The Object - the Wall
Now let us come to the main features of the whole matter of this book. We said, in our first study, that they are three: namely, the Wall, the Work and the Warfare, or the Object, the Conduct and the Conflict. We begin with the object, the Wall, and we must be very clear as to what is represented by this wall that Nehemiah was going to repair - what the wall stands for. May I say three preliminary things about the wall, as to what the wall really was and what it is now.
First of all, the wall was a definition: that is, it defined. A definition: that means,spiritually interpreted - interpreted in our own time, according to Divine thoughts - a clear defining of what is Christ and what is not Christ. That wall of Jerusalem defined a certain area, a certain territory; and it stood there originally to say: 'Now, what is within this wall, this mark, is of a certain order, of a certain character; within this, things are so and so.' Of course, the character was given by the temple, right there at the center, so to speak; but the wall was a defining factor, and we need not stay with detail about that. It is only necessary for us to say that in the recovering and completing of the Lord's testimony there is the necessity for clear definition of what is of Christ and what is not. Things have become terribly confused. Here the wall is broken down and there is much rubbish. I am going to deal with the rubbish presently, but here is the fact - much rubbish were the wall had been. Multitudes of people today have no clear discernment, perception or apprehension as to what is Christ and what is merely 'Christianity.' In evangelical Christianity things have become terribly mixed up, and what is necessary, it is evident, is the reconstituting of that which clearly and exactly defines what Christ is; that Christ shall be clearly understood and known and all the confusing and complicating and mixing elements shall be eliminated.
The wall was a defining thing. That means, spiritually, that it stands to represent the real character of Christ. I said a few pages earlier that there is very much behind what I am saying that cannot now find expression, but I have been thinking about walls - looking at walls in general through the Bible and passing from all the historic walls to the great inclusive wall at the end of the Book of the Revelation, the wall of the New Jerusalem; and I find among other things that a wall is to define the character or nature of what is within. That is true, is it not, of the great wall of the New Jerusalem at the end of the Bible? Its main feature, we may say, is its character: its glory, its beauty, its purity. It is the character of Christ that is the first thing about His testimony, and that has to become established and very clearly defined.
And then - you may think that this is a distinction without a difference, but there is a difference - the wall represented a demarcation, that is, a distinction. Here things are not mixed at all; here at the wall there is a declaration, and an establishment of the fact, that this testimony is a distinctive testimony. It is not a general thing; it is not something that brings itself all sorts of different things. It is clear; it is distinctive. It has one thing to say, and that one thing is: 'Only what is of Christ can pass this, can be within this.'
Now that is very, very searching, and very arresting. We shall find as we go on that this brother of Nehemiah's Hanani, was eventually made a policeman. And he, as policeman, was in charge of the gates, to deal with intruders, with merchants - and there are plenty of merchants finding their way into the testimony of Jesus, who have their own interests to serve, their own business to do, and all sorts of merchandise to bring into the confines of God, of Christ. And this wall said, 'No!' You read on to the end of the book, and see how Nehemiah and his policeman dealt with the merchants! They were having none of that - they chased them, they used strong measures with the merchants. But they did not do any more than the Lord Jesus did with the merchants of His day, with His knotted cord. No, the simple word is this: the wall spoke of a distinction between the precious and the vile; and that is covering much ground; it puts very much between what is of the Spirit of God and what is of another spirit.
(continued with # 7)