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Zechariah 11-14

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Zechariah 11-14
Zechariah 11-14
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38 Zechariah - 1992

The prophet Zechariah received ten visions from God, all in one night. Skip Heitzig examines these visions of what God would do in their immediate future, and in the messianic kingdom.

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Zechariah has seen some wild visions and given some straightforward prophecies, all the way from the time that the temple was being rebuilt under Zerubbabel, all the way throughout the future through the time of Alexander the Great, which was their future, the Maccabean period, and on into the time of the first and second comings of Jesus Christ, which we're going to discuss a little more in detail tonight because of these chapters. There has already been some predictions about Jesus, who He would be and what He would do, laced through the prophecy of Zechariah. For instance, in chapter 10, it speaks about Judah, and from Judah, or from him, comes the cornerstone. From him, the tent peg, and from him, the battle bow.

The ancient Jewish commentaries, the targums, have referred this scripture to being a prophecy about the Messiah, that he would be the cornerstone, or the foundation, of the future for the nation of Israel. Of course, the Bible speaks about Jesus as the stone, as the rock. Jesus says whoever falls upon me, this stone will be broken, but on whomsoever that stone falls will be crushed or grinded, ground to powder. To receive Jesus Christ is to come in humility. To reject Christ is to face the judgment of that stone falling upon you and it crushing you.

We know that Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation of the church. And it's not Peter. Peter is not the first stone nor was he even the first pope or the first leader of the church. James was, we plainly read in the book of Acts. No other foundation can any man lay than what it has already been laid, and that is Jesus Christ. He's the foundation. He's the foundation of the hopes of Israel. He's the foundation for the church. He's also called, in the same verse, from Him, the tent peg. In the wilderness, the bedouins still place those huge tent pegs to hold down the tent as kind of a centering pen in the desert storms.

And so Jesus, same kind of analogy. Rather than a cornerstone, He's the tent peg. He holds things down. You've experienced that, haven't you? Sometimes you feel like your life is fraying and coming apart. And in Him, all things consist, Paul said, or are held together, Colossians chapter 1. He holds the universe together. He holds our lives together. From Him, the battle bow, as we're going to see a little bit of it tonight.

Now, in chapter 10 and in chapter 11, and actually, in chapter 12, there's some references to shepherds. False shepherds and good shepherds, the false shepherds of Israel being the false prophets, the good shepherds of Israel. Jesus is mentioned as the good shepherd from whom the nation of Israel turned aside, rejected Him, and eventually, will be given to them a false, or the idol-- I, D, O, L, not I, D, L, E-- idol shepherd, one who revels in idolatry. Not a lazy shepherd hanging out, just kicking back, but one filled with idolatry, which is no doubt a reference to the antichrist.

Jesus said something to the Pharisees. He said that He was the light of the world and He came to be the light. They rejected the light. And he said, I came in my Father's name. You did not receive Me. Another will come in his own name, him you will receive. Jesus came as the ultimate representative of the Father. He came to His own. His own received Him not. They rejected the Messiah, the good shepherd, the true shepherd, the only shepherd that God appointed to feed and to care for the flock.

Because God saw that the nation rejected His true shepherd, God will send them, Paul says in Thessalonians, a strong delusion, that they shall believe the lie, the lie of the antichrist, claiming to be God, claiming to be the Messiah of Israel. And so listen once again, as Jesus said, I've come in my Father's name. You did not receive me. Another will come in his own name. Him, you will receive. A prophecy that the nation of Israel would receive the idol shepherd, the antichrist, the man of perdition, the false shepherd, the delusion who's come to speak the lie.

So chapter 11 speaks of the desolation of Israel due to God's judgment and the prophets who led them astray, the false shepherds. By the way, I hope it doesn't insult you that God calls you a sheep. Depending on what you know about livestock, that is really a chop, or a comfort. Sheep are, by and large, dumb. Docile, wonderful, beautiful creatures-- incapable, however, of leading themselves. And the quality of life of a sheep depends totally upon the shepherd.

David knew about sheep and shepherds. He was a shepherd. He cared for sheep. That's why it wasn't an insult, it was a comfort, when he said, the Lord is my shepherd. I will not lack a thing, I won't want. He leads me, He guides me, and makes me lay down in green pastures. He leads me to the watering holes. He puts a table in the midst of my enemies. And I'm not insulted at all that God calls me a sheep, because the more I live, the older I get, the more I agree that I'm like a sheep. Mob instincts of human beings, the nature to get together, even thoughtlessly, over issues, and run in a direction till they bounce off the wall is pretty typical of us. I need a shepherd. I need one real bad. God knows that, and He's provided one for me.

Now, the shepherd that I need is not a shepherd from man. I don't look to a man for my decisions. If I want to make a financial decision or a move, I don't say, hey, listen, what is God's will for my life. You tell me and I'll do it. Nor do I allow myself to become that for others, though oftentimes, people like that. There seems to be a sense of comfort. I had a gal come in my office one time, confused about a relationship-- dating, and thus, a marriage relationship. And she said, you know, I'm so confused. I've just determined that whatever you tell me to do is God's will for my life regarding should I marry this guy.

So what do you say? I said, I don't know. I'm not going to be in that responsible position, for me to determine the will of God in your life, if you should marry A or B. I said, now, I've got a shepherd I can refer you to, and it's not me. The Lord is my shepherd. Why would you settle for anything less than that? Why would you settle for my direction when you can have His direction? I don't want to lead you astray. I can give you biblical principles on dating and discerning the will of God, but you are on your own before the Lord.

And I think that is the job, the responsibility, of every true shepherd of God, or counselor, is first of all, to not foster a dependence upon the counselor, which I find happens, oftentimes, among Christian counselors, and even pastors. A therapeutic relationship develops that makes the counselee feel like I can't get by another day unless I hear from my mentor, my pastor, my counselor. I think the job is to wean a person away from that kind of immature accountability to a more mature accountability of, I'm responsible before God, but I'm not afraid nor ashamed to share that before man. So that they can see my life, I can be kept in check, but my responsibility is to get direction from Him. He's my shepherd.

David recognized that, and God recognized that here as well. "Open your doors, oh Lebanon, that fire," verse 1, chapter 11, "may devour your cedars. Wail, oh Cyprus, for the cedar has fallen, because the mighty trees are ruined." No doubt a reference to the scattering of Israel after the time of Zechariah the prophet. As he foresaw what was coming on the horizon with Antiochus, Epiphanes, and the Syrian rulers who came from the north, as well as the Roman scattering and devastation that took place in years to come. "Wail, oh oaks of Bashan, for thick forest has come down. There is the sound of wailing shepherds, for their glory is in ruins. There is the sound of roaring lions, for the pride of Jordan is in ruins."

The false shepherds of Israel were giving wrong direction, and in the next several verses, and in chapter 12, there are references to the false shepherds that would come. There are true shepherds and there are false shepherds, as we have said many times. There are those who are interested in feeding the sheep, there are those that are interested in fleecing the sheep, who try to say the right things to win favor and approval of people, but not giving good direction. And as we have said, the quality of life that a sheep experiences is directly proportional to the kind of shepherd that that person places himself under.

Have you ever seen people who have pets at home? They buy a pet, but they're never home. They'll stick food and they'll stick water out there, but you can just tell that dog is just starved for fellowship, and not well groomed, not well taken care of. There's thorns. It's like, why own an animal just to stick it in your yard and never spend any time with it? But then there is the professional owner, the one who grooms, bathes, cuts, trains, takes the thing to shows, wins prizes. It's a life-- that dog is a happy dog. The owner has schooled and trained it, and that animal loves to respond to the voice of the owner. I feel sorry for some pets, and I'm not trying to get into an animal rights kind of a thing or a dissertation of animals, but you know the Bible does say that a righteous man cares for his animal. Amen, there's a dog lover out there. God bless you.

The point being is that Jesus cares for his sheep, and shepherds that love Jesus care for Jesus' sheep. And shepherds that don't love Jesus don't care for His flock. I'm speaking of under shepherds, or pastors. And it's sad, also, because there are lots of gullible sheep, who almost love to be deceived. I actually marvel at the amount of scams. And as you know, I have a file in my office. I collect scams. And I'm always, always amazed at the new tricks that they come up with, in the name of God, to extract money, possessions, and followings from people. But what's more amazing is that people buy into it. They've got to, because these people are raking in the money and still able to put out their four colored brochures. I'm amazed that it.

I'm amazed that in a meeting, people can't see through. There are 10 people here, God just revealed it to me, each have $10,000 to give. I get burned, because if it doesn't happen, then it's like, who's disobeying God? And this huge guilt trip is put on people until they-- everybody starts thinking, was it me? Maybe it's me. Well, maybe I'm not listening. Well, I guess it's got to be me. Instead of being able to give freely from your heart. Let the Lord-- don't have to make a-- I don't buy that. If God told you there's 10 People, he's told 10 people that they're the 10 people, and you don't have to go on for 20 minutes to extract bucks out of them. But what's amazing is that people will do it. It's like, come on, deceive me.

There is the tendency of humans to feel secure in the authority of another, at any risk. I've told you this story when I was at Sunwest Bank here in town, who sponsored a Zen Buddhist meeting. That's why I withdrew my funds from the bank. Huge Zen Buddhist meeting, sponsored by the bank, talking about meditation, excuse me, I'm sorry, transcendental meditation. And I came to the meeting that night with a good friend of mine, who used to live in the area, and we went to the meeting. And they put on the ritz. They smiled and said, this is scientifically proven. I'm thinking, wait a minute. I know a little bit about science. Scientists are empiricists, and there's nothing empirical in their approach. It's totally subjective.

So I was taking notes. And I'd happened to do my homework before I came, and took their initiatory prayer, the puja, which is translated in Hindi, and I found the translation into English. And I just kept it back in my Bible, just in case I needed it. So they said, well, are there any questions from the audience? We'd love to answer any questions or misconceptions you have, or to clear up some issues? I'm thinking, all right, here's my in.

And the reason I was there, also, is because they charge $600, I think. At the time, they charged $600, and they promised peace and security and serenity, and just they promised it all, for $600. Of course, if you pay $600, you want to get something out of it. You want to make sure they're leveling with you. And so I thought, these people are willing to pay $600. I bet you if they find out about the true nature of TM, it'll just blow their whole scam here. So I thought that I would make enemies out of the leaders, and that the people would really appreciate it.

So I stood up and I said, let me ask you a question. You said now, several times, that this is not a religious experience. That's right, sir, you're absolutely right. In fact, there is nothing religious in it at all. You can be a Catholic or you can be an atheist, and you can be a good Christian. It doesn't matter, but this will help enhance your life. It's scientific, it is not religious. I said, then can you explain to me a fundamental question? Why do you have people say these Hindi words? Well, it's just something that's traditionally passed down. We've always done it. And I said, now listen to the translation of this in English. Would you like to hear it?

Before she said, yes, I said, it says, I bow down to Lord Narayana. I worship and bow down to Guru Dev, and it named several deities. At the end I said, are you trying to tell us that this is not religious? I bow down to all these gods. This is not worshipping? This is not religious? As I was presenting the case, I said, I think that you owe these people a better explanation of why you're taking $600, you're leading them astray. The leadership just smiled up there, but the people in the crowds were booing me. Not that I cared, but the one person in front of me said, would you shut up? I didn't, I kept going.

But that spoke volumes to me. That person would rather be fed a lie and pay $600 to get some kind of momentary euphoric feeling of peace and prosperity that means absolutely nothing, that is neither scientific nor non-religious, and he was basically saying, would you please allow me to be deceived at my own pace? I don't want your interference. I thought, my people, when they reject the truth will buy into any lie. Once a person rejects truth, they are open for any deception.

The false prophets of Israel came when people rejected the foundation, the cornerstone, the tent peg, the Lord that fought their battles. They were being led astray. And so he says, verse 4, "thus says the Lord my God, 'feed the flock for slaughter, 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. 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 the king, and they shall attack the land and I will not deliver them from their hand.' And so I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular, the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs, the one I call Beauty, the other I called Bonds, and I fed the flock."

The rest of this chapter deals, I believe, with a contrast between the good shepherd, Jesus, and the false shepherd, the antichrist. That is my interpretive opinion on it, because there are several. Jesus, when he came the first time to Israel, His first admit, His first coming, came as their shepherd. John chapter 10 is where he gave the discourse, I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, or I am known by them. And I am the door to the sheepfold. They'll come in and out and find pasture.

He spoke of Himself as the Shepherd to Israel. He said there were other flocks, that He must go and get the Gentiles, but that He was a shepherd to the nation of Israel, the Good Shepherd, the Shepherd that they rejected. Because they rejected Him, that forced the hand of God to be against them for a while until his second coming. And so he takes two stabs here, one called Beauty and one called Bands, or Bonds. Another translation says graciousness and unifiers.

You could just look at it this way. The first one let's call Grace. It's translated beauty or graciousness. The second staff is Bonds, which speaks of the bonds of a covenant that people make. "I dismissed three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul abhorred Me. And I said, I will not feed you, or I won't shepherd you any more. Let what is dying die and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other's flesh. And I took my staff, Beauty, and I cut it into two, that I might break the covenant that I had made with all the peoples."

The hand of God's grace was upon the nation of Israel, in respect to the nations that surrounded it. God restrained the nations from overtaking Israel. As Israel got more and more into formalism in the New Testament, with the scribes and the Pharisees, legalism, and away from the true worship of God, they felt the yoke of Rome come upon them. They felt the bondage of the Romans. They wanted it overthrown.

And verse 10, "I took my staff, Beauty, cut it in two, that I might break the covenant that I had made with the peoples." And what did Jesus say when he approached the Mount of Olives? He began to weep, remember. And he foresaw that the nation would be broken, taken again into captivity, just like the Babylonian captivity. This time by the Romans. "If you had only known the things that make for your peace and this your day, but they're hidden from your eyes.

Now your enemies will cast a trench about you, take your kids, burn you with fire." And he predicted the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, because the nation had rejected the shepherd, and now the Lord was rejecting the nation. 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. And I said to them, 'if it is agreeable to you, give me my wages. If not, refrain.' So they weighed out for my wages 30 pieces of silver, and the Lord said to me, 'throw it to the Potter.' That princely price that they set on me, so I took 30 pieces of silver and I threw it, I threw them into the house of the Lord, for the Potter."

We know this is prophetic because Matthew, in his gospel, tells us that this refers to Judas betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. And so this is a prophetic scripture. We often find prophecy mingled, future prophecy mingled with something that is local. The context here is the first coming of Jesus rejected by the nation of Israel. And now, in particular, by one person, Judas Iscariot, who sells Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. You remember that Judas agreed to sell the rights, so to speak, of Jesus whereabouts at Passover to the Romans for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave in the Old Testament, the wages of a working man for one month in the New Testament.

Now, when Judas had done that, he was guilty, you remember, and he didn't want the money. He thought, man, I feel guilty. I did something wrong. I don't want this money. So he said, look, I don't want this money, you take it back. They said, we don't want it back. He threw it in the temple and he ran away. And the priest looked at it and said, what are we going to do with this money? I mean, it's blood money. We can't put it in the treasury. And so they bought a potter's field, where broken pots were, to bury the indigent, the homeless, the poor. And so a prophecy of the betrayal of Jesus Christ, along with the rejection of the nation, is done by Judas Iscariot.

"Then I cut," verse 14, "into my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. The Lord said to me, 'next, take for yourself implements of a foolish shepherd, or an idol shepherd. 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 who are broken nor feed those that still stand, but he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces. Woe to the worthless shepherd who leaves the flock. A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye. His arms shall completely wither. His right eye shall be totally blind."

Some refer to this passage of scripture to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD and the re-dispersion, or the re-capturing of the people by the Romans. Some people see this in reference to all of Israel's enemies from the Maccabean period to the time of the antichrist. In other words, it's sort of just this general thing of anybody who's against Israel is a worthless shepherd. It's a way of kind of being noncommittal in interpretation. I don't know what it means, it just means everybody bad that doesn't like them. And so anybody who's come against Israel. Adolph Hitler would be a worthless shepherd, Antiochus Epiphanes, a worthless shepherd.

Then there are those who are more particular in that it refers to the delusion that God will send them because of the rejection of Jesus Christ, the worthless shepherd being the antichrist. And notice that it says of him, "a sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye. His arm shall completely wither. His right eye shall totally be blinded." In Revelation chapter 13, the antichrist receives a fatal head wound that is healed, and it causes people to rise up at this miraculous act and follow after the beast. A few verses down in Revelation 13, it speaks of the wound that was inflicted by the sword. So this could refer to the antichrist, that he'll receive some kind of a wound that will cause the withering of his arm, blindness in his right eye. He will be somehow healed of that in the tribulation period. People will wonder after him and will follow him.

Now, chapters 12, 13, and 14 is one solid unit that we're going to try to just skim through and take various portions of it. Because it says, "the burden of the Word of the Lord, or the Oracle, is prophesy against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens and lays the foundation of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him, 'behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem."

I like looking at God in the perspective in which He is. I think it's always good to remind yourself, when you're praying, who you're praying to. And how about this for starters, how about coming before the Lord sometime and saying, I know that you are the Lord who stretches out the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth. You see, in your mind, you're painting the most accurate picture of God. There's nothing too hard for you. You stretch out the heavens. Next time you're worried about something, remember who you're speaking to. You're not speaking to Aunt Matilda. You're not speaking to a politician, who's going to pat you on the back, give you nice promises. You're talking to the Lord who stretches out the heavens.

Check out the heavens sometime. Go outside and see what you can see of the stars above you. Look at the Milky Way galaxy, and notice that there are a hundred billion-- you can't notice that, but believe me, there's 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. And that the Milky Way galaxy is in the corner of the universe attached to 100 billion, at least, other galaxies. The Milky Way galaxy is about 100 light years in diameter.

We've told you what that means. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. Strap yourself to a beam of light, travel for 100,000 years. You have traversed the Milky Way galaxy. You've gone six trillion miles. Six with, what is it? 12 zeros after it? That's just the Milky Way. There's a hundred billion-- there are more galaxies than people who ever inhabited the earth. Your God did that. He stretched out the heavens. The Bible says he measures it with the span of his hand. That's about six inches to God. He's big.

God, I'm worried about this event, this trial, this surgery, this relationship. But I'm human Lord. You stretched out the heavens. There's nothing too hard for you. You laid the foundations of the earth. He made all things, and by Him, all things consist, or are held together. He holds the universe together. And He forms the spirit of man within him. He gave life to you. If He gave life to you, if he made your body, He knows what it takes to make it work best. And there's nothing beyond His power. He could heal you like [SNAPS] that. He could restore that which He has created and given breath to, like the man we read about this morning. If you are willing, you can make me clean. I know who you are, You can do this. You could pull it off. No one else I know could do that. You can make me clean.

He forms the spirit within man. The Mormons have an interesting doctrine. They tell us that you, all of us, preexisted in spirit form in heaven before we were born, and that we were sent to this earth on a trial basis. And so your life is a trial basis. If you're a good Mormon in the trial basis, you will be rewarded in the future by having-- if your marriage is celestially sealed in the temple in Salt Lake City, sanctioned by the Mormon church-- this testing ground, if you're good, you will eventually be able to repopulate your own planet and you will be God, or a god someday, in charge of your own planet.

If you're a bad Mormon, you will be the angels of those gods who are good Mormons, during the testing period, you'll be their angels. Now, I don't know, if you're not a Mormon, what that means, or how far the theology carries. But they believe that you are a disembodied spirit in heaven before you came to this earth and this is a trial period. But that's not what this text, or any other text that the Bible teaches. It means that God breathed life into you the moment you were conceived within the womb. When you came into this life, it was God who put the spirit of man within him.

Now, back to what we should be talking about. "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day, I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples who would heave it away. And all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all the nations of the earth are gathered against it." Now, we have already seen that in our own lifetime, that Jerusalem is becoming more and more a weight in the eyes of the United Nations, in the eyes of the world who are searching for quote unquote "a peaceful solution." The only nation that seems to stand in the way is Israel, in the minds of many people. It's becoming a burdensome stone.

Ever since the United Nations in 1947 and '48, the British surrendered the mandate of Palestine and Israel became a nation May 14th, 1948, she has never had peace nor has that part of the world ever been happy. Not that it was ever really happy before, but they have been less happy. They've tried to attack the nation of Israel in 1948. Israel didn't start the attack, the surrounding nations started the attack. And in the attack, Israel was sustained and expanded its borders. In 1967, in the Six Day War, Jordan, Syria, and others attacked. And at that time Israel said, don't attack, or if you do and we win, we're going to expand our borders even more, and they did. They took the West Bank at that time, which is under control of Jordan. They took it, they assumed it, and they spread their borders farther. Now, they didn't start the fight, but they were able to expand their borders.

Then 1973 on the Eve of Yom Kippur, the neighbors of Israel-- not neighbors, not friendly ones, the hostile ones-- attacked them once again. And again, especially in the Golan Heights in Syria, they pressed their borders further, almost to Damascus. And you can go up today on the Golan Heights just 20 miles from Damascus, and see the old Damascus road and just think, at one time, this was Syrian territory, and since '73, the borders are expanding.

But it's obvious that God's hand of covenant is upon that nation, not because the nation is spotless, not because the nation of Israel has not done anything wrong. They've blown it big time in many ways, but God has made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and so forth. He brought them back into the land and His hand is upon them. And notice that all the people who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces. Now, this should be a warning against any nation that wants to attack Israel.

Look at the nations of the past that have become the enemies of Israel. Once great empires, now a subservient role, at best, these nations play, and there is unrest in their borders. Every single nation that has come against Israel has lowered itself dramatically, in terms of world power. Now today, we're seeing an interesting thing that some people are calling the Islamic bomb that ties in the nations of the Middle East and the nations of the ex-Soviet Union together. There is a rise in Islamic fundamentalism. Iran, interestingly enough, sees herself as the leader to unite the Islamic countries, the brotherhood of Islam, to free the Middle East, and to free the world, it says, from Judeo-Christian power.

Rafsanjani of Iran has stated that since communism has fallen lately in many countries of the world, that Islam has become the number one world ideology. Now, he's correct. It's become the number one. It's the fastest growing ideology and religion on earth. It has replaced Marxism, he says, and their power is to free Jerusalem from the infidels, and to free the Middle East from the powers of the West. OK, what has Iran done with all of this philosophy? Well, just recently, it has purchased nuclear weapons from Kazakhstan, the fourth largest producers of nuclear weapons in the world.

And Kurchatov, a village outside of Moscow, they, so far, have recently, just this last month, purchased three nuclear warheads to the tune of $150 million to unite the Islamic brotherhood and to free Jerusalem, the infidels, and Judeo-Christian power. Also, Iran has recently hired 250 nuclear scientists, who were making, in the Soviet Union, about $10 a month, Iran is paying them $5,000 a month plus benefits. So they're quick to jump to it, to keep these warheads going as the isotopes wear off and they're unstable, and their half life is a factor in their potency. But they're on the rise.

And we're like, oh, great, the Soviet Union, man, it's dismantled. I think that part of the world is more dangerous now than ever before, principally because by the year 2000, over half of the people of that area, especially the southern republics, will be converted to Islam, at the rate that it's growing. Well, those kind of people that have nuclear weapons selling them to Iran, and with the unrest of Iraq and Syria, and you go on and on and on, against Israel, it's perfectly set up for an end time scenario.

The other day when I was in San Diego on my way out, I talked to Chuck Smith on the phone in Costa Mesa, where I came from. And Chuck was talking about the times and talking about his retirement possibly, and I said, Well, Chuck, I'm praying that God gives you a long, long time to go, and that Jesus Christ will come back very soon. He said, both of those are excellent possibilities, as I see the events of the world unfolding. It looks like He's right around the corner, that He could come at any moment, especially as we see the movement of the northern nations of Gog and Magog using the hook of Islam to come down upon Israel. As that talk begins to go on, you are at the brink of the Lord returning for His church. You're at the brink, according to the scripture. Let's go.

Verse 4, "in that day,' says the Lord, 'I will strike every horse with confusion, its rider with madness. I will open my eyes on the house of Judah. I will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness." And oh, I love verse 6, "in that day, I will make the governors of Judah like a fire pan in the woodpile." Zechariah was southern. "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.

The Lord will save the tense 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. In that day, the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And one who is feeble among them, in that day, shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, and the angel of the Lord before them in that day shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that came against Jerusalem."

If you could read the accounts of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and what went on in the Golan Heights, as a few Israelis withheld hundreds, and up to thousands, of Syrian troops. It's written down. It's been recorded. To this day, the Israeli officials believed that it was only the hand of God that could have sustained that kind of victory. And for some unknown reason, in the heat of the battle in the Golan Heights, radio Damascus told them that the Israelis were surrounding Damascus and about to take it. Well, the Israelis were some 60 miles out of Damascus, trying to just stay alive on the Golan Heights. But somebody got this wild hair and announced their radio and said, we're surrounded. And so they started retreating back to Damascus, giving the Israelis the chance to just walk in and take the Golan Heights.

There is a joke, in fact, that circulates the army of Israel. And that is, at one time when Israel was surrounded, that one man was in his bunker defending his country, and 50% of the enemies, the Assyrians, would come over to fight. And 50 were dispatched, and the one Israeli in his bunker took care of them. Another 50 was sent, and he took care of the other 50, and then another 50 was dispatched. But the leader came back quickly to the general and said, listen, man. Don't send those 50 extra over there. It's a trap. There are two of them, now one of them.

If you have read not only ancient history, but modern history of the warfare of Israel, you see that that's not that far from the truth. And then verse 9 is a heavy, heavy kind of a verse. "It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour on the House of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication, and they will look upon me, whom they have pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for his only son, and grieves for him as one grieves for a firstborn.

It's amazing, with the prophecies in the Old Testament, that the Jews today, many of them, do not see Jesus Christ in the prophecies of the Old Testament. God says, they'll look on me whom they have pierced. There is blindness in Israel due to the blindness of the religious leaders who are telling the people that the Messiah will not be the Son of God, but just a great political leader who will deliver them from the throes of their enemy. Of course, they are being set up for the antichrist, who will come in his own name.

The Bible says "blindness, in part," Romans 10, "has happened unto Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has gathered in," in the church. That's why we know, at the time that Israel recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, the church will be gone, because this is the time when her eyes are opened. But now, blindness, in part, has happened to Israel. When the full number of Gentiles will come in, the rapture of the church happens, the tribulation begins.

And God deals in the 70th week of Daniel with the nation of Israel and judgment for the world. There will be a time, toward the end of the tribulation, where they recognize this is the Messiah, and they will look upon Him, whom they, the nation, pierced. The words look on him should be better translated look to Him in faith, recognizing, as Jesus comes again to fight for them at the Battle of Armageddon, this is Jesus, the one we rejected, and they will look to Him in faith, the one that they have pierced.

"In that day, there will be a great morning in Jerusalem, like the morning of Hadad-Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 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, their wives by themselves, on and on and on. Chapter 13 speaks of the prophecy of the idols of the land and the idolatry that the land followed for years, being cut off by God's judgment and destroyed. And the prophets, the false prophets, the false shepherds being dealt with.

Verse 4, "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 course hair to deceive." What does that mean? Elijah is like the father of all the prophets to the Jews. And when he prophesied, he wore a coarse skin of hair around his body. And prophets kind of like to be in. It's like, well, he's the big prophet, let's wear skins that are course as well. We'll be tough so we'll wear one, and identify them as prophets. Even the false prophets dressed like true prophets so that people would think they were true prophets.

That's how false prophets are today. They're wolves in sheep's clothing. A false prophet isn't going to walk to your door and say, excuse me, I am a false prophet. In fact, I'm your local neighborhood false prophet. Listen, I wondered if I could have an hour of your time to deceive you, just so I could lead you astray. Do you mind? Most of these false prophets don't even know that they are leading people astray, and they come in sheep's clothing. They look like a sheep. They carry the same books that sheep carrying, but they're wolves in sheep's clothing, leading them astray.

God predicts that those in Israel would be cut off. "'Awake,' verse 7, 'oh sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is my companion,' says the Lord. 'Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered. And I will turn my hand against the little ones, and it shall come to pass in all the land,' says the Lord, 'that 2/3 of it, or 2/3 in it shall be cut off and die. One third shall be left in it, and 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. I will answer them. I will say, this is my people, and each one will say, this is my God.'"

The first part of this prophecy, I believe, refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans as a result of the nation rejecting their Messiah. "Strike the shepherd." The word in Hebrew means strike to death the shepherd and the sheep will scatter. Matthew, again, uses this text to refer to his disciples fleeing at the time that Jesus is taken and crucified. The disciples scattered, the nation was scattered as a result. Jesus, again, wept over Jerusalem, as he foresaw the destruction, because they missed their day, spoken of by Daniel and Zechariah.

They missed it. They missed the prophecies. Now judgment will come upon them. The shepherd will be struck. The sheep will be scattered. They will be scattered into all the nations of the earth, because of what Titus did in 70 AD, and the Romans, in taking Jerusalem and taking the Jews out of their land, destroying the temple, making a new city called Aelia Capitolina, the city of the gods. Hadrian becomes the emperor. The Jews do not see their land for almost 2,000 years until May 14th, 1948, and there is an exodus back into the land. It says, "strike the shepherd, the sheep will be scattered."

Now again, there's something interesting for you Jewish history buffs. The Jewish Talmud, excuse me, the Babylonian Talmud-- there's two of them, Babylonian and Jerusalem. The commentaries that the Jewish sages have written on the law, the Babylonian Talmud notices that there are prophecies in the Old Testament that predict a suffering messiah, and that there are prophecies that predict a glorious messiah. Well, they were looking into the future. They had no idea what that meant, except they started believing that there would be two messiahs, a suffering one and a glorious one. Though many Jews don't even know that today, or many rabbis keep it quiet. They say, oh, that's just the past. We know that's not true. There'll be a political leader who'll bring in a reign.

But there are so many predictions about the messiah suffering, like this one, that the old sages believed, refer to the messiah, but couldn't figure out how it would work. Of course, now we know, after the resurrection, don't we? The shepherd was smitten. The sheep were scattered. Jesus rose from the dead and will come back again, the same one who was smitten and killed rose again and will come back to the nation in glory.

The next several verses in chapter 13 seem to describe, or at least intimate, the suffering of Israel during the tribulation period, before the Messiah comes back a second-- He's been smitten, the nation has been scattered. The 70th week of Daniel deals with the nation of Israel. And it seems to intimate, in verses 8 and 9, that one in three will survive during the tribulation period. Of course, if you read the Book of Revelation, it's no surprise to you, is it? In chapter 6, there's a fourth of the horsemen of the apocalypse. The horseman is death, and Hades follows behind him. It's given power to him to kill one fourth of the population of the earth.

Then in chapter 9, the locusts rise out of the abyss, these demon hordes. And they start killing different people, and a third of those who have been left over are killed, which is about half of the population. Then there's plagues that occur, and a vast array of judgments, as vials are poured out and trumpet judgments occur. And this could be a reference to one in three Israelis surviving during that time, and the third is the remnant, or the portion left over, the 144,000 of the Jews in the nation of Israel. So, possibility.

Now, chapter 14, last chapter of the book. And my Bible has a heading that says The Day of the Lord. It's a great chapter. It speaks about the final conflict of which Messiah will reign and rule in the earth. It's no doubt a reference to the Battle of Armageddon. When Jesus comes back the second time, it won't be gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon this little child. It will be Jesus with "a sword drawn," Revelation 19, "his vesture dipped in blood." Isaiah 61 says it's the blood of his enemies, not his own blood. "He will come with 10,000 of His saints with him." We will have already been with the Lord so that when he comes back, we'll come back with Him.

"He takes judgment upon, or vengeance upon, the enemies that have gathered together against Israel. Behold, the day of the Lord is coming your spoil will be divided in your midst. I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem. The city shall be taken, the houses rifled, the women ravished. Half of the city will go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. And the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle." And I refer you again to Revelation chapter 19 to see that event.

"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." It's an awesome thing to stand on the Mount of Olives and think about these things. I've told you before that there's a church that claims to have a footprint of Jesus when he ascended into heaven. It's preserved there.

And you go in there and you can see it, put your money in the donation basket. You can see the very footprint that Jesus ascended into heaven from. The only problem with that is there's three churches that claim to be the spot where Jesus ascended into heaven. And all of them are wrong, because the New Testament says he went as far as Bethany, the other side of the Mount of Olives, where he ascended. So if they would continue reading their Bibles, they would see that those churches exist for no reason, in terms of why they were there.

But Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives. He will descend, in His second coming, upon the Mount of Olives. Remember the angel, when the disciples are looking up and gazing into heaven, he said, men of Galilee, why do you stand there gazing into heaven? The same Jesus, who was taken up before you, will come in like manner. He left visibly, bodily. From the Mount of Olives he'll return visibly, bodily. His feet will touch the Mount of Olives.

A seismologist scientist from Stanford University has reported that there is a fault line running under and through the Mount of Olives. And they call it a hot spot, it's ready to burst at any moment. It is waiting for a very strategic footprint that will break that fault and cause an earthquake. Revelation 16, I believe, speaks about that earthquake that will happen in Jerusalem. That thing will split into. It will make a huge valley, it speaks about in the next several verses. Verse 5 says, "yes, you will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, the king of Judah. Thus, the Lord my God will come." I love that, the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with you. Jesus is God.

"It shall come to pass in that day there will be no light. The lights will diminish. It will be as one day. It shall be one day, which is known to the Lord neither day or night, but at evening time, it shall happen, and it will be light. And in that day, it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea, half of them toward the western sea. In both summer and winter, it shall occur, and the Lord shall be King over all the earth. And in that day it shall be the Lord is one and His name is one."

Living waters will flow from Jerusalem. Ezekiel described that in chapter 47. John describes it in Revelation, I think, chapter 22, that stream that flows from the throne of God. And as I put all of the passages together in my own mind, it seems that to the right side of the altar on the Temple Mount, in the new temple that will be built in Jerusalem, that from underneath it, there will be a spring of water that goes up toward the Kidron Valley. And at that place, it will bifurcate. It will split in two. One will go down to the Dead Sea, one will go out to the Mediterranean Sea. There'll be fruit upon the tree of life with healing for the nations, and living waters will flow from Jerusalem, from that place.

Of course, we know that in Jerusalem, not far from the same area, you have the Temple Mount. And right to the right of that, at the base of the mountain, is called the Gihon Spring, the water source that fed Jerusalem since the time that predates David, from the time of Abraham. The Gihon Spring comes out of the water, out of the ground, provides water for Jerusalem. Hezekiah built a 1,700 foot tunnel toward the southwest from the Gihon Spring into Jerusalem. And he did it so that you could have a collecting pool of water so that you wouldn't have to go outside the city wall to get your water during a siege.

The pool, where it ended up, is called the Pool of Siloam. If you ever go with us to Israel, and if it's safe to go down in the Kidron Valley, we'll take you to the Gihon Spring, where Solomon was anointed king, where David was anointed king. We'll open the latch gate and we'll take you and we'll walk you through Hezekiah's tunnel by candlelight. It's about six feet tall in some places. Some places, it's about 3 and 1/2 feet tall. You have to duck, there's water, and it's absolutely pitch black. But if you keep walking, you'll get out. You don't want to turn back.

And you can walk through the tunnel that Hezekiah commanded to be built, one on this side, one on the other side, and they met right perfectly in the middle. And you will end at the Pool of Siloam, which was strategic in Jesus' time. A man was healed at that pool. But it could be that somehow the Gihon Spring will surface and there will be a huge water source that the Lord develops from the Gihon Spring, and it will go from the temple toward the western sea and toward the eastern sea.

All right, we have very little time to finish this up. Speaks about people dwelling in it. Verse 11, "there no longer shall be utter destruction. Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited." Verse 12, "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 tongue shall dissolve in their mouths." Many have pointed out that this could refer to neutron bomb explosion, which is designed to melt and to kill flesh and to leave property intact.

"It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the Lord shall be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor and raise his hand against his neighbor's hand. Judah shall also fight in Jerusalem, and the wealth of all the surrounding nations"-- and I can't help but thinking about the oil producing nations in that part of the world-- "shall be gathered together, gold, silver, and apparel, in great abundance." Now verse 16, "it shall come to pass that everyone who is left, of all the nations who 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.

And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, that the Lord of Hosts, on them, there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain. They shall receive the plague, which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. In that day, holiness to the Lord shall be engraved on the bells of the horses."

Remember what that means, holiness of the Lord? Where did we first find that? On the golden plate that the high priest wore. On his turban, it said, holiness unto the Lord. It was reserved only for the high priest. The bells of the horses in the kingdom age will have that same inscription. The pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem, in Judea, and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord. Perfectly kosher pots. 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."

In the kingdom age, after the Battle of Armageddon is finished, there will be people from the nations that were defeated by the Lord, nonmilitary personnel, living in the nations of the world that came against Jerusalem, will no doubt survive. The tribulation leftovers that come to the kingdom age will be ruled with a rod of iron. You will be part of that episode, ruling them with a rod of iron on behalf of the Lord in the kingdom age. We will all go up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, which is around October. There were three feasts the Jews were commanded to keep that were essential feasts that every male, if possible, would go to Jerusalem for. Remember what they were? Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.

Passover referred to the deliverance from Egypt, the blood on the lintels and the doorposts. That feast was fulfilled when? When Jesus was crucified. He celebrated Passover with his disciples in the evening because the day, the Jewish day, begins at night. So he celebrated Passover. The very next day, after all of His going back and forth to Caiaphas and Pilate, he was killed on Passover at that season as the Passover lamb, who takes away the sins of the world. That feast was fulfilled.

Second feast was Pentecost, 50 days after Passover, where the first fruits of the Lord, the first fruits of your harvest were taken before the Lord and He was worshipped. You go through your fields, take the corner of the wheat, bundle them up in sheaves, and you'd wave them before the Lord. A great feast, you just wave that thing and say, Lord, you've given me abundance in the land. The first of this is yours. When was that fulfilled? Acts chapter 2, when the day of Pentecost had fully come. They were all gathered together in the upper room. The Holy Spirit came. They spoke with tongues. It was cloven tongues of fire. 3,000 people were saved. It was the Feast of First Fruits. The First Fruits of the church in gathering on Pentecost that would typify the end gathering for centuries and centuries.

But there is one feast unfulfilled. That's the Feast of Tabernacles. The children of Israel celebrated the fact that God kept them through the wilderness for 40 years, gave them provision, water, manna, and brought them into a new land. They would celebrate it by erecting booths that they would live in. The wilderness was over. They've entered into the new land that God promised. That feast prophetically is yet unfulfilled.

I believe it has its fulfillment in the future with the coming of the Lord. Not the rapture of the church, as some have suspected. OK, in 1988, Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus is coming back. We don't know the day or the hour of His return for the church. Daniel gives us the exact time of the second coming during the tribulation. If you happen to be in the tribulation, which I don't plan to be. But if for some reason you do and God grants your wish, then from the abomination of desolation, you'll be able to count off the 1,260 days and you'll know exactly when Jesus returns. And I believe His return will be in fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, either on that time or the fulfillment of that in His second coming, the Feast of Tabernacles.

We don't know exactly, but that is one feast that is unfulfilled. And you can see how it would be fulfilled, after being in the long wilderness of the sinful world, to be delivered into the kingdom age at his coming. When He defeats his enemies and reigns, and as it says, the Lord will be Lord over all the earth. There are many gaps that I wish I could fill, but for lack of time-- that are in Zechariah that are prophetic-- I won't do that. But some of those gaps have been filled in our study of Daniel and the Book of Revelation, which we've covered, I hope, more in depth.

Additional Messages in this Series

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Zechariah 1-3
Zechariah 1-3
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Zechariah 4-7
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Zechariah 8-10
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