Study notes and Slides
Part 3- Rebuilding Knowledge of the Adversary
We have been studying over the past two teachings a Divine Parable of grand significance. To repeat the things that we have learned is only prudent. We discovered that the Land of Yisrael was a promise of prosperity but when that became a pitfall to the study of Torah & Mitzvot (Commandments) the population of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) were taken into captivity until their hunger for YAHWEH drove them to Torah observance.
Finally by a decree of the King they returned to their land, only to inhabit a ruined City. NechemYAH (Nehemiah) was then sent to rebuild Yerushalayim & rebuild the lives of its inhabitants. What was so enthralling about this tale is that it has far reaching implications. The King could represent Yahshua seated at the right hand of authority with NechemYAH whose name means YAH comforts representing the RUACH Ha Qodesh (The Holy Spirit). Finally we discovered that Yerushalayim was the place that YAHWEH would place his Divine presence forever and represented in the spiritual every believer while the Temple represents the heart of a believer that had been restored from which worship of YAHWEH was brought forth. Since the city lay in ruins we perceived that this represented the Personality of the believer that needed repair which required the aid of the RUACH Ha Qodesh.
It was also determined that just as Yerushalayim was meant to radiate the divine presence and was called to be the light of the World so too the believer was called to be the light of the World as Yahshua declared.
With Yerushalayim lying in Ruin & its inhabitants in despair NechemYAH was greatly grieved since this is the one city of all the Earth that YAHWEH has chosen to place his name or “Shekinah” his presence. Yerushalayim therefore should be very dear to us as well, as it is the promise of his presence in the natural for all time:
Also every Shabbat we read:
Ki MiTzion- For from Zion will go forth the Torah and the Word of Adonai from Yerushalayim (Jerusalem).
Since Yerushalayim is an allegory or metaphor for the believer so everything that happened there & is happening reflects the life of the believer. Even today as we see the threats focussed towards Yerushalayim and its inhabitants we can see its correlation with the attacks on believers around the World who are being constantly terrorised.
To refresh our understanding we discovered that the broken down walls of the City related to the need to rebuild the believer’s thinking since Sha’ul (Paul) making a plea to the Brethren says:
Romans 12: 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim.
We also discovered just as the gates were for defence of the city that in times of peace they served to admit, reject or expel things and in each believer, gates serve as places of authority where believers make decisions reflected in the words and actions they make.
To fully bring to the climax the defence of the city from external attack however there was also a need to understand the enemy and his Strategies to protect the city from being overrun. This objective we will fulfil today to help us in our defence of our life based on the lessons we can learn from this great tale of victory that saw Yerushalayim restored to a sense of honour to bring glory to YAHWEH the source of life to the City & its inhabitants as he is to us as well.
Know your Enemy:
This tale of rebuilding and the knowledge of the devices of the adversaries of the Yahudim (Jews) goes back to the time when Ezra the Scribe who under the edict of Koresh (Cyrus) ascended to Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel) & especially Yerushalayim. The Yahudim had returned with no military aid because the King had been told that the returning exiles enjoyed Divine protection as they were fulfilling a major Mitzvah or commandment by going up to the Holy Land. Upon their arrival & their desire to rebuild the Temple we get the truth revealed about the Adversary:
The Identity of the Adversary:
Just as the name NechemYAH (Nehemiah) in this story is identified as meaning the Comfort of YAH and in our life refers the comforter the RUACH Ha Qodesh (The Holy Spirit) the very name of the head conspirator is interesting.
According to the blue letter Bible his name has a meaning of strength but when broken up the name has a twofold meaning embedded within:
Sanballat- has at its root the meaning of “Satan” meaning Adversary and imbedded in it is the root for Baal without the Aiyin suggesting Master.
Therefore we have a meaning that suggests the Master of Adversity or the Master Adversary.
Rashi and Metzudos identify Sanballat and Tobiah as the enemies who had previously succeeded in disrupting the reconstruction of the Temple in Ezra 4. These were idolatrous gentiles who had been transplanted by the Assyrian King Sennacherib thus they became known as Samaritans. In Talmudic terminology they are referred to as Cushites a constant enemy of the Yahudim (Jews).
From the underlying meaning of the name of Sanballat we see that the true fundamental source of all trouble is Ha Satan who uses every opportunity to afflict the people of Elohim through many and varied strategies. Just as the enemy of the rebuilding would use every tactic at their disposal we need to see how these tactics could be viewed today to hinder our lives from being rebuilt.
Tehillim (Psalms) 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But YAHWEH delivers him out of them all.
When considering how YAHWEH desires our lives to prosper and be restored we need to have the principle impressed in our thoughts that no matter what happens he is for us and will deliver us.
The Tactics of the Adversary
- “If you can’t beat them Join them”:
Just as happened in the Garden of Eden in which Ha Satan made his play by befriending Chavah (Eve) in order to corrupt man causing him to sin against Elohim & in the book of Ezra we see his subtlety appearing:
As a result of these words and the evil intent of the Gentiles in the land the Adversaries were able to delay the rebuilding of the Temple for 18 years. In the time of NechemYAH we find a very similar play for joint participation being the way the adversary works to corrupt lives.
We see this played out over the Centuries after Yahshua with corruption drawing believers away from the original truth as the numerous Gentile influxes began to alter the truth of Torah into a message far removed from its source. Under Rome we saw Emperor Constantine partnering with the Ecclesia (The Assembly) that became known as the Church giving it authority, land and Religious dominance in the empire at the cost of compromise to join Paganism to Christianity with Constantine as the head a real “Coup d’etat” unifying the Roman Empire both politically & religiously under him.
Constantine’s Creed literally renounces absolutely everything Hebraic as well as speaking a curse over oneself.
This Slide shows how drastically Constantine compromised the Christian faith to unify the Empire under him so as to totally remove it from its Hebraic roots something most Christians have no knowledge of today or simply wish to ignore:
NechemYAH however was quick to discern the intent of these Gentiles and declared in:
Flavius Josephus a Jewish 1st Century Historian asserts that Sanballat was a gentile whose daughter had married a Yahudi Kohen (Jewish Priest) but after the expulsion of foreign wives under Ezra, Sanballat’s son in-law refused to expel his wife and was disqualified from the Priesthood however Sanballat later enlisted the help of Alexander the Great in setting up a rival Temple for his son in-law on Mount Gerizim.
These inhabitants were pagans transplanted to the land of Israel who converted to Judaism though a distorted form but continued to worship Idols and were called Samaritans being “goyim” gentiles mixed with the Yahudim that remained in the land after the exile.
From this information we see the danger of partnership with outsiders who desire to join together but have alternative motives or beliefs. Also from this we can also understand why the Yahudim (Jews) in the time of Yahshua detested Samaritans so much, since their history shows how they opposed the Yahudim (Jews) possessing the land and especially the rebuilding of Yerushalayim something that has not changed.
Even during the early Assemblies in the “Nazarene era” men who were not of the truth entered:
If this is the case that at the time of the Talmidim (Disciples) men joined who were corrupting the faith we too need to be aware and not allow compromise or division to take root. We see that NechemYAH was quick to inspire the people to stand together as we read:
- The Tactic of Ridicule & Insult:
What we discover in this story is that deprived of joining with the Yahudi (Jewish) inhabitants of Yerushalayim their tactic changed & their evil heart revealed. NechemYAH (Nehemiah) not only discerned their intents but knew how these same people had hindered the construction of the Temple. The truth of their desire is now revealed through the following:
This is the same trick the enemy will use when you are passionate about your life changing. It is even more painful when people close to you ridicule & laugh at you. Especially when you desire to take this path that we are on today many will laugh or call it legalistic but we need to realize when we are working to allow the RUACH to improve our personality and increase our understanding that the enemy wants to undermine us and he does it through people that you may love & respect but you must not accept it and resist his words believing that YAHWEH is bringing you from glory to Glory by the power of his RUACH (Spirit) in you.
We are no different than the Yahudim in that we live in a place where our desire is to fulfil the instructions of YAHWEH clearly laid out in the Torah but we so often feel like strangers in a foreign land where those around us have such a different understanding and who so often ridicule us for our strong stance on Torah observance sighting scripture that is so often mistranslated or grossly misunderstood.
NechemYAH however did not take their words lying down rather he turned to the greatest weapon against the enemy and that was prayer.
The ridicule was overcome by prayer and a mind to work. Sometimes we work hard but fail to pray or we pray hard but fail to work so the key is to pray hard, keep believing and then act in that resolve.
Often when we pray for someone for healing or for whatever they need, we will tell them to start acting like they have already received it.
Yahshua says in:
Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
- The Tactic of Conspiring
We find with each attempt to break the resolve of the Yahudim in rebuilding Yerushalayim the Adversary escalated his attacks. It is interesting to note that Sanballat knew that a frontal attack would not guarantee a victory so it was a surprise attack that they were planning. NechemYAH knowing the danger, again turned to prayer with an amazing result.
Rashi or Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki (1040- 1115AD) notes that the forces arrayed against Yerushalayim included Yahudim (Jews) that lived in the surrounding towns. Many Yahudim (Jews) were apparently part of the enemy army yet they risked their lives to warn their brethren. Perhaps since the City lay in Ruins and was unprotected many had moved to the small towns 7 villages but fearing for their lives and that of their families they had joined the Army of the Gentiles the “Goyim”. When the critical moment came they summoned the courage to warn those in Yerushalayim.
The sudden change of heart surely was attributed to the prayers lifted up to YAHWEH in the time of greatest need.
When times are tough and everything seems to be coming to a disastrous end it is first, time to pray but the good news is that YAHWEH has put the Body of Machiach together not to argue & to dispute over dubious things but rather as a fortification, so we may win over the trials. The walls of your personality will be built and the gates will be hung because with the working of the RUACH and the fellowship of believers your personality will be conformed to that of Yahshua.
What we notice from our discussions so far is that all the emphasis has been on the defence from the external influences. The reason for this is that just like progressive Covenants that bring us into more intimacy with YAHWEH the rebuilding of our lives works the same.
When you wanted a relationship with someone the first thing you did was buy new clothes and clean yourself up to create a good appearance while the next thing you did was to adjust the words that come from your mouth and make decisions that were pleasing to the one you wished to impress. It was only as things went deeper that you then began to reveal your heart.
Is it therefore any wonder that NechemYAH who came to restore not only the City but also the inhabitants of Yerushalayim that he begins with the Appearance and protection of the City in an attempt to raise the esteem of the inhabitants causing them to begin to dwell in unity as the City would now offer them a place of safety and security.
This is how we should feel as we come into fellowship with each other in our congregation. We should feel safe against attacks if we have discovered that the beauty of Torah is not only that it teaches us Mitzvot (Commandments) but rather that through it lives are being changed through growth in personality and through a sense of being in “Echad” or unity for when this develops the rest will surely follow.
The Worship of YAHWEH & study of his Torah is only effective if we allow his RUACH/ Spirit to mould us to a person pleasing to YAHWEH but we know that the truth is that only when the Machiach comes to reign will we see the true restoration of the land of Yisrael and of his people, all who long for his appearance.
From this point now we can begin to look inward into the area of developing Torah so the Final discussion is how NechemYAH transformed Yerushalayim into a place that radiated the presence of YAHWEH Elohim of all Creation until the time of the 1st appearance of Machiach (the Messiah):