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    • July 6, 2016 4:23 AM EDT
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      ZECHARIAH 1

      ZECHARIAH 1

      OPENS WITH AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PROPHET ZECHARIAH & THE TIMES HE LIVED IN & THE FIRST TWO VISIONS!!

      Verse 1...IDENTIFIES HIMSELF AND WHICH ZECHARIAH HE IS AS WELL THE TIMES THAT HE PROPHECIED.

      "In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,"

      In the eighth month of the second year of Darius..this tells us PRECISELY WHEN Zechariah served the LORD. HE SERVED THE LORD in the years AFTER the remnant RETURNED from the 70-year Babylonian EXILE. His prophetic career is marked by the reign of Darius, the ruler of the Medes and Persians. His career is NOT marked by the reign of a king over Israel or Judah, because there was NO king of Israel or Judah in this period AFTER the exile.

      AND WE KNOW, FROM STUDYING THE BIBLE that the timing of Zechariah's prophecy sets it TWO MONTHS AFTER Haggai's first prophecy IN Haggai 1:1 and WITHIN A MONTH AFTER another prophecy of Haggai IN Haggai 2:1.

      AND WE LEARN THIS FROM THE BIBLE...IF THE DATE, THE TIME, THE LEADERS, AND THE PROPHETS AND MEN AND WOMEN OF THE TIME ARE PIVOTAL (AND IMPORTANT) ALMIGHTY GOD CAN BE AND IS PINPOINT PRECISE.

      SO WE KNOW NOW, THIS OCCURRED between October and November of 520 B.C.

      HOW COOL IS THAT?

      AND WE KNOW FROM READING THE PROPHET HAGGAI & ZECHARIAH, THEIR MESSAGES FROM ALMIGHTY GOD IS ONE OF ENCOURAGEMENT.

      BUT JUST LIKE NEHEMIAH & HAGGAI, THE LORD TELLS HIM AND HE SEES AND KNOWS THAT NOT ALLL THE RETURNED "REMNANT" FROM EXILE ARE REALLY AND FULLY SINCERE IN THEIR DESIRES TO SERVE GOD, SO ONCE AGAIN, WE SEE THE SAME MESSAGE, GOD TELLS THEM TO COUNSEL THE PEOPLE TO REPENT THEIR SINS AND TO RETURN TO GOD WITH ALL THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS AND LIVES, AMEN?

      THAT IS A MESSAGE FROM OUR TRIUNE GOD THAT IS TIMELESS...TO SEARCH OUR HEARTS AND MINDS AND LIVES AND TO REPENT AND TO RETURN OUR FULL FORCE ON JESUS CHRIST, AMEN?

      And you know if ALL we had was Haggai prophecy, his WORD FROM GOD to go by, we might conclude that ALL God was really ONLY interested in was the temple. BUT NEHEMIAH
      & NOW Zechariah gives the rest of the story, and shows how God is interested in lives, not only buildings, AMEN?

      The Prophecy of Zechariah is noted for its rich use of VISUAL VISIONS, pictures, and symbols. In this way it is much like the Book of Revelation or Daniel which also have significant PICTURES AND SYMBOLS AND VISIONS, AMEN?

      The word of the LORD came to Zechariah...We know little about this prophet, though "Zechariah" is a common name in the Old Testament (at least 27 different Zechariahs are mentioned in the Bible). The only ADDED details we have about THIS Zechariah come from Ezra 5 and 6.

      EZRA 5:1-2 tells us..."Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them."

      AND EZRA 6:14 tells us, "So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia."

      AND DID YOU KNOW... the name Zechariah means "The LORD Remembers," and is a PERFECT name for a prophet of restoration, AMEN?

      ZECHARIAH...was CALLED BY OUR ALMIGHTY GOD to encourage and mobilize God's people to accomplish a task that they began yet lost momentum in completing. He encourages them indirectly by telling them about God's care for them and by keeping the presence of the Messiah very much in their minds. He worked with others, notably Haggai, Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, and Ezra. He warned them of the consequences of neglecting God's work and he emphasized that God wants to do a work through His people.

      AND DID YOU KNOW...Jesus HIMSELF mentioned the ministry and martyrdom of Zechariah in Matthew 23:35, which says, "That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar."

      Verses 2-6 tells us God pleads with His people: "Return to Me."

      "The LORD has been very angry with your fathers. Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Return to Me," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts. "Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds." ' But they did not hear nor heed Me," says the LORD. "Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? Yet surely My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? "So they returned and said: 'Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, according to our ways and according to our deeds, so He has dealt with us."

      The LORD has been VERY ANGRY with your fathers...Zechariah begins his prophecy with a call to repentance, and a call that remembers the poor spiritual heritage of Israel and Judah. The sin of their fathers doomed the nation to exile, and Zechariah warns the people to remember the same could happen to them.

      We should remember that these REMNANT FOR THE MOST PART, WERE NOT "BAD PEOPLE" - they were the remnant, REMEMBERING GOD'S COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM & PROMISE THAT A REMNANT WOULD RETURN from Babylon.

      THEY LEFT EVERYTHING BEHIND TO TRAVEL 800 + MILES BACK HOME. THEY WANTED GOD'S PROMISED LAND MORE THAN THEY WANTED EASIER LIVES EVEN AS FOREIGNERS IN A FOREIGN LAND, AMEN?

      THE BIBLE AND HISTORY TELLS US THAT Hundreds of thousands of people went into the Babylonian captivity and only about 50,000 returned.

      Those who did DECIDE TO RETURN WERE the most committed to the LORD and to the restoration of Jerusalem. Yet even they, some 18 years after returning to the Promised Land, needed to hear and heed the warning of the LORD.

      Return to Me … and I will return to you...THEN AND NOW ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES DID AND DO DISCOURAGE GOD'S PEOPLE, JUST AS THEY DO JESUS FAMILY, AMEN?

      AND THEN AND NOW, discouraged Christians do THINK, IF NOT CRY OUT AT TIMES...JESUS ARE YOU THERE? DO YOU SEE WHAT I AM FACING?! WHY DO YOU FEEL SO SILENT, SO FAR REMOVED FROM ME?

      IF THEY LOOKED AT ALL AROUND THEM...IF THEY FOCUSED ON THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES...WHAT THINGS LOOKED LIKE AND WERE AT THAT MOMENT...WE CAN UNDERSTAND THEN AND NOW WHY THEY WERE DISCOURAGED.
      - The land was still desolate after 70 years of neglect
      - The work was hard to rebuild and restore
      - They didn't have a lot of money (Haggai 1:6) or manpower
      - They suffered crop failures and drought (Haggai 1:10-11)
      - Hostile enemies resisted the work (Ezra 4:1-5)
      - They remembered easier times in Babylon

      EACH OF THESE CIRCUMSTANCES made them FEEL that God was far away; through Zechariah God assures them that He is NOT distant. They would return to Him, He WOULD return to them.

      AND THEN AND NOW, WE KNOW "FEELINGS" ARE FICKLED AT BEST. YOU WANT NOW DAY PROOF OF THAT.
      SPEND ONE DAY, FROM THE INSTANT YOU WAKE UP UNTIL YOU GO TO BED THAT NIGHT...WRITING DOWN WHAT YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FEEL IT.
      FEELINGS ARE A DAILY ROLLERCOASTER...AND TOO MANY THEN AND NOW THINK BECAUSE YOU FEEL IT, IT MAKES IT REAL AND TRUE....BUT JESUS AND THE BIBLE TELL US THAT IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE.

      FEELINGS ARE FIGHT OR FLIGHT REACTIONS TO MENTAL, VISUAL, EMOTIONAL, AND PHYSICAL STIMULI. THEY ARE KNEE JERK!
      WHAT DO I MEAN...

      SOME MORNINGS WE OPEN OUR EYES AND SAY...GOOD MORNING JESUS...THANK YOU FOR THIS MORNING.

      OTHER MORNINGS...WE OPEN OUR EYES AND SAY...OH LORD JESUS IT IS ALREADY MORNING AGAINNN?

      NOW, AT BOTH THESE WAKINGS, THE SUN COULD BE SHINING, THE BIRDS CHIRPING, BUT IT IS OUR INTERNAL PERCEPTIONS, OUR MENTAL WARS, OUR LACK OF PROPER REST/FOOD, OUR ONGOING SPIRITUAL BATTLES THAT REALLY DETERMINE HOW WE RESPOND/FEEL/VIEW EACH MORNING..EACH SITUATION.

      ALMIGHTY GOD THEN, AND JESUS CHRIST NOW, WANTS US TO KNOW, TRUST, STAND ON WHAT HE PROMISES US EACH AND EVERY NEW DAWN...NOT WHAT WE SEE OR FEEL..BUT WHAT WE KNOW, AMEN?

      JESUS CHRIST WANTS US TO RUN TOOOOOO HIM, STAY CLOSE TOOOOOOOO HIM, CALL ON HIMMMMM, WHEN WE FACE THE DAY, THE STRUGGLES, THE TRIALS. AND TO ALWAYS REMEMBER HE IS WITH US. HE NEVERRRRR LEAVES US, AMEN?

      Return to Me...AND ARE WE NOT ALL GUILTY FROM TIME TO TIME, WISHING GOD WOULD JUST WAVE HIS HAND AND WE WOULD RETURN TO HIM...BE PUT ON HIS RIGHT PATH, GET IT JUST RIGHT THE FIRST TIME, INSTEAD OF GOING LEFT, WHEN WE SHOULD HAVE GONE RIGHT, WOOING US AND ASKING US AND EVEN PLEADING WITH US TO RETURN TO HIM?

      BUT WE NEED TO ALWAYS REMEMBER, OUR TRIUNE GOD WANTS OUR FREELY GIVEN LOVE. IT IS NOT REALLY LOVE IN THE TRUEST SENSE, THE ONE ON ONE RELATIONSHIP SENSE, IF HE HAS TO DRAG US BACK TO HIM. WE HAVE CHOICE. THEN AND NOW, OUR TRIUNE GOD DOES NOT CHANGE. WE MUST CHOOSE HIM, AMEN?

      AND...Zechariah's words right here, remind us of James 4:8, which says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

      God promises to meet us running when we return to Him. We are also reminded that if we are far from God, He hasn't distanced Himself from us. We have distanced ourselves from Him.

      JUST AS I BELIEVE IT WAS DAVID JEREMIAH, WHO TOLD THE STORY of an elderly couple who drove down the road in their car with a front bench seat. As they drove, the wife noticed that in many of the other cars with couples in the front seat, the woman sat close to the man as he drove. She asked her husband, "Why is it that we don't sit that close anymore?" He simply answered, "It wasn't me who moved." If we are far from God, He hasn't moved...WE HAVE!

      Yet surely My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers?

      THIS CONFIRMS FOR US THAT GOD'S PROMISES far outlived and outlasted ALL the previous prophets and ancestors.

      Zechariah REMINDS THEM OF THIS AND COUNSELS God's people to not only rebuild the temple (the emphasis of his contemporary prophet Haggai), but to rebuild their DAILY RELATIONSHIP with Him and learn from the lessons of their fathers.

      Verses 7-10 tells us Zechariah's FIRST vision of the four horses and their riders in the myrtle trees.

      "On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet: I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white. Then I said, "My lord, what are these?" So the angel who talked with me said to me, "I will show you what they are." And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, "These are the ones whom the LORD has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth."

      Behold, a man riding on a red horse...Zechariah's vision is simple enough in what he saw - one man on horseback leading other horses and their riders, "patrolling" to and fro throughout the earth. Zechariah sees them among myrtle trees, in a ravine (in the hollow).

      Specifically, this reconnaissance mission examines the progress of rebuilding Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah. It is here to examine the work of God's people.

      This small group of horsemen were emissaries of the Lord sent on world mission.
      ZECHARIAH and the people could RELATE TO THIS, UNDERSTAND IT.

      WHY?
      BECAUSE JUST LIKE THEIR PERSIAN OVERLORDS AND MONARCHS, they knew rulers used messengers in small groups on on swift steeds to keep them informed on all matters concerning their empire, so the Lord is telling ZECHARIAH THAT HE TOO KEEPS WATCH AND KNOWS ABOUT ALL THINGS GOING ON IN THE COUNTRIES OF THE EARTH!

      AND JUST AS JOB 1:7, 2:2; 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, "Just as Satan walks about the earth for evil"....so too does ALMIGHTY GOD have His representatives, his messengers walking up and down in the earth to examine the affairs of men, AMEN?!

      Red, sorrel, and white...DOWN THROUGH TIME, SOME BIBLE COMMENTATORS, NOT NECESSARILY CHRISTIAN, BIBLE BELIEVING COMMENTATORS...hotly debate the meaning of these horses colors.
      Some connect them with the four horsemen of Revelation 6:1-8 but that doesn't seem to work.
      WHY?
      Because you notice THESE HORSES & RIDERS ARE SAID BY ALMIGHTY GOD TO BE OBSERVERS FOR GOD, NOT THE MESSENGERS AND DELIVERERS OF GOD'S JUDGMENT IN REVELATION 6.
      Some suggest that the different colors mean different angelic offices.

      JUST FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW WHAT COLOR SORREL IS, it is sort of a dull yellow or a spotted, brownish orange.

      CLARKE agrees with the second, saying "The different colors may point out the different orders/ranks of angels in the heavenly host, which are employed by Christ in the defence of his Church. The different colours may point out the graduations in power, authority, and excellence, of the angelic natures which are employed between Christ and men."

      THE MAN WHO STOOD among the myrtle trees...The myrtle tree is a laurel, which is evergreen and a BIBLICAL symbol of the people of Israel.

      This man is THE ANGEL OF THE LORD (Zechariah 1:11), and is no doubt ANOTHER Old Testament appearance of Jesus before His incarnation in Bethlehem.

      AND WE KNOW FROM STUDYING THE OLD TESTAMENT, there are MANY CAMEO APPEARANCES & INTERACTIONS WITH MAN in the Old Testament of an encounter with a heavenly man known as THE ANGEL OF THE LORD who is revealed to be God Himself (Genesis 16:7-13, Genesis 22:11-18, Exodus 2:3-9, Judges 2:1-4, and many other places).

      Because of Zechariah 1:11, we KNOW this man is the Angel of the LORD, and that He is God & THAT ALMIGHTY GOD IN HUMAN FORM CAN ONLY BE OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

      We can BELIEVE this was God, in the Person of Jesus Christ, appearing to Abraham before His incarnation and birth at Bethlehem.
      WHY?
      BECAUSE REMEMBER WHAT THE BIBLE TELLS US OF GOD THE FATHER...IN JOHN 1:18, "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him."
      AND 1 TIMOTHY 6:16 SAYS, "No man has ever seen God in the Person of the Father.
      Therefore, if God appears to someone in HUMAN appearance in the Old Testament, and no one has seen God the Father, it CAN ONLY BE THE APPEARING of the eternal Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, JESUS CHRIST, before His incarnation in Bethlehem.

      I USED TO WONDER, WHAT IN THE WORLD DID JESUS DO WHILE HE SAT IN HEAVEN WAITINGGGGGGGGG FOR HIS BIRTH IN BETHLEHEM... NOW I KNOW....JESUS DID NOT SIT IN HEAVEN WATCHING THE HISTORY CLOCK TICK DOWN. HE DID NOT SIT IN HEAVEN TWIDDLING HIS THUMBS, HE WALKED AMONG & INTERACTED WITH MEN/WOMEN FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN FORWARD.

      SO WHEN YOU READ THE ANGEL OF THE LORD. THE MESSENGER OF THE LORD, THE ANGEL OF GOD...instead of an angel, a messenger...which is non-descrip and could be ANY ONE OF THE LEGION OF HEAVENLY ANGELS...you will know the difference!

      THIS IS JUST ANOTHER REASON I STICK WITH THE KJV OR THE NKJV...because they do NOT CHANGE the articles and we CAN STILL FIND JESUS THROUGHOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT TOO!

      AND WHY MENTION MYRTLE TREES...?
      BOICE gives us a wonderful consideration..."Israel is not likened to a cedar of Lebanon, which is majestic, or an oak tree, which is strong. Having blossoms that emit a sweet fragrance when crushed, the myrtle illustrates the strange grace of Israel in affliction."

      Verses 11-17 tells us...THE ANGEL OF THE LORD intercedes for Jerusalem and Judah.

      "So they answered the Angel of the LORD, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, "We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly." Then the Angel of the LORD answered and said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?" And the LORD answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words. So the angel who spoke with me said to me, "Proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal. I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry, and they helped; but with evil intent." 'Therefore thus says the LORD: "I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it," says the LORD of hosts, "And a surveyor's line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem." ' "Again proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; the LORD will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem."

      All the earth is resting quietly...
      THAT SOUNDS COMFORTING, DOES IT NOT?
      BUT IN GOD'S VIEW...HIS PATROL has found that the world is at peace, but it is not the RIGHT kind of peace (I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease).
      WHY IS GOD ANGRY?
      God is angry with the nations of the world because they are at ease while God's people suffer. In God's thinking if the earth is at rest at the expense of his people, there is NO REST at all, AMEN?

      And they helped; but with evil intent...
      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
      WHAT IS GOD SAYING HERE?
      The nations of the world offered some help to the returning exiles, but even their help was polluted by EVIL motives.

      I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal...
      WOW RIGHT?
      JESUS, The Angel of the LORD shows his heart of compassion for Israel and Jerusalem. God relented and allowed Israel back after 70 years of exile yet the EFFECTS OF EXILE were still painfully evident.

      DID YOU KNOW...The word for zealous in ancient Hebrew comes from the idea "to become intensely red" and it has the thought of a face becoming flushed with deep emotion. God is genuinely and deeply CONCERNED about the state of His people.

      My cities shall again spread out through prosperity...God solemnly promises to restore Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. This was an especially comforting promises considering the lowly condition of the cities of the Promised Land in Zechariah's day.

      AND DID YOU KNOW, HISTORY TELLS US, THAT WITHIN four years from the time of this prophecy Zion WAS comforted and Jerusalem WAS specially chosen - the temple WAS rebuilt four years after Zechariah gave this prophecy.

      NOW ZECHARIAH HAS ANOTHER VISION OF THE FOUR HORNS AND THE FOUR CRAFTSMEN.

      Verses 18-19 tells us the FOUR HORNS represent the nations that scattered God's people.

      "Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns. And I said to the angel who talked with me, "What are these?" So he answered me, "These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem."

      There were four horns...DID YOU KNOW, In Biblical times, horns spoke of the strength and authority, because the power of a bull or an ox is expressed through its horns.

      These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem...Since Zechariah told us there were four horns we wonder WHICH FOUR NATIONS Zechariah speaks of here. If he speaks of scattering in a broad prophetic sense - including scattering that had NOT YET come to God's people in ZECHARIAH'S own day - then the likely FOUR horns are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

      Verses 20-21 tells us God announces judgment against the nations that scatter His people.

      "Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. And I said, "What are these coming to do?" So he said, "These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head; but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it."

      The craftsmen are coming to terrify them...God raised up other nations to judge the nations that scattered His people. From of old, God promised to curse those who cursed Israel told to us in Genesis 12:3.

      To cast out the horns of the nations that lifted their horn against the land of Judah...God PROMISES to break the power of those who use their power AGAINST God's people.

      An ancient proverb puts it well: "The church of God is an anvil that has worn out many hammers."

      WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT AS CHRISTIANS, THOSE WHO CALL JESUS CHRIST LORD AND SAVIOR AND FRIEND...WE ARE JESUS FAMILY TO HIM...WE ARE HIS CHURCH...HIS BRIDE...HIS BELOVED...BUT WE ARE ALSO CALLED BY ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF...CHILDREN OF GOD.

      THEN AND NOW....JESUS CHRIST AND ALMIGHTY GOD PROMISE THAT WE SHALL OVERCOME IN HIM.

      TRUST OUR TRIUNE GOD WHO LOVES HIS CHILDREN!

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