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Passage: Zechariah 8-14

On Tuesday, October 9, 2018, Yujin wrote, friends, 

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Passage: Zechariah 8-14

On Thursday, October 8, 2015 (Last Updated on 10/8/2016), Yujin wrote,

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn" (Zechariah 12:10).

Zechariah looks forward to the time of the end when the Jews, who rejected and crucified their Messiah, Jesus Christ, will look upon the great wrong they did to Him and enter into a period of deep mourning. This event is also recorded in the Book of Revelation:

"Look, he is coming with the clouds," and "every eye will see him, even those who pierced him"; and all peoples on earth "will mourn because of him." So shall it be! Amen (Revelation 1:7).

On that day the Jews will recognize their error in judgment. When they crucified Jesus, they thought that they were on the side of God. They thought that Jesus died as punishment for blasphemy, because He claimed to be God. But they will see that He was indeed God. That is why Zechariah prophesies, "They will look on Me whom they have pierced," where God is the One speaking, even though he immediately follows this with the third person, "And they will mourn for Him," which foreshadows Jesus, the God-man, the second person of the triune Godhead. So, in a sense, they did pierce God. They also pierced the man Jesus. 

What is more, they will realize that the Messiah was not pierced for His own sins but for their sins. Jesus had no sins. He paid the price for the sins of others, who would put their trust in Him.

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).

The prophecy of isaiah and Zechariah regarding the crucifixion of Christ is referenced in John's Gospel:

Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced” (John 19:34-37)

Zechariah's prophecy is amazingly comforting. Even though the Jews rejected and crucified Jesus, we recognize that God used it for our salvation, even for the salvation of us Gentiles. But praise be to God, a time will come when the Jews themselves, as a nation, will have their eyes and understanding opened so that they too will recognize Jesus as their true Messiah. 

Friends, although the Jews historically crucified Christ, let us remember that it was for our sins that Jesus died. "He was pierced for our transgressions". Therefore, we also ought to be deeply moved with conviction and daily filled with thanksgiving for this great salvation in which we stand by faith. Praise the Lord!

Passage: Zechariah 8-14

On Wednesday, October 9, 2013, Yujin wrote,

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

Remember, Zecharaiah is a contemporary of Haggai, and both of them prophesied words of encouragement to a fledgling post-exilic community in Jerusalem, who struggled to finish the rebuilding of the temple. Once finished, it looked dissappointing compared to the former glory of Solomon's temple. They were still subjected to foreign powers and without any fortifications against the hostile nations that surrounded them. But Haggai reminded them that God was with them, as they trusted and obeyed Him. Zechariah also encouraged them with great promises of redemption and glorious restoration, which would even exceed their former glory.

In the verse sited above, God promises to open a fountain that would cleanse the people of God from their sins and their impurity. This verse stands in parallel to the promise of Zechariah 12:10, which describes the nature of the fulfillment:

“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. 

This verse alludes to the crucifixion of the Messiah. He would be the One "whom they have peirced." Interestingly, God declared first that "they will look on Me". This is a personal reference to God. Yet, in the very next breath, He declared "they will mourn for Him." I see here a Trinitarian reference to the God-Man Jesus Christ. 

And what is the "fountain" of Zechariah 13:1 that cleanses from sin and impurty if not the fountain of the blood that would flow from the hands, and feet and side, where the Lord Jesus was pierced. So the apostle John would write,

The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

So also the writer of Hebrews would declare,

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heberews 10:10).

Now, the promise of forgiveness and cleansing in Christ, though experienced by the church now, will not be fully embraced and experienced by the Jewish nation until the time of the end. Note, that Zechariah prophesied that they will mourn for the one that they had pierced. His prophecy looked upon the crucifixion as a past event, so that they would realize what they had done after the fact, even long after the fact.

The nation of Israel still has not acknowledged to this day that Jesus is the Messiah. But one day they will, and they will mourn bitterly when they recognize that they crucified the very Messiah that was the center and pinnacle of all their hopes and desires:

And they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself and their wives by themselves (Zechariah 12:10-14).

The prophecy declares that there will be a bitter and great mourning over Christ. What is more, they will not simply mourn as a nation, but they will mourn as families and individuals as well, as every person embraces personal responsibility for putting their Savior on the cross.

I believe this will fulfill the prophecy of Paul in Romans 11:

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25-26).

This explains why the nation does not yet recognize Jesus as their Messiah. Revelation alludes to he prophecy of Zechariah as well:

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” (Revelation 1:7).

Friends, we Gentiles have been given a very privileged opportunity to become members of the family of God. We are experiencing in realization what the Jewish nation still does not see. Though ours is still a hope awaiting completion, we, nevertheless, have this glorious awareness of our redemption in Christ. Let us not let our concerns over the trivial difficulties of this life overshadow our witness in our comparably great hope.

Passage: Zechariah 8-14

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, Yujin wrote,

These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord (Zechariah 8:16-17).

Friends, there is much about the Messiah in the latter chapters of Zechariah, which I encourage you to investigate on your own; however, today, I would like to consider these instructions to the returning exiles. After telling the returning exiles to build the temple again and offering them protection from the nations so that they would not be completely overrun again, God encourages them to focus on the following things as they seek to regain the LORD's favor:

1. "Speak the truth to each other": This reminds me of what Paul wrote in Ephesians 4, "Speak the truth in love." For better or worse I have taken this principle to heart. While political correctness might be used with unbelievers, this should not be the case with believers. We should speak freely and frankly with one another without bitterness or fear of reprisal. Otherwise, we become no different from the world. 

2. "Render true and sound judgment in your courts": Again there is an appeal to truth. It is when decisions are based on wrong principles that they become destructive. The soundness of judgment speaks of the integrity of the truth. In other words, is the truth based on worldly principles or the revealed Word of God? This reminds me of Paul's warning in 1 Corinthians 4: "Do not go beyond what is written."

3. "Do not plot evil against each other": It is not merely the deed that is in focus here but also the intent. God instructs against plotting evil. Evil thoughts and plans should not even enter our hearts and minds. The New Testament in many places echoes this command and extends it further by teaching us to love one another as Christ loved us, and even to love our enemies. Rather than doing them evil, we are commanded to do them good.

4. "Do not love to swear falsely": Once again the instruction returns to the matter of truth. Normally in Hebrew things that are mentioned three times indicate not only emphasis but chief importance. This latter command parallels the first. So, the first command, "Speak the truth to each other" is written negatively: "Do not lie to each other." It would remind the reader of the command in the Decalogue (i.e. "Ten Commandments") "You shall not bear false witness." Jesus and the apostles would also reaffirm this principle in the New Testament. Moreover, the way this command is expressed here makes it very relevant to our times. It reads, "Do not love..." If we read this, "Do not love to lie," it may sound a bit harsh, but it could also imply "Do not love to make promises that you know you cannot or will not keep." As the elections are just around the corner, politicians feel the pressure to make any number of promises, most of which they likely will not keep. The Bible teaches against this. As politicians continue to do this, the people's trust in government will continue to erode. And as the leadership is, so the people often become. People's trust in one another will also erode. As this happens, the society will inevitably self-destruct as everyone turns on one another. This is why Paul writes to the church: "If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other" (Galatians 5:15). The church is not immune from this type of self-destructive tendency. Let us be watchful of ourselves. 

Finally, friends, TODAY is the last day to register to VOTE for the 2012 presidential/congressional elections. If you have not registered, shame on you! You have taken for granted the freedoms we have in this country. The more we fail to exercise this freedom, the more society will suffer spiritual and moral atrophy under abusive and inept leadership. Yes, God is in control, but we are all accountable for our actions. We are not called to hasten the end through passive disengagement. We are called to be light (gospel herald) and salt (moral compass) to the world.