THE SEPARATING WALL
There is another point regarding the wall. The wall of a city is not only for protection, but also for separation. The wall is a separating line. When the wall is built up, it separates what is within from what is without. In Genesis 2, there was a garden without a wall, so it was so easy for the enemy, the creeping one, to creep in. Satan crept in because there was no wall. But at the end of the Bible, there is a city with a wall one hundred forty-four cubits high. That is twelve times twelve, the number of eternal perfection. There is a perfect wall to separate what is holy from what is common. Anything that is common has no entrance into the city.
The separation of the wall is not built up with regulations, but with transformed precious stones. The New Jerusalem is a city built up with transformed stones, not pieces of clay. There is not one brick made of clay. The separation of the wall is the building up of the transformed stones. The more we are transformed, the more we are separated, and the transformation eventually becomes the separating line. It is not by regulation, but by transformation. We should not have any regulations in the church concerning how long our hair ought to be or whether our members should shave or not. Today there is quite a discussion not only among Christians, but also among unbelievers about the length of the ladies’ garments. Some are so devilishly and hellishly short. But should we make regulations about the length of our garments? No, if we were to have that kind of regulation, we would become a long-garment religion. Of course, this does not mean that we agree with the short dresses. But our trust is in the growth in life and transformation. Transformation is the separating line. We do not have regulations, but we do have the transforming life. Praise the Lord! This transforming life will bring forth much separation.
In the wall of the New Jerusalem, there is nothing of regulation, but there is the building of the transformed precious stones. If we would pray-read all the verses in Revelation 21 and 22, we would see so much related to life: the flow of life, the feeding on life, the drinking of life, and the transforming of life. This is the church with the wall built up by transformation.
This is why the enemy hates the building up of the wall. Until the wall is raised up in the local churches, there is no safety, safeguard, or defense. We need the building up of the wall—to have every man realize the headship of Christ. Everyone must keep his position for the building up of the wall and must learn how to work with one hand and fight with the other. Building is not an easy job; it can only be carried on by fighting.
THE SUBTLE WILES OF THE ADVERSARIES
When we begin to build the wall, we will really see the subtle wiles and devices of the adversaries. First, they will pretend to be good to us. They will call a conference and say that we must meet together. This sounds good, but many, many times we will be cheated by this kind of proposal. Do not take it; this is not something of the Lord. I have learned that such conferences are useless. What can come out of such a conference? What can come out from these conferences for the Lord’s interest? You will find that these conferences are just snares set up by the enemy to deceive. We must learn the wisdom of Nehemiah. He told them that he was too busy working on the wall to attend their conference. But they made not just one, but four proposals! It is easy to reject the first, but it is not so easy to reject the second, the third, and the fourth. I am afraid that most of us would accept the fourth proposal.
In all the local churches we must learn the lesson to never engage in any conference with the adversaries. If we are in the Lord’s way, then let them take this way. If they do not think it is, then let them go their own way. There is no margin, no compromise, no conference. We simply do not have the time. If they are willing to take the Lord’s way, they will take it. Never accept the proposal to go down to meet with them. No, they must come up to take this way. We will never go down. Let them come up.
Oh, how subtle the adversaries are! Some of the returned ones even corresponded with them. The high priest was involved in a marriage relationship with them, and some of the priests even opened the temple of God so that the adversaries might dwell there! But when Nehemiah returned the last time and discovered that one of the adversaries was dwelling in a chamber of the temple, he kicked him out! Some might think that this was being too rough, but Nehemiah could pray, “Lord, remember what I have done for these people and for Thy house.” The Lord remembers. It is not a matter of what others say, but what the Lord remembers.
THE SECOND PURIFICATION
After the building up of the wall, Ezra came in again to help the people to be purified once more. Ezra was a priestly teacher and gave the people priestly teaching to help them be purified. He read the Word of God to the people, and they were inspired. They all agreed to sign a covenant that they would give up all the strange mixtures. In the local churches, every bit of mixture must be excluded. We must be thoroughly purified from all mixture. Anything common and anything contradictory to the heavenly nature must be cast out. The Lord’s recovery must be pure. After the building up of the house, we need purification, and after the building up of the city, we need to be purified again. This purification was not only realized and carried out by Ezra, but also by Nehemiah. There are at least two purifications under Ezra and one under Nehemiah. We need the recovery of the wall, and we need the purification. This is the need today in all the local churches.
(The Recovery of God's House and God's City, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)