Rejected Shepherd; Pierced King

Posted: November 12, 2017 in Uncategorized, Zechariah

Zechariah 11-12, “Rejected Shepherd; Pierced King”

It’s the classic question: “There’s good news and bad news, which do you want first?”  The version we choose might vary by the day, but quite often, that’s just how life goes.  There’s something good & something bad, but both are necessary to hear.

Whatever order we hear the news, it’s always better to have the good play out at the end, and that’s exactly the way it was for the Jews and Zechariah.  There was both bad and good on the way, but at least things wouldn’t end poorly…it would be wonderful, all to the glory of God.

Remember the context: Zechariah is one of the post-exilic prophets, writing on the heels of Haggai to the newly freed former captives of Babylon.  Jerusalem now had a contingent of Jews living there, and they were starting to rebuild their lives & culture as they rebuilt the temple of God.  It had taken them a while to get going with the process of reconstruction, but after receiving much encouragement through Haggai & Zechariah, they had finally gotten started.  Now in-progress, more oracles come to Zechariah for the people, and God reminds them of why they had experienced His judgment originally, as well as reminding them of the glorious future that awaited them.  There was a restored kingdom & Davidic King in their future, as well as promised victory over their enemies – they just needed to walk in humility and sincere worship in the present.  God’s promise to them was that He would walk among them, and He would ensure that His ultimate plan for them would come to pass…His word could be trusted.

All of that sounds like fantastic news, and it is!  Yet the book doesn’t end there.  The future was not entirely rosy for Israel, as they would once again fall into rebellion.  Historically speaking, we can pinpoint exactly when it happened: at the rejection of Jesus as their Messiah.  Would that terrible sin go unanswered by God?  Certainly not – there would be awful consequences that resulted.  The nation would experience terrible destruction, seemingly being cast away by God, turned over to their sin.  That’s the bad news.

The good news that it wouldn’t be the end.  Though Jesus was initially rejected as their Messiah, one day, He will be seen in faith as their King.  When Jesus comes back, all Israel will see Him for who He is, and all Israel will be saved.  That’s the good news.

Thus Zechariah 11 & 12.  The bad news and good news is shared: the Good Shepherd will be rejected, but the Pierced King will be welcomed.  The first day has already come to pass; we pray for the second to come soon!

Zechariah 11

  • Lament for destruction (11:1-3)

1 Open your doors, O Lebanon, That fire may devour your cedars. 2 Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, Because the mighty trees are ruined. Wail, O oaks of Bashan, For the thick forest has come down.

  • Poetic section opens the chapter.  The lands, trees, and forests surrounding Israel are to be destroyed.  Lebanon = the north, Bashan = northeast, Jordan (vs. 3) = north/south fertile river bank & basin.  If this is framed-out, it seems to surround the entire land of Israel.
  • The obvious question is: why the wailing?  What is the cause for the destruction & mourning?  The answer lies with which context is the reference for the prophecy/lament.  Does it belong with the end of Ch. 10, with the picture of the Lord moving through the lands surrounding the Mediterranean on behalf of Israel & their defense – or does it belong with the rest of Ch. 11 which speaks of a future destruction of Israel?  Arguments could be made for either position, but considering the “wailing shepherds” of vs. 3 in conjunction with the wailing trees of vs. 2, it seems better to interpret this in light of the other prophecies concerning shepherds found in the rest of Ch. 11. 
  • So why the wailing?  Because there is a destruction coming over the whole land.  God promises a mighty, victorious Israel in Ch. 10 – an Israel strengthened and protected by Almighty God.  But before that Israel is seen, another Israel will exist: one that is once more in rebellion against God, and facing another judgment.  Thus all the land laments what is yet to come. 
  • In vss. 1-2, the forests lament; in vs. 3, it is the shepherds…

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

  • Shepherds mourn their lost flocks, presumably eaten by lions.  They lost their “glory.”  Glory = magnificence/cloak.  Their sheep were their coverings – their pride.  Whatever happened, they were now ruined as all was lost.
  • None of this speaks well of Israel.  For all of the glorious things God promised in the future, there was also more tragedy and judgment that awaited.  It is detailed out in the drama of the next several verses.
  • Drama of the shepherds (11:4-17)  The slaughter of God’s flock (11:4-6)

4 Thus says the LORD my God, “Feed the flock for slaughter, 5 whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt; those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the LORD, for I am rich’; and their shepherds do not pity them.

  • It can be called a “drama” for the way God has Zechariah act later on.  For now, God gives instructions to fatten up the sheep – get them ready “for slaughter.
  • Why?  Because it’s the same way the current owners/shepherds of the land act towards their sheep.  They care nothing for their flocks; they are only interested in selfish profit.
    • How sad it is when a shepherd has no pity/compassion for the sheep with which he has been entrusted!
  • Because this is how the nation would choose to act, God would respond in kind.  Vs. 6…

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

  • If the shepherd and sheep of God were content to be fattened for the slaughter, then so be it.  God would “no longer pity the inhabitants” of Israel, and declared that He would “not deliver them” from their neighboring enemies.   In essence, God promised to give Israel over to her sin.
  • God has done the same thing with the nations as a whole.  His goodness and love and existence has been evidenced through all of creation, yet mankind chooses to ignore the testimony.  Instead of worshipping the Almighty God, we worship the things He has created, or even worse, ourselves.  Thus God has given mankind over to sin & death.  (Rom 1)
    • Is there hope of deliverance?  Not if we look to ourselves.  But absolutely, when we look to Christ!
  • All of this sets up the drama that God has Zechariah act out for Israel.  Israel would reject God’s true shepherd, thus earning their judgment & slaughter – and that will be graphically portrayed by the prophet.  Vs. 7…
  • Broken staves and dismissed shepherds (11:7-14)

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

  • Notice the 1st person “I” – this is Zechariah.  He plays the part of the chief shepherd, one who is despised by the nation.
  • His shepherding is not only seen in his work of feeding, but in the two staves he holds: “Beauty & Bonds.”  The interpretation of the names will be given later in the chapter.  Each staff serves a different purpose, related to the names.
  • As the chief shepherd, he has the right to fire those under him, and that’s exactly what he does…

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

  • As to the identity of the “three shepherds,” this is a subject of much debate.  Commentaries note that there are upwards to forty different interpretations, ranging from general descriptions to specific references of literal kings of the past.  Considering that Zechariah is giving prophecy dealing with the future, it seems that past kings of Israel and Judah can be ruled out, thus this is most likely speaking of something more general: perhaps the categories of prophets, priests, and kings – or elders, scribes, and priests.
  • Whoever they are, they are “dismissed” by God via Zechariah in the period of “one month.”  Whatever this judgment was, it happened quickly.  They “abhorred” the shepherd that had been given to them, and thus God’s judgment was upon them.

9 Then I said, “I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other’s flesh.” 10 And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD.

  • When the first staff is broken, it shows that the flock had fallen out of favor with God.  The name “Beauty” or “Favor/Grace” was symbolic of the covenant the people had with the Lord as their Shepherd.  Once they rejected Him, He turned them over to the natural consequences.  No longer would He feed them or care for them – instead, He would let them collapse under the weight of their own sin.
  • Question: When was this historically fulfilled?  Most likely, in 70AD when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, and during the following years when Jews were driven out of their homeland once again.  They had rejected Jesus as their Messiah, and they faced the terrible consequences of abandonment by God and removal of His covenant protections over them.
  • With the covenant broken, the relationship between shepherd & flock was dissolved, thus Zechariah asks for his severance.  Vs. 12…

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

  • There’s no small irony in the description of the “princely price.”  This was the price for a slave, and thus a pittance in comparison to what this shepherd was worth to Israel.  They had despised him, and showed their lack of gratitude with the “thirty pieces of silver.”  Zechariah took the worthless money, and threw it into the temple “for the potter.
  • What would seem to be a totally bizarre prophecy on its own found its absolute literal fulfillment in Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.  [Matthew 27:3-8] Matthew specifically shows this prophecy fulfilled, as he combines it with a prophecy from Jeremiah 19 regarding a potter’s field: Matthew 27:9–10, "(9) Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, (10) and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me.”"  What perhaps seemed obscure or bizarre to the original readers came literally true, exactly as the prophets wrote.  Notice the detail in Zechariah’s prophecy:
    • It is 30 pieces; not 29 – not 31.
    • It is silver; not gold or copper.
    • It is thrown; not placed in the temple.
    • It is thrown into the house of the Lord; not kept for profit, or placed anywhere else.
    • It was used to purchase a field; not used for temple supplies or for the poor.
    • The field had belonged to the potter; not any other occupation.
    • This is incredible detail!  How much can God’s word be trusted?  Down to the letter!
  • So we know ultimately, this is fulfilled in Jesus.  For the time being, it is acted out by Zechariah, as he prefigures it all.  Put it all together so far: as the chief shepherd, he was hated by the other shepherds, and by the flock.  The covenant relationship was broken, and he was rejected.  What comes next?  The final dissolution of their relationship. Vs. 14…

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

  • Earlier, the staff of “Beauty/Favor” was broken, symbolizing the broken covenant.  Now, the staff “Bonds/Union” is broken, which is specifically interpreted as the broken “brotherhood between Judah and Israel.”  Basically, this is a prophecy of how the reunited nation would be dissolved.
  • Keep the historical context in mind.  When Zechariah wrote, he was writing to a Jewish people only recently restored to the land of Israel after decades of Babylonian captivity.  Many prophecies had already been given of the restoration of the kingdom with a Davidic king ruling on the throne of Jerusalem.  For the Jews listening to/reading Zechariah, at this point, they probably would have assumed that they would proceed directly from their state now to the restored kingdom.  Instead, God tells them that they would once again be scattered.  They were in the land for now, but there would come a future day when they would be dispersed once more, the physical ties between south & north kingdoms being broken.
    • Did this happen?  Yes – again, after the wars with the Romans.  Between the siege of Jerusalem and the battles that followed, the Jews were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire.  Will it remain that way?  No.  There are too many other prophecies that remain of a restored Jewish kingdom, with many of them being given in Zechariah’s own writings.  This was to be a temporary scattering – one of which can be seen as being reversed even in our own present day!
  • So the righteous shepherd has been rejected, and the bonds of brotherhood broken.  There is yet another trial for Israel in the future through an evil leader yet to arise.  Vs. 15…
  • The worthless shepherd (11:15-17)

15 And the LORD said to me, “Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd. 16 For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.

  • To describe this person as a “foolish shepherd” is not to call him stupid, but evil.  He is wicked, uncaring for the sheep, even going so far as to brutally kill them for his own purpose.

17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd, Who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm And against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, And his right eye shall be totally blinded.”

  • The nation may have been turned over to this worthless shepherd for a time, but not forever.  Judgment would come to him as well, his strength and sight eventually taken away from him.
  • Who is this “worthless shepherd”?  Again, there is much debate, but it seems likely this is a reference to Antichrist.  Revelation 13:3-4 tells us how Antichrist will suffer a seemingly fatal wound, only to recover and be embraced by the world.  This is perhaps in reference to that event.
  • The good news is that this worthless shepherd will be soundly defeated.  When?  At the 2nd coming of the Good Shepherd, when Jesus comes in power and glory as the King of kings.  That is exactly what is described through the rest of the book…

Zechariah 12

  • The final message to Israel (12-14)  Prologue (12:1)

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

  • As the final series of prophecies opens, God is introduced in His power, might, and glory as the Creator God.  What follows might sound impossible to some, but nothing is impossible for the all-powerful God.  He created the heavens & earth, gives life to all men & women – there is no doubt that whatever He proclaims, He can bring to pass.
    • Never forget the power of the God we worship!
  • Although this is a new series of prophecies, the fact that it comes on the heels of Ch. 11 is surely no accident.  If Ch. 11 spoke of the rejection of the Messiah in His 1st Coming and the rise of Antichrist, Ch. 12 goes on to speak of the defeat of Antichrist and his armies, as well as the reception of Jesus as the Messiah at His 2nd Coming.  Ch. 12 is a perfect answer to Ch. 11. 
  • Jerusalem’s deliverance (12:2-9)  Besieged (12:2-3)

2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 3 And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.

  • Jerusalem will be a temptation to the nations for conquest – but it will be the place where the wine of God’s judgment will be poured out upon the world.  Though the nations of the world will try to harm God’s people, they will find they only harm themselves as God protects those whom He loves.  He may have removed His covenant protection from them for a time, but not for eternity.  God’s promises and gifts are irrevocable (Rom 11:29), and He will protect His people according to His word.  Though the nations rise up against Israel, He will act on their behalf.
  • BTW – note how “all nations of the earth are gathered against” Jerusalem.  Although that may be thought of as hyperbole, it seems more likely to be literal.  In the present day, the nation of Israel has very few allies around the world.  During the days of the Great Tribulation, she will have none.  What this means for the United States is unknown – either this nation will not exist, or it will have joined with the rest of the world in its opposition to Israel & to God, and it will thus face the same judgment as the rest of the world.
    • What does that mean for us?  (1) As born-again Christians, we will have been raptured by that point, and we will physically be with Jesus, citizens of His kingdom. (2) It means that we cannot trust that a national historical Christianity will continue into the future.  We’ve got a limited time to reach our fellow Americans with the gospel of Christ, so we’d better get to work!
  • How will the nations be cut to pieces as they war against Jerusalem?  God tells us…
  • The battle (12:4-6)

4 In that day,” says the LORD, “I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. 5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the LORD of hosts, their God.’

  • God will supernaturally protect His people bringing supernatural confusion upon the enemies of Israel.   Although we should not make one-to-one connection, there is to be a striking parallel between the description of this battle & that of Gog/Magog in the book of Ezekiel.  There too, a confederacy of nations comes against Jerusalem, only to be supernaturally thwarted by the intervention of Almighty God. (Eze 38-39)  As to the battle in Zechariah, it seems to be more likely a reference to the battle of Armageddon.  Either way, it certainly underscores how God will not allow His people to be destroyed.  He will act with supernatural wonders on their behalf.
  • Why?  Because He is a God of grace!  As God strikes Israel’s enemies with blindness, He opens His own eyes upon His people, looking on them with the grace and beautiful favor (“Beauty”) that was once broken/removed.  IOW, He gives them grace…
  • And this grace is recognized by the people!  The “governors of Judah” seemingly come to faith, recognizing the work of God among them. …

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

  • The day of battle will be fierce & fiery!  Like a blazing torch being waved among pine straw, so will Jerusalem overpower and overwhelm their enemies.  Those who attempt to force the people of Jerusalem from their city will be soundly defeated, and the Jews will forever dwell in a Jewish Jerusalem.
  • The victory (12:7-9)

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

  • Why Judah before Jerusalem?  It emphasizes that the victory does not come from the military or political genius of the national leaders; it comes from the Lord God alone.
  • In addition, all Judah will be saved; not Jerusalem alone.  Again, remember the historical context of Zechariah.  He was writing to a Jewish people restored to Jerusalem – there wasn’t exactly a lot of activity happening among other formerly Jewish cities at the time.  By saving the “tents of Judah first,” God emphasizes that this victory will belong with all of the Jewish people throughout the land; not in a singular city.
  • Again, this is a supernaturally-given victory.  Vs. 8…

8 In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. 9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

  • In that day,” God will strengthen His people!  The weakest among them will have the bravery of David, and “the house of David” will have even more strength – that of the “Angle of the LORD.”  And why not?  The house of David is continued by none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Angel of the Lord!  Of course, the context is more of a symbolic reference to the nation of Israel as a whole, pointing to a restored Jewish, Davidic kingdom, and yes – that nation will be strong.  God will strengthen His people, protecting them from every enemy that comes against them.
  • God always protects His people!  Objection: “I don’t feel very protected!”  If you are in Christ, you are.  For us today, in our own context, when we are protected by God, it doesn’t mean that we are exempt or immune from every trial and challenge.  Quite the opposite!  We are promised that we will face trials and tribulation.  We are guaranteed to face spiritual battles against the enemy of our soul.  But we are also guaranteed that God will never leave us nor forsake us.  Jesus will be with us until the end of the age.  We are guaranteed that we are secure in Christ, having our eternity wrapped up in Him, as we are sealed by the Holy Spirit Himself.  We are protected, for we are eternally protected in Christ!
  • Faith at the 2nd Coming (12:10-14)  Spiritual sight (12:10a)

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. …

  • The faith that was hinted at in vs. 5 is seen in its fullness in vs. 10.  After millennia of blindness, finally the spiritual scales will fall from their eyes as the Jews look upon Jesus in faith, seeing Him as Lord!  Who will they see: “Me, whom they pierced.”  Manuscripts vary as to whether the pronoun is “me” or “him/the one,” but the context leaves no doubt as to the reference.  This is Jesus!  This is the One whose hands and feet were pierced by the Jews as they delivered Him over to the Romans to be crucified.
  • Yet the skeptic might object: “Wait a minute!  This doesn’t necessarily refer to Jesus.  The Hebrew for ‘pierced’ refers to being run through, perhaps with a sword or a spear.”  True, but Jesus was run through with a spear as the Romans verified His death on the cross!  Besides, the Scriptures plainly see this prophecy as being fulfilled in Christ, in direct reference to that spear.  John 19:34–37, "(34) But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (35) And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. (36) For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” (37) And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”"
  • Question: if this Scripture was fulfilled on the day of the crucifixion, how is it that the Jews do not yet look upon Jesus in faith?  After all, that’s the immediate context of Zechariah.  Remember that prophecy often has a dual fulfillment, and such is the case here.  The Jews did look upon the pierced Christ as He hung upon the cross, but they did not look on Him as their Christ/Messiah.  But they will.  When Jesus returns in power & glory, delivering Israel from their enemies, at that time they will see Him in faith.
  • How will their faith be made possible?  Because God will pour on them “the Spirit of grace and supplication.”  He will give them the gift of faith. … No one comes to faith in Christ simply because they had it within themselves to be saved.  Salvation is the gift of God.  Paul puts it this way: Ephesians 2:8–9, "(8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast."  Will the Jews be able to boast in the day of their salvation?  No, because the faith they receive is the gift of God when He pours His Spirit upon them.  Can we boast in our own salvation?  Certainly not, because the Holy Spirit is the One who led us to faith in Jesus, as He is the One who convicted us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (Jn 16:8)  The Holy Spirit blows where He will, and He is the One who gave us our new birth. (Jn 3:8)  It is by His pure gift of grace that we are saved, and His gift alone.
    • Does that mean there is no place for free will & our response?  Of course not.  Unless a person repents, believing upon Jesus Christ, no one will be saved.  Our free will is most certainly involved.  But it begins with God.  When it comes to salvation, God takes the initiative.  And praise God that He does!  Otherwise, no one would be saved!
  • What will happen when the Jews finally see Jesus in faith as the pierced, crucified Messiah?  They will be stricken with grief…
  • National grief and repentance (10b-14)

… Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

  • Why grieve?  Isn’t it a joyful thing to be saved?  Of course.  Yet it’s understandable that nation of Israel grieve as it was the nation of Israel that caused Jesus to be delivered over to the Gentiles to be tortured and put to death.  The Messiah would not have been pierced, if it was not for Israel.  Thus they will mourn their past actions, grieving over Him as the firstborn (only begotten Son) of God.
  • Interestingly, Zechariah describes this period of mourning as it was “in the plain of Megiddo,” the very place where the battle of Armageddon will be fought.  Why there?  (1) Armageddon, obviously. (2) There is precedence of the death of a beloved king on that same battlefield.  King Josiah (the one who rediscovered the Scriptures in the temple, and led a final revival in Judah) went to battle against Pharaoh Necho in the Valley of Megiddo.  There, he was pierced through with an arrow and died, and the entire nation mourned him. (2 Chr 35).  What took place with the final good king of Judah will happen once more with the ultimate Good King of Israel, Jesus.
  • The mourning is described…

12 And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves;

  • At first glance, it would seem that this might be a reference to mourning and grief among the kings, prophets, priests, and even the rebellious of Israel. (David, Nathan, Levi, Shimei)  More likely, it is a reference to the royal families and priestly families.  David had a son named Nathan (of whom was born Mary, the mother of Jesus), and one of Levi’s descendants was Shimei (of the line of Gershon, same as Moses).  The idea is that the nation will grieve their sins against the true Messiah, starting with the leadership and their families.
  • Yet it will not remain only the leadership…

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

  • All the families of all Israel will join in the grief.  All individuals among the Jews will come to a point of personal repentance and faith.  When Israel finally sees Jesus as the Christ, it will not happen as a blanket proclamation of grace.  No – they will be saved the same way any of us are saved: when we individually come to a realization that Jesus is the Son of God, crucified for our sin and risen from the grave.
  • We are not saved through family ties – no one goes to heaven because their mother or grandmother was a good Christian.  No one goes to heaven because there was a pastor in their family, or because people in previous generations helped plant their local church.  We are saved individually, through personal faith in Jesus.  That’s true for us, and it will be the same way with the Jews.

Conclusion:
So what do we do with this?  It’s amazing prophecy given to Jews of the 6th Century BC, but is there anything for us as 21st Century AD Christians today?  Yes!

First, we can praise God for the wonders of prophecy fulfilled.  God knew even the newly repentant Jews of post-Babylonian Jerusalem would eventually reject Him, and foresaw the betrayal of Jesus down to the tiniest detail.  He knows the beginning, the end, and everything in-between.  He is the God of all knowledge!

Second, we can praise God that Israel has the promise of coming to faith in the future, and pray that that day will come soon!  We can pray that more and more Jews in the present day will see Jesus as their Messiah, and we pray for the repentance of their nation as a whole.  (And we can get involved in sharing the gospel with them!)

Third, we can praise God that Jesus IS coming back!  There is no doubt whatsoever that the Jesus who was crucified & pierced is also risen from the dead, and will be returning in the same manner that the disciples witnessed Him ascend to heaven.  He is coming back to judge the living and the dead, and we as the church will be with Him as He does.  The day of our rapture could be at any time, and from that point the countdown to His 2nd Coming begins.  Come, Lord Jesus!

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