“But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.” (Ezra 4:3)
When the Jews returned from their Babylonian captivity, they had been authorized by King Cyrus to rebuild their temple. Zerubbabel, their governor, and Jeshua, the high priest, reestablished the ancient offerings and laid the foundations of the temple. But then a problem surfaced. The people of the land, who were practicing a corrupt monotheism, offered to join with them in the project. Zerubbabel and Jeshua wisely rejected it.
The wisdom of this harsh rebuff soon became evident. The compromisers then tried other ways to destroy the project. Since they were unable to subvert it by infiltration, they used political and social pressures to try to corrupt God’s people and prevent the reestablishment of true faith in the land.
The principle involved in this record is timeless. To be honoring to the Lord and fruitful in His service, the Lord’s work must be done only by His own people, without compromise in doctrine or practice.
Christians and Christian organizations today are subjected to repeated temptations to compromise with the world system, especially to humanistic philosophies, but this is the surest route to ultimate defeat. “Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness” (II Peter 3:17).
This principle, if we follow Ezra’s example, applies even to cooperation with other believers who compromise with the world (e.g., “theistic” evolution). Such compromise soon permeates the ranks even of the faithful, so must not be introduced at all. HMM