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Communion Presbyterian Church ARP

Then the Word of the Lord Came -- Zechariah 6,7,8

6:9 And the word of the LORD came to me:

àThe Word of the Lord came to = Abraham, Samuel, Nathan, the prophet Gad (David’s seer), David, Solomon, Jehu, Elijah, a prophet in Judah, Isaiah, Shemaiah the man of God, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Jonah, Micah, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Zechariah – the last use of that phrase is given to Zechariah…

à “no more visions!”  Just words now!

 

10 "Take from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah. 11 Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 And say to him, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.

à More returning from Babylon, but we’re not too sure who they are.  Some rabbinic literature states that these people are related to the royal line of King David.  Until we learn more, it is speculation, but an interesting notion for what is asked of them – to make a crown for a priest!  Priests wear turbans, not crowns – priests are not a part of the lineage of royalty.  So making a priest a king is not an historic precedent – but one is being established for a future ruler known as The Branch.

à Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, & Zechariah declare that a righteous branch, a sprout from the root of King David will come to establish himself as the final messiah of the Lord.  Zechariah informs us that a part of his mission is to ‘build the temple.’  This is unique to Zechariah but reminds us of our context: it’s nearly two decades, the work on the temple is only plodding along with the help of volunteers who have earlier returned from the captivity of Babylon.  But someone important, someone who is the prophesied BRANCH, will build a temple!  Who might this BRANCH really be?

à Well from the book of Genesis, from the earliest blessing from Jacob upon the tribe of Judah, we have been awaiting the one who would possess a ‘royal scepter and be a choice vine’ – we know that the one who truly builds a temple for the Lord, is the man who defended the true purpose of the temple in the gospels when he chased out the money changers and declared that this house would be a place of prayer for ALL NATIONS!

à It is Jesus the Messiah who is the BRANCH, and his building and influence surrounds the globe.  No one is an alien to this New Temple, because we have all been joined together in Christ to become the new dwelling place of God!

 

13 It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."' 14 And the crown shall be in the temple of the LORD as a reminder to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. 15 "And those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the LORD. And you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God."

à So again, Joshua is elevated by Zechariah with Messianic language to be a REMINDER, as earlier, he was a SIGN (3/8), of the BRANCH who was to come!

 

Zech 7 & 8

A  -- People coming to Jeruslem with concern for worship

            B – Questions about fasting

                        C – Fore Fathers’ rebellion

                                    D – Judgment against Fore Fathers

                                                E – God’s Zeal for Zion

                                    D’ – Salvation for remnant

                        C’ – Remnants new conduct

            B’ – New context for feasting

A’ – People coming to Jerusalem with desire to worship

 

 

7:1 In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev. 2 Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men to entreat the favor of the LORD, 3 saying to the priests of the house of the LORD of hosts and the prophets, "Should I weep and abstain in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?"

à The fast in the fifth month remembered the destruction of the temple (2 Kings 25:8-9). Zechariah also mentions a fast in the seventh month (Zechariah 7:5), which remembered the murder of Gedaliah, the last act of rebellion against the Babylonian governor of Judah (2 Kings 25:25).

 

4 Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me: 5 "Say to all the people of the land and the priests, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? 6 And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? 7 Were not these the words that the LORD proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, with her cities around her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?"

à How difficult it is to practice religion without serving yourself! …

 

8 And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, 9 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart."

à What is this?  These are expressions of the law of God.  Something that resonates within us as being standards that any sane society should keep. But also, the very corners we would like to cut if they might bring us some advantage… after all, survival of the fittest! 

à It is embarrassing to think that God would have to outline clearly for his covenant people how we should care and defend the weak and disadvantaged… but it is a repeated refrain in the OT!  Israel forgot that they were a family intended to care for one another; but sinfulness would make them oppressive and merciless to those who needed it most – that’s sick!

à From the very Garden of Eden, ever before it had been codified on Mount Sinai, God had revealed a Moral Law!  Ethics and behaviors and convictions we know to be true because we know that a God with standards exists!  And though these laws speak volumes about the goodness of God and the protection of relationships; we are constantly tempted to ignore these laws, and in the end convinced they really restrict our pursuit of happiness.

à But as it has been said, you can’t break these laws – they serve to break YOU.  And wanton disregard of Biblical morality brings destruction to every captain who thought that a compass was too restrictive – it always leads to a shipwreck!

à Zechariah documents the process by which people wander from true commitments…

11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. 12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets.

à This is why judgment from God is just.  It wasn’t that they just refused to acknowledge the law; but when God sent them someone to warn them of the impending peril, they despised their message – a nagging back-seat driver! 

 

Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts. 13 "As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear," says the LORD of hosts,

à Godly quid pro quo

 

14 "and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate."

à The judgment of God was evidenced by the people being out of the land, land being fruitless!  This is how God had treated the fore fathers of the present remnant, and they knew this as an historical fact.  And here is Zechariah standing before them reminding them of God’s consistent dealings with the faithful and the rebellious

à Psalm 11:5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

 

8:1 And the word of the LORD of hosts came, saying, 2 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. 3 Thus says the LORD: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain.

à Highlight of Zechariah’s message starting at chapter 7, and it is despite past failings, God is still very passionate for a holy and faithful dwelling!

à Prophetic motif of judgment, but not beyond extinction, because God has made a covenant promise to the descendants of Abraham to make them flourish – so even after the most depressing passages of judgment from God an expression of the future hope is expressed for a people who will share in the glories of a revitalized Israel!

à Zion

à God dwelling in their midst is the culmination of the JEH

à Faithful and Holy – because in the past, it never bore that distinction – one day it will!

 

4 Thus says the LORD of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. 5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.

à Love this!  Let the children play! 

 

6 Thus says the LORD of hosts: If it is marvelous in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my sight, declares the LORD of hosts?

à Positive Quid pro Quo

 

7 Thus says the LORD of hosts: behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, 8 and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness."

à The reaffirmation of God to a covenant people who had been rebellious and stiff-necked – who had encountered trial and judgments, who had returned but to nothing great yet –hearing the renewal of the covenant promise of God: I WILL be your God, and YOU WILL be my people, and the promises of future glory in this place will be known to a faithful remnant!

 

9 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Let your hands be strong, you who in these days have been hearing these words from the mouth of the prophets who were present on the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. 10 For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in, for I set every man against his neighbor. (sounds like OSHA was involved…)  11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the LORD of hosts. 12 For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13 And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel,

à The remnant will be a new people of Israel and the foreign nations who trust in Jesus – listen to how the faithful, future, and eternal remnant is described that can only be properly understood as the Bride of Christ—the church of Jesus

 

so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong." 14 For thus says the LORD of hosts: "As I purposed to bring disaster to you when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the LORD of hosts, 15 so again have I purposed in these days to bring good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; fear not. 16 These are the things that you shall do:

à New kind of remnant with a new kind of conviction.  God is saying that I SHALL have a people LIKE THIS.  How can He guarantee that with people like us?

 

Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD."

à A new remnant of people who will know equally well what God loves and what God hates!

 

18 And the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, 19 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts.

à I have your answer to the fasting question earlier… You won’t have to worry about fasting anymore because you’ll be a part of a huge celebration!

 

Therefore love truth and peace. 20 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, 'Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD and to seek the LORD of hosts; I myself am going.' 22 Many peoples and strong nations (numerous Goyim, Gentiles) shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD. 23 Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, 'Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'"

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