TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- – ZECHARIAH 12:1-13:9

Chapter 12 begins with the second ‘oracle’, or ‘prophetic burden’. Zechariah makes the Divine Authorship clear. This is the word of the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him. Zechariah affirms God’s sovereign authority and power. The subject is Israel’s future.

Zechariah repeats the expression “On that day” 7 times in Chapter 12 and 3 more times in Chapter 13. He is referencing ‘the day of the Lord’, the decisive events that bring judgment upon the unbelieving world and culminate with the return of Christ and the establishment of His kingdom on earth.

Once again, Jerusalem is the center stage for the drama of redemption as history comes to its climax. The city was founded on the mountains of Moriah (‘seen of God’), where God promised to provide Himself as the Substitute for Abraham’s son, Isaac. He would do this in the person of His only Son, Jesus. Centuries later, King David would purchase the same ground, then the threshing floor of Araunah, to make a sacrifice to stay the hand of God’s wrath from bringing judgment on His people for David’s sin. This would be the property for the construction of Solomon’s temple, the Lord’s dwelling place. It would be to Jerusalem that God Incarnate would prove to be the fulfillment of all the ‘place-holding’ sacrifices for the Perfect offering when He offered Himself on the same shelf of Moriah’s stage, Mt. Calvary.

Jerusalem is mentioned 52 times in the Book of Zechariah, 22 times in the final three chapters. Throughout the Scriptures, we have evidence of God’s yearning heart for His people expressed in his love for Jerusalem.

At the end of this age, during the Tribulation period, there will be international opposition to the nation of Israel. God will once again demonstrate His commitment to His eternal purpose by permitting Jerusalem to be surrounded by all the nations of the earth. In the Book of Revelation, we learn that Satan uses demonic powers to rouse the nations to gather for war against Israel on the battlefields of Armageddon. The Apostle John describes this as the great day of God, the Almighty, for the LORD’s Sovereign power will be on display.

He will make Jerusalem ‘a cup’. A cup is often described in the Bible as an instrument of judgment (Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:17, 21-23; Jeremiah 25:15-28; Ezekiel 23:31-33; Habakkuk 2:16; Rev 14:10; 16:19; 18:6). The nations will attempt to swallow up Jerusalem, but as they start to drink, they find themselves drunken and sick.

The Sovereign Lord promises to make Jerusalem ‘an immoveable rock’ as the nations launch a siege against her. “All who try to move it will injure themselves” (Zech 12:3).

God will provide deliverance, confusing, blinding the enemy’s forces, and giving Israel the need’ fire power’ for the battle.

Zechariah 12:6 6 “In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem.

In the Book of Revelation, we saw how the Lord marked parts of the city of Jerusalem for protection. Here we see He will also protect the dwellings of Judah and shield those who live in Jerusalem. The Lord Himself will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

In the previous oracle (Chapters 9- 11) Zechariah acted out the role of the Messiah Shepherd-King and foretold that He would be rejected by His own flock. However, in Chapter 12, God will pour out the spirit of grace and supplication, and Israel will discover that Jesus is the Messiah. In Zechariah 14, we learn that the Lord will appear on the Mt. of Olives as predicted, and there will be a great earthquake (Zech 14:4; Acts 1:9-12). They will look upon the One Whom they pierced, and they will mourn. God will graciously grant them repentance. They will renounce their sin of unbelief and worship Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Their sorrow will be turned to joy.

Even as Saul of Tarsus was arrested by God’s sovereign mercy and granted repentance and faith, so God will bring salvation to the nation of Israel.

Romans 11:25-26 25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”

The weeping of Israel’s penitent tears is likened to the tears shed at Haddad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. It was at this village near the Jezreel in the valley of Megiddo where ‘great lament’ was made for the death of King Josiah, slain by Pharaoh Neco II (2 Chronicles 35:20-27). Extreme grief was felt as the last hope of Judah’s failing line of kings was put to death. But the deeply felt remorse felt by the nation of Israel when they recognize Jesus as their forgiving Messiah will be one of historic contrition. It will be felt by each person, each family, as well as the people as a whole.

The mercy they discover is likened to a mystical fountain of forgiveness gushing forth with the revelation of God’s grace that cleanses from all sin.

Zechariah 13:1 1 “In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. 

The fountain speaks of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, which brings the revelation of God’s sovereign grace through Christ’s work on the cross and the power of His resurrection life to those who believe on Him.

The power of the Spirit birthing true worship in the heart of the believer banishes idolatry, impurity, and false prophecy. Those who worship God must worship in spirit and truth.

Sin, uncleanness, and living by lies must be put away. They cannot be excused, condoned, or compromised with.

The prophet describes the mortification of the flesh that goes on in the life of the redeemed when yielded to the Spirit. Unrepentant false prophets will be put to death as prescribed in the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 18:20; 13:6-11), and the punishment will be exacted by the nearest of king, underlining the severity of such sin.

The prevalence of justice will cause some false prophets to disavow their prophetic trade and pretend that they never engaged in the demonic practice. They pretended that the scars from their self-inflicted wounds, the self-mutilation, and cutting associated with pagan worship, were wounds given by brawling companions (Zech 13:4-6).

In contrast with the false prophets, we are presented with the True Prophet, the Messiah, whom Zechariah calls “My Shepherd” (Zechariah 13:7).

He prophesies that the True Shepherd of Israel, a kinsman with whom he is close, shall be struck down in God’s plan. This poetic utterance draws from Zechariah’s previous prophecy (11:4-14) given in his dramatic portrayal of the Messiah as the Shepherd rejected by the flock and of His being rejected and pierced by His people. 

The sheep will be scattered, but there will be a remnant who return and are saved (Zech 13:8).

God will do a refining work with this remnant.

Zechariah 13:9 9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”

TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – REVELATION 19:1-21

The seventh and final bowl judgment has been poured out (Revelation 16:17), and the Battle of Armageddon brings us to history’s climax when the Lord Jesus returns with His own to establish His ultimate victory and inaugurate His reign on the earth for a thousand years.

The 19th chapter begins with a magnificent scene in heaven. There is great celebration as Babylon has been righteously punished.

Revelation 19:1-2 1 After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; 2 BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER.”

The destruction of Babylon was a righteous act of judgment. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, and He has taken vengeance on those who martyred the servants of God (Revelation 6:9-10; 17:6).

The judgment upon the nations of the world and Babylon the Great was only the beginning of the eternal punishment of the wicked, for John hears the heavenly throng cry out, “The smoke of her goes up forever and ever” (Rev 19:3).

The 24 elders and the four living creatures fall down and worship God.

Then John hears once again ‘the voice of a great multitude’ sounding like thunder and the roar of many waters announcing ‘The Marriage Supper of the Lamb’.

This declares the inauguration of the millennium and the fact that Jesus, the heavenly bridegroom, has taken His bride, as His co-regent and is ready to commence His kingdom reign on earth. It is a picture of grace. “It was granted her” to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure. We are given the interpretation that the linen speaks of the outworking of the indwelling Christ, the righteous deeds of the saints. The bride has made herself ready. And it is all by God’s grace!

Revelation 19:9 9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.”

The importance of the announcement is emphasized by John saying, “These are the true words of God” (19:9).

We learn that there are a variety of roles and privileges in the Millennium. There is a bride of Christ, the church (Ephesians 5:25) composed of those who are saved from Pentecost to the rapture, and there are wedding guests. God has a plan for all who have been saved; they have various roles in God’s redemptive history. It is true that all who come to faith are the true spiritual Israel, ultimately ‘ruled of God’, but the Lord has a special plan for those who come to faith in God in the Old Testament, for those who come to faith in the Tribulation, and as we have seen, He has a plan for His covenant people, the nation of Israel.

It seems that John sees a fellow believer in his glorified state and is so awestruck that he mistakenly bows down to worship him. He describes himself as a fellow servant with his brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus! (Rev 19:10).  Some say this is an angel, but the context seems to point to a glorified human being who is in Christ. Is he ‘a brother’ or just ‘with his brothers’? He then states that the spirit of prophecy throughout the ages is the Christocentric and Spirit-generated testimony that throughout history is exercised by human beings, not angels. The main purpose of prophecy is to testify of Jesus and give glory to Him.

In verses 11-21, we get to see the climactic moments as Christ intervenes in the Battle of Armageddon. This is the Second Coming.

Revelation 19:11-16 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

There are distinctions between the Second Coming of Christ described here and the passages of Scripture that describe the catching up of the saints to meet the Lord in the air (the Rapture- 1 Thessalonians 4:17). In Revelation 19, there is no reference to the dead in Christ rising and those who are alive meeting the Lord in the air. And in 1 Thessalonians 4 there is no reference to the Lord coming to the earth, but rather, He meets the saints in the air.

Verses 17-21 describe the destruction of the wicked (the unbelieving who dwell on the earth).

The Word of God triumphs over the armies of the earth.

The horrid carrion feast for the vultures at Armageddon is a stark contrast with the glorious feast described as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Both are authored by God’s sovereign hand.

The armies of this world, together with the beast and the false prophet, are no match for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Revelation 19:20-21 20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS – PSALMS 147:1-20.

The gospel inspires singing! How pleasant and fitting it is to praise the Lord and sing to our Lord.

Do you express your thanksgiving to God in song? Do you honor the Lord with heartfelt praise for His marvelous work of creation and redemption?

The Psalmist honors the Lord as a Builder, Gatherer, Healer of broken hearts and wounds. He praises the Lord for His infinite knowledge and creativity evident in the vast universe. He acknowledges His infinite power (v.5) and His intimate care (v.6).

He exhorts us not only to sing but to make music to honor His Name! (v.7).

He praises God for common grace (the ecosystem that provides for our creaturely needs). He does not take delight in the displayed prowess His created beings, such as their strengths and talents, as much as he delights in being our heavenly Father and having the trust and respect of His children.

The Psalmist specifically encourages the people of Israel to praise Him for their privileges (v.12-14, 19-20).

The same Lord who dispenses what we need of wind, water, and Who demonstrates His power in icy blasts is the One who has graciously sent His Word to accomplish the purpose for which He has commanded. 

TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS – PROVERBS 31:1-7

Proverbs 31:1-7 1 The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him: 2 What, O my son? And what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows? 3 Do not give your strength to women, or your ways to that which destroys kings. 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink, 5 For they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty and remember his trouble no more.

 PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, our Gracious Savior, the Shepherd smitten for us, our heavenly bridegroom, our returning King, You have revealed Yourself as the Lord of History. Heavenly Father, thank You for our Redeemer, who has brought glory to Your holy name. We have been blessed to receive Your Word and to know that it will accomplish the work for which You have sent it. You have turned us from our idolatries to serve You, the Living God. We have enabled us to seek what is pleasing in Your sight, and we ask that You preserve Your choice purposes for our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.