And As For You
And As For You!
Responsive Reading – Hebrews 9.11-22
Hymn – #129 – “At the Cross”
Text: Zechariah 9.11 – “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.”
Introduction: The mere Advent or coming of our Lord Jesus Christ does not secure our redemption. Do not misunderstand me, I am not minimizing the coming of Christ. We are told that the coming of our King is something to “rejoice greatly in” and even are exhorted to “Shout!” over it. The heavy emphasis of Christmas on the coming of Christ erroneously misapplies the power of the Gospel at best and mostly eliminates the Gospel all together.
Paul’s emphasis was “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” Why? Because as our text emphasizes in the phrase, “by the blood of the covenant,” it is “by means of death” that redemption has been obtained for us, that our sins are forgiven and that our conscience has been purged from dead works to serve the living God! In other words, the Advent of Christ was for the purpose of fulfilling God’s covenant by means of His death.
The Prominence of this affair – the Death of Christ – is so overwhelmingly prominent in Scripture that you would have to be blind in order to miss it. Rather a suppression of it is really at play. “By the blood of thy covenant” is the means of salvation. “Thy King Cometh.” He comes having salvation! This was the angel’s proclamation in Luke 2, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” The declaration of John the Baptist when he saw Jesus was “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” It is interesting to note, two of the four Gospels, Matthew and Luke, speak of the proclamation of the newborn child or the “Christmas story.” All four Gospels address the ministry of John the Baptist who bore witness that the Lamb of God has come.
The point is, the securing factor of our redemption is by the blood of the covenant, for “without shedding of blood is no remission!” It has always been the requirement because God is looking for the blood. It is not that God was out for blood. That would not suffice because it must be “the blood.” The emphasis here is the blood of one in particular, the lamb – Exodus 12.3-5 gives four criteria that must be meet. The lamb must be: 1st a male, 2nd without blemish, perfect and whole, 3rd a lamb of the first year and finally, taken from the flock. Now, I don’t want to take time to look at the criteria, but only to emphasize that the importance is in the Sacrifice and not the blood. In other words, the lamb had to be perfect. However, the blood of Christ was in no manner different from yours and mine. Why all the emphasis on blood then? It was an manifestation that an awful event took place – the Lamb died. And so, the Hebrew writer says emphatically, “He (Christ) … by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” The blood indicated the lamb died. That is what God was looking for over the mantle of their doors. Not just any blood, but the blood of the lamb that died.
So then, the mere Advent of Christ does not secure our redemption, but His death sets the prisoner free! The purpose of Christ’s coming was to fulfill this Covenant and save His people. This is why the reference is “by the blood of thy covenant.” But the wonder of it all, is the personal inclusion of the one who is found in this covenant. I want to speak to you under the title – And As For You! Our text reveals the wonderful inclusion of the persons for whom the King has come with four manifestations of true Salvation: Hope, Liberty, Security and Prosperity.
I. There is hope in that the King speaks to You.
The 1st manifestation of Salvation is you have a Hope. “As for thee also…”
A. The Lord time and again gently encourages His people. “Fear not little flock.” It is an element found throughout the book of Zechariah, that Jehovah remembers. The baker may have forgotten Joseph, but the Lord did not forget Joseph.
B. Here is one of the most beautiful words of encouragement to God’s people: “As for thee also…” He speaks of sending His King and describes the reign of the Great King and almost immediately turns to the ones who are “prisoners” and says, “As for thee also…” As to say, I have not forgotten you. You are the reason I am here.
C. It is all according to the covenant. However, it is an unusual way in which the Lord describes the covenant. Throughout the Bible, the covenant is primarily referred to as the Lord’s Covenant. Now, an incredible thing is said, “Your covenant.” This is possessive, meaning you have a part in this, not as a party who brings it about, but as a party who greatly benefits in it.
D. Think about this. Here your entire people have been dispersed and most brought into captivity. You are now a part of a small remnant who is back in the land. Everything is an up hill battle. Almost everything is going wrong and the Lord comes along and says, “I remember.” But now, He says it in such a way that gives you the most hope possible, “And as for you, I remember your Covenant and this is what I am going to do.”
E. You may be asking, “How do you know the Your refers to the people of God?” The King James translators did a wonderful job here. The Hebrew “As for thee also” is given at the beginning to clarify the writer’s emphasis on the antecedent. In other words, the “as for thee also” is written as an address as we would address someone by name for clarity. The Lord is clarifying who the King is coming for – It is for Zion. It is for His Church. How do I know that I have this hope? He is speaking to the Church, but how do I get into this? You know you are in if you have experienced Liberty!
II. There is Liberty in that the King has set you Free.
The 2nd manifestation of Salvation is that you have Liberty. “I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit where is no water.”
A. The first aspect of being liberated is that you must have been in captivity. The allusion of a “pit with no water” is an Eastern practice where slaves were kept in deep dark pits in the ground that were full of clay and mire. They were a most filthy and famishing condition. There was no water, no food and no divisions, which meant that if you were going to go to the bath room it was the same pit in which you sat and stood. This was probably the kind of place that Joseph’s brothers kept him. Jeremiah 38.6 gives us a perfect picture of this kind of pit.
B. This is the expressive state of men in sin, a pit of mire and clay, no water and they cannot get out. Sin is like that pit, filthy and famishing. If someone does not get you out, you will sink in the mire of it and die! The second manifestation of salvation is that you have liberty. You have been set free from such a pit of sin.
III. There is Security in the Strong Hold.
The 3rd manifestation of salvation is your security. “Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope.”
A. Look at the position of opposition to the pit – “turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope!” The stronghold is literally a place cutoff from access of an enemy. What is the stronghold or rather Who? Psalm 46.1 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” No strength, no refuge, no strong hold is found except in Christ. Notice His address again, “Ye prisoners of hope.”
B. This is an epithet to the church who despite the threatening of the enemy, the devil, his demons, sin, death and the world have turned to the strong hold and put their trust in their blood covenant as their hope of redemption. They trust in the ever living Christ!
IV. There is Prosperity in a Double Portion.
The 4th manifestation of Salvation is your Prosperity. “Even today, do I declare that I will render double unto thee.”
A. If it were not enough that the Lord liberates them from the awful pit, He now give them a double portion in that He gives them victory over the enemy. There is here a real power as overcomers and more than conquerors. The idea here is complete victory, a subduing.
B. Here, we must be careful to understand prophecy. Prophecy is primarily of what was and is to be fulfilled in Christ and His church as revealed in the light of the New Testament. In other words, the New Testament interprets the Old Testament. For instance, Verse 9 is fulfilled in the Gospels. Matthew in his Gospel, interprets this prophecy as being fulfilled in Christ. “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass.” This is an exact reference to Zechariah 9.9.
C. Because of time, I want go into everything concerning Greece. Suffice to say, Jesus made it clear that this world was not His kingdom. Paul said we do not fight against flesh and blood. So that cannot be where the fight is here. It is a fight. The imagery is of battle and war and implements of war. However, in view of salvation, we manifest salvation in prosperity of victory over loving the world and the things of the world. 1 John 2.15 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Conclusion: The Coming of the King is something in which to rejoice, not simply His Advent as expressed in this Christmas time of year, but more so in that He has come to you. But greater than that, rejoice if you can in that in you are these manifestations of salvation, that you have your hope in Christ.
If you do not have this hope. If you say, “Bro. David, none of these things are manifested in my life.” Then “Turn to the Stronghold!” Turn to Christ because it was only by His death that there is a covenant. He is the One who died for the redemption of the sins, so that you might receive the promise of eternal life.
Hymn – #448 ~ “He Ransomed Me”