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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Zechariah chapter 13 Bible Study (18,19)

Zechariah Bible Study #18 and #19
Zechariah Chapter 13
The Opened Fountain and Its Cleansing Power
The Smitten Shepherd and the Scattered Sheep

False Prophets Ashamed

13 “In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.
“It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. And if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you have spoken falsely in the name of the Lord’; and his father and mother who gave birth to him will pierce him through when he prophesies. Also it will come about in that day that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive; but he will say, ‘I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth.’ And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’
“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
And against the man, My Associate,”
Declares the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered;
And I will turn My hand against the little ones.
“It will come about in all the land,”
Declares the Lord,
“That two parts in it will be cut off 
and perish;
But the third will be left in it.
“And I will bring the third part through the fire,
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, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

Most commentators say the first 6 verses connect to Chapter 12 and the last 3 verses connect to Chapter 14. Baron gives this chapter, two chapters in his book, but I'm combining them.
In that day” continues to be the theme. The “great day”, the “day of the Lord” is mentioned over and over.
Verse 1 – connects us back to the previous sentences which revealed a never, ever seen in history national repentance. The chosen people are brought to a sovereignly ordained place of brokenness and, “the end of their strength.” (Deut. 32:36, Daniel 12:7) The real problem is sin. Do we focus on this as revealed truth or are we occupied with 'reacting' to secondary fires, but never getting to the root cause?

Isaiah 66:8 “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?
Can a land be born in one day?
Can a nation be brought forth all at once?

As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons.”

This verse reveals a truth for an entire nation that is demonstrated, any time a sinner turns to Jesus and asks forgiveness. “Open the fountain, Lord, as You promise here.” is a good prayer. We all need forgiveness and cleansing. Through the work of Jesus on the cross it is freely given.
Unfortunately some limit this verse to the nation of Israel coming back into being in 1948. This event was important, historic, and amazing, but it is not what is being spoken here. This is totally about sin, about repentance, about a completely supernatural fulfillment of a covenant promise from a covenant keeping God. The event is spoken of clearly at the end of chapter 12, which is yet future. It is a mistake that leads to a whole lot of other errors. Israel does have to be on the map as a nation, with Jewish people in it, in order for the events of the end times to play out. So, in 1918 when David Baron was saying this, God did prove him right, but he would have also cautioned us that the two events are not the same. They are as different as a man who says, “Yeh, it was wrong of me to beat my wife, it cost me my job.” and another man who is broken and weeping and sobbing uncontrollably who has been confronted in a deep place in his spirit with the fact that he is not right with God and is doomed to an eternal hell, but that Jesus died on the cross to secure for him, “God bought” mercy! The first one can be gotten through “natural means” and give absolutely no glory to God, the second one is a work of the Spirit of God and brings glory to the true God.

This is no sprinkling of water; this is a fountain big enough and with enough water flowing to wash in.  The idea of ‘sprinkling’ carries with it the idea of the problem not being a very bad problem.  The fountain gives the impression of a ‘situation’ that needs a whole lot of work! That is why baptism is not pouring a tiny bit of water over your forehead, it is a dunking of your entire stinking flesh in a pool of death, where it belongs.
We have two aspects in the Christian life that appear to be opposites, but are taking place within us all the time while we are in these mortal bodies. Song of Songs 1:5
I am very dark, but lovely, (ESV) We have within us a knowledge that we are completely not good, in our own selves, especially in comparison to God, but He has chosen to call us lovely, to see us covered by the cross of His son, “objects of wrath, given mercy.” Even our weak, up and down love for God is not despised by Him. He is strong and determined and will take us onward. He loves us, because He chooses to love us. Election is one of the most beautiful truths in the Christian life.
Verse 2 – In the land were idolatry and false prophecy.  This “day of the Lord” takes care of both. Not only does God deal with the false prophet, but also with the unclean spirit that inspired the false prophecy.  These sins reach their climax in the worship of the anti-Christ. Idolatry is destroyed in the presence of the real thing. When God's Spirit is truly moving in church or out in the street, it exposes the lie of idolatry. Once again, the idol is exposed when a people is “brought to the end of THEIR strength.” This is God's way, suffering before glory, this is the pattern of God, because we have to be pried away from, and out of, our idolatry. It is a spiritual blindness that only God can break. In this country it takes the form of “mammon/commerce” more than the typically thought of “Buddah statue.”
When Israel is going through the horrific last 3 and ½ year reign of the anti-Christ, prophets will not be needed. The Bible will literally be, being fulfilled right in front of our eyes, the prophecies will be coming true. The only people “prophesying” will be false prophets proclaiming “peace, peace” where there is no peace, and these false prophets will be exposed by the fact that everything they proclaim will be physically seen to be a lie.
Verse 3 – The Jehovah's Witness church is an example of a false prophet who keeps on prophesying after they are shown to be false. They have predicted the end of the world with specific dates numerous times, but they just keep right on going. You would think being shown to be false would stop a person from continuing to “pretend” to be a prophet, but it does not. But there is a huge difference now, (in verse 3) because the “day of the Lord” has happened and this is early on in the millennial reign of Christ. The people have a true zeal for the Lord, like Phineas. Deut. 13:6-10. Even if it is a son who is prophesying the parents will follow through and put a stop to it. Love for the glory of God more than their kid.   Zeal for Jehovah and His Law will over master all other affections.  The word pierce should be noted, indicating the justice of God. Those who do not cover themselves with the “pierced Messiah” will be pierced themselves!
Verse 4 – The smart false prophets do not want to be known as prophets, they want to avoid the reputation. They realize that the “jig is up.” The millennial reign is not perfect, but where sin is found it is dealt with according to the government of God. Justice is dispensed fairly and evenly. No more “wolves in sheep's clothing.” Deception will be exposed and those who are deceiving will stop.
Verse 5 and 6 – Those who do not want to “come clean” will try to cover their lie with a lie, but it will not work. Evidence of their having been a false prophet will still be physically present on them. The wounds are evidently self-inflicted during a frenzy, 'cutting' themselves, or some other kind of idolatrous rite.
This ends the section connecting to the national salvation of chapter 12.

Verses 7-9 transition us to the final chapter. Baron states, “The main theme is the judgment by means of which Israel will be finally purged and transformed into the holy people of Jehovah.”
Verse 7 – is a great example of a verse that would have been impossible for the human mind to translate or make sense of. Even as Zechariah was speaking it, he must have thought, “What does this mean?” 1 Peter 1:11 gives us an insight into this. seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” The prophets were “seeking to know” and so should we.
The true shepherd is “cut off” in the words of Daniel 9:26. He is shown to be despised and forsaken in Isaiah 53 and killed in Psalm 22. Only when God in His great mercy opens blinded eyes can we see, that there is a need for someone to die to cover our sin against God, and further, since it is against God, God has to be the one to die to truly cover it. The offering has to be sinless (spotless) in order to be acceptable. There are types and shadows available in the writings of the scripture that were available to the Jew, but God chose to keep it hidden, both to confound the devil and to open a way for the gentiles to come to salvation in massive numbers. (Mark 4:22, 1 Cor. 2:7,8, Eph. 3:9, Col. 1:26) The fact that the Shepherd is spoken of as “My Associate, or My near one” makes clear that this One is good; connected to God's very goodness! Only faith can reveal how a “man” is God. But numerous passages point to this mystery. (Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2, Jeremiah 23:6) Only faith allows us to view the ONE who is fully God and fully man! This allows Him to be the mediator between God and man. This is our source of “unspeakable comfort and unceasing praise.”
This “scattering of the Jewish flock” has gone on for almost 2,000 years now.
Hosea 5:15-6:2
I will go away and return to My place
Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. “Come, let us return to the Lord.
For He has torn 
us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded 
us, but He will bandage us.“He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him.”

(I owe a debt of gratitude to Reggie Kelly, who pointed out these verses to me years ago. The “two days” are almost over!)

Verse 8 – Again the justice of God is displayed, and the reason why we want the mercy of God, not the justice of God is re-emphasized. Those who do not turn to the Messiah, who was “cut off” find that they, themselves get “cut off.” We never ever say, “Give me what I deserve.” That is justice. We say, “Please give me what I do not deserve.” That is mercy. The horror of a time “like no other” is displayed in the fact that 2/3 of the people in the land, die. On the same soil where the deed was done, the justice is dispensed and more amazingly...

Verse 9 – God does not have to show mercy to anyone, not one person, so the fact that He does show mercy to 1/3 of the people is Amazing Grace! This 1/3 are purified and made fit to be the center of God's kingdom on the earth. God uses the “national crime” of rejecting the Messiah to be the ground for the national redemption of the people. God's over-arching sovereignty uses the malice and Satan inspired envy and hatred to be the instrument of salvation. God's fore-ordained mission for the Jewish people has not changed, and they are being fitted to accomplish it. They are to show forth His praise and proclaim His glory among the nations.

Baron sums it up. “Blessed and most glorious consummation! The covenant relationship between God and His people, so long interrupted though never broken, is restored again; she that was during the time of her wanderings from her God, “Lo-ammi”-- “not My people,” is “Ammi” – “My people” again; the national vow of Israel by which they avouched Jehovah to be their God, and to walk in His ways, and ever to hearken to His voice, is now renewed, never to be broken again.” How did they get here? The same way as we come to serve God, through His excellent mercies. Not through any “vow” on our part, all glory, honor and praise to HIM!

Monday, July 14, 2014

intercessory prayer

Intercessory prayer for one who has called upon the name of the Lord, but is now struggling

Jesus please protect the imperishable seed that You have planted, with an impregnable wall, that only allows in the things that You will work for Your glory as You bring them to a true and deep conversion.  A place where they truly know the Lord.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hey, hey what are we fighting for?

My attempt to page through a lot of stuff and give some "quick" reading material for those who are following the current crisis in Israel.  Food for the thoughtful person, who wants to dig deeper.

Implying/arguing/suggesting that the relative ineffectiveness of Hamas at killing people with their rockets somehow absolves them of their intention to is pure propaganda. The relative failure of the jihadis to kill civilians and the IDF's relative success at killing the jihadis who are trying does not equates to the moral superiority of the jihadis. It means one is thoughtful and effective at eliminating murderers (the obligation of every nation state) and the other is indiscriminate and relatively ineffective in their jihad. From where are these jihadis waging their religious war? Behind human shields in civilian centers in territory Israel withdrew every Jew from in a 'land for peace' deal back in 2005. There's a lot of Kool Aid out there. Don't drink it.” Dalton Thomas

BOMBS AWAY! - by David Wilder
There are different kinds of bombs.
Presently we are experiencing bombs falling on Israel, launched by a terrorist government whose goal is the demise of the State of Israel and the annihilation of all its Jewish citizens.
Simultaneously Israel is returning the favor, not in an effort to kill all Gazan Arabs, rather to exterminate the animals who are causing 'Red Alert' to be sounded, not only in Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod, but also in Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem, Haifa, Caesarea, Tel Aviv, Nes Tziona, Rishon L'Tzion, and many other places, and yes, including even Hebron. (The unconfirmed rumors are that the missile aimed at us fell in the Arab village Daharia, in the Southern Hebron Hills, killing three Arabs.)
Last night one of my granddaughters, who lives in Beit Haggai, in the southern Hebron Hills, where too there was a siren yesterday, called me. Her father (my son) was called up a few days ago in the emergency draft. In tears she whispered, "Saba, I'm afraid."
There are major differences between our bombs and their bombs. They are aiming for Ben Gurion airport. Their primary targets are civilians. Apartment buildings. Factories. Shopping centers. Wherever. The more dead, the better. After all, that's the goal.
Before Israel releases its bombs, the intended 'house' is notified. Not once, rather twice. "Get out, we are going to bomb this house." The people inside have, not 15 seconds, but five minutes to evacuate. Then a 'warning flare' is released. "We are serious about this." And only after both these warnings, is the building destroyed.
Of course, these are not random dwellings. These are the home bases of the beasts trying to destroy Israel. If the people inside take the alerts seriously, they are not injured. But lately, the Hamas terror leadership in Gaza has told its citizens to 'ignore' the Israeli forewarning. Not only don't they care if their own civilians are killed. To the contrary, they prefer it. That way they have good photos to show the international media and at the UN.

Two articles that provide more “food for thought.”

And lastly thiese comments which give a very long term Biblical understanding of the ultimate plan of God. The stated goal of God is to bring people to the end of their strength, true for us when we are born again as individuals, and true for Israel when the nation is born again. Deut. 32:19-36, Daniel 12:7. 

Eric N Kate Glas        Try (as we should) to prevent the tide of public opinion from turning against Israel, and to be unofficial ambassadors for the Holy Land, and grieve for the people who believe the lies of the Hamas propaganda machine, we must also remember that this too is a part of Gods plan, and that each day we see is another moment closer to the fulfillment of this plan and a day closer to the revealing of both Him as Lord of all, and the revealing of us as His children. 1 Cor 15

Dalton Thomas  Israel is either a cultivated tree that Gentiles were grafted into or a now-shattered, discarded shell that hatched Messiah and the true Israel. Those who embrace the former metaphor believe in the vindication of prophecy, the latter in the revision of it."
Mark Klafter's response       "Very good statement. The vindication of prophecy leads to a firm grip on reality, an appreciation of God's kingship along with His order and design for history. The revision of prophecy concerning Israel leads to illusion and fantasy, and an affirmation of Satan's wisdom of one upmanship, pride, arrogance and usurpation."

As a P.S. A very good Bible study, that I could start on facebook or wherever will involve an understanding of the “holy covenant.” It is spoken of in this section of Daniel that gives great detail about the career of the anti-Christ. (Daniel 11:28-30) 28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
It is very important to have an understanding of this term is one is going to “rightly discern” the times that we are in.

(Let me know if you are interested, through facebook message or e-mail.