God Remembers

Posted: November 1, 2015 in Route 66, Zechariah

Route 66: Zechariah, “God Remembers”

Do you know what it is to be forgotten?  Maybe you know what it’s like to be the last kid picked for the soccer team, or found yourself sitting alone while your supposed-ride is nowhere to be seen.  There’s that sinking feeling in our gut when we know we’ve been forgotten, and it can be difficult to shake.

Some people feel that way with God.  They look at their lives & believe God has forgotten them.  After all (they think), why would things be happening to them the way they are, if God knew about them & remembered them?  They feel alone and abandoned.  Yet the good news of the Bible is that Jesus promises that He will be with His disciples, even to the end of the age.  God promises that He will neither leave nor forsake His people.  God doesn’t forget – God remembers.

That’s the message Zechariah conveys to his own people living in the ruined city of Jerusalem.  Because of their disobedience, God sent them into 70 years of Babylonian captivity, and they had recently returned home.  Yet once they got there, they immediately experienced challenges, and it caused them to wonder what was going on.  Had God forgotten them?  Had He left them to perish?  No.  And God spoke through Zechariah to assure them that He remembered.

At first glance, some might wonder why a book with 14 chapters is included as one of the “Minor” Prophets.  It certainly is a change from the 2-3 chapter books the Minor Prophets are known for.  A closer look, however, shows a perfect placement within the OT canon.  Zechariah and Haggai were contemporaries of one another, writing about much of the same subjects, with some of their writings overlapping only by a period of months.  When God spoke to His people at that time, it was a 1-2 punch (lovingly speaking), first through Haggai & then through Zechariah.  He definitely wanted His people to get the point!

It makes sense then, that the background to Zechariah is much the same as it is for Haggai.  Zechariah was writing to the post-exilic Jews who had become discouraged in the process of rebuilding the Jerusalem temple.  When the Jews were first sent out of Babylon by the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4), a group of 42,000 men (not including women and children) took up the journey back to Jerusalem, led by the Jewish governor Zerubbabel.  They immediately began the process of rebuilding the altar of sacrifice & laid the foundation for the temple, but quickly ran into resistance.  While they worked through these issues, apathy seemed to set in & they allowed 18 years to pass while they got into the habits of their own daily lives.

That’s when God raised up men like Haggai & Zechariah.  With Haggai, God gave 4 messages over the period of 4 months, and then Haggai disappears from the scene.  It was a call-to-arms – a kick in the pants to get moving again and a reminder of the disobedience that caused their exile to Babylon in the 1st place.  With Zechariah, it’s similar, but more extensive.  Once again, God does exhort His people to get moving again in regards to the temple, but He also goes to great lengths to assure them that He has not forgotten them.  God had a vast plan in mind for His people, and He wanted His people to know that He knew about it.

Zechariah’s own name is interesting in this regard.  His name literally means “the LORD remembers.”  God remembers His promises to His people.  He had not forgotten about them during the 70 years of captivity.  He had not forgotten about them in the 18 years of their apathy.  He had not forgotten about them at the present time, and He would never forget them in the future.  He remembered His covenant promises made to David & the whole nation of Israel, and God would see those promises come true.  He would not only preserve His people during the current years, but He would send the Promised Messiah to them.  In fact, the Messiah would come not just once, but twice.  First, He’d be rejected – but later He would come in victory, and all of Israel would see Him for who He truly is.  The future kingdom of Israel is a kingdom that would extend over all the world, and everyone would come and worship the King – the Messiah – the Lord God Himself in the midst of His people.

So much of Zechariah’s prophecy is dedicated to the Lord Jesus, which makes it interesting that it is so unknown among NT Christians.  In Zechariah, we see Jesus as combined King and Priest of Israel (6:12-13).  We see the prophecy of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilled during the Triumphal Entry (9:9).  We see the prophecy of Jesus being betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, later thrown into the temple (11:12-13).  We see the prophecy of Jerusalem mourning for the one they had pierced (12:10).  We see the (yet to be fulfilled) prophecy of Jesus’ return upon the Mt. of Olives, with it splitting in two (14:4), as well as the prophecies of the nations of the world coming to worship Jesus in Jerusalem (14:16).  This truly is a Messianic book!

It is also an apocalyptic book.  Typically, when we think of books of eschatology, we think of Revelation, Ezekiel, and Daniel – but Zechariah sits among them.  There are all kinds of symbolic images given, with a glimpse into God’s plan for the end times.  In fact, some of the prophecies of Revelation get some of their own imagery from the prophecies of Zechariah.

In addition to these things, some of the other themes that have been recurrent through the other prophets arise again here.  Once more, God is shown to be the God over all the nations; not just Israel.  Again, God is shown to be faithful to His promises – we have confidence for future things because God has been faithful in past things.  Again we see the dual characteristics of God as the Righteous Judge & God as the Merciful Deliverer – He is both, without contradiction between the two.  All in all, everything the Bible has already proclaimed about God is once more on display, but this time with a specific focus on the Messianic future in store for Israel.

As always, scholars have different thoughts on how to divide the book.  Generally speaking, there are two primary sections, which would seem to be readily divided based upon the specific dates included in the Scripture.  As with Haggai, Zechariah also writes down the precise dating for at least some of his prophecies – and that’s a natural place to draw a line.

  • The Night Visions (1-6)
  • The Question of Fasting (7-8)
  • The Future Messiah (9-14)

Because of the difference in style between 1-6 & 7-14, some scholars argue that there is more than one author responsible for the book.  However, that seems to be an unnecessary argument.  Not only does the subject change between the break (from visions to more standard oracles), but there’s also a date change – with perhaps more time passing between Ch 8&9.  It only makes sense that writing style changes a bit over the years.  If it happens in our own speaking style, why would it not take place with the prophets?  All in all, it seems best to take the one Zechariah son of Berechiah as the single author of the entire book.

The Night Visions
Introduction (1:1-6)
The book begins (like many others) with a brief introduction of the prophet, and a general purpose statement.  Again, as with Haggai, Zechariah lists the very specific date that he received the prophecy: “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius…”  This isn’t yet quite as precise as Haggai (though it’ll get there), but it’s still a very detailed account.  In fact, in comparison with Haggai, this first word comes to Zechariah merely 2 months after Haggai’s own introductory word from God.  18 years have passed since the foundation of the temple was laid upon the Jewish return, and things have been dormant.  Apparently, God had been as silent as the people.  But now He speaks loudly!  First through Haggai, now through Zechariah – barely 8 weeks apart.

  • When God wants to get our attention, He knows how to do it.  How often have you found yourself reading your Bible & convicted by something, only to hear a similar message preached in church or on the radio, or followed up by a conversation with someone else about the same subject, etc.  That’s God the Holy Spirit getting our attention.  When He speaks, listen up!

As for the ancient Jews, what God was speaking to them was for them to repent.  Zechariah 1:3, "(3) Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts."  The people knew that God had been angry with them in the past – that was the whole reason they experienced the Babylonian Captivity.  But now that time was done.  It was now time to repent – time to turn back to God.  And if they did, they could be sure God would turn back to them.  God had been righteous & just in His judgment of their forefathers (1:6), but now was the time they could experience His mercy.  All that was needed was a turning – a repentance.

  • The same is true for anyone!  People so often walk far away from God, but the good news is that no matter how far we’ve walked, God is only one step away from us.  All that’s needed is that we turn.  To repent is to change our mind & our direction.  Once we walked towards sin; now we turn around & face God in humility.  That was the open invitation from God to Jerusalem, and that is His open invitation to us, as well.
  • If you’re waiting to repent, what are you waiting for?  What could possibly be so good about your sin that you would rather forsake the God who made you & who loves you?  Christian or non-Christian, we let sin get in the way of our relationship with God.  Either sin is a stumbling block for the Christian, or it’s the evidence of no relationship with God whatsoever for the non-Christian.  The solution is the same: repentance & faith in Jesus Christ.  Don’t wait!  Do it tonight!

Vision #1: Horses (1:7-17)
Time passes, but not much.  It’s now the 11th month of the same year, and this time Zechariah marks the actual date as the 24th.  It’s now been exactly 2 months to the day following Haggai’s last message (Haggai 2:10,20), and Zechariah receives a series of 8 visions in the middle of the night.  Were they dreams – or was Zechariah already awake, and received visions as if in a trance?  We don’t know.  He doesn’t give too many details concerning himself…apparently, he was consumed by all the details in the visions themselves.  It was a busy night!

The first vision has imagery familiar to students of the Book of Revelation, as Zechariah saw various colored horses.  Only 3 are described (as opposed to 4), the colors being “red, sorrel, and white,” (1:8).  Sorrel = a kind of ruddy brown, perhaps even speckled.  Technically, Zechariah did see a 4th horse – another red one, but this one had a rider.  The four of them were standing among myrtle trees.  Thankfully, that wasn’t all Zechariah saw, as there was also an angel from God who was able to explain the vision to him. (And he wasn’t the only angel – the Angel of the LORD was also there! 1:11-12)  Apparently, these horses had been sent by God to patrol the earth, and reported back that everything was quiet.

Although it seems like a strange vision, it would have been comforting to the Jews!  After all, it was terrible war & conquest that sent them into captivity.  Now things had settled somewhat.  Although the world was never completely without war, it was peaceful enough for the Jews to be resettled in the land.  It was this message of encouragement that God wanted to pass along to the Jewish people, and Zechariah describes the Lord talking with “good and comforting words” (1:13).  God had used the nations of the world, but He was angry with them because they had been evil (1:15).  Now, God affirms that it was His will that the Jews be in Jerusalem, and specifically tells them to reestablish His temple (1:16).  He had chosen His people, and He promised to comfort them in their home (1:17).

  • Do you ever remember being comforted by your parents after their discipline was complete?  Not every parent does it, but children need to be reminded that even though we have to discipline them, we still love them.  That’s basically what God does here with Israel.  He had to judge them, but He tells them He never stopped being their God.  He still loves them & still has a plan for them.
  • Just because God might discipline us doesn’t mean He’s stopped loving us.  On the contrary; it’s those whom God chastens that He loves (Heb 12:6).  Don’t give up on God; He hasn’t given up on you.

Vision #2: Horns (1:18-20)
The 2nd vision features 4 horns – generally a symbol of national power or kingdoms.  There had been 4 horns that scattered the kingdoms of Israel & Judah all over the earth (perhaps a reference to Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and the Persians).  If the prophecy is looking more towards the future, then it might be a reference to Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.  Whoever the nations actually are, God had already provided His answer to them.  Opposed to the 4 horns were 4 craftsmen that God used to terrify them (1:20).  The basic idea is that although the Jews had many enemies, God is greater than all.  His plan for them would not be turned aside.

  • God’s will is always going to be accomplished.  Not a single promise of His will fail!

Vision #3: Measuring Line (2:1-13)
The next thing Zechariah saw was a man sent to measure out the dimensions of Jerusalem.  It was going to be so big that “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it,” (2:4).  Why?  Because God Himself will be their wall (2:5).  God promised to dwell in their city and protect them.

Out of this promise, God calls out to the Jews who remained scattered among the nations of the world to come back. Although well over 50,000 Jews initially returned, that was just a small percentage of the Jews who had left the land.  God was (and is!) calling His people home.  The Jews was considered the apple of God’s eye (2:8), speaking of the special attention He gave them.  He loved His people, and promised that the other nations of the world will one day serve Israel during the new Kingdom.  More than that, some of those other nations would even join with Israel & also be known as the people of God (2:11 – perhaps a reference to the Church).  But once more, the point is made that God chose the Jews; He was not abandoning them now.

Vision #4: The Priest (3:1-10)
In the next vision, Zechariah saw someone he knew: Joshua the high priest.  Joshua seemed to be on trial, and he was in front of two other beings: (1) the Angel of the LORD, i.e. the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus, and (2) Satan.  Satan was opposing Joshua, likely accusing him of some past sins that might perhaps invalidate his ministry.  But God was not silent in the face of Satan’s accusations.  God rebuked the devil, and reiterated His own choice.  Joshua was “a brand plucked from the fire” (3:2) – he was one saved and redeemed by the Lord Himself.

At this point, Joshua’s filthy clothes were changed due to the forgiveness given him by God (3:4-5), and God “admonished” (3:6) Joshua to walk rightly in the future.  As he did so, Joshua was to expect another one to come: God’s “Servant the BRANCH.” (3:8)  This “Branch” would be used by God to “remove the iniquity” of the Jews (3:9) and restore the people to a right relationship with God.

  • Who is the Branch?  None other than the Lord Jesus!  This is exactly what Jesus did in His 1st coming with the Church, and what He will do in His 2nd Coming with Israel.

Vision #5: The Lampstand & Olive Tree (4:1-14)
In the 5th vision, Zechariah sees a large menorah (7 stemmed lampstand) in between two olive trees.  Apparently the olive trees dripped oil directly into the lamp, providing it with a constant source of fuel.  Confused by the imagery, Zechariah asked the angel about it, who gave him a very specific word from God as the interpretation: Zechariah 4:6–7, "(6) So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts. (7) ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” ’ ”" 

Remember the historical context: Zerubbabel’s leadership of the people had become bogged down by opposition to the temple reconstruction.  It would have been easy for Zerubbabel to get discouraged, wondering how he could now pick up the work again, as he knew he was supposed to do (from the previous messages of Haggai & Zechariah).  God’s word to Zerubbabel is that it wasn’t in his own power that he needed to trust, but in the power of God.  Did Zerubbabel face great opposition?  Yes.  But that opposition was nothing in comparison to the power of God.

Once Zerubbabel finished the project, the completion itself would be a witness to the power of God (4:9).  The temple building might appear outwardly to be small & insignificant, but it’s only the prelude to something much better.  The returning Jews would have felt as if they were in the “day of small things” (4:10), but it was only the beginning.  God had something truly grand in store – but they needed to trust Him for it.

Vision #6: The Flying Scroll (5:1-4)
Next, Zechariah sees a rather large scroll flying through the air.  It’s described as being 20 cubits x 10 cubits, which is approximately 32 feet X 17 feet.  Imagine something longer than two sedans (and about twice as wide as one) flying in front of your eyes…as a scroll, it surely has a lot to say!  And it does.  The scroll contained “the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth,” (5:3).  God knows all the sins of all the people everywhere, and they will be held to account.

Vision #7: Woman in a Basket (5:5-11)
In the 7th vision, wickedness is personified as a woman, who is sitting in a basket & taken off to Shinar/Babylon (5:11).  Although wickedness and sin had previously been rampant in Israel, it was being removed by the Lord as He restored His people.  Babylon was the appropriate place for such sin, and that’s where it was symbolically carried.

Interestingly, a sinful woman (a harlot) is described in the Book of Revelation, and she was known as Mystery Babylon (Rev 17:5).  Although there may not be a direct tie with Zechariah’s vision, his imagery and description certainly may be an influence in Revelation.

Vision #8: Chariots (6:1-8)
In the final vision, Zechariah sees 4 chariots, each pulled by different colors of horses: red, black, white, and dappled.  The angel specifically interprets these as being four spirits from heaven sent to walk to & fro throughout the earth (6:6-7).  Like the earlier horses, they seem to patrol the earth.  The idea is that God is aware of all the goings-on of the world – there is nothing that escapes His attention.  God had His hand of protection upon Israel.  There would be no sneak attacks from north or south or anywhere else.  His people could rest in the protection He provided for them.

Crowning the Priest (6:9-15)
The visions have ended, and now Zechariah receives a command from the Lord.  He is to make a new priestly crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the high priest (6:11).  As he did so, this Joshua would represent a Greater-Joshua, Someone still to come.  This would be the “BRANCH” (6:12), just as Zechariah had seen earlier in his visions.  Just as the Jews were now rebuilding the temple, the Branch would build a new temple – a glorious temple.  When He did, He would sit not only as High Priest, but as King (6:13).  This would have been forbidden for the Joshua of Zechariah’s day, as priests came from the tribe of Levi, while kings came from the line of David.  Yet for Jesus, this is the expectation.  As the book of Hebrews shows, Jesus serves as Priest from a different lineage (Melchizedek); He alone is King & Priest at the same time!

What is God doing?  He’s causing His people to continue to look forward to the Messiah.  They were back in the land, doing the will of God, but things would have looked pathetically small in comparison to what they had in the days of David and Solomon.  God is reminding them there is a wonderful future in store, one that God Himself had promised.  God hadn’t forgotten His promises, nor had He forgotten His people.  He would indeed send the Messiah, and His people would live in the Messianic Kingdom.

The Question of Fasting
The Problem of Past Fasts (7:1-14)
Two years past before the next prophetic word is given to Zechariah, and it comes in response to a question the people asked the prophets and priests about fasting.  The people had a tradition of mourning & fasting during the 5th month (perhaps then, as today, in mourning the destruction of the temple).  Now that they were back in the land, they wondered if they needed to keep doing it.  So they ask the question, and God responds.

First of all, God calls them out on their motives.  When they did in the past, did they really do it for God? (7:6)  They went through rituals, but they never followed through in obedience.  Why would God honor that kind of fast?  If they were going to mourn & fast, they ought to do it in sincerity & follow through.  Zechariah 7:9–10, "(9) “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother. (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.’"  THAT’s what God wanted; not mere ritual.  God isn’t impressed by ritual…He never is.

As for the Jews, God had seen their disobedience, and that’s why they ended up as Babylonian captives in the 1st place (7:11-14).  But God had something different in mind for His people, as seen in Ch. 8…

God’s Desire for Jerusalem (8:1-17)
It wasn’t that God was perpetually angry with His people.  God was “zealous for Zion” (8:2) – He promised to “dwell in the midst of Jerusalem” (8:3) – He promised His marvelous salvation for them (8:6-7).  They could take courage because God had no plans to treat the current generation of Jews as He had treated their fathers in the past (8:11).  He was “determined to do good to Jerusalem” (8:15).  All God asked is that they truly behave as His people.  Zechariah 8:16–17, "(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; (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.”"

It wasn’t complicated.  Stop sinning!  Act like the redeemed people God had called them to be.  We could say the same thing.  What did Jesus boil it all down to: love.  Love God & love our neighbors.  Stop acting like the rest of the world, and act like the people He has saved us to be.  All the ritual in the world cannot replace a loving people sincerely seeking God in truth.

The Sincerity of Future Fasts (8:18-23)
God does get to the issue of fasting.  No matter what month it’s in (4th, 5th, 7th, 10th), they were to fast sincerely.  Yes fast, but “love truth and peace.” (8:19).  Israel was supposed to set an example for the rest of the nations of the world.  One day in the new Kingdom, all peoples will go to Jerusalem to seek God, because they will know that God dwells in the midst of His people (8:23).

The Future Messiah
God vs. Jerusalem’s Enemies (9:1-8)
The issue of Israel’s own sincerity in worshipping God addressed, in this last section, God reveals to Zechariah His plan for Israel’s future.  God has alluded to it already, but now goes into great detail about the coming King & Kingdom.  He begins first by looking to the present.  As we’ve seen many times through other prophets, God shows that He is aware of the sins of Israel’s neighbors, and God declares Himself to be against cities such as Damascus, Tyre, Sidon, and the cities of the Philistines.  God promises to cast them down, and set Himself up as Jerusalem’s personal protector.  He will “camp around” His own house (9:8), and be a wall for His own people.

The Coming King & God’s Salvation (9:9-17)
The Branch had been prophesied earlier to come not only as a priest, but as a king, and it’s His kingly role that is anticipated here.  The wording ought to sound familiar to every student of the gospels: Zechariah 9:9, "(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."  This is the prophecy directly fulfilled by Jesus during His Triumphal Entry of Jerusalem.  It demonstrates the humility in which the King would initially approach Israel, though His eventual kingdom would stretch from sea to sea (9:10).

Because of this King, God promised to restore the nation of Israel.  Both Judah and Ephraim (9:13) are raised up by God against their enemies (here, listed as Greece), and God promises to fight on their behalf.  Perhaps looking forward to the days of the Great Tribulation, God is seen in all His might as “the LORD of hosts” (9:15) defending & saving His people from physical destruction.  God promises to save them, and that is exactly what He does.

God’s Promise to Restore Israel (10:1-12)
In the process of this act of deliverance, God continues to call His people to repent.  They are to abandon idols & false prophets (10:2).  God would judge the false teachers among them (10:3), and He would personally strengthen His people to save them.  God reaffirms that He is “the LORD their God” (10:6) – not an outsider, not an idol – but the covenant keeping God of Israel who had not forsaken His people.  The people in that day will see the deliverance of God, and they will remember the One who remembered them (10:10,12).

God Rejected as Shepherd (11:1-17)
The false prophets were shepherds who ought to have been rejected, but God was one that ought to have been received.  But that’s not what happened historically.  God looks back to the sin of His people, and though He cared for the two nations (Israel & Judah) like a Shepherd with two staffs (Beauty & Bonds – 11:7), they did not want Him.  So God broke Himself off from them, like a contracted shepherd leaving a flock.  So much did they reject God, that it was as if they paid Him a pitiful amount for His wages…something that becomes incredibly specific prophecy in regards to Jesus.  Zechariah 11:13, "(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."

Time prohibits a thorough study, but this would seem to be an impossibly accurate prophecy regarding Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.  Yet it just goes to demonstrate that nothing is impossible with God.  Yes, Jesus was betrayed for 30 (not 29; not 31) pieces of silver.  Yes, the money was thrown (not placed; not given) into the temple.  Yes, the money was used for the potter (not any other purchase was made).  What God prophesied about Jesus came true.  To. The. Letter.

Ch 11 ends by looking at the future shepherd the people would receive.  Not the Lord; a worthless shepherd (11:17).  Potentially a reference to Antichrist.

Tribulation in Israel & Mourning for God (12:1-14)
Ch 12 goes on to talk about a time during which all the nations of the earth will go to war against Judah & Jerusalem – an obvious reference to the Great Tribulation.  God promises to personally defend His people (just as He does with Ezekiel’s battle of Gog & Magog), perhaps referring here to the future final battle at Armageddon.  Or perhaps this is Gog & Magog, or another battle against Jerusalem that takes place just prior to, or at the very beginning of the Great Tribulation.  As God brings about His great deliverance, the people look to Jesus in faith.  Zechariah 12:10, "(10) “And 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 whom 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."   Finally, they see Jesus as who He truly is, and they will be struck by the fact that they had rejected their Messiah for so long.

Israel Purified (13:1-19)
Their true conversion to Christ brings about a revival among the people, and they abandon false prophesies and teachers.  Those who used to make a living from false teaching will be ashamed of it.  Here, the tenor of the prophecy changes, moving from a narrative format back to poetic – indicating a shift in topics as well.  The True Shepherd is once again shown as having been rejected, as the historical picture moves from Jesus’ 2nd Coming back to His 1st.  The Shepherd had been initially struck & the sheep were scattered (13:7 historically fulfilled in Jesus & the disciples).  At the same time, there will be much death & destruction during the years of the Great Tribulation.  Revelation tells us that 144,000 Jews are sealed on their forehead specifically kept alive, but how many others will perish?  Zechariah prophesies that 2/3 perish, while 1/3 survive and are refined as silver & gold are refined through fire.  Still, at the end, the Jews truly call upon the name of God in faith, and are known as His people.

The 2nd Coming and the Kingdom (14:1-21)
The final chapter focuses in on the final day: the Day of the Lord.  Once more, a battle is described – a horrific battle in which all the nations come against Jerusalem & terrible atrocities take place.  God is described as going forth in battle, and when He arrives, He arrives in complete power & splendor…and with a physical body.  Zechariah 14:4, "(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."  Considering that God the Father is spirit, who is referenced?  The glorious Lord Jesus Christ.  This is His 2nd Coming as He arrives for (and finishes!) the Battle of Armageddon.  As He sets foot on Mt. Olivet, the mountain splits in two in an awesome display of the power of God on behalf of His people.  When God delivered Israel from Egypt, He split the waters of the Red Sea – when God delivers Jerusalem from Antichrist & the nations of the world, He’ll split the very rocks!

The victory Jesus brings at that moment is total, and Jerusalem is forever changed.  Living waters flow from the city, and it is known as the city from which God is “King over all the earth.” (14:9)  Jerusalem will be safe, while the enemies who fight against them on that day will experience a terrible plague & death.  Afterwards is the institution of the Millennial Kingdom.  All who are left alive come to Jerusalem “to worship the King, the Lord of hosts” (14:16).  It will be a pure kingdom – a holy kingdom – one in which everything & everyone is dedicated to the Lord.

Had the Lord forgotten His people?  Absolutely not!  He remembered every promise He made with them, and knew details about His covenant of which they had no idea.  The Jews needed to be encouraged to keep doing what they were doing, all the while trusting that God would do something great with it.

Christian, we can say much the same.  God has given us a work to do in the Great Commission.  Keep doing what you’re doing.  (And if you’re not doing anything, do something!)  Keep at it – don’t stop.  Don’t get discouraged when you don’t see results.  Don’t despise the day of small things.  You might not know how God is moving behind the scenes, but we can trust that whatever we do for the Lord (especially by His Spirit), that God will do something great with it.

Of course the greatest thing God is doing is moving forward in His ultimate plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.  One day Israel will see Jesus for who He is, and Jesus Himself will come back in incredible glory.  And we will be there!  All the saints will be with Jesus at His return (14:5)…that includes you & me.  How we look forward to that day – how we long for it!  It’s coming – just hold on.  God has not forgotten His promises.  God has not forgotten His people.  Soon, Jesus will call us home, and soon after we will accompany Him back to earth for His Kingdom.  Our God remembers His promises, and He will see it done!


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