“In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.” And our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.” At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, “You must return to us.” So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” “ – Nehemiah 4:10-14
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” “ – Matthew 2:13
“It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him” – Mark 14:1
I was listening to a sermon once that came across the above passage from Nehemiah and I thought that it portrayed a very strong message for those trying to live the lifestyle of revolutionary Christianity. There will be discouragement from within (“In Judah it was said . . .“), and there will be attacks from without (“And our enemies said . . .“), and in light of such we must be prepared, with swords and spears and bows if necessary, in order to protect our Christian faith and family.
I believe this is a point, seemingly obvious, but all too often glossed over by churches who are exceedingly timid to bear their own arms in the fight to preserve that which we believe in, love and cherish. There are too many churches who have adapted a policy of not being quarrelsome (2 Timothy 2:14,23-24), but instead of taking this stance in the proper context of not mincing words with false teachers who are arguing foolish things, they use it to be noncommittal and overtly passive to the fiery arrows which the world is all too ready to launch at us.
Instead, as Nehemiah shows, the revolutionary Christian must always be ready to take up arms and defend Christianity against the forces which want to see it dead. If Nehemiah had allowed passivity the church may have never been rebuilt in Jerusalem. In the same way, if we don’t stand ready for battle today, the attacks of popular culture and secular progressivism may leave the modern Christian landscape as desolate as that of Jerusalem before Nehemiah.
One point that we must always keep in mind, and I don’t think that I can ever do too much to emphasize this point, is that the battle we fight on Earth is one with two fronts: the front against the forces of the world and the front against the corruption of “Christians.” We can clearly see this portrayed in the life of Jesus, who had to flee as a baby from Israel because the non-Jewish king Herod the Great longed to kill him in order to save his kingdom, and who eventually was murdered as a result of the plot by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. We also see this in the passage we reflected on from Nehemiah: not only did Nehemiah have to protect from the enemies of God outside of the city but he also had to contend with the despair of God’s people in all of Judah.
This principle is of supreme importance to remember for the revolutionary Christian in America today. In a country where well over half of the population claim to be “born-again Christians”, or specifically in my age group 60%, it seems like this would not be a problem. It seems like with such a large fellowship of “believers” in America that we would all stand united together against the world and only have one battle front. However, the problem that we see is the extreme disconnect between people who claim to be “born-again” and those with a truly regenerated spirit. I don’t wish to pass judgement on anyone person, but I think we all may agree that “not everyone” in our country who says “‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21-23). As such, we come across plentiful resistance from “Christians” whose hearts are still stone (Ezekiel 36:26) and who are turned against the will of God (Matthew 12:50).
Therefore, as a revolutionary Christians we must be prepared for the battle. We must be daily putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20), reading and studying our Bibles (“and take… the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”) , communing with our fellow revolutionaries (Hebrews 10:24-25), engaging the culture as Paul instructed (Corinthians 9:19-23) without being corrupted by that culture (Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 1:14). This is our fight and has been since the days of Jesus’ incarnation on Earth. We must be prepared to battle on two fronts, remembering always, as Nehemiah instructed, our Lord, who is great and awesome, whose glory is our rallying cry!