Squatters in God’s House – 2

“…and I came to Jerusalem and discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, in preparing a room for him in the courts of the house of God. And it grieved me bitterly; therefore I threw all the household goods of Tobiah out of the room. Then I commanded them to cleanse the rooms; and I brought back into them the articles of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.” Nehemiah 13:7-9

After the failure of Israel’s kings and their adulterous priesthood, God established new worship in the “wilderness” of Babylon under Daniel and Ezekiel. When Babylon fell, He brought His new Jerusalem, like a pure bride, back to the mountain of God.

In Ezra, opposition to the building of the Temple was overcome. But the returned exiles were sitting ducks without a city wall, and this is what distressed Nehemiah. In its last chapter, Nehemiah describes the expulsion of Tobiah from the Temple, one who had previously opposed restoration; the Canaanite 7-day traders are also locked out of the city on the Sabbath, and the children of mixed marriages who speak foreign languages are struck and have their hair torn out. Hardly a model of tolerance.

This new Jerusalem, like the old, was a new garden of Eden. The sin pattern of early Genesis is reversed. Tobiah the serpent was cast out of the garden by ‘Adam.’ The Canaanite ‘false brothers’ were prevented from polluting the Sabbath in theLand, and the children of the “daughters of men,” future “mighty men” were terrorised before a harvest of bloodshed in the world.

Then Nehemiah reminds them that this last sin brought the downfall of Solomon’s kingdom. Which brings us to the New Testament, and Revelation.

“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.” – Mark 13:14

“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” – 2 Thess. 2:3-4

Like Nehemiah, the first century builders of the walls of New Jerusalem were troubled by false prophets as Jesus had predicted. The later epistles make this final apostasy plain. It was to separate those who were approved before the final harvest. But the point is, there was once again a man who had opposed the restoration of Jerusalem now living in God’s house — King Herod and his puppet High Priest, twin horns on a lamb-faced dragon — a false Solomon.

Like Nehemiah, Christ expelled this predatory squatter from the house of God (2 Thess. 2:8), locked out the Canaanite traders (Zechariah 14:21; Revelation 18:11-15; Revelation 22:15) and wiped out the “mighty men” children of spiritual adultery, the Judaisers and Jewish rebels, in a flood (Daniel 9:26).

The New Worship was established in the wilderness, replaced the earthly city and now mediates between heaven and earth with walls of pure crystal. One day, like Nehemiah’s city, she too will descend upon the mountain of God.

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