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Zechariah 12 Commentary

It has been a while since I have posted anything on here. The virus has kept me extremely busy and I’ve spent my time focusing on being the hands and feet rather than studying the Word of God. But I’ve been granted some brief downtime and that is giving me the opportunity to exegete Zechariah 12, which is a very timely chapter based on this week being Easter.

If you are looking for a church service this weekend, our church would be more than happy to have you “join” in livestream. Go to fcbc.church to watch. We are available for watching on the following:

Good Friday at 7 PM, 4/10

Sunday Sunrise at 6:30 AM, 4/12

Sunday at 10:30 PM, 4/12

As we finish out the book of Zechariah, the final 3 chapters deal with the final oracle, or burden, that Zechariah presents. This book ends in hope as we see, over these last 3 chapters, the restoration of God’s people.

Zechariah 12:1 – The oracle of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:

This chapter begins with an explanation that God created the heavens, the earth and man. This is being explained to show that “He who has started a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

Some versions call this a burden, not an oracle. This burden shows that there will be some significantly bad happening before the restoration of God’s people.

Zechariah 12:2 – “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah.

Whenever God says he is about to make a “cup” of something, you know God is about to bring wrath (Isaiah and Jeremiah specifically show this). The cup of staggering, or trembling as other translations have, shows that God is going to make Jerusalem something that they will covet and, yet, it will be as they are intoxicated with it.

The Muslim world desires Jerusalem. It is the third holiest of cities in the Muslim world. It is where the Dome of the Rock is. But Jerusalem will remain protected by God.

Zechariah 12:3 – On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.

I can’t help but think about the first question I was asked when I started seminary about 10 years ago: If God is all powerful, can He create a rock that He cannot lift. While that question is circular in nature and meant to trick you into saying something you may not believe, God is pretty clear on the stone that Jerusalem will become.

This stone will be heavy. Not only can we not lift it, but anyone that tries will hurt themselves. Some translations say “all who try to lift it will be cut to pieces.” This shows that God’s hand is on Jerusalem and that anyone that comes against them will be injured.

And who wants to come against Jerusalem? The next sentence tells us that all the nations of the earth seek to destroy it.

Zechariah 12:4 – On that day, declares the Lord, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.

Horses are symbols of strength and power. In Deuteronomy 28 we find that the curses that were for Israel are now curses that will be put on Israel’s enemies.

God is telling us that He is looking out for His people.

Zechariah 12:5 – Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God.’

This is the moment that God’s people realize that He has always been for them. They see that their power comes from their God, not themselves.

Zechariah 12:6 – “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem.

God is showing us the power that He will give to His people. This power comes through God’s glory as we will see in the next verse.

Zechariah 12:7 – “And the Lord will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah.

It is interesting that God is saving the “tents of Judah first.” This means that God is not starting with the fortified city. He is starting with the countryside. This is being done to show God’s glory.

Zechariah 12:8 – On that day the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, going before them.

1 Samuel 18 tells us that David was the greatest soldier in Israel’s history. The weakest person in Jerusalem will become like David.

And then the entire house of David will find that they have been given a supernatural, superhuman strength.

This verse makes me think of 1 Corinthians 1:25. Especially as I write this under a stay-at-home order from the government because of the virus that is plaguing the world. As a full-time ministry worker who is seen as non-essential by our government, I find that I have had to defy the orders on occasion in order to see people fed, to get groceries for people who have lost their income, or to simply take time praying with people, placing my arms around them or hands on them. In worldly terms, this is all foolish. But God’s foolishness is wiser than men.

Zechariah 12:9 – And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

This could be the battle of Armageddon. You see throughout the Bible a lot of “seek to” phrases. In human terms, this is something that is attempted to be done but is always bent under the will of God. With God, when He seeks to do something, all His promises are “yes and amen.”

Zechariah 12:10 –  “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

I love this verse! This verse is the story of anyone’s life who has converted to Christ. When Christ came the first time, His people didn’t recognize Him as the Messiah and they pierced Him. This time, they see the hurt they have caused Him and mourn and weep for Him.

Think of Saul on the Damascus road. This is the same effect that realization has on a person.

Zechariah 12:11 – On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

King Josiah was killed in Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. It was the death of Josiah that was the last straw before Judah had lost hope.

Zechariah 12:12 – The land shall mourn, each family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves;

Verses 12 through 14 show the impact on both the royal (house of David & Nathan) and priestly (house of Levi and Shimei). In verse 12 we see the entire land mourning. Not just the seats of power, but all of God’s people.

Men and women will mourn separately as is the tradition of the Jews in public worship.

Zechariah 12:13 – the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves;

Both the royal and priestly lines are the ones leading the mourning. In the past, both lines were corrupted and led Israel in evil deeds. They will be leading the nation in repentance.

Zechariah 12:14 – and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves.

The entire nation will be reborn in a single moment. Think of Isaiah 66:8. They will all be mourning separately, overcome by the grief of killing of the Messiah the first time.

While Jews are predominantly discussed here, the Gentile can also take heed. We all share the guilt of the crucifixion. We also shall share in the salvation that comes in repentance.

Unity or Heresy, Part 13 – Conclusion Part 3

We are almost to the end of this series.  This week I will look at those items which speak to the nature of God.  This means that one cannot turn away from these and still be considered Christian.  Again, much of this is taken directly from the denominational websites.  Color coded for ease of translation.  RED is significant heresy while YELLOW is heresy that could lead to lack of Christian status for the church.

God exists in the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
Roman Catholic – “Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: ‘the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.’ In this Trinity of Persons the Son is begotten of the Father by an eternal generation, and the Holy Spirit proceeds by an eternal procession from the Father and the Son. Yet, notwithstanding this difference as to origin, the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent.

Eastern Orthodox – We believe that the Father, who is the Source of all that exists, always has His Son and His Spirit who are not creatures, Who were not made like everything and everyone else, but Who exist eternally with Him; from, in and by His very own divine being.

Mormon – The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. “That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man,” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35).

Jehovah’s Witness – There is no Trinity, Let God be True, 2nd Ed., pp. 100-101; Should You Believe in the Trinity? p. 7; Watchtower, 2/1/1960, p. 94, Why Do You Believe in the Trinity?

7th Day Adventist – There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present.

Christian Science – The unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is Life, Truth, and Love. Jesus, the Messiah, is divine, not a deity.

Anglican/Episcopalian – And in unity of this Godhead there are three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Pentecostal/Charismatic – There is one God, who has revealed Himself as our Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and as the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is God manifested in flesh. He is both God and man.

Holiness/Holy – And in the unity of this Godhead, there are three Persons of one substance of eternal being, and equal in holiness, justice, wisdom, power, and dignity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Assemblies of God – We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God who is One Lord, as a trinity or as one Being of three persons …”

Disciples of Christ – Disciples of Christ profess God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in their Confession, and they baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Church members are allowed freedom of opinion on this and other doctrines and are expected to give others that same freedom.

Quaker – Friends believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, although belief in the roles each Person plays vary widely among Quakers.

Foursquare Gospel – and that in the unity of the Godhead there are three, equal in every divine perfection executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.

Salvation Army – We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.

Christian Reform – A quick look at the structure of the Apostles’ Creed reveals one of the bedrock truths of the Christian faith: the Trinity. The creed is divided into three parts: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All Christians believe that the Bible reveals one God in three “persons.” In other words, God is a perfect community of love.

Full Gospel – varies

Apostolic – There is one eternal God, the Creator of all things, who exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Mennonite – We worship the one holy and loving God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit eternally.

Brethren – In the name of God, we declare and confess before men that we believe in the only true God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; that these three are one–the Father in the Son, the Son in the Father, and the Holy Ghost equal in essence or being with both; that this triune God created the heavens and the earth and all that in them is, visible as well as invisible, and furthermore sustains, governs, protects, and supports the same.

Nazarene – We believe in one God-the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Church of God – In one God eternally existing in three persons; namely, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Church of Christ- We believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, the manifestation of God in flesh, who lived, suffered, and died for all mankind; whom we own as our only Leader, Witness and Commander.

United Church of Christ – We believe in the triune God: Creator, resurrected Christ, the sole Head of the church, and the Holy Spirit, who guides and brings about the creative and redemptive work of God in the world.

Presbyterian – He exists eternally as one God in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—a mystery beyond our understanding, but not a contradiction.

Lutheran – “We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.”

Methodist – When we say the Apostles’ Creed, we join with millions of Christians through the ages in an understanding of God as a Trinity—three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Baptist – The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

Evangelical/Non-Denominational – varies

Matthew 1:20-23 – But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ”The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”– which means, “God with us.”

The virgin birth of Jesus – this relates to the incarnation of Christ as both God and man

Roman Catholic – From conception, Mary was without original sin (Immaculate Conception). Mary is the “Mother of God.” Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus, when she gave birth, and remained a virgin throughout her life. (this is yellow because of the remaining a virgin her whole life piece…Matt 1:25, is pretty clear about that)

Eastern Orthodox – http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/theotokos.aspx

Mormon – “The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood – was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115).

Jehovah’s Witness – Jesus took on human form as the man Jesus by means of a virgin birth.

7th Day Adventist – He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary

Christian Science – They believe in the virgin birth

Anglican/Episcopalian – Anglicans believe Jesus was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary was a virgin both when she conceived Jesus and when she gave birth. “They … have difficulties with Catholic belief in her immaculate conception – the idea … that Mary was free from the stain of original sin from the moment of her own conception …”

Pentecostal/Charismatic – The one true God, the Jehovah of the Old Testament, took upon Himself the form of man, and as the Son of man, was born of the virgin Mary.

Holiness/Holy – We believe that the Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed virgin

Assemblies of God – Mary was a virgin both when she conceived Jesus and when she gave birth. (Luke 1:34-38). Though “highly favored” by God (Luke 1:28), Mary was human and conceived in sin.

Disciples of Christ – Beliefs vary from congregation to congregation and among individuals concerning the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the existence of heaven and hell, and God’s plan of salvation.

Quaker – Some, but not all Quakers, view the doctrine of Jesus’ and the virgin birth as nonessential and not accepted as fact.

Foursquare Gospel – Co-existent and co-eternal with the Father, who, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary

Salvation Army – The Virgin Birth illuminates our understanding of the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. It asserts his divinity as well as his advent in time as a man, made in the image of God. It reminds us that Jesus is both like us and unlike us.

Christian Reform – who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.

Full Gospel – varies

Apostolic – Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life.

Mennonite – We acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only Son of God, the Word of God incarnate. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

Brethren – We believe in Jesus Christ; that He is very God and man; that He became incarnate by the power of the Holy Ghost in the Virgin Mary and was born of her;

Nazarene – While He is God, He is also human. Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary when the power of the Holy Spirit came upon her (Luke 1:26-35). In Him, the nature of God and the nature of humanity are united in one Person (Colossians 1:19-20).

Church of God – That Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary.

Church of Christ – The statement in Isaiah 7:14 is taken as a prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ. New Testament passages such as Matthew 1:20, 25, are accepted at face value as declarations of the virgin birth. Christ is accepted as the only begotten Son of God, uniting in his person perfect divinity and perfect manhood.

United Church of Christ – There is nothing on their website discussing the virgin birth.

Presbyterian – Jesus was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary is honored as “God-bearer” and a model for Christians.

Lutheran – Jesus was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary was a virgin both when she conceived Jesus and when she gave birth.

Methodist – Mary was a virgin both when she conceived Jesus and when she gave birth. The United Methodist Church does not subscribe to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception – that Mary herself was conceived without original sin.

Baptist – Mary was a virgin both when she conceived Jesus and when she gave birth. (Luke 1:34-38). Though “highly favored” by God (Luke 1:28), Mary was human and conceived in sin.

Evangelical/Non-Denominational – varies

Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

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