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Major Messages from the Minor Prophets: Messianic Glimpses—Zechariah

Major Messages from the Minor Prophets  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Messianic flashes in Zechariah 9-14

Notes & Transcripts
Text: Zechariah 9-14
Theme: Messianic flashes in Zechariah 9-14
Date: 03/19/2017 File Name: MinorProphets16f.wpd ID Number:
History is replete with evil kings. Ironically, one of the most diabolical was Herod the great who ruled Judea at the time of Christ’s birth. Herod was born in 73 B.C. and was confirmed by the Roman Senate as “King of Judea “ in 40 B.C. The Jewish people resented him because he was an Idumean. Herod did accomplish some good for the country. He was one of the greatest builders of the ancient world, and his construction projects reshaped Israel. He built the port of Caesarea, rebuilt Judean cities and made palaces for himself. His greatest achievement was the remodeling of the temple, begun in 19 B.C., Which transformed the temple complex into one of the world’s most glorious buildings.
Yet the good he did is far outweighed by the wickedness he did. executions and murder were commonplace with Herod. He murdered his favorite wife, Mariamne, as well as her mother. Fearing that his two sons by Mariamne, Alexander and Aristobulus, would attempt a coup in retaliation, have them strangled. Fearing that Mariamne’s brother, Aristobulus III, might seek revenge invited his brother-in-law to a party and then had him drowned during the celebration. Five days before his death, Herod had another son, Antipater, executed. Caesar Augustus — the same Caesar Augustus of Luke’s Gospel — upon hearing the news of Antipater’s death, quipped, “It’s better to be Herod’s pig than his son.” As a Jew who wouldn’t eat pork, the lives of Herod’s pigs, if he had any, were safer than his son’s lives.
According to the Jewish historian Josephus, on his deathbed King Herod ordered many prominent Judeans to be executed so that there would be great weeping and wailing in the country. He knew that his Jewish citizens would not weep and wail for his death, and so decided he would give them something to weep and wail about. Thankfully, his sister rescinded the order.
One of Herod’s most dastardly deeds occurred near the end of his reign, and that story is told us in the Bible. Magi had arrived to his court and informed him that the “King of the Jews” had been born in Judea. According to the prophet Micah, the messianic King would be born in Bethlehem. When the Wisemen did not return with specifics, Herod, in a fit of fanatical age, had all the babies under two years old in the tiny village massacred.
Herod the great is only one example of an endless number of history’s wicked tyrants. What the world needs is a righteous king who will rule justly and lovingly. This is the kind of Messiah Zechariah describes in his closing chapters.
1. as we come to chapter 9 of Zechariah’s prophecy, we arrive at a whole new section of his book
a. it’s a radical departure from the first eight chapters
1) in fact, it’s so sharply different that critical Old Testament scholars have alleged that chapters 9–14 were written by a different author
2) there is no reason not to believe, however, in the traditional view that Zechariah is the author of the entire prophecy
2. the first eight verses of chapter nine reveal the coming of a worldly king who would conquer the world (at least most of the known world of that day
“An Oracle The word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrach and will rest upon Damascus— for the eyes of men and all the tribes of Israel are on the LORD— 2 and upon Hamath too, which borders on it, and upon Tyre and Sidon, though they are very skillful. 3 Tyre has built herself a stronghold; she has heaped up silver like dust, and gold like the dirt of the streets. 4 But the Lord will take away her possessions and destroy her power on the sea, and she will be consumed by fire. 5 Ashkelon will see it and fear; Gaza will writhe in agony, and Ekron too, for her hope will wither. Gaza will lose her king and Ashkelon will be deserted. 6 Foreigners will occupy Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. 7 I will take the blood from their mouths, the forbidden food from between their teeth. Those who are left will belong to our God and become leaders in Judah, and Ekron will be like the Jebusites.” (Zechariah 9:1–7, NIV84)
1. this passage reveal the coming conquest of the nations Syria, Phoenicia, and Philistia
a. these are nations that had been a perennial thorn-in-the-side of Israel ever since the people had come into the Promised Land
1) the land of Hadrach in vs. 1 is a reference to the area of controlled by the city of Damascus, and Hamath is about 130 miles north of there; together they make up the area of Syria
2) Tyre and Sidon were the major cities of Phoenicia, known as Lebanon today
a) Tyre was indeed a stronghold being built on an island ½ mile off the coast with walls 150 feet high surrounding the entire island
b) as the primary trade city of the eastern Mediterranean, Tyre was also an exceedingly rich city that had indeed heaped up silver like dust, and gold like the dirt
3) Ashkelon, a prosperous port city, and Ekron are cities in the Gaza area, in what was then known as Philistia
a) when they see what happens to Tyre they will see it and fear, they will writhe in agony
b) the loss of political independence, the splendor of their cities, and the glory of their temples would be a crushing blow to the Philistine pride
2. God will use a young Macedonian monarch to accomplish this
a. he was Alexander III of Macedon, but we know him better as Alexander the Great
1) the parallels between what is described in verse 1-8, and Alexander’s invasion of the region are unmistakable
b. after routing the Persians in October 333 B.C. at Issus, Alexander marched toward Egypt, conquering Syria, Phoenicia, and Philistia along the way
3. 1st, in this prophecy, God reveals the means whereby He would sweep away Israel’s hostile neighbors
ILLUS. When Alexander arrived at Tyre, he simply built a causeway out to the city, brought in his siege engines and captured the city in a mere seven months. Because they resisted, executed 10,000 citizens, sold 30,000 into slavery, and burned the city. Ashkelon did fear, but they also resisted, and after Alexander conquered them, executed 10,000 of its citizens and sold the rest into slavery. The king of Ashkelon was tied behind a chariot and dragged to death.
a. even Egypt and the Medo-Persian Empire of Zechariah’s day would fall before Alexander
4. 2nd, in this prophecy, God promises that He will protect His people and keep them safe
“But I will defend my house against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch.” (Zechariah 9:8, NIV84)
a. God promises to protect His people
ILLUS. The 1st-century Jewish historian, Josephus tells us the story. Alexander went to Jerusalem after having taken Gaza. Jaddua, the high priest, had a warning from God received in a dream, in which he saw himself vested in a purple robe, with his miter—that had the golden plate on which the name of God was engraved—on his head. Accordingly he went to meet Alexander at the Temple. Followed by the priests, all clothed in fine linen, and by a multitude of citizens, Jaddua awaited the coming of the king. When Alexander saw the high priest, he reverenced God, and saluted Jaddua; while the Jews with one voice greeted Alexander. The Jews showed Alexander the Book of Daniel that declares one of the Greeks should destroy the Persian Empire, and Alexander assumed he was the Greek of the prophecy. The following day Alexander asked the Jews what favors he should grant them; and, at the high priest's request, he accorded them the right to live in full enjoyment of the laws of their forefathers. He also granted that right to Jews in whatever lands he conquered.
b. the last half of the verse points to a final deliverance — Never again will an oppressor overrun my people — and anticipates the second Advent of the Messiah
1. OK, OK, so why is this important?
a. it was no mere accident that Jesus Christ showed up on the scene of history when he did
b. God in his providence, was preparing the world for the coming of Christ and Christianity
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,” (Galatians 4:4, ESV)
1) when the fullness of time had come is Paul’s way of saying, at just the right time when everything was in place
2. at the dawn of Christianity the common language of the Roman Empire was not Latin but Koine Greek, Koine simply meaning common
a. Classical Greek was the language of the Greek sages, philosophers, and novelists
1) it was the language of Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates
a) it is one of the great literary languages, for through it the deepest and most complex thoughts can be expressed
2) but Koine was the language of the people
b. after the resurrection, when the Christians began to go into all the world, they went into a world where everyone spoke the same language
1) this provided the early Christian missionaries with an open door to preach in the common language of the people of the Empire from Mesopotamia to Britain
2) it’s why New Testament was written in Koine Greek
c. this could only be explained by the providential working of a Divine Mind
3. the world spoke Greek because of what Zechariah prophesies in 9:1-8
a. Alexander would, in a mere ten years, conquer the known world, and in doing so he spread the Greek language and Greek culture in Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, Persia and Western India
b. in 146 B.C. Rome conquered the Greeks in the decisive Battle of Corinth and Macedonia became a Roman province
c. Rome may have conquered Greece, but Greek civilization conquered Rome
1) Rome stole, copied, and borrowed much of the Greek culture, including the Koine Greek which became the common and commercial language of the Roman Empire
4. God used a world conquer to prepare the Mediterranean world to be conquered by a Jewish Rabbi
1. when it comes to Messianic prophecy, most Christians will almost immediately think of the Prophet Isaiah
a. and rightly so ... he is characterized as the Messianic Prophet
2. but there is also a significant Messianic emphasis in Zechariah’s prophecy — especially chapters 9-14
a. in a period of Jewish history that was rather dark, it was Zechariah whom God used to declare that even though Israel no longer had a king, the Messianic torch had not gone out
b. the glorious day of the coming Ruler was on the prophetic horizon
3. let’s look together at the Messianic Prophetic Flashes that the prophet gives us
“Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch.” (Zechariah 3:8, ESV)
“And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. 13 It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” ’” (Zechariah 6:12–13, ESV)
1. the Hebrews and other Semitic peoples used the term branch in a genealogical sense
a. it meant that a certain person belongs to or descends from a particular family line
ILLUS. We still talk this way. When meeting someone whom we think might be related, but we’re not sure is related we will ask “What branch of the family are you from?”
2. Zechariah refers to a Branch — a specific descendent — that according to the Prophet Isaiah, would come out of the stock of Jesse, father of David
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” (Isaiah 11:1–5, ESV)
3. from these verses we understand that ...
a. God Himself with bring forth this Branch, and he will be God’s servant
b. the Branch will be an individual, and though he will be born a Jew in Judea his influence shall branch out from his place and he shall bear fruit
c. the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him and he will have wisdom and understanding, and the Spirit of counsel and might, and knowledge will be upon him
“for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” (Matthew 7:29, ESV)
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. 45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!”” (John 7:37–46, ESV)
d. the Branch’s delight shall be the fear of the LORD
e. the Branch will build the temple of the Lord (referring to his Church)
f. the Branch will judge the earth with righteousness, and the wicked shall die
3. know anyone who fits this description???
a. 520 years before his birth Zechariah describes the coming and the character of God’s Anointed One
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9, ESV)
1. this is a shocking picture
a. the coronation of Kings has always been filled with pomp and circumstance
1) in every generation in every culture, the normal investiture procedure would be for a prince to arrive at the place of coronation in a fancy carriage or a regal steed with all kinds of pomp-and-circumstance befitting of his office
b. Zechariah declares instead that Israel’s coming king will arrive humbly, seated on the foal of a donkey
1) the word humble in Zech 9:9 is a word that refers to a radical submission to God
2. from the time of Saul, then David and Solomon, the kings of Israel used the horse as a way to demonstrate their social standing and political authority
3. Israel’s Messiah will come to his people in a totally unexpected way, with an unexpected ministry
a. again, we see something of the character and ministry of God’s Anointed One
1) he is righteous
2) he comes bringing salvation
3) he is humble
4. know anyone who fits this description???
a. it’s a prophecy that illustrates the servant-heart, and servant-attitude that Jesus expressed during his ministry
“Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter.” (Zechariah 11:12–13, ESV)
ILLUS. Julius Caesar had his Brutus, Samson had his Delilah, and America had its Benedict Arnold. History is replete with famous betrayers. And the most notorious of all betrayers is a man named Judas. But only one was predicted 500 years before-the-fact.
1. this passage contains one the most amazing prophecies in all the bible
a. throughout Israel’s history, the nation had been beset by wicked leaders, whom Zechariah refers to as wicked and worthless shepherds
b. in His mercy, the Lord God will send them a Good Shepherd who will love them, and protect them
c. incredibly, they want nothing to do with him
“In one month I destroyed the three shepherds. But I became impatient with them, and they also detested me.” (Zechariah 11:8, ESV)
2. in chapter 11, God actually asks the prophet to “role-play”
a. God says in vs. 4, Become shepherd of the flock doomed to slaughter
b. the flock doomed to slaughter is Israel — “For I will no longer have pity on the people of the land,” declares the LORD. “I will hand everyone over to his neighbor and his king. They will oppress the land, and I will not rescue them from their hands.”” (Zechariah 11:6, NIV84)
c. many Old Testament scholars see this as a description of the destruction of Israel at the hands of the Roman Legions in A.D. 69-71
3. because Israel is going to reject the Shepherd sent to her, God will consign the nation to judgement
4. the Messiah had been rejected as the nation’s other shepherds, so in vs. 12 the Good Shepherd sent by God essentially asks for his severance pay, Then I said to them, "If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them
a. the price the nation weighs out to him is thirty pieces of silver — the price for a slave gored by an ox
5. but there’s more ... Zechariah’s prophecy indicates that the money would be returned to the Jewish leaders So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD, to the potter
“Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. 2 They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. 3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”” (Matthew 27:1–10, NIV84)
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zechariah 12:10, NIV84)
1. God’s Anointed One was pierced by the very people he came to give grace to
a. he was pierced of body
b. he was pierced of soul
2. when Israel repents and receives her rejected Messiah as King, the Lord will forgive her sin and remove wickedness from the land
a. Israel did not mourn the first time that Jesus came, but a time is coming when they will realize exactly who they crucified and they will mourn over what they did
“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” (Zechariah 13:1, NIV84)
1. the prophet declares on that day ... it refers to a time of Israel’s repentance and faith
2. in that day, a fountain will be opened
a. the word opened refers to an event with progressive duration ... once it begins it will never stop
b. the Prophet pictures a fresh and never-ending supply of grace to God’s people
3. again, sound like anyone you know??
ILLUS.
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
What the world needs is a righteous king who will rule justly and lovingly. This is the kind of Messiah Zechariah describes in his closing chapters. Do you know that Messiah?
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