Whatever you call it... don't do it!!

I learned the above German word only a few years ago and its English equivalent is a new one for me.  I can't recall even using the German Schadenfreude in a sentence,ever!  Just for fun, I looked both words on Wikipedia:

Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.
  1. (rare) Rejoicing at or derivation of pleasure from the misfortunes of others.
These are fancy words to be sure, but the concepts are ordinary.  Ever watch a Three stooges cartoon or any slapstick feature-- Schadenfreude, there you are!!! There is just something funny about someone taking a fall or doing something stupid.  Remember all the Jerry Lewis movies?!!!  In thinking about this, I remembered this little passage from the book of Luke (and there is of course, a little twist to it)...

Luke, Chapter 13
  1 Now there were some present at the same time who told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.  2 Jesus answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things?  3  I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.   4  Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem?   5  I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.”
The Galileans had a nasty reputation!!!  And they probably did something that truly deserved punishment, but Pilate made their punishment notable, by mixing their dying blood with the sacrifice they were making at the temple in Jerusalem.  This would send a message to Pilate's arch enemy Herod and to everyone that Rome could be utterly ruthless. So, they received what they deserved and then some!!!  But, in reality, those men were really no worse than all the other Galilean's and those who died under the Siloam tower.  The problem in this passage was not just about punishment for deserved sin, it was about attitude.  The judgemental attitude of those who told Jesus about this episode and their efforts to pit Jesus against the Roman government.  Sin is sin, no matter who does it and therefore we all need to be careful about our thoughts, attitudes and actions. Schadenfreude (epicaricacy) may seem appropriate for viewing TV, but in real life, we all need to be understanding of others because everyone is prone to error (sin).  Remember: attitude, attitude, attitude!!!

PS. Please don't ask me to use epicaricacy in a sentence; it just sounds funny!!!!


The River by Jim McGuiggan

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

The River

There’s just too much individualism! We read scripture as if it were written saying to each individual, "Now here's what I want you to do when [so and so says or such and such happens]." That's not the way it's written. The biblical strokes are broader than that and they're affected by the overarching purpose of God for the entire human family. We aren't called to know a billion spiritual ways to react, a jillion responses to make in moral judgment and spiritual development.
Rather than ask, "What is this text saying to me?" it would be enriching and more helpful in the long term to ask, "How does this text fit into God’s grand purpose?" And then, "What kind of life am I to lead in order to tune in with the grand purpose of God?" It's a lifestyle we're to look for rather than a million answers to a million specific questions about this and that.
We aren't forever under God's microscope. We aren’t those brilliant children who are overseen by ever-present teachers and guides who are supremely anxious that we achieve our greatest potential. There is no ceaseless prodding and shaping at the level of specific responses. Such children are robbed of community experience and community dependence because their individuality is taken too seriously. We're not our best and cannot be our best under God if we’re feverishly checking our personal development every thirty minutes by buying one more book, attending one more seminar or reading one more blog. God has made a commitment to the human family of which he has made us a part and it is that that I think we should be stressing.
If the response to all that is that we need personal development and we need people to tell us about personal development well, then, we’re richly blessed because we have plenty of people like that! It appears we'll never be short of them (not since the Enlightenment). Sometimes I think there’s no other kind of writer or speaker or teacher. I know it isn’t true, but sometimes it seems that everywhere I look everyone is talking about him or herself or talking about each one of us as if we were isolated units. Books by the tens of thousands fill the religious shelves, teaching us how to develop this or that, how to know this or that, how to avoid this or that and how to get this or that. Do we need such instruction? I'm sure we do! But do we need a ceaseless torrent of it? Must leaders turn the church into a gymnasium filled with mirrors and spiritual body-builders that follow personalised programmes "created just to suit your individual needs"?
To live in the Spirit must surely involve getting to know where the Spirit is taking the human family in his cosmic enterprise. It must involve praying prayers that bear that in mind, praying prayers that are shaped by thoughts and insights generated by his massive purpose and praying prayers that are assured that he will take us there. It must involve embracing that overarching purpose as our own because it is his.
In praying to be the individuals we believe God wants us to be we need to ask, "Why am I here? What is it that I am serving in?" If we want to develop as individuals as the Spirit sees and thinks of us, then our prayers will be more in tune with the Spirit if we see ourselves as he sees us. If I see myself as a budding piano-player I will discipline myself to that end differently than if I saw myself as a possible weightlifting champion. "Since this is what the Spirit is bringing about, what kind of family members does he need? By his grace I will be that kind." To know the mind of the Spirit will shape our own minds in prayer and we will pray "in the Spirit". To know the mind of the Spirit doesn’t mean we get to know in specific what he would want us to do in every conceivable set of circumstances. That isn't possible; it isn't open for us to know. To know the mind of the Spirit is to know the drift of the whole divine purpose and to offer ourselves in service to that.
It would be something like coming to the bank of a great river and knowing it is flowing to the sea, launching our little boat and getting involved in the adventure. That image will only take us so far but to know the direction the current flows and to give ourselves to it is a major description of what it means to live or pray in the Spirit. We don't need at the point of our commitment to know all the twists and turns or rocks and eddies of the river—that doesn't matter. We jumped into the adventure knowing that whatever we meet on the way, we're still going to the sea. This calls for initial understanding and commitment. That understanding and commitment will grow as we race with the current, tip over on a sandbank or get caught in some whirlpool—whatever.

What we won’t do, is drag our little boats up out of the river and slink back home. And if someone on the bank asks where we're going we'll be able to tell him—to glory! And if others on the bank tell us our boat is fragile, that there are rocks and rapids ahead, that we aren't smart or knowledgeable enough, we’ll admit all that and journey on. And if they say that the river comes in the end to nothing but marsh—if they tell us that, we'll tell them it can't be true because this is the river of God. We’ll call them to join us in the adventure rather than loaf about, bored and aimless and critical.
Think and wonder in pleasure about the "big picture". Think noble things of God. Commit in gladness to him and his purposes and take what comes as part of the adventure.

The Neglected Treasure by Jim McGuiggan

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

The Neglected Treasure

She lived in poverty out in the Scottish highlands, the story goes. Her son had gone to America and gotten very rich, so they said. Neighbours wondered why she was so impoverished if her son was so rich. Does he not send you money? they wanted to know. She said he sent her pretty pictures. She took down the family Bible and scattered throughout it were scores of ten, fifty and hundred dollar bills. Her Bible was full of treasure and this isolated and elderly lady didn't recognise the foreign money. Hard to believe? Maybe. Multiplied millions in the world don't know the treasure they have in their Bibles. For a thousand reasons people ignore it and their lives are narrower because of it. The Bible's not an ordinary book and you can be infinitely richer if you'll allow it to tell you its message.
Can There Really Be Treasure?
How's it possible that an ancient book can matter that much to modern men? What does it have that makes it the most influential book in the world? (Even the Islamic world reveres large portions of the Bible!) How do you explain the fact that down through the ages those who sought to enslave others have burned Bibles and outlawed the reading of it? Why did these governments go to the trouble to suppress the Scriptures? Why do countless thousands in every age ask for it to be read at their marriages and at their funerals?
The Power & Beauty of the Bible
Robert Evans met an old man in bombed-out Warsaw at the close of World War II, who, all his life had owned and cherished one page of the Bible . He wasn't sure it was from the Bible. "I have read this page again and again all my life," he told Evans. "I thought it was from the Bible, but I was never sure. There's something different about it--this I know. But I've always wondered what comes on the next page." And he wept as Evans let him handle, for the first time in his life, an entire Bible, page by page. How do you explain all this? The Bible is precious and down the centuries has gained a wonderful and an ennobling power over wistful hearts.
Of course the Bible has its occasional critics. (Can you remember any of their names?) But when you easily dismiss something as acclaimed as Shakespeare's plays, you're saying more about yourself than Shakespeare. Those who tell us they regard Beethoven or Mozart as rubbish don't impress us as qualified critics.
But maybe the Bible gets more criticism because of its "friends" than its critics. They say they think it's precious but aren't nearly as thrilled about it as students of Shakespeare, Homer or Dostoievski are about those authors. They say they revere it but live as though it means nothing to them. They say it's deeply satisfying but spend no time delving into it. Thoughtful unbelievers note all this and wonder.
None of this is the fault of the Bible. It can't be right to dismiss Dvorak or Bach as trivial because some musician we know butchers their work. We can't be doing right to dismiss the work of Shakespeare or Goethe because some actor makes an awful mess of their material. And it can't be right to dismiss the Bible because its friends represent it pathetically.
It's to the Bible's everlasting credit that despite its critics and its "friends" it remains the foremost book in all the world, generation after generation. Others feel the need to protect their holy book from criticism so they forbid even the translation of it. Enlightened Bible-believers have no such fears. The Bible, somebody said, is like an anvil and its critics are like hammers. The hammers wear out while the anvil remains. As long as there are people in darkness who need light, people in suffering who need comfort, people in despair who need hope, people who are lost and need to be found, people in bondage who need to be freed--as long as such people exist the Bible will be around and in demand!
The Nature of the Bible's Treasure
The Bible is glorious literature. It's right to say the Bible is glorious literature! It's right to remind people that all the noted writers from the earliest ages until now confess their debt to the Bible. Shakespeare, Hugo, Tolstoy, Dickens, Cervantes, Tennyson, Browning, Goethe and a host of others openly confessed their debt to the Bible. The themes with which they dealt, the themes that made their works live on and on, they had in common with the Bible. That's all true and it's right to say it--but it isn't enough to say that! The Bible is more than inspiring and glorious literature. It isn't Shakespeare or Sienkiewicz people want to hear as they lie on or sit by death-beds speechless with grief. In their multiplied millions they ask for the Holy Bible. Why is that?
The Bible promotes and defends all that mankind in its better moments cherishes and calls for. Imagine how the world would be transformed if it wakened one morning with the Bible supreme in everyone's life! Imagine how the world would be if everyone joyously believed Psalm 23 or John 3:16-17 or took Matt 7:12 and 22:36-40 to heart!
Imagine the opposite to be true! Suppose the world wakened one morning to the sure and certain knowledge that the Bible was a tissue of lies and errors! Worship would die--immediately! Prayer would be universally abandoned, it would be heard never again on the lips of children or in the hush of great sorrows. Hope would be snuffed out of life and the witness of multiplied millions of God-fearing people against oppression and evil would be silenced. Their restraining power against vice would crumble into ruins and the bereaved would weep tears without comfort. When the last Bible was thrown out with the rubbish, the last hymn would be sung, the last missionary would be recalled and the last sermon of comfort and challenge would be preached. The world would have died and the church buildings would have become tombstones marking out God's grave! The glory and power of the Bible could only be fully appreciated if we saw the horror of a world convinced it was lies and fallacies. But the Bible's treasure is richer even than this!
The Bible is and brings us the true word from God that he wants to live in loving fellowship with all mankind! There's the crowning message of the Bible! That's what makes the heart surge!
The Bible confronts our sad and narrow little lives with the picture of our startling possibilities! For our own eternal benefit it exposes our awful sinfulness and our profound need of God who will save us and bless us with life! It tells the amazing story of a God who bears his own judgement against Sin that he might offer eternal friendship to Man. It speaks of a God who shares our suffering until that day when suffering will end. It gives meaning to our living and glorious hope when we are dying!
It calls us to join with Jesus Christ in the most fantastic of all adventures, the rescue of the world. It shows us how to live with our weaknesses without being proud of them, how to fail without being crushed beyond repair, how to trust in spite of appearances. It brings us God's approval when we act nobly and God's forgiveness when we try and fail. It won't allow us to fritter away our lives with trivia. It calls us from a thousand scattered little loyalties to one grand "I must!". Getting to know it will profoundly change our lives!

I'M NOT THE PASTOR by Gary Womack


Paul's thankfulness for his role in the preaching of the gospel is evident in his words to young Timothy; "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." (1 Tim. 1:12) Paul had been a mentor to Timothy (2 Tim. 3:10-11) and was therefore qualified to warn this young man of the dangers of error and the assurance of suffering that awaited him as a preacher of the gospel. Therefore, in his last letter to Timothy, Paul urged him to "...be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." (2 Tim. 4:5) That ministry was to "preach (kerusso) the word" (vs. 2).
In calling Timothy an "evangelist," he was referring to his responsibility as a "messenger of good," which is actually the definition of the Greek word, euangelistes. This was not a title, but a description of the work that he was engaged in. This word, appears in only two other places in the New Testament. On Paul's return from his third missionary journey, he and his party had a layover for several days during which they stayed at "...the house of Philip the evangelist." The other occurrence of this word is found in Paul's letter to the Ephesians where he enumerated those offices that Christ had established within His church for the "...equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, [and] for the edifying of the body of Christ." (Eph. 4:12) Regarding these offices, he said that Christ "...Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers." (vs.11)
It should be noted that in listing these various offices that Christ placed within His church, there was a distinction between each one as being uniquely suited to a specific work that each one performed. Some of these, such as apostles and prophets, would be limited in their duration due to the nature of their qualifications. For example, the apostles were eyewitnesses of Christ and His resurrection (Acts 1:20-26, 2 Cor. 12:12, 1 Jn. 1:1-4), chosen by Christ for that purpose (Acts 10:39-42; 22:14-15). Once they all died there would be no one remaining who met their qualifications. The prophets would also eventually pass away as the gift of prophecy ended (1 Cor. 13:8-10). Paul included among those offices "evangelists, pastors and teachers." These too are each distinctive from each other in their design and purpose. An evangelist (euangelistes) is defined as "a messenger of good", pastors (poimen) are "shepherds" and teachers (didaskalos) are "instructors" or "educators."
There is much error being taught in the religious world today regarding the organization of the church. As a result, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about what a pastor is and what his work entails. I see this all the time. People, in an effort to be polite, often refer to me as pastor Womack. Quite honestly, it causes me to cringe for two reasons. First, I know that pastor has become a "title" that is used to elevate one above another. Jesus dealt with this problem in Matthew 23 when He rebuked the scribes and Pharisees who were using titles as a means of exalting themselves. The result of this kind of thinking is what has led to the unscriptural (albeit nonexistent) distinction of "clergy" and "laity." In Jesus' day, "father, teacher and rabbi" had become titles in the same way that "pastor" has become such in our day. Jesus said, "But you, do not be called 'Rabbi;' for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Mt. 23:8-12) According to 1 Cor. 12:12-31 we are all equals in God's kingdom, only with differing responsibilities.
The second reason for my concern in being referred to as pastor is the fact that I am not a pastor because I do not hold that office within the Lord's church. As already pointed out, a pastor is a "shepherd" by definition. In fact, every time you find the word "shepherd" as a noun in the New Testament, it is translated from the same Greek word (poimen) as is "pastor." The only time this word (poimen) is translated "pastor" in the bible is in Eph. 4:11, everywhere else it is translated "shepherd."
Paul gave the qualifications for this office in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and also in Tit. 1:5-9. When he wrote to Titus regarding this he said, "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you." (Tit. 1:5) Referring to these same "elders" he said, "For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God..." (vs. 7) The word "elder" is translated from the Greek word presbuteros and has reference to the maturity of those who hold that responsibility. The word "bishop" is translated from the Greek word (episkopos), and emphasizes the oversight of one who is to be a "steward of God." A "steward" (oikonomos) by definition was "the manager of a household."
When Paul stopped at Miletus, "...he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders (presbuteros) of the church." (Acts 20:17) While there, he spoke to these men saying, "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers (episkopos), to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." (vs. 28) Notice that the word "overseers" is translated from the same Greek word as is "bishop" (See Tit 1:5) and that their responsibility as "overseers" required them to "shepherd" (poimaino), or "feed" (kjv) the church. Their work was that of "shepherds" (poimen) and it should be noted that in every example, there was never only one pastor but always a plurality of these overseers in each congregation. This all harmonizes with what Peter said; "The elders (episkopos) who are among you I exhort...Shepherd (poimaino) the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers (episkopos)..." (1 Pet. 5:1-2)
When all of these passages are taken into consideration it becomes clear that the terms elder, overseer, bishop, and pastor all refer to the same office which differs from that of an evangelist. While both of these offices differ in their purpose and design, they do have in common the fact that they are all servants of the Lord - an honor I do accept.
- Gary V. Womack - March 2005

Bible Reading, Jan.31

Jan. 31
Genesis 31

Gen 31:1 He heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, "Jacob has taken away all that was our father's. From that which was our father's, has he gotten all this wealth."
Gen 31:2 Jacob saw the expression on Laban's face, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.
Gen 31:3 Yahweh said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your fathers, and to your relatives, and I will be with you."
Gen 31:4 Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field to his flock,
Gen 31:5 and said to them, "I see the expression on your father's face, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me.
Gen 31:6 You know that I have served your father with all of my strength.
Gen 31:7 Your father has deceived me, and changed my wages ten times, but God didn't allow him to hurt me.
Gen 31:8 If he said this, 'The speckled will be your wages,' then all the flock bore speckled. If he said this, 'The streaked will be your wages,' then all the flock bore streaked.
Gen 31:9 Thus God has taken away your father's livestock, and given them to me.
Gen 31:10 It happened during mating season that I lifted up my eyes, and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which leaped on the flock were streaked, speckled, and grizzled.
Gen 31:11 The angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob,' and I said, 'Here I am.'
Gen 31:12 He said, 'Now lift up your eyes, and behold, all the male goats which leap on the flock are streaked, speckled, and grizzled, for I have seen all that Laban does to you.
Gen 31:13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you vowed a vow to me. Now arise, get out from this land, and return to the land of your birth.' "
Gen 31:14 Rachel and Leah answered him, "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?
Gen 31:15 Aren't we accounted by him as foreigners? For he has sold us, and has also quite devoured our money.
Gen 31:16 For all the riches which God has taken away from our father, that is ours and our children's. Now then, whatever God has said to you, do."
Gen 31:17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives on the camels,
Gen 31:18 and he took away all his livestock, and all his possessions which he had gathered, including the livestock which he had gained in Paddan Aram, to go to Isaac his father, to the land of Canaan.
Gen 31:19 Now Laban had gone to shear his sheep: and Rachel stole the teraphim that were her father's.
Gen 31:20 Jacob deceived Laban the Syrian, in that he didn't tell him that he was running away.
Gen 31:21 So he fled with all that he had. He rose up, passed over the River, and set his face toward the mountain of Gilead.
Gen 31:22 Laban was told on the third day that Jacob had fled.
Gen 31:23 He took his relatives with him, and pursued after him seven days' journey. He overtook him in the mountain of Gilead.
Gen 31:24 God came to Laban, the Syrian, in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Take heed to yourself that you don't speak to Jacob either good or bad."
Gen 31:25 Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had pitched his tent in the mountain, and Laban with his relatives encamped in the mountain of Gilead.
Gen 31:26 Laban said to Jacob, "What have you done, that you have deceived me, and carried away my daughters like captives of the sword?
Gen 31:27 Why did you flee secretly, and deceive me, and didn't tell me, that I might have sent you away with mirth and with songs, with tambourine and with harp;
Gen 31:28 and didn't allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? Now have you done foolishly.
Gen 31:29 It is in the power of my hand to hurt you, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, 'Take heed to yourself that you don't speak to Jacob either good or bad.'
Gen 31:30 Now, you want to be gone, because you greatly longed for your father's house, but why have you stolen my gods?"
Gen 31:31 Jacob answered Laban, "Because I was afraid, for I said, 'Lest you should take your daughters from me by force.'
Gen 31:32 Anyone you find your gods with shall not live. Before our relatives, discern what is yours with me, and take it." For Jacob didn't know that Rachel had stolen them.
Gen 31:33 Laban went into Jacob's tent, into Leah's tent, and into the tent of the two female servants; but he didn't find them. He went out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent.
Gen 31:34 Now Rachel had taken the teraphim, put them in the camel's saddle, and sat on them. Laban felt about all the tent, but didn't find them.
Gen 31:35 She said to her father, "Don't let my lord be angry that I can't rise up before you; for the manner of women is on me." He searched, but didn't find the teraphim.
Gen 31:36 Jacob was angry, and argued with Laban. Jacob answered Laban, "What is my trespass? What is my sin, that you have hotly pursued after me?
Gen 31:37 Now that you have felt around in all my stuff, what have you found of all your household stuff? Set it here before my relatives and your relatives, that they may judge between us two.
Gen 31:38 These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not cast their young, and I haven't eaten the rams of your flocks.
Gen 31:39 That which was torn of animals, I didn't bring to you. I bore its loss. Of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night.
Gen 31:40 This was my situation: in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep fled from my eyes.
Gen 31:41 These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times.
Gen 31:42 Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night."
Gen 31:43 Laban answered Jacob, "The daughters are my daughters, the children are my children, the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine: and what can I do this day to these my daughters, or to their children whom they have borne?
Gen 31:44 Now come, let us make a covenant, you and I; and let it be for a witness between me and you."
Gen 31:45 Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar.
Gen 31:46 Jacob said to his relatives, "Gather stones." They took stones, and made a heap. They ate there by the heap.
Gen 31:47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.
Gen 31:48 Laban said, "This heap is witness between me and you this day." Therefore it was named Galeed
Gen 31:49 and Mizpah, for he said, "Yahweh watch between me and you, when we are absent one from another.
Gen 31:50 If you afflict my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, no man is with us; behold, God is witness between me and you."
Gen 31:51 Laban said to Jacob, "See this heap, and see the pillar, which I have set between me and you.
Gen 31:52 May this heap be a witness, and the pillar be a witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and that you will not pass over this heap and this pillar to me, for harm.
Gen 31:53 The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us." Then Jacob swore by the fear of his father, Isaac.
Gen 31:54 Jacob offered a sacrifice in the mountain, and called his relatives to eat bread. They ate bread, and stayed all night in the mountain.
Gen 31:55 Early in the morning, Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them. Laban departed and returned to his place.

Jan. 31 and Feb. 1
Matthew 16

Mat 16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him, asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
Mat 16:2 But he answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.'
Mat 16:3 In the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you can't discern the signs of the times!
Mat 16:4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there will be no sign given to it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah." He left them, and departed.
Mat 16:5 The disciples came to the other side and had forgotten to take bread.
Mat 16:6 Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Mat 16:7 They reasoned among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread."
Mat 16:8 Jesus, perceiving it, said, "Why do you reason among yourselves, you of little faith, 'because you have brought no bread?'
Mat 16:9 Don't you yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
Mat 16:10 Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
Mat 16:11 How is it that you don't perceive that I didn't speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Mat 16:12 Then they understood that he didn't tell them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Mat 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"
Mat 16:14 They said, "Some say John the Baptizer, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
Mat 16:15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Mat 16:16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Mat 16:17 Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 16:18 I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
Mat 16:19 I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven; and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven."
Mat 16:20 Then he commanded the disciples that they should tell no one that he is Jesus the Christ.
Mat 16:21 From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.
Mat 16:22 Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This will never be done to you."
Mat 16:23 But he turned, and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men."
Mat 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Mat 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
Mat 16:26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?
Mat 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.
Mat 16:28 Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom."

Zechariah - I Am Zealous For Zion (1:1-3:10) by Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

              Zechariah - I Am Zealous For Zion (1:1-3:10)


1. Following 70 years of Babylonian exile, Israel was allowed to return
   a. Precipitated by the decree of Cyrus, they returned to rebuild the
      temple - Ezra 1:1-5
   b. The first group of exiles were led by Zerubbabel - Ezra 2:1-2
   c. While they were quick to build the altar and the foundation of 
      the temple, resistance by adversaries soon resulted in a long
      delay - Ezra 4:1-5
   d. To encourage Zerubbabel and the others, God sent two prophets:  
      Haggai and Zechariah - Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14-15

2. Our previous study looked at the book of Haggai; now we begin our 
   study of Zechariah...
   a. Concerning the MAN
      1) His name means "Whom Jehovah Remembers"
      2) At least 27 men bear this name in the Old Testament
      3) Like Ezekiel, he was of priestly descent
      4) He was also called to be a prophet, to stir up the people in
         building the temple
   a. Concerning the MESSAGE
      1) He prophesied around 520-518 B.C. - cf. Zech 1:1,7; 7:1
      2) In view of these dates, his book can be thought of as a sequel
         to Haggai's book
      3) His book is the longest and most obscure of "The Minor 
         a) Considered by some as the most difficult in the O.T.
         b) Apocalyptic in nature; filled with symbolic visions, like
            Ezekiel and Daniel
         c) Very messianic in nature; comparative to Isaiah
         d) Should certainly be approached with humility
      4) The basic message and theme seems clear enough:  I Am Zealous
         For Zion - cf. Zech 1:14

[As we read through the book, we must keep in mind that the primary
purpose of Zechariah's preaching was to encourage the people in 
building the temple.  This will be especially helpful later on, when we
get into the "visions" of Zechariah.  But we notice that the book 
begins with...]


      1. Dated in the 8th month of the second year of Darius (520 B.C.)
         - Zech 1:1
      2. This places his prophecy between Haggai's 2nd and 3rd 
         prophecies - Hag 2:1,10
      3. Comparing this prophecy with Haggai's third suggests that 
         while the temple was being rebuilt, some repentance was still
         necessary - cf. Hag 2:14

      1. The Lord has been angry with their fathers (e.g., Babylonian
         captivity) - Zech 1:2
      2. The people need to return to the Lord to gain His favor - Zech 1:3; cf. Jm 4:8
      3. Don't be like their fathers, who ignored the prophets - Zech 1:4; cf. 2Ch 36:15-18
      4. Learn from their fathers, who learned things the hard way 
         - Zech 1:5-6

[The first message is certainly clear enough, and seems to complement
Haggai's third message. Then three months later, Zechariah had a series
of eight visions that occurred in one night...]


      1. Zechariah sees a man riding on a red horse among myrtle trees
         in a hollow, followed by red, sorrel, and white horses - Zech 1:7-9
      2. The horses are explained as sent by the Lord to walk 
         throughout the earth, who report (or perhaps those on them) 
         that the earth is resting quietly - Zech 1:10-11
      3. The "Angel of the Lord" asks how long will God not show mercy
         on Jerusalem and Judah - Zech 1:12
      4. The Lord responds with comforting words, which Zechariah is 
         told to proclaim - Zech 1:13-17
         a. Words describing the Lord's zeal for Jerusalem and Zion
         b. Words conveying God's anger at the nations 
      5. So while the nations may appear "at ease", their judgment is
         forthcoming and God will show mercy to Jerusalem
      -- The purpose of this vision (and the one to follow) appear to 
         confirm the promise made to Zerubbabel by Haggai - cf. Hag 2:
      1. Zechariah sees four horns that are identified as that which 
         scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem - Zech 1:18-19
      2. He is then shown four craftsmen, who will cast out the horns
         (nations) that scattered Judah - Zech 1:20-21
      -- This vision appears to confirm the promise made in the first
         vision; both visions designed to comfort the people who were
         building the temple!

      1. This vision appears to develop further the thought expressed
         in Zech 1:16c
      2. The FIRST PART of the vision indicates that Jerusalem would be
         inhabited to overflowing, and protected by the Lord - Zech 2:
      3. The SECOND PART calls for the dispersed Jews to return - Zech 2:6-9
         a. To flee from Babylon
         b. For the Lord is against such nations
      4. The THIRD PART proclaims the future joy of Zion and many 
         nations - Zech 2:10-12
         a. Fulfilled in part soon after the completion of the temple?
         b. Fulfilled in part with the coming of the Messiah?
      5. Finally, a call to all to be silent, for God is aroused (i.e.,
         is about to act!) - Zech 2:13
      -- This vision also appears designed to encourage the building of
         the temple!

      1. In the first part of the vision... - Zech 3:1-5
         a. Joshua, the high priest (cf. Hag 1:1), stands in filthy 
            garments before Satan and "the Angel of the Lord"
         b. Satan is rebuked, while Joshua is forgiven and clothed with
            rich robes, as "the Angel of the Lord" stands by
      2. In the second part of the vision... - Zech 3:6-10
         a. Joshua is admonished by "the Angel of the Lord"
         b. He is given conditions for serving as priest before God
         c. Joshua and his companions (the restored priesthood?) are a
            1) Of the coming Servant, the "Branch" 
            2) I.e., the coming Messiah - cf. Isa 11:1-2; Mt 2:23
         d. A stone is laid before Joshua
            1) Upon which are seven eyes
            2) Upon which the Lord will engrave its inscription
         e. The Lord promises the removal of iniquity, describing
            prosperity "in that day"
      -- This vision seems designed to encourage the re-establishment 
         of the priestly service in the temple, and it certainly has
         Messianic overtones


1. Remember that the context of these visions is the work of Zechariah
   and Haggai, who were sent to stir up the people to complete building
   the temple
   a. Exhorting them through messages calling the people to repentance
   b. Encouraging them by proclaiming the visions the Lord had revealed

2. This is not to discount the fact their messages and visions often
   had Messianic connotations...
   a. As so much of what happened in the Old Testament was a type of 
      what was to come
   b. And even these prophecies of Zechariah often appear to have a
      double fulfillment
      1) A fulfillment pertaining to the people of that day
      2) A fulfillment that was realized with the coming of the 
         Messiah, Jesus! - cf. Zech 3:8b

3. But we must be careful in seeking to understand these visions...
   a. Unless we have an inspired interpretation provided for us in the
      New Testament...
   b. We should use caution and humility in interpreting them outside
      of their context

We shall resume our study of Zechariah in the next lesson, in which we
will consider the remaining four of eight visions seen in one night...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011