“Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come.” -Exodus 27:20-21
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10
Tomorrow, our ministry family is beginning a 21-day time of fasting and prayer for Israel in collaboration with several thousand other ministries worldwide called the Isaiah 62 fast (May 7-28). During this time, I will be posting daily for those of you who want to join us as the Lord leads you. The estimation is that over a million will be fasting for Israel during this time. So before we start tomorrow, I just want to share about the prayer posture we’re taking for this season.
Israel is the God-given, new name for Jacob. It was changed when he put away his idols and survived his struggle with God, so we are talking about Jacob’s descendants, the Jewish people, who have a long history with the Lord that continues today, both in the land of Israel and in the diaspora. We are contending together now, as Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua, for Israel to come into the fullness of all that God has promised His people!
We are Praying in a Posture of Comforting the People.
“…Comfort My people!” says your God. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem…” (Isa. 40:1-2)
God has shown and will continue to show Israel mercy, and He longs for the prodigal return to Him. So we can rest in this comforting truth: He is waiting for those who do not yet know Him in order to show them mercy! He has not replaced Israel as “His people.” Gentiles have been allowed into something that already existed, and many of the Jewish people will also receive Yeshua as their Messiah.
How do we know this? Yeshua said:
“For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Matthew 23:39
this will be the ultimate fulfillment of Zechariah, when he prophesied,
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” Zechariah 12:10
At Yeshua’s return, we will see the the Jewish people welcoming Yeshua as their Messiah. Paul believed this too:
“Again I ask: Did they [the Jewish people] stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!” Romans 11:11-12
We comfort God’s heart in the waiting and pray for comfort for the Jewish people through salvation in Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus Messiah), so we can move as one body in the last days.
We are Praying in a Posture of Priestly Authority in the Holy Spirit!
By the blood of Yeshua and authority of His Spirit (of sonship by which we cry Abba, Father!), we stand pure and confident as children before the Lord (His righteousness our priestly breastplate). Our goal is to know what is important to our Father so we can pray according to His heart and will, and so we need to listen to Him and meditate on His word as we pray. It should be a two-way conversation between us and the Father, in His throne room, where we come boldly. We minister to His heart, listen to what He is saying, and then move obediently in that direction according to His word, confirmed in scripture.
Moving into the fast tomorrow, I really have felt the Lord inviting believers into the priestly role as “one new man” both Jewish and Gentile in one spirit. This phrase comes from Ephesians 2:
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself ONE NEW MAN in place of the two, so making peace. Ephesians 2:11-14
I love that John, in the book of Revelation, is addressing believers in Asia and TWICE calling them a “Kingdom of Priests.” As believers in Yeshua, we are a “kingdom of priests,” whether Jew or Gentile. Our role as ministering to the Lord on behalf of Israel and to Israel on behalf of the Lord is something we can really learn as the body right now together. That this fast is a time to really understand Romans 9-11 in a powerful way: that God has not forgotten His people, and that whether we are Jewish or Gentile, we are all now of the same root (YESHUA!…the seed of Abraham, Branch from the stump of Jesse). Pursuing God’s heart for the Jewish people will unite and prepare the global body of Messiah for the last days.
We are Praying in a Posture of Blessing!
Our job as priestly intercessors (as “one new man”) is to bless Israel. We weep with the Father for the ones still needing to return, but we latch onto hope and the promises in God’s heart for them and pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Yeshua’s Reign) to come quickly! We let Him know that we still remember the promises and this, in and of itself, is a blessing to Him.
As keepers of the spiritual lampstands in the temple of our hearts and congregations, we remember the symbolism. The branches of the lampstand were crafted to resemble almond buds. It’s a Hebrew play-on-words because the words for almond and watch use the same root (The Hebrew words for “almond” and “watching” are very similar (shaked). Because the almond tree was the first tree to bud in spring, it was said to be “watching for spring.” As a Kingdom of priests, we keep Him company in watching to see His word fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12).
“Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.’” (Numbers 6:23-26)
Many promises for Israel have not yet been fulfilled and some will be fulfilled again! Mike Bickle from IHOP (International house of Prayer), the man who had the burden to call this fast, encourages us that: “Prophecies concerning Israel and the nations often have two fulfillments. First, a partial fulfillment in history. Second, a complete fulfillment at the end of the age…Speaking to God “about Israel” is an important aspect of “comforting Jerusalem” (Isaiah 40:1-2). It leads to speaking to the nations “about Israel,” and gives us authority to speak to Israel “about Israel.” As some final advice, he also suggests, “It is not best for Gentiles to stand in proxy for Israel in repenting [because we cannot put ourselves in their shoes in terms of their suffering and the persecution they will endure upon faith in Messiah]. We seek to avoid prayers for Israel that can be interpreted as coming from condescending Gentile voices [knowing that ALL nations have received mercy].”
Scriptures to pray through for today: Isaiah 62, Psalm 118, Matthew 23
So many people are realizing the importance of Israel!
This is a great introduction to the importance of Israel: