God is faithful in keeping the promises of His Word. Jeremiah had prophesied of how Israel would be taken into captivity by Babylon. The Babylonian captivity was to last for seventy years after which Israel would be released – “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place” (Jer.29:10). During the years of the Babylonian captivity Daniel prayed and fasted for the restoration of Jerusalem. One day the angel Gabriel came to him and revealed that the restoration shall begin with a proclamation. The angel explained that there shall be a “going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” (Dan.9:25).
The word of God had been spoken and it had to fulfil. Concerning the fulfilling of God’s words we read this in Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it”. Notice the two things that happen when God’s prophetic Word goes forth: first, it shall be accomplished, and second, it should prosper!
Accomplishing and Prospering
To “accomplish” is to fulfil an objective. To “prosper” is to succeed, flourish, or produce fruit. When God sent Moses to tell the Israelites that they would be delivered from Egypt, surely that was accomplished when they crossed the Red Sea and moved into the wilderness. But did the Word prosper in those people’s lives? Not so.
When the prophecies of Jeremiah and Daniel got fulfilled and the people were liberated from Babylon, prophecy was accomplished, but was it everyone who knew that specific thing for which the Word was to prosper in? As we will shortly see, it was not so!
In this day a message went forth to call people out of Mystery Babylon. The Word was accomplished when they came out, but has the Word produced fruit? Has it prospered “in the thing” for which it was sent? Sadly again, it is not so!
“Prospering” is characterised by the continuity of a work which God has begun. Notice that God sends His prophetic word to accomplish a specific thing. However, when His word fulfils, people often get lost in the many other things! See, a prophetic word is a seed. When it “goeth forth” into the ground, so many things can grow out of it – the stem, branches, leaves and flowers. Those things can look great but they are not the ultimate for which the seed was planted. The flower may add colour and beauty to the outlook of a plant but yet does not hold the life (continuity or prosperity) of the seed!
The prosperity of a seed is in the multiplication of its ‘image’ and ‘likeness’, found in the fruits that proceed from it. That is the specific purpose for which the seed was sent into the ground. The question that now lies before us is this:
Are we a part of the specific purpose, and hence the prosperity, for which the Word was sent? Well, let’s learn from how the prophecies of Jeremiah and Daniel became accomplished. In the first chapter of the book of Ezra we find the fulfilment of the proclamation to rebuild Jerusalem: “that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah” (Ezr. 1:1-2).
The Stirring of the Spirit
In this portion of Scripture we have read (Ezr.1:1-2) we should see that prophecy is never fulfilled by man’s programme, enthusiasm or emotion, but by the Holy Ghost stirring people. It is the Lord who stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus. Cyrus ordered people to begin rebuilding the house of the Lord but it is the Spirit of God that stirred them to start the building works – “Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem” (Ezr.1:5). Trouble begins when people think they can build by only relying on the Holy Ghost on ‘Cyrus’, without them also having the same Spirit! When this happens it means that people have faith in a servant of God but yet do not have the faith of the servant of God. When that happens it is not God building the house but man, and be warned that “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Psa.127:1).
Dearly beloved, that is exactly what has happened in our time. We had a Cyrus who gave a proclamation – a shout, a message – to call us out of Babylon and be built and established as a true temple of the Holy Spirit. But what happened to Israelites has repeated itself in this end time: some people have been truly restored and others haven’t! Let us look closely at what characterised restoration-events which followed after Cyrus made the proclamation.
In the second book of Ezra we read a lengthy list of details of people who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. The people were identified by their fathers and they were also counted. The children of Parosh were 2,172, the children of Shephatiah, 372, the children of Arah 775, and on and on the list goes. To an outsider, like you and I, that’s a long boring list. But to a person who was there and was listed and confirmed, it was so very important!
Census trouble for some people
The census that was being conducted for the journey back to Jerusalem wasn’t a haphazard exercise. For one to be restored to Jerusalem there had to be evidence that they had a place there. They had to have the evidence that they knew their father’s house. There had to be evidence that they were true Israelites! So, whilst some people may have grown and lived among some Jews in Babylon and others may have even identified themselves (and were perhaps believed) to be priests, the register would now confirm and declare the true identity. Some people were in trouble: “they could not show their father’s house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel” (Ezr.2:59). There were also children of priests who “sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood” (Ezr.2:62). One may wonder, just how many people have become preachers in the Message simply because they ‘felt’ a calling whilst in Babylon. We have so many polluted altars in many assemblies because of such carnality!
All priests who were not found on the register were forbidden to minister until they stood before the Urim and Thummim. Until that was done they could not eat of the holy things apportioned for priests (2:63). Surely many claim to be part of the restoration message of William Branham, but when you look closely, their ministries can’t point to the place we have been restored to. They cannot show their “father’s house.” They are lost in the many messages of the prophet and don’t know the one thing it came to accomplish. Listen, William Branham, our Elijah, preached hundreds of sermons but he only proclaimed ONE MESSAGE – Back to the homeland of the Word! The pentecostals saw the prophetic gift in William Branham and got excited by the many “things” it accomplished, but the Elect perceived “the one thing” for which it was sent to prosper in and they were restored. Yes, His Word “shall prosper in the thing whereto” He sent it!
The ministry of Elijah (the shout and proclamation which called us out of Babylon) was sent to “turn the heart…of the children to their fathers” (Mal.4:6). And like John’s ministry it was sent “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luk.1:17). Whatever other things (visions, healings and miracles) came with that ministry, its mission was to point people back to the Word of God. To bring about a change of heart and enable us to have a closer relationship with God. The revelation of Seals and Church Ages was not to make us big-headed and boast of the much knowledge we have. It was to enable us see, repent, and have a new life of walking with the Lord. Thus, no matter how knowledgeable one becomes of mysteries, unless a true change of heart occurs by the power of the revealed Word, he or she has only got a religion, “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” (2 Tim.3:5). Such a person has only transferred from Babylon to Jerusalem but hasn’t experienced a transformation.
May the peace of God be with you. May the Word of this Hour prosper in you is my prayer. Amen.