Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:15-19

3/26/15

(15) The plague will also affect the horse, mule, camel, donkey, and cattle in the camp of the wicked. This parallels Zech 12:4 where God promised to bewilder the horses and strike the riders with madness.

(16) Before probation closes at the end of time, those who had arrayed themselves against Jerusalem will still have the opportunity to repent and join the side of God’s people, and some will do so. God has room for them. In 2 Chr 6:32-33 Solomon prayed that any foreigner who prayed toward the temple would be received. Isaiah predicted that ruthless nations would revere the Lord (Isa 25:3) and Hosea predicted that those who were not God’s people would become His people (Hos 2:23). In the end there will be no Canaanite in the house of the Lord (Zech 14:21).

Then all will come from year to year to worship the King at the feast of booths or tabernacles. This was based on the Jewish festival calendar. What it will look like in an eschatological fulfillment is yet to be seen.

(17-19) Once the New Jerusalem returns to earth it will not happen that some may refuse to attend the feast and worship the King. Had Zechariah’s prophecy been fulfilled according to God’s original desires for Israel, then this part of the prophecy would have applied. However, it cannot be applied to the final situation after the eradication of sin.

Had Israel become the beacon God intended for them to become the earth would have experienced a great revival and the nations would have poured into Jerusalem to worship God. And God would have dealt with those who continued to refuse to acknowledge Him as God by not sending the rain on them, which was one of the curses for breaking the covenant (Deut 11:17, 28:23-24). This curse fell instead on Israel, because it also refused to acknowledge the Lord (1 Kgs 8:35, 2 Chr 7:13, Isa 5:6, Jas 5:17).

Egypt in particular seems to be a prophetic symbol for godlessness because Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey Him?” (Ex 5:2). The result, of course, was that the plagues from the Lord fell upon the people of Egypt.

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A Simple Guide to Paul's EpistlesYou Can Understand the Book of Revelation

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 14:13-14

3/25/15

(13) As a result of the plague(s) falling upon them, the wicked will be seized with panic. In their panic they will seize each other’s hands and will raise their hands against each other. This means that they will begin to fight against one another. This is what happened in the story of Gideon (Judg 7:22) and the story of the Ammonites, Moabites, and Mount Seir (2 Chr 2:23). It is also Isaiah’s prediction in Isa 13:4 and Jesus’ predictions in Matt 24:7, Mark 13:8, and Luke 21:10; and also in Revelation when the ten horns destroy the scarlet beast in Rev 17:16. In the end the wicked turn on each other. Ezekiel’s prediction in Ezek 38:17-22 concerning Gog has so many parallels to Zechariah’s prophecy that it is clearly speaking of the same event, at least in general terms.

(14) Judah will also fight in or at Jerusalem. This seems to parallel Zech 12:5-7 where Judah and Jerusalem are cooperating in their fight against their attackers. This, it seems to me, is continuing the scenes of verses 1 and 2, which is of the purifying tribulation of God’s people. Probably the story of the Aramean siege of Jerusalem is in the background here. Jerusalem was nearly starved when God miraculously sent the Aramean’s fleeing and the people of Jerusalem went out and plundered the camp in great abundance.

Isa 23:18 also speaks about how the harlot’s wages will be devoted to the Lord and how her spoil will be given to God’s people. So once again we see the picture of how in the end God will bring His people through the final events of earth’s history and will reward them lavishly for their faithfulness.

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A Simple Guide to Paul's EpistlesYou Can Understand the Book of Revelation

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 12:4-5

3/1/15

(4) In the second “in that day” statement the Lord declared that he would strike horses and riders with confusion, madness, and blindness. These are the same three words of Deut 28:28 where these would be the resulting curses upon Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Since Israel had been unfaithful to the covenant they had experienced these devastating problems. But here God promised to reverse the curses and throw them upon their enemies instead as He had promised to do in Deut 30:7, Isa 29:7-10, and in Zech 9:8,10:5.

The Bible is replete with such examples of divine peripity, e.g. Daniel and the lions or Mordecai and Haman where the very things Israel’s enemies intended to do to them came back on them. The story of Elisha and the Arameans comes to mind here as well. At Elisha’s request God struck them with blindness (2 Kgs 6). God had promised Israel at the dedication of Solomon’s temple that if His people would return to Him he would “open His eyes” toward them (1 Kgs 8:29).

Given the end-time scenario we saw in the last verse Ezek 39:20 and Rev 19:18-19 might also inform this verse with the destruction of horses and riders that array themselves against Jerusalem.

(5) Then the leaders of Judah would understand that God is their strength through the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In times past Jerusalem was shut up in safety while invaders like Sennacherib pillaged the towns around them. It seems here and in the next verse that we have a picture of both those who live in Jerusalem and those who live in the surrounding areas fighting their common enemy together. The leaders of thousands outside of Jerusalem would recognize that they had true allies within Jerusalem. Evidently the separation of the inhabitants of Jerusalem versus those who lived outside of the city in other towns was a big deal. Neh 11 describes in detail how the leaders and others were chosen to live in the city while others lived in other locations.

Again in an eschatological link, Dan 11:32 says that the king of the North will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

___________________________________________________

A Simple Guide to Paul's EpistlesYou Can Understand the Book of Revelation

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 12:1-2

2/27/15

(1) Chapters 9-11 were the first “burden” of the word of the Lord. Chapters 12-14 are the second “burden.” So we should expect to see a distinct shift in the subject material.

The Lord describes Himself with three creative characteristics here. He is the one who stretches out heavens, who founds earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. This description parallels Isa 42:5; 44:24; and 45:12, 18 precisely and echoes many other instances to some degree. God’s creative power is one of His qualifications for being God. He and no other can create ex nihilo (from nothing). This prophecy is going to present a picture of the Second Coming of Christ and perhaps even some post-millennial material in which God reverses His creation of the earth. In the final plagues described in Revelation the earth is deconstructed step by step in reverse order of Creation in the beginning. This is done in preparation for executive judgment and eventual re-creation of the heavens and the earth.

(2) This prophecy was still being given to Zechariah’s people who were to be rebuilding Jerusalem. Therefore, even though there is a lot of eschatological material here we must also remember that the prophecies were relevant to the people of that day as well. God still intended for Jerusalem and Israel to fulfill His plan for them on earth. So these prophecies could have literally come true for Israel even back then. But since the people did not remain faithful to God then the prophecies must find their ultimate fulfillment in the future.

God promised to make Jerusalem a “cup of reeling” that caused the people around them to reel. Isa 51:17, 22 and Jer 25:15, 17 parallel this when God promised to take the cup of reeling from them and force their enemies to drink it instead. Jer 51:7 connects the cup specifically with Babylon, which in turn helps to connect this prediction with Revelation (Rev 14:10, 16:19, 17:2, 18:6).

God would fight for Jerusalem and Judah and when the enemies of God’s people surrounded their city, as Gog and Magog do to the New Jerusalem in Rev 20:8-9. As often happen in prophetic material the Second Coming and post-millennial events are depicted as happening together. So what we may well be seeing here, since this was a conditional prophecy for OT Israel, is a depiction of Satan’s attack on the New Jerusalem following the Second Coming and the millennium.

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A Simple Guide to Paul's EpistlesYou Can Understand the Book of Revelation

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Bible prophecy, commentary, Minor prophets, zechariah

Zech 11:15-17

2/26/15

(15) The Lord then told Zechariah to take up again the equipment of an awkward or useless (LXX: ignorant) shepherd. What this equipment was is not specifically stated, but in reading the other prophets the foolishness of the shepherd is often equated with spiritual blindness and lack of knowledge (e.g. Isa 56:11, Hos 4:6, Luke 6:39). The LXX obviously recognized this in its translation. Many of the details in Ezek 34 play into this description in the next verse.

(16) The Lord’s command was to predict that he would raise up another shepherd that would replace the Good Shepherd. This shepherd would not have the compassion or mission that the Messiah had. This shepherd would not care for the dying, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the standing (take care of the healthy). This kind of treatment is the opposite of what the Messiah came to accomplish in Isa 42:7 and Ezek 34:16. Instead this shepherd would devour the flesh of the fat sheep and would tear off their hoofs. This was the situation for which Jesus pronounced woe on the Pharisees and teachers of the law in Matt 23:2-4, 13-29.

And if the thoughts in verse 14 concerning the post-Messiah situation, this kind of behavior is exactly what happened in the Christian church following the time of the early church.

(17) The consequences for this worthless shepherd who forsakes the flock will be dire. A sword will disable his arm and “completely dim” his right eye. Jer 50:35-37 threatened a sword against Babylon, which ties in closely with Rev 19:15, 21 in which God finally moves against Babylon for what she has done to His people. The result will be the destruction of her power and blindness/darkness. Other prophets present this darkness and powerlessness, often in eschatological terms (1 Sam 2:31, Hos 4:5-7, Amos 8:9-10, Mic 3:6-7, John 9:39). The story of Jeroboam’s withered arm in 1 Kgs 13 also serves as an illustration of the way God will deal with shepherds who lead His people astray.

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A Simple Guide to Paul's EpistlesYou Can Understand the Book of Revelation

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Zech 10:8-9

1/14/15

(8) God said that He would hiss for His people and gather them in. Hissing to get someone’s attention is the equivalent of whistling to get their attention. At least among the children when I lived there hissing is still a common practice in that area of the world. The LXX says that God will signify them. The word shmano (semano) is an important word in prophecy, which means to communicate (often concerning the future) using cryptic symbols. It is the same word used in Rev 1:1 when God made known (eshmanen, esemanen) to John the things that must soon take place.

God would gather His people because He had redeemed them. And He would cause the small remnant of them to grow to be as many as they had been before.

(9) God had sown them among the nations. The word orza (‘ezra’) is often translated as scattered, which is certainly an appropriate picture, but the fact that God sowed His people also gives the impression that He intended them to grow and bear fruit in the nations where they had been planted. Compare Isa 27:6. Even though His people had rejected Him, God intended that they be a blessing to the world around them, even as He worked in them to bring them to faithfulness as well. And the promise was that in those far countries they would remember God and they and their children would live and return to God and to their homeland.

The LXX makes this sound like a future promise, that God will sow His people among the nations and they “who are afar off” shall remember God. Those who are afar off was an expression of the Apostle Paul, who would have been familiar with the LXX. He used the term to indicate the Gentiles (e.g. Eph 2:13, 17). In this case, then, it would be the Gentile nations who would remember God and with their children would live and return. Both the Hebrew and the Greek scenarios could easily work together because in the end God’s purposes will be fulfilled and His purpose includes that everyone among Jew and Gentile who is willing to be saved will be saved.

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A Simple Guide to Paul's EpistlesYou Can Understand the Book of Revelation

For more information and to purchase books by Jeff Scoggins visit Skapto Publishing.

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Bible prophecy, Minor prophets, old testament, zechariah

Zech 10:5-7

2/13/15

(5) Because God is with them His people are mighty in battle—physical battle in Judah’s time, spiritual battle today—trampling their enemies in the mud and putting to shame those who ride on horses. As mentioned in Zech 9:10, God had forbidden horses and chariots to Israel because everyone needed to understand that they did not win their battles due to their own might or their own power but by God’s Spirit. So those with inferior battle equipment would put to shame those with superior equipment. Even a feeble person would be a great warrior like an angel of the Lord (Zech 12:8). God had conquered the Egyptian horses and chariots for Israel at the Red Sea. He conquered Sennacharib’s horses and chariots by sending an angel to slay them. He conquered Aram’s horses and chariots when He blinded them for Elisha. Zech 12:4 promised that He would blind them again for the sake of Israel.

Treading down the enemy was also something the Messiah accomplished in Isa 63:3. Mal 4:3 predicts the same with definite end-time overtones. Crushing the enemy casts all the way back to Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden when God promised to crush the serpent’s head via the woman, which is a symbol for His people.

(6) He would stengthen and save His people because He has compassion for them. Though he had rejected them due to their unfaithfulness, their relationship with Him would be reconciled to such a degree that it would be like He had never rejected them. He would once again be their God who answers them.

(7) Ephraim (representing the northern tribes) would also become mighty warriors and they would be so filled with joy would seem like they had been drinking. The inference is that prior to this, during their unfaithfulness to God, they were unhappy and it affected their children, as is always the case. But when their parents come back to the Lord the children will see it and be glad as well, rejoicing in their hearts. A family that is faithful to God is a happy family!

______________________________________________________________

A Simple Guide to Paul's EpistlesYou Can Understand the Book of Revelation

For more information and to purchase books by Jeff Scoggins visit Skapto Publishing.

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