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Friend of the Bridegroom, Isaiah 62 Fast, Watchmen on the Wall

Bring Them Back Home: 21 Days of Intercession for Israel (Day 9 of Isaiah 62 Fast)

Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nest? Isaiah 60:8

I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone, I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land. Ezekiel 37:21-22

What is Aliyah?

Aliyah is the return of the Jewish people back to the land of Israel. It is such a unique story, because it’s not like immigration in other countries. For the Jewish people who return here, they are returning home. For 2,000 years the diasporic Jewish people were dreaming to return to Israel. In the late 1800s people started coming back to “the land.” In the 19th century, Jews started feeling uncomfortable in Europe (Poland, Russia, Romania). These immigrants were called Jewish pioneers.

The biggest wave was after the holocaust, when Israel was established as a nation-state in 1948. Before that, the land had only 600,000 Jewish people in it. After the holocaust, that population doubled. From 1948-1960 we see people coming from India and Arab countries (Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco). After that, we see other massive waves from Ethiopia in 1986’s and another wave in the 1990’s from the former Soviet Union after the Iron Curtain collapsed. Recently (not sure if it is still happening), Israel was running trains out of Ukraine for Jewish people, meeting them at the European borders with a plane ticket back “home.”

…in that day that the LORD shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria [Jordan, Syria, Iraq] and Egypt, from Pathros [Upper Egypt] and Cush [Ethiopia], from Elam [Iran] and Shinar [Iraq], from Hamath [Syria] and the islands of the sea [Mediterranean]. 12He will set up a banner…and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth… (Isa. 11:11-12)

Making Aliyah, though a joyful thing, has happened mainly in seasons of great persecution or catastrophic circumstances in their countries. Often, it is not a religious desire that motivates the return home to Israel, but a practical necessity of escape or a better life for a Jewish family or community.

Is This the Lord’s Doing?

We believe it is. We truly believe that it is the Lord who is fulfilling His word through a convergence of these world events that seem incredibly disconnected, but all resulted in Aliyah. When we look at the incredible persecution and hardship of the Jewish people over their centuries of displacement, we remember three things about God. 1) He is faithful and never gave up on His people; 2) His actions are always redemptive in purpose; 3) He is out to see a united body of Jewish and Gentiles operating as one body in FULLNESS before He sends His son back for His bride, His redeemed. This is the congregation of Yeshua, His ekklesia, coming together for eternity. It’s not a building…it’s people. Jewish and Gentile. We are not complete without one another. So understanding the outworking of the unification of Jewish and Gentile people in the body of Christ looks something like this for our generation.

We stand on the truth that He chose Israel and never disowned them. Deuteronomy 7:7 says that God chose the Jewish people and set His affections on them, not because of their great number, but because they were few! Even though the sin of Israel was great and the people of Israel and Judah provoked God by idolatry and injustice (Ezekiel 9:9, Jeremiah 32:32), God said HE would reclaim His people and make a new covenant with the house of Israel (Isaiah 11:11, Jeremiah 31:31. He said He would bring them back to Jerusalem, gather them, settle them in their homes and there will not be enough room for them. (Zechariah 10:10, Hosea 11:11) He said, they will be His people and He will be their God. (Zechariah 8:8) Furthermore, nations will know that God has rebuilt and replanted what He had destroyed and made desolate. (Ezekiel 36:36)

We firmly believe that God has rescued and re-homed millions of displaced Jewish refugees through the existence of Israel as a nation-state. Though the Jewish people have experienced great suffering and even punishment from the Lord (though not all suffering is punishment), we see that God has turned these terrible things around for the good of His people. It seems that their exile and persecution from other lands has served, at least in part, through a huge convergence of world events, to push them here, to Israel. How can we explain it but that the Lord has made a way for them? Sure. Nations have been involved. But we believe we are seeing in the global nature of this how God has rescued His people and made a safe place for His people after so many years of waiting to return. Even now, many Jewish people are being saved and brought home` from places we cannot even publish.

Is it the final fullness of the “prophecies of return”? Probably not. Because in scripture, this returning is tied also to the highway of holiness and the rule of God from Zion. But we see in part a foreshadowing of what God is doing. The gathering in to Israel seems to be starting, and so we move in faithful, faith-filled response.

We boldly proclaim the salvation through Yeshua HaMashiach knowing that salvation has come to the Gentiles, out of God’s heart for the nations, but know that it will also provoke the Jewish people to jealousy. We do not proclaim it to convert Jews to Christianity, but to help them rediscover and know their OWN Messiah. They had access to Him first. “Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves.” Romans 11:11

The Role of the Gentiles in this Season

Gentile Christians, especially from the United States, started in the 1980s to partner with Israel to help Jewish people return home. Gentile believers fund and provide the labor force for a large portion of the Aliyah work here through volunteer organizations like Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) and International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ). They are helping Israel rebuild. The Gentiles are now serving the Jewish People, helping them get settled back home and help them know His love through Yeshua. The role of the Gentile Christians is to pray, preach the gospel, disciple, serve, support, provide, and proclaim blessings as the Jewish people return home, both physically and spiritually. We believe this is a fulfillment of the prophets:

“But the Lord will have mercy on the descendants of Jacob. He will choose Israel as his special people once again. He will bring them back to settle once again in their own land. And people from many different nations will come and join them there and unite with the people of Israel. The nations of the world will help the people of Israel to return, and those who come to live in the Lord’s land will serve them. Those who captured Israel will themselves be captured, and Israel will rule over its enemies.” Isaiah 14:1-2

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I will give a signal to the godless nations. They will carry your little sons back to you in their arms; they will bring your daughters on their shoulders.” Isaiah 49:22

“Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home. Your eyes will shine, and your heart will thrill with joy, for merchants from around the world will come to you. They will bring you the wealth of many lands… They are ships from the ends of the earth, from lands that trust in me, led by the great ships of Tarshish. They are bringing the people of Israel home from far away, carrying their silver and gold. They will honor the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has filled you with splendor. “Foreigners will come to rebuild your towns, and their kings will serve you. For though I have destroyed you in my anger, I will now have mercy on you through my grace. Your gates will stay open day and night to receive the wealth of many lands. The kings of the world will be led as captives in a victory procession.” Isaiah 60:4-5,9-11

“They [Gentile believers sending an offering to Jewish believers in Jerusalem] were glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them. Since the Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers in Jerusalem, they feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially.” Romans 15:27

What Is God Preparing Us For?

The Bible says Zion/Jerusalem has been chosen as the capital of God’s Kingdom to come. Yeshua is returning. We know there is a Jerusalem above and a Jerusalem below and that one day those places will unite in some way. We know this earth will pass away and be made new. Though there are many interpretations of what this means, we can hold all of those loosely, trust God, and just read the promises that God has for this land and its people as incredible as they are. We receive them by faith that God has chosen this actual land for something miraculous in His reign in His Kingdom. Though we are not sure exactly what that will look like or when it will happen, we rejoice that God’s purposes are being fulfilled. We know that it will be the hand of the Lord that accomplishes this and not the might or will of any earthly, political nation. But we CAN move in synergy with His will and heart. We believe that it is the desire of the Lord that we will see people from every nation, especially the Jewish people fulfilling their purpose as a Kingdom of priests, and that in our generation, the Word of God and the good news of Yeshua will go out from Jerusalem to all nations.

“Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, live in Zion, my holy mountain. Jerusalem will be holy forever, and foreign armies will never conquer her again.” Joel 3:17

“On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”  Zephaniah 3:16-17

“Foreigners will be your servants. They will feed your flocks and plow your fields and tend your vineyards. You will be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God. You will feed on the treasures of the nations and boast in their riches.” Isaiah 61:5-6

“This is what the Lord says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap.” Isaiah 66:12

Let’s Pray

Lord, bring your people home according to your word, both spiritually and physically. Lord, we do not understand your ways or your timing, but we know there is a season of alignment with your heart right now of seeing your people return and have a safe place to live. We ask for the way to be made straight and we say to any mountains in the way, BE MOVED according to the authority we have in Yeshua. We also ask that all the nations (including the enemies of Israel) would be saved and come rally in support of your people Israel and what you are doing among them. According to your covenant with Abraham, bless the nations through Israel. We ask according to your word: (Pray through these “promises of return”)

“O God, ransom Israel from all its troubles.” Psalm 25:22

“The Lord gives his people strength. He is a safe fortress for his anointed king. Save your people! Bless Israel, your special possession. Lead them like a shepherd, and carry them in your arms forever.” Psalm 28:8-9

“The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” -Psalm 29:11

“For God will save Jerusalem and rebuild the towns of Judah. His people will live there and settle in their own land. The descendants of those who obey him will inherit the land, and those who love him will live there in safety.” Psalm 69:35-36

“Save us, O Lord our God! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you. Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord!” Psalm 106:47-48

“Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” Isaiah 35:4

“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over for all her sins…O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming!” Isaiah 40:2,9

“Saying to those who are bound and captured, ‘Go forth,’ And to those who are in [spiritual] darkness, ‘Show yourselves [come into the light of the Savior].’ They will feed along the roads [on which they travel], And their pastures will be on all the bare heights.” Isaiah 49:9a

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” Isaiah 52:7

“God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” Isaiah 57:14

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations. Isaiah 61

“Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. The nations will see your righteousness. World leaders will be blinded by your glory. And you will be given a new name by the Lord’s own mouth. The Lord will hold you in his hand for all to see— a splendid crown in the hand of God. Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride. Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem,  just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth. The Lord has sworn to Jerusalem by his own strength:  “I will never again hand you over to your enemies. Never again will foreign warriors come and take away your grain and new wine. You raised the grain, and you will eat it, praising the Lord. Within the courtyards of the Temple, you yourselves will drink the wine you have pressed.” Go out through the gates! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see. The Lord has sent this message to every land: “Tell the people of Israel, ‘Look, your Savior is coming. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’” They will be called “The Holy People” and “The People Redeemed by the Lord.” And Jerusalem will be known as “The Desirable Place” and “The City No Longer Forsaken.” Isaiah 62:1-12

“The day will come when watchmen will shout from the hill country of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord our God.’” Now this is what the Lord says: “Sing with joy for Israel. Shout for the greatest of nations! Shout out with praise and joy: ‘Save your people, O Lord, the remnant of Israel!… “Listen to this message from the Lord, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The Lord, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. For the Lord has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them. They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts— the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. The young women will dance for joy,  and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.  The priests will enjoy abundance, and my people will feast on my good gifts. I, the Lord, have spoken!”  This is what the Lord says: “A cry is heard in Ramah-  deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted— for her children are gone.” But now this is what the Lord says: “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the Lord. “Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. There is hope for your future,” says the Lord. “Your children will come again to their own land. I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely, like a calf that needs training for the yoke. Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the Lord my God. I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’  “Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the Lord. “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him. Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again, my virgin Israel; return to your towns here.” -Jeremiah 31:6-7,10,21

Let it be so Lord, in the name of Yeshua. Amen!

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