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Friday, December 29, 2006

Zechariah: Good and Comforting Words

Part 3: The Revelation in Glory of the Messiah (1.18-21; 2.6-9; 3.1-10; 10.1-12; 11.15-17; 12.1-13.9; 14.1-15)

Zechariah writes more about Messiah’s revelation in glory or second coming than any other eschatological subject pertaining to Jesus Christ. Therefore, we will divide the study according to the actions of the coming King in Zechariah: Judging the “Worthless Shepherd”, Judging the Gentile World, Restoring the Nation of Israel, and Cleansing the Nation of Israel. We will further subdivide Restoring the Nation of Israel due to the great texts in Zechariah regarding this one subject.

Judging the “Worthless Shepherd” (11.15-17)

It is interesting to note that the KJV uses the word “Idol” for “Worthless” in Zechariah 11. Of course, there is no contradiction between the two translations. Both communicate the same – an idol is worthless no matter the form in which it appears. Three factors must be recognized to cement this text in our minds: (1) Zechariah takes up the instruments of a shepherd again [Note: 11.7-14 represent the True Shepherd] (15); (2) This time the picture is that of a foolish shepherd who uses these instruments to do great harm to Israel (16); (3) The picture is made especially desolate in that this shepherd abandons the flock (17).

Idol of Foolishness (11.15)

God commands Zechariah, “Take up for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd” (15). Jewish commentators believe Herod to be this shepherd. Hengstenberg, who wrote a Christology of the Old Testament in two volumes, applies this passage to all evil Jewish leaders. Others speculate that it applies to Roman powers by looking to the fourth kingdom in Daniel 7 for support.

Idol of Destruction (11.16)

This selfish shepherd uses instruments to do harm to the people of God. It is instructive to see that he acts under the control of YHWH who states, “I will raise up a shepherd…” (16a). A particular shepherd for a particular purpose is in view. He epitomizes every other false shepherd of the Jewish people. He may even be a Jew himself. He is the antichrist who will “not care for those who are cut off” (16b).

The passage continues by stating that this antichrist will not “feed those that still stand” (16c). The wicked shepherd pictured does the opposite of what he was sent to do. “He will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces” (16d). The antichrist will tear and claw Israel to pieces. One can hardly read this passage in the light of other texts on the antichrist in the end time without applying it to him.

“The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom [restored Roman kingdom]. And another [antichrist] shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings. 25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time [3 ½ years; Great Tribulation]. 26 But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever” (Daniel 7:24-26).

Jesus said, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16). See also 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 13.

Jesus further taught, “I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive” (John 5:43). This one received by the Jews is the false shepherd of Zechariah 11.

Idol of Desolation (11.17)

The worthless shepherd abandons the flock (17). He is condemned by the True Shepherd (17a). The worthless shepherd loses his arm of flesh (17b) and his eye of intelligence (17c). He shall meet his end: “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:20-21).

Baron wrote, “And this shall be the end of him who shall be slain with the breath of Messiah’s mouth, and be destroyed by the brightness of His appearing” (418). Knowing this end gives hope to the nation of Israel and the church of God. Indeed, these are good and comforting words.