Pt. 4 – The Christmas Story (Casting of Lots)

Casting of Lots

The custom during the time of Zacharias was that lots were cast to determine which priest would be chosen to burn incense in the Holy Place before the Lord.

The use of the lot was a common practice of the priests and Jewish leaders in ascertaining the will of Jehovah in various matters—spiritual, business and personal matters.

A lot could be a piece of wood, a pebble, a piece of pottery, etc. Whomever the lot fell on, that was an indication of who Jehovah selected, or the revealing of His will regarding a matter.

The last time it was recorded in the Bible that lots were cast to determine the will of God was in Acts 1:26 when the apostles appointed two candidates, Justus and Matthias, to take the place of Judas Iscariot.

After praying and asking the Lord to reveal which man He had chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, they cast lots and the lot fell upon Matthias. However, once the Holy Spirit was poured out to earth on the Day of Pentecost, the use of the lots were done away with because now everyone can be filled with the Holy Spirit and hear from the Lord for their own selves.

The lot happened to fall upon Zacharias. This indicated that Jehovah had sovereignly chosen him to minister in the Holy Place that day.

It was a once in a lifetime honor to be chosen to serve in the Holy Place, as there are said to have been twenty thousand priests in Christ’s time.

Before entering the Holy Place, Zacharias went through the normal rituals of purification—washing with water from the laver, being properly dressed in white linen, the blood of a sacrificial animal being sprinkled upon his body and clothing, as well as blood sprinkled on the articles they used (tongs, pots, pans, etc.). He was anointed with holy anointing oil. Bells and a rope were tied to his ankle, and he very reverently entered into the Holy Place.

The other priests must have been just as shocked and puzzled as Zacharias was that he was chosen by God to minister in the Holy Place. After all, wasn’t he … “cursed”? How could God be pleased with Zacharias?

The priests tied the bells and rope around his ankle extra tight because they didn’t know if he would survive in the Holy Place, since he was “cursed”.

He and Elisabeth had no children because she was barren, and now they were too old anyways to bear children. In that day, the mindset was that barrenness was considered to be a curse.

Advertisements

Part 3 – The Significance of Galileans Speaking in Tongues

Jewish people from throughout the Roman and Parthian worlds gathered for the three main feasts of Israel (Tabernacles, Passover and Pentecost). Because Pentecost was only fifty days after Passover, some who had spent much to make a rare pilgrimage to Jerusalem stayed between the two feasts. Pentecost was probably the least popular of the three pilgrimage festivals, but Josephus attests that it was nevertheless crowded. (From IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)

Coming of the Holy Spirit

  1. When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
  2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
  3. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
  4. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Crowd’s Response

  1. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
  2. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
  3. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
  4. And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
  5. Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
  6. Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
  7. Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”
  8. So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

Peter’s Sermon

(Joel 2:28-32)

  1. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words.
  2. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day (9:00 am).
  3. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
  1. ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,

That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;

Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

Your young men shall see visions,

Your old men shall dream dreams.

  1. And on My menservants and on My maidservants

I will pour out My Spirit in those days;

And they shall prophesy.’”

The fact that these were Galileans who were speaking in other tongues is very significant.

The Adam Clarke’s Commentary says that the Galileans were persons who knew no other dialect, except of their own country. The Galileans were wholly uneducated, and consequently, naturally ignorant of those languages which they now began to speak so fluently.

The Barnes’ Notes Commentary says that it was remarkable that the Galileans should speak in other languages so eloquently and fluently because “they were ignorant, rude and uncivilized.” The term “Galilean” referred to in John 1:46 (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”) was used as an expression of the deepest reproach and contempt.

Their dialect was proverbially barbarous, crude and corrupt, Mark 14:70; Matthew 26:73.

They were regarded as an outlandish people, unacquainted with other nations and languages, and hence, there was amazement that they could address them in the refined language of other people.

Their native ignorance was the occasion of making the miracle more striking. The native weakness of Christian ministers makes the grace and glory of God more remarkable in the success of the gospel. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us,” 2 Corinthians 4:7. God has “chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise,” 1 Corinthians 1:27.

Joel prophesied that God was pouring His Spirit out upon ALL FLESH (not just the educated, or the elite, or kings, or the elders, or the religious leaders, or the men only—but on all flesh).

Most of Jesus’ disciples and followers were from Galilee, and Jesus grew up in the Galilee region and His ministry headquarters was in Capernaum. Even though most of His disciples were not formally educated, and were rough around the edges in their mannerisms, after they were filled with the Holy Spirit God used them to turn the world upside down. And three of Jesus’ twelve disciples wrote books of the New Testament, such as Matthew, John and Peter.

Acts 2:11 says that the Galileans spoke the wonderful works of God in earthly languages they had never learned before.

Tongues can be in the languages of men (earthly languages) or angels (languages spoken in Heaven), according to 1 Corinthians 13:1.

In the case of Acts 2, the Galileans spoke earthly languages they did not know. It served as a sign and a wonder among all the Jews in Jerusalem. After Peter preached to the crowd, 3,000 were saved in one day (Acts 2:41), and the early church had its beginning.

The Anointing Will Turn Your Wilderness Into a Beautiful Garden

Benny Hinn Conference Notes

Jubilee Christian Center, San Jose, California

January 24-25, 2008

The Anointing Will Turn Your Wilderness Into a Beautiful Garden, by the Spirit.

Isaiah 32:15 (NIV)

Till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest.

Isaiah 35:1-2 (ASV)

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.  It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon: they shall see the glory of Jehovah, the excellency of our God.

Isaiah 35:6-7 (NAS)

Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy.  For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah.  And the scorched land will become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.

Isaiah 41:18-20 (NAS)

I will open rivers on the bare heights, and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land fountains of water.  I will put the cedar in the wilderness, the acacia, and the myrtle, and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert, together with the box tree and the cypress, that they may see and recognize, and consider and gain insight as well, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Isaiah 51:3 (NAS)

Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places.  And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody.

www.kathleendeniseriley.blogspot.com

Part 1 – Zerubbabel – Out of Babylon

Zerubbabel – Out of Babylon (Part 1)

This message is about the subject of deliverance from any kind of captivity—whether it be physical sickness, addictions of any kind including sexual addictions, sin, sorrow and grief, emotional issues, financial problems, depression, demonic oppression, or whatever it is that has been keeping you in captivity. God wants us to be free from bondages and loosed from every infirmity.

The Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ) breaks every chain and sets the prisoners free!

He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed! (John 8:36). Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).

The true story of Zerubbabel and the return from exile, shows us God’s faithfulness and sovereignty in our lives.

Zerubbabel was the first leader to lead the Jewish exiles out of Babylon back to Jerusalem. The date is approximately around 538-536 B.C. Seventy years had passed following the first siege of Jerusalem, where captives were taken to Babylon.

Zerubbabel was governor of Judah, and he is mentioned primarily in Haggai, Ezra and Zechariah. He is also referred to by the name Shezbazzar, and is the son of Shealtiel (or the son of Pedaiah). One school of thought is that Shealtiel died, leaving a widow, and his brother Pedaiah married her (Levirate marriage) to raise up a seed for Shealtiel. Zerubbabel is in the royal lineage of Jesus Christ.

Zerubbabel was born in captivity. He was born after the kingdom of Judah was taken into exile. Zerubbabel’s name means: “seed of Babylon” or “born in Babylon”. He was appointed as prince of Judah. Zerubbabel was probably in the king’s service, as he was given the name Shezbazzar, and granted favor by King Cyrus to lead the first group of exiles back to Jerusalem and begin to restore the temple.

God had moved upon the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia, to allow the Jews to return to their homeland. He gave them back the gold and silver articles that had been stolen from the temple, and furnished them with everything they needed to begin rebuilding the temple. This was prophesied by Isaiah. Isaiah was so precise in this prophecy that even Cyrus’ name was mentioned centuries before he was even born. Isaiah 44:28 says, Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.’”

Jeremiah prophesied that the captivity would last for seventy years, and then the Jews would return to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 29:10-14).

Zerubbabel led out approximately 50,000 people (mostly of who were Levites, musicians, and singers). Jeshua, the high priest, assisted Zerubbabel in the mission of leading the exiles back to Jerusalem and rebuilding the temple. The first thing they set out to do was to rebuild the Altar to the Lord and restore the daily sacrifices. The feasts were re-instituted as well. Worship was restored.

Work on rebuilding the foundation of the temple began. They got only so far, and then were faced with opposition from enemies. Their enemies hired counselors against them, and even sent false accusatory letters to King Ahasuerus and King Artaxerxes, saying that the Jews had formed a rebellion and needed to be stopped. The king ordered that all work on the temple be halted.

Approximately 16-17 years elapsed with the work on the foundation of the temple unfinished and being delayed. In the meantime, the people were busy building costly homes for themselves. It wasn’t that God didn’t want His people having nice homes, it’s just that their priorities were out of order.

The people had gone through so much fierce opposition and intimidation from the enemy, and through such long years of delays and unfulfilled promises, that they had fallen into a spiritual slumber. They were convinced in their minds that the promise of them restoring the temple was “miles or years out there in the distant future”. So therefore, they focused their task on building their own homes.

In Haggai, the prophet Haggai confronted Zerubbabel and Jeshua the high priest, saying in Haggai 1:1-8: “This people says, ‘The time has not yet come, the time that the Lord’s House should be rebuilt.’ But is it time for you to dwell in your paneled houses while My House lies in ruins? Now therefore, thus says the LORD of Hosts: Consider your ways!

You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough. You drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes. Thus says the LORD of Hosts: Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified, says the LORD.”

Because the people’s priorities were out of proper order, and their focus had been on building their own homes while God’s House was in ruins, the Lord had allowed a drought to come on the land—a famine of food, wine, oil and fruit.

Zerubbabel and Jeshua’s spirits were refreshed and re-activated to action after hearing the prophetic word of the Lord. They immediately obeyed God’s Voice, and resumed rebuilding the temple.

Again, enemy opposition came. This time Zerubbabel and Jeshua did not shrink back. When their opponents questioned their authority to rebuild the temple, Zerubbabel told them that they had been given authority by King Cyrus, and would not stop rebuilding until the work was finished.

Their opponents wrote a letter to King Darius of Babylon to request that a search be made in the archives for the original scroll written and signed by King Cyrus, granting authority for Zerubbabel and the Jews to rebuild the temple. The scroll was found. Darius issued a decree that no one was to hinder the work of the temple. And if anyone did interfere, they should die. Furthermore, King Darius ordered that the Jews be furnished with whatever supplies they needed.

The temple foundation was finished in the 6th year of King Darius, and was rededicated unto the Lord. The rededication was accompanied by great celebration, and concluded with the Passover Feast.

About 80 years later, Ezra led the second group of exiles to Jerusalem, with Nehemiah leading out the third group shortly after that. Ezra and Nehemiah’s task focused on rebuilding the walls and gates, finishing the rebuilding of the temple, and re-establishing Moses’ law to the people.

Within the literal events that happened during this period of approximately 20 years (from the first exodus out of Babylon led by Zerubbabel to the finishing of the temple foundation), there is spiritual and prophetic application to our lives.

Babylon is still a literal place. Babylon, in the figurative and spiritual sense, is a prophetic picture of places of confusion in our lives. The definition of Babylon means “confusion”. And also figurative of areas of our lives where we have been held in captivity.

Babylon also speaks of idolatry, witchcraft, sorcery, immorality, perversion, and anti-Christ spirits and agendas seeking to slowly infiltrate our society and lives—slowly desensitizing us to the sin and corruption around us.

Spiritual Zerubbabel’s are those who have lived in captivity and confusion, but God has delivered them out, and anointed them to lead others out to freedom too.

The temple represents our life (we are the temple of the Holy Ghost according to 1 Corinthians 6:19). The temple also speaks of the House of the Lord (the church and kingdom of God).

The opponents represents the enemy of our souls—Satan and his demons—who are continually seeking to hinder, intimidate, destroy and stop God’s plans from coming to fruition. The enemy also uses people to oppose us.

Jerusalem signifies the work and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jerusalem is:

  • the place of God’s presence, glory and anointing
  • the place of worship and beauty
  • the place of holiness unto the Lord
  • the place of repentance from sin (offering up blood sacrifices)
  • the place of renewed fellowship and renewed passion for the Lord
  • the place of hearing God’s voice
  • the place of the Lord’s favor and commanded blessing
  • the place of peace and rest
  • the place of unity
  • the place of provision and prosperity
  • the place of joy unspeakable and full of glory
  • the place of freedom from captivity
  • the place of healing and restoration.

Jerusalem always speaks of God’s Throne headquarters and of worshipping the Lord. It’s the place of the Shekinah glory.

In Part 2 of this message, I will discuss the spiritual and prophetic application to our lives based on the true events that Zerubbabel and the exiles encountered in leaving Babylon and rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem.

Also, the prophetic words spoken by Haggai and Zechariah, addressed to Zerubbabel and Jeshua the high priest, applies to our lives today. “He who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says” through those prophecies.

May you be blessed and encouraged today.

Psalm 126 When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, “The Lord hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the South. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. KJV

Part 1 – Zerubbabel – Out of Babylon (www.kathleendeniseriley.blogspot.com)

Part 2 – Zerubbabel – Set Free From Bondage and Captivity

Zerubbabel – Set Free From Bondage & Captivity (Part 2)

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.”

Part 2 – Zerubbabel – Set Free From Bondage and Captivity (www.kathleendeniseriley.blogspot.com)

 

Part 3 – Zerubbabel – Prophetic Promises That Apply To Us Today

Zerubbabel – Prophetic Promises That Apply To Us Today (Part 3)

I’ve been talking about Zerubbabel, and the exiles leaving their bondage in Babylon, and returning to Jerusalem. Babylon in our lives speaks of areas of captivity and chains. Jesus has come to set the prisoners free, and loose every fetter.

Jerusalem speaks of the place of God’s peace, rest, and His Presence. It’s the place of healing and restoration, beauty and worship. It’s the place of freedom.

Prophetic words were spoken to Zerubbabel and Jeshua, the high priest, through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. These words from God are powerful and apply to our lives today.

Prophecies Spoken Through Haggai

  1. Blessings from God will come when you set your priorities in order.

Famine is broken when priorities are set in order.

Building God’s House is #1, before building your own house. Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

In Haggai, Chapter 1, verses 2-11, the people had encountered so much opposition and years of delay in finishing the temple foundation, that they had fallen into a spiritual slumber. They thought that the timing for rebuilding God’s temple was somewhere out in the distant future. But God said that the time is NOW.

The Lord was grieved that they spent 17 years adorning their own houses, yet His House (Temple) was lying in ruins. Most of their energies were spent on personal goals. It’s not that God didn’t want them having nice homes, just as long as He comes first.

Having priorities out of their proper place, resulted in God allowing a drought to come upon the land—a famine of food, wine, oil and fruit.

A famine of food represents a spiritual famine of spiritual bread or manna, the Word of God. It also represents a natural famine resulting in financial lack.

God’s Promise if you put Him first: You will be fed the meat of the Word of God until you are full and want no more. The Lord will increase you financially as you obey His commands to tithe and give offerings, and to seek His kingdom first.

A famine of wine speaks of no joy or gladness. New Wine in the Bible is also symbolic of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

God’s Promise if you put Him first: Your joy and gladness will be restored. Jesus wants to baptize you afresh, or for the first time, in His Holy Spirit. Rivers of living water will flow from your innermost being.

A famine of oil speaks of a lack for the anointing, God’s Presence being distant somewhat.

God’s Promise if you put Him first: The Shekinah glory shall visit you. His glory shall be upon you and in you.

A famine of fruit speaks of a lack of flourishing; lack of productivity; barrenness.

God’s Promise if you put Him first: Barrenness is removed and fruitfulness comes in Jesus’ Name.

Haggai said that they had sown much, yet reaped little.

God’s Promise if you put Him first: Things are turning around. Great harvest is coming from seeds planted long ago. The harvester is overtaking the plowman.

It was as if they earned wages, only to put into pockets that had holes.

God’s Promise if you put Him first: No more financial loss, debts, things breaking down, continual expenditures draining your pocket; there shall be increase and prosperity. God said He would rebuke the devourer for your sake.

  1. The Lord is with you … be strong … do not fear (Haggai 1:13; 2:4-5).

When the Lord calls us to do something, we can be assured that He is by our side, with us. We don’t have to be afraid because His Presence is there.

  1. “I will fill this temple with Glory” … “The Glory of the latter temple shall be greater than that of the former, saith the Lord” (Haggai 2:7, 9).

God will fill our lives with His Glory, and His Glory seen in us will be a witness to others. Our latter end will be greater than the former years. This promise applies also to our life, ministry, church, and to many marriages. “The latter end shall be more glorious than the former.”

And of course, this prophetic word is speaking of the literal Temple in Jerusalem being the Desire of All Nations (Haggai 2:7). The Glory and Splendor of the latter Temple will be greater than that of the former.

  1. In this place, I will give peace, says the LORD of Hosts (Haggai 2:9).

God brings peace to our lives where there was once strife, confusion, sadness or anxiety. There is perfect peace in His Presence, and His paths are the paths of peace (Proverbs 3:17).

  1. “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the LORD of Hosts” (Haggai 2:8).

Abundant supply. No lack. God owns it all. He promised to provide for all our needs. Plus, He gives us the desires of our hearts when we delight in Him. He wants to bless us and cause us to prosper. He wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing to others and to His kingdom (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

  1. Holiness – “Be ye holy, for I am Holy, says the LORD” (Haggai 2:10-19, Leviticus 11:44-45, 1 Peter 1:16).

A lack of holiness resulted in unfruitfulness and a blockage of blessings of God in their lives. A return to holiness brought the full blessings of God. A lack of holiness, and disobedience to God’s commands, results in barrenness in our souls.

Haggai asks the priests this question: “If one of you is carrying a holy sacrifice in his robes and happens to brush against some bread or wine or meat, will it too become holy?”

“No,” the priests replied. “Holiness does not pass to other things that way.”

Then Haggai asked, “But if someone touches a dead person, and so becomes ceremonially impure, and then brushes against something, does it become contaminated?”

And the priests answered, “Yes.”

Haggai then made his meaning clear and spoke the word of the Lord.

“You people are contaminating your sacrifices by living with selfish attitudes and evil hearts—and not only your sacrifices, but everything else that you did as a ‘service’ to me. And so everything you did went wrong. But all is different now because you have begun to build the Temple.

Before, when you expected a twenty-bushel crop, there were only ten. When you came to draw fifty gallons from the olive press, there were only twenty. I rewarded all your labor with rust and mildew and hail. Yet, even so, you refused to return to me, says the Lord.”

Holiness in spirit, soul and body shall result in blessing blockers being removed.

  1. From this day I will bless you (Haggai 2:18-19).

But now note this: From today, this 24th day of the month, as the foundation of the Lord’s Temple is finished, and from this day onward, I will bless you. Notice, I am giving you this promise now before you have even begun to rebuild the Temple structure, and before you have harvested your grain, and before the grapes, the figs, the pomegranates, and olives have produced their next crops.

  1. God will raise up spiritual Zerubbabels, who will lead God’s people out of Babylon (captivity, bondage, confusion and sin) into healing and freedom.

The Lord will give His Zerubbabels authority in the Spirit, for they are His signet ring, whom He has chosen. (Haggai 2:23). The signet ring placed upon the finger speaks of authority to carry out God’s business.

Prophecies Spoken Through Zechariah

  1. Who has despised the day of small beginnings? (Zechariah 4:10)

As we are faithful in the little task or few people God has entrusted into our spiritual care, then God will bring expansion and increase.

  1. This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of Hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

It’s not by human strength that we will receive our healing, deliverance, breakthrough, miracles, answers from God—but it’s going to happen by the Power of the Spirit of God!

Whatever situation you are going through in your life in which you need God to intervene … whatever mountain you are facing today, where it says “Zerubbabel”, replace your name there.

Say outloud:

This is the word of the LORD to ________________, saying, “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before ________________ thou shalt become a level plain.”

  1. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a level plain.”

Matthew 21:21-22 Jesus answered and said unto them, “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, ‘Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea’; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

What mountains are you facing? Jesus said to speak to our mountains of difficulties and command them to be removed out of our way, and it would obey us. Replace Zerubbabel’s name with your name, and declare outloud.

“Who do you think you are, O great mountain? (and name what your mountain is). I command you, according to Matthew 21:21, to get out of my way in Jesus’ Name! Before _________________ you shall become a flattened plain.”

  1. God will enable you by His Grace to finish the task He has called you to do (Zechariah 4:7, 9).

Vs 9: “Zerubbabel laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it.”

Vs 7: “Zerubbabel will finish building this Temple with mighty shouts of thanksgiving for God’s mercy, declaring that all was done by grace alone.”

Shout “Grace, Grace” as you lay the capstone of the foundation.

  1. When Satan accuses you before God, Jesus defends you because of His Great Mercy.

Zechariah 3:1-2 Then the Angel showed me (in my vision) Joshua the High Priest standing before the Angel of the Lord; and Satan was there too, at the Angel’s right hand, accusing Joshua of many things.

And the Lord said to Satan, “I reject your accusations, Satan; yes, I, the Lord, for I have decided to be merciful to Jerusalem—I rebuke you. I have decreed mercy to Joshua and his nation; they are like a burning stick pulled out of the fire.”

Revelation 12:10 For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

  1. Jesus removes our filthy garments and clothes us in robes of righteousness. HE is our righteousness. We are not righteous by things we do, but our righteousness is found in Jesus Christ.

Our filthy garments were removed (sin and junk of the past) and we are given clean, white robes of righteousness to wear. The Lord is preparing His Bride to be ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Revelation 19:8 And to her [Bride] was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Zechariah 3:3-4 Joshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood before the Angel of the Lord. Then the Angel said to the others standing there, “Remove his filthy clothing.”

And turning to Joshua He said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”

Romans 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His Name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

  1. We are given priestly garments to wear and a priestly turban to crown our head (representing anointing and authority), carrying out our priestly functions.

Zechariah 3:5 Then I said, “Please, could he also have a clean turban on his head?” So they gave him one.

The Lord gives us a crown of beauty where there was once ashes (Isaiah 61:3), and we are like a royal diadem in His Hands (Isaiah 62:3).

A crown is for beauty, honor, royalty, and signifies position. Our position is that of spiritual priests unto God, offering spiritual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5,9; Revelation 1:6).

We are royal heirs of God.

There are various crowns that believers will receive as rewards.

Crown of Life (James 1:12) – “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” Revelation 2:10b “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) – “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:2-4) – “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”

Crown of Splendor (Isaiah 62:3 NIV) – “Thou shalt also be a crown of splendor in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.”

Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19) – “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”

Crown of Beauty (Isaiah 61:3 NIV) – “To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

  1. We have been given spiritual access to God’s Throne—we can boldly approach the Father through Jesus Christ, and our prayers and worship ascends to Him.

Zechariah 3:7 “The Lord Almighty declares: ‘If you will follow the paths I set for you and do all I tell you to, then I will put you in charge of my Temple, to keep it holy; and I will let you walk in and out of My Presence with these angels.’”

It’s also possible to be granted literal access to Heaven’s Throneroom, where you are there in person through Heavenly visitations (whether caught up in or out of the body) or through visions.

It seems as if Jeshua, the High Priest, was being given access to literally, whether caught up in person or through a vision, go in and out of God’s Throneroom. It seems as if holiness, complete obedience, and worship is the key.

You shall walk in and out of My Throneroom with the angels. You shall have Throneroom encounters, angelic visitations, visions and prophetic dreams.

Part 3 – Zerubbabel – Prophetic Promises That Apply To Us Today (www.kathleendeniseriley.blogspot.com)

The Potter’s Wheel

Jeremiah 18:1-7 (NKJV)

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:

2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.”

3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel.

4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:

6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!”

 

Verse 4 says that the clay was marred, so the Potter had to re-make the clay vessel. The Amplified version renders the word marred for “spoiled”. The Adam Clarke’s Commentary says that some gravel or a small stone was found embedded into the clay, thus causing a breach. The Potter had to begin again with fresh clay.

This parable of the Potter and Clay shows Israel’s dependence on God. As He is the Master and Creator, He can shape our destinies how He sees fit.

The Lord wants to make us into a better person. He wants you to be a better individual, wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, business person, minister, employee. He is not trying to take from us, but to add to our lives His goodness. He wants to refine us, so as to remove the dross, so that we come out as pure gold and silver vessels, which are vessels of honor fit for the Master’s use (2 Timothy 2:20-21).

Don’t be afraid to let Jesus be the Lord over all the kingdoms of your heart and life. Don’t resist the Holy Spirit’s dealings in your life. Just yield to the Lord and allow Him to have His way in your life. He wants to bring greater levels of peace and joy, and abundant life, to your life.

The Lord wants us to come into deeper levels of consecration and to walk in holiness. This is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit.

There is an old song we used to sing, called “Have Thine Own Way”. It goes:

 

Have Thine own way Lord

Have Thine own way

Thou art the Potter

I am the Clay.

Mold me and make me

After Thy will

While I am waiting

Yielded and still.

Text: Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934
Music: George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 

 

As we wait on the Lord and have an open heart before Him, then He can begin to move in our lives. He wants to do great things in and through us, if we will get in sync with Him.

The Lord is asking you today the question: “Can I have My way in your life, and mold you into My image and into the person I destined for You to become?” The Lord has good plans for our lives, to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

All vessels that the Potter makes are equally important, and all have a useful purpose and function. There are fancy vases, and there are dinner plates and water pitchers. What seems to be considered to be the lesser vessels (eating/drinking ware) is even more useful for day to day living.

In Heaven, everyone will have an assignment to do, but it will be what you enjoy doing and what you are naturally skilled and talented at doing. Some will be florists, some ministers, some musicians and singers, some that work in the court room of Heaven, and others who take care of children. All of these things are equally important, as we all have our placement in the Body of Christ. Everyone has at least one talent that they are gifted at.

Also, in Heaven our net worth is not based on dollars and cents, but on how many souls we have and will impact for the kingdom of God.

If we, the Clay, would allow the Potter (the Lord) to work on us, developing us into the vessel He ordained for us to be, then we will be able to be used by God more, and make a greater impact for the kingdom of God.