When Zerubbabel and Ezra led a remnant of captives back to Jerusalem from Babylon, their mission was to rebuild the Temple, which had been destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, destroyed the Temple and the city. Now at last, the Temple was rebuilt, and the king of Persia had even sent additional gold, silver, and money to begin beautifying the Temple (Ezr 7:27).
The city was still in ruins — only a tenth of the number of people which had occupied it before, lived in it now, so 90% of the city still was waiting to be rebuilt — and its walls and gates were broken down. To rebuild the city, in particular its walls and gates, for protection against their enemies, was the mission the LORD had laid on Nehemiah’s heart.
“So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days.” Neh 2:11
I was surprised to find this clear sign of the Messiah here in Nehemiah. Three days in particular, is a sign in Scripture, of resurrection or the victory of life following death or when facing certain death. We saw the same sign in Esther, when she, facing certain death by going in to the king when she had not been summoned, fasted for three days, and then was granted life instead of death, when he held out his scepter to her.
The certain death, in this case, is the broken down walls and gates surrounding Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a type of the Bride of Messiah, the city of the great King (Rev 21:9-10). Walls are a defensive weapon. It prevents the enemy access, and keeps its citizens secure within. After three days, Nehemiah and the people began to rebuild the walls. That is the resurrection life.
Walls in our lives, might be those things we habitually and routinely do, which ensures our safety and maintains our security in the face of the enemy. They would be things like daily prayer and Bible study, regular fellowship and worship, celebrating the annual cycle of the LORD’s feast days which keep Messiah and the gospel of grace in front of our eyes and the eyes of our children (as the feasts repeat, year after year, their celebration becomes a habitual form of worship, whose purpose is to remember certain foundational truths).
What walls in our lives are broken down? Leaving them so is an invitation to the enemy and to death. To rebuild them is to seek the welfare of the people of God — me and you (Neh 2:10). By doing so, we increase security, protection, and life to ourselves here on this side of heaven.