The Gentile Powers Overthrown…Zechah pt 12

The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord.  And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise. And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire. Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited  And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite (Zechariah 9:1-7)

 

We now come into the last two sections of the prophecy of Zechariah. chapters 9-11 form a whole and cover the destruction of the Gentile powers which have scattered and oppressed Israel and Judah, as well as the first coming of the King Messiah in lowliness and bringing salvation. The last section chapters 12-14, concern the vision of Israel’s fail trial, conflict and deliverance at the second coming of Messiah.

Zechariah 9 is a remarkable pre-telling of a historical event which would occur two centuries later, in the invasion of the Holy Land by Alexander the great. After all, what is prophecy but the foretelling of History.

Nearly two centuries after Zechariah prophesied, Alexander came into Syria, via Hadrach, a city near Damascus, in 323 bc, he then took Damascus and set up his headquarters there,, (Damascus shall be the rest thereof…). From there he followed the prophesied route precisely as  Zechariah envisioned it, taking the cities of Tyre and Sidon,, then proceeding south into the Holy Land, destroying Gaza and Ashkelon, vassals of Tyre, and destroying Ashdod,  former cities of the Philistines.

While He was besieging Tyre, Alexander sent a letter to the Jewish High Priest demanding supplies and even auxiliary troops to aid him in the siege. Josephus tells us that the High Priest refused, citing his treaty obligation to Darius the Persian King, as the reason for his refusal. Alexander was livid and vowed to come to Jerusalem and make all men know that He would be the only Sovereign that men should keep oaths to.

He also had already arranged a treacherous alliance with Sanballat of the Arabs and a large group of Samarians and apostate Jews, allowing them to build a rival temple in JIsrael, and preparing them to join him in the destruction of Jerusalem.

But according to an account by Josephus, when the time came that Alexander had finished his sieges of Tyre and of Gaza and had conquered Ashdod,  he turned to Jerusalemwith all of his fifth column of Arabs, Samarians and apostate turn coats.

In the meantime the High Priest of Israel, Jaddus, also had a dream, commanding him to set out the entire priesthood in Holy Array and to go out to meet Alexander, leaving the city open,

[11.326] and Jaddus the high-priest, when he heard that, was in an agony, and under terror, as not knowing how he should meet the Macedonians, since the king was displeased at his foregoing disobedience. He therefore ordained that the people should make supplications, and should join with him in offering sacrifice to God, whom he besought to protect that nation, and to deliver them from the perils that were coming upon them;

[11.327] whereupon God warned him in a dream, which came upon him after he had offered sacrifice, that he should take courage, and adorn the city, and open the gates; that the rest should appear in white garments, but that he and the priests should meet the king in the habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent.

[11.328] Upon which, when he rose from his sleep, he greatly rejoiced, and declared to all the warning he had received from God. According to which dream he acted entirely, and so waited for the coming of the king.

[11.329] And when Jaddus understood that Alexander was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha, which name, translated into Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple.

[11.330] And when the Phoenicians and the Samarians that followed him thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high-priest to death, which the king’s displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened;

[11.331] for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high-priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high-priest.(Josephus, Wars of the Jews)

The fifth columnists were almost drooling to commence the betrayal and slaughter of the Jews, but were instead amazed to see Alexander dismount and approach the High Priest, kissing his hand and bowing in worship, when he saw the Priestly procession….

[11.332] The Jews also did all together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about; whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind.

[11.333] However, Parmenion alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass that, when all others adored him, he should adore the high-priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, “I did not adore him, but that God who has honored him with his highpriesthood;

[11.334] for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dion in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians;

[11.335] whence it is that, having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind.”

[11.336] And when he had said this to Parmenion, and had given the high-priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high-priest’s direction, and magnificently treated both the high-priest and the priests.

[11.337] And when the Book of Daniel was showed him wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended.note And as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present.

But the next day he called them to him, and bid them ask what favors they pleased of him;(Flavius Josephus…)

The High Priest presented to Alexander the Great, the book of Daniel, showing him the prophecies which detailed him, as Isaiah’s book was once shown to Cyrus, another pagan conqueror, predicted of, and used by God.

Zechariah predicted this two centuries before it occurred, and it happened exactly as the prophet said it would, although this prophecy is a multiple fulfillment prophecy.

And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.(Zechariah 9:8)

We are coming again to a time when Israel is threatened by all of her neighbors, particularly with events once again in Damascus, and the area around, as well as Southern Lebanon,(Tyre and Sidon) ,Hezbullah, and her vassal state, Palestinian Gaza, raining missiles on the Holy land, and once again, “The eyes of all are directed to the God of Prophecy…”.

Soon we will behold the emergence of a new “Alexander the Great:, an AntiChrist figure shall arise and have dealings with the Holy land, this prophecy is timeless and as relevant as ever.

Once again God will save Israel by His mighty power for all of the world to see and to believe or perish! Maranatha!

 

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I Have Purposed To Do Good To Jerusalem…Zechariah 11

But now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the Lord of hosts.  For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.  And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.  For thus saith the Lord of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the Lord of hosts, and I repented not:  So again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not.  These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord.(Zechariah 8:12-17)

In the previous chapter, a delegation had been sent from Bethel to Jerusalem, with an inquiry of the Priests and Prophets of the temple, which was being re-built, “Should we yet observe the Feast of Mourning, Tisha B’Av? Now that the new temple is nearly functional, is it necessary to observe the mourning?”

Instead the Prophet Zechariah called upon the delegation and all of Israel for all time, to deeply and personally repent, softening their hearts towards the LORD and seeking his power to amend their ways. This would be much preferable than an annual day of ritual mourning.

Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.  But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.(Zechariah 7:9-11)

Zechariah chapter eight is the positive answer to the question of the delegation, for it reveals God’s desire and purpose towards Jerusalem,Israel and Judah, should they heed the message of repentance, and truly be restored to God.

The LORD is the one who laid upon his disobedient people the terrors and humiliation of the seventy year captivity, and furthermore, He is the one who would eventually deal even more harshly with them, destroying the Temple again in 70  ad and scattering the nation from one end of the earth to the other, to endure a long night of centuries of pogroms,holocausts,exile,persecution,rejection and banishment.

He “sought to do evil to them” and thus he did.

But the same LORD who justly punished Israel for her apostasy as He promised he would, will soon “seek to do Good to them”, with the same zeal and care as in the scattering.

Jerusalem has a glorious future, it shall teem with Jewish life, and the peoples of the world will one day stream into her to hear the Word of the LORD, as Isaiah and Micah also agreed would happen,

Thus saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities:  And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also.  Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.(Zechariah 8:20-23)

God will literally turn her fasting into feasting, the rough garment shall be put off and the Bride shall adorn herself with Jewels again! Awake,Awake, come up out of the dust Zion, for God will favor you yet again, you shall live and not die, and declare the good works of the LORD!

Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts.(Zechariah 8:3-6)

The Gentiles will indeed gather, they will assemble to destroy her once and for all, but God remembers his people and will save them from all of the places where the flock has been scattered,

Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country;…And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.  For thus saith the Lord of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the Lord of hosts, and I repented not:(Zechariah 8:7,13-14)

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Tisha B’ Av, or True Repentance?…Zechariah pt

In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev.  The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord  by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”(Zechariah 7:1-3)

Notice that Zechariah carefully dates this prophecy, rooting it in a historical incident, two years after the night of visions of Zechariah 1-6.

A delegation of Jews comes from Bethel to inquire of the Priests and Prophets of the Temple(in process of being rebuilt), as to whether or not they should continue to keep the day of fasting and mourning, commemorating the destruction of the previous temple, now known as “Tish B’Av, (the ninth of the month Av).

A detail to note before we get into the Divinely given answer, is that these dignitaries were sent from Bethel, which means “House of God”, but which became an idolatrous house of God in the days of the split between Northern and Southern Kingdom of Israel. It was at Dan and Bethel that Rehoboam the Northern King erected Golden calves , that the cities might be rival places of worship, to the true house of God in Jerusalem.

Now ‘Bethel” sends a delegation to the true house of God, showing that they were now in proper order, they had learned the bitter lesson of both the Northern captivity to Assyria and the later Babylonian captivity as well.

I think it noteworthy also that though Jewish, the names of the delegation are Babylonian, shortened names, for example Sharezer is part of an idolatrous prayer, originally it would have been “Nergal Shar-ezer” , “may Nergal protect the King!”. The original Sharezar was among the Babylonian nobles who actually destroyed the Temple. Nergal is a Babylonian God.

Thus this delegation of Jews, now humbled and properly inquiring of the Lord in his temple, yet bear in their own names the painful and humiliating chastisement that God inflicted upon the nation.

The question is , Should we Jews keep the fast of Tisha B’Av?

I believe this to be critical turning point issue for the Nation of Israel, in the days after the Babylonian Captivity, and that it is as relevant today, in the days since the destruction and scattering of the second temple as it has ever been.

I wrote in earlier articles, which I quote here, to describe Tisha B’Av , an event which is truly heartrending and of which there seems to be an almost supernaturally self re-enforcing , self fulfilling element to the date, the fast and to subsequent historical events,

I quote from an earlier article,

For all of Israel, a solemn day commences at sundown, Saturday ,August 13, till sundown the 14th of August. It is called Tish B’Av (the ninth of the month of Av) in the Jewish calendar. The day is marked by fasting, mourning and solemn prayers by pious Jews around the world, in commemoration of both the Babylonian destruction of the Temple, in 586 BC, and the Roman destruction of the Temple on the same calendar day in 70 AD.

Not only had those two horrors occurred on that day, but there have been many,many other incredibly horribly occurrences which concern the Jewish people,on this same calendar day through history.

Incredibly , it was on the ninth of Av that;

* The Sages tell us that the 10 Spies discouraged Israel from occupying the Land God gave them, resulting in the forty years wandering in the wilderness.

* 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar fulfilled the prediction of Jeremiah, destroying the Temple in Jerusalem, killing one hundred thousand Jews, and carrying hundreds of thousands of others off, into Babylonian captivity.

* 70 AD, Titus fulfilled the predictions of Jesus, surrounding the city of Jerusalem, imposing a siege and finally on the day of TishB’Av, destroying the Temple, not leaving One stone upon another.

Two and a half million Jews were killed in this war, by famine, disease, infighting and One million Jews were killed in that war, much of the nation was exiled, and 100,000 Jews sold to Roman slave markets.

* On this date in 135 AD, Tish B’Av, the Bar Cochba revolt was crushed, killing over 100,000 Jews.

* 133 AD, Turnus Rufus plows site of the Temple. The Romans then built on the Holy Site the pagan city of Aelia Capitolina .

*1095 AD, On TishB’Av of that year was the date Pope Urban II called the first crusade, which resulted in the killing of more than ten thousand JEws, and the obliteration of Jewish communities in Germany.

* On TishB’AV 1290, all Jews were expelled from England , property was confiscated and killings of Jews occurred.

* In 1492 on the same date, TishB’Av, all Jews were expelled from Spain, by order of the “Holy order” of the Inquisition. There were forced conversions, family separations, pogroms, and much loss of property.

*In 1914, on Tish B’Av , Britain and Russia declare war on Germany. First World War begins. The First World War led to the Second World War and the Holocaust. Over 400 pogroms immediately following the war in Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and Russia.All but one-third of world Jewry would perish.

*On TishB’Av 1941, Hermann Göring ordered SS general Reinhard Heydrich to make all the necessary preparations for the Final Solution.

*TishB’AV, saw the 1942 mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp begin.

* On TishB’Av 1994, the deadly bombing the building of the AMIA (the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina) which killed 86 people and wounded some 300 others.

* On TishB’Av 2004, at the Democratic National Convention, Barak Obama was catapulted from relative obscurity to national fame, after giving a speech which electrified the convention. He would go on to become the most avid anti Israel president in American history.

There are many many other calamities that have befallen Israel upon this tragic day. I believe there are several conclusions we can glean from the uncanny circumstances of the day.

* TishB’Av points to the veracity of the Word of God. Moses warned that should Israel break faith with God, That they would be scattered across the Gentile world,

And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; …And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:…(Deuteronomy 28:64-65)

Should they keep it up, year after year mourning, fasting once a year? Breaking a glass at every wedding for the destruction of the Temple? It looks and sounds pious, but is it the same as truly turning to God? God answers negatively in Zechariah 7, in language very reminiscent of Isaiah’s condemnation of Israel’s “fasting”,

Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me:  “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?  And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?  Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’”(Zechariah 7:4-7)

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Behold the Man Whose name is the Branch…Zechariah pt 9

And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,  Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;  Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;  And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:  Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.  And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.(Zechariah 6:9-15)

The previous eight visions, given to Zechariah in sequence in one night, reveal the ultimate purpose of the God of Israel, Judah and Jerusalem. God has a purpose which will not be thwarted by Israel’s sin and apostasy.He will bring Israel back into the Land, destroy those Gentile powers which have scattered her, and He will restore the city of Jerusalem, and glorify it by dwelling once again in the midst of it.

Furthermore in spite of the judgment which she has endured and of the hatred and persecution from her enemies, Israel will fulfill her ultimate ministry as the Lord’s Candlestick, shining in a darkened world, and revealing the glory of God to all nations.

The sins of Jerusalem and Judah would be born by a High Priest Jeshua, until the wrath of the Holy God is satisfied, and the adversary is rebuked.

Even the meaning of the name of the Prophet proclaims this, for Zechariah means “Jahweh has remembered”.God has not forgotten his people or the city where He put his name, indeed they are the very “Apple of His eye”.

Judgment begins in the house of God, but ultimately the flying scroll which proclaims a commandment from each of the two tables of the Law of Moses enters into the house of the entire world, bringing complete judgment upon all of the houses of the ungodly. The sin which corrupted Israel, will in the end be removed, carried away to Babylon and the welcoming house the Kings of the earth have prepared for it.These events ultimately lead to Armeggedon, the final battle.

Now that these visions have been discussed, Zechariah is led, to call for three prominent Jews who had come from Babylon bearing gifts of silver and gold for the temple which Zerubabbel was building. They were to take those offerings to a craftsman, who would fashion silver and gold crowns to set them on the head of the current high Priest, Joshua.

There stood God’s High Priest, the same one seen in the vision of chapter three, now crowned with a crown composed of silver and Gold. High Priests did not wear crowns, they wore Mitres, a special turban. Kings wore crowns. The two metals are holy , both are prominent in the temple.  Gold represents deity, and the glory of God, whereas silver is the precious metal which represents redemption.

What we are seeing here is a prophetic/symbolic picture of an event which will occur at the very  acme of the events Zechariah saw in his visions, the crowning of King Messiah, the Priestly King!

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Phillipians 2:9-11)

Next Zechariah is instructed to give this message at this occasion,

*Behold the Man…Whatever Joshua the High Priest thought, he must have known that this prophecy could not have been referring to Him, but must have looked long past him in prophetic time to another. Joshua was Priest, he was not a King also and couldn’t be said to “sit on his throne and rule”. How could a Priest also be a King? The only scriptural idea for this combination was in the story of Melchizedek, a King/Priest of another order.

The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.(Psalm 110)

*Whose name is the Branch…lit,”The Branch is His name”… The Messiah has already been reffered to as “the Branch” in an earlier vision of Zechariah, (Zech 3:8). Remember that in the vision of chapter three, Zechariah and the Priests of Israel are reffered to as “Signs”, pointing to an ultimate reality to come, a servant called “The Branch”.

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at(SIGNS): for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.(Zechariah 3:8)

The Branch, is the title for Messiah given in Isaiah 4, in reference to the glorification of Messiah after the Day of the LORD.

In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.(Isaiah 4:2)

Jeremiah refers to the Branch of David, the one coming to shoot out of the severed trunk of David’s tree, and who will fulfill all of the promises made to the house of David.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.(Jeremiah 23:5-6)

The Kings  of Judah, during the time of Jeremiah, were all sons of David, but they led the nation into such decline, it began to look like the promise would fail, as the last sons of David were led into Captivity in Babylon. At the time of the prophecy of Jeremiah 23, the King was named Zedekiah, “Jahweh is Righteous” but this “son of David” was totally unrighteous.

But Jahweh promised a “Shoot” , a Righteous Tsamach(Branch) to arise and truly be called “The LORD our Righteousness”. In His day Judah would be saved and Israel would finally rest in Jahweh.

  • He shall grow up out of His place, David Baron is helpful here, with the Hebrew, “He shall Branch up from under Him…”. The Messiah comes from both regal and lowly origin, but He shall shoot out of lowliness to the highest places, as Isaiah observed, “Who has believed our message and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed , for he grew up before him as a tender shoot, and as a dry root out of parched ground…”(Isiah 53)
  • He shall build the Temple of the LORD and shall bear the Glory of it…Remember that between the two of them, Joshua the High Priest, and Zerubabbel the Governor (and descendant of David), were engaged in the rebuilding of the temple. But this vision makes plain that the “King” and Priest were but foreshadows of a superior KING?PRiest and anointed one who would come and build an ultimate temple  to God, and glorify it and rule from it.
  • …and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. Between the two Divinely ordained offices, King and Priest of God, Shalom for all men will come to pass , for the council that brings men into Peace with God, shall come to mankind through his work and in his temple.

What is the temple of the LORD, but a God ordained symbol of the ongoing communion between God and His people! This man “the Branch” will combine in himself the offices of KING and Priest and through his work, men will come from near and far and enter into an eternal and blessed communion with God forever.The Crowns were to be a sign and the other sign would be that foreigners would come and participate in the building of the present temple being constructed by Joshua and Zerubabbel.

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Armeggedon…Zechariah pt 8

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.  In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;  And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.  Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?  And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.

The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country.  And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.(Zechariah 6:1-8)

In Zechariah’s final vision of the eight, He saw four chariots, (lit. Merkava in the Hebrew language). The first vision saw four horsemen, an angelic patrol going throughout the earth, but in this vision, the prophet sees chariots, indicating mechanized war. Red horses, indicate the color of war, Black the color of death, White horses for victory, and grizzled, (dappled) horses, possibly represent famine and disease.

The Chariots flow out from between two mountains of Brass. Brass is a holy metal, that is, it was used in the temple. The outer court area of sacrifice utilized Brass, for it represents Divine Judgment. Universal Judgement begins from between the two “brass Mountains”.

One possibility is that this is Zechariah’s version of what Joel saw in His final vision,

For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,  I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.(Joel 3:1-3)

A valley is the lowland between two mountains, and the Valley of Jehoshaphat, lies between Mt Zion(Temple Mount) and the Mount of Olives. Jehoshaphat means,”Jahweh Shall Judge” and the story of Jehoshaphat is a fore type of the final battle in which the gentiles nations besiege Jerusalem, but God grants them a mighty deliverance!

God will judge the nations of the world which have been at ease, ignoring Israel’s plight, and they have even helped further the affliction of Zion! They have scattered Israel, parted her land and “cast lots for my people “,(voted for or against, condemned, censured) in the United Nations, and have prostituted their values, (Human rights, protection of the innocent), overlooking Arab terrorism for the sake of access to oil! They have literally “Sold a boy for a harlot and a girl that they might drink wine”.

Judgment is coming, the Chariots of Death, War and victory head North first, but then throughout the whole earth. All of the nations become embroiled in the nightmare conflict called the “Controversy of Zion”.

The four war chariots are also called “the four Spirits of the heavens”. They are more fully revealed in the Revelation given to John in the Apocalypse.THey are seen as Four Horsemen in Revelation 6 and as the Spirits which are holding back Judgment in Revelation 7,

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.  And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.  And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.  And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.  And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.  And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.  And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth…And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree(Revelation 6:1-8, 7:1)

These horrors coming upon the earth are the outcome of the previous events granted Zechariah in vision. Jerusalem must be restored, as the Joy not the whole earth. The Nations which scattered her and didn’t care about her plight must be judged. The city must be restored and Israel also to her rightful place as the Priestly Witness to God, (Lampstand) set on the Holy Hill, the city of glory!

The iniquity which snared and corrupted Israel, must be taken away to Babylon, Shinar, the place of universal Gentile rebellion against God,  then Iniquity will be removed from the Holy nation in one day and the Kingdom of God shall commence on earth!

Finally, before the eyes of the whole world, the King/Priest, the man named ‘the branch’ must be crowned and anointed as God’s appointed ruler.

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Lady Iniquity In An Ephah…Zechariah pt 7

Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth.  And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.  And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.  And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.  Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.  Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?  And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.(Zechariah 5:5-11)

The Prophet Zechariah has been given visions of the restoration and consolation of Judea,Israel and of Jerusalem. Like a fragrant Haddaseh tree,(Myrtle), The lowly nation sits in a ravine, in water,isolated and despised among then nations. But the Angel of the LORD stands among them,and speaks comfortable Words to her.

Jerusalem will grow and expand, the gentile nations that scattered her over the centuries will be “frayed”, and the People of Israel shall once again shine out as God’s candle-stick, constantly being anointed by God’s King and Priest. A Priest named Joshua (Jeshua) will bear the iniquity and reproach of the nation until the wrath of God is satisfied, as a result of this, the iniquity of the nation will be removed in one day.

But first a time of universal Judgment must come, a flying Scroll embodying the breakage of two of the ten commandments “goes forth” into all of the earth, entering every household bringing judgment to all. The two commandments , one from each of the two tables of the Law, represent the breaking of all of the commandments of God by the entire world.

Towards God, most of the the World is engaged in a sort of perjury, a misuse of God’s name, having a form of godliness but denying the very power of it.Towards one another, theft is the representative sin, as men engage in mass covetousness, hating , envying and even confiscating the goods of one another. Consider the mass political movements which appeal to envy, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, all of which have swept most of the world into their covetous web.

People have learned to appeal to Government to “even the score” of those more successful than they, they support leaders of whom it could only be described as thieves in a sane and honest world.

The scroll goes everywhere, and everywhere it goes, it destroys the house thereof. For example look at the utter destruction of leftism in the world today! Most of it is couched in a kind of deceptive self righteous altruism, but it is envy and theft, plain and simple.

In the next , related vision, the Prophet sees an ephah, which is a basket, as well as a measurement. Like the scroll, the Ephah goes forth, from the land of Israel, out into the wider world. The Ephah which goes out, is said to be the “resemblance throughout the earth”.

He sees also a round cover of lead, weighing one talent,  over the Ephah. When the cover is lifted up the prophet can see a woman, who is reffered to as “Wickedness” by the Angel.”Wickendess ” is cast into the Ephah and covered with lead.

Next the Prophet sees two winged women(The only winged women in all of scripture), each having the wings of a stork. Each of them take one of the handles of the Ephah and bear it up. “Where are they taking the Ephah?”, asked the Prophet of the interpreting Angel.

“To build it an house in the land of Shinar, it shall be established to set it on her base”.

It would be helpful to survey each of the ingredients of this mysterious vision, in order to get an idea as to what this vision is telling us.

  • The Ephah is a symbol of commerce-Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.(Leviticus 19:13)
  • So also is lead, which was used as a weight for the measuring of Grain or even silver and gold.
  • Lead is an unholy metal, not used in the temple of the LORD. The Holy metals are gold, silver and bronze.
  • The Woman who is wickedness- one of the constantly recurring motifs in all of scripture. The true congregation of the LORD is the Bride of Christ, the “Daughter of Zion” etc.  But the faithless, false church or congregation of any false religion is the harlot, the parody of the Bride, who ensnares the simple, and seduces them away from God.And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.(Revelation 17:4-6)
  • The wings of a stork- The Stork is unclean.And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;… And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.(Leviticus 11:13-19)
  • And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.(Revelation 18:1-2)

Unclean birds in the Bible, Old and New testament, are types of the Demonic realm.The Stork is one of the largest of these birds in the Holy Land.

Finally we have Shinar, which is another name for Babylon. The Word Shinar means “Cast down with violence”,and it is where the Tower of Babel incident occurred.
To put the picture together, Before Israel is finally restored a particular kind of iniquity must be removed from he soul and from the Land. The Babylonian captivity actually cured Israel from crass idolatry forever. But her experience in Babylon, led Israel into an entirely different kind of iniquity every bit as defiling and corrupting as Baal , Moloch and Ashtoroth ever proved to be.

In captivity, Israel entered into a system of Babylonian commerce. It was there that the Jews became a people of merchants and traders, speculators and investors, lenders and usurers, (none of which by themselves were particularly evil). But the godlessness, commercialism, avarice and love of Mammon which infused such a system eventually leavened much of the nation, corrupting much of the character of the nation to this day.
Zechariah saw that the Ephah would “go forth” until this would be the “resemblance of the entire world. The world wide economic and commercial system would be the very embodiment of “wickedness” itself, and would be powered and hastened on by “Stork winged women” , i.e. powerful, but seductive demonic entities.

Think of our current world situation, in which when States pass laws to protect their citizens from the depredations of the gay rights movement, such as small business owners being sued by homosexuals for not catering to their wedding, huge corporations step in to force and bully those states to rescind such laws or face financial recriminations!
We have a system where the “powers that be” merely inflate currency , thus skimming billions from the powerless, in a deceptive ‘hidden tax’ inflation.

In the USA, the National Football League is currently threatening the State of Texas, to withhold the Superbowl and its profits, because Texas passed a strict law against the imposition of the public of Multi-sexual bathrooms. The NFL seems to want to be perceived as the champion of the degenerates!

For commercial interests, Sundays have become the same as any other day, pornography laws have collapsed, gays have been catered to, degrading television programming has been spewed out on us,  there seems to be no resistance to the relentless onslaught. Even religion has become highly commercialized.

We are getting to the point where, all tradition, religion, sanctity, indeed everything we regard as Holy is being forced to step aside for the sake of corporate interests; sales, profits, dividends. The Ephah has spread throughout the entire earth, but Israel will be the first to be delivered from this power.

Where is it all heading? To Shinar again, to Babel.Soon the Mark of the Beast will come as our greatest moral and spiritual test.

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The Flying Scroll …Zechariah pt 6

Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.  And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.  Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.  I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.  Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth.

And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.  And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.  And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.

 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.  Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?  And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.(Zechariah 5)

In the previous vision, Israel is represented as a Candlestick which illuminates the whole world, and is continuously supplied with oil of anointing, that her light might shine. The vision revealed two Olive trees, connected to the Candlestick, constantly replenishing the oil.

The Olive trees represent on the immediate level, the offices of High Priest, and the office of Governor(King). The High Priest is named Joshua, and Zerubabbel is the Governor, a direct descendent of King David, but through the line of the accursed Jeconiah. These two “anointed ones” standing  before the God of the whole earth, have been entrusted with a daunting task; to rebuild the temple of the LORD , the visible sign of the restored fellowship of God with His people.

The beginnings look small and could easily be despised by the carnal. The woe will indeed be accomplished, “not by might nor by power but by the Spirit of the LORD”. Through Zerubabbel will come the very Headstone of the Temple, the chief cornerstone, none less than the Messiah, bringing Grace unto the Candle Stick that is Israel.Israel’s light will indeed shine brightly, especially on the day when God removes all iniquity from her and from the land.

We have seen in an earlier vision,the gracious way in which God removed the sin and iniquity of Israel, Judah and Jerusalem; through the substitutionary actions of Jeshua the High Priest, bearing the sin and reproach before God, until the wrath was satisfied. Salvation from sin would come by substitution, through the God appointed sin bearer, He would bear the reproach of Ha Satan and the wrath of God for the people.

Before Israel ,Judah and Jerusalem know the blessing of that salvation, Zechariah 5 predicts an intervening period of profound  and near universal apostasy, and the judgment of God which answers to it.

The prophet saw a scroll “in mid air” , 20 by 10 cubits, (the measure of the Holy Place). The scroll was open, and covered front and back with writing, like the ten Commandments.

The Angel said, “This is the curse which goes out over the whole earth”. The Law of God has a curse upon it, for all who violate it’s commands. Like the Law of God on Sinai, the scroll has two tables, “Everyone who Steals”, refers to any and all sins against other men. “All who swear falsely” refers to all sins against God Himself.

The Scroll is active, it seeks out the thieves, the violators, the perjurers and blasphemers. Like a modern “smart missile” it sets out to inhabit every house of every violator of these commands and the duties they represent, all sins against men, and all sins against God. The scroll enters the house of all to destroy and consume completely.

The very mark of the last days is unrighteousness and ungodliness, as Paul warns,

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.( 2 Timothy 3:1-4)

Judgment is coming, and no one will escape, the scroll moves swiftly and accurately to consume and destroy, and will cover the entire earth. This is how iniquity will be searched out and judged in the last days.

 

 

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