The Principle of Resurrection
An Old Testament Illustration
So we see that the issue is one of life. Now, in order to get that, God often has to take very stringent measures. He will never be satisfied with anything less than that. However much else there may be, He will not be satisfied with less than that, and so He will be prepared to put the thing through the fire, even to seem to part with it for a time, if peradventure He might recover that which has been lost. He is the God of resurrection. Maybe the Lord is dealing with some of us on this line. There was more salt at one time than there is now. There was more sting in our testimony than there is now. The Lord may be leading us through a hard way. Or perhaps there never was that sting that sting that the Lord wanted, and the Lord is trying to teach us that He is the God of resurrection - that we are helpless, useless, worthless, until God Himself acts and we cry out for that something which only He can give. Whatever it may be, this is what the Lord is after, and He will deal with us all the time, in this way and in the other way, with that in view. His dealings will be in order that at the end there shall be a testimony to His absolute triumph over the power of death - that which only the Lord can do; and if you feel today that you are there, that only the Lord can do it, believe me you are in a very hopeful position. Mr. Spurgeon once said that if ever you feel that it requires a miracle to accomplish a certain thing, you are in the right position to ask God for it!
The Correspondence Between Nehemiah and the Book of the Acts
God did recover His testimony in fullness on the day of Pentecost. It is helpful to see how there is a correspondence between the Book of Nehemiah and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. The testimony is raised again in fullness; the testimony of the Lord, "the testimony of Jesus," came into completeness and fullness on the day of Pentecost, and all the features of the Book of Nehemiah are found in the Book of the Acts, especially in the first chapters. We shall look at that more closely in a moment. I mention it because it may be helpful to you, in reading the Book of Nehemiah, not just to read it as a book of history, or even as the last historical book of the Old Testament, but to read it with the Book of the Acts before you all the time, and just see how these two books correspond all the way through.
But what I want to say here, before going further with that, is this: that, although the Lord, on the day of Pentecost, recovered His testimony in greater fullness than ever before (except for His original intention, which was in His view before all things), it was not very long before the counter-action set in again, the decline. Before we are through our New Testament we are beginning to see gaps in the wall, weaknesses in the testimony. We can indeed go much further than that, for when we read the First Letter to the Corinthians, and see all the rubbish there, we would say that the testimony seems to have been almost completely destroyed. What rubbish is revealed in that first letter to the Corinthians! What a state of wreckage and breakdown! And when we come to the end of the New Testament letters and take up the Book of the Revelation, with its messages to the seven churches in Asia, we have undoubtedly a yet further picture of a broken wall: the testimony is disrupted again, there is nothing whole. "I have found no works of thine fulfilled" (Revelation 3:2). The testimony is broken, there are big gaps in it, and that is its state as the New Testament closes.
Since then, not once nor twice, but many times, God has acted again to bring back bit by bit His original purpose and testimony. I am not going through the history of those past centuries. You meet the testimony in various forms, but you know that God has not given it up. God has not abandoned it; God has come back, and He has come back again, seeking to recover now this, now that, no something else; ever moving towards the original fullness, to have it in completeness. Thank God that today there is very much more of His testimony than there was in the dark ages. Today many of the great things of the New Testament are established in the Church. They are great factors. It is not necessary for me to mention them, but God has moved on steadily with His remnants, ever bringing something back.
The point with which we are concerned is this. Is He not at this very time in need of further recovery, and giving Himself to it? and might it be, in His sovereignty and in His grace, that we are related to the present movement of God in recovering the wall in fullness and in completeness? It may not be ours to build it, it may not be given to us to make it full; but it may be our calling to add something, to do something toward this matter of finishing the testimony of Jesus; and if this time corresponds to the book and work of Nehemiah, that is, the end of the dispensation, we may feel that we are in the last stages and the last phases of the testimony of Jesus. We are, indeed, not without some reason for thinking that that is so.
Now let us come back and look more closely at this matter of the correspondence between Nehemiah and the Book of the Acts, for we shall now be engaged not so much with the wall as with the work and the workers.
(continued with # 6 - A Movement From Heaven")