“This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Zechariah 4:6
Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!'” Ezekiel 37:4-5
Zerubabel is the story of the rebuilding of the temple after captivity. Take time to read it in Zechariah. It’s not long. If this is the strategy of God, that He will accomplish the rebuilding of His temple through Yeshua, “The Branch” and by His Spirit, we see something really powerful happening here. Yeshua was not only foreshadowed, the new (rather disappointing) temple was not only foretold and built as a shadow of things to come, but the spiritual temple of people filled with the Spirit and their worship in spirit and truth was also foreshadowed. God is using the prophecies of temple-building in Zechariah to foretell the overlay between heaven and earth, in the Messianic Kingdom, when God rules His people. What makes prophecy confusing to read is your mind is looking for how it was fulfilled and where it has not yet been. It may help to remember that God fulfills His word multiple times and at increased intensity. Some of the prophecies in Zechariah did come to pass through Zerubabel personally and in his time, and some were for future fulfillment. But what is amazing is that one day, we will see the absolute culmination of God’s word being fulfilled perfectly on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 5:17-18).
I want to really reinforce this: God’s Kingdom will come miraculously. It will not happen by might, nor power, but by His Spirit. It will be a passing away of the old things and a coming of the new things. As He is preparing a PLACE for us(John 14:3), we need to be preparing ourselves and our congregations, His temple, to receive Him AND the place He has prepared for us, like a bride adorns herself…only we adorn ourselves with righteous acts (Revelation 19:7-9). Some of that may be working in the systems and structures of government toward righteousness, but it is not our responsibility to build a Kingdom society on earth. He will bring it. Even now, He is preparing this place FOR US (John 14:6)! But we can prepare our hearts to receive this Kingdom by living in it spiritually right now, by doing what will be done in that Kingdom whose foundations are righteousness and justice. And here is another lesson to take from Zechariah. In the middle of the book, we see Israel being told what God really desires…not surprisingly, acts of righteousness.
Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? 6 And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves? 7 Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah. were well populated?’ This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other. Zechariah 7:9-10
He is not impressed with fasts or feasts when there are people who need help and healing. The feasts and fasts were meant to remind us of Him and help us keep watch. To set aside holy days to build into the rhythm of our lives so our hearts would be prepared for His arrival (both the first fulfillment on earth and final culmination in a new heaven and earth). The invitation for Israel in this season is to receive the Passover lamb, Yeshua HaMashiach, be filled with the Spirit, and then clothes herself with righteous action as a wedding gown and jewels. To judge fairly, show mercy and kindness, and care for the widow, orphan, foreigner, and poor. If you come to Israel, you will find the people to be very compassionate. There is a great attention to the poor and those with disabilities among them. This is a foreshadowing of things to come.
Lives of Mercy
The words of Yeshua will ring true even today to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. That means the non-Jewish among us too, foreigners, refugees, Arab neighbors, merchants and business-people among us. God really cares about how we treat our neighbors, especially the non-Jewish and those considered to be our “enemy” (Luke 10:29-37, Matthew 5:43-48). And our response to the word of the prophets, including Yeshua, can tell us a lot about our readiness for His return. Did we act with mercy toward the “least of these” and our “enemies” or not? Who are your enemies? Powers and principalities, not man (Ephesians 6:12). God has destroyed the barrier of hostility between Jew and Gentile in Yeshua (Ephesians 2:14). Because Yeshua shows mercy, and speaks forgiveness over all who wronged Him then by His grace, we speak that same mercy and forgiveness over all who wrong us (Romans 5:6-11). True religion has a human result, that is, the righteous actions of caring for people who need help, even our enemies. Without Yeshua, Jewish people do not really have a roadmap for this kind of grace. Only out of a place of mercy having received mercy, flowing outward from the gift inside us, can we serve and love our neighbors without prejudice, fear, judgement, or hatred blocking the way.
So how do we pray for Israel today?
We pray for the fresh breath of the Spirit to blow over this land. We prophecy to the breath and to the bones. LIVE! God’s intent is to restore us at the heart level…from the inside out. So we ask for a softening of every Israeli heart, for all who live in her borders. God’s intent is to resurrect bodies and minds and hearts and bring fresh life. Lord, we ask for your love and Spirit to flow tonight into the homes. And we ask for mercy. So much mercy over our own hearts and families and over our neighbors.
There are shadows of things to come and last for eternity mixed in with the earthy timeline. We see here the Messianic prophecies of Yeshua riding in on the donkey colt, and we see an eternal reign of righteousness. Everyone, including the disciples, expected the rise of Yeshua’s reign to be a smooth transition from entrance of the King to a beautiful Kingdom of God’s rule on earth. Instead we see the shepherd struck and the prophecied scattering of the sheep. Would this have changed if people had recognized their Messiah King? Maybe, but then the Gentiles would have been left outside. These things were part of God’s secret plan from the beginning. And He foretold them! It is because His ZEAL for Jerusalem that He will restore. And here is where you see the layering of heaven and earth and the mish-mashing of time because God’s plan coming to pass is often timed in partnership with human obedience and yielding to His Kingship and plan. As much as it depends on us, we are working in partnership with His goals, His projects, in lock-step obedience with Him. Our ability to do this relies on our prioritize His presence, because that is where we get the orders, the strategies, the game-plan. We get that on a day-by-day basis, and big pictures as He gives them to us, as we can handle it. These things we hear from the Lord we put before the body as led, and we pray to confirm His word together. And we move as a team.
The question for us is not the timing of Yeshua’s reign on earth, the question is are we ready for it? If He arrived now would He find a glistening ready Jewish bride, unified and on fire with bridal love. And we are, most definitely, not ready for it. Not yet. Are we discouraged by this? No! Instead we rejoice, understanding the season and times in which we live. Our job as believers is to prepare our own hearts daily for His return, to buy our own oil, and to wake the Jewish Bride, to speak life to dry bones, to prophecy to the breath, to keep watch and to teach, train, and build up the body of Messiah, who are His people worshiping in Spirit and Truth. May He find us doing this when he comes!
Adonai, we thank you and praise you for your intentions and heart toward your people. You are glorious in your temple. You are holy and unlike any other worshiped thing. You are the creator. You are the King. We acknowledge your Kingship over us and over Jerusalem. You are the Lord of our hearts and all people and nations, now and forever.
Abba, we come before you in intercession for the Jewish people.
We ask for miracles that lead to salvations and repentance.
We ask for conversations that lead to discipleship.
We ask for discernment to be wise and gentle as we move in obedience to the Spirit.
We don’t want to move until you move. And when you say go we go. Keep us in lock-step with you.
And Lord, we ask for an outpouring of your Spirit! We pray for the fresh breath of the Spirit to blow over this land. We prophecy to the breath and to the bones. LIVE! By the authority of Yeshua’s Spirit in us, we pronounce life and command the wind to come and give us a HOLY SPIRIT RESUSCITATION. Rest on us. We know you love Israel and nothing can replace her, but we also know you want to re-create us in an interdependent way as “one new man” (Romans 11:11-25, Romans 15:7-27). Unity in diversity. All nations, tribes, tongues. We ask you to give that to us now so we can have the beauty of a unified bride ready for your return. Bring us back together by Your Spirit! Give you global body a renewed priority for seeing the Jewish people understand and receive their Messiah.
Messiah, make yourself known to your people in dreams and visions. Help us see. Help us hear you. Lord, let your kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We want to live merciful lives out of the place of receiving your mercy. Your forgiveness is for us. And so we pour it out to others freely.
We just ask that you would make us one with you. We feel that most when we worship you, so we ask you to raise up the worshipers and the worship leaders who will invite others into your presence with them. We love knowing you! Thank you Lord!
Please do not lead us into temptation, Lord. Make us strong against the attacks of the enemy and deliver us and our families from all evil. Make our brothers and sisters around the world strong especially those being persecuted. We ask that they would hear your voice and actually feel your love for them and others.
Teach us what you want and how to live lives of justice and mercy and brave, bold, compassionate, deep humility. We decrease for your increase. We go low and lift you high. Yours is the kingdom, power and glory forever!