TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- ZECHARIAH 9:1-17
Zechariah’s purpose in the previous prophecies was to bring encouragement to Zerubbabel and Joshua, as well as the people of Judah. The prophecies exhorted them to finish the rebuilding of the temple by showing them the long-range impact, especially in relationship to the coming Messiah and His kingdom.
In the remaining six chapters, Zechariah shares two burdens, prophecies pertaining to both the near and far future. But they all have the reign of the Messiah in view. Some of them will be fulfilled in the first coming of the Son of David. Others are still unfulfilled, and we can see how they dovetail with The Book of Revelation and what the Apostle John sees about the Day of the Lord, which begins with heavy judgments on the world and is followed by the glorious day of the Messiah’s return to earth.
Verses 1-8 describe Alexander’s conquest of Syria. Zechariah prophesies the Greek’s destruction of Hadrach, an ancient city in Syria. Tyre and Sidon will be destroyed as Alexander’s forces proceed down the Phoenician coast.
Both the prophets Daniel and Zechariah predict Alexander’s Grecian Empire conquering the Persians in 333 B.C. It is said that prophecy is history written beforehand, and that is what we have in these prophecies.
In verse 9, we are told how God’s people are kept safe because their king comes as a Savior in a lowly manner, riding on a donkey colt. But we see how the apostles recognized that this prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem, publicly acclaimed as the prophesied Son of David.
Zechariah 9:9 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Warren Wiersbe writes of how verse 10 describes Jerusalem’s deliverance from the invading Greeks.
After a two-month siege of Gaza, Alexander took the city and then went to Jerusalem. He was unhappy with the Jews because they had refused to pay him the annual tribute that they usually gave to the Persians. The high priest in Jerusalem called for the people to fast and pray, and he presented sacrifices to the Lord to seek His special protection.
The night before Alexander and his army were to arrive at Jerusalem, the high priest had a dream in which God told him to adorn the city, tell the people to dress in white garments, and open the gates to their visitor. The high priest and the other priests would head the procession dressed in their holy robes. This they did, and Alexander was so impressed that he welcomed them in peace. The high priest told Alexander about Daniel’s prophecies concerning him, and Alexander even offered sacrifices to Jehovah in the temple. Thus, the city and the people were spared. – Bible Exposition Commentary (B.E. Series) – Old Testament – The Bible Exposition Commentary – The Prophets.
Other commentators see how these verses also predict the Hannukah victory that Judas Maccabaeus will have over Antiochus Epiphanes in 164 B.C.
Verses 16-17 hint at the future deliverance that God will provide for Israel when under siege from the nations at Armageddon.
Zechariah 9:16-17 16 And the LORD their God will save them in that day as the flock of His people; For they are as the stones of a crown, sparkling in His land. 17 For what comeliness and beauty will be theirs! Grain will make the young men flourish, and new wine the virgins.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – REVELATION 17:1-18
Chapters 17 and 18 take us in close to look at the judgment upon the civic and commercial Babylon and the religious Babylon. ‘Babylon’ means ‘gate of the gods’, and it has proved to be the gate to idolatry. It was founded as a city by Noah’s great-grandson, Nimrod, and was capital of the Babylonian Empire. The city was built on the River Euphrates. Jeremiah refers to Babylon as one that dwells ‘by many waters’ (Jeremiah 51:13; Rev 17:2).
Babylon the Great has become a symbol of the godless world system. The city originally emerged when men organized to defeat God’s purposes. Rather than adhering to God’s plan to spread out and be fruitful in establishing families for the glory of God, men came together to make a name for themselves. This rebellious spirit has been at work in every age.
Babylon is personified as the mother of harlots, sponsoring spiritual infidelity and lawlessness from generation to generation.
She is riding on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. She is seductively dressed in purple and gold, precious stones, and pearls, counterfeiting what these items usually stand for (majesty, deity, the adornment of the church). Hers is the system of lawlessness, the culture of ungodliness, and the spirit of Antichrist. She is drunk with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus and obsessed with her opposing agenda.
The angel interprets this vision for us in verse 8. He describes the beast in Antichrist terms. The true Christ is He who was, and is, and is to come. The Anti-Christ, who is a Substitute Christ, a pseudo-Christ, is described mockingly by the angel as, he ‘who was, and is not, and is about to come up from the Abyss and go to destruction. The anti-christ will have a pseudo death and pseudo-resurrection, and a genuine destruction.
The seven heads of the beast are seven mountains (governments), and they are seven kings. Five of the seven have already fallen, one still is, and another is to come. The antichrist, the seventh, will also become the eighth.
The ten horns are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom. But they will reign with the beast for ‘one hour’. They are one in purpose, and ultimately, they give their power and authority to the beast.
They will foolishly and stubbornly attack the Messiah and His followers (the called, the chosen, and the faithful).
Revelation 17:14 14 “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”
God will allow the governments under the Antichrist to turn on the harlot and burn her with fire. His sovereign purpose is being worked out so that once again, ‘the wrath of man will praise Him’ (Psalm 76:10).
Revelation 17:17 17 “For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS – PSALM 145:1-21
The Psalmist has the daily habit of praising the Lord. May this be our holy resolve.
Psalm 145:1-2 1 I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever.
The Psalmist is determined to pass on the testimonies of God’s greatness.
Psalm 145:4 4 One generation shall praise Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty acts.
He resolves to consistently meditate upon the Word and speak to others, telling them of God’s greatness, goodness, righteousness, loving-kindness, grace, and mercy. He is one of a growing company who will praise the Lord and speak of His kingdom.
God’s characteristic mercy is seen in the Psalmist’s testimony:
Psalm 145:14-19 14 The LORD sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to You, And You give them their food in due time. 16 You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. 18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. 19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.
He is confident that he is not alone in his experience of God’s mercy and that one day, all people will recognize His goodness (Ps 145:21). Every knee will bow.
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 30:32
Proverbs 30:32 32 If you have been foolish in exalting yourself or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth.
This verse warns us not to add sin to sin. When you realize the foolishness of your pride or scheming, don’t make the situation worse through verbal self-justification or passing blame. Don’t stir up strife. Instead humble yourself, admit your wrong and choose your words and actions carefully. Demonstrate a changed attitude by speaking well of others, serving them with kindness and as far as it is possible, make peace with them.
PRAYER FOR THE NATIONS: We have completed praying for the nations in alphabetical order. But we continue to intercede for our world. May earth receive her King!
PRAYER: Lord, all Your works will praise You, and we will bless Your Name and seek Your kingdom. Your mercy endures forever and so will Your Kingdom. May Your kingdom rule be fully established in our hearts. We ask that we be delivered from all the initiatives of the Evil One and the seductions of the corrupt world system that opposes Your holy Word. May we be faithful to Your commands. We trust that You have given us our history ahead of time in Your inerrant Word and that You will defeat every foe and reign victorious. Help us to stand in all that You have won for us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.