Alright! Well, let’s take our Bibles if we could, this evening and open them to the book of Zechariah chapter 8 and verse 16 (Zech 8:16). Just to remind you, where we are in the book of Zechariah,
We have completed the introductory call to repentance and then we went through the eight-night visions, culminating in the crowning of the priest Joshua which typifies Jesus;
and then from there, we moved into part three, we might… We might finish part three tonight.
Someone started laughing when I said that (laughs). It’s the question and answer section, where a question comes in to Zechariah related to fasting and, as we’re going to see tonight, they were fasting over the destruction of the temple; and so now that the temple was being rebuilt, the question is should we keep fasting?
III. Questions & Answers Concerning Fasting (Zech, 7‒8)
And God, through Zechariah, takes the opportunity to give for oracles. The first one is the oracle against empty ritualism, where they were mourning the effect and not the Covenant violations that led to the destruction of the temple; and then speaking of covenant violations, the second oracle, Zechariah kind of rakes them over the coals for all of the, you know, violations of God’s Covenant that they were involved in, which led to the temple’s destruction. Then you get to chapter 8, verses 1 through 17 (Zech 8:1-17) and it’s sort of a happier section, where there’s prophecies of Jerusalem’s restoration.
Prediction of Jerusalem’s Restoration – (Zech 8:1-17)
You see that prediction made in verses 1 through 8 (Zech 8:1-8) and then comes an application verses 9 through 17 (Zech 8:9-17); and so in that third oracle we have covered all of it except the exhortation or application to obey the Covenant.
Application – (Zech 8:9-17)
So what are they supposed to do with the information? They’re supposed to rebuild the temple, verses 9 through 13 (Zech 8:9-13); trust in God’s promises verses 14 and 15 (Zech 8:14-15) by not fearing and then they’re supposed to obey the covenant, verses 16 and 17 (Zech 8:16-17) because disobeying the Covenant seventy years earlier, is what got them into trouble and that’s why their temple was destroyed. 3:49
So we’ve covered all of this, except we just have verses 16 and 17 (Zech 8:16-17) to cover. So take a look, if you could, at chapter 8, verse 16 (Zech 8:16) as he tells them to go back to the Covenant, he says: These… This is the application… These things which you should do… So, you’ll notice it’s not just a bunch of pie in the sky stuff. Knowledge of the future impacts daily life or else knowledge of the future is of not much value. So… These things which you should do… and it starts to list the things… speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates… So what are they supposed to do? As they go back to the Covenant they were supposed to speak the truth. One of the ten commandments, as part of the Mosaic Covenant, is you shall not give false testimony against your neighbor and God is very interested in His community being truth tellers. We shouldn’t be people of falsehoods and deception. Sometimes when you get around fellow pastors, there’s a tendency amongst pastors to sort of exaggerate the size of their churches, we call that evangelastically speaking or exaggerate their impact and very sadly, that can happen and we shouldn’t do that. We should be, you know, just be honest. Ephesians, 4, this is the church age now, verse 25 (Eph 4:25) says: Therefore, ridding yourselves of falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, because we are parts of one another… So we ought to be truth tellers within the community of the believing. There’s something that Jesus said in the sermon on the mount that gets overlooked, in this regard. He says in Matthew, 5, verses 33 through 37 (Matt 5:33-37): Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, you shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord. But I say to you, take no oath at all, neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God, nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, nor by Jerusalem, for it is he city of the great king. Nor shall you take an oath by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black… Now I would differ with that, I think I can make my hair white by just getting old and being worried about everything… But make sure your statement is, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil origin… So what they were doing in this time period is, they were saying, cause their personal word was so unreliable. You know, to get people to believe that they were going to do something they would say, I swear by the temple, I swear by Jerusalem. You know, today we say things like, I swear on my mother’s grave I’ll do it; and Jesus in the sermon on the mount is saying, you shouldn’t do that because your words should be so trustworthy anyway. We should be such reliable people that I don’t have to swear by something greater than myself, you know, just to get people to think I’m going to do something. 7:55
So it fits with this whole subject of being truth tellers within the community of believers, especially because we’re all parts of the same body, you know, we shouldn’t be dishonest with each other; and he also says there, in verse 16 (Zech 8:16): These things which you should speak: speak the truth to one another… and then he says speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment… So we should also be people that judge. A lot of people say, well don’t judge. Well, that’s kind of impossible to go through life without judging. When the Bible says don’t judge, it’s saying don’t do it hypocritically, you know, don’t take the, you know, splinter out of someone else’s eye when you’ve got a log in your own eye. You know, Al Capone shouldn’t be giving lectures on how to live a crime free life, you know, this kind of thing. So when you judge, make sure you’re not in a place of hypocrisy and then we also don’t judge people’s motives and hearts cause we can’t see that. But other than that, we should be people of judgment, we should be discerners. In fact, 1st Corinthians, 2, verse 15 (1st Cor 2:15) says: The man who is spiritual makes judgments about all things… So there’s really two verses in the Bible that unbelievers know, I’ve discovered. They know the passage about Jesus turning water to wine and then they know the passage about don’t judge and we hear that all the time, don’t judge; and there’s actually a context there. What it’s saying is, don’t judge hypocritically and don’t judge people’s motives, other than that we are to be people of judgment. We make these, you know, judgments and the sermons all of the time, but you’ll notice that we do it according to the truth. I don’t just judge based on my preferences, I make judgments constantly based on God’s revealed truth in His word. So in Deuteronomy, 13, verses 1 through 5 (Deut 13:1-5), they were called to make judgments about prophets. There they were called not to believe every prophet but to judge the prophets and if a particular prophet said, let’s go follow other gods, then they were to make a judgment and understand that that was a false prophet, because they’re making a judgment by God’s word when the first two commandments in the ten commandments say, No graven images and have no other Gods before me. So if a prophet comes along, even if he performs a sign or wonder and says, Hey! Let’s follow other Gods, the community is to make a judgment. So that’s the kind of idea that he’s getting at there in verse 16, judge with truth and judgment; and then he says at the very end of verse 16 (Zech 8:16): …for peace in your gates… In other words, we should be people of peace. We should promote justice or peace in the life of the community of believers. The word for peace is “Shalom”. 11:27
So, how do we promote peace in our midst? I’m glad you asked, look at verse 17 (Zech 8:17), it says: Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against one another… So what he’s saying is, stop plotting against each other; and he’s going through all of the Covenant violations that got them into trouble related to the destruction of the temple. These were all of the things that they were not repentant of in all of their rituals about fasting. So… Stop plotting against one another… And you’ll notice the language there in verse 17 (Zech 8:17): …in your heart… Zechariah chapter 7 and verse 10 (Zech 7:10) you’ll remember, deals with the heart. We brought it up when we were back in chapter 7, it says: Do not oppress the widow or the orphan or the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another… So the problem with so much friction in the body of Christ is our hearts aren’t right and someone did us wrong and so don’t get mad, get even and we spend all of this energy, you know, sort of plotting against each other; and Zechariah says, you shouldn’t do that; and he says, if you’re doing it in your heart, that’s a sin. The book of Proverbs chapter 4, verse 23 (Prov 4:23) says: Watch your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life… And some versions put it this way: Watch your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the issues of life… And so I had a pastor that put it this way, one time he said: Private thoughts will eventually lead to public actions. So if we’re plotting evil against each other, that’s going to eventually break out somehow in some kind of inappropriate fissure or fracture in the body of Christ, either comes out as gossip, you know, backstabbing, you know, that kind of thing and so that’s what Zechariah is telling the post-exilic community to stay away from. 14:08
Jesus, as you know, talked a lot about the heart. He said in Matthew, 5, 21 and 22 (Matt 5:21-22): But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be answerable to the court; and whoever says to his brother, You good-for-nothing… Raca, empty head in other words. We might call someone an airhead, you know, in our day. They are stupid, they are dumb… shall be answerable to the supreme court; and whoever says, You fool, shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell… And that’s just sins in the heart and I read things like this and I say, Well, I’m so glad I’m not going to be judged by the law because I would be the first person into hell most probably given this standard; and He says in the sermon on the mount: …You’ve heard it said, you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart… So these are the heart sins that the Bible deals with; and you know, we read these radical statements by Jesus in the sermon on the mount and we think that Jesus sort of came up with all this stuff brand new, it’s so radical. But you’ll notice that Zechariah, five hundred years before the time of Christ, was talking about heart sins. It’s right there in verse 17 (Zech 8:17): … Also let none of you devise evil in your heart… And going back another thousand years, one of the ten commandments, I think it’s commandment number ten is: Thou shall not covet… And coveting is sort of different than the other sins mentioned in the ten commandments, because it’s something you can do in your heart without physically doing anything. In fact, coveting actually leads to committing many of the other sins mentioned in the ten commandments like ultimately murdering, stealing and that kind of thing; and the way to sort of understand an Ancient Near Eastern list is to look at the first thing mentioned and/ or the last thing mentioned and if you understand that it kind of opens the meaning of that Ancient Near Eastern list and I think the tenth commandment is: Thou shalt not covet… Because it’s a heart’s sin and what it’s communicating there is all these ten commandments sit in judgment on the heart. So my heart has committed sins that my hands haven’t gotten around to yet and the only one that knows that is the Lord. 17:16
So you’ll notice that it’s not Jesus that invented this concept of heart sins. Jesus is just giving more amplification to it in the sermon on the mount, but it’s as old as the book of Zechariah. It goes all the way back to Mount Sinai. So, Jesus shows up and He says things like this, do not presume that I came to abolish the law or the prophets, I did not come to abolish but to fulfill… So Jesus when He showed up basically said, I’m not here to contradict the prophets what I’m here to do is to give full expression to the prophets and the law; and one of the things He gave full expression to you in the sermon on the mount was heart sins and yet heart sins, He’s not the first person to condemn heart sins. He gave it the fullest meaning, but here it is in Zechariah about, you know, not… you know, causing contention in the body of Christ because you’re got some sort of anger against somebody taking place in your heart; and then also in verse 17, He doesn’t want them to commit perjury: Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury… Perjury is lying and of course, one of the ten commandments is Exodus, 20, verse 16 (Exo 20:16): You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor… That’s why there’s so much in the Mosaic Law about having just weights and measurements, you know, where you… you know, charge… you weigh it in… in and so it looks like they’re purchasing something that’s more expensive than it is. It’s like selling your car, your used car, but you… you roll back the odometer and make it look like the car is newer than it really is, you know, there’s… there’s fewer miles on the car than… than are actually there. That’s the kind of thing that God is upset about concerning Israel and why they got put into the seventy year captivity. So they’re not to perjure each other, commit perjury; and you notice the word “love” in front of “perjury”, it says: Do not love perjury… So notice again Zechariah, just like Jesus is dealing with the heart. As I was looking at this expression here “don’t love perjury”, I couldn’t help but thinking of Jeremiah, 5, verses 30 and 31 (Jer 5:30-31), which says: An appalling and horrible thing Has happened in the land… So that’s quite an opening statement there. I mean, maybe I’ll open my sermon this Sunday by saying, an appalling and what does he say? Horrible things has happened. Maybe we can get people’s attention one way or the other. What’s so horrible Jeremiah?: The prophets prophesy falsely, the priests rule on their own authority. So the prophets just prophesied their own messages and the priests are not following God’s Law, they’re just a law unto themselves and so you read that and you say, Yeah! Let’s grab those prophets and priests and let’s just stick it to them. But then you read the rest of the verse, it says (laughs): And My people… That’s us the congregation… love it this way!… So the prophets are at fault, the priests are at fault and the people aren’t being victimized because they would prefer things that way, they would prefer the priest to do their own thing rather than God’s thing and they would prefer the prophets to do their own thing rather than God’s thing and so it goes right down to the people; and the whole issue here is the people love things a certain way and you don’t have supply unless there’s a demand. Kind of like that verse for the church age in 2nd Timothy, 4, 3 and 4 (2 Tim 4:3-4) which says: In the last days, They will accumulate teachers for themselves. To tell them what their itching ears want to hear… And so, you know, we see all these false teachers running around and we want to write articles against them, we want to boycott against them, we want to do open critiques against them, but the truth of the matter is if.. if there wasn’t a demand for those false teachers in the hearts of the people, there wouldn’t be any supply. So let’s, you know, let’s look at the people of God and why millions and millions and millions of dollars are spent, you know, all around the United States as I’m speaking, promoting false teaching. You know, if the people of God all of a sudden left that and desired truth, I guarantee it, everyone teaching a false message would be off TV, they would be off the radio. But the reason they’re on there is because there’s this great demand, they want their ears tickled; and so again, I bring this up cause it’s a condition of the heart and so Zechariah here’s dealing with heart sins; and then you look at the very end of verse 17 and God through Zechariah says: …for all these things are what I hate,’ declares the LORD… So that’s kind of a shocker. God is a God of love but there are certain things He hates. 23:35
Proverbs, 6, 16 through 19 (Prov 6:16-19) says: There are six things that the LORD hates… And that’s pretty bad, but then, he like… corrects himself… Actually there’s seven, that are an abomination to Him… The word “actually” is not in there, but it says: There are six things that the LORD hates, Seven that are an abomination to Him… Well, that’s interesting. Let’s… Let’s read this six, yea seven things the Lord hates: (1) Haughty eyes, (2) A lying tongue… That goes back to the perjury issue that we talked about earlier, (3) Hands that shed innocent blood… I mean, I don’t have to fill in a lot of gaps here… (4) A heart… Isn’t that what we’re studying here?… A heart that devises wicked plans, (5) Feet that run rapidly to evil, (6) A false witness who declares lies… That goes back to perjury… And then, (7) One who spreads strife among brothers… That last one there is what Zechariah is talking about verse 16 (Zech 8:16) where he says: …speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace at your gates… Verse 17 (Zech 8:17): Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another… I mean, why not devise evil on our heart against one another? Because of all these other sins, it’s one of the seven things that are an abomination to the Lord. Someone that goes into a community of believers and turns Christians against each other. I’ve seen people… It’s almost like it’s their spiritual gift, if I can be sarcastic about it, they have an amazing talent and it’s not a godly talent at all. So I’m being somewhat facetious but they can turn Christians against each other, they can turn pastors against each other, they can turn ministries against each other. I know of one person, nobody here, that has a reputation everywhere this person goes of literally turning entire ministries against one another. It’s amazing that one person can cause so much trouble; and now we have all of this, you know, these kinds of gizmos, where I can take my carnal thoughts and send them all over the world and say, so and so said this, so and so did that, and did you hear about this? And you can… just with a few tweets and a few texts and a few posts, you can light a fire in the Christian world. 26:46
God help us not to be that way because God says He hates it. He hates it when that happens. A good verse on God hating things is in the New Testament because we think sweet little Jesus wouldn’t hate anything would He?
Well, in Revelation, 2, verse 6 (Rev 2:6) He speaks to the church at Ephesus and He says: But you have this in your favor, you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate… So before He gives a rebuke to Ephesus for having left their first love, there’s always some things He tries to say about each church that are favorable and He says, well, you have this much in your favor, you hate something, the deeds of the Nicolaitans and you have this in your favor cause I hate their deeds to. Notice that Jesus doesn’t hate people but He hates the sins that the Nicolaitans were promoting. So that raises an interesting question, what were the Nicolaitans doing that was so bad? Well, if you look up two commentaries, you’ll get eight opinions on this, cause nobody knows exactly what it was. The only guess I have is from the meaning of the Greek word “Nicao” which means to rule or conquer, to overcome and then “Laitans” where we get the word “Laitae” and if my understanding of that word is right, what the Nicolaitans were doing is they were creating a priesthood, telling the average Christian they have to go through a human priest to get to God. They were developing the clergy laity distinction; and Jesus says He hates that because in the body of Christ we’re all equal. We have different callings but positionally we are all equal. We are all part of the same body and so… and by the way, we’re all priests, Revelation, 5, verse 9 and 10 (Rev 5:9-10) says that, as does Revelation, 1, verse 6 (Rev 1:6). So, you know, here I am, I’m on an elevated platform. Look at me, I’m tall anyway and I’ve got my Bible out and man, I’m important aren’t I? But the truth of the matter is I’m just a teacher. I don’t have any special pathway to God that you don’t have and if I were to start teaching, that gosh, you’ve got to go through me and my system to get to God, I would be sort of elevating myself over the laity, creating a priesthood and I think that’s what the Nicolaitans were doing and Jesus himself says, I hate it, I hate that they’re doing this. I don’t hate them as persons but I hate this particular sin. So, that kind of fleshes out a little bit, for all these I hate declares the Lord. 30:15
So that, quite fortunately, ends that third oracle and now we move into the fourth and final oracle, as Zechariah is dealing with responses to their questions about fasting.
III. Questions & Answers Concerning Fasting (Zech, 7‒8)
So take a look, if you could, at verses 18 to 23 (Zech 8:18-23) where we have a prediction of…
from fasting to feasting, verses 18 and 19 (Zech 8:18-19) and that’s followed by one of the most glorious passages that I know of in the whole Bible, that talk about Jerusalem’s exaltation in the last days. So you’ll notice this first part, from fasting to feasting.
From Fasting to Feasting – (Zech 8:18-19)
We have an oracle, verse 18 (Zech 8:18) that’s new and then we have the prediction that one day their fasting is going to be turned into feasting. Notice if you will verse 18 (Zech 8:18): Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying… So that becomes your literary clue that a new oracle is about to start. This is the fourth and final oracle responding to the questions about fasting. So you’ll see that literary pattern in chapter 7, verse 4 (Zech 7:4) that was oracle one; chapter 7, verse 7 (Zech 7:7) that’s oracle two; chapter 8, verse 1 (Zech 8:1) that’s the beginning of oracle three and now here we are, the same pattern chapter 8, verse 18 (Zech 8:18) oracle four. So, that is how we came up with this outline here:
III. Questions & Answers Concerning Fasting (Zech, 7‒8)
A good outline is not imposed on the text but you look for the divisions in the chapter, look for repetitions and things so that you’ll get God’s outline and not our own outline. So we move away from verse 18 into verse 19 where He gives this prophecy of the fasting is going to be turned into feasting and look at the beginning of verse 19 (Zech 8:19): Thus says the LORD of hosts, The fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth months… So there was some fasting as we’ve talked about that developed in the fifth and the seventh month of the Jewish year to commemorate the destruction of the temple seventy years earlier at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar;
and you’ll remember that we made reference to that when we were studying chapter 7, verse 3 (Zech 7:3) the fifth month; chapter 7, verse 5 (Zech 7:5) the fifth and the seventh month and basically what it was is, every time that particular time of the year rolled around on those particular months, they would start to mourn because that’s when they were commemorating the destruction of the temple; and their question is, should we keep doing this now the temple is being rebuilt? And God’s point is, you’ve missed the whole point because you’re mourning the effect rather than the cause. You’re upset about the temple being destroyed but you’re not paying any attention to all of these covenant violations that led to the temple’s destruction; and then it mentions more months here in verse 19 and so I think what was happening is beyond them fasting and mourning over the destruction of the temple, they were also mourning and fasting over the breach of Jerusalem’s walls in the fourth month. Jerusalem’s walls were breached in the fourth month according to 2nd Kings, 25, verse 1 ( 2 Kings 25:1) and Ezekiel, 24, I think it’s verse 2 (Ezek 24:2) if I have that down right. So they had one religious activity for the temple and if that weren’t enough, they started another religious activity to commemorate when Nebuchadnezzar breached Jerusalem’s walls. So you’ll notice religious people aren’t really just content with one or two things. Eventually the religious mindset takes over, they’re doing things, you know, several times a year and that’s the kind of thing that was going on in the nation of Israel for seventy years since the beginning of the captivity. They were mourning over the temple’s destruction, not giving us a thought at all about why the temple was destroyed. So it was an empty ritual and if empty ritual A wasn’t enough then they wanted an empty ritual B where they were now creating a whole new ceremony of fasting for the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar seventy years earlier and we know what God thinks about this already. God doesn’t like the fact that they’re dealing with the effect and not the cause. But then God says something new. I mean, what is God going to do with all this fasting and this mourning and you know, going around like the Pharisees were, you know, in the time of Christ with, you know, real sad faces. What’s God going to do with all that? Well, Zechariah makes a millennial promise and prediction in verse 19 (Zech 8:19): Thus says the LORD of hosts, The fast of the fourth, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth months will become joy, gladness, and cheerful feasts for the house of God… Wow! I’m going to take all your fasts, I’m going to turn them into feasts. In other words, when this nation is restored and the millennial kingdom is in full swing, you’re not going to think about mourning these things anymore, all of your fasts will be turned into feasts. 37:23
I can’t but help think of Psalm, 30, verse 11 (Psalm 30:11) I think David wrote this, if I’m not mistaken, he says: You have turned for me my mourning into dancing… Wow! I found in my personal life that God does that. He’ll take things that maybe a few years ago I was upset about, you know, give me a different way of looking at it or I can see His hand having worked subsequent and the very thing that used to bring frustration and tears, when you get the right vantage point on it actually, you look back and you commemorate it with joy… I’ll turn your mourning into dancing… There’s a prophecy I think it’s at the end of Joel, 2, it says: I will restore the years that the locusts have eaten… All the time consuming and, you know, destruction… I’m going to restore those years with prosperity; and that’s the kind of thing that the nation of Israel is told here. So this is really neat because this is oracle four and it brings us back to the initial question. Remember the men of Bethel? Shall we keep fasting about the temple? And now oracle four goes right back to the initial question where God says, you know what? I’m going to take your fast and I’m going to turn into feasts, I’m going to reverse your whole circumstances in My timing; and look at the very end of verse 19 (Zech 8:19) they have to do something first though: …So love truth and peace… And what He’s saying is, I’m going to do this when you go back to the Covenant because the nation of Israel, at Mount Sinai, was given a conditional covenant of blessings and curses.
Six Parts of a Suzerain-Vassal Treaty in Deuteronomy
So if you want to see the curses turn into blessings, which we know will happen in the millennial kingdom, then go back to the covenant and of course, when the nation of Israel becomes the beneficiary of the inaugurated New Covenant, where God is going to take His laws and write them on their hearts, then they’re going to have this internal compulsion to obey God and the covenant language will be satisfied, there won’t be any more backbiting, there won’t be any more perjury and all the things God is condemned in the prior verses, but they will honor His covenant and as they honor His covenant, then will come the blessings and once the blessings come you won’t have to feast anymore… fast anymore, rather. You’ll get a chance to feast; and after He talks about that, then we have these predictions here of Jerusalem’s exaltation.
They have their exhortation earlier, this is their exaltation. This is an explanation of why they’re going to be so joy filled in the millennial kingdom. 41:00
Jerusalem’s Exaltation – (Zech 8:20-23)
So we have a prediction of their gathering verse 20 (Zech 8:20), the reason for Jerusalem’s exaltation verse 21 (Zech 8:21), the location of the exaltation verse 22 (Zech 8:22) and then the preeminence of the city of Jerusalem one day verse 23 (Zech 8:23). So take a look at verse 20 (Zech 8:20) and look at what God is going to do: Thus says the LORD of hosts… So, that little expression is why we divided this final oracle into two parts because there is a literary clue there showing us within the same oracle, Zechariah is going a different direction. Verse 20 (Zech 8:20): Thus says the LORD of hosts, It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities… So it’s like a prophecy of a crowd being drawn to a location. Who’s coming? Peoples, plural. Cities, plural. Well, what’s the reason? Why is this crowd gathering? Verse 21 (Zech 8:21) is the reason: The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, Let us go at once… Look at that, they are not dilly dallying. Let’s go right now. Let us go at once to do what? …to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts; I will also go… So the reason for this gathering is you have the peoples and the cities seeking God’s favor. They’re being drawn to a particular place to seek God’s favor, which is a great idea for your life when you think about it. Seek the Lord, seek His favor. What pleases God? What displeases God? What does God think about X, Y and Z? When I do such and such, is God displeased or is God pleased? I mean, those should be questions on our minds all the time as Christians, we ought to be constantly concerned about what pleases God. What will create God’s favor in my life? Very sadly, most people don’t think that way. God is almost an afterthought. Romans, 3, verse 11 (Rom 3:11) says: There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks out God… That’s the description of the human race in general. People just… God I mean, God’s a footnote, who cares what God thinks? I want to make myself happy; and yet you have a time in history coming, where people are just going to rush to a particular location because they’re trying to figure out how to gain God’s favor. So where are they going? Where are they going? Are they going to the Vatican? They’re probably not going to Las Vegas. Are they going to Washington DC? Are they going to a tent revival meeting? Where are they going? Verse 22 (Zech 8:22) tells you exactly where they are going. This is a millennial promise: So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts… That’s why they are gathering to this location and there it is… in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD… So mighty nations, peoples, seeking the Lord, not in a Gentile city, not in Brussels or Luxembourg, but in the city of Jerusalem. Now why in the world would they go to the city of Jerusalem? Cause that’s where Jesus is. We know from Bible prophecy that when He comes back in His second advent, He is going to take His seat on David’s throne in Jerusalem. Matthew, 25:31 (Matt 25:31) says: But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne… Which is the Davidic throne in the city of Jerusalem and that’s why everybody’s gathering in Jerusalem in this time period. Course, there’s many other prophecies that teach this. Isaiah, 2, 2 and 3 (Isa 2:2-3) says: Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it; And many peoples will come and say, Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us about His ways, And that we may walk in His paths. For the law will go out from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem… So, Zechariah is saying what Isaiah predicted earlier. 46:46
We’ll be getting eventually to Zechariah, 14, 16 through 18 (Zech 14:16-18) which predicts the same thing: Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of armies, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths… So the world is going to go to Jerusalem to seek God’s favor and those that don’t want to go there in the time of Jesus in the kingdom reigning with a rod of iron, they receive immediate judgment. So there’s no grace period. You don’t comply, Jesus immediately deals with you because He’s no longer at the Father’s right hand on the Father’s throne, He’s now on His own throne governing the entire world directly in the millennial kingdom; and Satan knows it because when Satan is let out of the abyss at the end of the millennium, what city does he attack? He immediately attacks Jerusalem. It says (Rev 20:7-9): When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore… So this is this rebel army that Satan is gathering at the end of the thousand year kingdom… And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the saints and the beloved city… Now do a word study on “beloved city” in the Psalms and you’ll see it always refers to the city of Jerusalem. Now, this is Jesus with a rod of iron and it says at the end there, fire came down from heaven and devoured them, immediate judgment. 49:10
Robert Thomas writes:
Robert Thomas – Four Views on the Book of Revelation, page 207.
“At the end of the Millennium that city will be Satan’s prime objective with his rebel army, because Israel will be a leader among the nations.”
At the end of the Millennium that city, Jerusalem, will be Satan’s prime objective with his rebel army, because Israel will be a leader again among the nations… Satan gets one last attack, he immediately goes after Jerusalem because he has enough sense to know where the nerve center of the millennial kingdom is, Jerusalem. David Ellis in his Zechariah commentary writes:
David J. Ellis – Ellis, David J. “Zechariah.” In The New Layman’s Bible Commentary, pp. 1025-50. Edited by G. C. D. Howley, et al. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979. p. 1039.
“Jerusalem is no longer viewed simply as the heart of Judaism but as the centre of God’s dealings with all nations, and as a glorious realization of the ancient promise given to Abraham (cf. Gen. 12:3).”
Jerusalem is no longer viewed simply as the heart of Judaism but as the centre of God’s dealings with all nations, and as a glorious realization of the ancient promise given to Abraham… This is speaking of the preeminence of the nation of Israel in general and the city of Jerusalem specifically; and then, the very last verse of the oracle describes the preeminence of Israel in this time period.
Jerusalem’s Exaltation – (Zech 8:20-23)
Verse 23 (Zech 8:23): Thus says the LORD of hosts… Aha! I have another point outline there, because I’m looking at the literary clues… Thus says the LORD of hosts, In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you… This is speaking of what Isaiah predicted, Jerusalem being elevated over the nations of the earth. Now, let me tell you the little theological game that’s played by people today. This is how they’re able to sign dispensational doctrinal statements and still teach Kingdom Now theology or amillennialism, is they play this game of, Oh! I believe in… Watch the language now very carefully… I believe in “a” future for Israel, I believe in “a” future for the city of Jerusalem. No, beloved, that’s not what the Bible says. The Bible does not teach “a” future for Israel, It does not teach “a” future for the city of Jerusalem. What it teaches is, Israel is “the” future and the city of Jerusalem is “the” future. Do you see the difference? Oh, I’m not replacement theologian, I believe that there is “a” future for Israel, I don’t fill in the details; and they just took the Bible and what it is teaching and they marginalized it. So one of the progenitors of so-called progressive dispensationalism is Daryl Bock and he has convinced everybody, at Dallas seminary, that, Oh, he’s still dispensational because he still believes in a future for Israel but when you get around him privately and you ask him what he means by that, what he means is Israel is just one of many nations in the kingdom. There’s nothing no more special about her than Canada or the Virgin Islands; and folks, that’s not what the Bible says. The Bible does not say Israel is going to be just one of many nations. I mean, to believe that is to take all of these prophecies and marginalize them. So, you know, if I should drop dead of a heart attack, which could happen, because my grandmother died of a heart attack about my age. I mean, I’m not planning on that happening but, you know, I’m on a diet and exercise to prevent that, I get one hot meal a day. A bowl of steam, New Year’s resolutions; but should that ever happen and someone else wants to be your pastor, I hope you ask him a question: what do you believe about the future for Israel and Jerusalem? And if he, and I’m hoping it’ll be a he, if he says, OH! I believe in “a” future for Israel, “a” future for Jerusalem beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, warning lights should go off. In which case, you would respond, Yes, but do you believe Israel is “the” future? And Jerusalem is “the” key city in the millennial kingdom and he starts to hammer ha. You’re dealing with someone that does not hold to the same doctrinal beliefs of Sugar Land Bible church, Chafer Theological Seminary and Dallas Seminary, quite frankly, going back to when it was started. People are getting away with all kinds of stuff today, because they’re manipulating language. 55:02
To say you believe in “a” future for Israel means absolutely nothing. John Piper believes that and when you ask him what he means by it is, he thinks a lot of Jews are going to get saved in the church age. But he’s never cross examined on his beliefs and people say, oh! He’s okay, he believes in a future for Israel; and I’m here to tell you, that that’s not okay, cause that’s not what God says. This is what we mean by the doctrine of preeminence, where ten… Think about this… ten Gentiles are going to grab the garments of one Jew in the kingdom and they’re going to say, we’re going to go with you because God is with you. In other words, they’re acknowledging the preeminence of Jerusalem, Israel. You wouldn’t believe the humming and haaing that goes on with these ten to one, everybody tries to make it some mystical number. So pastor, what does it mean? Here’s what it means, are you ready? Ten Gentiles are going to grab the garment of one Jew, they’re going to say, we’re going with you cause we know God is with you. Is it not interesting… Zechariah says… the nations in the last days at the end of the tribulation are all going to come against Jerusalem. Zechariah, 12:3 (Zech 12:3). They’re all going to come against the city of Jerusalem Zechariah, 14, verses 2 and 3 (Zech 14:2-3) but here, this is the kingdom and that’s over, it’s no longer a situation everybody’s coming against Jerusalem. It’s a situation where they’re all going to Jerusalem and they all recognize that God has blessed Israel and those blessings spill over to the rest of the world because of Israel’s preeminence. This situation here, green countries are Muslim, red countries Israel, is a thing of the past.
Where they’re all writing into their charters and things how they want to drive Israel into the Mediterranean Sea. That’s all done. Now the opposite is happening, where the nations are all running to Jerusalem. Merrill Unger says, notice I’ve got to go back to 1963, three years before I was born to get correct thinking on this.
Merrill F. Unger – Unger, Merrill F. Zechariah. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963. p. 148.
“With the Davidic kingdom established, Israel will be a medium of blessing to the entire globe.”
He says: With the Davidic kingdom established, Israel will be a medium of blessing to the entire globe… Sorry, doesn’t fit with “a” future for Jerusalem, that’s not what the Bible says, that’s not what Merrill Unger believed in 1963. 58:02
One more passage here and I’ve never been in a church where this passage has ever been taught, let alone read. But it’s a millennial passage and it says, this is Isaiah, 49, 22 and 23 (Isa 49:22-23): This is what the Lord GOD says: Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations And set up My flag to the peoples; And they will bring your sons in their arms, And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders. Kings will be your guardians, And their princesses your nurses… Watch this now… They… that’s the Gentiles… will bow down to you with their faces to the ground And lick the dust from your feet; And you will know that I am the LORD; Those of you who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame… I can’t… I’ve been in church for a long time, I never remember any pastor or any church ever talking about that verse where the Gentile nations are going to go to the Israelis in faith with their faces to the ground, licking the licking the dust from their feet. Now why is a passage like that ignored? Why is a passage like Zechariah, 8:23 (Zech 8:23) ignored? Because of the influence of replacement theology, where we as Gentiles think that we got it right and the Jews got it wrong, so, why should they be elevated over us? And it feeds into sort of an antisemitic spirit; and so… So Zechariah 8:23 is never mentioned in church, neither is Isaiah 49:23 yet that’s what God says. Israel, you have to understand this, is on a fast track, Deuteronomy, 28, verse 13 (Deut 28:13) where she will be the head and not the tail. She will be above and not underneath. Now, we as the church, clearly are ruling and reigning alongside Christ’s delegated authority as well, Revelation, 5, verse 10 (Rev 5:10), but that doesn’t negate the fact that in the millennial kingdom, God is keeping all of His promises to Israel and He’s elevating them over the nations of the earth. He’s elevating them over the Gentile survivors of the tribulation period that repopulated the earth, and that’s Israel’s future. 1:01
So, we’re finished now. See somebody laughed when I said I’m going to finish chapter 8. They need to come up here and lick the dust off my feet, No!(laughs) So we finished chapter 8 and now the only thing we have left are the two burdens.
First one, chapters 9 through 11 relates to the first coming. Second one, chapters 12 to 14 relates to the second coming so in preparation for next week you might want to read chapter 9. Let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for your truth, grateful for your word and its ministry to us and help us to have a right perspective and not be deceived by false teaching in these last days. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name and God’s people said, Amen.