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The Lord Promises To Bless Jerusalem (ch.8:1 - 23)


In verses 1 and 2 we see God Almighty speak through Zechariah once again.  God says that He is very jealous, even “burning with jealousy for Zion.  Many may struggle over these words.  They have a hard time picturing God as being jealous, but they fail to understand that God’s jealousy isn’t necessarily like human jealousy.  There might well be two types of jealousy.  One is based on an unhealthy possessiveness.  The other is based on true love.  As a husband loves his wife, he does not and should not share her with another man.  This jealousy is based on true love.  It is this jealousy that God is jealous for Zion.


God is jealous for His people, and even for the city of Jerusalem as we’ve seen elsewhere.  The question arises, “is God still jealous for Israel and Jerusalem, or has that changed since the cross, as some teach?”  It is my thinking that God remains jealous for the Jews, for their land and their city of Jerusalem.  I don’t believe His promises, or the way He feels and thinks about these things have ever changed.  I believe that Israel has a part to play in prophetic history.


In verse 3 God says that He will return to Zion and He will dwell, or live in Jerusalem.  We ask, “has this happened as yet?”  No, God has not returned to live in Jerusalem.  Once again, some view this as being fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when God, by His Spirit came to dwell in and among His people, but I don’t think this is the case.  I think God is speaking about literal Jerusalem.  He will come at the end of the age in the person of Jesus and live and rule from the holy city of Jerusalem.


At this time, as verse 3 states, Jerusalem will then be called the “City of Truth”.  It’s far from being such a city now. It’s divided and full of false truth.  Also in that day the mountain of the Lord will be called Holy.  This might well refer to Mount Zion, or is often the case, the word mountain is symbolic of a nation.  This would then mean that God’s nation will be holy, and holy it will be, as it will rule over the other nations of the earth, both in the thousand years of peace and into the new earth as seen at the end of Revelation.


Verses 4 and 5 picture a vibrant city of Jerusalem in the days when God through Jesus will live there.  Children will be playing in the streets.  Old men and women with canes will be resting in peace as they watch the children play.  You might ask, why these older people need canes in the thousand years of peace when Jesus rules the earth.  At this point I’m not sure the answer to this question.  These people might well be Jews who have survived the Great Tribulation, and as yet do not have glorified bodies.  Their glorified bodies will come at the end of the thousand years. 


At this point we need to make a distinction between the thousand years of the peaceful rule of Jesus on earth and the coming of the new earth at the end of the thousand years. It appears to me that life during this thousand years will be much like our life today, except their will be peace on earth.  The total change that comes to the world comes in the new earth as seen at the end of the book of Revelation.  That being said, it does appear that those who return with Jesus to earth to live during the thousand years will have their glorified bodies at that time.  


In verse 6 God says that this future Jerusalem will seem marvelous to the people of the city.  That is to be expected for the city of Jerusalem has been a battleground for centuries, but during the thousand years of world peace, Jerusalem will be an amazing city.  Yet God asks another question here.  He asks, “will it be marvelous to me?”  The answer seems to be implied.  It will not be as marvelous to God as it is to mankind because He is fully aware of how Jerusalem will be.  It’s no surprise to Him.


In verse 7 we see that in this future time, God will save His people the Jews from the countries of the east and west.  There might well be a couple ways of looking at this.  Some might suggest that east and west is generic, symbolic of the whole earth, because at the end of this age, Israel will find enemies on all sides.  As a matter of fact, most of the world will be against Israel.


Yet it is interesting to me that God doesn’t say north and south.  North would apply to Babylon, and south would apply to Egypt.  Both of these empires are symbolic of the world and its systems and government.  I could see how Israel could be rescued from the north and the south, the nations of the world, but God says from the east and from the west.  The east might well represent eastern Muslim countries such as Iran.  The west might well represent western nations like the United States who will turn their backs on Israel.


In verse 8 God says that He will bring His people back into Jerusalem.  I believe we’ve seen the beginning of this.  Israel became a nation in 1948, and the Jews won back Jerusalem in 1967.  Yet I think this verse speaks of more than what has been taking place in recent years.  I see at the return of Jesus a mass influx of Jews into Israel , and into Jerusalem. All Jews everywhere will return to the nation and the city of their God.


In verse 9 God speaks to the present situation of Zechariah’s day.  He says that the Jews now hear the word of the Lord through the prophets who were there when the foundation of the house of God was laid.  I believe the prophets spoken of here are Zechariah and Haggai.  The only other possibility would be those prophets who were present when the first temple was laid.  But I believe God is speaking of Zechariah and Haggai because the last phrase in the verse is an encouragement for the present temple to be completely built.  They had already built the foundation.  At this point they needed to get back to work and finish the rest of the temple.


Verses 10 and 11 jump into future prophecy again.  Before we look at it though I‘ll suggest a secondary meaning to verse 9.  It’s only a suggestion.  I’m not saying it’s a correct interpretation.  As is often is the case, prophecy has secondary meanings.  These words of encouragement might also be directed towards those Jews to come who will help rebuild the temple in Jerusalem for Jesus to rule from in the thousand years of world peace.  Prior to that verses 10 and 11 come into play. 


In verses 10 and 11 God says that neither man or beast will receive wages prior to the rebuilt temple because God Himself causes neighbors to turn their backs on one another.  This might well be the picture of the Great Tribulation where there is war and upheaval everywhere, all of God’s doing.  During this time period Israel could not do business.  Yet verse 11 says that this will all end.  God’s dealing with Israel in this negative way, which is judgment, will end.  Punishment for their sins will finally come to an end once and for all.


Verse 11 speaks of the “remnant.”  This is the remnant of Israel that will be saved that Paul speaks about in his discourse on Israel in Rom. 9 through 11.


Verse 12 speaks of future prosperity for Israel.  It will be a time when agriculture will flourish and do well.  It will be the golden age of the Jews, that surpasses any other golden age they might have seen in days  gone by.


Verse 13 says that Israel will no longer be a curse among the nations, but it will be a blessing to all and will be blessed by all.  Israel in that day will take the lead over other nations of the world.  You will remember the Law of Moses saying that if Israel would follow the laws they’d be blessed, but if they didn’t, they’d be cursed.  They’ve been cursed for generations, but the day of cursing will come to an end and the days of blessing will return to the nation.


We see God’s determination in verses 13 and 14.  He said that He was determined to show His anger in judgment against rebellious Israel.  And that He has certainly done over the years. But the story doesn’t end there.  God is just as determined to do good to the remnant of Israel in the thousand year rule of Jesus from Jerusalem.


In light of the good things God will do for Israel He states certain things He wants them to do in verses 16 and 17.  These things apply to Israel, God’s people, but they can also be applied to God’s New Testament people as well. 


In verse 16 God says, “speak truth to each other.”  Speaking truth would be a real encouragement.  Yet before they can speak the truth, they must know the truth.  The same would apply to us today.  We should be speaking truth to each other, but the problem is that many Christians are not familiar with Biblical truth in order to speak to their brothers.


The next thing God says to “render true and sound judgment in court”. I’m sure nations everywhere can learn from this one. 


What we see here in these things God wants Israel to do, is what will be done in the thousand years when Jesus will rule from Jerusalem.


In verse 17 God says not to swear falsely or think evil of one another.  He says that He hates these things.     


In verse 18 God says that the fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months will turn into celebrations.  Remember, these fasts were man made fasts.  They weren’t stipulated in the Law of Moses.  So these man made rituals turn from a depressing time into a joyous time.  This too is futuristic of the thousand years to come.  So God continues to say, because of this Israel is to love both truth and peace.  I think truth and peace go together. You can’t have one without the other.  I think history has demonstrated that.


Verses 20 to 22 continues to show us a picture of the thousand years of Jesus’ rule.  God says that nations and cities, and peoples, will all come to Jerusalem to seek out the Lord.  Jerusalem will be the center of the earth, the capital of the earth.  Jesus will rule from there.  He’ll be both King and Priest, and all the nations will come and learn in the city of our God.


Verse 23 closes this chapter and our vision of the thousand years of Jesus’ rule.  God says that in that day ten men from many languages will run and grab hold of the garments of one Jew because their God is with then. This tells us that the Jews will have a real place of ministry to the rest of the world.  The thousand years will be a time of peoples and nations all around the world finding the truth of Jesus and being taught by the Jews.


This chapter tells us one important thing about the thousand year rule of Jesus on earth.  It tells us that the Jews will be of foremost importance.  The church age is over, and now the Jews are back in the spotlight.  

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