"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Zechariah - I Am Zealous For Zion (12:1-14:21) INTRODUCTION 1. With this final lesson on the book of Zechariah, we come to the second of two "burdens" which make up the last six chapters... a. The first "burden" was against Israel's enemies, though it also spoke of Israel's hope for the future - cf. Zech 9:1-2,9-10 b. This second "burden" is against Israel herself, though it too speaks of a glorious future for Jerusalem - cf. Zech 12:1;14:8-11 2. As previously mentioned, these last chapters are among the most difficult in the Bible... a. Some look for a literal fulfillment of what is described, concluding it has yet to come b. Others suggest this section is figurative, and is fulfilled with the coming of Christ and His kingdom, the church 3. I confess I am challenged by this section of Scripture; what I will do in this lesson is: a. Briefly survey the main points presented in Zechariah's prophecy b. Offer some thoughts as to what this prophecy refers to [As we have seen from the very beginning, the main theme of the book is "I Am Zealous For Zion" (cf. Zech 1:14). This last section certainly resounds with that theme as it describes...] I. THE FUTURE OF JERUSALEM A. THE LORD'S CARE FOR JERUSALEM... 1. Jerusalem is depicted in some future time as under siege by the nations - Zech 12:1-9 2. "In that day" (12:3,4), the Lord will use Jerusalem: a. As a "cup of drunkenness" to all the surrounding peoples b. As a "very heavy stone" for all peoples -- I.e., Jerusalem will be a means by which God judges the nations 3. "In that day" (12:6,8,9), the Lord will defend Jerusalem, and destroy her enemies B. THE LORD'S CLEANSING FOR JERUSALEM... 1. Cleansed from her sins - Zech 12:10-13:6 a. The Lord will pour out on Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication b. They will look on Him whom they have pierced, and mourn "in that day" (12:11) as they did when Josiah died - cf. 2 Chr 35:20-25 c. "In that day" (13:1,2,4), the Lord will... 1) Open a fountain for sin and for uncleanness 2) Cut off the idols from the land 3) Cause the prophets and unclean spirit to depart from the land, prompting... a) Parents to kill their sons who dare to prophesy b) Those who prophesy to be ashamed and admit they are not prophets 2. Refined through persecution - Zech 13:7-9 a. The Shepherd will be struck and His sheep scattered - cf. Mt 26:31-32 b. But the Lord will use this to refine and test the people of God - cf. He 12:3-11 C. THE LORD'S DELIVERANCE FOR JERUSALEM... 1. "The day of the Lord" is coming when the Lord will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem - Zech 14:1-3 a. The city will be taken and rifled, the women ravished b. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant will not be cut off 2. But then the Lord go forth and fight against those nations - Zech 14:4-7 a. He will stand on the Mount of Olives, which will cause a great valley b. Through the valley the people will flee for safety c. "In that day" (14:6) there will be no light until evening D. THE LORD'S GLORY FOR JERUSALEM... 1. What is said of Jerusalem "in that day" (14:8,9) - Zech 14:8-11 a. Living waters shall flow from Jerusalem both east and west, summer and winter b. The Lord will be King over all the earth c. The land from Geba (6 mi. NE of Jerusalem) to Rimmon (35 mi. SW of Jerusalem) will be turned into a plain, while Jerusalem will be built up and safely inhabited 2. What is said of Jerusalem's enemies "in that day" (14:13)- Zech 14:12-15 a. The Lord will strike them with a plague b. The Lord will send a great panic among them c. Judah will fight for Jerusalem, with the wealth of the nations gathered d. The plague will afflict even the animals 3. What is said of Jerusalem "in that day" (14:20,21), continued- Zech 14:16-21 a. Those of the nations which remain will worship the King, the LORD of hosts and keep the Feast of Tabernacles b. Those who do not will experience drought and the plague c. "Holiness to the Lord" will be engraved on the bells of the horses - cf. Exo 28:36-38 d. The pots in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of Hosts e. There shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts [Can you see why it has been said that these last six chapters are among the most difficult in the Bible? What is this talking about? Has it been fulfilled?] II. SOME PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS A. THIS SECTION NATURALLY RAISES QUESTIONS... 1. Are we to expect a literal or figurative fulfillment? 2. Was it fulfilled at the beginning of the Messianic period?(His first coming) 3. Or is it to be fulfilled toward the end of the Messianic period? (His second coming) B. SOME THOUGHTS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION... 1. As mentioned previously, I recommend the following regarding OT prophecy: a. Where the inspired writers of the NT have provided inspired interpretation, we should certainly hold to what they wrote b. But with prophecies of the OT where NT writers have not commented, we should be very cautious 1) We can offer our understanding as to what they pertain 2) But we should abstain from developing doctrines or practices based upon our uninspired interpretations of such prophecies 3) Indeed, many false doctrines and cults are based upon speculative interpretations of OT prophecies 2. Those who believe in a literal fulfillment say it is yet to be fulfilled a. The pre-millenialist, for example, believes this section pertains to events surrounding literal Jerusalem just prior to the coming of Christ b. But what little is quoted by Jesus and NT writers is applied to His first coming 1) Compare Zech 13:7 with Mt 26:31-32; Mk 14:27 2) Compare Zech 12:10 with Jn 19:37 3. I believe this section is intended to be understood figuratively a. For that is how inspired men in the NT often explained OT prophecy; e.g.... 1) Notice how James applied Amos 9:11-12 2) He applied the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David to the establishment of the church - cf. Ac 15:14-17 b. If so, then Jerusalem throughout this section should be understood as the church 1) As seen in He 12:22-24 2) That the Lord is illustrating how His care, cleansing, deliverance and glory for His people would continue 3) But it is written in terms meaningful to the people of Zechariah's day 4. I am not closed to the idea that there may be futuristic elements of this prophecy a. For Peter indicates that some of Isaiah's prophecies were yet to be fulfilled - cf. 2Pe 3:13-14 with Isa 65:17-19; 66:22 b. But if there are, I would tend to view Zechariah's prophecy in the same time frame as Re 20:7-22:25 1) I.e., a depiction of the church in its last tribulation and ultimate glory 2) In which both Zechariah and John describe it in terms particularly meaningful to the people of their day CONCLUSION 1. While the book of Zechariah may continue to challenge us, its main purpose is evident... a. Zechariah was sent to encourage the people of God b. This he did, through visions, teachings, and prophecies c. His theme throughout is the same: "I Am Zealous For Zion" 2. As Christians in the church of our Lord... a. We have come to "Mt Zion and to the City of living God, the heavenly Jerusalem"
- He 12:22 b. We can rest assured that regarding His church today the Lord is still "zealous for Zion"! In light of the wonderful truth expressed by Paul... Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ep 2:19-22) ...may we be diligent in building the "temple" (church) of the Lord today!