fulfilled, it is a tree of life.
Seventy years is a long time to wait for restoration. There are two possible responses for the mind that perceives that the object of their long awaited hope has not yet materialized...beyond any time frame imaginable. The first is common...forget it. That is an easy for the natural mind to accept closed response. It omits any need to question or debate. Case closed... forget it! This is the path of cynicism and despair.
The other response is to cling to what you believe until your hopes are materialized. That is not something that most people are willing to do. Nobody wants to look foolish and most people opt for the sure bets in life. Of course, if I know something that you don't know, an inside track maybe, then you may buy and sell stocks at my suggestion, despite the apparant lack of logic to that stock choice. Like, if I worked for a company and I told you that it was about to fold tomorrow, you would run to sell your stock. I know nothing about stock...except that cows have spots...sometimes. And, cows give milk, and they don't fly.
Isaiah 44:28 That says of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all
my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, You shall be built; and to the temple,
Your foundation shall be laid.
But, the Bible is timeless and God's plan is unchanging. I believe every word was inspired by God almighty. I buy into it, and invest all I own in the black words, as well as the red. So did some of the Jews in Captivity. King Cyrus was far ahead of his time. He was King of Babylon and it was nearing the end of the seventy years of captivity that had been prophesied for the Jews. Cyrus believed he was also in Bible prophesy slated to set God's people free, so he set in place some very humanitarian policies of allowing displaced persons to return to their homeland. A few of the Jews jumped at this chance to return home, but many didn't want to walk away from all the possessions they had acquired in Babylon. So, the few repatriotized Jews lived in a state of despair, almost giving up hope that they would ever be restored as a country when Cyrus was quickly replaced by a not so humanitarian King, and the Jews filtering back into Israel was halted.
Of course, there were a lot of Jews who had never been deported out of Israel to start with, and they had been there all those 70 long years, while their countrymen lived in far off Babylon. These guys were not much help or hope for rebuilding a country when they were not even seen as worth deporting, left behind in decaying Jerusalem's rubble as worthless to the Babylonian empire. The remaining Jews were the ones who put up the most resistance to Nehemiah's plans to rebuild.
Zechariah is an awesome book of hope. He lived at a time in Israel, being just a child in one of the first few families allowed to return, before Cyrus died. He had reason to believe the time was near. He had hope, a precious commodity. He was called by God to mobilize the people in Israel to rebuild Jerusalem. This was to prove a big task and would invoke a lot of criticism and animosity from people who didn't want to see it done. The detractors were mostly Jews, not outsiders. There were even plots on Nehemiah's life.
Zechariah 5:9 Then I lifted up my eyes, and looked, and, behold, there
came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the
wings of a stork: and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven.
There is so much more to the story, if you read all of Zechariah and Nehemiah, but you can't fly through Zechariah. It has so many beautiful vignettes of hope. Zack was told to pay attention by an angel that was in his vision. So he looks up and sees this large basket or pot being carried through the sky with an old lady inside, and then a huge lid was dropped on top of it. Zack sort of looked surprised and exclaimed, "What is that?!" The angel said the old lady was symbolic of wickedness and was being carried to Babylon where she was worshipped and would have a nice home. Now, I am laughing at the appropriateness of this political slam made by a politically incorrect prophet. Well, actually it wasn't his gaffe, but the angels' carrying the basket, you could argue. But, wickedness is happier in some places than others I have seen.
Two lady angels were carrying the basket through the sky. The women had wings like a stork. I wonder why they were women? To me it sounds like prayer. These women were prayer warriors carrying away the sin of the people with prayer. When we pray, it feels like our words have wings, being carried to God with ease, sometimes. I've seen God respond so fast it almost shocked me. And, that it why I continue to hold onto my hope in God when hope is deferred. I have every reason to believe Him when I have seen His promises fulfilled so many times. He is a man of His words.