We see in chps. 10 and 11, God in His anger and wrath, promises judgment against the false shepherds. His judgment was just and total. Now He moves on to a chapter of tremendous promises. There are seven (the number of perfection) I wills in this chapter, showing us what God is going to do as well as His perfection in doing it.
The time frame for this would be after the destruction of the false shepherds of Christ's day. No doubt the prophesied destruction was a warning (as well as a promise), to those who returned from Babylon (see intro.) to help rebuild Jerusalem and had returned not with a righteous motive. Rather their motive was for the benefits which was in "Christianity" for themselves. This was the motive of the false shepherds and Zechariah points out the horrible judgment against these false professors to get the "hypocrites" to change.
To introduce this chapter and to identify who it is written
to, we need to quote Hengstenberg, (pg. 1111). "The Christian
Church is from its very commencement the legitimate continuation
of Israel, the wicked having been rooted out from the nation,
and those who were Gentiles by birth having been incorporated
into Israel on the ground of their faith. The Saviour himself
clearly indicated this at the very outset, by calling his church
"Israel" (Matt. 19:28); and it was from this point of
view alone, that the number of apostles appointed for the whole
church (Matt. 28:19), corresponded to that of the tribes of Israel.
According to Paul there is but one olive tree, one people of God,
one Israel from the beginning to the end. In Rom. 11:18, Israel
is represented as the root of the Christian Church. In Rom. 11:7,--
"the election hath obtained it, the rest are hardened,"--
the emphasis must not be laid upon the latter in a one-sided manner.
According to Eph. 2:12 and 19, when the Gentiles come to Christ,
they are incorporated into the "commonwealth of Israel,"
as "fellow-citizens with the saints"... That Israel
is the root of the Christian Church is also apparent from the
intercessory prayer of Christ (John 17:6-8), where he refers to
the church on earth as founded already, before a single Gentile
had admitted into it.-- There is just as little ground for restricting
the second part of the prophecy to the final history of the church,
as for limiting the first in this way...
...Chp. II answers to chap. V. In both we find an account of the divine judgments, which would be inflected upon the unbelieving and ungodly portion of the covenant nation, after its ungodliness had been most openly displayed in the rejection of the Messiah..."
Quickly, here is what is said. The covenant is made Abraham. The true covenant people are those who exhibit the faith of Abraham. All of those who refused to have the faith of Abraham (this unbelief climaxed in the death of the Promised Seed of Abraham, the Messiah), were cut off and destroyed. The covenant never changed, the root remained. The only way one can be part of that root (covenant), is faith in that Seed of Abraham, the same faith which Abraham had, Gal.3. The unbelieving portion of the people were cut off. Anyone can be grafted in through faith.
Some would see this chapter a reference to the Jews, the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem. To say such about this chapter must disregard the many NT passages which tell us of the new nation of Israel and the New Jerusalem. Galatians would be one of those books which would have to be overlooked. Thus, Zech. 12 is a message of promise of what the Lord will do for, in and through Christ, the Covenant of God, Isa. 42:6. See I Tim. 3:15; Rom. 2:20.
V. 1, "If this prophecy is a continuation of the last, notwithstanding its fresh title, then Israel must be the Christian Church, formed of the true Israel which believed, and the Gentiles who were grafted into them. (Pusey)" "The people of God exists, since the rejection of Christ, only in Christendom, which has been formed out of believing Jews and believing Gentiles, or the church of the New Testament, the stem and kernel of which were that portion of Israel which believingly accepted the Messiah when He appeared, and into whose bosom the believing Gentile peoples were received." "..and Jerusalem and Judiah, as the inheritance of Israel, are types of the seats and territories of Christendom. (Keil)"
V. 1. Burden. The utterance of a revelation. Zechariah is
under a heaviness from God to deliver this message. This message
is to be pressed upon people and is a message to all of the church's
enemies. But this message is for Israel, for Israel's benefit
(M.H.) Israel. "..Israel can only refer to the covenant nation.
This was its highest and holiest name, which could not be transferred
to any other." This passage would correspond to Christ's
words in Matt. 24:9, ye shall be hated of all men for my name's
sake. (Hengs.) This prophecy of Christ warns His church that all
of the world will be against them and will use every means at
their disposal to "stamp out" any kind of threat to
them which might come from Christianity. This has taken place
in the past. This is also taking place today as Christians lose
As we consider this and more into this chapter which shows both the pagan move against the church (Judah and Jerusalem), and the uselessness of their move because of the final triumph of Christ, there are some things which come to mind.
In the past, the pagans method of exhibiting their hatred toward Christ, His people and the law of God for which they stood, has been open warfare. We can think of the Ottoman (Turks) empire's warfare against Christianity. This would include the current day feeling by the followers of Mohammed that, "A good Christian is a dead Christian."
But if we restrict our thinking to the attack against the church by the antichrist crowd as being a physical attack, we will be consumed in their attack. The past has seen tremendous physical attacks (such as recorded in the Book of Acts, or when the Turks attacked Malta [1565 A.D.] or the present Communism's physical violence against Christians), but the attack today which is so destructive has none of that torture and physical death. The attack today is under the disguise of, "separation of Church and state." This lie has been very nicely presented by the antichrist Humanists and accepted by the Christians. And then we let the Humanists define a church as being anyone who believes the Bible to any degree.
Christians today seem unable to comprehend that the battle between the antichrist crowd and the covenant people is just as real and even more destructive as when the Turks killed the male Christians and took their women into their harems. Sad to say, that as men of God try to warn them of this warfare, they are dismissed as not really understanding the issue. The primary battle field in which the Humanist are winning the war against the church is in the area of education. Many Christians absolutely refuse to believe the battle is being waged there, so they willingly turn over their children to the "Turkish harems", if you please.
The battle for the future of mankind (Humanism vs. Christianity), is going full-force. The Humanist are in siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem, and God's people as a whole don't even know there is a war going on. Or if they do, they are unwilling to get involved.
Here in Zechariah 12, we get a little of an overview of this battle which the antichrist crowd is waging against the church. If it wasn't for the opening statement in v. 1, I would be ready to throw up my hands and capitulate. I would tell the Christians to go ahead, surrender their children to the enemy. I would tell the enemy, "Okay, go ahead, take it all. I'll just wait for the end of all things." But this opening volley by the Lord (v.1) gives renewed hope in the face of the dedication of the antichrist crowd (the humanist), and in the face of the blindness and indifferent of God's people. Seemingly because there is not someone standing over the Christian saying, "Give me your children or else," they think there is no battle going on. The devils devices are long-range and effective and ignored.
[B]urden of the word of the Lord for Israel... This word is for Israel and against her enemies. The fire which keeps the church warm and protected, burns her enemies. "As even the fiery law (Deut. 33:2),... (M.H.). The same law which keeps, protects and provides for the law-keeper is a consuming fire to the law-breaker.
[T]he Lord. Pharaoh said, who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice...? Thus, He doesn't stop here but Zechariah goes on to tell us who the Lord is. First, He stretched forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth. What a wonderful description of the Lord. This could not be a clearer reference to Isaiah chps. 40-51. It is full of passages such as, 40:26. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. This portion of Isaiah abounds with the majesty of God and His ability to supply the needs of His people. (See especially 42:5.)
"God creative power is ever-present working... ." Notice Heb. 1:3. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,... The manifestation of the power of the Creator (Jesus) did not stop with the creation.
Who is the Lord that I should obey him,? said the pagan king of this world, Pharaoh. First, He stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth. He not only created all things, but only by His word is it all held together. He has not forsaken the earth as some modern "Theologians" would have us believe. But their theology isn't new as they seek to find a doctrine which will permit their strange, unbiblical doctrine of surrender, Ezek. 8:12; 9:9.
Second, who is the Lord? He is the One who formeth the spirit of man within him. He is the Father of spirits, Heb. 12:9. But as with the creation, this is not a one time act. "Every day God spreads out the heavens, every day He lays the foundations of the earth, which would wander from its orbit and fall into ruin if it were not upheld by His power. The last predicate, also, does not refer merely to the first creation of the spirit of man, but to the constant exertion of the power of God both to create and to sustain. (Hengs. pgs. 113, 114)" See Ps. 104:2-4; Isa. 42:5. As Keil says, "This "denotes the continuous creative formation and guidance of the human spirit by the Spirit of God."
Thus, we see that not only is the kings heart in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: To be turned whethersoever he will, (Prov. 21:1), but so is the spirit of every man. Surely Jeremiah did not say in vain, it's of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness (Lam. 3:22, 23). "He Who formed the heart of men can overrule them as he wills." He "casts them into what mold he please, so as to serve his own purposes with them...(M.H.)"
What an assurance for His people who believe; 1.) That He created all things and that He upholdeth all things by the word of His power. 2.) That He formeth the spirit of man within Him, holds it in His hand and directs it as He wills. I know that this surely goes against one of sinful man's pet doctrines, the Free Will of Man. Human nature finds it impossible to believe that the individual doesn't control his own destiny.
This is a subject which has been discussed by Theologians every since there has been Biblical Theology. Any attempt to speculate, add to or subtract from God's revealed word has and will only lead to more confusion on this subject. We will only touch on this in passing.
Quoting from Charles Hodges (Systematic Theology Vol I, Eerdmans
Publishing Co. [reprint of his 1873 work] pgs. 587-590.) "Over
Nations. The Bibles teaches that the providential government of
God extends over nations and communities of men. Ps. lxvi. 7,...
Dan. iv. 35,... Dan. ii. 21,... Dan. iv. 25... Isa. x. 5, 6...
v. 7,... v. 15... The Scriptures are full of this doctrine. God
uses the nations with the absolute control that a man uses a rod
or a staff. They are in his hands, and He employs them to accomplish
his purpose. He breaks them in pieces as a potter's vessel, or
He exalts them to greatness, according to his good pleasure.
Over individuals. The providence of God extends not only over nations, but also over individuals. The circumstances of every man's birth, life, and death are ordered by God. Whether we are born in a heathen or Christian land, in the church or out of it; whether weak or strong; with many, or with few talents; whether we are prosperous or afflicted; whether we live a longer or shorter time, are not matters determined by chance, or by the unintelligent sequence of events, but by the will of God. I Sam. ii. 6,7... Isa. xlv. 5,... Prov. xvi 9,... Ps. lxxv. 6,7... Ps. xxi. 15,... Acts xvii. 26,...
God's providence in relation free acts. The Bible no less clearly teaches that God exercises a controlling power over the free acts of men, as well as over their external circumstance. This is true of all their acts, good and evil. It is asserted in general terms that his dominion extends over their whole inward life, and especially over their good acts. Prov. xvi. 1,... Prov. xxi. 1,... Ezra vii. 27,... Ex. iii. 21,... Ps. cxix. 36,... Ps. cxiv. 4,... A large part of the predictions, promises, and threatenings of the word of God are founded on the assumption of this absolute control over the free acts of his creatures. Without this there can be no government of the world and no certainty as to its issue. The Bible is filled with prayers founded on this same assumption. All Christians believe that the hearts of men are in the hand of God; that He works in them both to will and to do according to his good pleasure."
Probably one of the most conclusive passages along this line would be Rev. 17:17, where the Lord put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. We see a reflection of this in Paul's prayer as recorded in II Thess. 3:5, and the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. God's direction in salvation? See Jn. chp. 6.
I cannot understand nor explain this although we have done a work along this line, "Who controls history, God or man?" We must conclude this in agreement with C. Hodges. Scriptures clearly teach that God governs all actions of His creation, whether it is the hairs of our head or a sparrow falling. The foundation of all religion is based on this. God didn't see fit to tell us how He does this and any attempt to explain this not only leads to difficulty and confusion, but worse yet, assumes that human reason is superior to God's revelation.
Thus, returning to Zechariah 12:1, God made the spirit of man, therefore He controls it. He can move the enemies of the covenant people (church) against them, away from them or against one another. But better yet, He can (and does), move in response to prayer. As he moves on down through chp. 12, the many I wills only confirms that God is totally in control. No matter how much out of control a situation may appear, we can be assured that His will and purpose is being done.
Zech. 12 shows us that Jerusalem (Mt. Zion) is in safety because the Lord of hosts is her protector. Ps. 76, etc.
Verse 2, cup of trembling, (marg., slumber, poison). We have already established that Jerusalem is a reference to the church. Therefore, now we have a prophecy of her enemies coming against her and the result of their efforts.
All of the nations which lay siege against Jerusalem are in for a surprise. "They promise themselves that it shall be to them a cup of wine, which they shall easily and with pleasure drink off, and they thirst for its spoils, nay, they thirst for its blood, as for such a cup; but it shall prove a cup of slumber, nay, a cup of poison, to them, which when they take it into their hands, and think it is all their own, they shall not be able to drink off: the fumes of it shall give them enough. (M.H.)" Thus we see that as the nations of the world move against God's church with great expectation to destroy her, they are in for a surprise. Here in v. 2, the Lord is preparing for v. 3.
Notice v. 2, I will make... He is the One which will make His church a cup of trembling to those who seek to overthrow her. The enemies of God are expecting great pleasure as they seek to stamp out Christianity, instead they are going to find great drunkenness as they lose control of their senses. All past efforts to destroy her by corruption or by war have been met with devastation to the ones making the effort. The nations which drink of this "wine" will be drunken. They will act as a drunk does, without reason to his own destruction, and he doesn't even know it, Pro. 23:20-25. Now look what this drunk does:
Verse 3, ...a burdensome stone. The enemies of the covenant
people unite all of their best effort against them. In doing so,
they drink of the "wine", making them drunk. They loose
their ability to reason, causing them to do unreasonable things,
(as a drunk would). In their drunken state, thinking they can
do more than they can, they attempt to remove this stone.
This is not just any stone. We can read about this stone in Dan. 2:34, 35, 44, 45. Not only is this a large stone but it fills the whole earth. It is set in its place and the drunks from Zech. 12:2, think they can move it out of their way. But we see that rather than these drunks being able to move it, it crushes them. Our Lord made reference to this over in Matt. 21:44. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
This has been a common desire of all nations since the Good Shepherd came, with few exceptions. This goal of the nations is described in Ps. 2 as The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. We see this also in Ps. 83:3, 4. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance (The Church, Gal. 6:16, etc.).
But, no matter how hard they may try in their united effort to remove this burdensome stone (from around their neck, so they believe), Mt. Zion will not be moved, Ps. 125:1; Heb. 12:22. To this drunk, "Freedom comes through destroying the law, not in its fulfillment. (R.J.R. World History Notes, pg. 19)" Therefore, to the Humanist, the only hope for mankind is to cast off the burdensome stone. This justifies (in his mind) any and every action which can enter into the heart of wicked men. He sees his only hope of survival in the removal of this burdensome stone. Thus, when evil men speak of "Freedom" they speak of freedom from the command-law of God. To a Christian, freedom means power and liberty to obey the law of God, Rom. 13:4, 8-14.
"Schmieder observes here with perfect accuracy, "Thus did the heathen of the Roman empire attempt to lift the 'burdensome stone' of the Christian Church, by slaying the witnesses for Christ: but, the heathenism of Rome bled to death of the wounds, which this 'burdensome stone' inflicted in return. (Hengstenberg)" Again referring to Hengs., "But we have, lastly, a decisive proof that the prophecy does not relate to the literal Jerusalem, in the repetition of the same announcement in the book of Revelation, where we fine, not Jerusalem, but simply the Christian Church, which overcomes first of all heathen Rome, then the ten heathen kings, and last of all that form of heathenism which is revived in Gog and Magog..."
This stone which is cut out without hands, which the builders rejected, is become head of the corner. "The church, built on the stone, seems a thing easily annihilated; ten persecutions in succession strove to efface it, Diocletian erected a monument, commemorating that the Christian name was blotted out. It [the church] survived; he perished. (Pusey)"
The evil men don't learn. They are drunk. They have lost all ability to reason as they continue on in their madness. We read this on pg. IV of The Washington Report, 9/89. "The American Bar Association has declared war on Christianity and is training and encouraging its members to use lawsuits to bring Christians to their knees."
Also the latest issue of The Chalcedon Report (Oct. '89) in the article, The Coming Nuclear Attack on Christianity in America says this: "War has been declared, and Christianity is in a fight to the death." They are reporting on a seminar conducted May 4 & 5, '89 in San Francisco. The advertisement for this seminar led off with this statement. "Attorneys who want to be on the leading edge of an explosive new area of law." The ABA declared war on Christianity with their opening subject, "Expanding use of tort law against religions." As we see here, this "new area of law" which is to be used to destroy Christianity is tort law. The ABA is training its members for effective use of this "new area of law" against Christians in America. Let me strongly urge those who don't receive the Chalcedon Report to at least get this one. It is sent free of charge but it would be good to send some funds to help cover the cost. Chalcedon Report, Box 158, Vallecito, CA 95251.
With this goal of the ABA in mind, I like what M.H. quotes, "The church's motto may be... He that assails me does it at his peril. If you are weary of your life, persecute the Christians, was once a proverb."
Every Christian should rejoice in this passage of Zechariah 12. Getting a little ahead of ourselves, this is too good to pass up at this time. As we consider this passage and its I wills here is something to consider. Let's look at the ABA for a moment. As we know, every person who is in the legal "profession" in this country, must belong to the ABA. It wasn't this way in the past, but it is now. This includes lawyers and the judges before whom they appear.
The ABA seems to be one big fraternity where everyone knows everyone and all on the government payroll. It doesn't take many dealings with a member of the ABA to find out that it is almost totally corrupt. Justice has been laid aside replaced with whatever is expedient. It doesn't take a very hard look to see that there is no justice in the courtroom. Consistent justice is gone with the wind the same as Bible based curriculum in the state schools.
In fact, we are being advised by Christian attorneys (Al Cunningham), to avoid the courts because there will be no justice there for Christians. Our Lord spoke of the situation such as we find ourselves in today as He told His followers to agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison, Matt. 5:25, 26. The judge has no intention of seeing that Biblical justice is done, therefore, if at all possible, settle any differences we might have with anyone so we won't have to go before the ungodly judges.
Now, to proceed on here in Zech. 12 with the ABA as an example. To me this determination by the ABA to stamp out Christianity makes me want to shout. It sure appears that our God is fed up with the ungodly lawyers and judges, the legal system in general, here in America. Therefore, God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will (Rev. 17:17) and persecute the church (check also Ezek. chps. 38, 39). As they move in obedience to that desire and persecute the church, they shall be cut in pieces, Zech. 12:3. Looking ahead a little to 12:6. Fire will proceed out from Judah and (the new) Jerusalem and consume this antichrist crowd.
A very important point here in Zech. 12, is that the siege will drive the covenant people to purity and prayer. Then the Lord moves to deliver them according to His purpose and for His praise, honour and glory, Ex. 23:20-22; Zech. 12:9. Thus, this open warfare could serve dual purpose. 1. Purge sin out of the church (I Pet. 1:7), and cause them to return to the law-word of God. 2. Bring destruction upon the ABA.
In other words, as the ABA announces their intention to declare war on Christianity, they openly declared war on God. The church's motto has been and needs to be, "He that assails me does it at his perils. If you are weary of your life, persecute the Christians." Julian the Apostate found this out. The monument in Italy erected by Diocletain is visible proof. The ABA publicly declared its Death Wish and we may even live to see it. Although it could take several generations for their destruction to come to pass.
(And the ABA is only one example as we see from Prov. 8:36. This would include ANY PERSON or INSTITUTION which tries to do away with the total of God's word for their every instruction in righteousness. This includes every political body, every educational [state schools as we know them today] body, every institution and organization [companies, churches, corporations included] which we can think of or name. The ABA has publicly declared its intention. Others have not been so public in their declaration although from what I understand, the NEA has been very vocal in their antichrist stand. They are totally dedicated to removing ALL reference to God from the state education system. But even here we are assured that God will be praised.)
Why should the church be fearful at all of these ungodly efforts? She has Zech. 12 as her assurance that as the ungodly make their ungodly attacks against the Lord and his anointed, they are ramming their head into Mt. Zion, Ps. 83; Heb. 12:22. I would suppose that there could not be any clearer of a fulfillment of Ps. 2 in our day than all of the legal profession (ABA), united together to overthrow all reminders of God's laws to be replaced by mans laws.
My, what glorious days we are living in, as we see one part of the antichrist crowd (ABA) making their effort to lift the burdensome stone from off their neck to their own destruction. They will be ground into dust. In the meantime, no doubt those who stand firm on the word of God and His commands, will face some tremendously difficult days. Their hatred for God will be taken out on His ambassadors here in their kingdom, unless, God preforms some of these I wills very soon. Is the church prepared to move in and provide Biblical justice in this area which is about to be ground into powder and blown away? Is the church prepared to move into all of these other areas which are in rebellion against the Lord and his anointed? According to the never changing eternal word of God, those who are currently using these areas for their antichrist activity are exercising their Death Wish.
In the final analysis there is only one answer. Those (of us, I'm afraid), who will face the wrath of the ABA have a choice. Obey God's every law-word in every area and let the heathen rage as they did against the early church, or obey man-made laws and have "peace", Acts 5:29. It sure would appear that the church (made up of individuals), will have to determine who is the authority over them, Christ or Caesar, (in the name of "public policy"). The days of "wine and roses" are over for Christianity, replaced with commitment to Christ for survival.
History oroves that the Church is the strongest and prospers the most in days like these which are aproaching. There is no doubt that this will bring with it the best opertonity for groweth and genuine Christian prosperity that has been seen in the last 200 years. God uses the wrath of men for His praise, Ps. 76:10.
As the wicked seek to exert their wrath against God's people, and if God's word is true (which it is), we have the assurance of Ps. 76:10. He will be praised.
Verse 4. In that day... I will... The prophet continues on with what is going to be done to the ones who seek to overthrow the church. "The Lord will throw the mind and spirit of the military force of the enemy into such confusion, that instead of injuring Jerusalem and Judah, it will rush forward to its own destruction. (Keil)"
This is an obvious reference to II Ki. 6:18. There we see Elisha was telling the king of Israel the battle plan of the king of Syria. The king of Syria was upset and set to Elisha's town a great host, including horses and chariots, to compass the city and take Elisha. Elisha prayed and the Lord smote the Syrians with blindness. Elisha then led them to the king of Israel. Thus, this mighty army, rather than destroying one man of God, rode to their own destruction.
(A note in passing. Verse 19, Elisha lied to the Syrian army. The antichrist crowd who is out to destroy God's people are not entitled to, nor do they deserve the truth. We will find this consistent throughout the scripture. The ones who are determined to destroy God's people are never given the truth by God's people which will help them in their evil effort. [Midwives, Rahab, God's instruction to Samuel, I Sam. 16:1-5. Saul was not told the truth that Samuel had come to assoint David. Them we have the spies in Absolom's court who escaped to David and hid in the well, Jonathan in telling his dad, Saul, why David was not at the table. There are many more.]) Truth must always be in terms of God's holiness. never in terms of man's ideas of truth.
"And he mentions stupor, folly, and blindness, in order that the faithful may learn that God can destroy or scatter his enemies by secret means. Although, therefore, He does not fight with material swords, or employ the common method of warfare, yet, says the prophet, he is provided with other means of prostrating his foes. (Hengs.)"
As we see from Ex. 15:1, as well as all through scripture, horses and chariots are identified with the might of the world. Ps. 20:7, 8, Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.
Let the antichrist crowd gather their "big guns" together. Let them unite all of their forces. "Though the whole world should conspire against the church, yet their is strength enough in God either to thwart all their attacks from afar, or to bring them to nought, (Hengs.)" Let them move against the covenant people (Judah). The One who protects His people can (and will) throw them into utter confusion to their own destruction.
This is an excellent place to make a point. There is a heresy prevalent today that sin and evil and the wickedness of men is stronger than God. Any kind of belief that sin is stronger than grace has to be unbiblical. Any kind of belief that wickedness can prevent or even hinder God accomplishing His purpose here on this earth must be avoided.
To the human understanding, all of the evil and wickedness which has come to the surface would seem to have "God on the run", (to use a term which borders on heresy). Yet, we know that God is on His throne and even invites us to laugh with Him at the wicked devices of evil men intent upon deposing the rightful Ruler of all heaven and earth.
He is not restricted to the open means of warfare which we would think of.
Even though Deut. 28:28 (The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: and thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee) is directed to the covenanted people it would not be restricted to them because it includes who wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord... to observe to do all his commandment..., 28:15. Thus, it includes the heathen as they move against the church. As we saw from Zech. 12:3, all of their best laid plans which they intended to use against God's people are turned to dust and to their own destruction, and they don't even know it. God will turn the best might and counsel of the enemies of His covenant people into madness and blindness.
This would make one wonder. Are we seeing some of this madness today (to their own destruction), in the political, judicial, educational and every other realm? As we watch what is going on, we can stand back in amazement at the blindness and stupidity of the things which folks in these areas are doing.
Verse 5. governors of Judah... The inhabitants of Jerusalem... Here we see Juda referred to as the weaker in the Kingdom of God, the covenant people, the foolish, weak, base and despised of the world. There are wise, mighty and noble men called, but not many. These would be identified as Jerusalem here in Zech. 12:5, (See I Cor. 1:25-31).
There is no jealously or envy as the weaker (in the world's eyes), look to the stranger, the city of Jerusalem, to deliver them from their common foe, the antichrist crowd of v. 2. Yet we see from vv. 6, 7, "That God will first of all deliver the weakest and most exposed portion of the covenant nation or church, represented by the inhabitants of the provinces, as distinguished from the inhabitants of the capital, and will give them the most splendid victory over the common foe,..." Juda does not expect this deliverance through them. They confess their inferiority and God shows His strength through their weakness. (Hengs.)
This would fit in well with vv. 1-4. The ABA for example. We can rest assured that they will not attack the strongholds of Jerusalem, the ones who have the wisdom, might and nobility in the world's eyes. Rather they will go for those who are foolish, weak, base and despised in the eyes of the world. Yet we see here in Zech. 12:5-7 that the fire which will devour them will start from the very ones which they though were nothing and had nothing. The grace of God which He gives to the humble can and will overcome every weapon of war which the antichrist crowd can accumulate.
"Schmieder justly observes that the princes of Judah are "a type of leaders of those that believe, in every future age, whatever different names or titles they may bear in the course of centuries. (Hengs.)"
We are reminded of a passage which we have already looked at. Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts, Zech. 4:6. Of course, we cannot say for sure how God will perform these I wills of Zech. 12, but we can say with no reservation whatsoever, however and whenever He sees fit to perform this marvelous deliverance from the attack of the antichrist crowd, it will be in such a way that their will be no doubt that His Spirit accomplished it.
As we have already mentioned, this will no doubt drive God's people to their knees and to Josh. 1:7,8, to clame the promises of God.
We cannot rule out in this passage, which describes His defence of His church (Jerusalem), the use of illness, physical calamities of all kinds, natural disasters, etc. As the Lord seeks to destroy all the nations that come against His covenant people, He is not restricted to what we would be restricted to, may be a sword or instrument of war of some kind. All we can know for sure is that HE WILL accomplish every last point of His word. V. 9, here in our situation which we are looking at, we also know that His movement will be in accord with His principles of operation, I Cor. 1, 2. Beyond all doubt, His Spirit of Grace is sufficent.
Are we living in the day of His moving against the ungodly? It would seem to be as we see what is going on around us in the camps of the enemy.
Verse 6. The governors of Judah are meek and lowly as is their king. They are not seeking this fight but neither are they turning from it. Those who are laying siege against them expect them to fold up. As far as the wicked are concerned, the war is over and the wicked are victorious.
But we see that rather than the enemy destroying the church, they are consumed as wood or a sheaf in the fire. Judah is not the fire but like a hearth of fire. How? The Lord says, In that day will I make... Clearly it is not their terror, might or power which will consume the wicked. The Lord is the one which will accomplish this.
On the PBS T.V. program some time ago, Mr. Royer spoke about the belief in the reconstrucrion movement, that the righteous will bring in the rule of the King. This is totally a false notion. If anything will be given over to the authority of the righteous, God will do it. All His people do is remain faithful to their King and His every law-word, even to the death if need be. God brings about whatever results that might please Him.
["So here, fire shall come out from the governors of Judah to devour all the people round about, as from the mouth of God's witness to consume those who offer to hurt them, Rev. xi. 5. The persecutors of the primitive church found this fulfilled in it, witness Lactantius's history of God's judgments upon the primitive persecutors... (M.H.)"]
The literal fulfillment of the literal rebuilding of Jer. has been accomplished. This Jer. in her own place is the gospel-church. Her place is all the world which she was told to subdue to Christ. Mat. 28:19,20 is to go into all the world, not just one location.
Of course, in this prophecy we have, not only God's vengeance upon the antichrist crowd which seeks to destroy His people, but we also have the power of the gospel which burns like a fire among even the hardest of the Christ-haters. (And who can resist the "fire of God" in the soul?) "Nemo me inpune Lacesset -- He that assails me does it at his peril. If you are weary of your life, persecute the Christians..."
and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again... "...they shall have a new Jerusalem upon the same foundation, the same spot of ground, with the old one. They had so after their return out of captivity, but this was to have its full accomplishment in the gospel-church, which is a Jerusalem inhabited in its own place; for, the gospel being to be preached to all the world, it may call everyplace its own. (M.H.)"
Verse 7. The Lord also shall save... This emphasizes once again the major point of this tremendous prophecy, not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord of hosts. It is not the responsibility of His people to accomplish all of these mighty victories against the spirit of antichrist. His people remain true and holy to their Lord and He will bring all of these things to pass. Their strength is not in themselves but in their God.
["the salvation will take place in such a manner that no part of the nation will have any occasion to lift itself up above another, and that because the salvation is effected not by human power, but by the omnipotence of God alone. (Keil)"]
On the one side we have the siege. All of the Christ haters of the earth have united all of their might, power, wisdom and strength against the Lord and his anointed, against the new Jerusalem. They are attacking Mt. Sion. "On the other, no human strength; not as before, in the prophecy f the Maccabees, the bow, the arrow, and the sword, though the hand of God" (9:13) (Pusey). Previously God used the temporal power of warfare, not this time.
(12:7) Observe the comparison here, the tents of Judah--glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. "The tents or huts of Judah are contrasted with the splendid buildings of the capital, and probably indicates the defenseless condition of Judah, which made it absolutely dependent upon the assistance of God...
["The simple mention of the name of Judah shows that Judah possessed no splendor on which it could pride itself"--Burckhardt. (Hengs.)"]
Jerusalem has not really been known for its humility, Ezek. 16:49; Rev. 3:14-18. The proud and prosperous people of Rev. 3:14-18 are no less His people that those of Rev. 3:7-13. Thus the indication here is that the deliverance will originate with those after the modle of Rev. 3:7-13 rather than after the modle of 14-18.
Jerusalem (see above comments on v. 5) has its walls, fortifications and standing army for protection. They have their nice houses and hired servants to keep them nice. They have taken every possible precaution to protect the glory of the city. They are part of the covenant people, yet, this is not the first place of battle and where this deliverance starts.
God promises to "grind to powder" those who are in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. But He isn't going to start His deliverance with Jerusalem. The Lord shall defend and the whole world will know that the Lord did the defending.
This we see that when things look hopeless in man's eyes then God can step in. He does not work through the strong, mighty arm of the flesh.
Undoubtedly, this passage here is Zechariah 12 and is a direct reference to Ezek. 38:11. The combined forces of evil will move against the seemingly defenseless people of the Great King, Ezek. 38:4. Why is God bringing Gog and Magog against Mt. Sion? So He can destroy them, vv. 16-23, (Zech. 12:3).
Ezek. chp. 39, continues on with this description which Zechariah covers in just a few verses here in chp. 12. (See above for discussion in regarding who the Israel of 12:1 is. For an excellent Biblical treatment of Ezekiel, see Exposition of Ezekiel, by Patrick Fairbairn. Also see C.H.S., Treasury of David, Ps. 45 and our notes on Ps. 45.)
God's defence of Israel will be in such a manner that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
In other words, it will be a total defence of God's covenant people, Israel, and, no doubt, all of the house of Israel will be involved in this defence, yet the defence will be in such a way that neither the 'rich' or the 'poor will be able to take any credit for it. It will be totally of God.
["Jerome says, "It may be made apparent that in either case the victory is the Lord's. (Hengs)"]
To me, this passage in Zechariah 12 (and the many others which it parallels), is one of the greatest sources of encouragement to anyone who is seeking to glorify God as God over everything they do. This is what Zechariah meant for it to be as he spoke these encouraging words to the faithful remnant who had returned and were now hard at work rebuilding what had been destroyed by sin.
There is hard work to be done to reclaim what has been given over to the antichrist crowd. We can rest assured that the world, flesh and the devil will use every means available to them, their great power and wealth, and everything it will buy, to prevent and even destroy the people of God. Yet, we have more promises than we can count, THE VICTORY IS THE LORD'S.
Verse 8. The Lord shall defend... His "salvation" is not restricted to Juda, but is inclusive of all of Israel. The inhabitants... God defends people. God works through individuals. God is interested in the individual person. It is the devil's philosophy to reduce the individual to a number. Our concern should also be for individuals.
shall defend. No doubt a parallel passage with Zech. 2:4, 5. For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round abut, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
Some would say that the Lord must descend from heaven and
literally build a fire around His people in order for this to
be fulfilled. There are several fallacies with this:
(1.) The literal Jerusalem was destroyed in the previous chapter. Thus,
(2.) Jerusalem would have to be rebuilt and the King would have to establish that physical location as His Throne, as well as re-establish all of the OT Jewish religious practices. Of course, the book of Hebrews militates against this.
(3.)There would be another point, the major problem with viewing this verse (Zech. 12:8), as a literal city would be that any child of God, in order to claim the promised defence from the Lord would have to move to this physical location so God could build this fire around them.
Thus, it is totally unreasonable to try to make this a physical location. To do so would completely strip the NT church of its promises of victory over the forces of hell and their strongholds. See Mt. 16:18; Lk. 10:18-20; Jn. 12:31.
But this is what has been done. Most Christians have lost all sight of any kind of protection and victory this side of death. This turns these areas of life over to defeat.
We can thank the Brethren movement for this. Muller was one of the major movers in this movement. We see why Muller started his mission outreach organization. "From the end of 1835, there was taking place what came to be called locally 'The Bristol Miracle'. Imperishably linked with the name of George Muller, the famous Bristol Orphan Homes were a memorial not so much to the philanthropy of the man but to his quite remarkable faith. ...Muller decided, after much prayer, to finance a new and much wider enterprise by the same method. Muller noted in his journal for 21 February, 1834, that he had that morning formed 'A plan for establishing upon scriptural principles, an Institution for the spread of the gospel at home and abroad.' Later he set down the reasons why he felt that existing societies ere not conducted on Scriptural lines. They had as their object the conversion of the world, an object which Muller had not been able to find in Scripture." Origins, pg. 129. The rest of the reasons Muller gave were quite good.
But here in Muller's first motive we see the seeds of destruction (withdrawal) being planted. One of the major reasons that he started his mission organizations because the established organizations had "the conversion of the world", as an object. Muller's view that this was a heresy was common to these early Brethren.
A result of this was to reduce Christianity to little more than soul-winning and teaching the converts to withdraw from society.
In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem... ["He does it by giving them strength and courage to help themselves. What God works in his people by his grace contributes more to their preservation and defence than what he works for them by his providence. The God of Israel gives strength and power to his people, that they may do their part, and then he will not be wanting to do his. (M.H.)"] (Also check the cross references listed in the margin of your Bible, Ps. 45 [v. 11], Isa. 4:5.)
As God's people humble themselves and seek his face, He strengthens them so they can obey Him. Then He moves in response to their obedience.
This is another greatly misunderstood principle.
EXO 28:3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. 4 And these are the garments which they shall make;
EXO 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom,
and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and
in brass, 5 And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving
of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. 6 And I, behold,
I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe
of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have
put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;
(See also Ex. 35:31 to 36:8. Compare this with Lev. 25:18 and 26:3-13)
Clearly the power of God here is not power to do some supernatural feat. Rather it is wisdom, understanding and knowledge to do what God has revealed to us in His law. It is not some kind of emotional experience of any kind. Nor is it some kind of mystical experience. Rather it the ability to work hard, sweat and then that effort ammount to something.
By reducing Christianity to a mystical experience, fullness of the Spirit would be equated with an emotional experience rather than hard work at what God has called the individual to.
Mystism allows prayer to replace obedience as the means of advancing God's Kingdom. Prayer is not some kind of mystical experience of contact with the gods. Ot is personal communication with our heavenly Father. laying out our desires and needs to Him.
This principle is further established in God's word with Joshua 1:7, one of the clearest statements of it. It is illustrated all through the book with 7:9-11 one of the better illustrations. There we see Joshua on his face before God, pleading for God's power and victory. The Lord told him to get up, do right and the victory will be given.
Many Christians are doing the same thing. They are on their face praying for God's victory, then waiting for some act of divine providence to happen to accomplish what they are been praying about. The Lord will defend, but that defence is provided as God's people do their part, hard work and dedication. Prayer for God to deal with the lost is no good apart from action.
[S]hall the Lord defend... and that defence will be as a result of His people doing their part. That defence will be in a way that the whole world will know that it was the Lord which did it. That defence will come in such a manner as to prevent any pride and/or jealousy among His covenant people. It will be in accord with His Word as found in I Cor. 1:27-31. ["It is the glory of God to strengthen the weak, that most need his help, that see and own their need of it, and will be the most thankful for it. (M. H.)"]
[S]hall be as David,,, There are a couple of views of this. First, David fell into sin and was raised up again, (Pusey). This would be a good application, but, I don't think it really fits here. The other view, David was the greatest of the great in Israel's history. Through the Lord and the promises of the word of God, he realized his dependence upon the Lord (this must be a work of God), did mighty works; defeated the enemies of God; established a righteous kingdom, decreed righteous judgment (according to God's word), was a man after God's own heart (wanted to do and see accomplished what God wanted), and loved God's law.
I realize v. 10 will be speaking about repentance, yet we are here in v. 8 talking of the great defence which God is going to do for Jerusalem. In the book of Psalms, we have a great number of praise songs written by David. As he obeyed God, God undertook in miraculous ways. We can open the book about any place and find this (example, Ps. 28).
Just one verse which will confirm this, Psa. 119:173. Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.(Not "Because I have Prayed.") Notice what gave David his claim here for God's help. Clearly only as God's covenant people do the same can they make the same clame for God's help.
and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David: The word here that catches my attention is feeble. This is the same word as used in I Sam. 2:4. The bows of the mighty men are broke, and they that stumbled are guided with strength. It is significant that this is found in Hannah's prayer as she is praising God for using and exalting the humble and lowly. One of the better known phrase Hannah's is found in is v. 9. for by strength shall no man prevail.
Thus the consistent OT usage of this Hebrew word contrasts it with physical strength. This is very evident in Hannah's prayer.
Back to the phrase in Zech. 12:8. If there is any thing taught in the word of God, this is one of the very most basic. It is throughout and summed up in a many NT passages. The best known would be I Pet. 5:5-6 and James 4:6.
In these passages we see that God works through those who have no strength that He might work in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. But it is not as the feeble sit back, pray and wait for God to move. It is as they work hard with sacrifice and dedication, doing all they can do for the cause of Christ.
The conclusion here in v. 8. He that is feeble realizes his total hopelessness and helplessness without the mighty hand of God. These people have no (or very little) ability which the world holds important (as we saw eariler), but they work hard at using what little they do have.
But In that day when the Lord moves to defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, it will be through these feeble among them. They shall be as David and do mighty deeds. How did David do mighty deeds? David himself tells us how. I Sam. 17:37. The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.
We cannot emphasize this enough. This is totally consistent with the God of scriptures and the Lord of battles. There is absolutely no reason to expect the Lord to chance His M.O.A.. In that day.
Clearly, God becomes a consuming fire to those who oppose Him, His covenant people and, most of all, His law, and that fire is going to come out from the feeble among them, as the feeble do their best to be faithful over what He has given them to do.
The house of David shall be as God... Here would seem to be a reference to Christ. as the angel of the Lord before them. No doubt a reference to the angel of the Lord which went before Israel In the wilderness.
["The true equality of the house of David with God, and, as it is here stated by way of climax, with the angel of the Lord, could only be effected by such a union of the human nature and the divine, as was really accomplished in Christ. (Hengs.)"]
As the covenant people follow the angel of the Lord, the Lord will defend them. We have seen this happen in the past, Rome fell to the Christians. The promise here is that there is victory in following the angel of the Lord as revealed in His total word, (See Ex. 23:20-33 for a good illustration.)
No doubt the reason we are seeing very little, if any, victory for the cause of Christ today is because we have left off following the angel of the Lord, and, as a whole, every man is doing that which is right in his own eyes.
Even with the sad and seemingly hopeless situation which we see around us (as did the faithful ones who returned and who Zechariah is preaching to), this chapter runs over with hope. That hope is not in what we are doing or can do. Our hope is in what God can and will do through His faithfol people as they work hard for Him, in that day.
What day? When? How? Through who? This He did not see fit to tell us. He has given certain principles (the just shall live by his faith, Hab. 2:4. Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts, Zech. 4:6, etc.) which He works through. Our job is to be faithful to those principles and HE WILL bring it to pass.
Note that this chapter, 12, contains seven [the number of completion], I wills. This shows us beyond any doubt that it is HIS WORK. He works in accord with His established principles, through people. David is the example here. God brought him from nothing (a shepherd, and the youngest of many sons), to the mighty king over God's heritage.
David was already hard at work before the Lord exalted him, I Sam.17:34-37. The Lord that did this for David. The same Lord which gives us these seven I wills. Here alone lies our hope.
(In passing, let us mention. It is folly to think there will be a return to morality in our leaders apart from a return to morality among the people. Leaders reflect the people. The current "purges" (9/89), which we see among our leaders is strictly political. There is no desire to return to morality. The law is being used for political purposes. This we should not rejoice in because the Christian will be next [in fact the RICO law is now being used for just that purpose].)
Bringing us to the drugs. There is no real commitment to do away with them or there would be an equal attack on alcohol. This is far worse than the other drugs. We mentioned a year ago that drugs were being used to break down the American resistance against using the military to enforce civil laws. We see this happening (at least) two front.
(1.) The American citizen is loosing his protection under the law from the law, all in the name of "The war on drug".
(2.) The military is being given an increasingly larger role in this war, even becoming more visible. All in the name of the war on drugs. This was one of the original complaints of the Colonies against the king of England, the quartering of troops.
Unless, God preforms some I wills, we are in for some very oppressive times. But as we said above, these folks are exercising their death wish, as they seek to do things their own way.)
V. 9. I will seek... ""He saith not, 'I will destroy' but I will seek to destroy, i.e. it shall ever be my care to destroy all the enemies of the church, that they may in no way prevail against it: this I will do always to the end of the world." (quoted by Pusey)" "[C]ertainly looks further, to the gospel-day, to Christ's victories over the powers of darkness and the great salvation he has wrought for his chosen. (M. H. )"
We see here that the concern of the Lord untill time is no more is to destory all the enemies of the church.
What a glorious promise is contained here in v. 9 (and in the rest of the chapter). This would sure seem to parallel I Cor. 15:24-28. Of course, v. 25 is given many times in the NT and would indicate that v. 26 will be fulfilled before the visible second Advent. The implied (to me) understanding of v. 25, is that all things (enemies esp.), are subdued unto the King before He visibly returns. This rule accomplished by His Spirit working through His saints.
I think that a key thought here in Zech. 12:9 would be I will. We have seen the uniting of all the antichrist kingdoms against Jerusalem, intent on destroying her. They have made their secret plans and lay siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. Their plans are exciting to them because it appears that at last, the burdensome stone will be removed. (Keep in mind, the literal Jerusalem has already been destroyed, Hengs..)
Verse 9, goes together with 10-14 which we will follow through in a moment. Thus, v. 9 says that it is the Lord who will defend. It is the Lord which will seek to destroy all the nations which are against His covenant people.
The people don't come charging out of the city and attacking the wicked. Rather it is the Lord which does the defending and destroying. As His people just faithfully go about getting involved in all things around them and doing them for His glory, He gives the victory.
Verse 10, gives us an idea how the Lord will accomplish this.
Zech.12:10. The context requires the historical fulfillment of this verse to commence with the suffering and crucifixion of Christ, Matt. 27:54; Lk. 23:48. The fulfillment moves on into the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:22-38. It continued on through Acts 5. Then in chp. 6, we have the Gentiles (Grecians, v. 1), starting to be mentioned. But to this point the emphasizes is on the Jewish nation who pierced Him. This verse (12:10) will continue to be fulfilled until the final visible advent of Christ as recorded in Rev. 1:7.
Some also see in this a fulfillment of Rom. 11:26, as the physical seed of Abraham. The major problem with this would be that NO ONE knows who the physical seed of Abraham is today. To which there are a couple of possibilities.
First, God alone knows who are the physical seed of Abraham. (But being no respect of persons, can He choose the physical seed over the Gentile? (Although God can call who He pleases.) But then again, the Gentiles or pagans have always been those who are uncircumcised in heart. Therefore, even before Christ, the promise of Abraham which made a physical descendant a true descendant of Abraham, was based in the faith of Abraham, Gal. 3. All who refused this faith in the Promised Seed have always been consider apostates and pagans.)
Second, the cross reference here from Rom. 11:26 is Isa. 60:15 and Jer. 3:18. Or course, the physical seed of Abraham which inhabited Jerusalem and Judah claimed chp. 60 of Isa. as theirs and expected the Messiah to fulfill it for them. They were excited at the prospects that the nations and kingdoms that will not serve thee shall perish, yea those nations shall be utterly wasted, v. 12. When Jesus did not fulfill this for them, they murdered Him (Jer. 3:18 goes along this line also).
Even though this hope was not fulfilled in Jesus, and their nation was totally wiped out, this hope has never died. Now, a large portion of the church has picked up this hope for the political nation of Israel. (Who, by the way, have outlawed the NT, if I understand properly.)
Again, referring to the research which I have been doing. I would suppose that my problem is that I have been taught all of these things in school and the churches where I have been, and I was taught these things as Baptist doctrine. Now I find out that it wasn't Baptist doctrine after all, but Plymouth Brethren doctrine.
Sandeen points out in his book, THE ROOTS OF FUNDAMENTALISM (pg. 9-12) that a man named Lewis Way, around 1804-11, developed our current day teaching on the modern Jewish state. It was as a direct result of this man's interest it this subject that "..the restoration of the Jews to Palestine -- the return of the chosen people to the promised land -- became firmly established as a plank in the millenarian creed.... The Zionist cause won rather wide sympathy at this time; the Jews and the Greeks seem to have been classed together as heroic but downtrodden people. But millenarian interest in the restoration of the Jews stemmed explicitly from the interpretation of prophecy. The prophetic text which described the cataclysmic events apparently fulfilled in the French Revolution also predicted the second advent of Christ and the restoration of the Jews. The prophetic timetable had joined these expectations inextricably. The millenarian accepted both events as the will of God, prayed for the coming of both, and, if he could not work for the accomplishment of the second advent, did what he could to aid the cause of Palestinian resettlement... .there can be no question that the millenarian movement played a significant role in preparing the British for political Zionism."
In 1825, Way published a series of articles, "in which
he argued that Christians ought to expect the personal return
of Christ before the beginning of the millennium.
This doctrine of the premillennial advent,..seemed novel, probably mistaken, possibly heretical to most Anglicans of the day. In keeping with the standard Whitbyan eschatology, Christians had not been taught to expect the second coming during their own lives."...
"Renewed interest in the second coming of Christ was, of course, tied closely to prophetic study and concern with the condition of the Jews... It became a hallmark of the millenarian party that literal rather than figurative or spiritualized fulfillments should be sought for every biblical prophecy. When "kingdom" were prophesied, for example, literal, historical events involving flesh-and-blood kings ought to be expected rather than the triumph of one or another virtue. Millenarians became convinced that allegorical and spiritualized interpretations of prophecy were a manifestation of unbelief and a denigration of the authority of Scripture."...
"Converts to premillennialism abandoned confidence in man's ability to bring about significant and lasting social progress and in the church's ability to stem the tide of evil, convert mankind to Christianity, or even prevent its own corruption." (Pg. 9-13)
Isa. 60, must be a prophecy concerning the church or we will have to say that God is in the reinstatement of the old Hebrew rites and rituals which Christ did away with. The book of Hebrews is clear on this point. Such apostasy cannot even be considered by the believer.
Third. What about Rom. 11:26? This is indeed a good question. There are two views. 1. All of the true Israel, embracing Jews as well as Gentiles, should ultimately be saved. 2. The prediction of a great and general conversion of the Jewish people, which should take place when the fullness of the Gentiles had been brought in... (See C. Hodges, Romans, Geneva Series, pgs. 371-2.)
Hodges argues for the second point, and his reasons are sound. Yet, he overlooks a major factor. The Jewish nation was destroyed. Now, of course, as we already mentioned, God can call the remnant of that nation to Himself in fulfillment of Rom. 11:26, but only He knows who they are. We cannot look at the political nation of Israel and say that it is fulfillment of prophecy. Anyone can be a Jew in this modern Jewish state, by going through a ritual.
With this in mind (and MUCH more which we aren't discussing right now), I must lean toward, 1. The true Israel spoken of in Rom. 11:26 as ALL BELIEVERS. Isa. 60, must be viewed as a prophecy of the church or we must place the church on the "back burner" for a period of time. I don't believe scriptures will permit the Church which Christ died for being placed second to a political nation. (Really, the church has always been existence. Based in the faith of Abraham.)
Again, thanks to the Plymouth Brethren, we do have this setting aside of the church. It is in ruins, and the only hope is for God to reestablish Israel.
I know that most folks don't like these facts and figures, but here are some more. We need to know where what we have been taught came from, and I am finding out that a very large portion of what I was taught was not developed from Scripture.
Darby's study of unfulfilled prophecy "brought about his conviction that the Kingdom of God would be established on earth as a result, not of the exertions of men on its behalf, but of the direct intervention of Christ Himself, and that in judgment combined with the belief that the Jewish nation rather than the Christian church was the instrument which God would use for the establishing of His kingdom on earth, to discredit the concept of the established church. Origins, pgs. 52, 3."
Notice that this doctrine also was developed from a subjective view of Scriptures. Because of the corruption which he saw, he saw no way that God could work through organized religion. He wanted to confirm his stand against the corrupt established church and found Scriptures to do so.
Another note here. We will just give the quote and let it stand on its own. It is obvious. "...Darby taught that the expectations of Christ's return "totally forbids all working for earthly objects distinct in time; including the pursuit of learning. But Darby evidently made this important exception: 'so far as any of these things might be made useful tools for immediate spiritual results. Origins, pg. 52." This Theology is so prevalent and obvious today that we don't even need to comment upon it. It is introduced here around 1828, 29 and has since spread like wild-fire.
During 1840, Darby, delivered a series of eleven lectures in Lausanne, Switzerland, in which he "introduced the new insights which he had developed during the previous decade." "He saw as the key, the distinction between Israel as the earthly people of God and the Christian Church as His heavenly people. The present age will close in two stages, with the removal from earth of the genuine members of the Christian Church at the secret coming of Christ, and the judgment of apostate Christendom when He comes in glory with His saints. Then, and only then, will God's plan for the earth begin to be implemented through the agency of the Jews who will have recognized their Messiah at His coming in glory. Two corollaries came to be drawn: the coming of Christ for His Church may be expected at any time; those passages in the Gospels in which Christ spoke of His coming in open glory--such as Matthew 24-- must have been addressed to His disciples as Jews, not as Christians. Origins, pgs. 230, 231."
(And I must add that I have found this division of Scriptures prevelant among Millenarians. They divide the Scriptures to where they have nothing left. They take Mat. for the Jews, as well as any other Scripture which they cannot fit inro their system of theology. When they get through with their dirty work, all they have left is a few of the Pauline epistles.
His new Theology threw Lausane into confusion. Darby followed up his lectures with a pamphlet on prophecy which proved (in his eyes), that the Christian dispensation was a dismal failure, therefore, he would have to have another dispensation. "According to Herzog's account, it would appear that Darby followed up his lectures on prophetical subjects with a forthright pamphlet on apostasy. In it, he set out to show that each dispensation of God's dealings with men had ended in failure, almost as soon as it had begun. Though there might be subsequent partial revivals, a fallen dispensation was never restored. As for the Christian dispensation, it had failed, even in apostolic days, though Paul was raised up as apostle to the Gentiles, and a remnant had remained faithful throughout. Darby almost implied that this constituted a new dispensation, and certainly insisted that the restoration of 'old things and earthly arrangement' (for example, detailed church order) was out of the question since it would be an attempt to restore a dispensation that had fallen." Origins, pg. 209."
Every author that I have read traces the modern belief in
the hopeless state of the church to the P. B..
Continuing on with Zech. 12:10. I will pour... Back in v. 2 we had the siege by all of the pagan nations of the world against the church. This siege isn't the pagans standing around on the outside poking fun at the church. It is a total warfare with the pagans breaching the walls and killing everyone they can.
Now, this siege (bloody warfare), threatens the very existence of the covenant people. The covenant people see that they are on the verge of being destroyed. They turn to their only hope for any protection, their Lord. Let us quickly add here that, that turning MUST be in accord with Ex. 23:20-22 and Deut. chps. 28-32 and Josh. 1:7, 8 (the book of Judges is an excellent example of the kind of turning that is required). Really, we must say that the reason the pagans gained strength enough to lay siege against God's people (as the ABA has done), is because God's people have forsaken their Rock, Deut. 32:30.
There is (and will be), only one hope for deliverance from the hands of the ungodly. There will be no short cuts. The humanism and false gods will have to be purged out of the church if we hope to stand against the evil of our day.
There are many good points here in Zech. 12:10. "When [God] seeks to destroy their enemies he will pour upon them the spirit of grace and of supplications. Note, when God intends great mercy for his people the first thing he does is to set them a praying... (M.H.)" God is going to destroy their enemies and He is going to do it through them by His might and power alone. He will share the honour with no one. Distress comes upon His people, He then gives His people the needed grace to humble themselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways. Then, and only then, will He hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.
Zech. chp. 12 cannot be viewed apart from the total context of God's total word. The seven I wills here in chp. 12, must conform with the law as revealed elsewhere. There are tremendous promises of deliverance from the desires and counsels of the ungodly for the people of God, yet they will not be sitting back and letting it happen. God will be pouring out His spirit of grace (Holiness, as we will see in a moment) and supplication (prayer) upon them. Then He will move in a mighty way in fulfillment of the many promises such as the one in Ex. 23:20-22.
It is so tempting to view these prophecies of deliverance with, "God will take care of it all so I'll just continue on as I am." The deliverance for the distressed church is based upon His people drawing nigh to Him, both in obedience and prayer.
The second point here. Who do these blessed promises belong to? The political party of Israel or...? "The house of David is all summed up in Jesus Christ, the Son of David; and upon him, as the head, the spirit of grace is poured out, from him to be diffused to all his members... The church is Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem; all true believers, that have their conversations in heaven, are inhabitants of this Jerusalem, and to them this promise belongs...(M.H.)"
V. 12. The land shall mourn..
Only by a outpouring of the grace of God can we expect any mourning at all over sin. Only God's spirit can reveal the sinful condition of our notion.
Notice v. 12 - 14, the word apart..
This speaks of sanctification. Whenever the Spirit of Grace is present (God's Spirit), there is sanctification, a setting apart unto holiness unto the Lord.
Grace alone can show the person the need of holiness, and here in v. 10 -14 we have that very thing promised. the Spirit of crying out to God and the Spirit of holiness unto the Lord.
The mourning over sin.
The turning from sin to God.
The result? God's mighty power shown through His covenant people and the fulfillment of Zech. 12:9.
The destruction of the enemies of God.
My, how we need this outpouring of the Spirit of His grace that we might see our condition and separate unto the Lord.
How our community needs this and our nation.
We need to be crying out to God for His outpouring of His
Spirit according to Zech. 12:10.