The prophetic must balance what are spiritual realities and evidences in the physical world for the prophetic to hold substance and credibility. In this basis I detect along with the lockdowns being relaxed over Europe and the USA we are not only seeing this on a political and economic sphere but this is in the heavenly realms too.
Psalm 126 which the title of this post is taken from is taken from a context of captivity. In the picture above, is depicted the captivity that Babylon started, by invading Judah and demolishing Jerusalem. The kingship is taken over, the priests see their temple destroyed. It is a very distressing day, one for which the whole book of Lamentations, recites the weeping of Jeremiah over the city, over the nation.
In fact in all my studies, the Captivity as told by Kings, Chronicles, Esther, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Habbakkuk, Joel, Malachi, and other histories, I have come to understand that there are threads in the Captivity we can see parallels to the last 3 months we have lived. We have seen in some quarters the same level of destruction and death. We have seen a people carried away from normal life. We were ordered by law to stay at home, and supermarkets and hypermarkets were so regimented that it felt that a free society had been transformed into a Police state. The initial worries of health, and finance, and the complete stop to Church services meant we saw life grind to a halt.
Jeremiah tells us through extensive chapters, as well as Ezekiel that the reason for the Captivity was the backsliding of the Covenant People.
After the destruction and displacement, we then come to Ezekiel who is with the captives by Chebar. This season of lockdown discriminated not, all were in the same boat. Yet the Lord in His Love and Mercy as in Ezekiel 1:1 opened heavens to bring His Perspective to what we and what Israel were living. Where Jeremiah warned and appealed for a stop to the backsliding we see Ezekiel have an encounter with heaven itself, and an encounter with the Son of Man. So I believe those who maintained their “Levitical” standard throughout also saw heavens opened to see the Son of Man. God wants us to refine and see His Son afresh, for the Church must be a reflection of its Head. Ezekiel explains the reasons behind the Captivity, the way the Temple is exposed and vulnerable, God removing His Glory.
Last year when I was at Ampleforth Abbey in a retreat the Lord spoke to me from Ezekiel saying that just as God warned the prophet that He was removing His Glory, I also saw God removing His Glory from leadership and making the Church exposed and vulnerable.
I saw the inner courts being the leadership, and saw the Glory lifted up as I read the passage in Ezekiel 10. I knew at the time that God was about to expose, and when God lifts His glory it is for exposure and revealing. In this lockdown, unless the saints gained some spiritual autonomy in prayer and study they would now be lukewarm for the lack of fellowship the last 3 months. One thing I saw was a distinction between those who were drawing on the resources of their preparation and faith, others were in a panic.
What Ezekiel does is allow God to show him a roadmap to the restoration. Then from there Daniel tells the story from the Palace from Babylon, we are left with no doubt that his influence on the kings so the way is prepared in the decree of Cyrus. A pagan king turns to God in his affliction and learns that the way out from his animalistic state was to acknowledge the God of heaven. The kingdom of Babylon is humbled from within, and from without passed to the Persians. Then we come to Ezra who comes to Jerusalem having Cyrus been stirred by God to order the Jews to return with one motive, build the House of God. Nehemiah also speaks to the King to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. Zechariah prophesies as Haggai to the priests to build up. What I am saying is that God prophetically supervised the whole process and spoke at every stage for the Captivity, the whole 70 years.
God takes out to bring back in to restore faith and honour repentance!
The Lord is bringing Psalm 126:1 to mind in this context because I sense prayerfully that He is bringing us back. We are not the same in our return, priorities have been shifted. Ezra gives a description of the first Passover where the foundation had been laid for the Temple, and the Altar stood on it. It seems that as churches come back to meet, they are meeting on a new foundation where there is just an exposed altar. All we have right now is we are reduced back to the Altar of Calvary, because in this lockdown process we have reevaluated the priorities of our faith. We were forced to do it. Repentance is a part of that evaluation, changing what we need to change.
If we are returning to our church buildings as we did before, then nothing that was learned in these 3 months said anything to us. We have not accessed the shifts God would have taken us through.
At the beginning the Lord spoke to me concerning Joel 2, and how the harvest was coming. In Revelation 1:7 we see also not just an evangelistic Harvest but a gathering of Jews, Israelites in Jerusalem for a specific season of Jesus being revealed as the Son of David. The mysteries hidden from their eyes will in a moment be taken away.
This means the Church must not be a service as usual but a ministration to the Lord and a prophetic demonstration of moving in the two harvests: the harvest of Gentiles to Christ, and the harvest of the Jews to the Son of David!!!
Yes, the greatest season is about to come, as we come to restore, lay new foundations, revive the spiritual ministrations so that God comes and restores His people.
The reason God brought His people back to the land, was not just for the House of God, it was preparation for receiving the Messiah. Who knows if God is bringing in this new season for preparing us to receive our Lord and King?
The sense I get from Joel 2 is a massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit, not just firstfruits but last fruits. We are now in the season of Pentecost, and we are to see all generations together in this awakening, for what comes after in Joel is great judgment, the Great Day of the Lord.
Therefore we must recognise the “turning of our captivity” in the measure of the turning of our hearts to God, and recognise that we are returning to some ruins that need restoration, and some foundations that need to be laid.
If we catch the season then like in Psalm 126 they will say “the Lord did great things for these for this reason they are joyful”. Then all will see His Great works and His Greatness!