A Decree Has Gone Out
By Bishop John Francis
Founder and Senior Pastor
Ruach City Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Isaiah 45: 1-3, Job 22:28
Sunday 26th July 2015
Let me start by declaring that the night season and the time of stumbling and trying to work things out is over. Job 22:28 reads: ‘You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways’. Light speaks about revelation and illumination. God is ready to illuminate your destiny!
Here is our foundation scripture. Isaiah 45:1-3 reads: “Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut: ‘I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze”. The name, Cyrus, is mentioned in the bible about 30 times. He is known as Cyrus, the Great who reigned over Persia from 539 to 530BC. Historically, he plays an important role in the nation of Israel, returning them to their land from Babylon after 70 years in exile (Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon had besieged and had kept the nation in exile in Babylon for those years). Isaiah’s prophecy starts on a strange note: “Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus”. Cyrus is a pagan king – a wicked, political, cut-throat monarch. He is described as ‘anointed’, which could be quite confusing. ‘Anointed’ in the Hebrew is the same name for Messiah – ‘Meshiach’. The Greek translation is the ‘Christ’. Is it possible that we do not really understand what the word ‘Anointed’ means?
We’ve had various descriptions for the word ‘anointing’ over the years. I have heard various comments about a preacher or an artiste being anointed. However, let’s describe what the word ‘anointing’ really means. The 'law of first-mention' is the principle in the interpretation of Scripture which states that the first mention or occurrence of a subject in Scripture establishes an unchangeable pattern of that subject or terminology. So, let define the anointing. The anointing means ‘to take oil and smear or rub on a person or a thing, and set that person or thing aside for a specific assignment’. God speaks to Moses about setting his brother, Aaron apart as a High Priest. Moses was commanded to anoint Aaron’s head and clothes, with the oil containing specific ingredients in order to release a specific aroma (Good perfumes are known to contain a quantifiable degree of oil that the body temperature warms up, releasing its aroma). Besides anointing Aaron and his sons for the priesthood, Moses was also commanded by God to anoint all the tabernacle furnishings. Hence, it means that besides people, things can also be anointed.
Many people often claim that the Spirit of God is the anointing. However, this is not particularly true. The Spirit could symbolise the anointing. As mentioned above, we've defined the anointing as ‘setting a person or thing aside for a specific assignment’. A lectern is hardly positioned in a restroom, it is often found in a room set aside for talks and sermons. The chairs we sit on are set apart, or anointed to hold us up. Both the lectern and the chair are anointed for a specific assignment.
When God sets you apart, it means you have been called specifically for your assignment which no one else can do. Hence, you have no reason to be envious of others, because they are not anointed to do what you have been assigned to do and vice versa. Imitators will only replicate what has been done already. One of the reasons why God requested that the priests should be anointed was to ensure that the aroma of the assignment for which they had been set apart and approached Him was always before Him. Conversely, when God anoints us, there is an aroma that He enjoys from us and the work we’ve been called to do, that brings Him glory. The anointing on your life as His child changes the atmosphere where ever you go.
So Cyrus, from our foundation scriptures was anointed by God for a specific assignment.Now, the question to ask is this: why was Cyrus given the same title as Jesus? At 30 years, Jesus goes into the temple, as recorded in Luke 4 to read from the scroll. It happened that the scroll on this day falls on Isaiah 61, which reads: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18). This text refers to the Spirit of God giving Jesus the assignment to preach, heal, proclaim and set captives free. Conversely, when we become Christians, God gives us a specific assignment. Once you step into your assignment, you have no reasons to envy or compete with others, because they do not have your specific anointing given to you by God.
From Ezra 1:1, we see the fulfilment of this prophetic word given by Isaiah. A prophetic word will always come to pass, regardless of how long it takes. Here is Ezra 1:1, which reads: ‘Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, 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, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing’ . Jeremiah confirms what Isaiah had already prophesied, as mentioned in this verse. God usually confirms a word He has spoken already through His other servants. So, Cyrus is stirred up by God’s Spirit to put a proclamation into writing – in other words, He issues a decree. God stirs up Cyrus in the first year of his reign, such that he goes around releasing wealth hidden for years in caves. Unbeknown to him, he is fulfilling his assignment, primarily to the Israelites. In the same vein, there is a blessing awaiting you.
So God stirs up Cyrus. There is always a stirring by the Spirit, before a proclamation. Nothing happens; nothing is created until the Spirit comes. We find this first mentioned in Genesis. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters’. God is also ready to move in our lives. The Spirit of God, which means ‘Ruach’ in Hebrew, could also mean ‘the breath’ or ‘the wind of God’. Furthermore, ‘Ruach’ is also the 'atmosphere' of God. An atmosphere is pivotal to results. For instance, a comedian will not be considered funny if he is not in an atmosphere where people are open to jokes. A person cannot be blessed if such a person is not in the right atmosphere for blessings. Hence, you must get rid of the wrong people in your life. The word ‘New Wine’ refers to something new. I declare in the name of Jesus that the new thing has begun! God is stirring your life, your home, your family, and your children! Just like a cup of tea is stirred, God stirs thing up.
Cyrus was stirred up by God Spirit. So then, let’s return to today’s title – a decree has gone out. A decree is a legal document that enforces a law. Decrees in the Medes and Persian days of Cyrus could not be changed or altered – they were signed and delivered. This same enforcement was established in the days of Jesus. Here is Luke 2:1-6, which reads: ‘And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered’. Ceasar Augustus, from this passage decrees that all the realm under him should be taxed. However, he had no idea that he was anointed by God for that assignment.
Caesar Augustus was anointed for this assignment of taxing the world in those days, because God destined Joseph and Mary to move to Bethlehem. Without the decree from Caesar Augustus, Joseph and his heavily expecting wife, Mary would not have made the journey to Bethlehem for the destined place of birth for Jesus. In the same vein, God is getting ready to move some things around in your life to fulfil the prophecies spoken. He may have to use those who disdain you. I declare Cyrus is on the way, your finances are about to change. All God has spoken regarding your health, your promotion, and everything pertaining to you is about to happen. A breakthrough is coming to New Wine!
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