December 21

Zechariah 1:1-21

Zechariah’s name means, “Yahweh remembers.” Writing to the Jews who had returned from captivity, Zechariah reminds the people that God has not forgotten them. Zechariah who was both a priest and a prophet calls the people back to God, and encourages them to finish the Temple. He’s a contemporary of Haggai, but his book is not as simple and straightforward – Zechariah is filled with heavenly visions and prophecies not only about Israel, but about their Coming King.

He opens with an invitation to return:

Zechariah 1:2–3 (NLT) “I, the LORD, was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore, say to the people, ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.’”

It’s not complicated or sophisticated, it’s a simple message…simply return to God. Is He first in my life? Am I seeking Him? If we have that heart, God promises to return to us…He will bless our lives for good.

Unfortunately most people DON’T return – such was the case for the majority of Jews AND Gentiles.

Zechariah has a vision of angels on horses whose responsibility it was to patrol the earth (Zechariah 1:7-11). This may be Jesus whom Zechariah is speaking with in this section.

As the Father and Son have a discussion about Israel in the hearing of Zechariah, the words of her future are good and comforting. The LORD was zealous for Jerusalem and Zion (heavenly Jerusalem)…and their Temple would be rebuilt, fellowship would be restored.

Zechariah 1:16 (NKJV) “Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.’”

God was angry and would therefore judge the nations who had scattered Israel (those nations are the 4 horns in Zechariah 1:18-21). 

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “Some writers understand these four horns to be the four Gentile empires envisioned in Daniel 2 and 7 (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome).”

Others point to Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and Medo-Persia, while there are those who simply see the number 4 as a number pointing to the entirety of the earth (north, south, east, and west).

Regardless of what view we take on these 4 horns, one thing we know, it is not wise to oppose Israel. It’s all rooted in and returns to Genesis 12:3.

Revelation 12:1-17

The first sign John sees at this point is the woman – who is representative of the nation of Israel. Some would say that the woman is the church, or even worse, that’s it’s Mary the mother of Jesus, but this is one of those cases where the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible, and back in:

Genesis 37:9-10, we read of Joseph’s dreams, “Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, ‘Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.’ So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, ‘What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?’”

Jacob, interpreted Joseph’s dream of the sun, the moon, and the stars to be his family, the nation of Israel. Here we see she’s pregnant and ready to give birth – the child is Jesus, the Messiah would come through Israel.

The second sign John sees at this point is Satan, this fiery red dragon with many crowns and horns, speaking of his political and spiritual power on earth. We read in Revelation 12:4 that his tail drew a third of the stars of heaven to earth. This is in reference to the fact that when Satan fell from heaven, he drew 1/3 of the angels with him – these angels are now demons.

This chapter speaks of the fact that Satan opposes the woman who represents Israel – but God protects her; God protects Israel to give birth to the Messiah, and we see in Revelation 12:5 that Jesus finished His work, ascended into heaven, and that Jesus will one day rule the world with a rod of iron.

Revelation 12:7 describes a war in heaven between the good angels, led by Michael, and the bad angels (demons) wherein Satan is completely kicked out of heaven and no longer has any type of access to God. Up to this point, Satan somehow is able to present himself before the Lord to oppose and accuse the brethren (see Job 1:6; Zechariah 3:1). Not anymore. The end is near – we’re starting to hear it more and more as we read through the Revelation, “…salvation and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of His Christ have come…” (Revelation 12:10). The accuser has been cast down.

Just as a quick side-note, the enemy doesn’t just accuse us to God, he lies and accuses us in our own minds, or to others, it’s his task and title. He’s the king of condemnation. But the Bible tells us there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Don’t allow the accuser to condemn you as a Christian, thank God for His grace and His blood that really does wash away all of our sins (Romans 5:20; Revelation 1:5).

It’s important for us to understand that the devil knows his time is short, so he will persecute us with a passion if we endeavor to keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Christ. We read in this chapter of God’s supernatural protection of the children of Israel, and the same is true for us (Psalm 91:1). God will do His part, but I also need to do my part. I love what we read in:

Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” 

Revelation 2-3 speaks of overcomers in the church – how? Of course it all starts with the blood of Jesus and our salvation. But then it’s an issue of the words we speak – the witness – if it’s in our hearts it will be on our lips and we will share with others. And then our love. Do I love God more than my own life? This is the only way to overcome.

The enemy continues to attack God’s people, but now with even MORE intensity.

Warren Wiersbe, “The war may be over in heaven, but it it getting more intense here on earth. Satan is angry and seeks to destroy the Jews and make war with anyone who trusts the Lord.”

Psalm 140:1-13

David once again, prays for God to protect him from those (there were many) who rose up against him; they were evil men, violent men, men who planned evil things in their hearts. They apparently spoke the language of Lucifer – lies!

Many wars start and are waged with words, aren’t they? It’s demonic and does so much damage!

Psalm 140:3 (NKJV) “They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips.”

So David prayed:

Psalm 140:6-8 (NKJV) “I said to the LORD: ‘You are my God; hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD. 7 O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. 8 Do not grant, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted.’”

There were many who wanted to kill David because of the lies that were spoken about him. Under the leadership of King Saul there was an entire army hunting David down – but David prayed – and God protected him.

We need to do the same thing. One of the most difficult realities of life (even as a Christian) is people will “talk.” They want us to worry, or get enter into the mud-sling ring. Don’t even go there. Go to God. Notice what we read in:

Psalms 109:4 (NKJV) “In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.”

Let’s give ourselves to prayer. Let’s trust the Lord. It can be “dangerous” as a true disciple of Christ, but as we pray and trust – we can know that God will maintain our cause; we will thank Him and dwell in His presence forever!

Psalm 140:12–13 (NKJV) “I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor. 13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence.”

Proverbs 30:17

Proverbs 30:17 (NKJV) “The eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.”

Here we have another Proverbs emphasizing the importance of children honoring their parents. Keep in mind this is a commandment with promise – a long life. It may mean God will punish a scornful and disobedient child, but it also carries the idea that not heeding the loving wisdom of one’s parents, often leads to premature and violent death.

NET Notes, “The “eye” as the organ that exhibits the inner feelings most clearly, here represents a look of scorn or disdain that speaks volumes (a metonymy of cause or of adjunct). It is comparable to the “evil eye” which is stinginess (28:22).”

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “This saying may have been placed here to point to the fact that disrespect for one’s parents is as bad as the insatiable greed mentioned in verses 15–16. An arrogant child who scorns (bûz, “to hold in contempt or ridicule”; see comments on 1:7) his or her parents (cf. v. 11) will die, and his corpse will remain unburied and be food for the birds of prey.”

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