Zechariah – Chapter 14

The Final Battle Against Jerusalem

Verse 1 – BEHOLD, the day of the LORD is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst.

Verse 2 – For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifted, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Verse 3 – Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.

Verse 4 – And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south.

The place of Jesus departure at His ascension, shall be the place of His return. This was the place of His agony so it shall be the place of His glory. When the trials and tragedies of life make you think life’s not worth going on, please don’t forget, “God can take our greatest heartache and turn it into our greatest blessing.

Verse 5 – Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You.

Now we see why the mountain was split in two by God’s hand. It made a way for escape for God’s people  – the remnant.

Verse 6 – It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; the lights will diminish.

There will be no way to keep track of time. It will be all dark, a horrible day.

Verse 7 – It shall be one day which is known to the LORD – neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light.

It will be not altogether daylight, yet not the darkness of night, but at the close of this calamity, light shall spring up.

Verse 8 – And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur.

The eastern sea and the western sea refer to the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. This living water will neither dry up from the heat in the summer or freeze in the winter – ever flowing.

Verse 9 – And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be – “The LORD is one,” and His name one.

Verse 10 – All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananeel to the kings wine-presses.

Jerusalem is honored as the city of God and the focal point of all the world’s worship. Jerusalem’s elevation is a way of showing God’s supremacy.

Verse 11 – The people shall dwell in it; and no longer shall there be utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

Verse 12 – And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.

The punishment for every nation and the individual that comes against Israel in that day, will literally be dissolved where they stand. Do people honestly think they can come against God and win?

Verse 13 – It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the LORD will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, and raise his hand against his neighbor’s hand;

As if to grasp his neighbors hand for safety, but in vain, causing endless quarrels.

Verse 14 – Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be gathered together. Gold, silver, and apparel in great Abundance.

Verse 15 – Such also shall be the plague on the horse and the mule, on the camel and the donkey, and on all the cattle that will be in those camps. So shall this plague be.

The plague shall affect the very beasts that belong to the foe. Isn’t it ironic that the battle will be fought on horses, mules, and donkeys, not in tanks? Maybe the Anti Christ cuts off all the oil supply.

Verse 16 – And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Feast of Tabernacles is the only feast still appropriate during the Messiah’s reign. This is a festival of thanksgiving.

Verse 17 – And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain.

This is speaking of the time during the millennium reign of Christ. Revelation 20, says after the thousand years has expired Satan is loosed to deceive the nations. So yes, the earth has people outside of Jerusalem.

Verse 18 – If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Verse 19 – This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

Verse 20 – In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the LORD’s house shall be like the bowels before the altar.

This implies that even the most common, shall be sacred to Jehovah.

Verse 21 – Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

The Canaanites had taught Israel to worship idols and other gods, because the Israelites never fully wiped them out like they were told. Instead they had lived among them and intermarried. But in this reign of Christ as King, all impurities are gone. God will have purified His people.

 

Zechariah – Chapter 13

Verse 1 – “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.

Verse 2 – “It shall be in that day,” says the LORD of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land.

In order for God’s new era to begin, there must be a cleansing – all evil must be abolished. All idols and false prophets will be done away with, and even their memory will have to go.

Verse 3 – “It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the LORD.’ And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies.

In this time that Zechariah is speaking of, there will be no need for prophets, but if one should rise up and claim they are such, even the parents will know they are false.

Verse 4 – “And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not wear a robe of coarse hair to deceive.

Verse 5 – “But he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a farmer, for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.’

Verse 6 – “And someone will say to him, ‘What are these wounds in your hands?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’

This robe of course hair is a cloak like the one Elijah wore. Not all prophets wore them, but if a man wanted people to think and believe him a prophet he wore it. And as for the wounds in the hands; a lot of God’s prophets were beaten by their own countrymen when they didn’t like what the prophet had to say, so these false prophets would self-inflict their own wounds to convince others they were from God.

Verse 7 – “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion,” says the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones.

Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew 26:31, right before He was arrested. He knew that when He was arrested, the disciples would scatter.

Verse 8 – And it shall come to pass in all the land,” says the LORD, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it:

Two-thirds of the Jewish people were to die in the Roman war and a third to survive.

Verse 9 – I will bring one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on MY name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’ ”

Throughout the history of Israel, whenever the whole nation seemed to turn against God, God said that a righteous remnant would be saved. However, the remnant has to go through the fiery trials in order to be purified. Fiery trials are never pleasant, but the reward far out-ways the circumstances.

Zechariah – Chapter 12

The Salvation of Judah

Verse 1 – The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:

Verse 2 – “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.

Verse 3 – “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.

This passage may very well refer to the last great battle, where all nations are gathered together to destroy Jerusalem – Armageddon. They will not prevail against God’s people.

Verse 4 – “In that day,” says the LORD, “I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.

Verse 5 – “And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the LORD of hosts, their God.’

Verse 6 – “In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a fire-pan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place – Jerusalem.

Verse 7 – “The LORD will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah.

A spirit of pride had brought God’s judgment to Jerusalem. God says this time, the countryside of Judah would have priority over Jerusalem so that the people of Jerusalem would not become proud again. Don’t let pride blind you to what God is doing.

Verse 8 – “In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them.

Jerusalem will be strengthened against her foe. To the Jew, David is the type of strength and glory on earth. The Angel of the LORD is strength and glory in all of heaven.

Verse 9 – “It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

And this will surely happen just as the Lord says it will. All the nations that come against Israel have been warned for thousands of years that Israel belongs to God. So why would they even attempt to destroy her? Because, they don’t know God, they have no idea what He’s done in the past to Israel’s enemies, and they serve other gods. Those who don’t read or know what God has already written, will be blindsided when He strikes!

Verse 10 – “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplications; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

There is coming a day, when all those who didn’t and still haven’t recognized Christ as the Son of God, will be convicted by His Spirit, and know that Jesus is the Christ and is the Messiah. Then they will grieve in their hearts because they refused to believe.

Verse 11 – “In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

Hadad Rimmon could refer to the plain of Megiddo where King Josiah was killed. The death of this king was greatly mourned by his people.

Verse 12 – “And the land shall mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves, the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves;

A universal and an individual mourning at once. Nathan, younger son of David, representing the highest and lowest of the royal order.

Verse 13 – “the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves;

Verse 14 – “all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.

Shimei, the highest and lowest of priestly order coming to the knowledge of Christ, will make a person truly repent with great sorrow. Its coming to the realization that we’ve lived in rebellion and confusion up to that point of recognition.

Zechariah – Chapter 11

In this message, there are two different kinds of shepherds. The first would be rejected by God, because they had rejected Him. The second demonstrates how God would give over His people to evil shepherds. When the people refused to follow God, He turned them over to worthless shepherds – leaders.

Verse 1 – Open your doors, O Lebanon, that fire may devour your cedars.

Verse 2 – Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, because the mighty trees are ruined. Wail, O oaks of Bashan, for the thick forest has come down.

Open your gates (doors) may refer to the temple, because the timber used to build the temple was from Lebanon, which suggests that the leadership is that of religious authority.

Verse 3 – There is the sound of wailing shepherds! For their glory is in ruins, there is the sound of roaring lions! For the pride of the Jordan is in ruins.

Verse 4 – Thus says the LORD my God, “Feed the flock for slaughter,

Verse 5 – “whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt; those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the LORD, for I am rich’; and their shepherds do not pity them.

God told Zechariah to take a job as a shepherd of a flock of sheep being fattened for slaughter. The flock represented the people feeding on their own greed and evil desires until they were ripe for God’s judgment.

Verse 6 – “For I will no longer pity the inhabitants of the land,,” says the LORD. “But indeed I will give everyone into his neighbor’s hand and into the hand of his king. They shall attack the land, and I will not deliver them from their hand.”

Verse 7 – So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor flock, I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock.

These verses moved to the future when the Jews rejected the Messiah. God gave them over to feuds and Roman rule. The Zealots and other factious Jews expelled and slew one another by turns at the last invasion by Rome. Jehovah implies that these sheep were not fed, the fault rests solely with you, because ye rejected the grace of God.

Verse 8 – I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

If the Jews had accepted the Messiah, they would have had prophet, priest, and King all in one shepherd, Jesus. This would have made them spiritual prophets, priests, and kings to God. Refusing Christ, they lost all three in a sense.

Verse 9 – Then I said, “I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are  left eat each other’s flesh.”

Verse 10 – And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I made with all the peoples.

Verse 11 – So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD.

The poor flock – the humble, godly remnant knew by this event, the truth of this prediction and of the Messiah’s mission. The disciples were forewarned when they would see the city compassed with armies.

Verse 12 – Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for me my wages thirty pieces of silver.

Thirty pieces of silver is what was paid to an owner for a slave gored by an ox. Judas received thirty pieces of silver to betray the Messiah, so Christ was sold for the price of a slave.

Verse 13 – And the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter” – that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.

Potters were the lowest social class. “That princely price,” is a sarcastic comment. Thirty pieces of silver were given to Judas, but he returned it to the temple, threw it on the floor of the temple and it was used to buy a potter’s field (Matthew 27:3-10).

Verse 14 – Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

Not long after Zechariah’s time, the Jews began to divide into numerous factions – Pharisees, Sadducee’s, Essene’s, Herodians, and Zealots. The discord among these groups was a key factor leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the second temple in A.D. 70.

Verse 15 – And the LORD said to me, “Next take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd.

Verse 16 – “For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.

Verse 17 – “Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right arm and against his right eye; his arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded.”

His arm represents military might and the right eye, intellect. God’s people had rejected the true Messiah, so they would have a shepherd who cared only for themselves.

When people reject the Son, they get led astray by evil desires. How could the Jewish people reject the Messiah that had been written and spoken about from the beginning? The same way people reject Him today – evil hearts. The Bible has written God’s master plan all out in plain view for anyone who will read it. All God’s predictions have come to pass up to the Book of Revelation. So what makes people think God is not going to follow through with the predictions that are written there?

Zechariah – Chapter 10

Verse 1 – Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.

Verse 2 – For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people went their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd.

Asking Jehovah for rain in the latter rain season signifies that only God could give it. The latter rain ripened the grain as the former rain in October had. Zechariah also told them to rid themselves of all household idols that they had used in divination.

Verse 3 – “My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the goat herds, for the LORD of hosts will visit His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as His royal horse in the battle.

Verse 4 – From him comes the cornerstone, from him the tent pegs, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler together.

Out of him – Judah is to be no more subject to foreigners, but from itself shall come its rulers. The cornerstone – the Messiah. The tent-peg – on the Messiah would be all the glory and hope of His people. The bow – Judah shall not need foreign soldiers, the Messiah shall be her battle – bow.

Verse 5 – They shall be like mighty men, who tread down her enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle. They shall fight because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be put to shame.

Verse 6 – ‘I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; for I am the LORD their God, and I will hear them.

The “house of Judah” refers to the southern kingdom and the “house of Joseph” refers to the northern kingdom, Israel. Ephraim, the leader of the northern kingdom was the son of Joseph.

Verse 7 – Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall see it and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD.

Verse 8 – I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them; and they shall increase as they once increased.

Verse 9 – “I will sow them among the peoples, and they shall remember me in far countries; they shall live, together with their children and they shall return.

Verse 10 – I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, until no more room is found for them.

Verse 11 – He shall pass through the sea with affliction, and strike the waves of the sea: All the depths of the River shall dry up. Then the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart.

As God divided and made a way through the Red Sea for His people to depart from Egypt, so will He again make a way through every obstacle which opposes Israel’s restoration.

Verse 12 – “So I will strengthen them in the LORD, and they shall walk up and down in His name,” says the LORD.

Egypt and Assyria invoked memories of slavery and separation. Just as God had strengthened them when He brought them out of Egypt, He would strengthen their return from Assyria and Babylon.

Zechariah – Chapter 9

Verse 1 – The burden of the word of the LORD against the land of Hadrach, and Damascus its resting place for the eyes of men and all the tribes of Israel are on the LORD;

Verse 2 – Also against Hamath, which borders on it, and against Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise.

Verse 3 – For Tyre built herself a tower, heaped up silver like the dust, and gold like the mire of the streets.

Verse 4 – Behold, the LORD will cast her out; He will destroy her power in the sea, and she will be devoured by fire.

Verse 5 – Ashkelon shall see it and fear; Gaza also shall be very sorrowful; and Ekron, for He dried up her expectation. The king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.

Zechariah mentions four key cities in Philistia. Ashkelon, Gaza, and Ekron would be destroyed, and Ashdod would be overtaken by foreigners. This would happen because of their great evil and idolatry. Tyre was well-known as a naval and commercial power, which was a fortified island, one-half mile off the Mediterranean coast. Alexander the Great spent several months building a causeway to the island. He took the island, slew with the sword about eight thousand, enslaved thirteen thousand, crucified two thousand, and set fire to the city as it was foretold.

Verse 6 – “A mixed race shall settle in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.

Verse 7 – I will take away the blood from his mouth, and the abomination from between his teeth. But he who remains, even he shall be for God, and shall be like a leader in Judah, and Ekron like a Jebusite.

Abominations – things sacrificed to idols and then partaken of by the worshipers. Ekron as a Jebusite, were the original inhabitants of Jerusalem, who when subjugated by King David, were incorporated with the Jews and enjoyed their privileges, but in a subordinate position.

Verse 8 – I will camp around My house because of the army, because of him who passes by and him who returns. No more shall an oppressor pass through them, for now I have seen with My eyes.

Several centuries after Zechariah’s day, Antiochus IV Ephananes would invade Israel, and in A.D. 70, Titus, a Roan general, would completely destroy the temple. The prophet passes from the immediate future to the final deliverance to come (Isaiah 60:18; Ezekiel 28:24).

First Coming of the Messiah

Verse 9 – “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The Triumphal Entry of Jesus riding into Jerusalem was predicted here more than 500 years before it happened. His riding on a donkey signified humility.

Second Coming of the Messiah

Verse 10 – I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to he nations; His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from River to the ends of the earth.’

The “River,” is the Euphrates. Jerusalem and the Holy Land, extended to the limits promised to Abraham, are to be the center of His future dominion, whence it will extend to the remotest parts of the earth.

Verse 11 – “As for you also, because of the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.

Covenants were ratified by blood sacrifices, pointing ahead to the sacrifice and blood shed by Christ on Calvary. Because of God’s covenant with His people, He delivered them from the “waterless pit,” the cistern – like the prison of exile.

Verse 12 – Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.

Verse 13 – For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you like the sword of a mighty man.”

God addresses Zion and Greece; showing that He rules all nations and people.

Verse 14 – Then the LORD will be seen over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning, the LORD GOD will blow the trumpet, and go with whirlwinds from the south.

Verse 15 – The LORD of hosts will defend them; they shall devour and subdue with sling stones. They shall drink and roar as if with wine; they shall be filled with blood like basins, like the corners of the altar.

Verse 16 – The LORD their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people. For they shall be like the jewels of a crown, lifted like a banner over His land –

Verse 17 – For how great is their goodness and how great their beauty! Grain shall make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women.

This prophecy says that all of Israel, north and south, will be united again. Corn and wine indicate peace and plenty.

 

Zechariah – Chapter 8

Restoration

Verse 1 – Again the word of the LORD of hosts came saying,

Verse 2 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; with great fervor I am zealous for her.’

Verse 3 – “Thus says the LORD:” ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth. The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain.’

Verse 4 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age.

So tranquil and prosperous, without wars, they shall no longer prematurely cut off the people; men and women shall live to advanced ages. The promise of a long life is one of the greatest blessings in the Jewish theocracy with its temporal rewards of obedience.

Verse 5 – The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets.

Verse 6 – “Thus says  the LORD of host: ‘If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, will it also be marvelous in My eyes?’ says the LORD of hosts.

The people had a hard time trying to imagine what God was saying because of the devastation they saw when they returned from exile. A great source of “unbelief” is trying to limit God.

Verse 7 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west;

Verse 8 – I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”

“They will be My people and I will be their God,” indicates full restoration of the covenant relationship.

Verse 9 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Let your hands be strong, you have been hearing in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who were in the day that the foundation was laid for the house of the LORD of hosts, that the temple might be built.

The prophets had been trying to encourage the people to get back to work on the temple, but now God had spoken to encourage them more.

Verse 10 – For before these days there were no wages for man nor any hire for beast; there was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in; for I set all men, everyone against his neighbor.

Verse 11 – ‘But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the LORD of hosts.

Verse 12 – ‘For the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give its fruit, the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew. I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.

Everything the people could hope for was addressed in this sermon by Zechariah. This experience would be the exact opposite of what they had experienced the last 20 years.

Verse 13 – And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, let your hands be strong.’

Verse 14 – “For thus says the LORD of hosts; ‘Just as I determined to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘And I would not relent,

Verse 15 – so again in these days I am determined to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear.

For more than 15 years now, God and His prophets had been urging the people to finish building the temple. No matter how difficult the struggle might be to finish the task at hand, the reward far out-weighs the hardships we go through. God says the latter will be better than the former.

Verse 16 – These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;

Verse 17 – Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; and do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,” says the LORD.”

The terms of the covenant made it clear that people determined their own destiny, while God responds accordingly. Their justice system, from the priests on down, had grown so perverse before their exile, that God didn’t want them to go back to their old ways.

Verse 18 – The word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’

Verse 20 – The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the LORD, and seek the LORD of hosts. I myself will go also.”

Verse 22 – Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.’

Verse 23 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ‘ ”

In the ancient Near East, grabbing the hem of a garment was an act of submission and supplication. Since the Israelites had spent years under foreign dominion, to have Gentiles show submission to them would be an  astonishing reversal.

 

Zechariah – Chapter 7

The Question of Fasting

Verse 1 – Now in the fourth year of King Darius it came to pass that the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev,

Verse 2 – when the people sent Sherezer, with Regem-Melech and his men, to the house of  God, to pray before the LORD,

Verse 3 – and to ask the priests who were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and the prophets, saying, “Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?”

The tenth day of the fifth month was kept as a fast, being the anniversary of the destruction of Jerusalem. The people went to the partially finished temple to ask the priests, Haggai, and Zechariah, if they should continue this fast.

Verse 4 – Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying,

Verse 5 – “Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me – for Me?

In other words: “Did you really fast by not only separating yourselves with food, but separate yourselves from sin also?’ No, you didn’t. That attitude we have when we worship, pray, or do something for someone else, counts for a lot. Do we do things for God or His people, wanting something in exchange or are we truly doing it to please God?

Verse 6 – ‘When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves?

Verse 7 – ‘Should you not have obeyed the words which the LORD proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous and the South and the Lowland were inhabited?’ ”

Oh, they had listened to the prophets, but they hadn’t done what they said. Are you a hearer of the Word and not a doer?

Verse 8 – Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying,

Verse 9 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Execute true justice , show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother.

Verse 10 – Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.’

And there lies the problem with the people.

Verse 11 – “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear.

There were three disobedience that the people were guilty of and Zechariah reminded them; empty worship, idolatry, and social injustice. Mistreating the poor brought the most severe punishment.

Verse 12 – “Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts.

Verse 13 – “Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen,” says the LORD of hosts.

Verse 14 – “But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the  pleasant land desolate.”

Zechariah explained to the people that their ancestors brought God’s wrath on themselves by hardening their hearts – like flint. Any sin seems more natural the second time. As people become hardened, each repetition is easier. Ignoring God’s warnings, harden a person each time they do wrong. Sensitivity and submission to God’s Word will soften our heart and allow us to live as we should.

Zechariah – Chapter 6

The Four Chariots

Verse 1 – Then I turned and raised my eyes and looked, and behold, four chariots were coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze.

This is the eighth vision where Zechariah sees four chariots which represent war. These chariots represent four angels of God’s judgment on earth.

Verse 2 – With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses,

The red horses represented a great slaughter of many people. The black horses represented great sorrow through famine.

Verse 3 – with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot dappled horses – strong steeds.

Verse 4 – Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”

Verse 5 – And the angel answered and said to me, “These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the LORD of all the earth.

Verse 6 – “The one with the black horses is going to the north country, the white are going after them, and the dappled are going toward the south country.”

Verse 7 – Then  the steeds went out, eager to go, that they might walk to and fro throughout the earth. And He said, “Go, walk to and fro throughout the earth.” So they walked to and fro throughout the earth.

The black horse that went to the north executed God’s judgment to punish the nations who had come against Israel. The other direction in and out of Palestine was to the south. Thus the whole earth was patrolled.

Verse 8 – And He called me, and spoke to me, saying, “See, those who go toward the north country have given rest to My Spirit in the north country.”

Babylon, in the north, in Zechariah’s time, had been finally punished, which in turn gave God’s Spirit rest.

Verse 9 – Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

Verse 10 – “Receive the gift from the captives – from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have come from Babylon – and go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah.

The naming of these individuals suggest there are still Jews in exile in Babylon. Dedication to a memorial to them functioned as encouragement to those who had not returned.

Verse 11 – “Take the silver and gold, make an elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.

Verse 12 – “Then speak to him saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of host, saying: “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the LORD;

Verse 13 – Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace be between them both.” ‘

God was telling Zechariah that someone worthy of the crown would come to rule as both King and Priest.

Verse 14 – “Now the elaborate crown shall be for a memorial in the temple of the LORD for Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah.

Verse 15 – “Even those who are far away shall come and build the temple of the LORD. Then you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”

Some of God’s promises are conditional, obeying in order to receive blessing. The rebuilding of the temple required careful obedience. God would protect the people as long as they obeyed Him. Inconsistent obedience cant’ produce constant blessings.

Zechariah – Chapter 5

The Flying Scroll

Verse 1 – Then I turned and raised my eyes, and saw there a flying scroll.

This is the sixth vision of Zechariah and he sees a flying scroll made of papyrus or dressed skins used for writing. Being written, implies that its contents were beyond escape. Flying indicates what was on it was ready to swiftly visit transgressors.

Verse 2 – And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I answered, “I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits.”

This scroll sounds pretty large, because it’s the same measurements of the temple porch where the law was usually read.

Verse 3 – Then he said to me, “This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth: ‘Every thief shall be expelled,’ according to what is on this side of the scroll; and ‘Every perjurer shall be expelled,’ according to what is on that side of it.”

Verse 4 – “I will send out the curse,” says the LORD of hosts; “It shall enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who answers falsely by MY name. It shall remain in the midst of his house and consume it, with its timber and stones.”

The thief was the one who failed to give God what was their part on rebuilding the temple, because they didn’t have a problem spending on their own houses. The houses that they had built for themselves would be filled with this curse.

Verse 5 – Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, “Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth.”

Verse 6 – So I asked, “What is it?” and he said, “It is a basket that is going forth.” He also said, “This is their resemblance throughout the earth;

Verse 7 – “Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket,”

Verse 8 – then he said, “This is Wickedness?” and he thrust her down into a basket, and threw the lead cover over her mouth.

Verse 9 – Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven.

Verse 10 – So I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are they carrying the basket?”

Verse 11 – And he said to me, “To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base.”

This woman in a basket represented all wickedness. This vision showed that not only would wickedness be severely punished, but also banished. The woman was carried away to Babylon, which had become a symbol for the center of world idolatry and wickedness.

Zechariah saw that one day sin would be removed from all the earth.

When Christ died, He died for the sins of the entire world, because He took the punishment that all who sin deserved, upon Himself. When He rose, He conquered death and the grave, and when we accept Him as our LORD and Savior, He lives in us with the power to overcome sin in our lives. When Christ returns to rule and reign, we, as believers, will have all eternity living in total security with Him!