Pastor Aaron Preaching
Asia Bibi and Pakistan
Shelby's Basketball Injury
Traveling during the snow storm - esp. Richard
Kari's Nephew on the way
Kari - Taylor's Cancer
Hanson Family in the loss of their father
Awtrey's teacher and missions field
Text – Zechariah 12
Let’s start with some review. Zechariah was written when? 522-518BC. What are some major events that are taking place? Return from the Exile in Babylon, and rebuilding of the Temple.
What are some major prophecies for Christ in this book? Humble and riding on a donkey; priest and king; blood of the covenant poured out; the removal of sin in a single day; good shepherd; sold for 30 pieces of silver.
Zechariah 11 is one of the harshest chapters in the Bible, what is the major theme of Zechariah 11? The rejection of the Nation of Israel as God’s chosen people. Why were they rejected? The people rejected Christ, and heaped to themselves false shepherds who also rejected Christ; they were constantly falling to idolatry and cared more for themselves than for God. Romans 10 tells us they rejected the righteousness of God, which is Christ, and substituted their own. When precisely did this happen? Between AD30-70, starting especially in,
Matthew 21:43 The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.
This is harsh, and the New Testament affirms how harsh this is,
1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 The Jews killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last!
The wrath of God has come upon them at last! Eep. Is this all of Israel, or none, or some? It’s only a portion, prior to AD70 many Jews were trusting in a Messiah to come and were justified in their faith, but afterwards they are trusting either in their works, or in a messiah to come, and most were lost, and most Jews alive are lost today.
Let me show you the folly of their hope; we’re all in prison, we were told if we went to a certain place we would certainly be taken captive and held for ransom, but we didn’t believe the person that told us that and we willfully disobeyed and went to the place, and sure enough, we were captured and our ransom was set at a ridiculous amount, say $1Billion, and between us we have eight dollars and some pocket lint; we’re stuck. We call the person who we called a liar by not believing and he says because he loves us he will ransom us, that he is sending his son to pay our ransom, and that in order to pay that ransom it has utterly bankrupted him, but such is his unmerited favor and lovingkindness towards us that he will save us anyways.
We sit and sit and wait and wait and finally the son arrives and presents the ransom at great cost to himself. I get up to leave because my ransom is paid, but you all stay sitting, I ask, “What’s going on? Our ransom is paid, we can leave.” You say, “No, we don’t believe this is our redeemer, we expect another, we won’t accept his payment.” The son tries to persuade you that this is the only payment that is coming, that no-one else can afford to ransom you, and no-one else even wants to ransom you. You respond by spitting on him, calling him names, and kicking him in the shin. He leaves you to die in your captivity while all of us who accept his payment and believe he is who he says he is walk free forever indebted to our redeemer.
Israel rejected their Messiah, they crucified him and humiliated him, and now he has rejected them as being a people, he has left them to die, and he has given the kingdom to another people who will bear its fruit. He has promised throughout all ages to have a witness on earth, and so with Israel rejected a new group is grafted into the cut-off promises of Israel. Who are those people? The church.
This was a long way to get to our passage today, but do you understand why Christ has rejected the People Israel and adopted another? Let’s look at some wonderful promises of this church, also called the Israel of God, which though Christ laid siege to Jerusalem in AD70 with the Romans and saw it flattened, no-one will ever conquer the home of God’s elect, which is Heaven, the New Jerusalem.
Zechariah 12:1-14 The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: "Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. On that day, declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, 'The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts, their God.' "On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem. "And the LORD will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah. On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them. And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land shall mourn, each family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves.
This passage almost certainly occurs very near to the end of time. There are several things in this passage that certainly haven’t happened yet, and just reading it is seems like it has to be such a major event that the entire world will know when it happens. However, there are at least two major clues in the New Testament that place this passage right at the end, on the day that Christ returns. Chapter 14 is really going to describe the battle in more detail, but he we’re going to look at the purposes here in chapter 12.
v.1 The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel:
First of all, this Israel, as I’ve just explained, is almost certainly the church. There is a lot of violence about to happen, which is why it is a burden; when we read things like this, or we that it is precious in the sight of the Lord the death of his saints, or we read that to live is Christ and to die is gain, we always have to remember Romans 8:28.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Remember that not all things are good, but all things, even the most evil of things, are being used for good by God. Our greatest example is the cross of Christ, there was nothing good at all about the evil showed to him by mankind, we cannot say that the death of God is good at all, especially on the torture devise that is the cross, but we also see that what was meant for evil, God used for good so that many are saved.
Three years ago I tore my right bicep, this wasn’t good at all. But when I went to get an MRI, I got to witness to the MRI girl and she was blown away by the gospel. God used my stupidity in hurting myself to further his gospel. Some of my friends just released a 10 disk set of CD’s and found out that every single package out of thousands was missing disk 8; because of this they were able to witness to people at the production company and it sounds like at least one of them got saved.
So we’ve got something majorly bad about to happen, but we’ll also see something great happen through it. First though coming out of chapter 11 some might wonder, what right does God have to take salvation away from Israel and now here to put his people through such events? That’s the next part:
v.1 Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:
God is able to do what he wants because he created the place and gives life; he owes nothing at all to mankind because of our sin, and mercy is his to give.
Romans 9:18-20 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"
We’re going to rush through the next part of this because it is the major point of chapter 14, I think you’ll get the major point without looking at similar passages from Revelation, which we’ll look at in chapter 14.
v.2-3 "Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves.”
A cup of staggering means they’ll be incapacitated, like somebody who drinks too much, they’ll be stricken incapable by this war, and they will ultimately fall. There is a siege coming, when an army or armies surround the city in order to wage war on it, which, if you’ve got a big enough army it should be easy to overthrow just one little city. But God says he’ll make Jerusalem harder to overturn than it looks, in fact those who try will hurt themselves. Silly language if we didn’t know that a bit later there is going to be much bloodshed and destruction, though Jerusalem, namely New Jerusalem here, will stand firm and not be overthrown.
v.3-5 And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. On that day, declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, 'The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts, their God.'
Here’s one of the reasons we see this as sometime in the future, because ALL nations will gather against Israel. Christ points this at the church in Matthew 24 when he says, “you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.”
This battle sounds utterly chaotic with the enemy totally panicked; we’ll see in a few weeks that the reason for this is because Heaven opens and a massive army of angels led by Christ will wage war on them; Christ destroying with the power of his Word.
The enemies will be confused and with no organization, where-as the church will be amazingly calm and empowered, not of themselves, but through the Lord. I really wish we had time to look at Gideon, but we don’t, so let me just remind you that he conquered an entire army with just 300 men, that that enemy panicked and killed themselves. This battle will be similar.
v.6 "On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem.
The imagery here is a complete destruction of the enemies of God, that a blazing fire will be put in the midst of dry wood and paper. I don’t think we can overemphasize the violence of this final day, and at the conclusion we’ll see Jerusalem intact and inhabited. When we’ll read Revelation in Zechariah 14, we’ll see that this is most likely the New Jerusalem, Heaven on Earth. Zechariah’s major point here is that the enemies will be slain, but the People of God will survive.
For verse 7, Do you remember that I told you from the 30 pieces of silver passage that I couldn’t explain what it meant before we saw it happen? After it happened, we see the prophecy fulfilled perfectly to the letter, but before it was sort of fuzzy. Such is this next verse:
v.7 "And the LORD will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah.
This sounds like one of the very last things that will happen at the end of time is the conversion of Jews to Jesus Christ. This is described in Romans 11 and Hebrews 8 (be turning to Hebrews 8, I want you to read this with me), and is reminiscent of when Christ told the Jews in Matthew 23 that they wouldn’t see him again until they recognized that he had come in the name of the Lord. So as we listen to people who say, “The end could happen any minute,” we remind them that there are signs that must be fulfilled first, and one of which is the mass conversion of Jews to Christ before hand. This won’t be all Jews, some will follow the Antichrist as we learned last week, but this will certainly be so many Jews that we’ll take notice.
Let me read this for length; this is the mass conversion described:
Hebrews 8:8-12 "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more."
v.8 On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David,
Elevated from nobodies to royalty, able to defeat great enemies, totally trusting in God, and with a humble and repentant spirit. It will be a great day; the next verse helps us to date this passage to the end of time:
v.8 and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them.
They’ll be like God, that’s an important phrase, we won’t be God, but like him, sinless, righteous, blameless, with eternal life. This is probably my favorite verse in Zechariah 12 because of how it is quoted in the New Testament describing Christ:
1 John 3:1-2 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
When Christ returns, the major theme of Zechariah 14, we shall be transformed in a moment to be imperishable, to be like Christ. It is a glorious promise, but for those who won’t trust in him, who don’t hope in him, who have rejected him, they have verse 9 as a promise:
v.9 And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
That’s pretty straightforward. I really wish we had had time to do this justice and read and explain chapters 12-14 and see how they relate, hopefully it will come together in future weeks. But we know from other scriptures that Christ will split the sky open and ride in as a conquering King, that’s what is going to go on in verse 10 as shown to us in the book of Revelation.
v.10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
This again is the salvation of many Jews right at the end. They’ll mourn over Christ for who he is, the only begotten Son of God, weeping in repentance both for their sins and for their rejection of him for so long.
Revelation 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
How was Christ pierced? How many years before he was pierced was Zechariah written? Almost 600 years prior. Let’s look at another prophecy written 1,000 years prior to Christ’s crucifixion:
Psalm 22:16-18 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
These are pointed explicitly at Christ in John’s Gospel.
John 19:31-37 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth— that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken." And again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they have pierced."
I really really really want you to see in Zechariah 12 that it says, “when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced”, we’ve got a great look at Christ’s deity here. When they look on me…who is speaking? God. Prior to us seeing this fulfilled in Christ, rabbis would say that this meant God was pierced by words or actions or sins, surely God can't be literally stabbed, but in Christ we see it fulfilled to the letter, that they literally drove nails through his hands and feet and a spear into his side. An utterly amazing prophecy.
And all this drives to a practically evangelical invitation, that there will be great mourning towards Christ and this will result in the salvation of many (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10). I can’t prove it, but I almost guarantee you this was the passage Christ had in mind when he said,
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Let’s read it real quick, being totally out of time,
vv.11-14 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land shall mourn, each family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves.
The mourning will be great, the event at Megiddo was the death of one of Israel’s greatest kings, Josiah, and the mourning for Israel’s greatest king, King Jesus crucified and resurrected, will be similar. The beauty of this mourning is that because Christ has defeated death we have the promise that repentance towards Heaven leads to salvation; our sins having been paid for on the cross and our Saviour proved to be mighty to save in his resurrection.
Your repentance must be personal. I cannot repent for you, Summit can’t repent for you, your parents can’t trust in Jesus for you; you must place your full faith in Christ and Christ alone, the God who has wounds, the God who died, the God who lives, the God who is able to save.
Concerning the Jews, this was fulfilled partly in Acts 2, where Peter declares God’s foreknowledge that Christ would be delivered up and crucified, that it would be done by the Jews, and that many who even crucified Christ would be saved. I highly encourage you to read it later. This prophecy will be fulfilled totally on the final day.
But beloved, today your application is that God knows the end from the beginning. He forgave some of the very people that crucified him, and he is mighty to save to the uttermost all who draw near to him. Christ laid down his life for us knowing every sin we would ever or will ever commit, and we have such great promises that if we mourn for our sins, we will be comforted. So declare this message to your friends and strangers, it is the message of salvation, apart from it God will bring the nations to destruction, but if we are in Christ, we called the children of God. Strive for holiness as he is holy.