January 19, 1995
We saw in the last chapter that the Jews left in Babylon had been faithfully observing the religious traditions that remembered the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Their religious traditions also looked forward the prophesied future glories of the temple.
About 2 years into the project of rebuilding the Temple, they sent to Jerusalem to inquire if the rebuilt temple was the fulfillment of their hopes and dreams commemorated by the religious rites and rituals.
The Lord answered the inquiring group from Babylon in two parts. Chapter 7 was the first part, and chapter 8 is the second part of the Lord's answer to those who had been faithfully observing the fasts, the religious traditions.
Now the Lord continues in His answer with the promise to restore Israel to a relationship of grace, vv. 7, 8, 12, 13, I wills. Vv. 16, 17, promises future glorification if they will do what their fathers failed to do. See 7:9, 10.
V.2, presents the warmth of the love of God toward Zion on one hand, and on the other, His great wrath against those nations which are hostile to Zion.
V. 3, Ezekiel had seen the departure of the glory of the Lord, 8:4, 5; 10:4, 18; 11:23. In a latter vision, Ezekiel had seen the glory of the Lord return, 43:4, 5. The return of the glory is speaking of the future of the new Israel, the church.
V. 3, And will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem restates the promise made in Zech 2:10. The obvious fulfillment of the promise is Christ in the midst of His people, I Cor. 3:16, 17.
V. 3, Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth. This cannot be talking of the city of Zechariah's and Ezra's time because even though the open idolatry was done away with, it remained a very immoral city (Keil).
The city only takes on the character of truth after the Messiah enters the city. The city then takes on His character. Zechariah's reference is used many times throughout the OT, e.g. Isa. 1:26; 60:14; Jer 3:17; 33:16; Zeph 3:13, and a great many more. These passages all refer to the heavenly Jerusalem, Heb. 11:14-16; 12:22. Wherever the Messiah is, truth prevails. His people put on truth, and judge righteous judgment.
V. 3, And the mountains... Mount Zion. This is another prophecy
pointing to the church, Ps. 2:6. Mount Zion is the favorite title
for God's dwelling place in the Psalms.
Isa 11:9, is another favorite title. The title is used a great many times by Isaiah)
These are not just any mountains but a holy mountain. Holiness is to be the characteristic of this place. Christ is our Holy Mountain and all of those in him are holy.
Vv. 4,5. Isa 65:20. Ps. 78, gives us a record of Israel's forsaking of her God as she turns her back on His law. Vv. 34-37 has been used many times. When God killed them, they sought Him. They returned to Him and inquired early after their God. But notice v. 36. It was only lip service because their hearts proceeded on in their evil ways. As we follow God's dealings with His people, in Ps 78:61-64 shows us that the result of their turning from Him was the destruction of their young people by their enemies.
The Law promised prosperity and long life, but they were conditions, Deut. 4:10, &c. Esp. Deut. 28.
Zech. 8:4, 5 shows us that through the reign of the Prince of Peace, His city will be a city of peace. Children and old men will abound as His people follow His method of long life and health. Why will they walk in His way? Because He placed a new love and desire within them, Ezek. 36:27.
We should mention that the time from Zechariah to Christ was anything but peaceful. Really, from the time of Christ, Jerusalem - the city of peace, has been known for many things, none of which could really be identified as an extended period of peace.
This fact, combined with Zech 8:22, shows us that the prophecy cannot be speaking of a physical city. There is no physical city on earth big enough to hold the nations of the earth.
Therefore, the city must be the city of our Great King, the heavenly Jerusalem. Here and here alone does peace reign, and as nations are subdued by the Great King, peace will reign them also.
V. 6. Keep in mind who the Lord is speaking to: He is speaking to those who came as representatives of the people still in captivity as well as to those who were here engaged in the difficult task of rebuilding the temple.
The question was, "Is this the promised glory or should we continue looking, fasting and praying" See Mat 11:3, "should we look for another?"
The question was answered by the Lord pointing to the emptiness of their religious customs. But in this chapter of Zech, He restates the promise of the future great glories yet to come of which the present activities of building the temple were only a shadow.
Vv. 3-5 contain the promise which would seem to be completely beyond any hope of possibility, and they are apart from the Messiah.
V. 6, so the Lord says, "If it be marvelous (hard, difficult) in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these (speaking of the days to come, therefore, those) days, should it also be marvelous in mine eyes?
There are a few points here:
1) What is promised in vv. 3-5 is hard or difficult in mens eyes, but not in God's, Ps. 118:23
The redemptive work and the work in the hearts of people (Zech. 8:3-5), is humanly impossible, yet it is not too hard for God. Note here, because it is so difficult to the natural man to see how this could be done, the natural mind will seek to find natural ways to explain away this supernatural act.
Isn't it strange how we can believe in the six day creation, yet find it impossible to think that God can perform vv. 3-5 apart from a physical rule with a rod of iron? It is marvelous in our eyes, in fact, so marvelous (difficult) that we don't think God can accomplish this without a physical reign from a physical location.
God answers Israel's doubts of His ability to accomplish vv. 4, 5 apart from bloody warfare with, "Just because it is marvelous in your eyes, and you don't see how it can possibly be accomplished, is no sign it is marvelous in my eyes."
2) in the eyes of the remnant of this people. Not in the eyes of those spoken to by Zechariah, but the remnant of the ones Zachariah spoke to. The reference is to the descendants of the ones that returned here from Babylon. The reference reaches 500 years into the future to the time of Christ the Messiah. AND INCLUDES US, THE CHURCH.
Rom. 11:5, Paul identified this remnant as the remnant according to the election of grace. The election hath obtained what the rest of Israel diligently sought after, the Messiah and His blessings as promised in Zech. 8:3-5, and the rest were blinded... unto this day, Rom. 11:7, 8.
3) as already mentioned. These days, referred to the days that were yet to come, vv. 3-5. As we saw, Ps 118:23 identified the days as the days of the Messiah's presence. Our Lord quoted Zech 8:6 to the remnant Zachariah was addressed to, Matt. 21:42.
4) in response to the question, "Just because these things are marvelous in your eyes, should they be in mine," we would refer to Matt. 19:26; Jer. 32:27; Lk. 1:37; Lk. 18:27; Mk. 10:27.
God's sovereign exercise of His power and predetermination. He does as He will, when He will. The mystery of the incarnation - God with us - the mystery of redemption, the mystery of Christ enthroned upon the throne of David over the people of God, the mystery of adoption, the mystery of God the Holy Spirit working in people to call them to Himself and to give them the desire to serve Him, the mystery of election - God's effectual calling and the mystery of eternal life, the list of mysteries could go on and on. Yet in all of this God says, "Just because these things are marvelous hard or difficult in your eyes, does that mean they should be in mine?"
The answer of course, is, no! Even though we find these things marvelous and mysterious - future events, etc. - does not mean that He does. They are no mystery at all to the Godhead.
Undoubtedly, those people He speaks to here in Zech 8 found what the Lord was saying extremely difficult to believe. So the Lord tells them that their marveling over these things has nothing to do with His ability to perform them.
The same goes for today: There are a great many promises concerning the future glory of the church (Zech. 8:20-23 is but one). Those things seem absolutely impossible to the natural mind. The result is that we reduce the marvelous, mysterious ways of the Lord to something we can conceive within the realm of our understanding. We figure out the marvelous things of the Lord according to our understanding, then look for passages to confirm the way we have it figured out.
It is not restricted to this area alone. This covers a multitude of things (ex. free will of man compared with the sovereignty of God), which we can't fathom. Therefore we try to reason it out.
The answer for these mysterious thing:
1) Don't try to figure them out.
2) Accept God's word on it, and leave them in his hands, For by faith we understand, Heb. 11:3A.
Any thing less is to try to make a god after our own image.
February 5, 1995
Here is another thing which is marvelous in our eyes. Just because we can't understand how this could be doesn't mean God won't do it. In fact, He will do just what He is saying even thought we can't understand it.
This is one of the more easily traced of these Messianic prophesies. The total of this teaching is the gathering of Jews and Gentiles into the heavenly Jerusalem.
Now let's break it down into the Scriptural divisions.
1), we have from the east... and from the west... This is found in Isa. 43:1-7.
a) Jacob, Israel would be all of the redeemed, all of those who are in Christ Jesus our Jacob. Check Matt. 2:13-15 and Hosea 11:1. Heb. 1:2 (Christ is heir to all things), and Rom. 8:16, 17; Gal. 3:29 (we are joint heirs with him).
b) East-West. See Matt. 8:11, 12. There as the Gentile centurion came to our Lord for help, he identified this as a fulfillment of Isa. 43:5. Add in Rom. 9:24 we see that the calling by God of both Jews and Gentiles fulfills this prophecy.
Therefore, its quite obvious that this people who return from the captivity from the east and west are all whom the Holy Spirit has spoken to call them to Christ. In other words, anyone who is called out of captivity to freedom in Christ, no matter where in the world they are, are included in this I will save my people.
Also keep in mind, that ALL WHO ARE IN Christ are included in this seed, my people, Gal. 3:16.
2) I will bring them. This I will is evident in Jn. 6 as the
Holy Spirit of God must speak to the individual to bring them
3) shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. There is no way possible to consider this as the physical location of the city of Jerusalem.
a) The physical limitations of a physical city. Can we imagine
God calling out His people from all over the world and causing
each one of them to pack their bags and move to a central location.
1) There would be no "salt" or "light" left in the heathen world.
2) There would not be enough room for them all in one location. Rev. 7:9 calls this a great multitude which no man could number. Where on earth could you put them in a central location?
b) Therefore this is the heavenly city which Abraham sought, the city of the living God where all of the redeemed are assembled, Heb. 11:14 - don't make people mindful from where they came; 12:22, 23.
c) Rather than this being one central physical location it would be one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, Eph. 4:4-6. Not the unity of a location but of a person. We might also add, one common heritage.
4) My people... their God. This is another phrase that must refer to Christ and His people.
5) Then we have in truth and righteousness. Isa. 48:1ff. would exclude the old Israel because the inditement against them was that they didn't call upon the Lord in truth and righteousness.
This truth and righteousness if found only in the Messiah and His Kingdom (Jer. 4:2).
As these two verses close with in truth and in righteousness,
it would be well to notice that there are three I wills which
lead up to this: I will save my people, I will bring them &
I will be. In other words, this is an act of sovereign grace on
God's part. This is all His work, not man's, lest any man should
boast. He is telling these people, and His people of all time,
that their labor is not in vain. It may seem so, but He tells
us that He will perform these marvelous things in his good time.
February 12, 1995
Verse 9-15 follows along this line of thought. V. 9, let your hands be strong. V. 13, let your hands be strong.
They are rebuilding the temple under Ezra.
The congregation of the Lord sends an enquiry to see if the rebuilding is the future Massanic Kingdom of Glory and power which they have been fasting and praying for.
The representatives are told they are hypocrites: Their observances are only superficial with no heart-felt, evident cry to God.
In this second part of the answer, God outlines the future greater power and glory of the reign of the Messiah which they only see a shadow of here in rebuilding the temple.
In vv. 9-15 - v. 13, esp. - we see something which is very needed to day. There are three points.
1) Don't look back at the past victories and/or defeats. Don't
live back there.
2) Don't try to find our encouragement really from the present. The work these folks were involved in was tremendous. It would have been very easy to look, as they no doubt did, at their present progress and said, "The task is so great, we are so small and few. The progress seems to be so slow, therefore why press on." In view of the command which our God has given to us (Matt. 28:19, 20), we can say the same thing point for point with another added. "The funds are so short. The harder we try the more we seem to get behind."
But the Lord forbids looking and gaining encouragement from our present circumstances. They change on a daily basis.
3) This brings us to a third point which is emphasized here by the Lord through Zechariah: LOOK AHEAD TO THE PROMISES OF GOD.
God's people gain their strength in their present situations through His Word and the confidence that HE will accomplish what HE said HE would.
Yes, those promises may be "marvelous" - improbable, if not impossible -in our eyes, the eyes of the remnant, v. 6. Human understanding cannot figure out how God could possibly work our the problems without an out-right forcible overthrow of the world system.
Our hope and confidence cannot be based on what we can understand about God and HIS promises. Our strength to continue on in obedience to HIS command is found in the confidence we have that HE will subdue all kingdoms before the Son in HIS good time. Ps. 2 is in the Scripture. If we try to find strength as we consider how hard mankind is trying to overthrow God, then we will want to quit. If we keep our eyes on the fact that the Father will subdue all kingdoms to the Son one day, we can find strength to carry on.
Zachariah's prophecy emphasizes the victory of the Messiah over everything the world, flesh and the devil might use to hinder the work for God. In this emphasis the faithful people find strength. Though they may die, and probably will, before they see the promises materialize, that does not mean the Father has failed to deliver. These people to whom the promises were delivered never saw them come to pass.
Notice also here that the promise of this future Messianic power and glory is made to them but not for them. The promise is given unto the residue of this people, the remnant, vv. 9, 11. God commanded them to gain strength in their present "hopeless" task from a promise which was not even for them. It was for the generations many hundreds of years later.
I am afraid if we don't see God fulfilling marvelous things within our life time we think God has failed. Here it was going to be over 500 years before these marvelous things would be accomplished.
We expect overnight change and results. Rather than finding strength in HIS promises to just be faithful in our tasks now, we want to use the world's means of forcing change. Where are the Christian plans today which we know won't effect a change for many generations? I'm afraid that a very great portion of our effort is in immediate social change, (Anti-abortion protests as an example).
The modern church - as a whole - has given up on any long term plans. Everything is geared for immediate results: Pragmatism. We are caught in a very pragmatic trap, both in the church and in society. We are continually seeking for that which will give immediate results. We, myself included, seem to be incapable today of even considering long term plans. Pragmatism, without exception, promotes the evil one because the just shall walk by faith.
In Zech 8, the promise of the Messianic Kingdom in its power and glory was not for the folks whom Zech is addressing, yet they were commanded to find strength in the promise.
Also here we see that this power and glory of the Messianic Kingdom, i.e. the church, has been destroyed by J.N. Darby. The result is that there is no hope that the world's nations can be subdued by the Father, through the work of the Spirit, unto the Son, this side of a violent overthrow of the world kingdoms. SEE US NEWS ARTICLE.
Is it any wonder that there is no hope or zeal to lay godly foundations which will reach 500 years into the future? Matt. 28:19, 20 - the "go" part anyway - is obeyed but strictly as a burden of a duty. There is no hope in it possibly succeeding in teaching all nations to serve the King of kings and Lord of Lords.
It is not hard at all to see this all through the Scriptures, Heb. 6:18, etc.. The power of Christianity lies in our hope for the future. When this hope is destroyed, our power is compromised. Without this physical hope here on this earth, Christianity will devolve to, "What's the use anyway. We'll just hold the fort until Jesus gets here. We'll do the best we can to keep what we have."
With a confidence that Christ is with us even until the end of the world and that he expects us to win and teach all nations in accordance to his word, we will have the faith to press ahead in spite of all odds.
February 19, 1995
Continuing on with vv. 9-15.
Some of the things said by Zechariah belong to only the Jews
to whom he is writing.
Some of the things spoken belong to the church, i.e. those who are called from the Gentiles.
He is here speaking to the Jews engaged in the rebuilding of the temple, vv. 9, 10. The reference here is to Hag. 2:15-19:
Before they got right with God, removed their sin and laid the foundation of the temple, nothing went right with them:
There was not enough harvest from the fields to pay a person
to go get it.
Their adversaries would not give them any peace.
God left each person to his own devices, and they destroyed themselves.
God is contrasting life before the laying of the temple's foundation with the blessings since the foundation. But let's keep in mind, the foundation and building of the temple was not the turning point for the blessings.
Haggai 2:17, shows us that before the laying of the foundation the people would not mention returning to Him; therefore, all of these calamities came upon them.
(See also Zech. 7:9-14. Compare with Zech. 8:16-17. The promised blessings were conditioned not on building the temple, but on being faithful in the responsibilities toward God and toward man.)
V. 11. Some important points here:
1) The contrast is not a contrast of time but of relationship. The change is a change in relationship, not a change in time. The former days had a poor relationship because of sin; but the new relationship will be in Christ, and glorious.
The curse in America is not the result of changing times, but the result of a changing relationship.
2) I will not be unto... Here the promise of a new relationship is given to The residue of this people. The new relationship is not promised to the people of Zechariah's day, but is given to the residue of the people of Zechariah's day. The remnant, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3) He does not say, "I will not do to them as in the former days." He says the relationship will not be the same. Of course, we know that the new relationship is Christ Jesus our Lord.
John chapter 15 covers the new relationship very well, e.g. v. 15, 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Jn 15 was spoken to the disciples WHO WERE ALL JEWS; therefore, they were literal descendants of those to whom Zechariah spoke. Of course, Jn. 15, as is all of John as well as the NT, is passed on to the "descendants" of the disciples, the church.
Point 3 needs a closer look:
First we see the promise is given to the remnant, those in Christ, (we'll see more of this in a moment, v. 12).
Second, the promise is of a new relationship, not new actions.
Third, this new relationship does not involve new action on the part of the people. In other words, this new relationship does not allow the residue of these people to avoid the results of their sin.
WHAT ARE WE SAYING? the way many today would like to read this passage is,
But now I will not DO unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the Lord of hosts. We can now do the things which the OT Israel could not do, e.g. things mentioned in Zech. 7:9, 10, and avoid the results that the OT Israel faced. God will not do to His people today what He did to His people back then because of Christ. We are not to be involved in social issues today as his people were to be in the Jewish economy. We are only to preach Jesus and let the rest alone. We, the people of God, have a different standard for us today than did the people of God of old. We do not now have to be concerned as much about keeping the law as they were because He deals with us differently in our new dispensation of grace.
But that is not what the verse says
Notice what Paul says in Heb 10:26-31: He clearly spells out the new relationship God's people have with the Lord. Paul tells us that the new relationship with Christ spoken of in Zech 8:11 requires even more holy living than was required before Christ.
Thus God's actions against the law-breaker has not changed. Sin is still a violation of the revealed will of God, I Jn. 3:4. God's hand is not only as much against wilful sin as it was in the days of Zachariah, but it is more against sin because of Christ.
How is the relationship is different through Jesus Christ our Lord?
1) We are now his friends, Jn. 15.
2) We are now sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. He now dwells in his covenant people, giving them the desire to live holy and pure, as well as the power to do so. Also as the comforter.
3) We also see that the NT saints are the bride of Christ.
4) The relationship since the advent of Christ would be much more personal, because Christ was God incarnate in the flesh. The OT saints did not have a personal relationship with Christ. We now have God with us, Christ.
5) Free access through the work of Christ, boldness before the throne.
He does not say, "But now I will not DO unto the residue of this people as in the former days."
Rather he says, "But now I will not BE unto the residue of this people as in the former days. Note that even though the word BE is added by the translators, it, rather than DO, is demanded by the context.
I found it interesting that a major modern doctrine can be overturned with one little word, BE. When BE is replaced with DO, antinomianism is clearly permitted, and God's law is overthrown as the present standard for God's people in the areas of society, economy, and religious. We are living in the day when the one small word has been changed, and with its change a new manner of life is now accepted: "Christ frees us from having to obey the law."
We might add that NEVER in the history of the world from Adam on, was the law a means of salvation. It is only seen that way be those who want to be free from responsibility to the law of God. Even the law and the prophets required righteousness apart from the law and the prophets, Rom. 3:21.
It is a false doctrine that would teach that righteousness before God was ever obtained through the law. The condition for being a member of the covenant people of God has always been the same, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 2:28-29.
NOTE GILL'S COMMENTS:
Dr Gill, 1696-1771.
[As I have read his commentaries as given in Online Bible, CD, I have grown to appreciate his very powerful and practical Scriptural wisdom. His comments concerning the believer and Moses' law are very good.]
1770. This distinguished patron of the doctrines of grace, and of practical experimental godliness, having favoured his connections with his two volumes of Doctrinal Divinity, now gratified them with a third volume, which he properly called a Body of Practical Divinity. This he thought would be the last work he should ever publish. It consists of no less than 514 pages, 4to. This volume also contains the substance of what he delivered to the church and congregation, in Carter-lane, in his usual Lord's Day services. The sermons were heard, with great attention by the members and the auditory in general; many of whom, to the end of their days, mentioned, with great satisfaction, the interest they felt in them. It is undeniable that the Doctor, when his theme was practical, went the full length of his subject, as much as when it was doctrinal; but he well distinguished between the moral law as a rule of conduct, and the same law as a covenant of works. Under the latter consideration, he everywhere maintains, with our best Divines, that believers are delivered from it, totally delivered, having no just reason either to expect life from its promises, or to fear death from its threatenings. But that, as a rule of obedience, it is of universal obligation, equally binding on saints and sinners, and must remain so forever, while God is God and man is man. An extract from one or two of his paragraphs, on this head, may here suffice, instead of a multitude. `Though the moral law is made void as a covenant of works, it still continues as a rule of action and conversation. It is done away as to the form of the administration of it by Moses; but the matter, the sum and substance of it, remain firm, unalterable, and unchangeable in the hands of Christ. Believers are delivered from the curse and condemnation of it, yet they are not exempted from obedience to it. And though they are not to seek for justification by it, they are under the greatest obligations, by the strongest ties of love, to have a regard to all its commands. Obedience to the law is enforced upon them by the best of motives, Gospel motives and principles; and they yield obedience to it, under the best of influences. Believers in Christ ought not only to be careful to maintain, but even to excel, to go before others, in good works, giving evidence that they have a proper regard to the unchangeable law, as to the everlasting Gospel of Christ Jesus. Let us, therefore, by divine assistance show, in our lives and conversations, the truth of this doctrine, "that the law is not made void, but established by the Gospel"; and thus, as it is the will of God we should, "with well doing put to silence the ignorance of foolish men", and shame them "who falsely accuse our good conversation in Christ".'
In this way, our practical theologist maintains the authority and perpetuity of the moral law. This he does not only in his Sermon, entitled, "The Law in the Hands of Christ", and in another, "The Law established by the Gospel", and in his chapter on the Law of God, in his Body of Divinity; but, probably, in more than a hundred sections besides, interspersed all through his writings. Of this his Exposition of the New Testament, particularly, will be a standing witness. But those sections of it, in which he made the true and just distinction between the law as a covenant and the law as a rule, were the very passages which provoked some persons of Antinomian principles, who were excluded only a few years since from the church of which the Doctor had formerly been pastor, when they were referred to his opinion on the law, as he had given it in his Exposition, to say in a spirit which was as malicious, as the declaration itself was false, that the Doctor asserts we are under the law, and that we are not under the law, so going forward and backward, maintaining and denying; and that they find him palpably contradicting himself, in certain places, five or six times in a chapter. Yea, some of them insisted on it that believers had nothing at all to do with the moral law. [For this extreemly common thought of our day, Gill cast people out of the church.] But, in his time, the Doctor spared no individuals who were of these infernal sentiments; and his preaching was as pointed on the agenda as on the credenda of the Christian system. Of this, the following is no unfair specimen. While he was pursuing the course of subjects since published, as his Body of Practical Divinity, one of his most sincere and generous friends, from whom the writer of this page had the anecdote, took a gentleman from the country to hear him. The Doctor warmed with his subject, and the congregation was animated. He put the crown on the Saviour's head, by exhibiting him in the glory of his kingly office; and, in several sentences, particularly levelled his shafts against every species of Antinomianism, yet not mentioning the term. Service over, the good friend of Dr. Gill, who had himself enjoyed the opportunity, said to the gentleman, Well, Sir, what do you think of our Doctor today? Why, said he, you must not be offended with me, but I assure you, if I had not been told it was the great Dr. Gill who preached, I should have said that I had heard an Arminian. Probably this incompetent judge formed his opinion, as many other mistaken persons still do; who, when they hear any thing practical recommended, or even the term `duty' mentioned, violently exclaim in some opprobrious terms or other; yet, in the superabundance of their wisdom, "not knowing what they say, nor whereof they affirm", However, the plenitude of their folly is no more conspicuous, than the mistake or malevolence of others, who, running to the contrary extreme, whenever they hear the doctrines of sovereign and distinguishing grace, eternal election even to holiness, and the perseverance of the saints, though it be in grace to glory, fully and scripturally preached, immediately cry, Antinomianism!--horrid Antinomianism! Thus exhibiting the very spirit of those ancient heretics, who slanderously affirmed, concerning the apostolic preachers themselves, that they said, "Let us do evil that good may come". But Paul repelled the charge, demolished the accusation, and magnified his office; declaring, of all such perjured plaintiffs, that their guilt is on their own foreheads, and of such uncommon atrocity, that their damnation is just. The Doctor had, doubtless, consistency enough not fairly to incur the charge of espousing contrary and totally opposite schemes. He could not be an Arminian, for he maintained the five distinguishing and Scriptural points which they deny. Nor could he be an Antinomian, as he forever denied what they affirm, viz. the destructive and damning text, which is the very soul of their system, that believers are not under the moral law, as the rule of their conduct. Yet he was charged with these glaring inconsistencies. But the Saviour himself was crucified between two thieves; and, unwilling as his servants are to be conformed to him in his sufferings, they must not think it strange, if they also are hung up between the robbers--Arminianism, which robs God of his grace; and Antinomianism, which robs him of his glory. It will be well for them, if, on the one hand, with Christian humility and patience, they possess equanimity, which will enable them to say, "It is enough that the disciple be as his Master"; and if, on the other, they, at present, pity those who would thus make them spectacles unto the world, and to angels, and to men; and, at last, with their dying breath, can pray for them, saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do".
Zech 8:12, the prosperous seed, vine, ground and heavens are given in contrast to v. 10, where there was no peace or prosperity. V. 11 is the dividing line: the new relationship, Christ.
The Seed is evidently talking of the residue or remnant of
the ones being spoken to, the church (or all those in Christ).
Prosperous, or (Marg.) peace. Peace rather than v. 10, no peace.
The Vine is an obvious reference back to the curse and blessing of the law. See Lev. 26:4, 20 and Deut. chp. 27.
As we have already pointed out, this residue, remnant will have the law written in their hearts along with the desire to do those things pleasing in his sight. The result of doing those things pleasing in His sight will be the blessings associated with the obedience. See Ezek. chp. 34, where the context of v. 27 is clearly Christ, the covenant of peace.
Undoubtedly, there are physical blessings involved in this promise, Zec 8:12, but the primary reference is to the spiritual blessings as found in Christ.
Compare Zech. 8:12 with Acts 14:17. Also a cross reference with Acts 14:17 is Lev. 26:4. (Some other passages would be Hos. 2:21, 22; Joel 2:22-25; 3:18; Hagg. 2:19.) This is based in the new relationship.
And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.
This is consistent with what has already been said, vv. 6, 11. The promised prosperity, peace, is made not to these people, but to their future remnant, i.e.. Those who shall believe in Christ.
v. 12, contains another I will, showing us that it is a work of God. He will be the one to accomplish this tremendous (marvelous) task. -- See notes on v. 6.
The promise contained here is another one of those things which we will have to accept by faith, because God's word says it. The human mind cannot comprehend how He will accomplish His people's possession of all things.
The work that was being accomplished under Zechariah's ministry was only a temporal picture of what was promised at a future time - promised in Christ.
A) The building of the temple by Christ, Acts 15:13-19, and the promise that the remnant of this people will be and are the heir to all things:
1 Co 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 And ye are Christ's; and Christ [is] God's.
See Matt. 6:33; I Tim. 4:8. Also see Rom. 8:17; Titus 3:7; Gal. 4:1-7. In addition, notice that true heirship to the promises of God was never through the law, but through the righteousness of faith, Rom. 4:13. Thus, the promise to the remnant (Zech. 8:12) is fulfilled in Christ and obtained by faith, Rev. 21:7.
Zech 8:13, gives a contrast, As ye were a curse.. so will I.. Judah - the two tribes of the Southern kingdom - and Israel - the ten Northern tribes - were both carried away into captivity because of their sins. They thus became a curse.
V. 13, God promise to reverse the curse for a blessing. His people will return to Jehovah God and His true worship and inherit the blessing. They will be saved and become a blessing to others.
First, we know that Israel never did return to the Lord thereby sharing in the temporal blessings. As a whole, the nation stayed in her scattered locations, serving the Lord as they saw best. Therefore the blessing promised here must be spiritual as found in Christ, the Messiah. Israel did not return under the second temple, although the sacrifices were reinstated as had been prophesied.
Second, a blessing the promise here renews the promise given to Abraham which can be traced to Christ at His coming, Gen. 12:2 - . The blessing is placed in Christ, Gal. 3:16, 29. [See also passage such as Ps. 21:4, 6; 77:15; Isa. 19:24; 65:8; Ezek 34:26 and Rom. 9:5.]
Therefore, Zech. 8:13 is God's promise to reverse the curse of sin and replace it with the blessings of and in Christ.
WE FAIL TO REALIZE WHAT WAS ACCOMPLISHED IN CHRIST. THE APOSTLES THAT WERE INSTRUCTED BY CHRIST REALIZED WHAT TOOK PLACE. READ THE BOOK OF ACTS.
Third, As--so gives a tremendous contrast. As you were a curse among the heathens, ..ye shall be a blessing. The verse indicates that the curse turns to a blessing while the people are still among the heathens.
Thus it speaks primarily of not a physical regathering, but a spiritual gathering into Christ. As they remain in their physical location, they will inherit the blessing of Abraham. They will then be a blessing to the heathen around them. The Spirit of the Living God will make them salty salt and bright light wherever they are located.
Is this not what our Lord told the woman at the well? The true worship of the Father was NOT from a physical location but through the Saviour.
Fourth, the removal of the curse, and this point is quite obvious. Christ became a curse for his people in accordance to the law, Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3:13.
as ye were a curse... so will I save you. In other words, no matter how cursed one is with sin, there is enough grace in Christ Jesus to set him free.
Fifth, fear not. In Christ, the curse turned into a blessing with a fear not attached. [As we have already mentioned (9-15), the promise is not made to the people of Zechariah's day but to those hundreds of years away, yet, he 'caps off' four future promises (v. 12, I will, v. 13, it shall, will I, ye shall,), with a fear not followed with a command to be strong.] Over and over, we are reminded that we gain our strength for seemingly hopeless tasks from our faith in God's promises.
Zech 8:14, 15. This gives another comparison: As and so. The
comparison is between the certainty of sin's punishment, and the
certainty of His future blessings in their sins.
His holiness will not permit Him to overlook sin in those who persist in their sins.
His mercy will not permit Him not to offer blessings to the sinner.
March 3, 1995
This promised blessing was/is Christ. He came to the descendants of the ones who returned here in Zechariah's day. This was the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, Ezra 4:1.
The ten tribes remained in the places of their captivity, finding it far to unprofitable to return. The apostles went to the Jews scattered aboard.
Just as sure as punishment came for sin, so will the promised blessing come. Therefore, fear ye not.
Remember, Zechariah is using the future promised blessing to urge the then present hearers on to holiness. He encourages them to holiness so they would not miss the future blessing. We know that when the blessing, the Messiah did finally come, they killed him.
Verses 16, 17.
He tells them what to do that they will not miss the blessing which is promised. As we saw in 7:9, 10, this is exactly the same message presented to their fathers by the prophets. The message was rejected and judgment came. These two verses contain in short the sum total of our relationship to God and to man. This shows us that the conditions for obtaining the blessings haven't changed. The relationship is different (see above), but the do's and do not's are the same.
There are a few things worth persuading here.
First, Eph. 4:15, 25
Recently, I have been surprised at how people will corrupt the truth of situations in order to obtain what they want.
But not only do people lie to others, they lie to themselves; therefore, many times they may speak lies, but they are totally convinced in their minds of the lies.
As we look through Eph. chp. 4, it isn't hard at all to follow everything that is covered in Zech. 8:16, 17. Do we want the promised blessings of God? Read and obey Eph. 4.
Second, remember v. 13 and verses 14, 15. As and so. He has
reminded these people that their fathers ignored the warnings
of God and God moved against them: The cause and effect mentioned
here is as sure as there is a God in heaven.
The condition remains the same. Therefore, if the descendants (remnant or residue) ignore the cause (violate vv. 16, 17), the same affect (punishment), will come to pass. There is no way that a Christian can cut Eph. 4 out of his Bible and avoid the hand of God against himself.
Third, we can refer back up to the I wills and see that it is all a work of God. It is His grace alone which gives people the desire to serve Him. But even at that, the blessings are conditioned upon obedience to vv. 16-17, just the same as they were for the fathers. God gives the desire; He then gives the power to fulfill the desire He placed to serve Him and do right.
This is the reason for the harsh words against wilful sin in Heb 10: When a Child of God refuses to live according to God's word and plan for his life, he has done despite to the grace of God.
Then God has blessings attached to, by His grace, walking in the manner pleasing to Himself.
Fourth, just a reminder that the promise here (v. 11), is a new relationship, not new actions. Blessings are still dependent upon obedience. Disobedience still calls for the punishment of God against it. Lying to the neighbour, disregarding the principles of God's law, devising wicked devices against our neighbour (who is my neighbor), swearing falsely against God and His Word is still hated by the Lord just as much under the new relationship as under the old, (if not more, Heb. 10).
Fifth, the Lord speaks to those returned to work on rebuilding the temple, and He promises tremendous blessings to their 'children.'
It would be so easy to gain false confidences from the promises, and see only the promised blessing in Christ. In other words, I have been promised God's blessings regardless of my actions.
To prevent this false notion, God places vv. 16-17 right in the midst of the promised blessings. He places the same conditions upon the promised blessings in Christ as was upon those before the captivity, (7:9, 19). He did this to prevent His people in Christ from taking the promises for granted.
"God has promised his blessings through his Christ regardless of what I do." is the wicked idea that is prevalent today. The Scriptures are read and even studied, the promises are found which are available in Christ, the promises are overwhelming, and then in the process of meditating upon the promises, we completely overlook the conditions placed upon them.
Or worse yet, the enemy has convinced us that it is not necessary to obey any conditions (other then 'salvation') in order to obtain the promises which we desire. The result? Rather than receiving the expected blessing, the wrath of God moves against the people.
No matter where in the Holy Scriptures we look (7:9, 10, or, 8:16, 16), we will find the conditions the same: Faith is counted - required - for righteousness and a heavenly home, but clearly obedience to the revealed will of God is required to inherit the blessings of God even in Christ.
Zech 8:16, For all these things I hate. Did the coming of the Christ change God's feelings toward these sins? According to Eph. chp. 4, the Lord still hates these things.
Verses 18, 19.
These four fast days of mourning commemorated four sad days in Israel's history. (See Pusey's notes, "Minor Prophets II, pg. 390.) They commemorated God's judgment against their rebellion against Him. Probably in their mind there were not in rebellion; in fact, this is what prompted the original question, Zech. 7:3.
Under the new relationship, the sad times of judgment can be turned into joy and gladness. (Will be! if His people will follow His revealed plan to do so).
Ps. 51:8, speaks of the forgiveness of the sin which caused the broken bones to rejoice.
This marvelous sadness to joy is only possible through Jesus Christ our Lord. The conditions for enjoying this gladness were truth and peace (vv. 16, 17). I realize Eph 4:15 speaks of speaking the truth in love, but we can easily reverse this to say love the truth and love peace. This alone marks a person as a true Israelite, able to partake of the promised blessings of the gospel. (See Acts 14:17; Jn. 1:47.)
It shall come to pass... The Jews to whom Zechariah spoke seemed to be involved in a hopeless situation: There is only a hand full of people willing to work, the temple is unfinished and its completion seemed beyond reasonable hope. The heathens were standing against them and resisting their efforts.
Both appearance and experience was speaking against God fulfilling the promise He had already made through Isaiah (chp. 2) and through Micah (chp. 4). Yet in the midst of the hopelessness of the situation of this small group of faithful people, God, through Zechariah, renews His promise.
The lesson for us?
No matter what the appearance may be to us as far as human understanding, God will accomplish His word. This refers back to v. 6. Just because something may be marvelous (improbable or even impossible), in our eyes, doesn't mean it is difficult for God to accomplish.
We will not yet look at vv. 20-23, (Isa. 2:1-5 and Mic. 4:1-7), but it is beyond human understanding and accomplishment. Therefore, we try to explain it as we believe God could accomplish it.
Paul covers this principle here over in I Cor. 1:27-2:5. The weakness and inability of man's best efforts are God's means of showing HIS might and power.
Our responsibility is not to bring about vv. 20-23; rather, our responsibility is to obey Ehp 4:15ff.
March 12, 1995
Zech. 8:20. Here with the hopelessness of the present situation in the background, Zech. speaks the glorious promise that one day in the future, It shall yet come to pass, apart from any human strength and ability, the Lord will bring people, and the inhabitants of many cities to Himself.
We will not develop this near as in-depth as we could or maybe should.[Rather let the reader be referred to Pusey's notes on Zech, Barne's Notes, Minor Prophets II, pg. 391.]
We will say a few things about this passage though to give us an idea of what the three prophets, Isaiah, Micah and Zech, are talking about.
First, let's identify what city the people of v. 20 are going to:
We saw in Zech. 1:17; 2:12, that this city to which they are drawn is Jerusalem, but this Jerusalem IS NOT a physical location.
(Can't we just imagine all of the inhabitants of the world who desire to seek the Lord having to go to a single centralized location. It really makes no sense to view it in such a light.)
Therefore, the location to which they are going must be the New Jerusalem, the city of the Great King. It is the heavenly city sought by Abraham, Heb. 11:16; it is the heavenly city that Christ told the woman at the well about, Jn. 4:21-24. Christ makes it very clear to the woman in Jn 4 that there is NO LONGER any designed physical location where God is to be served. Since Christ, all service and worship of the Father is in and through Him, not a city.
Zech. 8:20, 21, therefore, refers to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ going to all nations - Gentile nations in particular - and the Gentile nations rejoicing and coming to Christ, e.g, Acts 13:46-48; 15:12-31.
I would strongly suggest that you take your time and read the book of Acts. Acts makes it very clear that Christ fulfilled all these glorious OT prophecies, and they do not remain to be fulfilled by some physical city as taught in Dispensationalism.
[Have used many times] Notice esp. Lk. 24:46, 47. This is only one of several places where this is mentioned; Christ reminds these men that the prophets spoke of (even demanded), that the gospel going to the Gentiles. Zech. 8:20-23 is only one of the prophecies which Christ is referring to here. (Check the margin cross reference for Lk. 24:47. Note also that Dan. 9:24 is also one of the cross reference here.)
Zachariah's prophecy, 8:20-23, clearly speaks of the Gospel of Christ going forth with great power into all nations.
Under the gospel, those who were not a people of God seek after God and become His people. Not only does one person go, but they encourage others with, v. 4, let us go speedily.
From Zechariah's time up until Matt. 28:19, 20, those who were the people of God did not go out and compel others to come to Christ.
But since Christ, i.e. Mat 28:19, 20, compelling, influencing or persuading people of Christ is a major responsibility of the child of God. The book of Acts gives us an excellent account of influencing people for Christ.
Zech 8:22, history tells us that after the time of Christ the gospel periled against the very strongest of cities and nations, it prevailed against the lonely, individual houses scattered far and wide throughout the known world. No place was 'safe' from the gospel. The strongest of iron bars and walls could not keep Christ out. Read Acts, and you will see that the known world was conquered by and for Christ within a very short time.
As I thought about the strength of the Gospel against the strong cities and nations, I also noticed that
Men are wasting their time in their attempt to build walls to keep Christ and His Word away from them. Christ doesn't need a army of powerful men to overthrow all of the walls which the devil's crowd has built. All He has to do is say the word to the heart, and all opposition melts before Him.
We are told many times that at His word the earth quakes and the mountains melt. What in the world makes man think he can harden his heart against God, His Word and His Messiah and be 'safe'. When and if God sees fit, all He needs to do is say the word and all nations will seek His face. All nations will desire to worship Him. All nations will flock to pray before Him and plead for His favor.
All their physical might which they have collected against Him will crumble like the grass of the field under-foot when He speaks to the heart.
When we consider Zech 8:22's corresponding prophetic verses, it is obvious that the Lord will one day speak and all opposition will fall before the Gospel. As we read the book of Acts, we see that the Lord did speak and all opposition did crumble before Him.
Also, Zech 8:23 says the same thing.
Notice, of him that is a Jew.
1) the man from Macedonia appeared to Paul and pleaded with him to come lead them to Christ, Acts 16. All the apostles were Jews, and Macedonia was a Greek city.
The nations of the world, therefore, clung to the apostles, desiring that they give to them the gospel of access to the Father through the Son. Several times the Gentiles in Acts clung to the Jewish Apostles and rejoice in the words of Life they had to offer.
2) him that is a Jew could also be speaking of Christ who was a Jew. We have a record of many who wanted to go with Him to worship God. There was one whom Christ told to stay home and return to his people and show them the great things which God had done for him.
Zech 8:23, the ten men symbolize the whole, Isa. 66:18.
For I [know] their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.
God's number of people that HE WILL gather out of all the nations of the world will seek to follow this Jew, Christ Jesus, because they have heard that God is with Him.
Are we faithful in taking that message to everyone?
Once again, God, through Zechariah, is making it clear to these who had been faithfully keeping these fasts that the great promises of tremendous blessings are conditional.
The blessings are not simply showers that will just fall upon them out of heaven. The comparison is with what happened to the fathers. The fathers refused to hear the word of the Lord, and were judged. Their fasts commemorated that judgement.
Only as people do what their fathers refused to do will the
fasts be turned into feasts.
Only as there is a change of heart - new heart - resulting in a change of action will there be a change from mourning to rejoicing. It is presumption to try to claim the blessings apart from conditions. The promised good from God is as sure as is the law of sowing and reaping. Let's not act presumptuously upon that promise.
Zech 8:18, 19, only the new relationship - Christ - can turn the sorrowful things into joyous things. In Him, we know that all things work together for good. The promise that all things work for good was in the OT the same as it is in the New, but the fact was concealed. Only Christ can give the 'oil of gladness' for sadness. Only Christ can turn sorrowful human circumstances into, Rejoice in all things, and again I say rejoice.
Verses 20-23, refer Isa. 2 and Mich. 4.
Micah 4 is worth a short look.
The OT prophets divided the whole length of time of the kingdom of God from Adam until the end when time shall be no more into only two parts, the beginning and the end. The beginning (which Zechariah is talking to), was a state of humiliation and seemingly defeat. The end is always presented as the state of glorification. The dividing line is the birth of the Messiah. There is no other division in Scripture. Regardless of what Darby and many mad men since have said, there are only two dispensations in time: We call them B.C. & A.D.
There is at times a second division, and that division is the destruction of Jerusalem, AD 70.
Below is edited from the complete at the end.
The OT prophets do not speak of more than two. Zechariah refers to the former days which would be the days the new relationship, the Messiah (see also Mal. 3:4).
Mic. 4. The period of the kingdom of God, i.e. God's workings upon earth from Adam until the end of all things, is divided in two, and the coming of Christ starting the last days.
Let's hit just a few high points here in Micah which will give some light to Zechariah 8:20-23.
The mountains spoken of in Micah 4, represent the kingdom of God in Israel. Micah 4:2 gives us the method of the mountain's exaltation, the law. The law of God goes forth from this kingdom (additional passage, Ezek. 40:2, where Mt. Zion is seen as exalted in the Messianic time).
Micah 4:1, Last days (not the last day). Peter clearly identifies the last days as the period of time which begins with the Messiah, Acts 2:17. (See also Heb. 1:2, etc.). Therefore, Micah 4, starts with the Messiah.
Micah 4:1, The house of the Lord shall be established... and exalted. This speaks of the Messiah being lifted up and exalted because, taken with the next part, we see that people shall flow unto it.
Did not the Lord Jesus promise that AS HE IS LIFTED UP, He will draw all people to Him, Jn. 3:14; 8:28; 12:32, 34?
V. 2, Thus we have the exaltation of the kingdom of God and people and many nations coming to it. Notice why they are going to the king. And he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths...
JOHN 6:45, The Lord quotes Micah 4:2, and applies it to His kingdom in no unmistakable terms. Therefore, Micah 4:2 is not a future event from our present time, but the Lord tells us that it was placed into effect in His kingdom, starting with His resurrection.
Notice John 6:45 is placed in the midst of a tremendous discourse on salvation, based upon His sacrificial death and the Father drawing men to the risen Saviour.
Look at Jn. 6:45.
And it is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Here the Lord quotes Isa. 54:13; Jer. 31:34; Micah 4:2 & Heb. 8:10. Therefore, Micah 4:1-2 describes the Holy Spirit working at the command of the Father, placing the desire in people to come to Christ to be taught of Him.
Micah 4:2 shows us that it is not just a few people who come to Christ. Those who do see the necessity of going to Christ will persuade multitudes of others to go with them.
WHY DO THEY GO? V. 2, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths-- They have a desire to learn the ways of the Lord, His law.
They will have a desire to assemble publicly and hear God's
They will desire to spend time in the Word of God.
The ways of the heathen - the way of humanism - have failed.
The resulting turmoil and chaos have forced them to seek the truth, and find the right way to walk.
Notice they are coming to Him:
Whether they come to a literal mountain, which I do not believe the context will support in the slightest, or coming to a physical representation of God's kingdom on earth, i.e. the church, really will not change the teaching. This verse clearly tells us that they come to learn His law. Christ identified His resurrection as the start of this period of time described by Micah chapter four: It is the church age, for lack of a better term.
What kind of world-wide chaos will have to take place to cause
the heathens to seek after Christ?
For probably the first time since Christ, we see absolutely the whole world in rebellion against Him and His word.
We know what rebellion leads to, and we also know that there is no way to avoid the results of that rebellion.
Also here, Micah 4:1, 2, we see people and nations seeking the Lord, which must be a reference to the time after the first coming of the Messiah: up to His coming, the kingdom was pretty well restricted to the nation of Israel. Since him, it is opened up to encompass all nations and peoples, whosoever will may come, Jn. 4.
Now we see some results of his law being taught to the heathens.
V. 3, he shall judge... and rebuke even the strong nations afar off. This is not a physical location because these nations are afar off. Notice here that it is the law of God which goes forth which shall judge... and rebuke. Going on, it causes the weapons of war to be turned into weapons of peace. It cause the nations to be at peace.
It would be significant here that there is no mention of this Great King, Jesus, having to use force to accomplish this. Yes the sword is definitely used here but we know from the NT revelation of these OT truths, that the word of the Lord (Micah 4:2) is this sword (Heb. 4:12). It is this sword which subdues nations and turns warring tribes into peaceful 'farmers'. This King of Zion, this Ruler in Jerusalem, is the prince of peace, not the king of war, Isa. 9:6. (See our notes on Ps. 45.)
Micah 4:1-3 speaks of the world-wide situation becoming so unbearable as men have gone their own way and the results have now caught up, they have no choice but to come to the law of God as their standard of conduct. It makes one wonder - how chaotic will it have to get, world-wide, before those hardened in sin will see the hopelessness of their situation?
Isn't it something how people will preach and teach that only the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ can bring peace, yet the same ones hope and pray for Him to come as a warring chieftain and chop people's heads off for refusing to obey him?
Micah 4:1-4 makes it clear that it is his law-word which goes out of Zion, Jerusalem, which subdues the warring peoples and nations. The appearance of Christ commenced the fulfillment of his prophecy and every other prophecy along this line. Micah 4:4 is dealt with back in Zech. 3:10.
While here, let's deal with Micah 4:5, for every and ever. There are two parts to this verse:
(1.) The heathens have learned the law of God is the only way that will work. They live according to this law and peace is the result, BUT, they are not redeemed. They are still serving their false gods. The law never saved anyone and these are no exception. They are still motivated by what works best for them and they found out the hard way that it is the law-word of God which works best. These people are still in rebellion against God's plan of salvation and righteousness. (I would much rather live next door to a super religious hypocrite who obeys God's law for what is in it for him, than next door to a 'crack house' which destroys everything around it.) These folks will be cast into the lake of fire in the last day, they will say, "Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you."
(2.) Then we have these who are walking in the name of the Lord our God. These are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and are also walking the law-word of the Lord. The last day comes upon them also, only in this final judgment, the Lord will say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord, which I have prepared for you." These will never die and will continue to walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.
The end will come. Those who are walking in his law-word because it is the only law which will work will be cast into the lake of fire. Those who are redeemed will receive their life everlasting and they will walk in the joy of the Lord forever and ever.
We will not pursue anymore of Micah although it is an interesting
study. This brings us to the end of Zech. chp. 8.
Therefore, love the truth and peace. It is all conditioned upon the love of the truth and peace. Ps. 119:165, great peace have they that love thy law and nothing will offend them.
Verses 20-23. This is a reference back to Isa. 2 and Mich. 4. These people who Zechariah is speaking to are just a hand full trying to accomplish a seemingly impossible task. Once again Zechariah is urging them to look past their present circumstance to some marvelous promises yet to come. Here in Zechariah, the time of this accomplishing is not as clear as it is in Isa. and Mic.. Both Isa. and Mic. identify this period of time as the last days.
Let's look at Micah 4. The prophets divide the whole length of time of the kingdom of God into two parts, the beginning and the end. The beginning (which Zechariah is talking to), was a state of humiliation and seemingly defeat. The end is always presented as the state of glorification. The dividing line is the birth of the Messiah.
The need of the kingdom of God is identified as that day or the last days. The term, the last days is the easiest one to follow through. It is important to note that there are two common terms used in the NT. Christ often spoke of the last day (see John 6:39, 40; 7:37; 11:24; 12:48), as being the final day and the resurrection of the dead. This is THE END.
But the term we are interested in is last days. This term refers to the second part of the kingdom of God which started with the coming of Christ. See Acts 2:17; II Tim. 3:1; Heb. 1:2; II Pet. 3:3. Another term which is used to identify this second half of the kingdom is, last time or last times, see I Pet. 1:5, 20; I Jn. 2:18; Jude 18.
It would also be significant that the kingdom of God is divided by these prophets into only two divisions, not three, four or five. Today, as a rule it is divided up into at least three parts and maybe even four (pre-trib rapture which gives a seven year period and the thousand year reign which would give another thousand year period).
These prophets do not speak of more than two. Zechariah refers to the former days which would be the days the new relationship, the Messiah (see also Mal. 3:4). As we follow the word former through, we come to Isa. 65:17. I have been taught that v. 17 is the new heavens and new earth as promised in II Pet. 3:13 (after the end of all things). But this indeed poses a problem with the context of Isa. 65:17-25. The major problem which destroys the idea that v. 17 is after the old heaven and earth are passed away, would be v. 20, the sinner. There just will not be any sinner after the end of all things.
Therefore, Isa. 65:17-25 must take place before II Pet. 3:13. There are several things which gives us direction as to what period of time this fits into. (1.) v. 17, new. Compare with the new creation in II Cor. 5:17. (2.) V. 17, remember, compare with Col. 3:13. (3.) V. 18, joy, rejoicing. Compare with Phil. 4:4; I Thess. 5:16; I Pet. 4:13, etc. Let's skip down to v. 23. Compare this with Gal. 6:9. (5.) V. 23 the seed. Compare with Gal. 3:16, etc. (6.) V. 24, call. compare with Jn. 16:23. (7.) V. 25, ..feed together.. We have covered this at length elsewhere (Acts), but this is the wild beast of the Gentiles joining in communion with the domestic animals of the Jews. Gal. 2:9-16 is a good illustration of this principle.
In conclusion, Isa. 65:17-25 will best fit (it can't fit with II Pet. 3:13), with the end days or the last times. The period of time after the coming of Christ and before the end of all things and the final judgment.
65:17, for behold, would seem to tie this in with the previous context making vv. 17-25 a further explanation of vv. 1-16. Paul clearly identifies 65:1 as the church, Rom. 10:20; Eph. 2:12, 13. This would make all of chp. 65 fit within this time frame. The last days, end time, this identifies this period of time as God's dealing with man during the 'church age' as we would call it.
Back to Mic. 4. The period of the kingdom of God (God's working from Adam until the end of all things), is divided in two, with the coming of Christ starting the last days. Because we have dealt with this in depth elsewhere we will not here. See our notes in Acts and Joel (compare Micah 4:3 with Joel 3:10).
Let's hit just a few high points here in Micah which will establish a time frame for Zechariah's prophecy. The mountains spoken of here in Micah (chp. 4), represent the kingdom of God in Israel. (See Heng. Christology, pgs. 324, 5 for argument.) Micah 4:2 gives us the method of its exaltation, the law. The law of God goes forth from this kingdom (additional passage, Ezek. 40:2. Where Mt. Zion is seen as exalted in the Messianic time).
This is probably the most important key to this passage. Therefore, we should look at it a moment. Last days (not, the last day). Peter clearly identifies the last days as the period of time which begins with the Messiah, Acts 2:17. (See also Heb. 1:2, etc.). Therefore, Micah 4, starts with the Messiah.
The house of the Lord shall be established... and exalted. This seems to speak of the Messiah being lifted up and exalted because taken with the next part we see that people shall flow unto it. Our Lord points out many times that as he is lifted up, he will draw all people to him, Jn. 3:14; 8:28; 12:32, 34.
Thus we have the exaltation of the kingdom of God and people and many nations coming to it. Notice why they are going to the king. And he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths: This is a very important and key prophecy. Our Lord quotes this and applies it to his kingdom in no unmistakable terms. Not a future (from us), kingdom, but he places it with his kingdom which started with his resurrection. His quote is found in JN. 6:45, which is right in the midst of this tremendous discourse concerning salvation, vv. 26-28. He here is presenting the gospel once again, and this gospel based in his sacrificial death, and then the Father drawing men to the risen Saviour.
Look at Jn. 6:45. And it is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Here he quotes Isa. 54:13; Jer. 31:34; Micah 4:2; Heb. 8:10. Therefore, Micah 4:1-2 is the Father through the Holy Spirit, placing the desire in the people to come to Christ to be taught of Him.
But, we notice from Micah 4:2 that it isn't just a few people which come to him but these folks who see the necessity of going to him will persuade others to go with them. NOw, why do they go? V. 2, again, and he will tach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: They have a desire to learn the ways of the Lord, his law.
The ways which the heathen have attempted to walk (the way of humanism), has failed. The resulting turmoil and chaos has driven them to find out the right way which will work. Notice, they are coming to him (whether this is a physical mount [which I don't believe the context will permit], or the physical representation of his kingdom on earth, the church, really won't change the teaching here). To learn his law. Christ identified this period of time as starting with his resurrection. Therefore, 'the church age', (for lack of a better term).
What kind of world-wide chaos will have to take place to cause the heathens to do this? Today we (probably for the first time in history since Christ), see absolutely the whole world in rebellion against Christ and His word. We know what this leads to and we also know that there is no way to avoid the results of that rebellion.
Also here, Micah 4:1, 2, we see people and nations seeking the Lord. This must be the time after the coming of the Messiah because up to him the kingdom was pretty well restricted to the nation of Israel. Since him, it is opened up to encompass all nations and peoples, whosoever will may come, Jn. 4.
Now we see some results of his law being taught to the heathens. V. 3, he shall judge... and rebuke even the strong nations afar off. Here we again see that this is not a physical location because these nations are afar off. Notice here also, it is the law of God which goes forth which shall judge,,, and rebuke. Going on, it causes the weapons of war to be turned into weapons of peace. It cause the nations to be at peace.
It would be significant here that there is no mention of this Great King, Jesus, having to use force to accomplish this. Yes the sword is definitely used here but we know from the NT revelation of these OT truths, that the word of the Lord (Micah 4:2) is this sword (Heb. 4:12). It is this sword which subdues nations and turns warring tribes into peaceful 'farmers'. This King of Zion, this Ruler in Jerusalem is the prince of peace, not the king of war, Isa. 9:6. (See our notes on Ps. 45.)
Micah 4:1-3 speaks of the world-wide situation becoming so unbearable as men have gone their own way and the results have now caught up. That they have no choice but to come to the law of God as their standard of conduct. It makes one wonder, how chaotic will it have to get, world-wide, before those hardened in sin will see the hopelessness of their situation?
Isn't it something how we will preach and teach that only the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ can bring peace, yet we hope and pray for him to come as a warring chieftain and chop people's heads off for refusing to obey him? This passage (as well as many others) make sit clear that it is his law-word which goes out of Zion, Jerusalem which subdues the warring peoples and nations. The appearance of Christ commenced the fulfillment of his prophecy and every other prophecy along this line. Micah 4:4 is dealt with back in Zech. 3:10.
While here, let's deal with Micah 4:5, for every and ever. There are two parts to this verse. (1.) The heathens have learned the law of God is the only way that will work. They live according to this law and peace is the result, BUT, they are not redeemed. They are still serving their false gods. The law never saved anyone and these are no exception. They are still motivated by what works best for them and they found out the hard way that it is the law-word of God which works best. These people are still in rebellion against God's plan of salvation and righteousness. (I would much rather live next door to a super religious hypocrite who obeys God's law for what is in it for him, than next door to a 'crack house' which destroys everything around it.) These folks will be cast into the lake of fire in the last day, they will say, "Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you."
(2.) Then we have these who are walking in the name of the Lord our God. These are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and are also walking the law-word of the Lord. The last day comes upon them also, only in this final judgment, the Lord will say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord, which I have prepared for you." These will never die and will continue to walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.
The end will come. Those who are walking in his law-word because it is the only law which will work will be cast into the lake of fire. Those who are redeemed will receive their life everlasting and they will walk in the joy of the Lord forever and ever.
We will not pursue anymore of Micah although it is an interesting study. This brings us to the end of Zech. chp. 8.