord's people to put away all of these demon gods. The ministers of the Gospel of Christ are to set the example and to lead the flock into the righteous and holy ways of the Spirit of God.
To this point we have discussed the concept of restoration. We have suggested that the restoration of the Temple of Solomon and the rebuilding of the wall of the city of Jerusalem are prophetic pictures in the Old Testament of a corresponding work in the Kingdom of God.
We have mentioned that the Book of Ezra speaks of the rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon and also of the beginning of the restoration of the ministries associated with the Temple. The Book of Ezra concludes with the separation of the remnant of Israelites from the uncleannesses of the heathen tribes who lived in the vicinity of Jerusalem.
The Book of Nehemiah portrays the rebuilding of the wall of the city of Jerusalem, and the vicious opposition presented by the surrounding peoples, the neighbors of the Jews. Included in the Book of Nehemiah is the bringing of the Lord's people into their individual dwellings, and the keeping of the feast of Tabernacles.
If there is a clearer picture in the Old Testament of the building of the Church and the Kingdom of God we do not know of it.
We mentioned also the Book of Esther depicts the purification of the Wife of the Lamb as she prepares herself for her wedding to the great King, Christ.
To be continued.