UNITY OF DIVISION
After a time, the people of Israel were taken captive and scattered into at least three divisions. After seventy years, some of the people of Israel in Babylon were revived and rose up. But was that enough? No! They had revival, but they still did not have the genuine unity, because the unity in Babylon is still the unity of division. Even though they were united there, they were united in a way of a division. They did rise up, and they did love one another, but they loved one another in a division. This may be a revival, but this could never be a recovery.
Why did the people of Israel have to go back to Jerusalem? Could they not worship God in Babylon? Yes, they could worship God in Babylon, and they could worship God in Syria and Egypt. They could worship God in those places, but His house was not in those places. If they were going to worship God in His house, they had to go back to Jerusalem. God is not narrow; He can be worshipped anywhere. But to worship God in this way can never satisfy Him. They could worship God, but they would always have the sense that they were in captivity. They could worship God, but with a sense that they were not satisfied. This is because they would not be worshipping God in His house.
How can we apply this to us today? Unless we return to the ground of unity, we can never be satisfied, regardless of how spiritual we are. It is true that God is not narrow. Wherever we are, He is with us. But that kind of worship can never satisfy God, and it cannot satisfy us. This is because we are short of God’s desire. God’s desire is to have a house, a habitation, on this earth.
STIRRED UP, RISE UP, GO UP
In Ezra 1 there are many “ups.” Here in this chapter there are at least five “ups.” First, God stirred up their spirit (Ezra 1:1, 5). Our spirit needs to be stirred up. We should not be emotional, thoughtful, or determined, but we must be stirred up in our spirit. This is the first “up.” Then we must rise up (Ezra 1:5). After being stirred up in the spirit, we must rise up. This is the second “up.” Then after rising up, we must go up (Ezra 1:3, 5). Everyone who is being recovered is going up, not down. When we are being recovered, we simply have the feeling that we are up! To go back to the house means to go up.
BRING UP, BUILD UP
Then there is another up. Do not simply go up by yourself. You must bring up something of gold and something of silver (Ezra 1:11). These are the experiences of Christ. All the vessels in the temple are the experiences of the various aspects of Christ. The people of God were scattered and all the spiritual experiences were carried away. That was a shame to them and to God. Nebuchadnezzar put all the vessels in the temple of his idols. What a shame to God! Even today, some dear Christians have real experiences of Christ, but they are in Babylon. They have the experiences of Christ in the place of captivity, and in the place of idols. The experiences are right, but the place is wrong. The vessels are right, but they are the vessels of the temple of God in the temple of idols. So we must bring them up.
Ezra is not a long book. But it takes time to tell us all the numbers of the vessels. There were 5,400 vessels. When we are recovered, we must bring up some of the experiences of Christ. There are the vessels of gold and the vessels of silver. In typology silver refers to Christ’s redemption, and gold refers to God’s divine nature. Our experiences while we are going up must be the experiences of Christ and His redemption and of God and His divine nature. We must go up to bring up something of Christ and of God. We should not go up with our hands empty. At least we should have one vessel of gold and one vessel of silver.
It is so interesting that this part of the Word only gives us the names of two kinds of vessels: the platters and the bowls (Ezra 1:9-10). The words chargers and basins should be changed to platters and bowls in these verses. The platters are the large plates, and the bowls are for eating and drinking. Both are for serving food.
What experiences do you have of Christ? Those experiences must be the plates and the bowls to supply and to serve food to others. When we are going up to the church life, are we going up with anything in our hands? We must go up to the church life with plates and with bowls to serve others with food that they may be nourished and supplied. I do believe that many dear ones who are in the Lord’s recovery today can give testimony of how they have gone up to the church life with something in their hands as plates and bowls to supply others. And they can testify that when they came into the church life, they were simply nourished. They have something in their hands to nourish others, and others have something in their hands to nourish them; so they just nourish one another. This is the church life. You have some plates, and I have some plates. You have some bowls, and I have some bowls. You serve me, and I serve you. We all must serve one another.
Eventually we must be built up (Ezra 1:2, 3, 5). So we must be stirred up, rise up, go up, bring up, and build up. We must be stirred up in the spirit, rise up with the body, go up to Jerusalem, and bring up the experiences of Christ that we may build up the church.
(The Recovery of God's House and God's City, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)