THE FOURTH MONTH
“Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.” (Ezekiel 1:1)
Today (18 June) is itself “the fifth day of the fourth month”! As with all months on Hebrew calendars since the Captivity, it is called by its ancient Babylonian name, in this case Tammuz. There is certainly nothing “holy” about these month names; several, like those on modern Gregorian calendars, are named after pagan gods, and Tammuz is one of the worst. The fourth month is not called that in the Bible, but Ezekiel 8:14 mentions the loathsome deity from which it derives its name. The LORD had brought Ezekiel “in visions of God” from Babylon to Jerusalem to view the abominations taking place in the Temple, “Then He brought me to the entrance of the gate of the LORD’s house which was toward the north; and behold, women were sitting there weeping for [the Babylonian god] Tammuz.” It is a month which bears a shadow in religious Jewish thinking, because it was during this month that the walls of Jerusalem were breached by Israel’s enemies during both the First and Second Temple periods. A fast on the 17th will commence three weeks of solemn remembrance of the destruction of those temples and the departure of the Presence from the midst of God’s people.
But Yeshua the Messiah is Light shining in the darkness! A light which no shadow can dull or put out! Through the work which He has done, God’s Presence can today enter into the hearts of His people—and there is soon coming a day when the Glory of His Son will return to reign in Jerusalem. This is to be a month of blessing, of illumination, of being led by God’s light, of apprehending the enemy’s snares, of breaking out of bondages in the victory and liberty of the King! For our intercession over this Fourth Month in Israel, we can think of no better starting-point than two phrases drawn from today’s Ezekiel passage mentioned above:
THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED
I. IT WAS A MONTH AND DAY IN WHICH THE HEAVENS WERE OPENED OVER THE PROPHET.
Matthew 3:16. Yeshua comes up out of the waters after being immersed by John, and “behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him.”
John 1:51. Yeshua tells Natan-El that he will hereafter, “see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Acts 7:56. Just before his death, Stephen sees “the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
* That during this Fourth Month, there will be an “open heaven” over believers in Israel— those who stand by night and day in the houses of prayer and in the congregations, in the homes and in the “prayer closets”—praising the Lord, seeking His face, and interceding on behalf of their land and the nations. Pray that the Spirit of God would come down and inhabit and guide us in our praise, our worship, our prayers, our intercession, our waiting in His presence!
* That angels—mal’a’khim–“messengers of God” would be released as the heavens are opened over those worshipping in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Israel. That just as angels were released when Abraham called on the name of the LORD at Bethel, and were still ascending and descending when Jacob arrived decades later (Genesis 12:8; 28:12), this month may find these heavenly Messengers ascending and descendomg upon those in Israel “who will inherit Salvation,” who are called by the name of the Son of Man. That they would minister grace, strength, courage, protection, assisting them in their battles (Hebrews 1:14; Matt. 4:11; Luke 22:43; Daniel 9:22; II Kings 6:17).
* For an awareness of our position in the Heavenlies in Messiah Yeshua – Who is seated at the right hand of the Father and head over all things to His Body (Eph. 1:20, 22; 2:6). That we set our minds on things above, not on the things on the earth. (Col 3:1-2)
VISIONS OF GOD
II. IT WAS A MONTH AND DAY IN WHICH THE PROPHET “SAW VISIONS OF GOD!”
Proverbs 29:18. “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”
Genesis 46:2. “God spoke to Israel in visions of the night…”
Joel 2:28. “…I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.”
Daniel 1:17. “As for these four youths…Daniel understood all kinds of visions and dreams.”
Genesis 40:8. “And Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God?”
Daniel 2:28. “There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries…This was your dream and the visions in your mind.”
Acts 10:10-12. “Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to Him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire…for a man named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.’”
Acts 16:9. “A vision appeared to Paul in the night…Immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
LET US PRAY:
* That as heavens are opened over Israel this Fourth Month, God’s Spirit will descend and her sons and daughters would prophecy, her old men would dream dreams, her young men see visions. Pray that God would release seers in the Land.
* That God would raise up sons and daughters to whom He can release visions when they are needed…that they will receive and develop the gifts, the skills and insight necessary to be able, like Joseph and Daniel, to interpret them accurately, being aware that all interpretations come from God.
* That the eyes (vision) of Believers’ hearts would be opened and focused in a way to see what God is doing, our ears tuned to Hear what the Spirit is saying to the congregations.
* That even as the Holy Spirit repeatedly made use of visions and dreams in the early Church in giving instruction, warning, and in the spread of the Gospel…that His Body in Jerusalem and Israel would be clean, alert and sensible when He chooses to make use of them in our day.