Saturday, September 10, 2016

"God's future for Jerusalem, the world … and US!"

Day #255

Scripture Reading:  Zechariah 8 - 14 …

While the enemies of Judah boasted of their power, God declares to Zechariah and to the remnant, "I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her" (8:2).  God had brought back this remnant to the very place His temple had been and was now providing everything they needed to rebuild it.  Some of what God says applies to THAT day, while other things point to the future.  God says, "I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem.  Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain" (8:3).  He promises to save His people "from the countries of the east and the west.  I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God" (8:7).  This is the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham to be God to him and to his descendants.

God promises that at some time in the future, "Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the LORD Almighty and to entreat Him. … In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you" (8:22-23).  And in Chapter 9 God speaks specifically of Ashkelon, Gaza and Ashdod, the cities of the Philistines (Palestine).  "I will cut off the pride of the Philistines … never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch" (9:6,8).  

Zechariah speaks of Jesus’ first coming: "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!  Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!  See, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (9:9) …  and then His second coming:  "He will proclaim peace to the nations.  His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth" (9:10).  Zechariah indicates that there will be a literal fulfillment that includes both the spiritual AND the physical realm, for in Christ they will become one.

In Chapters 10-11, God speaks of His people as a flock in need of a Shepherd: "The people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd" (10:2).  God promises, "I will strengthen the house of Judah and save the house of Joseph.  I will restore them because I have compassion on them" (10:6).  In 10:8-10 God promises to bring them back from distant lands "and there will not be room enough for them" (10:8).  We have witnessed the fulfillment of this promise in OUR day!  Jesus came to be the "Good Shepherd," (John 10), and He was rejected (the thirty pieces of silver were the price paid to Judas to betray Jesus).  A worthless shepherd would arise who would desert the flock (perhaps the "False Prophet" in the days of the Antichrist).  Only ONE qualifies as the Shepherd of God’s flock!  Jesus said, "I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (John 10:11).  

Finally, Zechariah speaks of God's future dealings with Jerusalem and Judah.  Chapter 12:1-3 states that God is going to "make Jerusalem a cup that sends all of the surrounding peoples reeling.  Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.  On THAT day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her.  I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations.  All who try to move it will injure themselves." God says, “On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem" (12:7-9).  But this will not happen without extreme difficulty.  In chapter 14 God says, "I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped.  Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city" (14:2).  

There will be a time of trouble for Jerusalem, but God will deliver the remnant.  He will bring salvation to His chosen people!  "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication.  They will look on Me, the One they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child" (12:10).  There is only ONE whom Zechariah can be speaking about, and His Name is Jesus!  "On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity" (13:1).  God will save the remnant of His people (Romans 11:11-12, 26-29).  It is vitally important to take God's Word literally unless there are clear indications that God is using symbolism to paint a picture of a different reality.  Knowing that God will keep His promises to the remnant of Israel and Judah confirms the faithfulness of the God who has promised to save you and me from His coming judgment.

Zechariah's visions conclude with the coming of God's reign on the earth during the Millennium.  There is no other period of time that these verses can possibly point to.   When the time of trouble comes for Jerusalem, "the LORD will go out and fight against those nations … On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem" (14:3-4).  There will be a time of judgment on the enemies of Israel when "the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with Him" (14:5; Revelation 19:11-19).  And the outcome has already been determined:  "The LORD will be King over the whole earth.  On that day there will be ONE LORD, and HIS Name the ONLY Name!" (14:9). "Jerusalem will be raised up and remain in its place …  It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed.  Jerusalem will be secure" (14:10-11).  "Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles" (14:16).  

God will bring to pass all these things, just as He has said.  This is the future for God’s people then and now.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

"LORD God Almighty, as heaven and earth are full of Your glory, so Your plans for the future point to the future glory of Your kingdom.  As one of Your sheep, who has heard the voice of My Good Shepherd, I rejoice in Your promises and give thanks for Your faithfulness.  You alone can bring to pass all You have foretold and in the midst of all that is happening in my life and in the world around me, I praise You for the sure and certain hope that You give through faith in Jesus.  Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom, and the power and the glory forever!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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