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Presious Section - Chapter 9

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The Lord Will Come For Judah (ch. 10:1 – 11:3)


In verse 1 God says to Israel to ask the Lord for rain in the springtime because it is He who creates the storm clouds for men and the plants of the field for everyone.  Verse 1 is actually a carry over from the end of the previous chapter.  The rain will produce the crops needed in Israel during the thousand year rule of Jesus on earth, and it is God behind the rain.


Verse 2 starts a new topic.  It speaks of diviners and idols, and in the context it is speaking of idols and diviners within Israel, but not in Israel in Zechariah’s day since they had forsaken these idols.  It’s speaking of idol worship in pre-Babylonian exile days.  This is false worship and God was very unhappy with this.  Diviners are false prophets. They mislead people by foretelling the future that isn’t accurate. 


The idols spoken of here were family idols.  Many families had their own small and not so small idols that they worshipped.  They were actually the possession of the head of the family and were somewhat symbolic of his authority.  They were attempting to here from their God, but in the wrong way.  They felt their idols could be a means of worship to the God of Israel.  The church has similar idols today, especially so in Catholicism. 


The last half of verse 2 says that the people, that’s God’s people, are oppressed and are people without a shepherd. That is why they’ve turned to false idol worship.  They have no one to point out the right path to walk on.  So as the prophet says, “the comfort they get from these idols is in vain.”  It’s a false sense of security.


I know this passage is speaking to and about the Jews, but the church today in many respects is in the same condition.  Church leaders aren’t teaching  Biblical truth as much as they should and therefore their people are going astray.  The post-modernism movement that is infiltrating the church today is one such example. 


Verse 3 tells us how God feels.  He says that “His anger burns against these shepherds,” and He will surely “punish them.”  God does get angry with false and dishonest leaders who lead His people, whether they’re the Jews or the church.


The second part of verse 3 states that the Lord Almighty “will care for His flock, the house of Judah.”  I believe the word Judah here means all of Israel, not just the two southern tribes that existed at that time.  God will care for His people and they will be like a strong “horse in battle.”  This tells me that Israel will overcome their enemies at some point, and once again, the final fulfillment of this prophecy is at the return of their Messiah Jesus, at the end of this age.


Some people feel that the battle spoken of here has a twofold fulfillment.  It was first fulfilled in and around 167 B. C. when Antiochus the fourth went into Jerusalem, desecrated the temple with idol worship and tried to destroy the city.  The Jews ended up having some success at this point, but it wasn’t a lasting success.  They were soon overcome by the Roman Empire.  So the second fulfillment will take place at the end of this age.


Verse 4 says that from Judah will come the cornerstone, the tent peg, and the battle bow.  Most scholars say this represents Jesus.  He is often referred to as the cornerstone in the New Testament.  If He is the cornerstone, we must ask, “what building is He the cornerstone of ?”  Obviously the building was not built at the time these words were spoken.  Jesus is the cornerstone to the new building, a new family of God, that includes Gentile believers.  Yet He is also the cornerstone to the new community of redeemed Jews once He returns to this earth. This would be the context of what is being said here. This speaks of the Jews Messiah returning to them.


Verse 4 also says that every ruler will come from Judah.  It is clear that in the thousand year rule of Christ on earth, He will have many other secondary rulers scattered around the world to rule with Him.  The New Testament speaks of His people ruling with Him.


Verse 5 says that “together they will be like mighty men.”  The word “they” refers to Jesus and those ruling with Him.  Zechariah goes on to say that because the Lord is with them, meaning Israel, they will over throw their enemies.  They will do that to a small degree in the days of Antiochus the fourth, a couple hundred years later, But they will really do it for sure at the end of this age.


In verse 6 we see that the Lord will strengthen the house of Judah and the house of Joseph.  Judah is in reference to the southern kingdom of Israel while Joseph is in reference to the northern kingdom.  There’s no hint in history that both the northern and southern kingdoms were strengthened during the battle with Antiochus.  This is speaking of the end of this age when all tribes of Israel will be united in their land.


God then says, “I will restore them because I have compassion on then.”   God loves Israel. He has great compassion for them, even though they walk away from their God so often, yet in the end, God will restore these people to be the people they were meant to be.


The last part of verse 6 says that Israel will be as though God had never rejected them.  So it is clear, that God has rejected Israel at times.  There’s no doubt about that. Yet once again, in the end, God will restore Israel to such a place that all His past rejections will be forgotten, and everyone will live as though those rejections never took place.  The reason why God has rejected Israel, or even Christians today, is because of sin. 


Verse 7 speaks of the Ephraimites and their children rejoicing.  Ephraim was one of the ten northern tribes of Israel and when spoken of in the Old Testament as it is here, is often in reference to all of the northern kingdom, not just the one tribe. The northern ten tribes of Israel rebelled against God and were overthrown by the Assyrians around 922 B. C., but here we learn that even they will turn to God with rejoicing.


We learn in verse 8 that God will signal Ephraim and gather them in.  Some translations use such words as “hiss”.  This might suggest a secret signally of the Jews.  When we want to get someone’s attention without letting everyone know, sometime we make a quiet hissing sound and motion to them.  I believe this gathering of Ephraim, and all of the Jews is at the end of this age which has been taking place quietly over the last few decades.   To me, the gathering comes in two parts.  One is what has been taking place in recent decades, that is, Jews returning to their homeland.  They may not realize it, but they are returning back to Israel because they have been signaled by the Lord. 


The second wave of gathering comes when Jesus returns to the earth, when all Israel will be saved.  The remaining remnant of Jews will then return, and this will be a massive return of the Jews.


Verse 8 also tells us that at this time the number of Jews will be as high as they ever have been. 


In verse 9 God says that even though He has scattered the Jews throughout the world, they will remember their God and return to both Him and the land of Israel.  We see that even though other nations were the ones that scattered the Jews throughout the world, it was really God doing the scattering.  God was behind the Assyrians and Babylonians when they overthrew Israel and scattered them.  He might well have been behind Hitler’s killing of Jews as well.  Yet, His love towards Israel remains, and in the end, He will bring them back to that which is rightfully theirs.


Verse 10 says that there will not be room for them in Israel. That’s how many people will in fact return to Israel from Egypt and Assyria, which is symbolic of the rest of the world.  I’m sure God will solve this problem in the thousand year rule of Christ.


Verse 11 is a direct reference to the Great Tribulation.  God says that Israel will pass through the seas of trouble.  The final Great Tribulation is often called Jacobs Trials.  Even though these trials come upon the Jews that subsequently spill over to the rest of the world, the Jews will get through them.  God says that the “surging sea will be subdued.”  The surging sea is the sea of troubles caused by the nations of the world.


Verse 11 continues by saying that “Assyria’s pride will be brought down and Egypt ’s scepter will pass away.”   Once again these two countries, although centuries apart in history, are symbolic of the nations of the world in the last great world empire. All these nations that come against will be brought down to nothing and their scepter of authority will give way to the authority of Jesus.


Verse 12 is simple.  God basically says that He will do this.  If God says that He will do it, He will.  That’s the end of the story.


Chapter 11 verses 1 to 3 gives a picture of the fall of Lebanon.  Lebanon in the Old Testament is a picture of strength and productivity.  It had great forests where  trees were cut into timber for all of the middle east.  But in the final day of the Lord, Lebanon will be cut to the ground along with Egypt and Assyria.

Next Section - Chapter 11

Presious Section - Chapter 9

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