Affirmation and Oath

 

“And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 3  And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. 4  And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5  And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 6  And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” (Ne 8:2-6)

 

Those who heard the law that blessed day in Israel, affirmed it, “saying Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands…..”   were the men, the women, and those that could understand [confirmed??]. 

 

[This is also an indication that there was by the grace of God a desire in the hearts of the people to hear the law.  Nothing can be added to nothing, and the law only profits those who have hearts to hear and receive it.]

 

“Lifting up the hands” was not an exercise in Pentecostal piety, but has a clear meaning in Scripture:  the taking of an oath, and exercise of affirmation and obedience and supplication to God.

 

“For I [God] lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.” (De 32:40 av)  The taking of an oath.

 

“5  And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 6  And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 7  But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” (Re 10:5-7)

 

Many, many such passages are in the Psalms and other places and have a distinct and clear meaning, not just an emotional reaction to whatever.

 

What essential difference is there here, where Israel stood to the reaffirmation of the covenant, raising their hands in a holy oath, affirming and accepting the blessings of God’s good and gracious government, assenting to his order and rule and the congregation of the Lord assenting to the gifts of God among them in godly elders in the church for their benefit and government, as well as those creeds and constitutions that will make it happen.  Why should we deprive the women of their great blessing in such an affirmation?

 

If good elders and pastors are the gift of God to the church, evidenced by the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are necessary for their office, shouldn’t everyone under their rule have the joy of affirming this blessing, and contrarily, do they not have liberty to say, “be it not so.”  If they can say “amen” isn’t the negative implied?  Do not godly women have much to gain from good and godly elders and government in the church?  Not all of them are married to godly men.