Prisoners of Hope

September 2, 2021


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“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.”
Zechariah 9:12

The concept of the double blessing has been used and abused by name-it-and-claim-it preachers for longer than I’ve been alive. I understand the dangers of misinterpretation and misapplication as it relates to God’s promises, but we better not throw the blessing out with the bathwater! We must understand what it is and what it isn’t.

The double blessing is not health, wealth, and prosperity. It’s not a 200 percent return on every investment either. It’s something bigger and better than that.

There are half a dozen “double promises” in Scripture. The prophet Isaiah promised a double portion of joy or prosperity, depending on your translation of choice. The apostle Paul conferred double honor on those who lead well. And a double portion of Elijah’s spirit netted twice as many miracles in the ministry of Elisha. But perhaps the most unique binary blessing in the Bible is declared by the prophet Zechariah:

“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.”
Zechariah 9:12

The prophet Zechariah declared this double blessing to Jewish prisoners of war, but he called them prisoners of hope. Those are polar opposites, are they not? So which is it—prisoners of war or prisoners of hope? That depends on your perspective, doesn’t it?

If you let your circumstances define the way you see God, you are a prisoner of perspective. Or worse, a prisoner of your past mistakes! But if you let God define the way you see your circumstances, you are a prisoner of hope.

Please don’t let anyone name you except God. You are not the labels people put on you. You are who God says you are! You are the apple of God’s eye. You are the object of His affection. You are more than a conqueror.

Israel had experienced a bitter defeat at the hands of the Babylonians. They were at the mercy of their captors, who had defiled their temple and mocked their God. But God reminded them of who would have the last laugh. For their pain, He prescribed the promise of double blessing.

The NIV says, “I will restore twice as much to you.”
The KJV says, “I will render double unto thee.”
The NLT says, “I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.”

We’ve got to be very careful not to turn biblical principles into quadratic equations. Yes, better is one day in the courts of the Lord than a thousand elsewhere. But I’m not convinced that the psalmist was formulating a one-thousand-to-one ratio. After all, the blessing of God’s presence cannot be reduced to hours or minutes any more than to dollars or cents. A day is like a thousand years to God, yet He exists outside our four dimensions of space-time. So time is immaterial to an eternal God.

That said, let’s not underestimate the blessings of God or ignore the fact that God is the one who promises a double blessing. I recognize that this promise was given to Jewish refugees living in the fifth century BC, but I also believe it belongs to us. Why?

Because the God who made the promise is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Because every spiritual blessing is ours in Christ. And because “no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.”

You cannot claim the promises of God like a game of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”, but every promise has your name on it. Every blessing in the Bible is part and parcel of our spiritual birthright by virtue of what Christ accomplished on the cross. 

Positioning ourselves for those blessings begins by kneeling at the foot of the cross and ends with us casting our crowns before the throne of God. In between, we flip every blessing.

Excerpted from Double Blessing. Copyright © 2019 by Mark Batterson. Used by permission of Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.


  1. Kimuli abbey on September 11, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    Am in Africa but ilove you soooooo much may God bless you ❤

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