The Good Shepherd's Rejection, Response, Replacement and Future Reign

Zechariah: Sawing Through the ZZZs, Volume 2

This message examines the Messianic prophecies of the prophet Zechariah. Specifically, prophesies about the rejection of Jesus, which leads to God removing His protection of the Jews and allowing the Jews to become divided. This division eventually will lead to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Todd WagnerDec 7, 1997Zechariah 11

If you have a new Bible, it is a good night to be here because we are going to break that dude in this evening. We're going to jump around a little bit. We're going to cap some major biblical themes.

I didn't plan it this way. I'm not smart enough to do it, but Zechariah is a great book to be teaching around this time of year, especially chapters 11, 12, 13, and 14. We're going to knock off chapter 11 tonight, and then as my Christmas present to you, we're finishing Zechariah next week. How about that? Hey, stop that. Didn't I say it's irreverent to applaud in church earlier? Especially for that reason.

We're going to finish this book next week, and we're going to move on to something good, just like I think we've been in something good. We'll figure out exactly what it's been. We'll probably jump back in the New Testament. We're looking at maybe 1 Corinthians as we kick off the new year.

For this portion, we're going to knock off Zechariah, chapter 11, and we're going to see some major biblical themes. We're going to see that this is the portion of Scripture, right here, where the anticipated birth of the Messiah of Jerusalem, of Israel, is going to come. We see he's not just the Messiah, which means the Anointed One, which means Christ.

A lot of folks think Christ is Jesus' last name; it's not. It is the Greek for Messiah, which is the Hebrew way of saying the Anointed One, the one who would be a Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father, the one who himself is Mighty God, Isaiah 9 says. If you ever question whether or not Jesus is God, all you have to do is see what he called himself: Jesus the Christ.

Christ, biblically, is described as God, one of tens, if not hundreds, of proofs that Jesus Christ is not just a good man who did good work. He is more than a prophet. He is the King. He is the God of creation, and he alone can bring light into a dark world. Let's pray and see if we can't make some sense out of what is a difficult, but I think a real applicable, passage to our lives. Be encouraged this evening.

Father, we do come, and we pray because we know that you have given us these words in Scripture not so we might be pompous in our understanding of a difficult book but so we might have life change, so we might have hope, so we might have a life which celebrates the greatest truth there ever was: that having offended you, you did not leave us in our offence, in our distance, in our judgment, but you have entered into our hurt.

You have atoned. You have made payment for our debt because you love us and long to redeem us from the pit and to heal our sicknesses and iniquities and to rejoin us to you, where we can find life. We thank you, Father, that you love us in that way. We thank you that this time of year is a reminder of how far you went to pursue those who you love. I pray for clarity of mind as I speak, and I pray for receptive hearts as we hear the words of Zechariah, your prophet, that speak to us today. In Christ's name, amen.

Zechariah 11. We are at the end of this book we've been looking at. It's a key book in the nation of Israel's history, and it is one of the most messianic passages in all of the Scripture. By messianic passage, what I mean is that this little portion of your Old Testament points very specifically to what the Messiah would look like when he came, what he would proclaim, and frankly, right here, what the response to his ministry would be.

God was not jumped by the fact that Jews didn't receive Jesus as the coming King. He knew that there would be a rejection of him because he knew that the world's ways are not his ways. The world wasn't going to believe that he would come humbly, that he would come as a king in peace riding on a donkey. They thought he would come as a king of war. That's what they longed for. It's what they looked at.

We shared very honestly last week that that's probably what we would look for. We want to see our King coming to kick some serious wicked tail because we're oppressed by it. But God is always more concerned for the oppression that is within us than the oppression that is without. It is typical of us that we are always more consumed with what people see than what we really deal with. That is why so many of us pretend to have our lives together when we come here on Sunday night.

One of the most encouraging things I heard anybody say to me lately was after a time of fellowship with a group of my friends. Just hanging out with us, she said, "I have not felt this love since I've been to an AA meeting." I knew exactly what she meant. I said, "Thank you so much," because the fact is we really ought to be a group of folks who gather together.

When you get to an AA meeting, if you've never had the privilege of being at one, they start by everybody in the room introducing themselves and saying, in my case, "Hi, I'm Todd Wagner, and I'm an alcoholic." That is not true of my specific struggle, but here, at this church meeting, we probably ought to say this: "Hello, I'm Todd Wagner, and I struggle with my flesh." We ought to take turns going around.

We ought to finish that with a little more hope than, honestly, most alcoholics do at AA meetings by not saying we're seeking some elusive higher power that we might have hope. What I should say to you is, "Hi, I'm Todd Wagner, and I struggle with my flesh, but I have found a King whose name is Jesus Christ, who has delivered from bondage to my flesh and set me free.

I know the struggle you're in, and I invite you to join me as I labor to be God's man, rejoicing in the fact that he's already dealt with my shortcomings." You walk into that kind of church, you walk into that kind of community, and it is a welcoming place. That is what we ought to be, what he's called us to be, to represent him in that way.

The book of Zechariah talks about this coming King and the kingdom that he was supposed to lead, that citizens who he was going to come create. He was concerned not with the oppression on the outside, but he was concerned with the oppression on the inside. He came to deal with that internal warfare, the bondage of their hearts, but the people wanted to look good outwardly instead of dealing inwardly with their struggle. The thing that separated us from God was not our wicked hands; it was our wicked hearts that guided our selfish and wicked hands.

He came to deliver us from the bondage, not of Rome, in the Jews' case, but of the Prince of Darkness, of Satan himself, who we believe is more than just a guy with horns and a little tail as we have him dress up like at Halloween, but our Enemy who seeks to reverse all that is good about our Shepherd and make us suffer wrongly at the hands of a wicked shepherd. You're going to see that truth brought out tonight as we study Zechariah 11.

If you'll remember, Zechariah 9-14 is made up of two burdens, two different messages where the prophet Zechariah is burdened by the news he has to lay on to folks and the bad things he has to tell them because of what is ahead. There's some good news mixed in with the bad news, but bottom line: Zechariah is burdened to tell the people what is going to happen as a result of their actions.

Zechariah 9 says this coming Messiah will be your King. Zechariah 10 says this coming Messiah will be a shepherd to you. Very quickly, last week we flew through Zechariah 10 where we talked about the things that Shepherd would do. He would come to provide for his people, to seek and save his people, to regather the people, and to sustain his people. Psalm 95, a song that we often sing in here, says that we are his sheep, the people of his pasture. We are, indeed, even as he longed for the nation of Israel to be.

We transition, in Zechariah 11, obviously from these two passages of Scripture where he talks about this coming Shepherd King, or in chronological sense, the way Zechariah told it, this coming King Shepherd. We saw the history that he anticipated in Zechariah 9 and 10. Zechariah 9 listed, very systematically, the conquests from 334 BC to 330 BC of a guy named Alexander, Alexander the Great, who kicked some serious tail himself as he made his way down the eastern Mediterranean coast and conquered more of the world than anybody had before him, faster than anybody had before him.

Then we saw a period of time which we call, historically, the Maccabean Revolt. That is when the nation of Israel rebelled against this reigning world power, these Greeks, Alexander and his four descendants. In roughly 167 BC to 163 BC, there was a battle, the Maccabean Revolt, which brought the Jews back into basically their own power in the land.

For 100 years, from 163 BC to 63 BC, they basically had peace in the land until a little guy named Pompeii came marching through representing a world power known as Rome, and then oppression was once more amongst the people. That's where Zechariah, chapters 9 and 10, leave you, chronologically. We pick up in Zechariah 11, and he's going to make mention of an event that happens some hundred years later than that.

It is when a couple of Roman emperors, first Nero, then the one who followed him, then after that, a guy named Titus, came marching through Jerusalem and did what really no one else had done since the time Zechariah prophesied, since the exile. He wiped out Jerusalem. Remember how God, we looked at last week, spared the city of Jerusalem specifically? As Alexander conquered all of the known world, there was one city he didn't mess with; it was Jerusalem.

We looked last week at a story that is recorded in a historian of the day's work. He said that the reason Alexander did not conquer Jerusalem is because he had a vision before he started to conquer the world, and it was the God of the nation of Israel. He didn't know who that God was at the time. He came and spoke to him that he was going to use him as an instrument to basically conquer the world. That vision was given to him in the form of a man who was dressed in a certain garb.

When Jerusalem was threatened, the high priest of Israel prayed to God and said, "How can we ever stand up against this coming, conquering great Alexander?" God said to him, "I'll tell you how you do it. You dress yourself in your high priestly robes, and you dress all the people in white. You march out to meet him, and you open up your city gates. You, especially, go in front."

When Alexander saw the high priest of Jerusalem, he fell on his face before him. He turned, and he left the city that had offended him, the city that he himself had gone to and said, "You come assist me as I throw Tyre into the sea." Jerusalem said, "No, we will not help you in your evil attack." Alexander said, "I'll tell you what. As soon as I'm done wiping this guy's nose, I'm going to come down and wipe yours."

When he got there, he met the individual who represented the God who empowered him to conquer the world. Alexander didn't know about the fact that there was a sovereign God, who was Lord over all, who controlled the puppet of the king of Assyria as he ruled the world, who controlled Nebuchadnezzar as he conquered the world, who controlled Cyrus as he took over from Nebuchadnezzar, who controlled his father, Philip, and then he himself. The God of Israel, the God of all creation, was behind it all.

What you're about to find in Zechariah, chapter 11, is that the God of all creation is behind what happened in AD 70. He's behind what's about to happen sometime, many people think in our lifetime. I'm not sure it will. I believe it will, but you need to know that all great, godly men have believed that since the time of Paul, that, "Now we're living in the last days." I will tell you that the last days, biblically, are any time after the death, burial, and ascension of Jesus Christ.

We have been living in the last days. What is sure is that we are now living in more of the last days than they did 100 years ago. The question is: when will God commence the things that need to bring what we're about to see in Zechariah 11 to fruition? Let me just tell you this. Prophetically, nothing needs to happen for him to do which I believe is the next major prophetic world event, which is the removal of his people, the church, for him to grab us and to take us home. There will be a time, we call it the rapture, where God removes his people.

Think about what will happen when God takes the true church, true believing Christians, not professors, not attenders, but individuals who truly know him, and he removes them from the face of this earth. There might be a little changeover in the world power system. One of the most Christianized countries in the world previously was the United States of America.

By the way, it's going to be a pretty interesting event when God comes to take his people home. I imagine there will be a lot of people who stand where I stand, in pulpits holding Bibles, who will be left trying to explain to their congregation why they're still here. I'm sure there will be a lot of folks who fill pews who won't want to go back to church next Sunday because they're still here.

When that event happens, there will be a lot of changeover in the world, a lot of turmoil in the world, and if the United States is still the world power at that time, I doubt that it will continue to be. You'll see a number of events happen, including a time when there will be a renewal of the Roman Empire. I'll explain that to you tonight. There will be basically a 10-nation confederacy. I'll explain that to you tonight.

That 10-nation confederacy will have ultimately seven men who rule it, and one will be ultimately the main leader of those seven men. He is known as the little horn in Daniel 7. He is known as the Beast in Revelation 13. He is known as the one who will commit the abomination of desolation later in Daniel. He is known to you as the Antichrist. That individual will make a treaty with the nation of Israel, and Israel will find their hope and peace in him, a world ruler. They will look for him to be their shepherd.

Here's the truth I want you to hear now, and I'm going to say it again at the end. When you refuse Jesus Christ as your shepherd, and many people do, you are not declaring your freedom as a sheep. You are always a sheep. The question is not…Can you not be a sheep? The question is…Who will be your shepherd?

Israel rejected their King who was a shepherd, and so Zechariah 11 says, "This is the consequence of what you have chosen. You will have another shepherd, but he will not be a good shepherd. He will be an anti-shepherd, who instead of caring for the sheep, devours them. Are you ready to learn that? Look at chapter 11, verse 1.

He's going to go in the first three verses from north to south again, and he's going to talk about now the destruction of Israel. He's going to talk about how that land will be brought to complete submission. Look what it says: "Open your doors, O Lebanon…" That's in the north. "…** that a fire may feed on your cedars."** If you read much Bible, you will know that Lebanon is most known for the cedars of Lebanon. He's saying, "Your cedars, that which you have pride in, will be consumed."

"Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, because the glorious trees have been destroyed; wail…" Now he's a little bit further south. "…O oaks of Bashan, for the impenetrable forest has come down. There is a sound of the shepherds' wail, for their glory is ruined…" If you will, you can translate that word glory… The glory to a shepherd is his pastureland, where he feeds his flock. It's going to be absolutely trounced. There will be no place for a shepherd to pasture his flock. That is not good news for a shepherd.

"There is a sound of the young lions' roar…" Why? "…for the pride of the Jordan is ruined." Some of your translations might say, "for the jungle of Jordan is ruined." What it's saying is that the lions that reside in that part of the world, the young lions will have no jungle in order to shelter themselves in because God's judgment has come.

Interesting fact I'm just going to throw out as a freebie: Did you know this? I was shocked to learn this year that there has never been an individual who has been attacked by a tiger on the continent of Africa. Do you know why? Because there has never been a tiger that has ever been found on the continent of Africa. Tigers are from Asia. That's free. Next time you're in Trivial Pursuit, say, "Do you know why I know this? Because I go to church! You ought to go to church, too. It's Asia; that's where tigers are from." Always looking for a chance for you to bring your friends here. Here we go.

The young lion, not the tiger, is going to complain because he has no jungle to hide himself in. Verses 1 through 3 encompass all that he's going to anticipate, that there will be a time… This has only been fulfilled as you look back in history in the time period that basically encompasses AD 66 to AD 70, even as Christ has said that he has pronounced judgment on the land. Jesus Christ himself did that. You will see why in a minute.

They rejected him, and so he says, "Now I will reject you. I protected you all of these years, since roughly 536 BC. I've protected you, and no one has come and destroyed Jerusalem because I have said that they should not. I have restrained the nations, but now that you have rejected me, your shepherd, let the wolves come and feed on you, my sheep."

That happened about 30 years after Christ's death, AD 66. It started when the revolted against the reigning king, Emperor Nero, and he sent his general, Vespasian, down there, and Vespasian went to replace Nero. Titus, the general, took over for him, and in AD 70, in the month of July, Jerusalem was finally attacked.

Jerusalem had a siege set upon it, the walls came down, and they resorted to even cannibalism to sustain themselves in that city. Finally, the city was burned, about a thousand Jews were crucified, and the temple itself was destroyed. Since that day, there has been no temple on the mount in Jerusalem. Since that day, there has been no king who has reigned over a Jewish state. Since that day, there has been no prophet who speaks for God to his people.

Verse 4. Now this is an interesting part right here because what happens is God comes, and he tells his servant, Zechariah, "I want you to basically do a little play. There's going to be two acts to this play. Act 1, you take on the role of a shepherd. I want you to act like a good shepherd." So Act 1, for Zechariah, his prophet, is to act like a shepherd, to take up the instruments of a shepherd.

God, the master teacher, wants to use a role-play, a drama, to teach to his people a coming truth. He uses the Zechariah the prophet. He says, "Man, you're preaching too much, and the people are sick of listening to you wag your jaw, so do a skit." Here comes the script. Act 1…Zechariah, chapter 11, verse 4, and it will go all the way through verse 14. Here we go.

"Thus says the LORD my God, 'Pasture the flock doomed to slaughter.'" Pasture this flock, right now, which will eventually live through Zechariah 11:1-3. These people who then will come, it says in verse 5, "Those who buy them…" Buy who? This flock which is destined to slaughter.

"Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished, and each of those who sell them says, 'Blessed be the LORD, for I have become rich!'" How have they become rich? They have become rich by raping and pillaging the flock of God. "'…I have become rich!' And their own shepherds have no pity on them."

It's interesting, again… When you choose another shepherd other than the shepherd that God would enjoy for you to have, which is the Good Shepherd, I want to remind you. I'm going to keep saying this. You will fall under the care of another shepherd, but he will not look out for your own best interests. In fact, let's read verse 6 before I develop that.

This is Zechariah speaking in the role-play as the shepherd of the nation of Israel. He says, with his little crook, "'For I shall no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the land,' declares the LORD; 'but behold, I shall cause the men to fall, each into another's power and into the power of his king; and they will strike the land, and I shall not deliver them from their power.'"

What he's doing here is he has established that Messiah who is coming is King and Shepherd. "You reject him as your king; you reject him as your shepherd. You're going to have another shepherd." Do you remember what the men of Israel is John 19, when Pilate went to them and begged them to accept Jesus and not to have him go to a cross. They said, "We have no king. This man claims to be King of the Jews." What the Jews responded with is this statement. They go, "We have no king except Caesar."

What you're going to find is exactly what Zechariah said would happen. "I'm going to give you into the hand of your king. You want Caesar to be your king? Fine, let Caesar be your king." What kind of king was Caesar to the Jews? We don't know much, apparently, about turn of the millennium history because it would be much like saying, "What kind of shepherd was Hitler to the Jews?" Your response is, "Not a very a good one." In fact, it is blasphemous to think of what kind of shepherd he was.

He says, "You don't want me as a shepherd? Well, listen, sheep, you're going to get a shepherd. The shepherd that you get, the shepherd whose hand you shall fall into, will not seek your own best interest." Let me make an application for today. There are a number of people who have not come under the care of the Good Shepherd, so they throw themselves to other things for their care.

Here's the easiest analogy to build. I started with it, so I'll go there again. A lot of folks go to the shepherd of a bottle in order to drown their pains and create joy. Do you remember what it said back there in verse 5? It says, "Their shepherds have no pity on them." Caesar, when he came through and wiped out the Jews, he had no pity. Every Jew he could find, he crucified, raped, or killed.

You go on, and you find out some of the things they did when they got them back to Rome, when they led them back there at this march of death. He used to skin different prisoners alive, and then he would run a stake through them, from their backside through their head. He'd douse them in kerosene, light them, and use them as a light at night to light the way to his house. Not much pity there. Kind of grotesque…

I see a number of men who have made the bottle their shepherd. They've gone there to find joy. They've gone there to provide provision. They've gone there to find life. I will tell you that when the bottle becomes your shepherd, and it begins to control you, the bottle has no pity on your life. I've seen a number of kids in Plano this year look for drugs to be their shepherd, to find joy, to find life. Heroin has no pity.

Those are the easy illustrations to build, but I want you to think about who your shepherd is out there. Where do you go to find life? I will tell you, right now, if it's anything other than Jesus Christ, you might be experiencing a moment in a tinge of joy. Let's be honest. There are some folks who are having a good time with alcohol right now who aren't alcoholics. There are folks who are having a good time with sex right now who don't look like they're reaping a lot of consequences.

Let's be honest. There are some folks who take a hit or two off some pipe, or take a drag on a join, or who mainline heroin, who do a line of coke, and it looks like they're getting away with it. But I will tell you, there will be a day when that shepherd will corral them, and he will have no pity. There are about a hundred people in this room right now who wish they had the courage to stand up and say, "Amen," because they've experienced the rule of that shepherd in their life.

Zechariah 11:6 is saying, "You want a different king? I'll give you that king, and you will fall into his hand." Look at verse 7. Zechariah, in this play, says, "So I pastured the flock doomed to slaughter, hence the afflicted of the flock. And I took for myself two staffs…" As a shepherd always does…

Even the folks who haven't been in church very much at all know Psalm 23 often lists two tools that a shepherd has. There are two things the sheep of the Good Shepherd look to for comfort. "Thy…and thy…they comfort me." "Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." In this little role-play, Zechariah, in the role of the shepherd, is holding a rod and a staff. Now he's going to tell you what that rod and that staff represent in this story.

Verse 7: "So I pastured the flock doomed to slaughter, hence the afflicted of the flock. And I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Favor, and the other I called Union; so I pastured the flock." Now watch this. What he says right here is, "I will use the rod and the staff to protect and to bring together." Ultimately, that is what a rod and a staff are for. A shepherd would use the shepherd's crook, or the staff, to lead his sheep, to protect them, to go where he would have them go, to pull them where he needs to pull them so they would find the provision he wants.

He would use the rod to keep unity there and also to discipline the disobedient sheep who would seek to destroy other sheep, the bull sheep, if you will, in the flock. Sheep are very insecure creatures, and they are very moody individuals. They will go and attack the weak, even amongst their own clan. The shepherd watches out for the weak sheep, and he clubs the wicked bully sheep. Even more than that, he clubs the bear, the lion, and the wolf.

He makes sure that when one starts to get out of line, he will use that rod to keep unity. When you have one bully sheep who starts to sniff at another weaker sheep, what will happen is that weaker sheep will separate from the clan. When you have one shepherd and two units of sheep, you have trouble because any time a predator comes in, you can only be one place with one club. Those predators, those pack attackers, will split up, and you can't be both places at the same time.

The shepherd will use that rod to keep the sheep together and unity in their midst and to defend the sheep against the coming attackers. You watch Discovery Channel even for a moment, and you will watch that whether it's the cheetah, whether it's the lion, whether it's the tiger, when they go to attack the wildebeest, which is the lowest thing on every food chain… They always try to separate a sick and lowly part of the herd from the rest of them. Once they get it separate, they can bring it down. The Good Shepherd wants to keep unity in the flock.

Can I make an application here? One of the evidences that Jesus Christ is our shepherd at this church is going to be our unity. If you want to start to see people suffer, if you want to start to see people die, and I mean that in a literal and a spiritual sense, start to suffer from the horrors of this world, all you need to do is see an individual who gets disassociated from the flock of God.

What I said earlier tonight is true. There are a lot of you who have never plugged into this flock. You come, and maybe you hang out with us as we graze for an hour and a half every week, but I will tell you, it won't be long before you're devoured. There is not a part of me that thinks you will ever make it if you don't hang with his sheep who pursue the Shepherd on a daily basis together.

We aren't talking about wanting more of your time because I want to tell you again that my role here has a pastor is not to get more of your time. My role here as a pastor is to serve you and to make you successful at all that God has called you to be. I know that if you're going to be successful in all that God has called you to be, you're going to have to take all that God prescribes for you to be successful, and part of that is to walk in unity.

It is difficult to walk in unity, especially when you start to hang around some folks who go here, because we're not a perfect people. You have to do what Ephesians 4:3 says. You have to be diligent. In other words, it takes a lot of effort. You must be "…diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." That takes some long conversations sometimes. That takes a lot of, "Will you forgive me?" and "I misunderstood you."

Because we have one Lord, one baptism, one King, we pursue unity together. An evidence that Jesus Christ is in our midst is the fact that we stay unified, that we are intent on one purpose, which is to glorify him and to conform ourselves to the image of his Son. I need to tell you that you can hardly call yourself his sheep if you are not plugged in somewhere to a flock where you are accountable, where you are known, where you are loved.

If that has not been your experience here, let me take away your excuse tonight. Call and say, "I'd love to get plugged in. I don't know the first place to go. Give me community. Give me family." I will tell you, when you're there, we're going to labor with you to keep unity in that family because that is evidence that he is our King.

So you have these two staffs. Once to protect, one to maintain unity, specifically, is what it means. Look at verse 8. "Then I annihilated the three shepherds in one month, for my soul was impatient with them…" Now watch what happens. When this shepherd comes, there's going to be a month when he annihilates, if you will, the three shepherds.

There are over 40 different interpretations of Zechariah 11:8, and mostly because people try to identify those three shepherds with specific men in history. More likely, the best thing to do is to go to the oldest interpretation of this passage which is also the more general. One of the things you'll see is that when Jesus Christ, who is the shepherd Zachariah is role-playing in this prophecy, came, he annihilated three specific offices that have existed from the days of Moses within the nation of Israel. They were prophet, priest, and king.

Jesus Christ himself, in a sense, annihilated prophet, priest, and king when he claimed to be their King, claimed to be their Messiah, and pronounced his coming judgment upon them for their rejection and pronounced the fact that he will one day return when they with their lips say, and with their hearts mean, that he is blessed and that he comes in the name of the Lord. He is what Deuteronomy 18:18 anticipates, what Moses said. He is the prophet with the most honor who is to come.

He eliminated those three offices for two reasons. First, it's because all of those offices predicted what he would fulfill ultimately in the life of the nation. He would be the great prophet, that he would be the final priest who would offer the final sacrifice which we know to be himself. He would be the great King who David was just a picture of. Theologians say that Jesus Christ is the antitype and that all of the prophets who spoke truth for God were what is called a type of Jesus. They represent in part what, ultimately, what Jesus would fulfil in full.

Jesus comes and he does away… He annihilates those three offices, prophet, priest, and king, because he fulfills them, and there's no longer a need for those offices to sustain themselves. He also annihilates them because there has never been a series of good prophets. There have been a bunch of false prophets.

Specifically, when he came, the people who spoke to the nation of Israel about the things of God were idiots. They were false teachers, and they weren't concerned with the people. They were concerned with their own power. He annihilated the priests, specifically the pharisaical priesthood, who put the people under a lot of bondage of law. There was no king in the land. There were puppet kings, but there was no king in the Jewish state.

Again, let me come at you with this. He is the great prophet who Moses himself anticipated. He is the final High Priest, Hebrews 7 says. He is himself the King who will rule over Zion. Since the day Zechariah 11 was prophesied, which is AD 70, when the temple was burned to the ground, there has no longer been a priest in the nation of Israel because there's no temple for them to offer the sacrifices at. You have your basic rabbis hanging around Dallas, but you have no priest.

There is no king who reigns over a Jewish state. You have your prime minister, but you don't have a king. Jesus annihilated prophets. He said himself that John the Baptist was the last prophet. Hebrews 1:1 says that in these last days he has finally spoken to us in his Son. There will be no more revelation. He is the final prophet, God's great truth testified to you. There will be no more priests. He is the great High Priest who offers the final sacrifice. There will be no more king other than he, and he will be your King when you acknowledge him as King.

Do you see how this is all fitting together? Do you see how this anticipates Jesus Christ? Look at verse 9. This is Zechariah talking in Act 1, in the role of a shepherd who anticipates the Messiah. "Then I said, 'I will not pasture you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be annihilated, let it be annihilated; and let those who are left eat one another's flesh.'" AD 70. Go read your history. Cannibalism comes upon the people of Israel.

Verse 10: "And I took my staff, Favor, and cut it in pieces, to break my covenant which I had made with all the peoples." What he says right here is that you get no more divine protection. "I will no longer protect you, Israel." The fact is that God had, and Ezekiel makes reference to this, Hosea 2 makes reference to this, made a deal with the nations. God had cut, in his sovereignty, a covenant, that he had put a staff, if you will, before all of the other nations of the earth.

He said, "You will not destroy Jerusalem." His shepherd's crook had kept that nation free from being ultimately devastated. What Alexander could not do, what Antiochus Epiphanes could not do in 163 BC, what Pompeii could not do in AD 63, when he broke the staff that protected them, hear me when I say this, Titus could not help but do.

Do you understand that God is the one who is behind every reigning king? He himself gives men power. "The hearts of kings are but channels of water in the hands of the Lord; he directs them wherever he pleases." Isaiah 40 says that the nations before the Lord are like a drop in a bucket. They are as nothing to him. Then he comes back and says, "No, they're less than nothing."

I can't tell you how unintimidated he is by Saddam Hussein, by Bill Clinton, by…you plug in your favorite world leader. The course of God's history is controlled by God alone, and that is why I do not think that this world will not be destroyed by nuclear war, because God reserves the right to destroy this world for himself. He's not going to let some man do it.

We'll wreak a lot of destruction, I think, upon one another and upon a lot of creation, but ultimately, you go read 2 Peter 3 and God tells you how it's going to end. It's going to end his way when he himself demolishes it in judgment. Because he's a Good Shepherd he longs for you to not be a part of that coming judgment.

Zechariah 11:10 talks about when he broke his covenant of protection. In AD 70, Titus came and had to fulfill what he said would be done. Look what it says in verse 11. "So it was broken on that day, and thus the afflicted of the flock who were watching me realized that it was the word of the LORD." They basically responded, just a little insight.

Matthew 24:16. Jesus is giving what is called the Olivet Discourse, if you care, because he gave it on the Mount of Olivet, the Mount of Olives. Jesus was answering two questions that his disciples asked him about the end times. Jesus talked about the fact that the world was going to come to an end, that he was going to be in control, and his disciples said, "Tell us. When will this be, and what will be the signs of your coming?" In the Olivet Discourse, starting in Matthew 24, he answers those questions.

In verse 16, Jesus, in answering those questions, says simply this: "I'll tell you this. When you see certain things start to happen, you get your little tail and run to the hills." One of the things he said would happen is that destruction would come upon Jerusalem. What is going on right there in Zechariah 11:11 is the afflicted of the flock, the remnant that he speaks of here, I believe are believing Jews who trusted that Jesus Christ was truly the Messiah at that time.

When they saw Titus come and set a siege upon the city, for some unknown reason, Titus, in setting this massive siege against the city of Jerusalem, he relented for a few days. He backed off. Go read your history or take my word for it. That's what I would do. Some people who were in Jerusalem thought, "Hey, God's going to deliver us again."

But the believers go, "No, no, no. God's not going to deliver us. God has broken his rod of protection, and when we rejected our Shepherd King and have chosen for ourselves another shepherd, that we want Caesar to be our king, it is now time for us to be annihilated. What we ought to do is what he said we should do in Matthew 24:16, which is run to the hills." He said, 'If you have your coat left back there in the house, don't go back to it. You hightail out of there because the window is short for you to escape.

Let me tell you; I believe ultimately that passage will be fulfilled when Antichrist is the one to come marching on Jerusalem, but I think the believing Jews of that day were the afflicted of the flock who remembered what Jesus had said, and they made their way out of there. There were a number of Jews who escaped the crucifixion that Titus himself brought because they believed the Word of the Lord.

Application… Some of you are going to believe what I'm saying tonight is true, and because you believe in the Word of the Lord, you will escape a lot of suffering he does not want you to endure here on this earth. You're going to look at some folks who say, "Ah, it's not that bad. Premarital sex doesn't have that kind of consequence. Look, I thought it was getting kind of bad, but I got out of it. The siege has been brought off, man, and death won't come upon me."

I will say to you that God's Word is true, and if you think you're getting something for nothing, it's not because you're getting it for free. It's because you haven't got the bill yet. It is on layaway, and there will be a day when the bill comes. I don't wish that for you, but I wouldn't love you if I didn't tell it to be true. I chose that as one example of the many that are out there when you think that destruction will not come when you don't reckon to the Word of the Lord. It will.

The afflicted of the flock responded, and they escaped that judgment, even as today, those who suffer from their own instruction, who suffer because they are sheep without a shepherd, turn to Jesus Christ and follow his will and Word for their life. They find life. Verse 12. This is Zechariah, Act 1, in the role of a shepherd which anticipates the coming Good Shepherd who is Jesus Christ.

"And I said to them, 'If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, [then you just keep your wages] !'" Now watch this. Brilliant. Zechariah, who is anticipating and playing the role of this coming Shepherd King who is Jesus Christ, says, "Listen, if you rejected me as a shepherd, that's your business, but what are you going to pay me for what I have done? While I did shepherd you, I was your shepherd, so pay me. I want you to pay me only if you really want to pay me, and if you don't want to pay me, you just keep your money."

Now without looking, if you haven't read ahead, guess what they pay for their shepherd. I'll give you a hint. Judas Iscariot paid the exact same amount in Matthew 27: 30 shekels of silver. It wasn't enough for the nation of Israel to pay their shepherd something for the wages of what he had done. No, they insulted him with the amount, because 30 shekels of silver… Well at least they acknowledged for some of the work he did.

No, you go back and look at Exodus 21, and you'll find out that 30 shekels of silver is the price you pay to redeem a gored slave. What does that mean? That means if you have a slave who has been gored by an ox, who is absolutely useless to you, all you're going to do is bring him home to die, and then you have to bury him, it costs you 30 shekels of silver.

What they're basically saying to him is, "Not only are we going to not ignore your request, we're going to insult you. We're going to tell you that you have been to us worthless. You are as to us a gored slave. Here's your 30 shekels of silver." Now watch this. "And I said to them, 'If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!'" In other words, keep it.

I want to say this very quickly before I move on. Please listen to me. When Jesus Christ asks for his people to pay his wages, he only wants what his wages are. By the way, the wages he deserves are nothing less than full devotion, complete love, and absolute surrender of all that you have. It is what he deserves. He doesn't want you to give it because you are compelled to give it, because you feel some burden by request to give it. Why does he want you to give it? "If it seems good to you in your sight. If not, just keep it, because I don't need your worthless money."

Can I make an application? Second Corinthians 9:6-7: "He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; he who sows abundantly will also reap abundantly. For the Lord loves a cheerful giver. Do not give," it says before that, "begrudgingly or under compulsion, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver."

I take some heat because we don't pass a basket, an offering plate, in here. They think that more people would give to support the work of this ministry if we did. Probably you would, but I want to tell you something. I don't want to seduce you. I don't want to prompt you to give. I don't want to rip you off either, though, from the joy of supporting the work of the Lord.

If indeed God's work and will is being done here, you can remember to write a check. You can remember on your way in or your way out to give to God. I just don't want you to do because we're compelling you to do it. I want you to do it because you love Christ, you believe he's being honored and glorified here, and people are being ministered to here. If you give for any other reason, keep it, because I believe that's what Christ would have you do.

But if he is your shepherd and you love him, and he says to you, "What is it you should give to me," you ought to give all that you can. Not to me; I don't get a cut. I am grateful for the fact that you all sustain and support my ministry as you do the rest of the staff here, but it is not based on the annual take.

Can I say it one more time? All he says to you is, "What is it worth?" What is what you see Christ doing for you through his ministry, which is here, worth to you? Please don't give because you're under compulsion. It's the reason you want to give it, keep it. But if you've been encouraged, I encourage you to sow abundantly.

A little prophecy… Do you want to be encouraged with the exactness of God's Word? Some 500 years before it happened, it says there in verse 12, "'If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!' So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver [the price of a gored slave] as my wages."

Acts 1, verse 13: "Then the LORD said to me, 'Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.' So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD." We don't have time. Matthew 27:3-10. If I had you turn there, you will see that Judas, upon being convicted, that 30 shekels of silver was worthless to him.

He knew he had just betrayed the Good Shepherd, and where did Judas go? He went to the Lord's house, and he took the 30 shekels of silver, and he threw it there in God's temple. The Pharisees picked it up, and guess what they did with it? They said, "This is blood money; we can't put it in the coffers of the holy temple of God." So they gave it to the potter, and they bought a field to bury foreigners who died there. Prophecy…

Verse 14: "Then I cut my second staff, Union…" Which I said earlier is the idea where God will keep them together. "Then I cut my second staff, Union, in pieces, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel." One of the things which you need to know, that led to the ultimate destruction of Jerusalem, is the fact that during the time Titus came to besiege them, there were three different factions in the nation of Israel.

They couldn't agree together to surrender, to work out some covenant relationship, to work out some treaty that would not cause thousands of their young men to be crucified. Do you know why? Because the Spirit of God had left again. Ichabod, that's what it means. The Spirit of God had left, and there was no unity in the brethren. What happens when sheep get scattered? Lions eat.

That's exactly what happened. God said, "I will no longer with my rod keep you unified. I will split you, and there will be divisiveness in your camp, and you will be unable to protect yourself." I will tell you and remind you again that the moment we split off from one another, the moment that we have factions, it won't be long before the work of Christ doesn't reign in our midst.

Act 2…verse 15: "And the LORD said to me, 'Take again for yourself the equipment of a foolish shepherd.'" He said, "Now listen, you've played the Good Shepherd. Now I want you to play the stupid shepherd." I don't know what he did, if he put on some wig and a Bozo nose, or what, but he got ready to play a foolish shepherd. "For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs."

Guess who he speaks of here? The Antichrist. John 10:10: "The thief, Satan, comes to steal, kill, and destroy." What does the Good Shepherd come to do? Does the Good Shepherd come to steal? No, he comes to give and provide for you. Does he come to kill? No, he comes to save and, in fact, offer life where there is death. Does Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, come to destroy? No, he comes to build up.

But you don't want the Good Shepherd? Guess what you're going to get, folks? You are going to get the bad shepherd, the foolish shepherd, who seeks to devour the sheep. Right down, it says at the end of verse 16, to the fact that he tears off their hooves. Now why in the world would you tear off the hoof when you've slaughtered the sheep? The answer is because you want to get every last morsel of value.

In your greed, in your covetousness, in your seeking to satisfy your own flesh and your own desires, you care nothing for the sheep but what they can do for you. If you can get two shekels for that little hoof, you're going to use the hoof. You're not going to just kill him and let him die; you're going to tear him to pieces. What he's describing right there is that this wicked shepherd will do exactly what he said back there in Zechariah 11:5. He will have no pity on you, and he will devour you down to the very end.

This false shepherd who we've mentioned right there… I have to watch my time, so we'll probably just go a couple of places. Take my word for it. In Daniel 7… If you want to go do some study on your own, you go to Daniel 7. You read verses 8-12. There is a description there of this Antichrist, this false shepherd. Let me give you the description.

He will be made up of this vision which Daniel had. This vision involved a bear, which is symbolic of Medo-Persia, one of the symbols of their reigning kingdom. It will involve the vision of a leopard, which has the idea of swiftness, which is a picture of what the Greek Empire was. It will involve a lion, which was one of Nebuchadnezzar's favorite symbols for his reign. Then, in the succession of nations, it will involve a 10-nation confederacy.

Ten horns… A horn is a symbol of power on a rhinoceros. It was a symbol of power in biblical prophecy. There are 10 horns, and there will be one of these 10 horns, a little horn, that will rise up and will squash three of the other horns, three of the other world leaders. He himself, then, will become a leader of the 10-nation confederacy.

So, you have a Roman Empire made up of one leader who has basically six others underneath him because he raised himself up and conquered three. If there were 10 and one raised up and took out three more, that leaves six, of which, one is the head. Get the tape if you missed that, and turn to Revelation 13.

Look at Revelation 13, way back there at the end of your Bible. You're going to see some more about this Antichrist, this false shepherd, this antithesis of the Good Shepherd. What you're going to find here is a combination of the truth shown in Daniel 7:8-12 and Daniel 11:36-38, which are prophetic verses anticipating this false Messiah, this false shepherd. Zachariah 11:15-17.

Revelation 13, now. Verse 1: "And he stood on the sand of the seashore." Who did? Well, we'll read it. "And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names." The Antichrist, when he comes, will take on the form of the leader of the former Roman state.

If you went and you looked at 2 Thessalonians, you'll see a passage in 2 Thessalonians 2 where he will make claims that the Antichrist will be a religious and political leader, even as the caesars of the day were. They didn't just claim to be kings of the world, but they claimed to be gods and demanded worship.

Antichrist will ultimately come, one day, and that's why you have so many people who make a big deal of biblical prophecy, making a big deal about this European commonwealth, this ten-nation confederacy that is coming together, as they anticipate a possible solution to some of the prophecies of the Scripture. We'll see.

These 10 horns, representing these 10 powers, have seven heads. Why seven heads? Because they were 10, and one licked another three, so that means he took their kingdoms, so there are now seven. But there is one who is in control, and the beast which came up out of the sea has empowered him.

"…and on his heads were blasphemous names." Remember what I said 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says? It says that he will be a political and also a religious leader. He will claim to be God himself. Remember what it says back there in Daniel, that he will commit the abomination of desolation? He will put himself on the throne in Jerusalem, which by this time will have been rebuilt, and he will claim that the world should worship him as God.

Verse 2: "And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority." Meaning that this Antichrist will finally embody all the power that all the rebellious nations who came and attacked God's people ever had all wrapped up into one.

You thought Alexander the Great did harm to Jerusalem and to God's people? You wait. You think Rome did some destruction when they crucified 1,000 Jews? You wait. You think that Medo-Persia was a problem? You just wait. You think Nebuchadnezzar was a problem? You just wait because he's coming, the one who all these others were just a picture of. He'll come, and he will be blasphemous, he will be powerful, and he will destroy you. He will not care what he does. He will come to steal, to kill, and destroy.

That ain't the end of the story, though, Jack. Look at Zechariah 11:17. "Woe to the worthless shepherd who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm…" What is the arm but an instrument of power? See, the anti-shepherd, if you will, did not use his strength to protect the sheep, so God will come and lop off, eventually, the arm of this false shepherd. Look what it says.

"…And on his right eye!" What is the eye but the place that you see, the place where you are supposed to look out for the care of the sheep to protect them? Instead, you use that eye to look out for how you might destroy them. I will cut off your strength. I will cut off your intelligence and your ability to protect yourself from coming destruction.

" [Your] arm will be totally withered…" You'll go from having an arm like Arnold to an arm like Peewee. "…And his right eye will be [darkened]. " Or, if you will, "will be blinded," because you didn't use it for God's glory, so you're not going to use it for your own. Let's close with Revelation 19 because Revelation 19 is Zechariah 11:17 expounded upon.

Let me encourage you as you get ready to sing, and you ought to celebrate that this child who is born is the Good Shepherd who will come and deliver his people, Israel, who have acknowledged him as their King one day, and they will, and his people today, who celebrate his death, burial, and resurrection as the provision for their sin. He will deal with your Enemy, who steals, kills, and destroys.

He knows how difficult it is for you, a citizen of a kingdom where your King is not currently having his way on earth as it is in heaven, but there will be a day when he will repay all of his citizens for their faithful service, and he will take away the sting of the Enemy. He will lop off his right arm, and he will lop out his eye. His people will reign with him.

Revelation 19. Start right there in verse 11. This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture, and if you can't celebrate after this, you're dead, and I mean that in the most literal, Ephesians 2 sense. "And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True…" Let me ask you a question. What did Jesus ride at his first Advent? Zechariah 9:9. A donkey. Why? Because that is what a king rode during a time of peace.

What did Jesus ride when he came into Jerusalem the last time? A donkey. Why? Because he was a king coming to offer them peace. Peace to their hearts, and when they repented with their hearts, peace to their land. Now you see this child who has come back, and he is not riding Eeyore. He's riding a white horse, which is the most arrogant thing he could ride. Why? Because it's what a Roman general rode after he won a battle. When a Roman general would ride into battle, he would ride a black horse.

The battle hadn't started in Revelation 19 yet, and here he comes, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and he's riding a white horse. Do you know why? Because he knows he's already won. Do you know when he won? When that child died on a cross, and he took away the sting of death, and he took away our great enemy, which is sin and its consequence.

"He is the faithful and true shepherd," Revelation 19:11. Verse 12: "And His eyes are a flame of fire…" There's not peace in Jesus' eyes this time; he's a little bit ticked. "…and upon His head are many diadems…""You have 10? Let's go to tango," he says. "…and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself."

It gets better. "And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God." "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:14 says, "…and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from [God] , full of grace and truth."

Verse 14: "And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen…" That's you, baby. "…white and clean, were following Him…" **We're also on White Furies."And from His mouth comes a sharp sword[the Word of God], so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron…" There's that rod again; he's taken it back out.**"…and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty."

Here it comes, one of the cockiest verses in the Bible, and I love it. I've seen lots of tough guys with lots of tattoos, but I've never seen a guy so audacious that on his thigh… You have to picture it. Think of Arnold. Think of him straddling a big white horse, and he has his little Roman garb on. He has a little split right there in whatever it is those Roman guys wear, and you see a big ol' bowed up right quad, and there's a tattoo right there.

That tattoo says something that I've never seen a man have the gall to put on his leg. Look what it says. "And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, 'KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.'" It's tattooed right there for all to see as he comes riding in. It's on his robe. "And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven,""Come and eat because I'm about to destroy a lot of folks, and you're going to go clean up, buzzards. It is your day."

"'…in order that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.' And I saw the beast…" Remember him? Revelation 13. "…and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army."

There's going to be a big battle: right and wrong. The war has been fought. Watch what happens. "And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse…"

What is the sword? It is the Word of God. The great battle that we anticipate is going to be him saying, "You're dead. It is done. History commences, and I reign." It all starts with a baby born in a manger. Let's pray.

Father, if we can't celebrate that, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, our hearts are hardened, and we do not believe. But if, on the other hand, what we have read today is true, then I pray, Father, that we would give you all the wages that you are due, and not just our money but our very lives, as well. Our wages to you are full devotion and life. So Father, we come, and what we offer you now is what you have said, therefore, you have urged us to give: our lives as living sacrifices. Everything about us, all that we say, think, and do.

Father, we ask your forgiveness for the fact that we have not lived as believers this week. We repent, and we turn once more to our Good Shepherd who longs for us to come back into the fold that he might care for us. We rejoice that you have sought us, that you have saved us, and that one day, there will be no more wolves in the woods because your rod of iron will have fallen.

You, with your tattoo, on your white horse, will have come with us, and your Word, which saves us now, will deliver us then. We thank you that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, that we who deserve the wages of death have been spared forevermore. May we celebrate the child.

About 'Zechariah: Sawing Through the ZZZs, Volume 2'

In this second volume of "Sawing through the ZZZs", Todd Wagner unravels one of the richest, most complex of the minor prophetical books, revealing a timeless message of hope to all who will hear. Using night visions, oracles and symbols, God gives the prophet Zechariah a warning to the struggling, disillusioned nation of Israel freshly returned from exile in Babylon. This glimpse into their immediate and distant future exhorts them - and us - to repent, obey and persevere. The Lord is near to His own and this prophetical work concludes with a glorious look at the Messiah and the hope of His triumphant return.