Archive for the ‘Zechariah’ Category

Will Israel Someday Believe in Jesus Christ?
March 15, 2017

Will Israel Someday Believe in Jesus Christ?

     Jeremiah 51:5“For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, the Lord of Hosts, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.”  (spoken to the Israelites when they are warned by Jeremiah of the coming judgment of Babylon.)

     Isaiah 54:7 “ ‘For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you.’ ” (spoken by God to Israel.)

In fact, look at the whole chapter of Isaiah 54: (spoken to Israel)

And all of Isaiah 12 (spoken by Israel to their Lord after they come to faith)

Isaiah 11:12  “He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”  (This is not speaking of the Jewish return from Babylon in 500BC, since this verse speaks about a return from everywhere on earth.)

Jeremiah 33:  As the Jews are learning of the soon to come Babylonian invasion, Jeremiah slips in promises of what will come after:  “And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first.  I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me.  Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it” (:7-9)

But, in case you think the above verse only refers to the return of the Jews from Babylon in 500 BC, look also at these verses in Jeremiah 33, which speak of the coming of Jesus, and then the ultimate saving of Judah and Jerusalem:

“ ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.  In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely.  And this is the name by which she will be called:  THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ ” (:15&16)

Hosea 6:1-3Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.  After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.  Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord, His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.”

All of Hosea 14, especially 1&2   “O Israel return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; take words with you, and return to the Lord.  Say to Him, ‘Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.’ ” (:2)

Animal sacrifices would not be enough.  Only words of true repentance would be sufficient.

And then, of course, Paul, in his letter to the Romans, said this, after the church had already been established:

     9:27-29  “Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved.  For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.’  And as Isaiah said before: ‘Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah.’ ”

Yes, the nation of Israel, though then they will be just a portion of the total number of Jews who have ever lived, some day will be saved.

    10:12 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.  For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ”

Yes, when Jesus came the first time a wonderful thing came out of a bad thing.  Israel’s unbelief at that time opened the door for all, Jews and Gentiles, to experience believing in and knowing the Messiah.

     10:19 “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”

Somehow the nation which is not a nation, in other words, the church, will bring about jealousy in the hearts of Jews, as they see a people who are able to communicate with the God of the Jews, but the Jews, themselves, are not.

     11:5 “Even so, then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”

Within the church there have always been a few Jews who have, by God’s grace, believed in their Messiah.

     11:11 “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall?  Certainly not!  But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.”

The church is right now being used, you might say, to provoke the Jews to jealousy, and thus bring the Jews to salvation…just as the Jews were used to bring salvation to the church.

The church is not the same as Israel.  There are promises made specifically to Israel which God will of course keep.  Israel is not gone from the care and touch of God.  And when Israel finally does come to faith…how much greater will that be than anything up to that point in history?

     11:15 “For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

The time of Israel’s belief will be the blessing of eternal life for the Jews, and the blessing of eternal life for even more Gentiles, completing what God started.

     11:30-31For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.”

When Israel was disobedient, Gentiles were blessed.  When Gentiles are blessed, Israel gets another chance at mercy.

Now look at Zechariah, who saw how it would look when Israel finally came to faith – the whole nation:

     13:1In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.”

When will it happen? – when all the nations are gathered against Jerusalem

     12:9It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

After two-thirds of the Jews have been destroyed, the final third will be the ones who, as a collective group, place their faith in their Messiah:

     13:8&9 “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; I will bring the 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.’.”

 

And that brings us to Zechariah 12:10, Revelation 11:13 and Revelation 14:14, all three verses describing the same event. Hold on for one more minute as we remind ourselves of the drama that has unfolded up to this point in the Last Seven Years:

The Jews who have not yet believed in Jesus, scattered throughout the world…

  • Have, like the rest of the world, seen anti-christ bring peace to a trembling world.
  • They have seen him come to power and demand to be worshipped.
  • Some of them fled from him when he came to power and began to pursue Jewish people, and God protected them.
  • Some of them stayed behind, attracted to the anti-christ.
  • They have seen the ferocious attacks against Christians by anti-christ.
  • They have heard the testimonies and seen the power of the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem.
  • They have gone through the great earthquake and somehow survived, perhaps realizing that those who called themselves Christians were suddenly gone from the world.
  • They have heard the testimonies of 144,000 Jewish believers in Jesus who were left behind when the rest of the church was raptured.
  • Many of them have realized that anti-christ, ruler of the world, is evil.
  • Others have been confused, beginning to wonder if they have been wrong to trust anti-christ.
  • The nations of the world are gathering outside of Jerusalem, preparing to attack, perhaps because of the Two Witnesses who cannot be stopped.
  • Finally anti-christ accomplishes the silencing and murder of the Two Witnesses.
  • They have watched those two dead bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three days, not even given a decent burial.
  • Sometime during those three days the Holy Spirit has used all the chaos and terror, and all the truth spoken during the Last Seven Years by persecuted Christians, 144,000 witnesses, and the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem…and He has broken down barriers of fear and unbelief and blindness in Jewish hearts…
  • On the third day the Two Witnesses rise from the dead, in front of the whole world…and there is an earthquake in Jerusalem….
  • And Jews in Israel and throughout the world, watching this transpire, are so ready!  Their eyes are fully opened!  They cannot help but see the hand of God, Jesus, reaching into their lives, offering faith and salvation.

 

       Zechariah 12:10And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me who they pierced.  Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn…”

Revelation 11:13  “In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell.  In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.”

     Revelation 14:14:  “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.’  Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.”

Jesus gathers in a harvest of belief – His people, the Jews, wherever they are in the world, finally come to faith in Him.

 

Minor Prophets – Why Do They Do It?
September 3, 2013

Click here to view or download this Introduction to the Minor ProphetsAn Introduction to the twelve Minor Prophets of the Old Testament…and a Few Minor Prophets of Today.

In the Old Testament there were twelve Minor Prophets.  They were ordinary men.   Seven (7) of them were pretty much unknowns, and then there was a country boy, a man of royal lineage, an old man, a priest, and a shepherd.

They all had two things in common: a burning desire to know God, and a willingness to speak His message to people who needed to hear it.

Hosea is given a wrenching assignment from the Lord – marry a prostitute!

Joel remembers a horrifying locust plague, and urges Israel to wake up to an even greater plague about to descend on them.  He jumps off from there and speaks of a time of repentance and pardon coming far off into the future.

Amos speaks words of warning of judgment sure to come, and a just as sure grace to follow.

Obadiah assured the Israelites that their enemies would also face a judgment day.

Jonah ran away from God, but couldn’t resist in the end.

Micah hid promises of a coming Messiah in his poetic words.

Nahum prophesied to the same people Jonah did.  Except, in Jonah’s day the Ninevites, repented.  In Nahum’s day they deserved, and eventually got, God’s judgment.

Habakkuk  has questions for God.

Zephaniah uncovers lies which have been believed…lies which have led a whole nation away from God’s ways.

Haggai , along with Zechariah, spurs a struggling group of survivors to reach for the heights – and to put their faith in the hugeness of God, even though they can only accomplish a little.

And Malachi blasts the religious rulers, the priests, for their part in driving the people of God away from looking for their Messiah.

All of these men willingly obeyed God, even though for some of them it meant ridicule and suffering.  The only reason we call these twelve “minor” is that they wrote short books.  Their messages were just as “major” as the “Major Prophets”  (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel).

The twelve Minor Prophets were all ordinary men obeying God…but why did they do it?   And are there any “Minor Prophets” today?

Zechariah “One Sleepless Night”
November 27, 2012

A verse-by-verse Bible Study of Zechariah.   “One Sleepless Night”

Steve and Julie got us started on the Grandparent’s track almost 19 years ago when they brought Michael into the world.

They were living near us at the time, so when we got the phone call that they were on the way to the hospital…wow! it was time!  We rushed to the hospital, too, and waited.   We were right there wanting to be a part of the excitement and joy when he was born.  Everybody was in a party mood – all grandparents were there – and even a few of Steve & Julie’s friends.  All of us got to go into the room with Julie, a few at a time, and talk celebrate with Julie & Steve while we were waiting.    (This whole process was a huge shock to me.  There was no timing, no pain, no groaning, no little puffs of air while making it “through” a contraction – the advent of the epidural had completely changed the way women have babies…and I was totally unaware.   Nice change, by the way…..not complaining…I was just so amazed J)

It was a really fun and exciting time – lots of laughing and talking out in the waiting area.  And when Steve came out of the delivery room to tell us he had a son, he came striding down the hall, big as life, spread his arms out and said “It’s a Boy”!!!   We all congratulated him with lots of laughter and slapping on the back.  He walked up to me and gave me a hug – and when I threw my arms around him, too, he started crying.  We stood in the middle of the waiting room with our arms around each other and we both cried.

You know what my thought was at that time?  I stood there with my arms around Steve, thinking…”I wish I had held him more….I wish when he was little, I had held him on my lap more.”  When we had Steve we were very young ourselves…I was nineteen years old, and he just went everywhere with me.  He was on my hip, he was in the car seat, he was at church meetings…we were starting churches…so he was also in a lot of church nurseries.  We just went go-go-go all the time.  It was a wonderful life, but I didn’t have a whole lot of time to just hold him.  And when I stood in the waiting room, knowing that his own baby boy was waiting back in the delivery room for him, I thought to myself, “I wish I had held him more.”  If I had just had this little glimpse of the future – standing here in the hospital waiting room with Steve – I might have lived better, then, in the past – knowing what the future held.

Knowing what the future holds – that’s the wonderful gift the LORD, through Zechariah, is giving this handful of Jews living in about 400 BC.  Little glimpses of the future.

%d bloggers like this: