If we could open our Bibles this evening to the book of Zechariah chapter 10. You say, does that mean we finish chapter 9 finally? Yes, we did. So that’s kind of a big deal in this church when we change chapters. So as you know, we’re continuing Wednesday evenings our verse by verse teaching through the book of Zechariah based on some of the things that I felt the Lord was impressing on my heart as I was studying. I’ve entitled this teaching “Doctrines of Demons”. Sorry not to have more of an uplifting thing for you on a Wednesday evening. But you remember the big picture of Zechariah.
It has four major parts. Part one was a call to repentance, chapter 1, verses 1 through 6 (Zech 1:1-6) and then came eight-night visions, which go all the way through the end of chapter 6.
Each vision in its own way, given by the Holy Spirit through Zechariah to the returnees to get busy building temple two and those night visions end with the coronation of Joshua the high priest, which is a prefigurement typologically of the millennial reign of Christ, which will involve a temple.
So the temple is very special. The temple is a big deal in the outworking of God’s purposes and so Zechariah’s point is get busy rebuilding it and then part three of the book is questions and answers about fasting and basically they want to know, you know, should we fast as we’ve been doing for seventy years?
III. Questions & Answers Concerning Fasting (Zech, 7‒8)
That’s a great way to lose weight by the way, just go into fast for seventy years. They’ve been fasting seventy years. I mean, not every single day they fasted, but you get the picture. It was a ritual for them and they were doing that because that was the date in which the first temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and so what they want to know is should we keep fasting over the destruction of the first temple now that the second temple is being built? And so that’s a pretty honest question and the answer comes back through Zechariah to them that you should mourn the cause rather than the effect. So you’re wasting your time mourning the destruction of the temple. What you should be worried about is the covenant failures, the violations of God’s law that brought divine discipline and caused that temple to be destroyed. So he condemns them in this section for a ritual that’s just empty. You know, they’re going through the motions and they don’t really understand the point of the ritual, which is what religion can do to you. You can get so wrapped up in the, you know, pomp and circumstance of it that you forget why you’re doing it. That’s why Jesus condemned the Pharisees when He said in Mark, 7, verse 13 (Mark 7:13): You have made null the word of God through your traditions… 4:49
So religion and ritual sort of happens when the tail starts to wag the dog and that’s what happened with Israel for seventy years and so they’re condemned for empty ritualism there in chapter 7 and 8 and then we moved to the last part of the book, chapters 9 through 14, which are two burdens and the first burden, chapters 9 through 11, relate to the first coming of Christ the second burden, chapters 12 through 14, relate to the second coming of Christ.
So in the first burden, which we just started studying, it deals with Israel’s postponed deliverance due to her rejection of her Messiah. So that particular burden has three parts.
As you know, there is the divine warrior hymn chapter 9, which we just completed and that particular chapter, you know, most people when you ask them about that chapter can really quote one verse, verse 9. But very few Christians understand the whole chapter.
Divine Warrior Hymn (Zech 9:1-17)
The whole chapter is about the victories that would have kept on going had the nation enthroned their king five hundred years later at the time Zechariah received these prophecies. So there’s a string of victories going on as God is bringing judgments through Alexander the Great. Verses 1 through 8 (Zechariah 9:1-8), Zechariah sees that a couple centuries in advance and then you get to verses 11 through 17 (Zech 9:11-17) and Zechariah sees a string of victories or a series of victories, which took place around Hanukkah in the intertestamental period, tremendous victory. Zechariah sees those a few centuries in advance as well and those victories, whether it be Hanukkah or whether it be Alexander the Great, would have just kept on rolling had the nation responded the right way to her king, but they didn’t because the problem is right there in verse 9. He didn’t come the way they thought He should come. He came in humility, He came on a donkey. He didn’t come like Alexander the Great did and so they tripped right over Him and so their deliverance, which was happening in the time of Alexander the Great and which was happening during the days of Hanukkah, that deliverance, which would have kept rolling right into the millennial kingdom, has been postponed. It’s postponed until the nation, yet future, responds to her king the right way. So verse 9 (Zech 9:9) is the first coming and verse 10 (Zech 9:10) is the second coming and so that’s a brief summary of chapter 9. 8:11
So we leave chapter 9 and now we move into chapter 10 where we have a description of the true shepherd and it sort of continues on with the themes addressed in chapter 9 of more victories and more victories and more victories that Jesus, Yeshua, the Jewish name for Jesus, wanted to do for Israel and yet all these wonderful things mentioned in verse 10 are in a state of postponement because Israel failed to embrace her king. Well, who did she bring embrace instead?
First Burden Outline (Zech, 9‒11)
She would embrace a false shepherd and that false shepherd as described in chapter 11. So first, you have the true shepherd chapter 10, false shepherd chapter 11. So we’re just now moving into chapter 10 and these are all of the wonderful things the true shepherd wanted to do and in fact will do, one day for the nation.
True Shepherd – (Zech 10:1-12)
So there’s a description there in verses 1 through 3 (Zech 10:1-3) of the prosperity the Messiah would usher in for the nation and the whole world. In verses 4 through 7 (Zech 10:4-7), there’s a prophecy about how the northern and southern kingdoms would be restored, verses 4 through 7 and then the chapter ends, verses 8 through 12 (Zech 10:8-12) with a tremendous prediction of the messianic re-gathering of the nation of Israel from all over the world and places of specific geography in that re-gathering are mentioned. So these are all of the things Jesus would have done for Israel the first time He came, but all of those blessings are now on hold awaiting the second coming. So let’s start here with letter a, the first thing the Messiah wanted to do and will do for Israel is He wanted to bring them true prosperity, verses 1 through 3 (Zech 10:1-3).
Messianic Prosperity – (Zech 10:1-3)
So we have a challenge verse 1. We have some problems inhibiting prosperity described verse 2 and then you have a prediction of the true shepherd who will judge the false shepherds, verse 3.
So notice, if you will, the challenge where God, through Zechariah, challenges His people. He says there in chapter 10, verse 1 (Zech 10:1): Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain… So go ahead God says, ask me for rainfall. That’s a pretty good verse for us here in Texas isn’t it? I like that one and why is God saying that? Because part of the blessings associated with the Mosaic Covenant that Israel is under, involves agricultural prosperity and you cannot have agricultural prosperity, Deuteronomy, 28, verses 1 through 14 (Deut 28:1-14) without adequate rainfall.
Six Parts of a Suzerain-Vassal Treaty in Deuteronomy
So that’s why the nation of Israel started to have droughts. She was not in right relationship in terms of obeying God’s covenant and so God brought curses on her and so some of the curses related to their crops drying up because there was not adequate rain. So in the millennial kingdom, once Israel is in right relationship to the Lord, there’s going to be adequate rainfall. In the book of Joel chapter 2, verse 23 (Joel 2:23) of that time period says: So rejoice, O sons of Zion, And be glad in the LORD your God; For He has given you the early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, The early and latter rain as before… So, early rain, latter rain. What is that talking about? There’s a lot of strange teaching out there today about the latter rain movement, all these kinds of things but, the straightforward teaching of the Bible is Israel, when she’s obeying God’s covenant will have adequate rainfall for her crops and so when God says ask for rain, what He’s saying is get back in right relationship with me so I can fulfill the blessings aspects of the Mosaic Covenant and then he says: Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain… Why does he mention the spring rain? Cause the spring is the time when they sow their seed. So, the whole description here is adequate rain at the proper time so that your crops can produce bountifully as I promised I would bless, God says, in the Mosaic Covenant and then, you look at the second part of verse 1, it’s a description of why would we ask God, why would Israel ask God for rain. Well, God is the author of the storm clouds. You look at the rest of verse 1 there and it says: The LORD who makes the storm clouds; And He will give them showers of rain, vegetation in the field of each man… So why not ask the Lord for rain? Cause He’s the one that created it to begin with. God creates the storm clouds necessary for rain. In fact, there’s a description of that in the book of Job chapter 36, verses 27 and 28 (Job 36:27-28) where it says of God: He draws up the drops of water, They distill rain from the mist, Which the clouds pour down, They drip upon man abundantly. So of course you ought to ask God for rain, because God is the author of the storm clouds and when God gives the rain, you’ll notice that it’s coming upon, end of verse 10, in the field of each man. So that’s one of the things I’ve always appreciated about the Lord is He’s very much for everybody. He doesn’t just give rain to some people, the beautiful people, you know, the rich people, but when the nation is in a right relationship with Him and their crops are being blessed, the agricultural prosperity and the rain necessary for the agricultural prosperity goes to each man. So it really becomes a beautiful picture of what the Messiah, Jesus or Yeshua, wanted to do and will do for the nation of Israel in the millennial kingdom. But then that raises a question, what’s holding up the show? You know, why is it that the nation of Israel is having all of these droughts?
Messianic Prosperity – (Zech 10:1-3)
And you find an explanation for that in verse 2 , because there are idols in the land preventing this predicted prosperity and so when you look at verse 2 (Zech 10:2), it says: For the teraphim… Now, when you see that IM ending, in Hebrew that’s like putting an S on the end of an English noun, you know, connotes plurality. So it’s not talking here about an idol, it’s talking about idols throughout the land. It says: For the teraphim speak iniquity, And the diviners see lying visions And tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. So what is holding up the prosperity? What is holding up the prosperity are the teraphim and when you track that Hebrew word teraphim through the Old Testament, what you’ll see are those are household idols. Those are things, little statues coming from paganism, that the children of Israel started to bring into their homes and as they brought those things into their homes, they obviously weren’t in right relationship with the Lord in doing so, because they would be violating the first two commandments, right? Thou shalt have no other gods before Me, Thou shalt not make any graven image; and so these little idols begin to come into their homes and they begin to look at these idols as sources of power and as they were doing that, they obviously weren’t walking with God and that’s what was holding up the rainfall, ultimately, the millennial kingdom. There’s a reference to the teraphim in the book of Genesis chapter 31, verse 19 (Gen 31:19), it says: When Laban had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols… teraphim… that were her father’s… So there’s a situation where there was idols in a person’s house in this case, Laban; and as long as the people were looking to these little idols and things of that nature, statues, for truth and a light, they were going to get wrong answers, because right answers can only come from God. So that’s why it mentions here verse 2 (Zech 10:2): the teraphim speak iniquity, And the diviners see lying visions And tell false dreams… So whenever you get involved with idolatry, you’re getting maybe a source of power of some kind because Satan does have some power. But it can’t guide you in the way of truth. 19:21
So Jeremiah, 23, verse 32 (Jer 23:32) God speaks against this and He says: Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams,” declares the LORD, “and related them, and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,” declares the LORD… So you think these statues, idols are going to help you but there are things that are actually lying visions and false dreams and it says, yeah! They may comfort you for a moment but their comfort ultimately is in vain. Their comfort is worthless. So when it comes to pagan practices, the Bible is pretty clear that we ought to as Christians get those things out of our lives completely. A similar kind of thing happened in the book of Acts in chapter 19, verse 19 (Acts 19:19), there was a great spiritual revival that happened there in Ephesus on Paul’s third missionary journey and as the gospel penetrated Ephesus, a pagan part of the world, as people came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and they became new converts in Christianity and followers of Jesus Christ, first believers in Jesus Christ and then later followers of Jesus Christ, they had to make a choice concerning all of their occultic paraphernalia that they had accumulated over their whole lifetimes and Acts, 19, verse 19 (Acts 19:19) says, those in Ephesus took all of this stuff, all of this pagan junk, similar to the teraphim that Zechariah is condemning here and they just burned it all. So Acts, 19, and verse 19 (Acts 19:19) says: And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone… And then it says… they counted up the price of them… Everything that they have burned there in Ephesus… and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver… Now you ask yourself, well, how much is fifty thousand pieces of silver. I mean, how much is that worth? There’s a very helpful note in the Ryrie Study Bible on Acts, 19, verse 19, he says: Magic spells written on scrolls fifty thousand pieces of silver… He says: If the silver drachma is meant, the value would have been the equivalent of about a hundred and thirty eight years pay for a rural worker… So I’m sure the folks in Ephesus were tempted to hang on to all that stuff because of its monetary value, but it wasn’t pleasing to God so they took it, they burned it despite the enormous cost involved and when you see that, you see how much God wants us to get that junk out of our lives. I mean, we shouldn’t be people that are consulting other sources of power, you know, to get through the day. Take all that stuff and get rid of it, because ultimately at the end of the day, it’s a lying vision and it gives false dreams. I mean, it does comfort for a moment. Satan does have some power but the comfort is in vain and so this was what was holding up the prosperity. They were clinging to these, you know, pagan sources of power, these idols and when you look at the second part of verse 2 (Zech 10:2), it says: Therefore… In other words, the thought, second part of verse 2 follows verse 1. The first part of verse 2 is the cause, the second part of verse 2 is the result. In other words, why is it so wrong to hold on to these idols? Well, we have an answer in the second part of verse 2: Therefore the people wander like sheep, They are afflicted, because there is no shepherd… So as long as the people were clinging to these sources of paganism and idolatry, Zechariah describes them as wandering a bit about like sheep without a shepherd. Now, the sheep without a shepherd imagery is something that you see concerning the ministry of Jesus Christ back in the 1st century. This is a description of what Jesus saw in Matthew, 9, verse 36 (Matt 9:36), it says: Seeing the people… That’s Jesus… He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd… So you cling to all this occultic paraphernalia and you really consequently have no room in your life for the true God, because God and Satan don’t make for good roommates, right? I mean, the more we’re clinging to all this other stuff, the more we’re pushing Jesus out and the more we push Jesus out, the more we push out of our lives the shepherd that we need and why do we need a shepherd? Because we’re sheep. 25:37
Now, I used to read all this stuff about sheep in the Bible and I used to think, oh! That’s so cute and sheep are so cuddly and all that sort of thing but the truth of the matter is that when we’re called sheep in the Bible here, that’s not a compliment, because sheep are some of the dumbest animals that have ever lived. Sheep will follow each other right over a cliff if given the opportunity and sheep are vulnerable and so a sheep or sheep plural, without a shepherd is a tragic thing. So what was happening is they were clinging to occultic pagan, statues, idols, paraphernalia, they were pushing out of their lives the true shepherd and consequently they were just like sheep without a shepherd and this was what was inhibiting the millennial prosperity that the Lord wanted to bring in but couldn’t, because of the heart condition of the people. Joyce Baldwin in her Zechariah commentary, writes:
Baldwin, Joyce G. Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series. Leicester, Eng., and Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1972. Page 171.
“A modern parallel is the renewed interest in magic, spiritism and other survivals of primitive times. The more widespread modern equivalent is to ignore God altogether and tacitly to assume that no problem is beyond man’s unaided power to solve.”
A modern parallel… Because this was written five hundred years before the time of Christ. She says… is the renewed interest in magic, spiritism and other survivals of primitive times. The more widespread modern equivalent is to ignore God altogether and tacitly to assume that no problem is beyond man’s unaided power to solve… So, why consult God for the issues of life when I can go get my palm read? Why consult God for the issues of life when I’ve got horoscopes and Jean Dixon and the psychic hot line? and I’ve got all my kids, by the way, reading all of these books that many have argued are occultic at their core, dare I say, like even things like the Harry Potter series and all kinds of books that are very, very popular with the youth, not understanding the background of some of those things. One of the big board games that was very, very big when I was coming of age was the board game Dungeons and Dragons and you get into some of the background of that and you could see, it doesn’t come from a Godly place, it doesn’t come from a Godly source and so you know, fantasy games, Pokemon. Boy! I’m really stepping on toes here; and we could go on and on talking about things like this. When I became a Christian, I was wrapped up in a lot of that stuff like Dungeons and Dragons and I asked the guy that led me to Christ, I go, is there a problem with me as a Christian continuing on with Dungeons and Dragons? And Dungeons and Dragons when I was growing up, it wasn’t just a game, it was like an obsession. . I mean, you played it like all weekend long, dawn till dusk. I mean, it controlled so much of your life and I asked him, well, I’m a Christian now, is there any problem with me continuing on with this? And his answer was, well, let me just ask you a question, does that game bring you closer to Christ or drive you further away? And he didn’t come down on me with a bunch of rules and say, don’t do this, don’t do that, what he did is just ask a simple question and so, when we’re attracted to all these things and there’s a natural attraction in them, because they involve a source of comfort sometimes, a source of power, you just ask yourself a simple question, is this really enhancing my relationship with the Lord? Or is it pulling me further away? And rather than become legalistic and say Thou should not do this, don’t do that, it’s just a basic question we should all ask ourselves when we are pulled in the direction of something that I would call idolatry and the occult. You know, when something has that big of a sway over your mind, you have to ask yourself: If I continue on with this, is the role of Jesus shrinking in my life or expanding? And here the teraphim, the role of it was expanding throughout Israel and that was what was pushing the true shepherd away; and so they were just like sheep without a shepherd. 30:37
People say well why don’t you talk about something more applicational to the life of the church today. Okay, I’ll do that. Here is a book written by Steve and Sarah Berger in 2010. So I’m not doing yellow journalism here. This is a book, if you wanted it, I don’t know why you’d want it, but you can get it and read it for yourself and what’s troubling about it is he is a Christian pastor of a very large church, I believe in Tennessee, that hosts major conferences involving major teachers in the body of Christ and if I start rattling off the names of those teachers, they would all be people that you know, and tragically what happened to Steven and Sarah Berger is something I don’t wish on anybody. They lost a child and I feel badly for them because of that. But they claim in this book that they are actually communicating with that child even though he’s dead and they’re doing this under the banner of Christianity because after all Hebrews, 12, verse 1 (Heb 12:1) says, does it not?: …That we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses… By the way, they’re totally taking that verse out of context and one of those witnesses is our deceased son Josiah. So here’s a few excerpts from the book and I have the page numbers where you can go look this up and other ministries have exposed this. So what I’m doing here is not front page news, they’ve been doing this for over a decade.
Steve Berger & Sarah Berger, Have Heart: Bridging the Gulf Between Heaven and Earth (Franklin, TN: Grace Chapel, 2010).
“And then one night, Josiah [their son] showed up in a dream” (p. 69)
“Josiah came into the sanctuary…It wasn’t like he just appeared there. It was a sense of him coming into the aisle, and he got down on one knee and bent into my ear…Then, as quickly as he came, he left. It wasn’t that he disappeared; rather, it was a sense of him leaving the sanctuary…. He had a sense of speed about him, not that he was hurried, but as if life on earth was much slower than in Heaven—it’s a different place, a different plane. I stood up and went over to my wife and told her, ‘Josiah was just here.’” p. 99-100.
“God granted Josiah permission to make an appearance…it demonstrates his continued presence in not only our lives but in the lives of his friends as well” (p. 100; italics added).
“Yes, the residents of Heaven are personally present, they are aware, and they are near!” p. 100-101.
“We want all of us to continue to have relationship with Siah right up until the day that we are face-to-face in Heaven with him” (p. 103).
“The cloud of witnesses [of ‘Christian loved ones in Heaven’] is personal, and we believe it is part of their work in the spiritual realm to cheer on their loved ones still on earth…” (p. 107; italics added).
“Our loved ones may show up in dreams or visits or other ways (who can limit God’s imagination?), but the fact is that we’re connected….There is a thin veil, and we’re connected to them, forever, in Christ” (p. 110)
“You don’t father or mother a child for nineteen years and then hear God say, ‘Oh, now you can’t talk to him. You no longer have a relationship with him until you see him face to face in Heaven….’ We still talk to Josiah, and it’s going to be so great when we’re together again” (p. 125).
Quote: And then one night, Josiah… That’s their deceased son… showed up in a dream… They continue on… Josiah came into the sanctuary… That’s the church that they pastor, this influential church… It wasn’t like he just appeared there. It was a sense of him coming into the aisle, and he got down on one knee and bent into my ear. Then, as quickly as he came, he left. It wasn’t that he disappeared; rather, it was a sense of him leaving the sanctuary. He had a sense of speed about him, not that he was hurried, but as if life on earth was much slower than in Heaven—it’s a different place, a different plane. I stood up and went over to my wife and told her, Josiah was just here… In the sanctuary, their deceased son… God granted Josiah permission to make an appearance…it demonstrates his continued presence in not only our lives but in the lives of his friends as well. Yes, the residents of Heaven are personally present, they are aware, and they are near! We want all of us to continue to have relationship with Siah… That’s their abbreviated name for Josiah, their deceased son… right up until the day that we are face-to-face in Heaven with him… Well, is there any biblical support for this? Well, of course… The cloud of witnesses… Which they put in brackets… of ‘Christian loved ones in Heaven’ is personal… They are getting this from Hebrews, 12… and we believe it is part of their work in the spiritual realm to cheer on their loved ones still on earth… They go on and they say… Our loved ones may show up in dreams or visits or other ways (who can limit God’s imagination?)… So if you have a problem with this, like I’ll show you why I have a problem with this, a big problem. They’ve already put you in a bracket there why you’re limiting God. That’s a semantical game. They have created a semantical bear trap. If you are against this, you are limiting God’s imagination…They go on… But the fact is that we’re connected. There is a thin veil, and we’re connected to them, forever, in Christ… They say, notice all the Christian language. You don’t father or mother a child for 19 years, I guess that was the age the child died, which you know, you read this and you want to believe it’s true because your heart strings are being tugged on here, because everybody feels sorry for parents that lose a child. I mean, that’s a, you know, of all the worst things that could happen to someone in the world, that to my mind, would be it. You don’t father or mother, so people read this and they’re being drawn in emotionally… You don’t father or mother a child for nineteen years and then hear God say, Oh, now you can’t talk to him. You no longer have a relationship with him until you see him face to face in Heaven… We still talk to Josiah, and it’s going to be so great when we’re together again… And I’m here to tell you, based on the Bible, that this is something called necromancy, which the Bible condemns over and over again and before I briefly show you a screenshot of all the verses condemning this practice of necromancy, I want you to understand that the Bible does not open the possibility of the dead speaking back into this world. Here is 2nd Samuel, 12, 22 and 23 (2nd Sam 12:22-23). This is the death of David’s son, you remember, when David committed adultery with Bathsheba and the child died. David says there: While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, Who knows, the Lord may be gracious to me, that the child may live. But now he has died… And by the way, I think the child under the age of accountability went to heaven. This is the main verse I have that would teach that idea, because David took that truth of the death of the child and in the next verse comforted Bathsheba. What comfort would there be to Bathsheba if the child didn’t go to heaven? And I bring that up, because I have run into many Calvinists, there was even one here, that did this I’ve been told before I got here, but he got into a Sunday school class and he basically was asked the question, did the child go to heaven or hell? and his answer was, well, if the child was one of the elect, he went to heaven. If he was not one of the elect, the child went to hell. 38:25
Now can you see David turning around to Bathsheba and saying that and her being comforted? Well, I’m not sure what happened to the child, if he’s one of the elect he went to heaven and if he’s not one of the elect went to hell, oh! Thank you my husband for those great words of comfort. The Calvinistic view on this doesn’t even fit the context. I mean, of course, the child went to heaven. But that’s not even the point I’m getting at. David says, but now he has died. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? So the child can’t come back. Then David says, I will go to him but he… that’s a deceased child… will not return to me. So there’s a separation between this life and the next life and there’s no sense in which the deceased child comes back and communicates and David is very clear that when I die in the future, I’ll see the child again in heaven. That’s his point and he says specifically here that the child can’t come back. Now, that’s exactly the opposite of what Steve and Sarah Berger are communicating in their book, “Have Heart”, this is the title of it, “Have Heart: Bridging the Gulf Between Heaven and Earth”. They’re saying that their son Josiah is speaking to them regularly, David in 2nd Samuel, 12 is saying the exact opposite concerning his deceased son. So you have to, at some point, figure out what you’re more impressed by. Are you impressed with this bestseller by Stephen and Sarah Berger? Or are you impressed by the words of David in 2nd Samuel, 12, 22 and 23 (2 Sam 12:22-23)? Beyond that, we have the description of the man who died in unbelief in Luke, 16, 24 through 26 (Luke 16:24-26), it says: He cried out and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame. But Abraham said, Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us… I mean, does it really sound like people are making, you know, trips back and forth from the grave based on what it says here? It doesn’t give you that impression at all. Hebrews chapter 9, verse 27 (Heb 9:27) says: And in as much as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment… There’s no biblical teaching of somebody dying, whether believer or unbeliever and somehow having the ability to make guest appearances in this life and to interpret Hebrews, 12, verse 1 (Heb 12:1) that way, is to take a view on a verse that’s out of harmony with the rest of the teaching of the Bible and that’s how false doctrine develops. People are not looking at the totality of scripture. They want to believe emotionally, that they’re talking to their deceased son. Who wouldn’t want that? I would want that probably, from a human perspective, if I was in their position, and so they grab Hebrews, 12, verse 1 (Heb 12:1) to make it sound like this is a true doctrine and they interpreted in a way that violates all of these other verses that I’m showing you, which is not how to interpret the Bible. You cannot come up with an interpretation of the Bible that violates everything else in the Bible, because all of scripture is God breathed, right? And that’s a good way to test your interpretations. If I have an interpretation here, is it going to violate a bunch of biblical principles elsewhere? It’s a hint that you’re interpreting it incorrectly. You need to go back to the drawing board and do some fresh exegesis and figure out did I come up with the right meaning or not? and in this case, Stephen and Sarah Berger have not come up with the right meaning. They’ve come up with an emotional meaning. They’ve come up with a bestselling meaning. As I back up there, you see them on a TV set, there in the upper right left hand corner, you probably can’t see that. So obviously, what they said is popular enough to get them interviewed, you know, on major Christian television. But it’s not what God says. They’ve come with an interpretation that’s anti biblical and that’s my problem with it. 44:10
So if Stephen and Sarah Berger aren’t talking to their deceased son Josiah, who are they talking to? They are talking to somebody. Well, Satan, 2nd Corinthians, 11, verse 14 (2 Cor 11:14) disguises himself as an angel of light. I mean, who they’re talking to is probably, I would think, a demon pretending to be their deceased son and by the way, angels don’t die, right? We know that from Luke, 20, verses 35 and 36 (Luke 20:35-36) I think it is. Angels don’t die, that would include fallen angels. So this particular fallen angel that they’re talking about knew or observed the temperament and personality and speaking style of their deceased son and so when they think they’re talking to their deceased son, who they are really talking to is a demon who observed their deceased son. Now, I remember watching a show, I’m not promoting the show, I just said I happened to watch it and it was called the Montel Williams Show and they had on this particular show Sylvia Browne, who was one of these… She basically called herself a psychic, I’ve called it necromancer and all you have to do is go to Barnes and Noble bookstore and go to the spiritual section and you’ll see Sylvia Browne stuff all over the place. Book after book after book and I remember watching the Montel Williams Show and people would come up to the microphone and they would say, I really want to talk to… and they’d name some deceased person, an aunt or something, grandma and so Sylvia Browne would hear this voice and she would tell the person at the microphone: Your grandma or your aunt or your mother or your sister or whoever it was is saying X to you right now and I would watch very carefully the reaction of the person at the microphone, which shows me that this wasn’t rehearsed, cause I don’t think you can rehearse emotions like this. The person would start to cry immediately, because it sounded like grandma. I mean, what you just said is the kind of stuff that grandma used to say to me and so the person would think that Sylvia Browne is contacting grandma, who’s giving messages to this person at the microphone and who was Sylvia Browne actually talking to given everything we know in scripture about how the dead don’t come back into this world? Well, she was talking to an angel of light, she was talking to a demon, masquerading as the deceased person, who doesn’t die and therefore was alive to see the speaking style, temperament, personality of so and so deceased person and the whole practice of contacting the dead is condemned from cover to cover in the Bible. If you want to look up every single verse on it, there’s all the verses I could find.
Bible Verses Against Necromancy
God doesn’t say a nice thing about it. Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 18:9-14, 1 Samuel 28:7-8, it’s how Saul lost his kingdom, by the way, getting involved in this practice of necromancy, 2 Kings 21:6, 1 Chronicles 10:13, Isaiah 8:19-20 and why does God condemn this practice? God condemns this practice because the dead don’t speak into this world. The dead don’t make appearances into this world. So when you contact the dead, you’re talking to a demon or the devil himself pretending to be the dead and Satan is the father of lies, so you open yourself up to this practice thinking that you’re talking to the dead and you’re opening yourself up to the reality of false doctrine. You become susceptible to false doctrine because you think the person giving you the doctrine is your deceased loved one when it’s not your deceased loved one, it’s a demon. That’s why God says, get away from this, don’t do this. This is why the teraphim were inhibiting the millennial prosperity that Yeshua wanted to bring in. This is why the new converts at Ephesus took all of their occultic paraphernalia and had a great big bonfire with it, totaling a hundred and thirty eight years to pay for a rural worker. 50:03
Now, here’s a verse that I have to be honest with you, I don’t think I have fully understood it until recently, because of what I’m explaining. Paul says and that’s by the way why entitled this session “Doctrines of demons”… Paul predicts this and he’s at the end of his life, he’s writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and he says: But the Spirit explicitly says… In other words, the spirit is trying to say something and in this case we are dealing with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit expressly says that in the latter times, some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons… And I would wonder to myself, well, wait a minute, Paul is writing to Timothy. Who is Timothy? Anybody know? He is the pastor of a church, called the church at Ephesus, that by the way, is the same crowd earlier that burned all their occultic paraphernalia and cost them pay of a hundred and thirty eight years of a rural worker, according to Charles Ryrie. So that’s who Paul is writing to, he’s writing to Timothy over at the church of Ephesus, trying to teach a pastor how to be a pastor. So this is part of the pastoral letters, 1st Timothy, Titus, 2nd Timothy. Those are three letters written to pastors, telling pastors how to be pastors. So when he says: The Spirit expressly says that in the latter time some will fall away from the faith paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, he’s not making a prediction about the condition of the world. He’s not condemning unbelievers like Sylvia Browne. What He’s saying is these doctrines are going to come into Christendom. They’re going to come into Christianity and the Spirit is explicitly predicting this in the latter times and I used to read that in context and I’d say, how in the world would Christians ever embrace doctrines of demons. I mean, that seems so far-fetched and then you stumble upon Stephen and Sarah Berger and now you have an answer, because they’re wrapping all of this up in Christian vernacular and they’re trying to come up with a biblical defense or a biblical justification why God wants them to talk to their deceased son and so they write this book that becomes a bestseller, they’re interviewed all over the place and we’re yanked into it, because we feel bad for anybody that loses a child, right? And who would want to stand up and give a Bible study like this where God condemns it? Such a person would seem narrow, intolerant, unfeeling, uncaring and yet what’s happening is they just open themselves up to a realm that’s not of God and as they’re opened up to that realm that’s not a God, Satan who disguises himself as an angel of light, who’s the father of all lies. Do you understand that about Satan? That he is the father of all lies. Jesus says, when Satan lies he speaks his native language. How do you know Satan is lying? Because his lips are moving. It’s the same joke we tell about politicians and lawyers, how do you know they are lying? Because their lips are moving. Well, that’s how Satan is and so you get opened up to this mindset where, Oh! I’m going to contact on biblical grounds, supposedly, my deceased loved one, not understanding what the Bible actually says about this, that the dead don’t make appearances into this life as a common practice and they don’t speak into this life as a common practice. Well, then who are they really talking to? They’re talking to a demon without realizing it and now they’re in a position to bring into the church one damnable heresy after another and they have this mega church and all of these kind of Christian celebrities go to the church to speak at their conferences and of course, on their mailing list, they don’t say, Hey! I’m going to Stephen and Sarah Berger’s church but I don’t agree with their necromancy. They’re not going to say that in their mailing list, because if they said that publicly, they would never get invited back, right? And I got to get invited back cause I got book sales that got to be pushed up. So then, all of these people that go and speak, all of their followers, get contaminated with this false doctrine and now you start to see how what Paul said happens. In the latter times the spirit expressly says that some will fall away from the faith paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. 56:10
Messianic Prosperity – (Zech 10:1-3)
So, verse 3 (Zech 10:3), what is God’s going to do about it? Well, as this practice is going on in the nation of Israel, God is angry at the shepherds who are allowing this to happen. So he says there: My anger is kindled against the shepherds, And I will punish the male goats… and then it says… For the LORD of hosts has visited His flock, the house of Judah, And will make them like His majestic horse in battle… The first thing God says is I’m going to deal with the shepherds, because the shepherds are allowing this. I don’t have time to read it all to you, but jot down Ezekiel, 34, verses 1 through 10 (Ezek 34:1-10), which deals with God’s condemnation of false shepherds who allow practices like this. He condemns shepherds who clothe themselves and leave the flock in a scattered sickened state by bringing in practices that alienate the true God, and the whole ten verses read this way. But one verse in particular says, verse 2: Son of man prophesy against the shepherds of Israel prophesy and say to those shepherds, thus says the Lord God woe to you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves…. Popularity, book sales, that kind of thing… should not the shepherds feed the flock?… By the way, that verse should look familiar because I had Geraldine write on the wall, right when you walk in to Sugar Land Bible Church on the right, on the bulletin board, should not the shepherds feed the flock? That is the purpose of a shepherd is to feed the sheep.
Now, brother Jim mentioned that we’re selecting elders and deacons and there’s going to be a questioning process. We’re not letting people become elders at Sugar Land Bible church or deacons unless they understand the fundamentals and one of the fundamentals that will be asked at least by me, if not anybody else is, what is an elder? What is the job of an elder? You want to be an elder? What is one? And if a person cannot answer that, they will not be an elder at Sugar Land Bible Church, because our constitution demands unanimous agreement amongst all the elders and if I’m the only dissenting vote, I will exercise that right, because becoming a spiritual leader is not a good old boys club. It’s not about, okay, I served my time, now, it’s your turn and wink, wink, we’ll get you back on the board two years down the road. I mean, the church world has had enough of that nonsense. A shepherd is somebody who guides, three G’s, guides, grazes and guards the sheep. That’s what a shepherd does with the sheep in the natural world and if someone applying for the position of an elder does not understand the three G’s, then they have no business being an elder at Sugar Land Bible church or anywhere else for that matter because God, verse 3, hold shepherds to a very high accountability. That’s why that sign exists as you come in and out: Should not the shepherds feed the flock? A rhetorical question and then if you look at Ezekiel, 34, and verse 8 (Ezek 38:8) very end of the verse it says: but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock… So God, Ezekiel, 34, verses 1 through 10, is angry at the shepherds. The shepherds were causing this problem with teraphim. So when God deals with the shepherds and their allowing of this occultism into the land of Israel, when the true shepherd comes though, verse three, second part of the verse (Zech 10:3), for the Lord of hosts has visited his flock, the house of Judah and will make them like His majestic horse in battle. So what was the condition of the people like, verse 2? They were like sheep without a shepherd, because their occultic practices were pushing the true shepherd away. What’s it going to be like in the millennial kingdom when Jesus exercises His rightful authority? Then the sheep will be strengthened. The purpose of Sugar Land Bible Church is to feed and strengthen the sheep. It’s to equip you for your life, your ministry, through the consistent teaching of God’s word and we’re not here to indulge bestsellers that appeal to the emotions that promote doctrines of demons, which alienate God from His church. That’s the point. 1:02
So my goodness, that was a heavy message ,wasn’t it? Let me pray, Father, we’re grateful for just these first three verses and the things that they speak. Forgive us for just rushing over the verses and not understanding their full import. So I just pray you’ll be with us as we continue our study through the book of Zechariah. 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