Therefore, the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. They shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away (Isaiah 51:11, xref Isaiah 35:10).
The first siege of Jerusalem occurred under the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. His successors after him also attacked Jerusalem, carrying away captives to Babylon, and finally destroying the temple.
Seventy years had passed since the first siege of Jerusalem. The prophet Jeremiah prophesied that the captivity would last for seventy years and then the Jews would return to their homeland.
God moved upon the heart of King Cyrus of Persia to grant favor to Zerubbabel, Prince of Judah, to lead the exiles out of Babylon back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. Approximately 50,000 people left Babylon on the first exodus out of captivity under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Jeshua, the high priest.
Zerubbabel’s task was the rebuild the foundations of the temple, restoring the Altar and the daily sacrifices and worship.
Based on the true events that Zerubbabel and the exiles encountered, there is spiritual and prophetic application to our lives today.
SPIRITUAL AND PROPHETIC APPLICATION
Kingdoms of This World
Babylon is not only a literal geographical place, but it represents the kingdoms of this world. We live in a Babylonian society, with anti-Christ spirits and agendas that war against righteousness.
Jerusalem represents the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, the world was taken into captivity by Satan. Ever since that time, everyone has been born into captivity (sin). We live in a world filled with ungodliness and evil all around us.
Sin brought captivity—such as disease and sickness, poverty, oppression, etc.
The ultimate captivity, which sin leads to, is eternal captivity in hell.
The great news is that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to earth to become the Lamb of God that would take away the sins of the whole world. Animal sacrifices temporarily covered sins, but sacrifices had to be repeated over and over again. Jesus shed His blood in order to redeem us back from the devil and sin. He saved us from everlasting imprisonment and torment in hell, and He is the door to Heaven. He is everlasting life to all who will receive Him.
Even though we live in a Babylonian society, we have been redeemed out of darkness and into light. We live in a different kingdom than that of the world. The principles of God’s kingdom is based on the precepts in His Word. God’s kingdom is at constant war with the kingdom of Babylon.
Babylon Represents Areas of Captivity in the Life of the Believer
I wish that I could say that as soon as a person accepts Christ as their Savior, then everything in their life is perfect from that day forward. However, that is not how it is. For one thing, now we have a ruthless adversary (the devil), and we continually have to be on guard to resist his attacks.
Second, our spirits were saved at the point of salvation, but our bodies and souls are in the process of being sanctified and redeemed. Most attacks against Christians are in the areas of the soul (mind, will, emotions), the physical body and finances.
Opponents came against Zerubbabel and the Jews when they began to make progress in rebuilding the Temple. That’s a picture of how the enemy tries to make attempts to sabotage, hinder and stop our progress in what God has called us to do. However, the positive news is that we have the Greater One (the Holy Ghost) living on the inside of us, and He is greater than he that is of the world. We have been given power and authority over all the wiles of the enemy, and given armor to wear, faith as a shield, and the Word of God has an offensive sword.
Many Christians are in captivity, suffering with physical sickness and disease. God wants you completely well. By His stripes (scourging of 39 lashes), you WERE healed (according to 1 Peter 2:24). Our healing is already paid for in full. We just have to receive it by faith.
Many Christians are in chains of captivity in the area of unhealed memories and damaged emotions. Many suffer from oppression and depression. Many battle with a spirit of rejection and ongoing mourning. Many believers are bound to their past, or to guilt and shame. Jesus came to set us free from all these bondages.
Many believers are in bondage to various addictions and vice, ranging from alcohol to pornography to compulsive gambling. An addiction has control over a person. It drives a person to the point where the person cannot live without it.
A believer could be held in captivity to rage and anger, being abusive, filled with jealousy, envy, hatred, bitterness and strife.
Fear is a debilitating bondage that God wants to set us free from. He wants to fill us with His perfect love. Faith cannot operate properly when fear is present. Fear causes doubt and unbelief, and faith and unbelief are two opposites.
Many Christian men and women are bound in sexual immorality (lust, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pornography) and have a struggle getting free. Christ does not condemn, but He does convict because He wants people free and He is a holy God and is looking for holiness. The Bible says that no immoral person can enter into Heaven or inherit the Kingdom of God (Galations 5:19-21, Jude 7, Revelation 21:8), unless one repents with God’s help and grace.
Sometimes believers are not in bondage to sin issues necessarily, but their experience of captivity could be in the form of enduring very difficult situations, or remaining in unhappy, troubled relationships in which they feel entrapment.
In some situations (such as marriage when there are no Biblical grounds for divorce except for adultery and abuse), the Biblical thing is to stay and not leave. Other situations (such as unhealthy friendships) may call for the Lord leading you to cut off unhealthy soul ties. In situations where there is no way out, God can free you on the inside and give you grace to endure, filling you with His peace.
Being in the midst of confusion and chaos is a form of captivity. The definition of Babylon means “confusion”. Sometimes there is chaos all around us—at home, at work, etc. But God can step in and bring peace and clarity to the situation. God has given us authority to speak to the winds of confusion and chaos, and say “Peace, Be still!”
Jesus Christ wants us free from every bondage in our life. The Blood Atonement of Jesus is not only for our salvation (which is the greatest gift), but the Atonement is also for the here and now on this earth. There is healing in the Blood Atonement (healing for the body, mind and emotions). There is provision in the area of finances, for Jesus’ blood redeemed us from the curse of poverty and lack. Christ’s blood paid for freedom from any kind of addiction, sin or bondage. His Blood breaks all generational curses. The Blood of Jesus contains power to heal, restore and deliver. Satan is afraid of the Name and Blood of Jesus, because of the power in that Name and Blood.
Jesus, our Mighty Deliverer, wants to set us free and lead us out of our exile. He wants to set people free from the tormentors (demons that harass, oppress and afflict). He wants to restore the foundations of our lives. He wants to give us freedom in areas of our lives where we have been bound in chains.
Psalms 146:7-8 says of the Lord, “Who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord looses the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord raises them that are bowed down. The Lord loves the righteous.”
The anointing of the Spirit of God lifts burdens and removes yokes. Isaiah 10:27 says, “In that day their burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because of the Anointing.”
Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”