Rebuilding Torah in Lives
Slides and Study Notes
Introduction: We have been investigating the significance of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) and seeing it as the expression of the presence of YAHWEH and also as a Divine Parable for all time. The last teaching showed how highly esteemed Yerushalayim should be in our thinking and we know that the charm of its natural form represents the visible reach of the sacred radiance that’s dwelt within the City:
Tehillim (Psalms) 48:2-3 YAHWEH is great and greatly to be praised in the City of our Elohim. In his Holy mountain . The vision of beauty, the joy of all the Earth, is Mount Zion on the sides of the North the City of the Great King.
It was to the people of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) that YermeYAHU (Jeremiah) was commanded to address his Prophetic call, reminding them of the Exodus from Mitsrayim (Egypt) as we read:
YermeYAHU (Jeremiah) 2:2 “go forth and call out to the ears of Yerushalayim saying: So says YAHWEH, I remember the goodness of your youth, the zeal of your Betrothal when you followed Me into the desert.
Before the fall of Yerushalayim the City was one that radiated beauty with great walls, beautiful gates and a Temple that brought honour from all lands yet in all this its heart, the people were corrupted and had turned away from YAHWEH their Elohim though many Prophets had been sent to them, until finally Yerushalayim lay in Ruins.
The Beauty of the great tale of Ezra & NechemYAH (Nehemiah) is that after the Prophesied 70 years of Captivity the people were able to return to their beloved City and we have now seen the Walls rebuilt and the Gates hung making Yerushalayim once again a place of safety.
As we spiritualize this picture we came to the conclusion that Yerushalayim was representative of the presence & radiance of YAHWEH in the World but also that it was a Metaphor or natural image of all believers representing the person in Covenant with YAHWEH that radiated his presence with the Walls being an image of the thought life of the individual and the Gates of the City representing the believers words and decisions being the result of external forces that enter and those that are rejected or expelled all of which are so essential in making the person or in the Natural Yerushalayim an appearance of the Radiance of YAHWEH.
I fear however that this picture is where the World of Christianity has remained since we are taught by them, that what is required is to love & believe in the King our saviour who has set us free from the Captivity of sin by his great sacrifice followed by a change of thinking therefore having the mind renewed and a change in the Words spoken, neglecting the most vital cause for the exile into captivity which was the breaking of the Covenant which then led to acceptance of foreign Elohim.
Within this tale however is a message of inner rebuilding and establishment of the Words of YAHWEH that are eternal, revealed through his Torah which is his loving instructions for all time which he never came to abolish in order that his beloved people learn to live according to his righteousness. We have been taught that only through the blood of Yahshua is Salvation available and that nothing we do will avail us and though this is true we have then forgotten that he has redeemed us and empowered us with his RUACH (Spirit) that we may live for him and have his Torah written in our hearts. This means that it is not his Torah that has changed but our heart that he came to change that by our redemption we may desire to fulfil his Torah because we are redeemed & renewed since Sha’ul (Paul) says the following:
QorintYah Bet (2nd Corinthians) 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Messiah he is a renewed creature: old things are passed away; behold all things have become renewed. (Hidden Truths NT)
Just as the walls of Yerushalayim were rebuilt from the broken & burnt stones so too the believer is rebuilt by using the bricks of our past & renewing them since we are the workmanship of YAHWEH created in Machiach (Messiah):
Ephsi’yah (Ephesians) 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yahshua unto good works, which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
These works are the Works of the Torah that reveal our deep love for YAHWEH our beloved Elohim and that of his precious son Yahshua.
Rebuilding Torah in People’s Lives
We must remember that even before NechemYAH came to Yerushalayim Ezra had already implemented various instructions but we read that when NechemYAH came the City was still living in Anarchy. Cannot we see that the neglecting of Torah is equivalent to living in Anarchy! The inhabitants of Yerushalayim felt that they too could live as they felt was right and the question is why could not Ezra alter this situation greatly. The truth is that he did not carry the authority of the King to enforce the Kings precepts. NechemYAH on the other hand had the power and authority to do the commands of the King.
We could say it was like the Talmidim (Disciples) who thought they could stand in their own strength as seen by the statement of Kepha (Peter) in:
Yahuchanan (John) 13:37 Kepha (Peter) said to him, Master (Adoni) why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for your sake.
We know that in only a short space of time Kepha denied the Master three times because in his strength he was destined to fail but after all the Talmidim (Disciples) received the RUACH Ha Qodesh (The Holy Spirit) there was a great transformation as all of them were able to stand strong in the faith. So it was in the case of Yerushalayim since it was only when NechemYAH came with the authority of the King that he united the people to rebuild the Walls, hang the Gates and defend against all the tactics of the enemy.
This however was not the end of this story because now the tale of rebuilding turns inward to establish righteousness within the inhabitants of the City just as the intention of the RUACH (Spirit) has been to turn us towards the obedience of Torah as the final step in the progressive rebuilding of our lives that we may radiate the presence of YAHWEH to the World through devoted dedication to his Torah which is his loving instructions for righteous living for all time. Since each step that we have addressed is vital in the rebuilding of lives we will now need to examine how NechemYAH achieved the inner work of rebuilding the lives of the People to understand how we can apply this to our lives.
Strategy 1- Love your Neighbour:
We read in chapter 5 of the book NechemYAH a major problem that needed to be addressed:
NechemYAH 5: 1Now the outcry of the people concerning their Yahudi (Jewish) brothers was great.
5:5 They said “Our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers and our sons like theirs, yet we must press our sons and daughters into servitude (slavery) and we are powerless and our fields and vineyards are given to others.
The gross problem that NechemYAH had to deal with now was that even though the congregation were all working to save the lives of all the inhabitants within Yerushalayim the Aristocrats who were also the rich were exploiting the poorer people by enslaving their sons and daughters so the poor could buy food to eat.
Just think within the congregation of people desperate to save their lives by rebuilding the City were people exploiting others for profit even to the point of slavery.
What must be noted in the case of the Yahudi problem is that the Torah does not empower a man to sell his sons & mature daughters, but due to the severity of the problem they were willing to offend Torah. As we know breaking Torah is acceptable if it saves lives.
Kiddushin 20a: Says that a man must have sold his house & all his land even his last shirt before he is permitted to take such a step.
NechemYAH dealt with this problem by gathering a large crowd and confronting the Nobles making them feel ashamed but even more importantly he led by example. He specifies that he, his brothers & servants did not eat of the governor’s remuneration but rather used it for the people & especially to ransom back those Yahudim (Jews) who had been sold as slaves to the Goyim (Gentiles).
NechemYAH challenges the Nobles to walk with the fear of Elohim because of the insult of the Nations who were their enemies.
The good news is that the Nobles then said they would make no demands on them and release all debt.
Even Sha’ul speaking to the Corinthian Assembly found a problem that needed his correction:
1 Corinthians 6: 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?
6:7 Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong?
When we look in the Nazarene writings we see that the love for the Brethren is a central truth that is constantly taught and Yahuchanan (John) says it this way:
1 Yahuchanan (John) 3:17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of Elohim abide in him?
Yahshua makes it quite plain that the love for one another is central to the body of Believers in:
Yahuchanan (John) 13: 34- 35 A renewed commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.
35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.
This was not a new commandment as in “brand new” but rather a restored commandment. When we begin to show this sort of love for each other it will have a profound effect and be a witness for all to see that we belong to Yahshua.
Strategy 2- NechemYAH Searched the Book of the Lineage:
NechemYAH 7:5-6 And my Elohim put it into my heart to gather the nobles and the deputy rulers and the people, in order to be registered by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of those who had come up at the beginning and I found written in it: 6 These are the sons of the province who came back from the captivity of the exiles whom Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar the sovereign of Baḇel (Babylon) had exiled and who returned to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) and Yahudah (Judah), each to his city,
Why was it that YAHWEH put in NechemYAH’s heart to investigate the genealogy of the people? The answer is that as with Ezra earlier who compiled the lists he understood that many of the Gentiles had infiltrated the people even the priesthood so this work was essential to purify the Priests and all the people that the inhabits of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) would be those who were in covenant with YAHWEH Elohim of Yisrael and had a deep desire for obedience unto him.
Note: The sum total of the Family members in this chapter falls far short of the amount of 42,360 people that had returned.
Metzudos quoting Seder Olam 29 explains that only Judah (Yahudah) & Benyamin are listed by name while another 13,000 of the other tribes also went up to the Holy Land.
For those that desire to see their lives restored into all that YAHWEH desires, it is necessary therefore to surround ourselves with those in Covenant with YAHWEH lest we be corrupted with false teachings & beliefs which have polluted his people for far too long.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits & character.”
We have already discussed how the great influx of Gentiles or Goyim completely changed the faith removing much that the early assemblies who were called Nazarenes believed and who were finally destroyed leaving the faith under the power of Constantine who moulded it to unify his Empire both Politically & Religiously as we saw in the previous teaching.
Strategy 3- The Reading of the Torah
Now we see the greatest strategy that NechemYAH (Nehemiah) would bring. It is interesting that this happened on the 1st day of the 7th month:
NechemYAH (Nehemiah) 8:1-2 Then all the people gathered as one man in the open space before the water Gate and told Ezra the Torah scholar to bring the Torah of Mosheh (Moses) which YAHWEH commanded to Yisrael. 2. So Ezra the Kohen (Priest) brought the Torah before the Congregation- on the first day of the Seventh Month.
6-7 Ezra blessed YAHWEH the great Elohim and all the people answered “Amein, Amein” with their hands upraised then they bowed and prostrated themselves before YAHWEH face to the ground.
Amazingly Ezra read the Torah on Yom Teruah or the Feast of trumpets. I am sure when Ezra read the following the people understood why they had been taken into captivity:
Debarim (Deuteronomy) 28:1-2 “And it shall be, if you diligently obey the voice of YHWH
your Elohim, to guard to do all His commands which I command you today, that YAHWEH your Elohim shall set you high above all nations of the earth. 2“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of YAHWEH your Elohim:
Debarim (Deuteronomy) 28: 58-60 If you do not guard to do all the Words of this Torah that are written in this book, to fear this esteemed and awesome Name, YHWH your Elohim, 59 then YHWH shall bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary
plagues, great and lasting plagues and grievous and lasting sicknesses. 60“And He shall bring back on you all the diseases of Mitsrayim (Egypt), of which you were afraid and they shall cling to you, 61 also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in the book of this Torah, YHWH does bring upon you until you are destroyed.
Against the backdrop of the events encountered, the inhabitants of Yerushalayim & Yisrael understood the significance of Yom Teruah or this day of Judgement in which the community would examine itself since the following days are called the “Ten Days of Awe” so we read that all the people wept when they heard the words of the Torah but the leaders encouraged the people that the Favour of Elohim was now with them.
Surely they isplayed true repentance and we would do well to understand the severity of disobeying YAHWEH remembering the pain that it brought to our beloved Saviour Yahshua.
Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) was for the 1st time since its destruction restored and once again the centre of Yahudi (Jewish) life that it could once again radiate the splendour of YAHWEH the Elohim of Yisrael and be the light to the Nations.
There is truly such significance in this picture for the believer. We know that Yahshua came to take the curse since scripture says:
Galutyah’im (Galatians) 3:13 Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Torah, having become a curse for us – for it has been written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree. ” –
14 in order that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the nations in Messiah
Yahshua, to receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
From this we discover that Messiah took the curse so we could be empowered with the RUACH Ha Qodesh (The Holy Spirit) that by his work in us we might have the power to be obedient to his Torah and fulfil his will.
Strategy 4- The Discipline of Torah Observance:
After all the monumental work that NechemYAH achieved he returned to the King in Shushan (Susa) but on his return to Yerushalayim he found much Sin. With the passion and authority of a Zealot he dealt fervently with the breach of Torah in the following ways:
- Eliashiv the Priest had transgressed by allowing Tobiah the Ammonite & Sanballat to live in a Chamber of the Temple meant to house the Tithe & other Temple items so NechemYAH cast out all their belongings & drove them out of the City. Remember that Sanballat’s son in law was rejected as a Priest for not casting off his gentile wife but later Sanballat with the help of Alexander the Great established a Temple for his son in law on Mount Gerizim in opposition to the Temple in Yerushalayim.
- While NechemYAH was away the people had desecrated the Shabbat as we read:
NechemYAH 13:15- 16 In those days I saw in Yahuḏah (Judah) those treading wine presses on the Shabbat (Sabbath) and bringing in sheaves and loading donkeys with wine, grapes and figs and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Yerushalayim on the Sabbath day. So I warned them on the day they sold food. 16 And men of Tsor dwelt there, bringing in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the children of Yahuḏah and in Yerushalayim.
NechemYAH consequently locked the gates on Shabbat and called the Levites to guard the smaller doors & threated the Merchants with severe punishment.
- The People were also violating their oath that they would not marry gentile wives:
NechemYAH 13: 23 In those days I also saw Yahuḏim (Jews) who had married women of Ashdoḏ, Ammon, & Mo’aḇ. 24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdoḏ and could not speak the language of Yahuḏah (Judah).
In fervent anger NechemYAH (Nehemiah) beat these men & even pulled their hair out and made them swear to Elohim their renewed Oath.
Especially today we find believers not respecting the RUACH’s authority and discipline seeing him only as the comforter but we read a powerful story in Acts 5 where Ananias & Sapphira lie to the RUACH Ha Qodesh and are struck dead for their sin. That story should make us tremble to know that YAHWEH is an Elohim of love but he will also judge sin as this story teaches though he has great patience. I pray that we his people begin to fulfil our Oath to love him by our obedience to his Torah which is his loving instructions on Righteous living.
Ibrim (Hebrews) 12:5-6 you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of YAHWEH, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom YAHWEH loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
This entire series we have studied saw Yerushalayim go from rubble to a City rebuilt & restored both from the outside to its inhabitants with the purpose that once again it would radiate the esteem of YAHWEH the Elohim of Yisra’el to the entire World. Understanding that by this success Yahshua was able to be born into a society dedicated to the Most High, which places NechemYAH in the category of a hero of the faith along with the Maccabees, people remembered for re-establishing the faith in YAHWEH and his beloved Torah.
More than this however this tale reveals a Divine Parable of King Yahshua who delivered us from the Captivity of sin but in his great love has sent his Comforter & teacher the RUACH Ha Qodesh (The Holy Spirit) who is able to guide & also discipline us that we may mature to a complete person who will radiate the presence of YAHWEH and be that light to the World that Yerushalayim in the natural was also meant to be.
Within this great tale lye the divine seeds that will enable us his beloved to be rebuilt in the areas of our mind, our speech & our heart by desiring to please him with our whole being by complete trust knowing that everything written from Bereshith (Genesis) to Chazon (Revelation) comes from our Father’s heart and is for our good so should be obeyed and listened to. Amein.