In a way, planning for the Roar From Zion event, Paul Wilbur’s recent, immensely successful live performance in Jerusalem, began 2,800 years before the performance itself. And, with the aid of more recent efforts, Roar From Zion became a reality in no less than inspiring fashion. The landmark event’s prophetic timing is staggering, having come to fruition on the 70th anniversary of the rebirth of Israel, the 50th anniversary of unified Jerusalem, the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the 100th of the Balfour Declaration and an ongoing Feast of Tabernacles.
For its inspiration, Wilbur credits the millennia-old words of the prophet, Joel. In an interview with The Messianic Times (though perhaps hard to believe, Wilbur is as entertaining when speaking as he is when performing), Paul credited the third chapter of the Book of Joel as the primary inspiration for the Roar event and the subsequent release of the Roar From Zion album, a 14-track CD/DVD which hit No. 3 on the iTunes Christian/Gospel chart after selling more than 20,000 copies in the first month following its release.
“Build me a ‘Blackbird’”
About three years ago, after a beneficial 27-year relationship with Integrity Music, Wilbur found himself and others attending a special meeting in Wilbur’s hometown of Jacksonville Florida, praying for guidance and pondering What’s next? “As we were running through future dreaming, five- and ten-year plans…it seemed like the Lord said, ‘Build me a Blackbird.’ The [Lockheed SR-71] Blackbird was a super spy plane built by the United States government in response to the U-2 incident [in May 1960 when the USSR shot down an American U-2 spy plane in Soviet air space].”
After the U-2’s failure, the government challenged the American aeronautics industry to build a plane “that would fly higher, go faster and take us well into the future, what became known as the Blackbird.” Out of that meeting in Jacksonville, “the mandate, we believe from heaven was, ‘Build me a Blackbird,” after all these years and all these projects, so I began to pray about the future. One day, with just a few minutes of quiet time to sit and read before a busy day, I sat down with my Bible… and the Book of Joel ran across the screen of my mind, that being the name of our second son, he was named for that prophet…and I got halfway through the third chapter, I believe it’s verse 14, and read, ‘Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision.’
“Now, because the work of an evangelist is really big in me, that grabbed my attention… And it goes on to say, ‘I will thunder from Jerusalem and I will roar from Zion,’ and now He’s got me fully engaged.
“What does that sound like? What does that mean?
“I started cross-referencing over in First Samuel, ‘the Lord thunders from Jerusalem and He roars from Zion’…and so, as I said, I’m fully engaged in the third chapter of the Book of Joel. And I believe that I’m now seeing that this Blackbird is releasing a sound of this thunder from Jerusalem and roar from Zion that pushes the Philistines back, as in First Samuel, and they trouble Israel no more.
“That was the inspiration for this project that got the juices flowing.”
“Heaven is very committed”
Although having been directed to build a Blackbird—a new, higher flying, superior vehicle—Wilburstarted going about his charge by doing things that had worked for him in the past, not remembering the essence of the Lord’s mandate to build something different and better.
“So, I ’m calling partners I had worked with in the past…” Wilbur said. “And the strange thing was, at the outset, every person I called immediately said yes. I was in Jerusalem during this call for partners and met personally with some of these folks. I was very excited but I had this long list of yesses and only about 5% of the funds we estimated it would take to produce the show. So I spoke to my staff and said, ‘Okay, guys, we’ve got to get on the bandwagon here.’
“We had a place, a 12,000-seat arena at the International Christian Embassy, now we needed some shekels. We started announcing our plans at concerts and services and, after about six months, we were up to about 8% of what we needed. And then, one-by-one, these partners began to drop out [for a number of reasons].
“Pretty soon afterward, I’m standing here in my house with the third chapter of Joel wondering how this is ever going to happen. But then, out of the clear blue, two folks stepped forward and wrote checks that covered 90% of the entire budget. I want to protect their identities but I’ll tell you about one. I was ministering in the Netherlands…only six months before our needing to fully fund the project… On the last stop of the Netherlands tour, I returned to my hotel room exhausted and found about eight texts and four missed calls from my son, Joel, and he doesn’t do that. For me it was one o’clock in the morning but I’ve got all of these please-call-me’s…
“I called Joel and he said, ‘Dad, sit down…I’m holding a check that I know is good to help pay for this project.’ I picked myself up off the floor when I heard the amount, then Joel told me the miraculous story of how it came about.”
It began unexceptionally. Someone in England had purchased a book and CD from Wilbur’s ministry’s website. The order was soon boxed up, labeled properly and shipped to England. “But somehow,” Wilbur explained, “ the order ended up in the home of a Messianic Jewish woman in Japan who didn’t know us. She did not know us but she read the book, listened to the music and said, ‘Wow, this is really good.’
“It also happens that the woman who received the order we had shipped to another continent had been witnessing to her Orthodox father for quite some time. So she passed on our materials to him, looked us up on the Internet…and, after reading about the Roar project, she wrote us a check for $100,000. This, from a redirected package that was supposed to arrive 6,000 miles away.
“It put such faith in me,” Wilbur said. “I said to my family when I got home, there is no way that we’re coming up short on this because heaven is very committed to seeing this project happen.”
Another huge gift soon followed the first, although it was originally intended to be an investment to be paid back, with contracts and lawyers involved, but the investor had a change of heart and his investment became a gift. “So we went to Jerusalem with the entire project paid for before we arrived.”
“The performers had to carry something…”
“We had Arab Christians, Messianic Jews, millennial Christians from around the world on the platform with me…” Wilbur shared when asked about the success of the tour relative to his expectations. “ We had 200 people on tour with us. The venues we performed in were small, so they were sold out every time. And that was probably my only disappointment; that the venues we used were typically only 600-700 seats and, had they been 6000-7000 seats, we could have made a bigger sound for folks.”
The resulting live recording, Roar From Zion, now available for purchase at multiple outlets, serves as “prophetic praise” which, Wilbur hopes, will impact people around the world with a message that reaches beyond cultural, social and political borders. The recorded performance showcases internationally known recording artist Shae Wilbur and well-known singer/songwriters Joshua Aaron, Sarah Liberman, Beckah Shae and Ryan and Marie Hodges accompanied by a world-class band composed of Israeli, Arab and Nashville-based musicians.
“When you look around the platform, there were friends and relationships of mine from the last 25 years, some of my kids in the Spirit. Joshua Aaron is one of my sons in the Lord. My two daughters-in-law were up on the platform with me. It was a family affair, just an amazing experience.
“There were Israeli, Messianic Jewish authentic voices—this was not Roar from Nashville, or Jacksonville—so Joshua Aaron was one of my first calls. These people had to be the real deal, plus they had to carry something; passion for the salvation of Israel, for the building up of the Body of Messiah worldwide and for the Church… It was an authentic sound from the Land.”
Reenergizing the message
“Ninety countries have heard our songs live and in person in five recorded languages,” Wilbur said, “and we’re going to add French this year. And we’re not finished yet by a long shot. In a new project, Daystar will be doing a major production from Roar… I contracted yesterday with a major publisher to write a new book, so Roar from Zion will be added to the three books I’ve already done… I believe all these things will reenergize, in a very special way, the message of the restoration of Zion, the salvation of Israeland the coming of the King… We will continue to declare His praises in the earth wherever He leads and as long as He gives us breath.”
Source: The Messianic Times | By: Cliff Keller