From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 13- Tabernacles – The Feast of Restoration
As we have considered the spiritual significance of the glory and power and wisdom of Solomon’s kingdom, so now let us consider the spiritual significance of the days of restoration, following the captivity. Both temples and both periods of history are applicable to our day: Solomon’s day speaking of the glory and power and wisdom of the Church; and the days of Restoration showing in what manner the lost glory is to be restored.
As for the days of Restoration, it will be of particular interest and profit to us if we consider carefully the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Zechariah–because these four books deal particularly with the return of the remnant to Jerusalem following the captivity, and their attempts to restore the walls and the temple and the order of religious worship. Ezra was a priest; Nehemiah was the governor of Jerusalem; and both Haggai and Zechariah were prophets of the Lord who encouraged the builders in the great tasks which lay before them.
THE FIRST FEAST OF TABERNACLES AFTER THE CAPTIVITY
The remnant who had returned from Babylon to Jerusalem were determined that all things should be restored according to the original pattern. And so they kept the Feasts of the Lord also in their due season. “They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings, as the duty of every day required” (Ezra 3:4). They could not keep the feast in its fullness, for the foundation of the house of the Lord was not yet laid, but they observed the pattern as best they could, and God honoured their faith. And now as the first rays of this glorious Feast begin to appear on the eastern horizon, we have every reason to rejoice–knowing that the days of restoration are here. And little by little we can see how the pattern is being unfolded before our eyes.
THE PEOPLE ASSEMBLE AS ONE MAN
“And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves as one man to Jerusalem.” (Ezra 3:1).
This, of course, is the foundational truth of this whole revival which God has given the Church, and one of the first revelations that came forth: that God would now at this time bring His people together to form one body. At the beginning it was hoped that the Christians everywhere would catch the vision, and that before long the whole Body of saints would become one vital, living organism, united together in the bonds of the Spirit unto one common purpose. But it is becoming apparent that only a remnant are returning to Jerusalem. The vast majority are content to remain in Babylon, for they have grown up in that state, and know nothing of the glory of God which once rested mightily on the Temple of God. They are prosperous enough; and the venture which a few fanatical Israelites have started upon is so utterly hopeless and fantastic that they will have nothing to do with it. Just imagine a small group of Israelites, with no natural resources (for they were a captive people), and very little perhaps in the way of education or business and administrative ability–venturing off to a land they had never seen, to a city utterly wasted and desolate, and starting to erect a temple comparable to Solomon’s! And so the majority, the vast majority, were content to remain in Babylon, with only about fifty thousand of the multitudes in Israel thinking it worth their while to go up and start work on the temple. GHW
Proverbs 29:18 in the Amplified Bible says, “Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].” We also hear in Zechariah 4:6, “Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of armies.” It may seem at first that these verses have nothing in common. But they do. They both have to do with the Holy Spirit accomplishing what man alone would fail at. The fifty thousand who returned to Jerusalem had a vision. They may not have seen it fully in Babylon, but there was inspiration to return to the Holy City. But even with a vision, there is need for the Holy Spirit to take control and add His might and His power to that vision. There will always be a remnant who will yield to the Spirit and see great things done in their midst.