Lesson 31 – Prophecy
Zechariah, Chapter 13: 7-9
“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion,’ Says the Lord of hosts. ‘Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones. And it shall come to pass in all the land,’ Says the Lord, ‘That two thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one third shall be left in it: I will bring the one third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people;’ and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
We talked last week about how important it was for the Lord’s people to be discerning. There is a deliberate lack of doctrinal teaching in many churches. There are churches that work hard at doctrinal teaching, but it is not readily received by those listening. Because there is a lack of honest doctrinal teaching and an emphasis in some churches, too many, on entertainment, the door for false prophets and teachers has been swung wide open.
We are warned that in the ‘last days,’ people will want to hear nice things and not have hard doctrines taught. The Bible puts it this way in 2 Timothy 4:3,
“The time is coming when people won’t listen to good teaching. Instead, they will look for teachers who will please them by telling them only what they are itching to hear.”
I don’t often use the Contemporary English Version, but that verse above is as clear as it can be. They only get teachers that tell them what they want to hear. The listeners already know what they want to hear, and they only hire leaders that teach these things. They do not care about truth, sound doctrine and Biblical precepts; they care about feeling good and appearing successful. This plague of false churches has become a blight in our times.
People are not being challenged to be like Jesus, to sacrifice and be sacrifices for the cause of the Gospel. There is no transformation and no hatred for sin. No call to repentance and no challenge to beat the flesh into submission so as to obey the Lord. These are the things of Christianity, the things that destroy the Old Man and help the New Man to thrive. But this is hard work filled with failure, shame, confession of sin and painful self-discipline.
This makes the Christian walk sound hard and harsh; it can be at times. But as the person of Christ is formed in us, we become the jewels in His crown that we were intended to be, not just legends in our own minds. Sometimes we will not see the victories in this life, but one day we will be called faithful servants like Samson and David, like Samuel and Moses, because of what GOD did in us – even when we could not see it.
Today we will explore a summary of the future of the nation of Israel right up until and beyond our time. We have seen two of the three prophecies in these three verses fulfilled and being fulfilled in front of our eyes. The third prophecy is yet to come in its full fruition, even though we see some parts of it happening around us.
Strike the Shepherd, verse 7
In Matthew 26:31, the prophecy of this verse was fulfilled. Jesus told us that it was being fulfilled, so there is no question that this was it. On the night when He was betrayed in the Garden, Jesus confirmed that this was the fulfillment,
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Tonight all of you will run away because of Me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’”
Zechariah wrote this prophecy about 500 years before Jesus was even born. That night in the Garden we are told that the disciples all fled as Jesus was arrested. They were afraid, and it was not until the resurrection that their courage came back. Once they saw Jesus alive and well, able to eat, be held, able to speak and to bodily walk through walls, they were emboldened and went out to change the world.
Two Thirds of Israel Destroyed, verse 8
Over the 2,000 years since the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, the Jews have been killed and slaughtered in just about every corner of the globe. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, about 1.1 million Jews were killed in the Roman war of 70 AD. Some think he was over estimating, but many other historians seem to have a similar number. We do know that when the Jews came out of the wilderness under the leadership of Joshua, they had an army of over 600,000 men between the ages of 20 to 50. This would peg the population at somewhere in the range of 1.8 to 2 million persons, including women, children and the aged.
In WW2, the German military executed over 6,000,000 Jews in the gas chambers, not to mention the many killed before that and during the war. Today the population of Israel is about 8 million; this is 70 years later after they regained their homeland.
So, from what appears to be almost extinction, the nation has recovered well. But we can see that throughout the years there has been a deliberate and targeted destruction of the Jews. This is no accident; Satan knows that Jerusalem is the place of God’s earthly government; and if he can eliminate the Jews, just maybe he can stop the plans of God.
Silly Satan! He is, if nothing else, a determined soul. He certainly has not given up on his plan to be like God. But he will never be God. He will never destroy Israel, but try he will. In the book of Revelation, Satan will try to invade Israel and will kill millions once again. About one third of Israel will escape and will be the remnant that Jesus will use to rebuild the nation in the Millennial kingdom.
There is yet a future slaughter of the Jews coming at the hand of the nations of the world. The enemies of Israel from the ancient days will rise up against her. Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Libya, Syria and others will form alliances and come against her to destroy her. Some of these alliances are taking formation right now. The destruction of the Jews that is coming will make the previous murders look like hiccups in the course of history. In Matthew 24: 9-14 we see these words,
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
Verse 9 makes it clear to the Jewish men Jesus was talking to that they will ‘kill you.’ Jesus was not very PC. He was so blunt and lovingly in your face, but no one could have ever accused Him of being vague. Many of the Jews have been killed over the years, and there is a lot more killing to come. Lord, help them.
This is My People, verse 9
Soon the nation of Israel will come (as will we all) face to face with God. The remnant that is left will be put through some hard times, lots of suffering and fear, and they will have no refuge but God. He is their refuge, as He is yours and mine. Once they have been purified and prepared, God will remind them that they are His people, and they will return his greeting with ‘The Lord is my God.’
It is no accident that Israel is front and center in the news and in the affairs of the governments around us. It is no accident that the USA has declared Jerusalem the capital city of Israel in these, the last days. It is no small matter that the very enemies mentioned in Ezekiel 38: 1-6 are surrounding and actively engaged in war in the surrounding territories of the Middle East.
“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you.”
Persia is known today as Iran, but we have nations that we know that will come to destroy Israel. This time of purging will drive the Jews to God again. They will call for a Messiah, and He will show up; and they will know that He is the Lord. He will claim them and they Him. Some hard things will happen here on Earth while we are waiting for this revelation. But make no mistake; this conversation between God and Israel will happen. God makes it very, very clear that Israel is His people.
The church age is coming to an end, and an abrupt one at that. The restoration of Israel is near, maybe nearer than you think.
I pray that you are the Lord’s people and that you recognize and regard the Lord as God. He is! We are blessed in this the Gentile church age to have the full power of the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and convict our hearts when the truth of the Word of God is preached. Bless the Lord oh my soul!