Open our Bibles to… Well, we have one minute left before we can start. Maybe I should start anyway to make the people coming in on time feel guilty. Alright, well, let’s open our Bibles to Zechariah chapter 9 and let me just kind of give you a quick reminder of where we are in the book of Zechariah.
The book of Zechariah has four parts to it. There’s a call to repentance right at the beginning and then from there all the way through the end of chapter 6 are eight-night visions that Zechariah saw
and that section ends with the crowning of the high Priest Joshua which is a typification really of where all eight-night visions are pointing to ultimately, the millennial reign of Jesus Christ one day, which by the way, we should be praying for, because the Lord taught us to pray, thy Kingdom Come… and then from there we moved in the chapter 7 and 8 which are a question and answers about fasting.
III. Questions & Answers Concerning Fasting (Zech, 7‒8)
So as you recall, they wanted to know, should we keep fasting for the destruction of the temple now that the new temple is being rebuilt? And He had a lot to say, the Lord did, through Zechariah in His answers condemning them for empty ritualism but also promoting a time when Israel will be completely and totally restored physically and spiritually. So look at that we finished the three major sections of the book. So only one major section remains and that’s the two burdens. So that’s chapters 9 through 14. 3:02
When you read commentaries there’s a lot of discussion about, you know, when did Zachariah write these, the burdens I’m speaking of, you know, how do we know Zechariah wrote them, because he doesn’t use his name or anything and these read so differently than the rest of the book. So there’s a lot of higher critical scholars that will basically tell you that someone other than Zechariah wrote these burdens down and we as conservatives reject that. Charles Ryrie in his study Bible says:
Charles Ryrie – The Ryrie Study Bible
“Zechariah 9:1 (RSB:NASB1995U): 9:1 Some hold that chaps. 9–14 are not to be ascribed to Zechariah. However, many similarities exist between chaps. 1–8 and 9–14, and difference of style is never a conclusive argument for different authorship. The reference to Greece as a future dominant power (9:13) is no problem if one accepts the validity of predictive prophecy.
Some hold the chapters 9 through 14 are not ascribed to Zechariah. However, many similarities exist between chapters 1 through 8 and chapters 9 through 14 and difference of style… So that’s one of the arguments as these read differently than the rest of the book but Charles Ryrie says: Differences of style is never a conclusive argument for different authorship… Because we write differently depending on the circumstances. When you write a term paper for school, I hope it doesn’t read like you would write a love letter to your spouse. If it does, see me after we might have to do some marriage counseling, because different occasions require different styles of writing. It doesn’t mean it’s a different person and so Ryrie kind of rebuts that and then when you go to chapter 9, verse 13 (Zech 9:13) about three quarters through the verse, you’ll see the work Greece and that’s really what’s bothering liberals. How could Zechariah in the Persian time period foresee the Grecian time period which was much later. The Persian time period would go from about 539 to 331 BC and then the Greek period would go from about 331 BC to 63 BC and Zechariah is writing these things in about 520 to 518. So the liberal, they don’t understand how Zechariah could have foreseen Greece and so that’s really the reason why they don’t believe Zechariah wrote these burdens and our answer is Zechariah could foresee Greece because he was a prophet and could see the future, right? Amen to that and liberals don’t believe that. So they have to come up with a naturalistic explanation because if Zechariah wrote these in his day, he foresaw a whole empire coming into existence roughly two centuries in advance. So Charles Ryrie said: The reference to Greece as a future dominant power is no problem if one accepts the validity of predictive prophecy. So all things considered, we believe Zachariah wrote these burdens down. The same time period generally when he wrote everything else in the book. 6:35
So why do we think that there are two burdens here? Well, look at chapter 9, verse 1 (Zech 9:1): The burden of the Word of the Lord… And look at chapter 12, verse 1 (Zech 12:1) What does this say?: The burden of the Word of the Lord… So, it’s pretty clear there’s two burdens, right? So the first burden is chapters 9 through 11 and the second burden is chapters 12 through 14. A burden is something God puts heavily on a person’s heart. It’s like Paul in, what is it? 1st Corinthians, 9, when he said, woe unto me if I don’t preach the Gospel, because God had burdened him with it; and you’ll see the same thing in Jeremiah, 20, where Jeremiah was prophesying and Pashur, the priest, the religious authority over the nation at the time, it just shows you, the world of religion how messed up it can get, basically, had Jeremiah the prophet of God flogged and then they threw him into a pit. So if you think your life is hard, just think about Jeremiah, flogged in the pit for doing nothing other than prophesying and Jeremiah, 20, is so interesting because Jeremiah kind of goes into a pity party, you know, Gosh! I don’t know why I keep opening my mouth for God, every time I open my mouth for God, look at how I’m mistreated. But then about chapter 20, I think it’s verse 7, 8, 9, right in there, he talks about how the Word of God is like a fire shut up in his bones and he can’t hold it in. So he continues on with his ministry, you know, in spite of abuse. So that’s how you know that God has called you to do something, because you have an intense burden to do it and when you run into obstacles, Yeah! It’s tempting to want to throw in the towel but the burden is still there. So, Zechariah had two burdens. Burden one is chapters 9 through 11, burden two is chapters 12 through 14 and you just see that because of the literary clue there, you know, the two fold repetition of the burden of the Lord. So notice that we’re not coming up with their own outline. We’re following clues in the text telling us how to do an outline. 9:23
So what is the first burden about? Well, it’s about the first coming of Jesus. What’s the second burden about? It’s about the second coming of Jesus. So burden number one, spanning chapters 9 through 11, is everything God wanted to do for Israel, had they simply accepted Him, Jesus Christ, as their king in the first century. So there was a string of victories going on for them, particularly in the intertestamental period which we’ll get to eventually in these prophecies and whatever string of victories they were having, it would have just led right into the millennial kingdom. All they had to do was enthrone Christ when He showed up and verse 9, everybody knows, most people with Zechariah, 9, they know verse 9, but they don’t know anything else about the rest of the chapter, myself included. I mean, when I started preparing for this, I knew verse 9, that’s the prophecy about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilled on Palm Sunday but everything else in the chapter, you know, I had to really work hard to try to understand what was happening. So Israel has this whole string of victories and their Messiah shows up and He shows up on a donkey and He doesn’t really show up like a Messiah is supposed to show up, because their Messiah came into the world to fix spiritual peace or Shalom, before He could bring in political peace. So they were looking for political peace and Jesus came to deal with the first problem, spiritual peace in the heart and spiritual peace with God before you can have political peace and so Israel, as Paul says in Romans, 9, around verse 32 (Rom 9:32), Jesus showed up and they tripped right over him. They did not accept Him as the king. So everything God wanted to do for Israel, He couldn’t, and all of her blessings are now in postponement because they tripped over their own Messiah and by the way, the nation of Israel and Jewish people, certainly we have some Hebrews that get saved in the church age, but by and large the majority of the Jewish people are in the exact same position today. Christ to them is a stumbling block, it’s a rock of offense because Jesus really didn’t come the way a Messiah in their minds is supposed to come. So I remember when I was in law school I had, not to be overly stereotypical, but there’s just a lot of Jewish people in law school and law professors and I remember getting into just countless discussions with my friends and co-students etc.. on the Bible and I remember showing them Isaiah, 53, which is about as clear as it can get, I think, that Jesus is the long awaited Jewish Messiah and I thought, you know, I would be able to convert some of them. Maybe that’s the problem, I can’t convert anybody, the Lord converts but they would read Isaiah, 53 and I can see this worried look coming over their eyes, you know, cause it was saying, in their Bible, what looks like to be a prophecy about Jesus and they would run off to their Rabbi over the weekend and they would come back with an allegorical interpretation. You know, how this is not talking about an individual Messiah, it’s talking about the Jewish nation which to me is a laughable interpretation because Isaiah, 53, calls the servant my righteous one and Israel was not righteous. I mean, they were the ones taking their own children and putting them into a fire to satisfy a god, little G, named Molech and so it was like Isaiah, 53, was like a blinder over their eyes and their big problem, I remember this very clearly, saying why can’t you believe this is Jesus? And the answer was always this and it threw me at first because I didn’t know exactly what they were saying. They were saying there’s no Shalom. Well, Shalom means what? Peace and I thought to myself of course there’s peace. Jesus brings peace with God, He brings peace to the soul and their definition of Shalom was very different than mine. When they use the word Shalom, they’re talking about politics and peace in the nation of Israel and freedom from oppression and suicide bombers and all of that kind of thing and they don’t really understand that you have to have spiritual peace before there can be political peace. 14:49
So when Jesus showed up and He didn’t show up the way they wanted as a Messiah, they stumbled right over Him. So that’s what Zechariah is seeing five hundred years before it happens in burden number one. But the nation of Israel is always the nation that gets it right the second time. They never get it right the first time, they get it right the second time. Stephen, who was the first martyr of the church age. He was one of the original deacons of the Jerusalem Church, gave an amazing sermon in Acts, 7, and part of that sermon and it spans about 53 verses. Part of that sermon, I think actually more than 53, 56 maybe, 57, something like that and you guys are all looking to make sure I got the numbers right. There’s a lot of verses, let’s just put it that way and part of that sermon is He’s a Jew speaking to Jews and He says, you always get it right the second time and He uses two examples. His first example is Joseph, who they rejected as a 17 year old. Remember the coat of many colors? And they threw him in a pit and left him for dead. But when Joseph was, by the Providence of God, elevated to second in command in Egypt, then they accepted him the second time, because they traveled from Canaan into Egypt to receive grain in the midst of famine and they submitted to Joseph’s authority. So Steven’s point is you got it right the second time and then the second example Steven uses is Moses, who knew that he had a calling on his life to be Israel’s deliverer from Egypt and as a young man he saw an Egyptian abusing a Hebrew and he murdered the Egyptian, remember that? And the next day they said to Moses, the Jews, are you going to kill us like you killed the Egyptian yesterday? And that’s when Moses got scared and traveled out to… What was it? Midian where he was there for forty years. But after that 40 year time period, Moses came back and they submitted to his authority as the deliver. So Steven said that’s example two, you get it right the second time and when they heard this they were taking their fingers and sticking them in their ears so they wouldn’t have to hear what Steven was saying and or they were grinding their teeth and then finally, they were so enraged that they took rocks and they, you know, murdered, I guess, Stephen because Steven’s point is you’re doing the same thing right now with Jesus, you’re doing the exact same thing. You’re rejecting Him in the first coming, but the day will come when you’ll receive Him in the second coming. 18:08
So burden number one is getting it wrong the first time and Zechariah is seeing all of this in terms of a prophecy, two prophecies, called two burdens.
But in the second burden, chapters 12 through 14, it’s basically a description of how God is going to no longer postpone Israel’s blessings. But He’s going to pour out His blessings upon them, because the second time they’re going to get it right in the events of the tribulation, you know, they’re going to look on the one whom they have pierced and mourn as one mourns for an only son. So there’s going to come a point where the whole nation is going to start to cry because their Messiah came two thousand years ago and they’ve spent all of this time in rejection of Him. So how that happens? Zechariah sees it in burden number two. So burden number one is Israel’s postponed deliverance due to her rejection of her Messiah. Burden two is Israel’s future deliverance due to her future acceptance of her Messiah and here we are in the church age. We’re living right in between those two burdens, prophetically. So what does burden number one look like, now that we have the lay of the land a little bit?
First Burden Outline (Zech, 9‒11)
There’s three chapters, each chapter is a part. So part one of burden one is a divine warrior hymn. It reads like a him, chapter 9. Chapter 10 is the true shepherd. It’s a description of the shepherd that they rejected. Who did they reject him for? They rejected him for a false shepherd and that false shepherd is described in chapter 11 and it’s in chapter 11 that you start getting a description of the antichrist, who they will accept in unbelief in lieu of the first Christ and it’s in chapter 11 that Zechariah’s prophecies get very specific right down to predicting how many pieces of silver, this is five hundred years before it happened, how many pieces of silver are going to be paid to reject Christ, you know, at his first coming. The thirty pieces of silver is there in chapter 11. So with all that being said, we’re just going to start tonight the first third of burden one and here is how chapter 9 is laid out.
Divine Warrior Hymn (Zech 9:1-17)
Verses 1 through 8 (Zech 9:1-8) is judgment on the nations oppressing Israel. So God through a man named Alexander the Great would bring tremendous judgment on all the nations of that time period that were oppressing the Jews. Then right in the middle of the chapter is their Messiah and the prediction is everything that God was doing through Alexander the Great in terms of vindicating the Jews. That will be fulfilled to the nth degree, all you got to do is accept the king, the Messiah, when He shows up. The problem is He didn’t show up the way they wanted, they were looking for the political Shalom of Alexander the Great and he came to deal with the issue of spiritual Shalom. He showed up on a donkey, He showed up in humiliation and they rejected Him. Verse 10 is a description of the second coming and the blessings that they’re going to have once they do accept their king and then, the last third of the chapter, verses 11 through 17, is another string of victories that they were running up in the intertestamental period in the events of Hanukkah and in the wonderful protection God gave them from a man named Antiochus IV. So that’s kind of how the chapter is organized. Verses 1 through 8, is God’s judgment on the nations through Alexander the Great. Verses 11 to 17, is God’s protection of the nation in the intertestamental period during the reign of Antiochus IV and the point of it is do you like all these victories, Israel? Yeah thumbs up, well, just accept the king on his terms and you ain’t seen nothing yet. But verse 9, He didn’t come the way they thought a king should come and so they tripped right over Him. So everything God wanted to do in and through Israel is now on postponement, until the time in history arises when they will accept the king eventually on His terms. 23:49
So let’s start here with the judgment that was happening on the oppressing nations in Zechariah’s day and of course, you want to keep in the back of your mind Genesis, 12, verse 3 (Gen 12:3), which we’ve studied on Sunday mornings, where God is very clear the one who curses you I will curse and there is a ton of nations that came against Israel in the time period following Zachariah, as Zechariah is seeing these things prophetically and God kept a record and He dealt with every single one of these groups that oppressed Israel through a man named Alexander the Great. So Alexander the Great, really doesn’t start doing his thing until about, I would guess 333 BC to 331 BC, and Zechariah is seeing this stuff almost two hundred years before it happens in 518 BC. So there was a positive trend going on and it would have continued if they had bowed the knee to their Messiah, which Zechariah predicts they won’t do, because the nation of Israel is always the nation that gets it right the second time. Jonah, by the way, is a type of Israel and you can see how the book of Jonah is laid out, he fled from God in the first two chapters and then when God dealt with him, it says in Jonah, 3, verse 1 (Jonah 3:1): The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time… So the second time he did what God said. Israel is just like that. So here is the judgment that God was going to do against the oppressing nations of Israel in the days of Alexander the Great because God will always vindicate those that abuse, who always vindicate Israel and come against those who abuse Israel because of a promise He made to them all the way back in Genesis, 12, verse 3 (Gen 12:3): The one who curses you I will curse… in the Abrahamic promises. 26:21
So who was Alexander the Great? He was like one of the first one world leaders, if you will, he was a globalist. He basically was bringing in something called Hellenization, where he wanted a monolithic world and he wanted everyone in that world to submit to Greek culture and Greek language and this is all happening over three hundred years before Jesus was born and the way God works is He uses evil men to do His will. He’s going to be using Alexander the Great to come against all these nations that had abused Israel. Zechariah sees this two hundred years before it happens and if that weren’t enough, God is actually going to use Alexander the Great to bring in the Greek language. The thing to understand about the Greek language is it’s one of the richest dialects that you ever have in humanity in terms of languages. So as you probably know, there’s one word for love in English. The Greeks have four words for love depending on the kind of love we’re dealing with. There’s eros, romantic love. There’s philia, like family love or brotherly love. There’s another word I think it’s called storge which is love among family members in your natural family and then there’s another word called agape which is the deepest level of self-sacrificial love you can have. So when John, 3:16 (John 3:16) says: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son… If you don’t know anything about Greek nuances you just read over it, you don’t fully appreciate what it says, but it doesn’t use the word eros, it doesn’t use the word philia, it doesn’t use the word storge, it uses the word agape, showing that God for the world has the deepest level of love possible. Now that kind of linguistic sophistication could not have been expressed in any other language. So even though Alexander the Great was a nasty guy, a globalist, a one-worlder. In fact, Alexander the Great, remember from history, was a guy that conquered the world and started to cry, you know, because there was no one else to conquer and he’s the guy, I think he died, if I remember right, either of venereal disease or alcoholism or some combination thereof and he died about the age of thirty, very, very young. So here is a guy that can conquer the whole world but he couldn’t conquer his own lust, you know, and his own passion and God even used a guy like that to execute His wrath on all these nations that had oppressed Israel and God used a guy like Alexander the Great to bring in the Greek language and so thanks to Alexander the Great one of the richest dialects was worldwide, waiting for Jesus to show up so the revelation of God’s son, what we call the New Testament, could be recorded in Greek and so that’s just a little bit of background on this guy Alexander the Great. But the thing to understand is Zechariah is seeing this roughly two hundred years before it happens. 30:18
So with that being said, let’s kind of move here into part one, judgment on oppressing nations and I’ll go through these fairly quickly believe it or not. Essentially what happens is Zechariah’s prophecy start up north.
Let’s see if I have a picture here of Israel somewhere, there’s a picture. He starts way up north with Syria and then he moves south. So he deals with Syria, what Alexander the Great is going to do to Syria. Then from there he gradually moves into Tyre and Sidon, which is modern day Lebanon and what God is going to do to Tyre and Sidon because of their abuse of Israel and then he kind of keeps moving south and eventually he gets down to the Philistia, which is, if I can find a picture of it, that brown area there.
It’s basically today what’s called the Gaza Strip. So that’s where the Philistines were and so that’s the last group that Zechariah predicts are going to be dealt with because of their abuse of Israel and God is going to use Alexander the Great to pay back these various nations. So God can keep His promise in Genesis, 12, verse 3 (Gen 12:3).
So the first starting way up north in Syria, the first group that he mentions here’s a group called Hadrach, if I’m pronouncing that right and look it chapter 9, verse 1 (Zech 9:1): The burden of the word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrach… Hadrach is up north, it’s basically near an area called Hamath and from there he deals with Damascus, still in verse 1… with Damascus as its resting place (for the eyes of men, especially of all the tribes of Israel, are toward the LORD)… So Damascus basically was a resting place for this other further northern group called Hadrach and then you notice this parenthetical comment here, it says: For the eyes of men especially of all the tribes of Israel are towards the Lord… So God is keeping an eye on these nations that are mistreating His people just like He keeps an eye on the twelve tribes. So He’s aware of all of the abuse these Gentile powers have inflicted upon Israel and He actually used Alexander the Great as His instrument of judgment. It’s just Zechariah is telling you two hundred years in advance before it happened and then from there he moves on to this group called Hamath
which apparently borders Damascus in the north and it says in verse 2 (Zech 9:2): And Hamath also, which borders on it… It would be Damascus and then from there he moves into Tyre and Sidon. Tyre and Sidon would be basically modern day Lebanon and Tyre should be familiar to you because Ezekiel, 28, 12 through 17, Ezekiel in his prophecies, the Holy Spirit starts to reveal to Ezekiel truths about the king of Tyre and then you get to the twenty eighth chapter, verses 12 through 17 (Ezek 28:12-17) and it’s pretty obvious that the prophecies aren’t dealing with an earthly king anymore. It’s dealing with the angelic force behind the king of Tyre and Ezekiel starts to describe a guardian cherub and how that cherub fell and so what you have in Ezekiel, 28, 12 through 17 is exactly what you have and Isaiah, 14, 12 through 15 the satanic force behind the king of Tyre, Ezekiel, 28 and the king of Babylon Isaiah, 14 and weaved into the picture is how Satan became Satan. You know, how Satan was originally a beautiful angel, a guardian cherub, a high ranking angel and how he on account of his beauty, there’s a reason he’s called Lucifer or Light Bearer. It’s almost like Satan, before he was Satan, when he was Lucifer, he was designed in such a way that when you looked at the glory of God through the existence of Lucifer, it would refract all of these colors like the rainbow. So Satan was awesome, actually he wasn’t Satan yet, he was Lucifer, Light Bearer. He was awesome when he was created to do what God called him to do. His problem is he’s stopped being content with that and wanted to eclipse God and that’s how he lost his position in the heavenlies and that’s how he became Satan. So it’s the prophecies of the king of Tyre that reveal that information. So we know that Tyre is a satanically energized empire, because that’s where we find one of the greatest descriptors we have in the Bible of the fall of Lucifer. 36:13
So what does he say here about Tyre? Verse 2 (Zech 9:2): … Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise… Now when it says “though they are very wise”, it’s talking about how they were wise in their own eyes. Solomon in the book of Proverbs chapter 3, verse 7 (Prov 3:7) says: Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil… So if someone is a person that’s not fearing the Lord and turning away from evil, then they’re foolish, because the fool says in his heart there is no God and they think they’re the smartest person in the room. It’s like Paul, you know Romans 1, he says: …professing themselves to be wise they became fools… So some of the most intellectually arrogant people I’ve ever met in my life, people that think they’re God’s gift to the world in terms of philosophy or whatever their discipline is, they’re basically God rejecters. That’s what Tyre was. I mean, they were wise but it wasn’t a godly wisdom, it was a humanistic wisdom. So Zechariah’s prophecies deal with the alleged wisdom in Tyre and Sidon and what were they doing? Verse 3 (Zech 9:3): For Tyre built herself a fortress And piled up silver like dust, And gold like the mire of the streets… So they were basically trusting in economic power. They were trusting in military power and they apparently were very wealthy because it talks about how they were piling up silver and gold. But it’s a lot like the movie the Titanic, if you’ve seen that, where the rich guy is basically trying to bribe his way onto the boat and all of that kind of stuff and it’s sort of like, look if the whole boat is going down, your money is not a lot of good to you; and so Tyre and Sidon, they had military power, they had silver, they had gold. But the thing about it is that doesn’t help you on the day of judgment. James, 5, and verse 3 (James 5:3) says, just of people that are trusting in riches. He says: Your gold and silver… Same two metals that are described here in verse 3… Your gold and silver have corroded and their corrosion will serve as a testimony against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days you have stored up your treasure… So what you’re really storing up is the wrath of God. All of your metal and all your military power, it won’t help you on the day of judgment and that basically is Zechariah’s word from the Holy Spirit to Tyre and Sidon and he goes on with Tyre and Sidon in verse 4 (Zech 9:4), he says: Behold, the Lord will dispossess her And cast her wealth into the sea; And she will be consumed with fire… So Tyre is going to be dispossessed and her wealth is going to be displaced into the sea.
You can see where Tyre was there, towards the top near the Mediterranean and they were known for a tremendous seaport and before Ezekiel deals with the king of Tyre in Ezekiel, 28, he talks about their seaport and so if you wanted to read about Tyre’s tremendous seaport you would just read Ezekiel, 27. So everything that they were trusting in was about to be dispossessed, was about to be displaced and whatever metal wasn’t going to be thrown into the sea by Alexander the Great was going to be destroyed by fire. 40:39
Charles Ryrie says this about these verses,
Charles Ryrie – The Ryrie Study Bible
“Zechariah 9:3-4 (RSB:NASB1995U): 9:3-4. Fortress. The prosperous island city, which had survived several long sieges, was destroyed by Alexander after only a five-month siege because of God’s involvement (v. 4).
He says: The prosperous island city… Tyre and Sidon in other words… which had survived several long sieges, was destroyed by Alexander the Great after only a five-month siege… Why was Alexander the Great so successful? Because God was actually using Alexander the Great to do His will, which was to bring judgment against the nation that had mistreated His people; and then you go down to verses 5 through 7 and he starts to deal with the Philistines.
So notice he started up north with his prophecies and gradually came down south to Philistia and there’s Philistia there on the map, in the south and here are all the nations associated with Philistia.
Philistines (Zech 9:5-7)
Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, Gaza again, Ashkelon again, Ashdod, the Philistines and then he cycles back to Ekron again. So he’s not just making a blanket statement about the Philistines, he’s dealing with all of the groups within Philistia. So what does he say to Ashkelon? He says: Ashkelon will see it and be afraid. See, it’s Ashkelon that was causing fear in God’s people and God says, you want fear? I’ll give you fear; and you’re actually going to be terrified by what Alexander the Great is coming to do to you and then from there he moves into Gaza and you know from the news about the Gaza Strip, I mean, that’s basically where Gaza was, down in the south and what does he say concerning Gaza?
Gaza too will writhe… This is amazing imagery here, will writhe in great pain. So she inflicted pain on my people. She is going to writhe in not just pain but great pain, speaking of what Alexander the Great would do to Gaza and then from there he moves on to Ekron. That’s also in verse 5 (Zech 9:5), it says: Also Ekron, for her expectation has been confounded… So she had an expectation for something, I don’t know what it was, it doesn’t say. Maybe an expectation to win, an expectation for deliverance and God says to Ekron what you’re anticipating won’t happen and then he cycles back again to Gaza and the reason he cycles back again to Gaza is this time He’s not dealing with the people group of Gaza, he’s dealing with the king of Gaza and you see that also in verse 5 (Zech 9:5): Moreover, the king will perish from Gaza… So the people are going to writhe in great pain and the king who’s leading the people, is going to perish and then he moves on also in verse 5 to Ashkelon,
Philistines (Zech 9:5-7)
very end of verse 5, it says: And Ashkelon will not be inhabited… So they were a populous group and God is saying, your whole area there is about to become uninhabited when my emissary Alexander the Great gets through with you; and from there he moves on to Ashdod also in Philistia, there in verse 6 (Zech 9:6) it says: And a mongrel race will dwell in Ashdod… So God would destroy the cities and citizens and replace them with a hybrid mixed race group of some kind and from there he moves into the Philistines in general, middle of verse 6 towards the middle of verse 7 (Zech 9:6-7), it says: I will cut off the pride of the Philistines… Verse 7: I will remove their blood from their mouth And their detestable things from between their teeth. Then they also will be a remnant for our God, And be like a clan in Judah… So right out of the gate, right there in verse 6, he says, I’m going to cut off their pride. So I don’t know everything there is to know about God, but this much I know, he doesn’t like pride. I mean, pride to God is not a thumbs up thing. 1st Peter, 5, verse 5 (1 Pet 5:5) says God resists the proud. Pride is basically living one ‘s life thinking they don’t need God. Proverbs, 16, verse 18 (Prov 16:18) says pride goes before what? Destruction and a haughty spirit. Notice it can be just a spirit, an attitude, a haughty spirit before stumbling. So it’s going to cut off their pride and it says is going to remove detestable things from their mouths, there in verse 7. 46:32
What is that speaking of? The paganism of the Philistines was involved in eating unclean food and basically drinking blood. It was almost kind of like a form of cannibalism; it was part of the Philistine pagan worship system and God is basically saying, I’m going to remove that detestable practice from your midst. He also says in verse 7, you’re going to be like Judah. So I would understand that as, there’s going to be a remnant of believers within the Philistines. Just like there’s going to be a remnant within Judah in the last days. So you know, as wicked as cultures can become, there’s always those within a culture that want to honor God and they’re usually called the remnant and they are called middle of verse 7 (Zech 9:7), a remnant for our God and then the last of the Philistines that he deals with is Ekron. It’s at the very end of verse 7: And Ekron like a Jebusite… So what does that mean? I would understand it just as the Jebusites were incorporated into Israel, after all David bought the Temple Mount from Araunah the Jebusite. 2nd Samuel, 24, verse 16 (2 Sam 24:16), 1st Chronicles, 21, verse 18 ( 1 Chron 21:18), so there were Jebusites within the nation of Israel. I guess, I would understand that as there will be those from Ekron one day within the nation of Israel. So you notice what he’s done here two hundred years before it happens. I mean, long before Alexander the great was even born. He deals with Hadrach, Damascus, Hamath, Tyre and Sidon, the Philistines. But then in verse 8 (Zech 9:8) he starts to deal with Jerusalem and he says, Alexander the Great is going to come but he’s going to spare the city of Jerusalem. So look at verse 8 (Zech 9:8), it says: But I will camp around My house… Where is God’s house? It’s in Jerusalem. Zechariah has been very clear in prior prophecies that Jerusalem is the only city that bears God’s name and is the city of God’s ultimate habitation, so when he says my house, I think he’s making a statement there about Jerusalem. Verse 8: But I will camp around My house because of an army, Because of him who passes by and returns; And no oppressor will pass over them anymore, For now I have seen with My eyes… So basically what God is saying is Alexander the Great’s going to come but I’m going to protect Jerusalem. He’s going to bring slaughter virtually to these other groups. But when this globalist, when this one-worlder, when this guy who wants to Hellenize the world gets to Jerusalem, he won’t touch Jerusalem and God says I will camp around my house. 50:11
So Merrill Unger concerning this verse says:
Merrill F. Unger – Unger, Merrill F. Zechariah. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963. p. 160.
“For their preservation at the time of Alexander and for their future deliverance from every oppressor, Israel is indebted to the providence of God which watched over them for good.”
For their preservation at the time of Alexander and for their future deliverance from every oppressor, Israel is indebted to the Providence of God which watched over them for good… So even though God was bringing judgment on all these other surrounding nations, he’s looking out for the city of Jerusalem and he is saying, I’m going to protect that city. So Kenneth Barker in his Zechariah commentary writes:
Kenneth L. Barker – Barker, Kenneth L. “Zechariah.” In Daniel-Minor Prophets. Vol. 7 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. 12 vols. Edited by Frank E. Gaebelein and Richard P. Polcyn. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985. p. 657.
“As history shows, the agent of the Lord’s judgment was Alexander the Great. After defeating the Persians (333 B.C.), Alexander moved swiftly toward Egypt. On his march he toppled the cities in the Aramean (Syrian) interior, as well as those on the Mediterranean coast. Yet, on coming to Jerusalem, he refused to destroy it.”
As history shows, the agent of the Lord’s judgment was Alexander the Great. After defeating the Persians… Look at the date here, 333 BC, when is Zechariah seeing these things? Almost two hundred years in advance, 518 BC… After defeating the Persians (333 BC), Alexander moved swiftly toward Egypt. On his march he toppled the cities in the Aramean (Syrian) interior… Remember Zechariah’s prophecies begin up north as we’ve said and move south… as well as those on the Mediterranean coast. Yet, on coming to Jerusalem, he… Alexander the Great… refused to destroy it… So why did Alexander the Great refuse to destroy the city of Jerusalem when he had destroyed everything else? Well, he didn’t destroy it because God said he wouldn’t destroy it. But something very, very interesting happened and you read about this in Josephus. Josephus was a Jewish historian who went to work for Rome and he’s the one that gives us tremendous light or insight I should say on the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and one of Josephus’ books is called Antiquities and in his Antiquities of the Jews, there’s different ways of noting where to find things in Josephus but according to this one that I’m using here, it would be… Let’s see… it would be book 11 section 8 and then it’s like verses 3 through 5. So 11,8,3/5 and you can look that up yourself in Josephus, you know, he’s readily available. If you have a Logos program you can find Josephus’ works and when you read that section, what you’ll discover is Josephus reported, remember Josephus is writing in the first century and he’s talking about what happened with Alexander the Great 300 years ago. Zechariah is talking about Alexander the Great two hundred years before it happened. But Josephus in hindsight says that Alexander the Great had a dream and because of the dream he decided to spare Jerusalem. It kind of reminds me of… Remember Pilate’s wife? You know, had the dream and you know, don’t be involved with killing this man. There in the gospel of Matthew and that’s why Pilate, you know, washed his hands, allegedly, he didn’t want to be associated, you know, with any wrongdoing towards Jesus. It related to a dream that his wife had the night before. Well, apparently the same kind of thing happened to Alexander the Great. I mean, here he’s coming right through the land of Israel, from the north to the south and he gets to Jerusalem and he won’t touch it because of a dream that he’d had and that’s what Zechariah is predicting right here in verse 8 (Zech 9:8): I will camp around My house because of an army, Because of him who passes by and returns; And no oppressor will pass over them anymore, For now I have seen with My eyes… It’s a prophecy of Jerusalem’s protection and God fulfilled his word by doing something that Josephus talks about in terms of this dream for Alexander the Great. 55:01
So Gosh! The nation of Israel is on a roll here. Look at all of the things that are going right for him. Look at how God is using Alexander the Great to exact penalties on all their enemies. God in the process is even sparing the city of Jerusalem and wouldn’t it be wonderful if that string of victories kept going? And all you got to do is one thing. Reminds me of the old Rodney Dangerfield bowling commercials, you know, remember those? You guys, well, maybe not the best thing to talk about in a Bible study, Rodney Dangerfield. But they’re like, all we need is one pin Rodney, remember that? Well, I’m getting a lot of blank stares. I was getting my eyes checked the other day at the eye doctor and they put you in this machine when they want to take a picture of your eyeball and it’s a bright light and I kept blinking and so the trainee kept adjusting my head this way and she would adjust my head that way and I kept blinking and blinking and blinking and finally she gets the other gal who’s in charge and she puts my head exactly the right way and gets the eyeball shot right out of the gate and so I said to her, you’ve got the Fonzie touch and both of them are looking at me like, what is he talking about? And finally I said, well, how old are you? She goes, I’m 24. I go, you guys don’t know anything about Fonzie? Then she said, don’t worry I’ll Google it. Then I even went like this, I went… and this is a true story. I went, Hey! And they thought I was really out to lunch at that point. But I mean, how could you not know who Fonzie is? Does anybody know who here Fonzi is? Okay, good. I feel I’m in the house of the Lord now. I mean, we grew up with Fonzi. In fact, Henry Winkler kissed my wife when she was a little girl. Did you know that? My wife had a big crush on Henry Winkler, that’s of course before I showed up in her life and Henry Winkler gave her a big kiss at some public event and you can ask her about it, she’ll tell you all about it. But it’s like, we all grew up with Fonzie and here I am. I’m not that old I mean, I’m 55 and, you know, I’m dealing with these 24 years old that don’t even know who Fonzi was, you know. So that’s my prelude from the Rodney Dangerfield comment I was making. So we go from Fonzie to Rodney Dangerfield. 57:59
Rodney Dangerfield in the Bud Light commercial… Is this going on the internet? Goodness gracious! He says, all we need is one pin, Rodney! Remember that? I’m getting some blank stares here…. and he rolled the ball and he didn’t get the one pin and it was kind of funny, but anyway, all of that to say, God is saying to Israel, all you need is one pin. All you got to do is fulfill one condition and if you fill that one condition, all your string of victories are going to be multiplied to the nth degree cause you’ll have the millennial Kingdom, and that one pin is right there in verse 9 (Zech 9:9) and that’s the pin they tripped over. So if you look at verse 9, it says: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!… This is the one verse in Zechariah, 9, most people will know. They don’t know anything about all the other stuff we’ve talked about thus far, but they know verse 9 cause it was fulfilled on Palm Sunday, right? About five hundred years after the time Zechariah saw this… Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king… I mean, this king is going to be even better than Alexander the Great if you enthrone him… Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation… Now, here’s the problem… Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey… Whoops! That’s not what Alexander the Great did; he never came on a donkey. He never came in humility. He never came offering terms of peace. He came as a conqueror and when that king showed up the nation of Israel just tripped right over him because Jesus was outside their box. Paul in Romans, 9, verse 32 (Rom 9:32) says of Israel: Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith as though they could by works and they stumbled over the stumbling stone… They tripped right over him and because they tripped right over him, all the blessings that God would have brought to them are now in a state of postponement. It’s not until they receive Him on His terms, verse 10 (Zech 9:10), that these blessings are theirs. But they stumbled over the stumbling stone. The string of victories that they had would have continued had Israel accepted their Messiah and here’s the key point, on his terms and if you want to know what His terms are, read the sermon on the mount, because in the sermon on the mount He’s not dealing with politics, He’s dealing with the condition of the heart. They did not. Why didn’t they receive Him? Because He didn’t come like Alexander the Great. He came with humility. He came riding on a donkey. In fact, Jesus said in John, 5, verse 43 (John 5:43) of the Jews: I have come in my Father’s name and you did not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you’ll receive him… See, if I had come like Alexander the Great, you would have embraced me. This is why Israel is going to accept the antichrist, because the antichrist is going to come like Alexander the Great did and it’s going to take three and a half years of a tremendous ordeal to wake Israel up. Jesus came to be just, you’ll see the word just there in verse 9 (Zech 9:9), He came to bring salvation, that’s why they should rejoice. Alexander the Great didn’t bring any rejoicing, he brought fear. Jesus brought rejoicing. You’ll notice the word “peace”, they wanted political peace. Jesus was dealing though in His first coming with spiritual peace. He came in humility. He came on a donkey. Some of the commentators suggest ancient rulers rode in on donkeys when they wanted peace. So, when Jesus came in not as a conqueror but wanting Shalom, it didn’t fit their box of what a Messiah should do and I’ll just leave you with this as we close. Who could have written this other than God? Who could have come up with this kind of a story? Where God himself in human flesh doesn’t come the first time as a conqueror but as a servant? I have no doubt that this book is from above because I don’t know of any human author that could have come up with a storyline like this and so, praise the Lord, Amen?
So we’ll pick it up with verse 10 (Zech 9:10) next time. Let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for your truth, your word. Thank you for giving us a chance to go through a chapter that we really don’t know that much about Lord, but thank you for giving us the spirit of God tonight to help us grow in our understanding and I pray that it would not just be a Bible lesson but these would be things that we can apply to daily life. 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.