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Zechariah

June 3, 2009

Background

I. The Lords Says “Remember and Return” Zechariah 1:1-6

II. The Lord Visits Zechariah with Visions Zechariah 1:7-6:6

  1. Come to Me and Come Together                   Zech. 1:7-21
    1. Rebuild; I Am Coming            Zech. 1:7-17
    2. Unite as My People                 Zech. 1:18-21
  2. The Triune God is Coming                                  Zech. 2:1-4:14
    1. God the Father is Coming to Live  Zech. 2:1-12
    2. God the Son is Coming to Forgive   Zech. 3:1-10
    3. God the Holy Spirit is Coming to Minister   Zech. 4:1-14
  3. The Lord Will Conquer Evil                                 Zech. 5:1-6:6
    1. God’s Word Judges Evil                     Zech. 5:1-4
    2. God Forgives and Removes Evil     Zech. 5:5-11
    3. God Destroys Evil and Brings Peace    Zech. 6:1-6

III. The Lord Says “Prepare a Crown” Zechariah 6:7-15

IV. The Lord Says “Put Faith into Action” Zechariah 7:1-14

V. The Lord Says “He is Coming” Zechariah 8:1-11:17

  1. “To Bless”                Zech. 8:1-23
  2. “To Defend”              Zech. 9:1-8
  3. “To Save”                 Zech. 9:9-17
  4. “To Restore”               Zech. 10:1-11:3
  5. “To Shepherd”             Zech. 11:4-17

VI. The Lord Says “He is Coming Again” Zechariah 12:1-14:21

  1. “To Protect and Destroy”                 Zech. 12:1-9
  2. “To Give Grace”                                    Zech. 12:10-14
  3. “To Cleanse and Purify”                    Zech. 13:1-9
  4. “To Rule”                                                  Zech. 14:1-21

Background

Zechariah is one of the more significant Minor Prophets in that his writings
total 14 chapters. The first six chapters are dominated by symbolic visions
defining God’s work/purpose. Chapters 8-14 define God’s ministry. The middle
chapter [7] defines Israel’s ministry, the ministry of His People, the ministry
of us who are called Christian.

The theme of Zechariah’s prophecy is the Lord’s coming and in particular,
His coming as King, His Second Advent. But to us who claim Christ as our Savior
and Lord, He becomes King of our lives so that what we experience and know today
in our hearts is a precursor of His coming to earth as King of Kings to reign
for a thousand years. Chapters 2-4 even reveal the work and ministry of the
Triune God. The whole book, in a very unique way, reveals the total work and
ministry of the Lord to His people, those who place their faith in Him. It is
a book that deserves more of our study.

Zechariah was a priest born in Babylonia and who returned to Jerusalem with
Zerubbabel in 738 BC and served under Joshua, the High Priest. He was a contemporary
of Haggai, encouraging the people to return to the Lord, to rebuild the temple,
to worship Him, and to anticipate His coming to live among them and in them.
Zechariah encouraged Israel to become the people God had intended them to be,
a people of faith in God Almighty as the King of Kings.

The Lord Says “Remember and Return”                        Zechariah 1:1-6

Two months after Haggai began his ministry among the returnees, Zechariah
is called by God to begin his ministry. Haggai’s ministry was to motivate the
people to rebuild the temple. Zechariah’s ministry is to rebuild the peoples’
faith in God.

Zechariah reminds Israel why they were in exile and why their land and city,
Jerusalem, has been destroyed. It was because God was angry with them. They
ignored God and placed their faith in other nations and in other gods [vs. 4].
Zechariah’s message is simple; return to the Lord and He will return to them.
This is similar to Samuel’s message; God honors those who honor Him [I Sam.
2:30]. All the pre-exilic prophets had warned Israel and Judah against forsaking
the Lord God [see Jer. 14:10-12] or face being rejected by God. Zechariah says
“Remember” what happened and why it happened. Their sinfulness and
their wickedness was the reason for their exile and for their land and cities
being destroyed. God’s Word and Covenant has not been revoked. It is to be obeyed
if they are to be successful in rebuilding their temple, their city, and their
nation [Lev. 26-27].

Those who heard Zechariah’s message repented and acknowledged that God was
just in His punishment of them for their sin. Their repentant hearts are the
building blocks for their restoration as God’s people and the rebuilding of
their faith in God. Likewise, it is necessary for each of us to have humble
repentant hearts so the Lord can enter our lives and restore us, building our
faith in Him as the Lord God Almighty who is sovereign over all things.

The Lord Visits Zechariah with Visions                            Zechariah 1:7- 6:6

This section contains 8 visions which all came in one night and have to do
with the “Lords’ Coming” to them as a result of the peoples’ repentance
three months earlier as described in verse 6.

Come to Me and Come Together                       Zech. 1:7-21

Rebuild, I Am Coming                                                   Zech. 1:7-17

Zechariah sees a man, who was riding a red horse, standing in a grove of myrtle
trees. Behind him were many red, brown, and white horses. The man standing is
evidently the lead angel of all those on horses who have just returned from
surveying the status of the earths’ people. For once the earth is at peace but
the angel reporting to the Lord asks about the Lord’s plans for Judah and Jerusalem.
The Lord replies that the people of Judah have His undivided attention but He
is disappointed in the way His people were treated while in exile. Those nations
went beyond what the Lord required and/or wanted. God declares He will return
to Jerusalem and wants His temple and Jerusalem rebuilt [vs. 16]. God promises
to bring His people prosperity and comfort [vs. 17].

God is coming. God has come in His Son, Jesus Christ. He has come to live
in His temple, our being according to I Corinthians 6:19. Repent and receive
Him into your heart to rebuild you to be His children, to be just like Him,
eternal and immortal beings in fellowship with God forever and ever. It’s His
divine will, His divine gift.

Unite as My People                                                      Zech. 1:18-21

Next Zechariah sees four horns representing those nations who had a hand in
scattering Jerusalem, Judah, and Israel. Presumably, these horns represented
Assyria, Egypt, Babylonia, and the Medo-Persian Empire. Four “craftsman”
arrive on the scene to defeat those who scattered the Israelites, presumably
Egypt, Babylonia, the Medo-Persian Empire, and Greece. There are at least two  other possible interpretations for these horns and craftsman.But none change the message given to Zechariah that all Israel’s enemies are and will be defeated. Therefore,
they are able to unite again as God’s chosen people and rebuild their nation.
God is removing and has removed all human barriers. They are free to unite as
God’s people [see I Cor. 3:16]. Thus, they are exhorted and encouraged to rebuild
God’s temple, God’s city Jerusalem, and God’s Promised Land both physically
and spiritually. They are to repent, rebuild, and glorify God. And so are we.
We are to repent of our sin, place our faith in Jesus Christ, and work with
Him to build His Kingdom.

The Triune God is Coming                           Zech. 2:1-4:14

God the Father is Coming to Live                              Zech. 2:1-12

Zechariah’s next vision is of a man with a measuring tape going to measure
Jerusalem to see how large the city is. Another angel changes places with the
angel from chapter 1 and proceeds to tell the man that Jerusalem will be a city
without walls. Its’ inhabitants will be great in number and everyone who wants
to live there will find room because the Lord will be its’ walls and its’ glory.

Verses 6-9 encourages all the exiles from Babylon and from all corners of
the world to return home. This includes Judah, Israel, and all who believe in
God as the Lord God Almighty [vs. 11]. This is a vision of God’s Kingdom, Jew
and Gentile, becoming the people of God, living with Him in Jerusalem. It is
a vision of God’s Kingdom, a people who are in the world but not of the world,
a people living in worship of God, a people whose allegiance is to the Lord
God Almighty. Then the Lord will send His angel to conquer those who wronged
His people [vs. 8-10]. God’s dwelling is not just in heaven but in Jerusalem
and in the hearts of all who worship Him.

Thus, this vision and teaching portrays God’s perspective of His Kingdom.
God is coming to live and rule among the nations. He begins with Judah in Jerusalem
but His Kingdom includes all people. God is coming to dwell with Judah in Jerusalem
when they complete the temple. God is coming to live in the hearts of all who
honor Him and worship Him. And God is coming from heaven to earth to rule all
people. Therefore, we have a glimpse of His first Advent, the time of the Gentiles
[Rom. 11:25], and His Second Advent; all revealed in this one vision.

God is indeed sovereign over all. He was sovereign over the Israelites returning
to Jerusalem. He is sovereign over our lives among the nations today. And He
is sovereign over the future. The key question is “Is He sovereign over
your and my life today?” We are either for Him or against Him [Matt. 12:30].
We either worship Him or worship a false god but we all worship. Even the atheist
worships their freedom to refuse to acknowledge God. The future is filled with
excitement and glory for all who humbly bow before God. The future is filled
with disappointment and destruction at the hand of God’s angels for all who
refuse to worship God. God is coming to separate those who love Him from those
who refuse Him. Our choice today determines our future. For us who have chosen
Him, let us open the gates and tear down all the walls and barriers so that
all who want may come and worship Him, the Lord God Almighty.

God the Son is Coming to Forgive                                      Zech 3:1-10

Joshua, the High priest, and Satan are standing before the Lord God with the
angel of the Lord between them. There the Lord is rebuking Satan for his destructive
work. Joshua has on dirty clothes which are removed and replaced with clean
clothes by the Lord’s angel. This act symbolizes God’s consecration and forgiveness.
Zechariah asks that a turban also be given to Joshua since he is to act as a
mediator between God and man. Joshua’s responsibilities are to walk with God
and keep His commandments if he is to remain in office and in good standing
with God.

God then declares that Joshua is a symbol of His Servant, the Branch, who
is to come. This is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, filled with the fullness of God
who will remove sin in one day through His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. God
Incarnate, Jesus Christ, is coming to earth to offer Himself as the one eternal
sacrifice to forgive all our sin and declare us worthy of being in God’s presence
if we place our faith in Him and believe He is who He claims to be, our Messiah.
We who believe have the responsibility to tell others of His love and sacrifice
[vs. 10].

Joshua is to be a symbol of God’s forgiveness to the Jews in Zechariah’s time
but God is sending His Branch, the Savior, to forgive all our sin once and for
all time. We are to believe in His Name, acknowledge Him as God Incarnate and
tell others. Believe and commit to being a servant in God’s eternal Kingdom.

God the Holy Spirit is Coming to Minister                                           Zech. 4:1-14

Zechariah is told to “wake up” and see a gold menorah between two
olive trees. Zechariah asks what this means. He is a priest so it should not
have been a foreign sight to him so he, no doubt, is asking why and what it
means. Zerubbabel, one of the olive trees, will rebuild the temple and Joshua,
the other olive tree, will lead them in worship of God who dwells in the temple.
This will be accomplished with the help of God’s Spirit and not by their special
abilities or office. God’s Spirit is the sole source of motivation, servant-hood,
and capability. What they do, how they do it, and when they do it will be directed
by God’s Spirit dwelling within them. God’s Spirit will live in Zerubbabel and
Joshua and His Spirit will live among and in His people.

In conclusion then, we have been given one of our most complete revelations
of the triune God. God has come to earth to live in our hearts, His temple.
God has sent His Son, God Incarnate, to be the fulfillment of His Word and to
be our sacrifice for sin, offering forgiveness to all who believe on His Name,
Jesus Christ. And finally, God’s Spirit comes to live in us, instructing us
and gifting us to serve Him. Therefore, we who believe have the fullness of
God living in us to worship and to serve Him as our King of Kings and Lord of
Lords. What was revealed to Zechariah in these three visions is revealed in
each of us who place our faith in the Lord God Almighty, our Savior, Lord, and
King. Halleluiah!

The Lord Will Conquer Evil                   Zech. 5:1-6:6

God’s Word Judges Evil                                Zech. 5:1-4

Zechariah sees a large flying scroll thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide.
It is more like a suspended banner than a scroll. It tells of a curse being
placed on thieves and on those who give false testimony against others. This
curse enters and destroys every household that practices oppression and deceit
against their fellow man. These two sins together with ignoring God led to Israel’s
and Judah’s punishment. This total lack of love and respect for others guarantees
that a person and/or nation will not have any friends or allies. Instead of
God’s blessing, they will have God’s curse because they are failing to love
their neighbors as themselves. God is love and they are failing to adopt this
key attribute of God. One can not mistreat his fellow man without also mistreating
God. Sin is sin and with it comes a curse, the curse of destruction.

Obviously, Judah felt it was mistreated by the Babylonians [and God agreed]
but before their exile they were also guilty of the same sins. God raises His
banner [flying scroll] before Zechariah so he can be both an encouragement to
Judah that God judges evil and also a warning that He will destroy them again
if they return to their previous habits. This same warning and/or encouragement
applies to all mankind. God requires obedience. It is humanly impossible to
fully obey God’s Law but He willingly accepts our humble requests for His forgiveness
when our hearts are directed toward Him and toward obeying His statutes.

God Forgives and Removes Evil                                   Zech. 5:5-11

Zechariah sees a basket appearing overhead containing the sins of Israel.
Two angels appear and remove the basket to Babylonia where it finds a home.
We can make the following conclusions from this short-lived vision.

  1. The sins of Judah have been forgiven and removed.
  2. Evil is at home in a people who refuse to acknowledge and worship God.
  3. Babylonia was the source of evil in that day and it will be the source of evil in the future [see Rev. 18].

There is righteousness and there is unrighteousness and they are at war with
one another. There is God’s way and Satan’s way and they are at odds. We either
worship God and place our allegiance with Him or we worship Satan [self] and
place our allegiance with him [self]. We sin and do evil because of our nature
but God forgives and removes our sin when we turn to Him and acknowledge Him
as Lord God Almighty. Israel/Judah returned to God and were forgiven. What about
us? Let us also return to God accepting His forgiveness and love. Let us not
accept evil and let it make a home in our hearts.

God Destroys Evil and Brings Peace                                              Zech. 6:1-6

Zechariah now sees four chariots pulled by four sets of different colored
horses coming out between two mountains. They represent four spirits from God
going throughout the world. Three chariots got to the north, west, and south.
The fourth [red horse] evidently stays back to defend God’s people. All we hear
is that God’s spirit rested in the north, the area of Babylon. The implication
is that evil was found and conquered in the north. Judah would be encouraged
that those who did evil against her were being judged for their evil deeds.
Judah would be encouraged to know that God can conquer evil and bring peace.

We too can be encouraged knowing God is sovereign over evil. We can be encouraged
along with Judah that God will bring peace to earth after conquering the enemies
of His people [see Rev. 19]. God has the power to conquer evil now and in the
future. God has the power to bring peace now and in the future. God has the
power to give us peace in our hearts and throughout the earth. God is the author
of peace. Acknowledge God, ask His forgiveness, worship Him, and accept His
peace now and forever.

The Lord Says “Prepare a Crown”                             Zechariah 6:7-15

Zechariah is instructed by the Lord to take some of the silver and gold being
brought back to Jerusalem from Babylonia and make it into a crown. The silver
and gold were most likely temple vessels taken by Babylonia and are now returning
[Ezra 6:5]. Some of these vessels were cups used by Belshazzar when the Medes
took over Babylon [Daniel 5]. The crown is to be set on Joshua the High Priest
as a symbol of what is to come. Joshua [Jesus is a derivative] means “the
Lord saves and/or the Lord gives victory” and foretells another of the
same name called The Branch as prophesied earlier by Isaiah in chapters 4 and
11. Another, Jesus Christ, is coming to be both priest and king, building His
temple, His Kingdom, the Church, containing peoples of all nations [vs. 12,
15]. This crown is to be reserved for the King of Kings when our Messiah, Jesus
Christ, comes to rule the earth from His temple [Rev. 19:11-20:6]. God will
build His temple, His Kingdom, His Church with people committed to obeying Him.

We, as believers in the Lord God, have an awesome responsibility to tell others
about the coming of The Branch, Jesus Christ. He came as our Savior to give
His life that we might have life eternal. He is coming again as King to rule
the earth with justice and peace [see Chapters 8-14]. His Kingdom is an eternal
kingdom. This was Israel’s responsibility and it is now the Church’s responsibility.
As members of His Kingdom, we are to obey Him and fulfill our responsibility
in sincere service and worship of Jesus Christ, the Lord God Almighty.

The Lord Says “Put Faith into Action”                                     Zechariah 7:1-14

It is now two years later and the question of what constitutes true worship
comes before the people. This question follows the previous command of Zechariah
6:15 to obey God. The Lord questions the people asking them to evaluate their
past practices of mourning and fasting and determine if they were doing this
in worship of God or to satisfy themselves. In other words, what was the focus
and purpose of their fasting and mourning? True, God told them to do this but
God’s purpose in initiating these fasts and feasts was to cause His people to
be just and show mercy and compassion to one anther [vs. 9]. They were to care
for the widows, those without fathers, the poor, and even the aliens. They were
to love God and express that love to others in their midst. Actually, in times
past, Israel went through the motions of worship but missed the purpose of worship.
Instead of developing loving hearts, their worship experience caused them to
develop calloused unbelieving hearts. Therefore, God caused them to be scattered
and punished.

God is telling the Israelites through Zechariah the priest that their love
and worship of God must translate into love and justice for one another. They,
and we, are to be imitators of God. Worship is important and the way we worship
is important. But true worship softens our hearts instead of hardening them.
We must evaluate how we worship today too. What is the result of our worship?
Are we doing it to feel good, to fulfill a requirement? Or are we worshipping
to know God and His Will? Is our worship leading us to obey Him? God wants our
faith to result in loving action [James 2:14-25]. It’s not the form of worship
that is important; it is the result of our worship that God values.

The Lord Says “He is Coming”                                         Zechariah 8:1-14:21

This is one of Scriptures richest sections discussing Christ’s coming to earth,
His First Advent and His Second Advent. It documents God’s character and promises
to those He loves and to those who love Him.

To Bless                                                        Zech. 8:1-23

The Lord begins by expressing His love for Jerusalem. He has a jealous love
for her and its’ people. He wants their undivided attention and He is willing
to give them His undivided attention. God wants to dwell in Jerusalem, in His
temple and also in their hearts. God loves them and desires that they know and
love Him according to His ways, in His Truth, such that they will be known as
a Holy City.

Verses 4-6 speak of family joy, young and old togetherness enjoying one another.
There is no “generation gap” or animosity because they have different
perspectives on life. Instead there is respect, teaching, and training taking
place with lively carefree youth. The city is alive and vibrant. It is blessed.

In verses 7-8, God promises to bring His people back. Jerusalem will be an
attractive place to live once again. God will claim Israel as His people again
and he will be their faithful and righteous God. Israel will learn they can
depend on God. Their broken relationship will be mended. God’s covenant relationship
with Israel is being restored [vs. 9-11] and He encourages them to complete
the building of His temple.

Israel will prosper in number and prosper with excellent crops once again.
Israel will return to prominence and be a blessing to others as God promised
Abraham. Israel has a responsibility in restoring this covenant relationship.
They are to trust God and not be afraid, particularly with those who do not
want Jerusalem to rise again [Samaritans] and they are to be focused and determined
in their hearts and minds [hands too] on the rebuilding of Jerusalem [vs. 13].

The relationship between Israel and God has changed from one angering God
to one in which God wants to do good and bless them. God exhorts them to be
responsible and do good to one another. They are not to be the people they were
prior to their exile. They are to speak truth [no gossip, no false witness],
administer righteous justice, and to do good to one another. They are to love
God and love one another [vs. 16-17]. They are to worship with joyful hearts,
loving truth [God’s Word] and living in peace with one another and with God
[vs. 19].

Because of their relationship with God, they will be a blessing to others
as God promised in His covenant with Abraham. Other nations will be attracted
to God because of their unique relationship with God. They will be a witness
of God’s blessing while expressing glory to His Name. Thus, the purpose of God
for His people Israel and all the people of the earth will be fulfilled [vs.
23].

God loves us and desires to bless us with His love, joy, and peace. He promises
to be faithful and righteous, abiding by His covenants. And He expects us to
fulfill our responsibilities too. The result is a blessed and intimate relationship
attracting others to seek Him and to know Him as Lord and Savior. The same covenants
God instituted with Israel are the same covenants He has instituted with us
who believe in Him. Refer to my comments on Gen 12:1-20 for this comparison.
We believers, as members of His Church, are His children, His people. God is
coming, has come, to bless us. He blesses us in our hearts with His love, joy,
peace, and hope. He blesses us with abundant life, life eternal [John 10:10].

To Defend                                                          Zech. 9:1-8

The simple and key principle found in the promise of God given in verse 8
is “I will defend my house………….for I am keeping watch”.
Historically, these 8 verses seem to apply to Alexander the Greats’ conquests.
On a more general note, those peoples who have caused Israel problems in the
past are being removed as an on-going threat in the future. The only people
remaining among all theses peoples are those who worship God.

What about today? Has God been faithful to keep His promise? Have not the
Jews been driven out, scattered, oppressed, and now returning? Yes, but neither
has Israel always depended on God. God has just brought them back from Babylon,
the hand of His discipline for refusing to acknowledge Him as Lord. He promised
them and gave us all a Savior who they refused to accept. Therefore, God continued
to apply His hand of discipline for the purpose of returning His people back
to honor and worship Him. Even today, Israel does not acknowledge Jesus as their
Lord God and Savior. In the past, Israel was to place their faith in God and
His Promise of the Messiah. The Messiah has come and today we and Israel are
to place our faith in the Person, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Lord. God
has kept His promise and is keeping His promise to defend His people from those
who refuse to believe on Him. This promise even includes an unbelieving Israel
during this age, the age of His Church. God will defend His people, those who
believe in Him, even through the Tribulation and Armageddon described in Revelation.
God fulfills His Promises to those who choose to honor Him and worship Him as
Lord God Almighty. He defends His People from evil.

To Save                                            Zech. 9:9-17

This is one of Scripture’s great promises concerning the Messiah’s coming.
Verse 16 is the key verse. He is coming to save us.

Israel’s King is coming, a righteous King and the author of Salvation. He
first comes on a colt, the foal of a donkey, instead of on a horse. He brings
a message of peace; peace among the nations and peace among all people. He brings
peace between a righteous and holy God and sinful people. He rules over all
creation from the right hand of God the Father. His sacrifice, His death on
the cross, paid the debt of our sin and gives us hope [vs. 11-12]. This is Christ’s
First Advent.

Israel is to be united once again and become God’s instrument to bring glory
to His Name [vs. 13]. This is the transition that happens between Christ’s First
and Second Advents.

Verses 14-17 refer to Christ’s Second Advent when He comes as King of Kings.
God intervenes and saves His people spiritually as a result of Christ’s First
Advent. God intervenes and saves His people physically as a result of Christ’s
Second Advent. In both instances, God saves His people to be the light of the
world, to demonstrate God’s love, God’s truth, and God’s grace. God, indeed,
saves all those who call upon His Name and accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as
Lord and Savior. Acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord today and be assured
of His Salvation for all eternity.

To Restore                                                            Zech. 10:1-11:3

There are many adjectives describing the Lord’s goodness toward His people
in this Scripture passage such as “to care” in verse 3, “to indwell”
in verse 5, “to strengthen and save” in verse 6, “to hear and
answer” in verse 6, “to bring joy” in verse 7, “to gather
and redeem them” in verse 8, “to gather them” in verse 10, and
“to strengthen them” in verse 12. But the one single all encompassing
thought seems to arrive out of verse 6 and that is “to RESTORE them”.
God is coming to restore Israel as His people and to bless them.

To begin, the Lord reminds them that He is the One who brings blessing [vs.
1]. Then God reminds and warns them about their past errors in worshipping idols,
listening to diviners, and following leaders who refused to consult Him [vs.
2-3] Thus, the bad is sandwiched between the Lord’s blessings, the blessings
of physical provision and spiritual provision. Verse 4 speaks of that spiritual
provision and blessing in the form of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who is their
cornerstone, their rock/benchmark/tent peg/shelter and their King who will rule
over them and be with them in all they do. As a result, Israel will become strong
and be restored to be God’s servant among the nations. This is possible because
God has compassion toward them, refusing to reject them and continues to be
their Lord God answering their prayers. This is possible because Israel has
learned to depend on God knowing that He is the one responsible for their unity,
their joy, their redemption, and their expanded numbers [vs. 7-8].

Israel’s restoration is not without trouble, however. They will be scattered,
they will survive, they will return, and their enemies will be subdued because
they will have learned to walk with the Lord. As a result of their walking with
the Lord, the nations surrounding Israel will be weak and actually act as a
buffer against their more powerful enemies.

Obviously, my thoughts and interpretations are heavily influenced by world
conditions today. It is nearly impossible to interpret prophetic scripture without
considering current circumstances. This is not wrong because we are commanded
to watch and wait. But we must always take care to be objective and open minded
as situations change. God has given us enough information so that we can watch
and wait intelligently and with assurance. Having said this, I am absolutely
certain God intends to restore Israel as His beloved nation/people. That restoration,
however, is directly proportional to Israel’s dependence on the Lord God and
their acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. What is true for Israel
is true for each of us. Our willingness to hear His voice and place our faith
in Jesus is a requirement for our own redemption as His child and restoration
as His heir for receiving forgiveness of sin and eternal life. It is by God’s
grace that we are saved but we have the choice of accepting or rejecting His
grace. Accept His grace and pray that all Israel will accept His grace too.

To Shepherd                                                        Zech. 11:4-17

These verses are very figurative, very visionary, and very prophetic. Perhaps
a better title would be “to be rejected”. Even though this is what
happens, God’s purpose was and is “to Shepherd” His flock and protect
them from evil. Therefore, I chose the positive approach.

In these verses, Zechariah plays the role of “Messiah”. God’s people
are targeted to die. Verses 4-6 seem to describe Judah’s condition over the
past 100 years even though the words are written present tense instead of past
tense. These verses represent God’s attitude toward His people prior to their
exile. It also represents God’s attitude toward all who refuse to acknowledge
God, to obey His Law, and to humble themselves in worship of Him. God did reject
Israel and He will reject each of us if we refuse His Lordship in our lives.

In spite of this deserved judgment and punishment, God appoints a shepherd
to shepherd His dysfunctional people. Zechariah plays the role of Messiah in
verse 7. In other words, God is sending His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Good Shepherd
to nurture His people [flock] back to the Lord God [see John 10:1-21]. In one
month, three shepherds are fired. These could be shepherds [leaders] who were
found to work against the Good Shepherd instead of for the Good Shepherd [Could
these 3 be Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilot?] Even with the elimination of these “false
shepherds”, the flock [Israel] rejects their Good Shepherd, their Messiah.
The Good Shepherd accepts their decision and revokes His covenant with the flock
[Israel] once again [vs. 9-10]. The payment for this rejection was 30 pieces
of silver, the exact amount the Sanhedrin paid Judah’s to betray Jesus. Verses
12-13 are a very accurate prophecy of what actually took place during Jesus’
trial in Matthew 27. According to verse 14, the rejection of the Good Shepherd
not only breaks the union between all Israel and God but also breaks any possible
union among the tribes. Or perhaps we should interpret this schism to be between
believers [Judah as the tribe of Jesus and representing believers] and unbelievers
[Israel] as noted in John 10:19-21. They, Israel, have rejected their Messiah and are wandering without a shepherd. From the time of their exile in 605BC until 1948 AD, Israel was not a sovereign nation with either a political leader or a spiritual leader. They had rejected both when they rejected Jesus.

Verses 15-17 speak of another shepherd who has no interest in the preservation
of Israel and its’ people. This could represent the Roman oppression resulting
in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD and/or it could represent
the rise of anti-Christ against the Lord’s people [and believers] as prophesied
by Daniel. I believe both are true in that the rejection of the Lord brings
destruction. This is true for the nation of Israel and it is true of all mankind.
Take heed; accept the leadership of the Good Shepherd. Let Jesus Christ lead
you into the good pasture and give you rest. Only He is able to protect you,
to provide for you, and to give you peace. Let Jesus be your Shepherd. He is
worth infinitely more than 30 pieces of silver. He is the author of eternal
life by the giving of His life on the cross for our sin. “Believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ and be saved”.

The Lord Says “He is Coming Again”                                    Zechariah 12:1-14:21

Zechariah’s prophecies from the Lord now begin to look beyond the near future
to focus on the distant future, to the day of the Lord as Joel later prophesied
in detail.

To Protect and Destroy                                           Zech. 12:1-9

God reminds us that He is the creator of heaven and earth and the creator
of man. God is the one who made man special, creating man in His image and giving
him breath. God created man to be a spiritual being, a man desiring to worship
God and to live eternally. God created man with a free spirit and able to choose
whom or what he will worship and how he will live. With all that said, God begins
in verse 2 to explain the importance of Judah and Jerusalem in God’s divine
plan. Judah and Jerusalem will be like a rock, protected by God while under
siege by other nations in “that day”. The armies who attempt to take
over or destroy His land, His city, and His people will fail. The people of
Judah will recognize that it is God’s power and not their power that spares
them. They will recognize that their faith in the Lord God Almighty is their
life line.

Judah’s leaders will stand tall in “that day” when they are under
fire from surrounding nations. The Lord will be involved in saving all the cities
of Judah, not just Jerusalem. Jerusalem is not more important than all of Judah
but Judah’s leadership resides there in strength, both physically and spiritually.
The Lord’s angel will be with them as will the Lord God. God promises that Judah,
the people of God, will be protected and her enemies destroyed in “that
day”.

The Lord protects His people. This includes the nation of Israel in “that
day” and all who place their faith in the Lord. The Lord protects His Church
today and His Kingdom forever. God call us to become members of His Kingdom
proclaiming Him as the Creator God. Members of His Kingdom are protected and
live forever. Enemies of His Kingdom face destruction in “that day”.

To Give Grace                                                                Zech. 12:10-14

In “that day” God provides strength and protection per Zechariah
12:8 and also grace [vs. 10]. God provides grace to all who place their faith
in Him today but in “that day” His grace will be available in a special
way to His chosen people, Israel. They will finally recognize that their Messiah
is the one they demanded be crucified and will mourn over their sin [vs. 10].
All Israel will be in mourning [vs. 11-14]. The great and miraculous repentance
of God’s people Israel will become their strength [see II Cor. 12:10].

God’s ways are not man’s ways. With Christ, our weakness leads to strength.
Our repentance leads to the empowering of His Grace. We are instilled with His
Spirit and the power of His resurrection. Let us who repent use His power to
the fullest for His Glory. Amen!

To Cleanse and Purify                                                   Zech. 13:1-9

In the previous section we learned that the Lord bestowed His Grace upon Israel
and accepted their humble and repentant hearts in “that day of the Lord”.
On the same day, God begins His work of cleansing and purification [vs. 1].
In New Testament terms, Israel has been justified [Zech. 12:10-14] and now Israel
will be sanctified [Zech. 13:1-9].

God begins by removing their idols, their false prophets, and their false
philosophies from the land [vs. 2]. They will begin jettisoning their former
way of life in favor of God’s way. God is their focus, not self. Anyone who
continues in the “old way” of life [false prophecy and false philosophy]
and does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Messiah will die. This cleansing
is so complete that even parents will harm their children [vs. 3]. False prophets
will be shown for what they are, liars [vs. 4]. Even so, many will continue
to try and save themselves through deceit [vs. 5]. Nevertheless, they will all
be exposed for who they are [vs. 6].

Verses7-9 outlines the extent of Israel’s cleansing and purification. God’s
sword of judgment rises up against the leader [shepherd] of those who refuse
to acknowledge the Good Shepherd, Jesus, who is “close to me”. Attacking
the false leaders and prophets scatters those who refuse to believe. Two-thirds
of Israel’s people refuse to believe and will perish. One-third will continue
to be sanctified in service to the Lord. They are those who believe and truthfully
acknowledge the Lord as their God, their Savior, and their King.

God is just and He is serious about removing all sin from His people. God
is the Great Physician and able to heal us but He is also the Great Surgeon
willing to cause whatever pain is necessary in order to remove all harmful sin
cancers. But for the Lord to heal, we must submit to His diagnosis and care,
placing our faith and trust in Him, His wisdom and His power. We can resist
as did the false prophets of Zechariah 13 or we can submit as those who mourned
in Zechariah 12. Choose to worship and submit to the Lord God Almighty, Jesus
Christ, the one who gave His life that we might have life eternal.

To Rule                                                                     Zech. 14:1-21

We have just learned from the Lord through Zechariah in Chapter 12 that God
is going to protect Jerusalem and destroy her enemies. At the end of Chapter
12 through Chapter 13 we learn that God’s grace, cleansing, and purification
takes place as Israel/Judah and Jerusalem are being restored to being God’s
people and God’s holy city. Therefore, verses 1-2 get our full attention. What
plunder? Why such a severe attack on Jerusalem? Where’s God’s promised protection?

Jerusalem’s plunder [vs. 1] will be that of the nations who attack Jerusalem
[vs. 14]. Also many of the prophets write of the nations bringing tribute to
Jerusalem during the Lord’s reign. Verse 2 most likely speaks of Armageddon
[Rev. 19]. Before there is peace there is great tribulation. Jerusalem is not
spared from tribulation but it is spared and it is protected by the Lord God
coming to destroy those who attack it. Perhaps verse 2 has as its’ purpose the
purification of Israel/Judah described in Chapter 13. Verse 3 speaks of the
Lord’s coming to defeat His enemies. The Lord arrives [Second Advent] on the
Mount of Olives east of the temple on Mount Moriah, the same place where He
ascended into heaven after His First Advent. The mountain spits in two forming
a great valley enabling people to flee the city. Verses 5 and 6 appear to reference
the seventh Bowl Judgment of Revelation 16:17-21. Water flows from Jerusalem
to the east and west. Obviously, the Lord is that living water but water is
critical to maintain life and this water is necessary to counter the third Bowl
Judgment of Revelation 16:4-7.

The Lord comes to save and to reign [vs. 9]. Refer to Revelation 19:11-20:6
for a parallel text. Jerusalem remains but the areas surrounding it are dry
[vs. 10]. See also Revelation 16:8, 12. The lord comes and Jerusalem is secured.
Verse 12 speaks of rotting flesh caused by the Lord’s army defeating those armies
of the nations [see Rev. 19:17-21] who are attacking Jerusalem.

The result is that the Lord becomes the King of Kings ruling all the earth.
People throughout the earth come to Jerusalem to worship Him.. Failure to worship
the Lord causes plagues to come among the people [see Rev. 19:11-15; 20:4].
Thus, we have three confirming prophecies of “that day of the Lord”;
Joel, Zechariah, and John [Revelation]. And we are confident of these truths:

  1. The Lord is sovereign.
  2. The Lord loves His people.
  3. The Lord protects His people.
  4. The Lord saves His people.
  5. The Lord purifies His people.
  6. The Lord reigns over His people now and forever.

God loves us. May we boldly acknowledge our love for Him and be known as God’s
people.

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