After the Isaiah 62 Fast, Now What?

© 2023, Sandra Teplinsky

In March 2023, when a handful of American prayer leaders announced an initiative to mobilize millions of Christians to fast and pray for Israel for 21 days, like many other Israeli Messianic Jews, I was dumbfounded. And I was delighted. And frankly, I was just a bit skeptical. Our community had witnessed many false starts on the part of the Church regarding Israel. Would this startling declaration of support, I wondered, be any different? Would it take root and bear fruit? Would it consider public association or cooperation with Messianic Jews – something most large scale Christian initiatives for Israel had historically avoided?

Two weeks after the fast was announced, I could find only one Israeli ministry outspokenly endorsing it. Perhaps, I thought, other leaders were busy with other things. Some might not have heard about it. Perhaps others chose to wait and see how matters would unfold. Perhaps, behind the scenes, a few were quietly but enthusiastically jumping on board. In any case, I personally felt stirred to action. Much of my life had been dedicated to praying into, and communicating about, God’s heart for Israel. So despite the initial hesitation of some others, I was prayerfully compelled to join in the fast and summon others to participate.

Within days, we formed an official hub for the fast in partnership with the congregation we attend in Jerusalem, King of Kings. We invited the extended Light of Zion family to join in. King of Kings hosted daily prayer meetings in real space while Reshet Tefilah (Israeli Prayer Network) hosted daily prayer meetings in cyberspace. I wrote a prayer guide for Reshet Tefilah to use during the fast. By God’s grace, the guide was posted on the official Isaiah 62 web site and used by believers worldwide.

Fast Facts

For 21 days, millions of Christians prayed and fasted in various ways on behalf of the Jewish people. Some wrote new, intercessory songs about Israel which are now being sung around the world. Not surprisingly, a war took place between Israel and Islamic Jihad soon after the fast began. Casualties, though tragic by any count, were thankfully minimal. No doubt prayer impacted the battle, though we may never know precisely how.

Despite the war, some said the spiritual climate in Israel felt “lighter” during the fast. They said they felt “covered.” Many from the nations shared they were enriched in their personal journey with the Lord. Others said they did not or could not stay the 21 day course. But they did experience at least a slightly favorable shift of heart toward Israel. Personally, it was shortly after the fast that I experienced renewed intimacy with Yeshua and reset of focus in prayer.

Early on, organizers of the fast sought the help of a few large and prominent Israeli ministries. To their credit, they did not shrink from public alignment with Messianic Jews. This brought even more Messianic leaders on board from both Israel and the nations. It also brought about some push-back from a few Christian leaders and ultra-religious Jews violently hostile to the Gospel.

By the time the fast began, the majority of English speaking Israeli believers were aware of it. As best I could carefully discern, however, many—perhaps most—chose not to personally participate. Clearly, they did not object to the fast. And to be fair, most Israeli believers were already praying for Israel. But apart from a few large ministries whose leaders spoke at prominent prayer gatherings, most Israelis felt the initiative was mainly or exclusively intended for Gentile believers. For different reasons, many felt their participation was either not needed or not especially desired by the internationals.

Now that the fast is over, what can we say it was really about?

To fairly answer the question, we need to look first at the back story.

Back Story

Mike Bickle, founder-director of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, was the Christian leader who first announced and launched the Isaiah 62 initiative. According to video messages posted online, he envisioned the fast would serve as a catalyst for imparting to the body of Christ an understanding of God’s Word and heart for Israel. Pastor Mike forthrightly noted the Spirit had already been speaking to many about this in recent decades. The time had now come, he said, to mobilize intercessory prayer that would eventually break the power of false and erroneous, widespread anti-Jewish replacement theologies besetting the Church for 2,000 years. Another critical purpose of the fast, he said, was to pray into God’s covenant promises for the full restoration and salvation of Jerusalem and all Israel. (I paraphrase content from videos that are easily accessible online.)

It could be broadly said the ultimate purpose of the fast was to release unprecedented agreement, especially relating to Israel, for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Not by mere coincidence, last Purim and a few days before the fast was announced, a handful of Israeli believers (including me) were led by the Lord to declare from the Temple Mount certain Scriptures relevant to the fast. Those Scriptures related to the ripping of false coverings and veils of deception over Israel and the nations. The coverings and veils, we felt, represented ancient and deceptive strongholds over Israel, the Church and adherents of Islam.

To the extent the feast of Purim represents a unique opportunity in time to align with spiritual dynamics of life and death described in the book of Esther, we felt it important to assemble before God to declare and agree with what He has decreed elsewhere in His Word regarding those same dynamics. We knew, moreover, this was to occur on the Temple Mount, the literal site from which Messiah will rule and reign over the earth. So from that critical location we proclaimed and prayed into Isaiah 25:7: “[YHVH] will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people and the veil that is spread over all nations.”

Regarding Israel and the Jewish people, we prayerfully proclaimed, “Although ‘to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their hearts; nevertheless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away“.’ (2 Corinthians 3:15-16) We believed the Lord had shown us the time had come for ancient strongholds of deception to begin breaking off Israel with much greater force, that Yeshua might be revealed to her to a much greater degree.

The Isaiah 62 fast culminated on Pentecost Sunday with worship, prayer and Communion at the southern steps of the Second Temple—located on the Temple Mount. As I watched this grand finale unfold, I could not help but realize “on this mountain” and before my eyes, God was destroying, at some level, veils of deception that had covered the nations for well over a millennium. Truth and the grace to perceive it would be released at new levels across the earth. It was a glorious moment!

To be clear, I do not attribute the events of Pentecost Sunday solely to our Purim declaration on the Temple Mount! But neither do I dismiss the connection. Along with the prayers of countless others, I trust our proclamations played a part. It must also be pointed out the Purim prayer  journey was undergirded by strong prayer and encouragement from Christians abroad.

What Was It All About?

Why was the fast important at this time and what might have been achieved as a result of it? To the extent nations (including Israel) have been deceived by erroneous or heretical, religious theologies, God’s character has been veiled from humankind. To a significant degree, this began when early Church fathers taught and institutionalized the false notion the Church now replaces Israel in God’s heart and covenant promises. This so-called “supersessionism” gave rise to what is usually termed replacement theology. Due to its intrinsically anti-Jewish nature, replacement theology quickly developed into what is sadly known as Christian anti-Semitism.

In recent years, traditional replacement theology has morphed into other systems of supersessionism, none of which leaves any place for Israel in God’s heart or plans. One present day example is fulfillment theology. According to modern fulfillment theology, all the prophetic promises in Scripture given to Israel have been completely fulfilled in Jesus Himself. Adherents of this theology find no biblical reason for Israel to exist as a restored nation. They outspokenly seek to push back against Christian support of Israel, claiming they are neither anti-Jewish nor anti-Semitic. Not surprisingly, the movement is strongly pro-Palestinian.

The greatest evil of supersessionism, however, is not its anti-Jewish character, bad as that is. Its worst fault is that supersessionism obscures the true character and nature of YHVH. It downplays not only the truth of His Word, but His love, mercy, grace, wisdom, faithfulness, justice, and sovereign omnipotence. It portrays Him as a God who cannot or will not keep His Word to His people.

Now, if we do not know God for who He truly is, we cannot or will not engage with His heart as fully as we could. And if we do not engage with His heart as fully as we could, we will not grow as fully in Messiah-likeness as we should. We will not mature into the bride He desires. We will not shine as lights in a darkening world. We will surely not provoke Israel to jealousy for her God (Romans 11:11).

As you may have guessed by now, an anti-Jewish spirit or spirit of anti-Semitism is tied inevitably to an anti-Christ spirit. Because anti-Semitism distorts the nature of God, it distorts the nature of Messiah.

A deceptive veil covering the true character of YHVH has been cast not only over the Church, but over Israel. According to 2 Corinthians 3:16-17, our people are unable or unwilling, or both, to recognize Messiah until our hearts turn unreservedly to God. The Isaiah 62 fast was about breaking the anti-Messiah power of this veil.

Another veil cast over many nations is that of Islam. On account of this stronghold, truth is tragically veiled from large people groups across the Middle East (and elsewhere) who set themselves against YHVH and His purposes. This most notably includes Israel’s ancient enemy, Persia, known today as Iran. That country is now on the verge of acquiring a weapons arsenal sufficient to destroy the Jewish state. Iran could soon make good on its repeated threats to wipe Israel off the map.

We dare not rely on presumption, but we do believe God will eventually shatter the power of Islam according to His Word. This will involve continued prayer and fasting by the ekklesia worldwide. It may also involve persecution, death and devastation at levels we have not yet seen. On Purim, because of God’s deliverance from genocide by Iran/Persia in the book of Esther, we cried out from the Temple Mount for another miracle deliverance from Iran—not just for Israel, but for the multitude of Muslims held captive in that land.

Another one of many stronghold veils of deception over the earth exists in forms of secular-globalist-humanism. I refer here to the false belief that humankind represents the supreme authority over all that exists on earth. This demonic belief is usually connected to globalist ideologies. While it dismisses YHVH as supreme authority, it leaves strange room for other, including artificial, forms of life to arise as supreme authority over humankind. Surely a deception God desires to destroy! (2 Corinthians 4:4)

So, what was the Isaiah 62 fast about? As darkness increasingly covers the earth, our merciful God of Glory is giving opportunity to know and embrace truth that will set and keep us free (Isaiah 60:2). How long this special grace period will last, I cannot say. But now is the time to gratefully receive it!

Vision of Pentecost Sunday 2023

Turn again with me to Pentecost Sunday, May 28, 2023. On that day the Isaiah 62 fast formally closed with Gentile and Jewish believers worshiping, praying and taking Communion on the southern steps of the Temple Mount. I was in the US at the time. So, like many of you, I watched the livestream online.

Viewing the livestream, I saw veils of deception covering the earth suddenly ripped apart, their strong holds loosened by the power of God. It was very much what we had prayed for on Purim.

In my mind’s eye, I saw flashes of lightening from heaven strike what could be described as a thick veil, covering or canopy over much of our planet. At impact, lightning shattered and tore open this veil-like canopy in certain places. There was not a complete ripping apart and the covering was not totally destroyed. But in those places where lightning had struck, partial tears and holes appeared. Whether or not this was a vision from God, I do not know. I do believe, however, it summarizes metaphorically what took place (or was at least initiated) in the spirit realm on Pentecost Sunday.

The canopy-covering-encasement (I use the words interchangeably) looked different in different places. It appeared to represent different strongholds of deception that imprisoned or hindered different people groups. In one place, the canopy covered large groups of people easily identifiable as Jewish. Those few who saw the openings or holes suddenly appear were deeply intrigued. They gazed through the openings with cautious but genuine curiosity. Most of them were captivated by what they saw on the other side of the veil. Amazed, they called others to see what they’d just discovered. As gradually more Jewish people looked through the holes, they too were magnetized by the beauty they beheld. They did not fully understand what they saw but were filled with wonder at it.

Simultaneously, another covering that had restricted life and movement in Gentile nations began to shatter. In small areas, perhaps representing churches or Christian communities, the veil completely disintegrated. Enlightened and enlivened, followers of YHVH began to truly follow YHVH—and as never before. This new vitality seemed to augur life from the dead (Romans 11:15).

The partial shattering of these two canopies, combined with the release and movement of large numbers of people as described above, caused shock waves in spiritual and physical realms. An earthquake resulted that began to shake other areas of the global encasement. I saw one thick, armor-like covering that was rooted and tethered, as if by tent pegs, deep in the ground. I believe this covering represents Islam. When the earthquake caused its foundations to shake, the covering wobbled wildly. As it wobbled, it lifted off from many who’d been semi-crushed under its weight. These people rejoiced to breathe fresh, pure air. Large numbers of them began to move freely about. Their movements caused the canopy to shake even more violently until it uprooted and then imploded. When it imploded, some people who were still under its cover grabbed it and clung tightly to it. Some wrapped themselves in it as it imploded until sadly, the canopy smothered them to death. But at the same time, multitudes were set free, joyfully trampling on the old canopy as they escaped into a surprising, new and vibrant world.

In my mind’s eye, other sections of the encasement covering other regions of the world were dramatically impacted. Watching the livestream of what was happening on the Temple Mount, I rejoiced: “He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.” (Isaiah 25:7)

What took place “on this mountain”  on Pentecost Sunday as the culmination of 21 days of prayer and fasting represented, I believe, an historic breakthrough. Of course, a breakthrough is to be distinguished from a fulfillment. A breakthrough is merely a beginning of something at a new level; it is not the full attainment of that for which the breakthrough occurred. The ripping of veils I saw in my mind’s eye has not yet fully occurred.

For perspective, through Church history and in our generation, countless believers have prayed into and travailed over stronghold veils (or coverings, canopies or encasements) besetting the nations. The breakthrough on Pentecost Sunday, therefore, relates mostly to a phenomenon that is unprecedented in the sense of its intensity. In part, this intensity came through a necessary and genuine unity of Gentile and Jewish followers of Yeshua, a small representation of which were assembled on the Temple Mount. The quality and quantity of this spiritual intensity moved the heart of God, who moved heaven and earth. But there is still work left to do.

After the Fast, What Now?

In my prayerful perception, the global fast was as much about the ekklesia making herself ready for her King as it was about Israel. To be sure, the fast was indeed about Israel’s covenant restoration, especially her salvation. But it was also much about Yeshua grooming His bride to maturity, that she might attain to the glory of Messiah-likeness for which He came and died. It was about preparing her to accomplish the “grand finale of history” as one new humanity in love-based unity, fulfilling the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

For all the above, the ekklesia must engage with and carry God’s heart for Israel, loving her to life in the only Name by which she must be saved (Acts 4:12). As followers of YHVH embrace His zeal for Zion, they will grow into the Kingdom of God reality that must occur as this present age draws to a close. The Church will attain to the “fullness of the Gentiles” associated with all Israel being saved and Messiah’s glorious return (Romans 11:25-26).

Meanwhile, the breakthrough of Pentecost Sunday 2023 will not go unopposed. Satanic forces are bound to resist the doings of God on earth. Isaiah 62 watchmen and women can expect their unprecedented show of support for Israel to be met with unprecedented assault. This could occur through a cataclysmic war between Israel and Iran, new waves of global antisemitism and Christian persecution, and/or some other evil scheme that Heaven will work for good. In any case, do not be discouraged or dismayed. Satanic schemes are doomed to fail as we persevere by grace through faith, hope and love. God’s ultimate purposes cannot be thwarted. (Psalm 33:10)

Viewing the opposition from another perspective, one reason God may have chosen this particular time to move on the hearts of believers to fast and pray for Israel is that He knows His enemies are already astir and conspiring genocidal evil against the Jews. The Isaiah 62 fast may prove to be a military training exercise and/or preemptive strike in the spirit for God’s purposes to be accomplished in an upcoming war with Iran. So, dear troops, let’s continue to fast and pray in the power of the Spirit!

Overcoming Offense

The Isaiah 62 fast unleashed waves of Messiah-like love and unity across the earth. Nevertheless, some believers have frankly shared that they struggled much with the notion of the fast. More than a few said they do not see how the Bible teaches God still has a covenant with the Jews. Others confess they feel somewhat like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). They feel they’ve served God faithfully for many years. It seems to them the Father is suddenly throwing a rather undeserved party for the younger and errant brother, namely Israel. They’re offended.

Meanwhile, it may surprise you to learn that some Jewish believers in Yeshua say they struggled with the fast due to a similar offense. Let me explain.

Some Messianic Jews have fasted and prayed for Israel for many decades. For much of their lives, they were misunderstood in the Church, especially by well-meaning pastors. Many older Jewish believers journeyed rather alone on a hard road, even if they belonged to a congregation or church. As a result, they feel a party is being thrown for their younger brother, whom they perceive to be Gentile Christians now publicly embracing Israel for the first time. Some Jewish believers who have stayed the course for decades do not feel invited to that party.

Some Messianic Jews say that what appears to be love and support for Israel may prove to be merely the latest and hottest Christian trend. They wonder if any fruit will result or if the global fast will prove to be another historical, false start toward embracing Jews, and particularly, Messianic Jews.

I can understand how some believers, Jewish or Gentile, might be tempted with harboring offense. But I do not condone it. The accuser of the brethren has infiltrated the Father’s house. We must usher him out!

As I pray for those battling offense, the words of the prodigal son’s father to his older son come to mind: “‘My son‘ said the father, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:31-32) “Enter into the joy of your Master.” (Matthew 25:21, 23)

I believe God rejoiced over the Isaiah 62 fast, having waited millennia for it. He delights that many of His followers are sincerely opening their hearts to the Jewish people whom He passionately loves. Heaven is celebrating a return to the Father’s house by sons (and daughters) formerly held captive by false theologies obscuring His true character.

To be sure, parties can temporarily mess up a house and not every guest always knows how to behave. Some might even get drunk and by the next day, forget what the party was about. But the life-releasing joy of a celebration for the sake of those guests who are genuinely honorable is worth a minor, temporary upset of the house.

If we harbor offense, perhaps we are choosing not to enter into the joy of our Master and Lord. If we are choosing not to enter into and engage with His joy, then perhaps we are not as engaged with His heart as we think. And if we are not as engaged with His heart as we think, perhaps it is time to return to our first love (Revelation 2:4).

Recall that the prodigal son’s older brother never left his father’s house. He labored there dutifully and probably for all the right reasons. But he was not intimately engaged with his father’s heart. Lack of intimate communion left the older son insecure in his father’s love or approval or both. This seems to have been the real reason he was offended, and probably jealous, at the fuss over his younger brother’s return. Yet the father dearly loved the older son who’d faithfully stayed at his side. He gently reminded the young man how they’d always been together. Moreover, all the father had—everything–was his as well.

Whatever you may think of the Isaiah 62 fast, and however you may (or may not) see yourself in the parable of the prodigal son, you have an open invitation to join the celebration and enter into the joy of your Lord. The party might be a little messy for now. But together with our Father, your brothers and sisters are waiting for you!

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