What if you knew exactly when the Day of the Lord would come upon us and exactly what would happen? Would you live differently? When the Lord comes in all his glory, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, the Lord will be revealed to ALL, and there will be a "blurring of the secular and sacred", where everything will be holy to the Lord.
If You Think the First Christmas is Exciting, Listen Up to the Return of the King
The Good Shepherd's Rejection, Response, Replacement and Future Reign
Is Your Life Motto Consistent with the Life You Model?
Do They See God for Who He Really Is?
Don't Think Fast... If You Want to Know What True Spirituality Is
The Last 3 Night Visions: How to Avoid Going to Hell in a Handbasket
The Fifth Night Vision: If You Want Your Light to Shine Bright, It Won't be by Might
Jesus the Messiah: The Servant, the Shoot, the Stone, Our Savior
The Fourth Night Vision: Israel and You - Guilty as Charged, Cleansed by Grace
The Third Night Vision: A Word of Hope, a Word of Warning
The Second Night Vision: Horror for the Horns, Hope for Us
The First Night Vision: The Messiah Among the Myrtle Trees
Introduction to Zechariah
Lord, we have much to cover tonight, and I thank you for how encouraging a message it is. It shows that you are indeed in control, that the culmination of history will display you as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I thank you for the time we have had in this book, Zechariah, and how it has been applicable to us.
I pray that through our study of this obscure book, kind of tucked away in the sticky pages of our Scriptures, as we've broken it open and seen all of the application that is there for us, that we would be more encouraged to read the Word of God, that we might know the mind of God, that we might live as the people of God.
Lord, especially this Christmas season, I thank you for the fact that you've orchestrated it that we could come to this message at this time, that we can see that ultimately the child in the manger is more than just nice story, that he is God in the flesh, Immanuel, God with us, who has come to deal with sin in our lives specifically and personally first, but then one day in every way it is present. You will eliminate all wickedness, and you will rule with a rod of iron from your throne.
We long for that day, and we thank you for the time we have now in serving you as your under-shepherds, modeling the role of the Good Shepherd, the great Shepherd, the chief Shepherd, who gave his life for his sheep. May we be those people. May we be encouraged to serve you faithfully now as a result of your Scriptures. In Christ's name, amen.
Zechariah is a book made up of 14 chapters. Specifically, the first 6 chapters contain what we called eight different night visions. In one night, Zechariah the prophet, whose name means the Lord remembers… Do you remember that? The Lord remembers. He was the man God spoke through to tell this struggling nation, Israel, that he remembered them in their lowly estate.
If I could preach one message to the Jewish community, I think I would go to this one burden, this one message, that Zechariah himself, a Jew, recorded thousands of years ago, 2,500 years ago, that we're going to read tonight. I would love for the Jewish people to understand the truth that is written in Zechariah 12-14.
I would love for you, most of whom are not Jews but Gentiles, which means non-Jew, to understand the truth of it, so that you might be encouraged and you might love the Jew and the gentile alike, and you might strive to be a faithful under-shepherd who serves underneath your administrator, the chief Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, who gave his life for the sheep and seeks to do what he has done while he was here.
The first six chapters included eight visions that Zechariah had in one night, where he, literally on his bed, saw things in the spiritual realm. God interpreted those to him that he might explain to the people of Israel and encourage them and exhort them toward faithfulness, as well as catch a glimpse of his future glory intended for them.
Then you have historical interlude in chapters 7 and 8, where Zechariah specifically came at them, left the spiritual realm of vision, and came hard at them in terms of what kind of people they were going to be in that day. Then in 9 through 14, you have basically two prophetic utterings, or two sermons that are called burdens. They're called burdens because they have a sense judgment to them.
Specifically, in 9, 10, and 11, the burden was addressed to the nation of Israel, and he talks about Jerusalem and the hardships that will fall upon them because they have rejected their Shepherd. We looked at that the prior two weeks. Now, tonight, we'll look at the second of the two burdens. It is a message of judgment, not in this time, necessarily, to the Jew or to the nation of Israel or to Jerusalem but to all the Gentile nations that will focus on and that hate God's people, Israel, who dwell in Jerusalem.
This is an entirely future event. There is nothing in history that matches anything we're going to read tonight, that we have already experienced. There is nothing in history today that would in any way indicate that we are somehow participating in what is going on in Zechariah 12, 13, and 14. It is an entirely future time.
You will see that over 10 times, the phrase the day of the Lord appears. We will explain to you tonight what the day of the Lord is. I made this chart, which you have in your hands, a number of years ago when I taught through the book of Joel. The theme of the book of Joel, specifically, much more than Zechariah, is the coming day of the Lord.
We'll explain what that is, and we'll give you something you can take home. I was encouraged to look back and to see I wouldn't change much from what I was led to put down a couple of years ago. We'll give you the big picture, and then we'll give you, specifically, an explanation of this day of the Lord, which Zechariah 12-14 is all about.
Let me remind you, though, that last week we looked at the rejection of the Good Shepherd and that Israel did not want Jesus Christ to be their Shepherd, and so they scorned him, and they turned from him. Do you remember what Jesus said to his followers when he left? He said, "Just remember that a student is not greater than his teacher. A servant isn't greater than his master. As they have done to me, they will do to you." He still didn't give us the loophole or the excuse that we shouldn't do what we are called to do.
What we caught a glimpse of last week is that Jesus Christ wants to shepherd his people, and because they have turned from him, they will then have another type of shepherd. He will not be a good shepherd but the false shepherd. Zechariah acted out what that false shepherd would do to them, and we saw that he would seek to destroy the sheep.
Instead of nourishing the flock, bringing life to the flock and care to the flock, he would rape and pillage the flock and destroy the flock to meet his own wanton desires. We explained last week that that false shepherd is the Antichrist, and we developed it there at the end of our time together.
Let me just give you a little bit more. This parenthesis between the time they rejected the Good Shepherd and the time they will fall under the burden of the false shepherd, who is what we call the Antichrist. The antithesis of a Good Shepherd is the Antichrist. Satan is just a mocker of all that God does. He either reverses God's truth, or he tries to duplicate it in a way that will destroy people.
As I said, Jesus himself in John 10:10 talks about how the thief comes kill, steal, and destroy, which is the very opposite of what the Good Shepherd comes to do. He doesn't come to kill but protect, not to destroy but to build up and make his sheep blue ribbon sheep. He's not a thief; he's a giver.
You will see that Jesus Christ, who is the physical and the visible image of the invisible God, he tries to reproduce with a visible image of the invisible evil of which Satan is. He's a created spirit being. He is not an equal powerful force in the universe. Satan is a created being. He himself does not have creative abilities. He has powers, but he does not have creative abilities.
Satan is not omnipresent, omni meaning all. He is not all places at one time. He has legions and demons who serve him, who are at different places, but when you make the claim that the Prince of Darkness himself is tormenting you, you probably don't know what you're saying. You're probably not that important, and he probably doesn't need to mess with you since one of his legions, one of his pawns, can do the job in tempting you.
But he exists, and he himself will raise up a visible expression of all the evil that he suggests. That will be the false shepherd. You could say that it's the incarnation of Satan, but not in the same way that Jesus Christ is an incarnation of God. He is God in the flesh. Jesus is not just some man that is Spirit-filled; he is God. Don't miss that distinction.
Watch the compassion of God. He has brought the Good Shepherd to the world, and the world rejected him, but he has not then, right away, turned them over to the false shepherd. There is going to be at least 2,000 years between the time they rejected the true Shepherd before they, meaning Israel, fall completely into the hands of the Antichrist. During that time, he has given a group of people a responsibility. We are called, in 1 Peter, under-shepherds. All believers…
One time, a number of weeks or months ago, we did a little talk where we talked about the progression of a believer from a dog, and not a cute little fluffy dog like Lassie, but from a ravenous, destructive, worthless creature. What a dingo is to Australia, you are to holiness before you come to know Christ, a dog that is shot on sight, that carries disease and wreaks destruction wherever it goes.
You go from a dog, it says in Scripture, to what is called a sheep, something that comes into the care of a shepherd, something that is nourished and valuable and productive. Lo and behold, not only do you go from being this wild, ravenous beast that is destructive to all who come into its path to this productive sheep, you are put in the care of a Good Shepherd. As you continue to walk with that Good Shepherd, he himself then makes you a shepherd to care for other sheep and to convert other dogs. So we said one time the progression of a believer is from a dog to a sheep to a shepherd.
You are an under-shepherd, and there is this parenthesis between the cross of Jesus Christ and his second Advent, the second Christmas, when he has left us for awhile here, that we might call other people into his flock. We ought to do everything that he has done. If we are his people, we ought to live as he has lived, walk as he has walked, and die for the sheep as he has died.
If we indeed represent him and we are shepherds who, in a sense, are caring for his flock and he is the master Shepherd, we ought to do all that he has done in caring for the lost sheep of the world and the found sheep of the world, in developing community and care, and bringing about cohesiveness and love in our midst.
We are at a time that is a parenthesis between the two Advents of this coming King, God in the flesh, and we ought to do what the Good Shepherd has done. God said, "When you rejected me, there will be a time when a large number of you will come under the care of a false shepherd." But during this at least 2,000-year period, called the church age, where he raises and calls dogs to become sheep and sheep to become shepherds, he wants you and me to do as he has done.
Do you notice the extent to which God goes to care for his lost sheep? I want to submit to you this Christmas season, when you look at the way God has treated his servants in history, and the pinnacle expression of that is his Son, Jesus Christ, that he would let… You'll find the example of it in Scripture tonight, that he, in fact, called for the sword… This is not some event that has spun out of control, but he called for the sword to fall on his Shepherd. He himself said, "I want you to kill my Shepherd, so I might do a good work with justice still in view toward my sheep."
Paul talks about the suffering he went through, and he told the people, "Don't be discouraged by that, but, in fact, I want you to be encouraged at how much God loves you that he would let someone as precious as me in his sight suffer as greatly as I am for your sake." Here's what I want to submit to you tonight as we move now to 12-14. If you are an under-shepherd, if you're a believer in Jesus Christ, you ought to live as the Shepherd has lived.
The sacrifices which you bring onto your own life, the willingness you have to give your life for others, materially and philosophically, in every way, ought to make people cock their head and go, "Why do you care for me? Why do you hang in there for me? Why do you pray for me? Why do you share your material blessings so that I might know your great love, which you say is moved by and originates in heaven with God's love for me? Why do you do this?" The world ought to absolutely be dumbfounded at Christians' love for it.
God says, "You do what I cannot do." Paul says, in this way, that we complete what is lacking in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. What does that mean? How do we complete what Christ's sufferings lack? I mean, Christ's sacrifice was perfect. The point of that passage in Colossians is simply that people can't see what Christ himself did for them today, but they can see the sacrifices of Christ lived out through you. The miracle of the New Testament is that Jesus himself is not here walking, but his Spirit abides in all who believe.
We can then walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called, live as he lived, and give our lives as a sacrifice as he gave his life for a sacrifice, so, in effect, there would be thousands, and tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands, and millions of individuals who live as Christ lived, giving themselves for others. The world ought to go, "How great a love does God have for us that he himself would die for me, and that he would take his own people of his own possession and sacrifice them and their own pleasure and joy to redeem a lost world?"
How are you doing as an under-shepherd? What kind of patience will you show with your family, which is the most unagreeable family in the United States of America this Christmas? I know your family is tough because mine is. We all think, "I can't be patient again. I can't be loving again. I can't be sensitive again." I want to say we haven't begun to be patient. We haven't begun to be sensitive. We haven't begun to reconcile and to care and to initiate and to sacrifice, and Christ has called us toward that. What type of under-shepherd are you?
Here comes the second burden. Look at Zechariah 12. If you don't believe that God can do what he about to say he's about to do, then chapter 12, verse 1 ought to erase that. This is: "The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel." He says, "Don't doubt my ability?" Why? "Because here is my résumé. I am the Lord. I am the one who stretches out the heavens."
Interesting that ever since the 1920s, when the inventor of the Hubble Telescope, a guy whose last name happened to be Hubble, started to notice the wavelengths that would be sent back from starts and noticed they weren't a constant figure, he began to deduce that, in fact, the heavens are not stagnant but that the heavens are expanding.
It began to be something that the atheistic world said, "That can't happen. It's philosophically unacceptable because that suggests that there was a beginning." There was this created order that started with what they called the Big Bang, that there was some start, that God was behind it, and there are not just the expanding heavens that are being stretched forth, but there is order and not chaos. In a sense, our God is a constantly creating God, and his creation is extending infinitely beyond what we can imagine.
More than that, look at the next thing he says about himself. He lays the foundation of the earth. There is something specific about one planet in the midst of this entire universe that is expanding which he cares for, which he speaks into, which he seeks to use as an instrument through which he might make himself known in all the heavens. He lays the foundation of a good work here, which he will complete.
This is the same God who forms the spirit of man within him. There is not a man who he doesn't control. There is not a man who he is not sovereign over. He indeed is the Father of all things and has a sovereign right over them, even as they seek to rebel against him. "The hearts of kings are as channels of water in the hands of the Lord; he directs them wherever he pleases." If you don't believe that God can do what I'm about to tell you he says is going to happen in Zechariah 12, 13, and 14, it's because you don't believe Zechariah 12:1. If indeed God is that, there is nothing he cannot do.
"Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah." Basically, he says this: "If you want a sip of this cup, you're not going to like what you get. If you drink, if you come and indulge yourself here, if you take a shot, if you walk up to the bar in your wanton lust and say, 'Give me a shot of Jerusalem. I'm going to slam it down and use it for my own pleasure,' it will send you reeling."
Now I'm not a bartender, but I'm sure that there is some shot, some drink that I could throw out, that would make sense to those of you who have had some experience in the circles of alcohol, that man, if you have one of those shots, you are on your heels, and you are reeling. That is the picture which, basically, God is using right here. He's saying, "I will take all who take just one shot of this cup, who take a sip of Jerusalem, who go to indulge themselves there… It will send you reeling." Look what else he says.
"And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured." You're going to have a serious case of hernia. Do you know what hernia is? I didn't know this until a friend had it recently; it's kind of gross. It's when you go to move something, and you shouldn't move the way you set out to move it. You put such strain on yourself to move what you wanted to move in the place you wanted to move it, in the manner it shouldn't be moved, that literally your bowels, your intestines, bust through their protective wall, and you have a little bulge right here.
Every time you start to lift something else, that little crack that happened in that protective layer of covering starts to seep out more and more and more, until if you're not careful, it will seal itself back off once some of your intestine lops out of there. You'll have this lump that's a kind of squishy lump under your flesh. You can't process your Domino's pizza just right, and you're a dead man.
If you try and move Jerusalem, he says, "This is too heavy a thing for you to move. You can't mess with Jerusalem because I'm anchoring it down. This city will not fall," God says. He is in control. Verse 4: "In that day…" You're going to hear that so many times tonight, you're going to wonder if I'm reading the same verse again and again. "…declares the LORD, 'I will strike every horse with bewilderment, and his rider with madness.'"
He starts out by saying basically, in chapter 12, that there are going to be some people who come against Jerusalem. There is going to be a siege laid against that city. It's going to be a bunch of nations who will do it. They're going to come at it strongly. They will have some success. They're going to slam the shot, and they're going to get their arms, it looks like, underneath it to move it.
But ultimately, he says, "In that day, when I declare what should happen, I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. I will make the riders insane, but I will watch over the house of Judah, and I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness." If you've ever ridden a horse, it isn't a good thing to have a blind horse. God is saying, "I'm going to supernaturally intervene in this attack that's going to come against Jerusalem."
"Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, 'A strong support for us are the inhabitants of Jerusalem through the LORD of hosts, their God.'" Just a quick application I want to throw out here. The clan of Judah is the kingly tribe. It is the tribe through which God said the leadership of the nation of Israel would always come. As a sign of godly leadership… God is going to do a work right here when he sees what is happening to the horseman and to the horses, if you will, of the coming and conquering armies.
When they start to see the strength God is developing in the people of Israel to fight against, literally, all of the nations of the earth as they come against them, the leadership will realize that this is a work of God. Godly leadership will always acknowledge that a good work that proclaims God's good name and declares his power is not seated in human ability but seated in work of God.
Here's the application. If and when God ever desires to do a good work, maybe a greater work than he is doing through this body… If you ever hear me or anybody else stand up and say, "You're lucky to have this kind of teaching, this kind of worship, this kind of leadership," stone me because the fact is God can have this piece of wood next to me do his work. He desires to work through people, his under-shepherds, but a godly leader always acknowledges that when there's a good work going on, it's because God is doing it.
That is why we pray. That is why we flee from pride because though God determines to use people from the clan of Judah, if you will, in this illustration, to do great things, if that leadership has any wits about it, when God begins to do a good work, they acknowledge exactly what is going right there in verse 5, that God is doing a good work in them through the Lord of Hosts, their God.
I should say that. There has been a good work that has been done this year, more than any other year I can remember, in you doing a work in the lives of your friends, your families, and the folks who you work with. I hope that it continues. I hope it doubles and triples in the coming years. I want to give you my word that I will not believe that it is because of anything I'm doing, other than just being in God's way and participating in his work.
If you ever gain a tint of anything but me believing that, I want you to come and talk to me. If I don't respond to that, or if I don't clear up the issue, I want you to go and get two and come to me. You start with the elders, and you get me out of here, because if a good work is going to happen here, I want to be under no illusions why it's happening. I have seen a good work happen here, but it's because God is doing a work in the midst of this people and in my life.
Look at verse 6. "In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood…" Now think about this; it's a picture. What does a firepot do in the midst of pieces of wood? It consumes; it touches quickly everything that it comes up against. Continuing, he gives another analogy.
I will make it like "…a flaming torch among sheaves…" That's a little bit easier for us in our generation. What does a flaming torch do every time it comes up against straw? It quickly and completely consumes all that it touches, and God says that's what he's going to do. Chapter 12, verse 6 says, "…so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem." Finally, on this day, it will become a city of peace.
Verse 7: "The LORD also will save the tents of Judah first in order that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be magnified above Judah." What does that mean? Verse 7 simply means that God always goes to the defenseless and weak first. Blessed are…what? The poor in spirit. And people who live in Jerusalem live in a fortified city. During this time, when the nations will come and gather against Jerusalem, what God says…
He tells you how it's going to happen. "I will deliver first the surrounding cities." Judah is the region which Jerusalem is contained in. It would be like me saying Dallas County and then picking a specific place in Dallas County. Let's just say Dallas County as it wraps around Highland Park. You have the fortified area of Highland Park right in the middle of it. We might think that Highland Park will endure and that the rebellion will come from within Highland Park, and then they'll regain the land they lost.
God says, "No, I'll start with the spread-out regions where there is no protection and there is no ability to stand against the coming onslaught." All that God says is, "I'm going to start with Judah, the surrounding regions, the weak and defenseless, so that it might be known to everybody who, indeed, is the deliverer of these peoples." It's not the rich; it is not the resourceful. It is God.
So he continues in verse 8. "In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David…" Who is David? I'll tell you who David is. He's an undefeated king who was never in any way pushed back. He's a great warrior. "…and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them."
When you see that, what it simply means is this. When you see David in battle in the Old Testament… You can go back and read in 2 Samuel when David battles. Whenever David would go out, he would go out after praying and seeking the Lord. There were a number of times when God said, in one place specifically, "Don't march against your enemy until you hear the sound of angels marching in the balsam trees."
Think about that. What he meant there when he said that to David is that David prayed, "Should I go and fight this battle?" God said, "Yes, but don't go, even though you have your mighty army, even though you're a great king, until you hear the sound of angels marching in the balsam trees."
If you ever made models as a kid, you made them a lot of times out of balsa wood, right? You can easily snap, and when you step on balsa wood, it has a loud crack. What God was basically saying is, "You're going to hear my angels going out before you. I'm going to win the battle for you. It is God's battle, David, not yours, and you're going to hear the crunching of my forces going out before you."
Don't you know there had to be a little tingle going up David's spine when he sat there in that forest and heard the crunching of balsam wood, not seeing what it was that was going before him, but knowing it was the Spirit and the power of God. That is exactly what he says is going to happen during this day.
It says then in verse 9, "And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem." In verse 10, it gets exciting. "And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born."
Man, if there is a verse that I'd spend four weeks on in this three-chapter thing we're going through tonight, it's Zechariah 12:10. I would love to tell my Jewish friends that what God is saying is there will be a day when you will be converted, and you will be converted the exact same way I was converted as a Gentile.
Please hear me when I say this. The reason I believe that child born in a manger by a virgin is the instrument through which I might find redemption and forgiveness of my sins is for one reason and one reason only. That is because God has poured out on me the Spirit of grace and supplication. There is no other reason that I have come to know that Jesus is God and the redeemer of fallen humanity except that the Spirit, not a spirit…
In fact, to help clear this up, in Zechariah 12:10, instead of seeing just "the spirit of grace," you should capitalize. You see, "Spirit" is capitalized. The Spirit of grace, there is one. The Holy Spirit will be poured out upon them. God will convert Israel. He will send his Spirit to them, and he will reveal to them what they cannot see because their hearts are hardened today.
Some people don't like this because they want to believe that they've figured it out, that they're smarter than the next guy. People ask me all the time, "If Christianity is true, then how come so many intelligent people don't believe it?" I say to them that the reason so many intelligent people don't believe it is the same reason so many stupid people don't believe it: because they don't want to believe it.
I will tell you that the problem men I know and women I know have with rejecting God in the person of Jesus Christ is not a function of knowledge. It is a function of the will. They do not want to. Their hearts are hardened. It is not a necessity to commit intellectual suicide to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. We have a faith that goes beyond reason, but we do not have a faith that in any shape or form goes against reason. In fact, the preponderance of the evidence, the weight of the evidence, and more than a small amount points to this truth, that that child born in a manger was indeed God, and he is who he claimed to be: the way, the truth, and the life.
The reason that brothers of ours who are Jews, the reason that brothers of ours who are Gentiles don't believe in Jesus Christ is because for whatever reason, and I know not, God's grace has not come upon them in the manner which it will one day. That is why I pray, that is why I labor, that is why I live my life in such a way that they might know that God is who he claims to be. I know it is ultimately God's work, and there will be a day when God will open their eyes.
If we had time, I'd have you jump to 2 Corinthians 3:14, where it says that their eyes that have been hardened all this time as they've read the law of Moses, they will be opened up, and their hearts will be softened. It's what Ezekiel said in chapter 36. It's what Joel says in chapter 2, that he will pour out his Spirit upon them, and they will see.
What will they see? They will see that the one whom they have pierced, this Lamb who came to take away the sins of the world, this King who came riding on a donkey, who they mocked by laying down sheaves and saying, "Hosanna, hosanna. Lord, save us now," the one whom they spit upon, the one whom they said, "We have no king but Caesar" before, the one whom they crucified, was God.
When they do that, what the rest of chapter 12 simply says is that they will be brought to their knees, and they will mourn like they have never mourned before. He mentions that the priests will mourn and their families. The prophets will mourn and their families. He mentions that the kingly tribe will mourn and their families. They will not just mourn in their clans, but even in their clans, the husbands will mourn separately from their wives. They will have an individual mourning like an individual mourns for the loss of an only child, which by the way, he is, the only begotten of God.
Can you imagine the horror you would feel if you realized that you did evil to your only hope, a child who was a miracle child who was brought to you, that you were ultimately the force behind which killed him? It wasn't just some fate, it wasn't some accident, it wasn't something outside of your control, but you were the one who nailed him to a tree. You were the one who bashed his head, who put the blanket over his face. Can you imagine the mourning you would feel?
He says, "They'll go through that, and they will weep. They will repent of their attitude toward him. They will have a change of mind of who they say Jesus is." When they do, Zechariah 13:1 will happen. God will bring mourning to the people of Israel. I guess before we read 13:1, I want to throw this to you.
Have you ever come to that point? Because that is conversion. You ought to read Zechariah 12:10-14 and ask yourself, "Have I mourned in that way? Have I been brought to tears?" If you haven't had physical tears which come from your face, has your heart been rent and ripped, and have you grieved at how your sin was part of what caused the Son of God to be pierced? If you haven't been brought to that point where you've been humbled at your participation in the killing of ultimate good, you probably ought to question your conversion.
Do you realize how awful your sin is and how lovely the Son of God is, and what your rebellion against God has caused? The separation, even, of the Trinity, where he caused him, Jesus Christ, to bear our sins on a tree. Do you realize that is your fault, that is my fault? It should reduce you to tears, and you should mourn as one mourns for the loss of an only son.
There's another illustration there. I'll just tell you what it is so when you read it later tonight, hopefully, you ought to then mourn corporately. Part of what we do when we come together once a year on a Good Friday service, and we leave here solemnly, not speaking to one another, we, in a sense, participate in a very public act of mourning that our sin has caused this death of the Blessed One.
In effect, when we come and celebrate the Lord's Supper as often as we are together, we are solemn in taking of the Lord's Supper because we're saying, in effect, we are part of why his body was broken and his blood was shed. We corporately mourn together, even as they did in Israel during the death of their righteous King Josiah at the hands of Pharaoh Necho, the king of Egypt.
When they do that, when they repent, when they see Jesus for who he really is, Zechariah 13:1 will happen. "In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity." There will be a fountain that will be opened up. It will be an eternal fountain. It is what Jeremiah 2 says is a fountain of living waters, a fountain which will cause the people to never thirst again. If you will, this is a way of saying that you don't need to…
There was this bronze bowl in the temple that God had the people of Israel build. This bronze bowl was filled with water, holy water, so when the priest would go to offer sacrifice on the altar, they could wash their hands in this holy water so they would be ceremonially cleansed so they could go and offer a sacrifice for their sins and impurities.
What he's saying is, "You're not any longer going to have to replenish the water in the bronze laver, the bronze bowl. The priests won't need to be washed anymore, and that water bowl won't need to be refilled so they can have a ceremonial cleansing because there will be an everlasting fountain that will forever cleanse you from your sin and impurities."
In big theological words, for those of you who are there, I think it has a reference to the fact that your sin will be forgiven, that you will become justified, declared righteous in God's eyes. Your sin will no longer be counted against you in a legal sense, and your impurities… I believe it is a continual sense of being sanctified as you are constantly, day by day, nourished by this same Jesus who died for you.
"On that day, there will be a fountain of living waters." Do you remember what Jesus said? "If you drink here, you'll never thirst again." I think he had in mind Zechariah 13:1 and other verses that similarly apply to it when he said it. "I will satisfy all your needs, that you will never again need to look somewhere else for your sins and impurities to be cleansed."
Verse 2: "And it will come about in that day…" What's that day? I'll tell you before we're out of here. "…declares the LORD of hosts, 'that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land.'"
He says, "In that day, even as I came the first time… My goal the first time was to make clear how redemption can happen." The goal of the second Advent, which you're in the middle of right here… That day, when God himself will come again, the goal of that second Advent is what is called revelation, that there will never be a question as to who is King. It is the day which Paul said every knee would bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord because it will be infinitely revealed, and all will know.
"On that day, I will get rid of the false prophet, and I will chase away the unclean spirit." Revelation tells us that he will deal with Satan himself and with his little puppet, the Antichrist, and the false prophet who preceded him, even as there was a prophet who preceded the incarnation of God. They will be bound, or they will be thrown into a lake of fire, depending upon which one they are, and he will rid the land of that unclean spirit. They will not look again to anything but truth.
Verse 3: "And it will come about that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, 'You shall not live, for you have spoken falsely in the name of the LORD'; and his father and mother who gave birth to him will pierce him through when he prophesies."
Do you hear that? It's exactly what he said should happen back there in Deuteronomy 13, that it's going to be so obvious that God is who he claims to be that if in your own household… He says, "You ought to eliminate evil first in your household." It is the job, ultimately, of the family unit to make sure holiness continues.
He says, "If you have, in your little clan, one who says this Jesus isn't exactly who he makes himself out to be, don't get out the family paddle. Get out the family lance and run it right through his wicked, hardened heart. That seems harsh to many, doesn't it? But God says, "When the final revelation has come, when I've done all I said I'm going to do, and it is clear, and there still is one who rebels against me, deal with it."
Verse 4: "Also it will come about in that day that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive…" I'll explain that to you. Prophets, typically, both because they lived a frugal life and to show often the severity of what they had to prophesy against, would wear these uncomfortable burlap or, more likely, camel's hair robes when they would prophesy. You will see that true of John the Baptist and the one whose office he came in, Elijah.
False prophets, in order to gain the credibility of a guy like Elijah would dress [audio cuts out] see that what they were saying wasn't true, they'll put that robe away because they don't want to be one who is run through. What will they do? They'll say in verse 5, "I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth."
All that means is he's going to lie about what he's been doing. He's going to say, "I never prophesied. I've been a slave working on this farm my whole life." Somebody will say to him, verse 6, "'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will say, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'"
Some people take verse 6 and apply it to Jesus Christ, but very simply, if you read it in context, you see that he's talking about false prophets. It is a sign of pagan worship to mutilate your body. A number of years ago, it kind of came back in vogue. There were a lot of kids in our culture who started to basically go and thrash themselves in what has evolved today to mosh pits. There was slam dancing for a while. There was bodily mutilation that happened in these raucous parties, and it has its root in pagan worship.
If you'll remember back when Elijah took on the prophets of Baal, and he said, "Let's see whose god is real," that Elijah let them go first to call down a fire from heaven. Elijah mocked them by saying, "Maybe your god is sleeping. Why don't you cut yourself to show him how serious you are that you want him to wake up? In other words, if you put yourself in enough distress, surely your god would wake up from his slumber and come to rescue you."
But of course their god didn't waken because there was no god there at all. Elijah didn't have to cut himself because his living God was intimately aware of what he was doing. So this false prophet, at that time, would say, "If you're not a false prophet, then why do you have scars all over your body from one of your Celtic celebrations and your pagan worship? You mutilated yourself and will make up the excuse, 'This is when my dad beat me as a kid,' or 'My friends were out there playing army, and I got hacked away.'" That's all that's going on there in verse 6.
Verse 7. Look what God says; this is a great passage. "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd…" This is God speaking, and if you can't apply verse 6 to Jesus (I don't think you can), you must apply it to verse 7. God says, "Awake, O sword…" Who caused Jesus to go to the cross? Was it a rebellious world that had spun out of control? Absolutely not.
God said, "I will raise the sword of justice against sin, and I will let my Son, my Shepherd, who cares for the sheep, die for them." "No greater love has a man than this, to give his life for the sheep." God raises up his sword of justice, and he says, "Get my Shepherd." "…and against the man, My Associate…"
This is too good to pass over quickly. There are a number of people who are heretics who will tell you that Jesus Christ was not God. I think, right here, you have probably the clearest Old Testament support verses that Jesus is God, if it wasn't enough that the Messiah is called Mighty God in Isaiah 9.
Look what's going on right here in Zechariah 13:7. God says, "Awake, O sword [my sword of justice] , against My Shepherd…" How much does God love his sheep? Enough to kill his Shepherd to redeem them. Remember what Jesus said in John 19:11 to Pilate? Pilate says, "Man, why don't you speak up and defend yourself? Don't you know that I have the power to free you or to kill you?" Jesus said, "You have no power unless my Father in heaven gives you a sword, and he's given you a sword, so do what you must do. Get on with your work, you little puppet."
Jesus knew who was in control. He knew how much God loved the lost sheep, and he knew what he must endure so God could redeem them. God says, "Raise the sword against the man." Does it speak of the humanity of this Messiah, this coming Shepherd? You bet it does; it calls him the man.
But then it calls him "my Associate." I'm going to get into fairly great detail here. It simply says this. That phrase, "my Associate," some of your translations might have companion, fellow, friend, confidant. One united to me is the way some people translate that; my equal. It is used only here in your Old Testament, and then also in Leviticus when God is addressing the Jewish people about how they are to treat their fellow citizen.
The root word in the Hebrew comes from the verb which means to bind together. What you have right there… Listen to me; this is hugely important. Is Jesus God? Zechariah thought so. Was he man? Zechariah thought so, but he also thought he was equal with God, one whose word God spoke right here. He said, "The one who is bound together with me…"
John 10:30 says simply this: "I and the Father are one," meaning of one essence. John 14. Jesus makes a very similar claim. Philippians 2:6-7. A very similar claim: "…although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but [humbled] himself…" to endure the sword of God that the sheep might be saved.
That same root term is used for people, and people is defined biblically as those who are united in common origin and interest. What he says is, "I want you to kill the one who is united with me, who has the same origin as me, the same interest as me. He is me." Does the Trinity exist in your Bible? The word doesn't, but the truth does. He says, "I want you to raise the sword against the man, against my associate."
"Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered…" It's interesting. Jesus himself in Matthew 26 quoted that. He said, "Go ahead and kill me so the sheep may be scattered, both my disciples, and then eventually, the whole nation." "…and I will turn My hand against the little ones [uh-oh] . "'And it will come about in all the land,' declares the LORD, 'that two parts in it will be cut off and perish; but the third will be left in it.'"
Basically, at this day, at the time that the false shepherd begins to raise his ugly head, two thirds of the nation will be killed. A third will remain. This truth is revealed in other places in Scripture, Daniel 11 among them. "And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name…"
"Then, when they call on my name, when my Spirit is poured out on them as I have described in Zechariah 12:10, and they call on my name, the one whom they have pierced, and they have mourned," "…I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"
You have there an explanation of what goes on in Jeremiah 31, which is what is called the New Covenant. It is what happens in Joel 2, which is called the coming of the New Covenant, when God pours out his Spirit on his people. When God pours out his Spirit on his people, they will be his witnesses, they will walk in a manner worthy of the calling they have been called, their sin and their impurities will be remembered no more, and they will acknowledge Jesus as God and Savior of the world.
Chapter 14. "Behold, a day is coming…" This is a retelling of some stuff we've already covered, but it's told here like no place else. "…for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you.""In your midst" is a better way to say it. He says, "Jerusalem, there is going to be a day when specifically the nations, it says in verse 2, will come against you, and they will plunder you."
Look what it says they'll do: "For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city." The women will be raped. Half of the people will be killed.
Whether God miraculously allows half of the people to escape, or whether he gets there and intervenes before they are only halfway done with their work, it says at that point, at the end of verse 2, "Then [Jerusalem], the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle."
Chapter 14 can very easily be laid out in this way. Verses 1-2 talk about the initial plundering of Jerusalem on that day. Then, at some point within that day, at verse 3 down through verse 5, the eventual judgment on those who do the initial plundering will come. Listen to it. "Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. And in that day…" Go back to chapter 12. Don't turn there, but on that day, the rider will become insane, the horse will go blind.
Look over there, if you will, at verse 12. This is another way of saying what's going to happen in that day. "…the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem [will result in this] ; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth."
Some people say that that's evidence of nuclear war. I say, "Nuh-uh." This world is not going to end by nuclear war. It's going to end the way Zechariah 14 says it's going to end. God doesn't need to have some scientists buried in New Mexico figuring out how to do it. He puts the spirit of man into man, and he's going to melt their little eyes and melt their little tongues, and it's going to be ugly.
Verse 13 says, "And it will come about in that day that a great panic from the LORD will fall on them; and they will seize one another's hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another." See also: they will become insane; they will fight themselves. Then verse 14 says, "I will rally Jerusalem," even as he said he would in chapter 12, "and they will then route those who just routed them." It's going to be the ultimate 2-point reversal, right there.
Look how it's going to happen. Go to verse 3. "Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. And in that day His feet…" Capital H… Who? The Associate, the one who the sword was raised against. "…His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east…"
Now catch this, because this is unbelievable. If you go to Ezekiel 11, Ezekiel was a guy who prophesied during the rebellion of Israel. He said that the Spirit of God left Israel, and when the Spirit of God left Israel, they were vulnerable. It says that when the Spirit of God left Israel, he could see it happen in a vision from the east.
Acts 1:11. Jesus is with his disciples. He is standing on the Mount of Olives, and he is removed from the Mount of Olives. Two angels appear to his disciples and say, "Why do you stand here with your mouth open looking up at the sky? For in the same manner he was taken from you, he will return."
Zechariah 14 says that he will return. Where's he going to return? From the same place he left, on the Mount of Olives. It says what he's going to do is that Mount of Olives, which is to the east, that way, is going to be split, and part of it is going to be moved to the north and part of it to the west. There's going to be a valley which is going to come up. He's going to say, "That way."
Jerusalem is surrounded by hills. What you're going to have is God is going to do a little landscaping. If you will, Zechariah 14 talks about the tremendous things which will happen. You're talking about natural disasters and calamities and supernatural workings in nature like is no where else in your Bible, all in that land.
He's going to reroute it. He's going to re-irrigate it. There's going to be water that comes from Jerusalem that feeds the Dead Sea, that feeds the Mediterranean Sea. Jerusalem, the throne of the King, will be elevated and all the mountains around it will be lowered and become valleys. It's in Zechariah 14. He says that he will do this to deliver his people, to destroy his enemies, and to exalt his Son.
I'll just throw this out. Do you remember Zechariah 12:1 where it says God can do this? He is the one who makes the expanse. He is the one who focuses on the earth, and he is the one who controls humanity. You go, "There's no way God can do that." What if I told you that two days ago, it could have snowed 1,100 miles south of here? Inches upon inches would fall in Mexico City and the region of Guadalajara. Well it did. Did you know it snowed there a couple of inches a couple of days ago? Do you know that's a laughable comparison to what I'm talking about?
Don't be so sure that nature is fixed. Nature is a pawn in the hands of the Creator. When he goes through, and you read Zechariah 14, and you see the radical things that will be happening, don't be surprised that God can make an arid desert region like Jerusalem the most fertile soil in the earth. It will be.
Let's close. Look at verse 16. "Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year…" We don't have time to go there, but in Matthew 25, what you have is that any are left are the sheep of the sheep and goats judgment. The sheep, the righteous, the ones of the Gentiles who love the Jews who God spared, who didn't go against Jerusalem in battle. The armies from their nations did, but they themselves prayed for their defeat.
God will spare not just the Jews who the Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon, but the Gentiles who the Spirit of the Lord was also poured out upon." Every year," it says, "they will then send a host of people to worship the King in Jerusalem." Verse 18: "And if the family of Egypt does not go up or enter [into Jerusalem] …" If they don't send a representative to worship Jesus Christ as King "…then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths."
Go back and read your Bible. Leviticus 23 talks about the Feast of Booths. It is a feast of celebrating, of joy, of ingathering. It is our Thanksgiving. There will be a Thanksgiving, one time a year, that if you don't send your representative to the turkey table to worship the King, you're in trouble. Look what he says.
Verse 19: "This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to [acknowledge that Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.] " I mentioned Psalm 66 at the start of this service. Do you guys hear me going everywhere in the Bible? You have to love this book. It is one story. It is not a smattering of thought; it is one story, and the center of that story is the child born in a manger, who is a coming King.
It says in Psalm 66 that because of the greatness of the Lord, some will feign their love for him. It's not going to be enough just to go to Jerusalem and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. If you just show up begrudgingly, he's going to know it because God doesn't get impressed by the activity of men, but God judges the hearts of men.
Guess what? He's not impressed that you're here tonight. He's not impressed that you lead a Bible study. He's not impressed that you're a pastor. He wants to know what's going on in your heart. Are you mourning because of your sin? Don't feign obedience to him because you will find yourself on the wrong side of this battle.
I'll give you two applications to close. In verse 20, here's one. It will be in that day, when all things are as they should be, and God has made himself known as he must… "In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, 'HOLY TO THE LORD.' And the cooking pots in the LORD's house will be like the bowls before the altar." What does that mean? I'll tell you.
Verse 21: "And every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts…" Not just the pots that are in the temple to serve the Lord in honorarium of what he has done, as a reminder to look back on his sacrifice… Sacrifices will be reinstituted one day in Jerusalem, but not for the forgiveness of sins but as a constant memorial to the Lamb who gave his own life. As the sacrifices that one day looked forward to the ultimate sacrifice, there will be a day when the sacrifices look back to the ultimate sacrifice.
There's going to be a clarity which will come upon the world. The application here is all things will be holy to the Lord. All things… There will be a blurring of the secular and the sacred. All he goes through, he says, "You name it and it's mine." If there's a pot in the Lord's temple, it's sacred to the Lord. If there's a pot in your house, it's sacred to the Lord. Why is that? Because the things in the temple were called sacred to the Lord because they were used in the Lord's service. What is God's heart for the world? That everything would be used for the Lord's service.
What he's saying is there's not going to be any secular and sacred anymore. "Everything is going to be holy because I am King, and everybody ought to know that by now." If you haven't figured it out by Zechariah 14, you ain't going to get it. He says, "Everybody who lives in that day who is filled with my Spirit, who acknowledges that I am God, who acknowledges that I redeemed them, then every pot in their household is my pot. Every nickel in their pocket is my nickel. Every hair on their head is my hair."
Christian, that is you today. If there is anything in your house that is not holy to the Lord, then you're living in rebellion against him, and you should mourn. Can I take this application and drive it home? I mean every not just material possession, but is your thought life holy to the Lord?
Is your channel changer holy to the Lord? Is your magazine subscription holy to the Lord? Is your work ethic holy to the Lord? Is your dating relationship holy to the Lord? Is your marriage holy to the Lord? Are your friendships? Is your tongue holy to the Lord? Is your checkbook holy to the Lord? Is your sex organ holy to the Lord?
I want to tell you, by the grace of God… I want to just say this. Sex can be holy to the Lord. It is his to use for his glory. He desires you to use sex in a way that is holy to the Lord. I love to share that with my wife. I say, "Sweetie, God is not embarrassed by us recklessly enjoying each other. She says, "Amen, preach it, Pastor."
Don't let anybody tell you that God's a killjoy, because he's not. But you use something that God has given you outside of the parameters for which it has been given, and it is not holy to the Lord. Is this a book? Is he a God? I think he is. I think he's worth serving. He gave his life for me, and it is the joy of my life to give my life for him. Let's pray.
Father, I pray that you, by your grace, do a work in this people. When it happens, the folks who attend and worship you in this local community, in this fellowship that is Northwest Bible Church, as we live sacrificially and selflessly, as we are gentle and respectful in the way we share with our friends and families, we are passionate about giving ourselves in sacrifice for the Lord.
I pray, God, that as we do that, you would do a great work here, so great that we couldn't contain the work of God in these walls, that this new place would be too small. Not so we can grow bigger, but so you might be exalted. I pray that when it happens, the leadership here knows why it happens. It's because they believe, we believe the truth of Zechariah 12, 13, and 14.
You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and our entire life ought to be holy unto you, given to you to serve, to glorify, to celebrate, if you will, the child of Christmas with every inch of our power, with every cent of our possession, with every small thought we have that is taken captive and holy for you, that you then, Lord, would take that and glorify yourself and accomplish great things for the lost dogs of Dallas to become sheep, to be raised up to join us as under-shepherds to giving our lives for others.
Lord, may you do that work because we are convinced that as you left, you will return. The saints of God will return with you. Father, we believe that we have pierced the Holy One of Israel, and we mourn over our sins as one mourns over an only son. It is because we believe that, Lord, that we know we will be removed and join you, that we will be part of the saints who return with you on that Mount of Olives, that we'll be a part of that victorious army which will deliver your people and be elevated in your throne. We will enter into your presence, into your reign forever, and so we celebrate, even in the midst of our mourning.
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.