December 27

Zechariah 10:1–11:17

Zechariah 10 speaks of the restoration of the nation of Israel. 

The chapter begins with the word “Ask.” Sometimes we don’t have simply because we don’t ask (James 4:2). Jesus commands us to keep on asking.

Luke 11:9 (NKJV) “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

God promised, that the time would come when He would answer their prayer for rain, He would “rain” down blessings from above. He’s not like the lifeless idols which the people looked to because of their lifeless leaders. God’s anger was kindled against the leaders of the day; He promised to punish them and to bless the house of Judah.

Zechariah 10:3 (NKJV) “My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the goatherds. For the LORD of hosts will visit His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as His royal horse in the battle.”

Zechariah 10:4 tells us that from Judah would come the Cornerstone…another prophecy of Jesus Christ the Chief Cornerstone who would come to their rescue (Psalm 118:22; Luke 20:17).

Warren Wiersbe, “The flock was in trouble because it had no shepherd to care for it. But the Lord will return and be the Shepherd. He will rescue the people, strengthen them, and establish them in peace.”

In this restoration the nation of Israel, the LORD would be with them and  strengthen them to fight and prevail, to be regathered to the land and increase as they once had. The amazing thing about this prophecy is that this has happened numerous times, even in our generation, Israel was born-again as a nation in 1948 after close to 1,900 years of being without a land scattered throughout the world. God’s blessed them to fight, God’s blessed with fruit (rain). Prophecies fulfilled right before our eyes – ultimately pointing to Jesus’ actual return and reign from Jerusalem forever and ever.

Zechariah 11 begins by speaking of something that would happen in 70 A.D., when the Roman armies would invade Israel traveling through Lebanon and down into the upper Galilee region. God then spends the bulk of the chapter indicting the leaders of the land, the worthless shepherds in the days of Jesus.

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “The passage focuses attention on Israel’s spiritual condition at the time of Christ’s ministry and the consequences of her rejection of Christ, the True Shepherd.”

The Jewish leaders were a mixture of civil and sacred leaders, and they miserably failed the people in both areas. They were not in it for God or the people of God, they were in it for themselves, they were rich as they fleeced the flock and led them to the slaughter.

Zechariah 11:10 is a prophecy of Jesus (Beauty) who was broken on the cross in order to establish a New Covenant.

Zechariah 11:10 (NKJV) “And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples.”

Zechariah 11:12-13 is a detailed prophecy of the actions of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and afterwards regretted it, casting down the money in the Temple . The priests then used the silver to purchase a potter’s field (Matthew 26:15; 27:3-10).

One fascinating thing before we leave this chapter – Zechariah 11:16 is a picture of the antichrist. Having rejected Jesus the Jews would tragically accept the false (John 5:43).

Zechariah 11:16 (NKJV) “For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.”

Did you notice the 4 types of people (sheep)?

1. Sheep who are cut off (lost)

2. Sheep who are young (children and new believers)

3. Sheep who are broken (hurting)

4. Sheep who still stand (healthy)

The antichrist is the epitome of a wicked and worthless shepherds who cares nothing for the flock. Tragically there are many “shepherds” who are more like the antichrist than they are Jesus Christ. God will one day judge the worthless shepherds.

Revelation 18:1-24

We come now to the judgment of what many call “Commercial Babylon.” There have been and will be many people committing spiritual adultery and idolatry through the worship of money and the things that money can buy. It’s okay to have possessions, but it’s not okay when those possessions possess us. It’s okay to have what we need, but God knows that oftentimes we go far beyond our necessities and live in lavish luxuries. Jesus said in:

Matthew 6:24, (NKJV) “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” 

But the kings, leaders, movers and shakers of this world worship at this altar, and get rich at the same time, through the seduction of society – people get caught in culture (especially in the United States of America).

I appreciate the way Warren Wiersbe describes this it, “John certainly had Rome in mind when he wrote this chapter, but his imagery means much more. Babylon symbolizes the whole godless world system that caters to the appetites of sinful men and women (1 John 2: 15–17). True believers have nothing in common with the harlot and her city and should be separated from them (Revelation 18:4; Jeremiah 50:8; 51:6; 2 Corinthians 6:14–18). In every age, the church has had to identify its Babylon and separate from it.”

For that reason the warning is issued in:

Revelation 18:4 (NKJV) “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” 

Reminds me of the warning in 2 Corinthians 6:17. It’s so easy to get sucked into the things of this world, the latest and greatest, to where it consumes us – even as Christians. Paul wrote in: 

1 Timothy 6:8 (NKJV) “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”

He also wrote in: 

Philippians 4:19 (NKJV) “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 

God will supply all our needs, not all our “greeds.” How we need to be careful – for as we see in this chapter, the citizens of Babylon will be judged by God…yes it’s true what we’ve heard all of our lives, “It’s all gonna burn!”

I was captured by the concept that it will happen not only in one day (Revelation 18:8), but in one hour (Revelation 18:10, 17). Some say the future city may be a literal place such as New York, or Los Angeles, or maybe even a rebuilt Babylon in modern-day Iraq. Somehow the judgment is connected to a specific place where materialism is mainstream. The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her.

The list of merchandise includes jewelry, clothing, things made of wood, metal, and other materials, there was food and drink, stock, horses, chariots (cars?) and even people were for sale – I think of the sex-trafficking throughout the world – our hearts ache for them. Revelation 18:14 is so sad – to think that sometimes our soul “longs” for these things, we’re told and sold through the endless advertising that bombards us. I need to be careful that my heart doesn’t go after these things, I wouldn’t be the first servant of God who sold out for money (Achan, Gehazi, and Judas did).

The day is coming when this entire entity, this world system, the Babylonian spirits will be judged. I thought it was interesting how in verse 2 the demons are all captured, imprisoned, and caged. Revelation 18:22 mentions the music – what a powerful tool of the enemy much of the worldly music has been…can’t help but think of Romans 12:2.

Psalm 146:1-10

Hallelujah is transliterated from Hebrew – it means, “Praise the LORD.”

We will praise Him in heaven, but then it won’t be by faith – then, it will be by sight. It’s only here, “while I live,” on this side of time that I can praise Him by faith.

May we praise God from the heart, with our whole being.

We love all people and honor our leaders but we must not put our trust in them. Our trust and happiness come only from God.

Psalm 146:5 (NKJV) “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.”

Our hope and helper is the same One who made the heavens and the earth, who keeps truth and justice, who gives food to the hungry and freedom to the prisoner.

The latter is a literal truth, but it’s also a deeper truth. Before I was a Christian, I was a prisoner to drugs, alcohol, and so much more, I was in bondage to sin. I was headed for an eternal prison, a home forever in hell. But Jesus set me free from every prison I was in – this is who He is, and this is why we praise Him.

He gives sight to the blind. He lifts up the lowly, He loves us and watches over us all. He takes special care of the orphans and widows.

He will bring justice to the wicked…on that day when He makes every wrong right and reigns, forever and ever.

Proverbs 30:33

Proverbs 30:33 (NKJV) “For as the churning of milk produces butter, and wringing the nose produces blood, so the forcing of wrath produces strife.”

Agur advises and God commands that we stop the strife and the things that lead to it…like loose lips and unbridled anger.

‘Cuz stirring it up like that, makes butter from milk, blood from a beating…and strife for life (James 3:5-10).

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