Zech 1:17                              The Lord Shall Yet Comfort Zion                                               2/15/2015

·         Zerubbabel’s Temple (Zech 1:1-17)

 

 

#1.       The LORD Shall Yet Comfort His Church (Zech 1:17, John 1:13)

 

 

·         The Man Upon a Red Horse (Zech 1:8,10-11, Rev 6:1-8,19:11, Zech 9:9, Rev 1:10-20, Neh 8:15, Zech 14:19, Isa 55:12-13)

 

 

·         At the Bottom (Zech 1:8, Ex 15:5, Jonah 2:3, Rev 13:1, Isa 57:20-21 Zech 1:8-10)

 

 

#2.       The Report (Zech 1:11, Gen 3:17-19, Dan 8:8)

 

 

·         How Long, O Lord (Zech 1:12, Rom 5:8-10, 2Chron 36:21, Zech 1:13-15)

 

 

#3.       God is Jealous for His Church (Zech 1:14-15, John 9:2, Psalm 7:11, 73)

 

 

·         The Lord Shall Yet Comfort Jerusalem (Zech 1:16-17)

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Zechariah, Zech 1:1. Today we will begin a new series in the Prophecy of Zechariah. As you know, Zechariah came on the Biblical scene after the Israelite captives returned from Babylon. How did that come to pass? Cyrus the Persian and Darius the Mede combined their forces, and together they conquered Babylon, and they declared that all the captives who were captured by the Babylonians were now set free. They could go home if they wanted. Many of the Jews took this opportunity to return to the land of Israel under the leadership of Zerubbabel. As you know, Zerubbabel was a descendant of the line of David. This prince among the Jews would have been the king of the Jews if the Jews would have been a free nation. Several years later, in 458 BC a second contingency of Jews left Babylon to go to the land of Israel under the leadership of Ezra, the priest. It was in this time period that God by the prophets Hagai and Zechariah encouraged the Jews to rebuild the temple. And so, it was at this time period that the Jews began to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel. It got to be known as Zerubbabel’s Temple to distinguish it from Solomon’s Temple. From the New Testament we also heard about Herod’s Temple, which was Herod’s beautification of Zerubbabel’s temple, which were buildings surrounding Zerubbabel’s temple, but they left Zerubbabel’s temple completely intact. Let us now read the Prophecy of Zechariah, Zech 1:1-17,

·         Zerubbabel’s Temple (Zech 1:1-17)

Zech 1:1  ¶ “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,  2  The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers.  3  Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.  4  Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD.  5  Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?  6  But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? And they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.  7  Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,  8  I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.  9  Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.  10  And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.  11  And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.  12  Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?  13  And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.  14  So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.  15  And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.  16  Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.  17  Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.”

#1.       The LORD Shall Yet Comfort His Church (Zech 1:17, John 1:13)

What is God saying here in Verse 17? He tells us here in Verse 17 that He will comfort Zion, which is the place where God resides. He resides where the Bride of Christ is, which is the church. And when we say the church let us distinguish between the true church consisting of all people who have been “Born Again”, and those people who are in a visible congregation of people who claim to be worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ. The first concept of the church is the invisible eternal church of only saved people. We do not know who they are. The second concept is the visible congregation of both saved and unsaved people. When the Lord Jesus speaks of the eternal church who remains steadfast, of which “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”, He is speaking of the invisible eternal church. But the visible church consisting of a mix of both saved and unsaved people will not remain steadfast. The invisible eternal church is the Bride of Christ, also known as Zion. This is where the Lord dwells in the souls of people who were elected from before the foundation of the world. And so, when we read that the Lord shall comfort Zion, it means that He will comfort those who are in the spiritual church, which is also called Jerusalem. And when we read that, “He shall yet choose Jerusalem”, it means that Christ chose a number of individuals on whom His favor rests, and He called them Zion, which is the spiritual church called Jerusalem. Can you see again God’s elective program coming out of the woodworks? This spiritual church called Jerusalem consists of all saved people who have been saved by grace, which means they were saved as by a free gift. How free is a free gift? It is only free if you do not have to DO anything to get it, or if you do not have to display any qualifications for it. In John 1:13 the Lord speaks about being “Born Again”, or being “Born from Above”. What must we DO to make ourselves eligible to be Born Again? The answer is: Nothing! We cannot do anything to make ourselves Born from Above! Only God can do it. And since there is nothing that we have done, and there is nothing that we are going to do by which God decides who to give it to, He gives it to whomsoever He will. It is not a random choice that God makes, but whatever choice God makes He has a perfect plan for making this choice. These people, who are His elect, are the ones whom He loves, and whom He will protect, and on whom He will pour His blessings and all His favors. It means then that His blessings are not material blessings, for material things are not necessarily blessings. When we pray for God to bless us, we do not ask for material things or for things that make us healthy, for God has decided that sickness and discomfort in material things are given to us to make us pray, and thereby draw us closer to Christ. And so, when we read that God will comfort Zion, we understand that He will enrich our spiritual growth with spiritual things, not material things, but things that are the work of God the Holy Spirit. Let us now return to the Prophecy of Zechariah and see who is in charge.

·         The Man Upon a Red Horse (Zech 1:8,10-11, Rev 6:1-8,19:11, Zech 9:9, Rev 1:10-20, Neh 8:15, Zech 14:19, Isa 55:12-13)

Zech 1:8, “I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.”

Who is represented by the rider on the red horse? He is identified as the man riding upon a red horse, and as the man that stood among the myrtle trees, and as the man who stood in the bottom. Moreover he is identified as the Angel of the Lord in Zech 1:10-11, which we know from previous studies to be the Lord Jesus Christ. Does Christ now ride upon a red horse? We notice that the rider upon the red horse seems to be in charge of the group of riders upon horses here in the valley. We are drawn to compare these riders with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Rev 6:1-8. There the good rider is rider upon the white horse, but here in Zech 1 Christ is riding upon a red horse. How can we harmonize this? Please turn to Rev 19:11. Here in Rev 19 Christ appears as the victor of the last battle, the battle of Armageddon, and the color of the victor is white. Red is the color of war, which symbolizes that in Zech 1 the battle still has to be fought, but in Rev 19 the battle is over.

A horse is an animal for war. Later on in Zech 9:9 Christ comes riding on a donkey. These two visions of Christ in Zechariah show Him as the conquering King and as the suffering Servant of Jehovah. The myrtles represent the people of Judah, for the prophecy in Zech 1:1-17 concerns the nation of Judah, and when applied to our days Judah represents the present day church. The name Judah means “praise”, and the eternal church is the entity that will be to the praise of God. And so, when we see Christ among the myrtle trees we are reminded of Christ among the candlesticks in Rev 1:10-20. In both instances it represents Christ in the midst of His church. We should be aware that the church is symbolically represented by both Judah and Israel. And thus Christ is in the midst of His church, and He watches over His church like an eagle watches over her young. But the myrtle trees do not always show a favorite aspect of mankind. There are two varieties of mankind: those who have been elected by God to be saved, and those who have not been elected, which are called the reprobate. The myrtle trees also remind us of the Feast of Tabernacles, for myrtles were one of the trees whose branches were used at that feast to build booths (Neh 8:15). But remember that God showed Zechariah a vision; we do not interpret this vision literally, but we interpret this vision symbolically. Also symbolically we see the myrtles in the Final Feast of Tabernacles in Zech 14:19 and also in Isa 55. Let us see this symbolism at the end of time. Please turn in your Bibles to Isa 55:12-13.

Isa 55:12,  “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.  13  Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” And so, we see that the myrtle tree, which is actually a shrub, plays a prominent part in the symbolism at the end of time. The myrtle trees represent people which are either saved because they were elect, or which are not saved because they are reprobate.

·         At the Bottom (Zech 1:8, Ex 15:5, Jonah 2:3, Rev 13:1, Isa 57:20-21 Zech 1:8-10)

Zech 1:8, speaks of the myrtle trees that were in “the bottom”. What does this mean? This word in the Old Testament always refers to “the depths of the sea”. For example we read in Ex 15:5, “They sank into the bottom as a stone” referring to the Egyptian army, including Pharaoh, and we read in Jonah 2:3, “For Thou hadst cast me into the deep in the midst of the seas.” Ultimately, out of the depths of the sea the great enemy of God’s people appears in Rev 13:1 as the beast that rises up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. Perhaps you remember that this is the beast representing Antichrist who rises up out of the Bottomless Pit, where the Bottomless Pit is actually this world. Yes it is this world which is filled with people who are slaves of Satan and are enemies of God. Can you now see the condescension of the Lord Jesus Christ in standing there in Zech 1:8 in the midst of people who are enemies of God, the majority of whom are going to be cast into the Lake of Fire? In other words, the word that has been translated as “the Bottom” does not get the real idea across. The word translated “The Bottom” actually refers to the troubled sea of the nations of the world, which are described in Isa 57:20-21 as, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (2X). What is the Lord Jesus Christ doing there in the midst of people who are on the way to Hell? Do we remember that we all came into the world as enemies of God, as people on the way to Hell? We all were by nature enemies of God, under the wrath of God. Where did the Lord Jesus find us when He saved us? He found us there symbolized as myrtle trees in the bottom, in the midst of other myrtle trees who are oh so sinful. And so, remember that He saved us when we were yet sinners. Therefore we too must be merciful to others who are still in their unsaved condition. We can see their wickedness, but there is where we came from. Let us then have mercy, and bring to them the lovingkindness of the Lord so that they too might hear and fear the Lord’s retribution at the end of time. Let us not look at them in disgust, as if they were the scum of the earth, for we were like that before we were made aware that we needed salvation also. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns and they would still be unsaved, then we can look at them in disgust, for then we see them with the eyes of the Lord. Let us now continue in Zech 1:8-10,

Zech 1:8, “I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse (Christ), and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.  9  Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.  10  And the man that stood among the myrtle trees (Christ) answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.

#2.       The Report (Zech 1:11, Gen 3:17-19, Dan 8:8)

There are two angels in this vision. One is Christ, the Messenger of the Covenant, who is also called the Angel of the Lord, who rides on a red horse, and who stands among the myrtle trees, and the other seems to be one of the multitude of angels who is identified as “the angel that talked with me.” Now, Zechariah asked for an interpretation of the events taking place around him. And “the angel that talked with me” answered and said, I will show thee what is taking place. But then the man that stood among the myrtle trees (Christ) gave Zechariah the answer and said, “These are they whom Jehovah hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.” And then the riders on the horses gave Him the report of what they have seen throughout the earth. They said in Zech 1:11,

Zech 1:11, And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.

Was this a good report or was this bad? From our perspective we would say, “This is a good report!” Is this really so? Remember that this is a world that was cursed by God in Gen 3. This is a world that is under the curse of sin, for God said to Adam in Gen 3:17-19,

Gen 3:17-19, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;  18  Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;  19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Remember that we must see the spiritual picture whenever it is necessary. Adam had no idea how to harvest wheat and to make flour and to bake bread. And so thorns and thistles are not the only curse God inflicts on this world. The thorns and thistles are symbolic for plants and animals that are harmful to mankind. Thorns and thistles are symbolic for volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Thorns and thistles are symbolic for times of draught, and for times of economic recession, and for times of pestilence, and for times of getting hurt in accidents.

And so, when all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest, it means that there is no change, and it means that all the earth remains under the power of Satan. That is not good news. That all the earth sits still and is at rest means that all the heathen nations were at peace with one another, were prosperous, and were not concerned about the absence of the kingdom of God among them. Jerusalem was still in ruins, and the temple was not rebuilt. Judah had no king, and Judah was poor, defeated, and was politically oppressed by these heathen nations. Their oppression has caused Judah to remain poor and depressed. This was not a good report that the riders on the horses brought. And so, if the earth would have been in turmoil it would have been a better report from God’s perspective. That may be a surprising conclusion to us. But think about this now. When Alexander the Great brought the entire known world under his dominion, and all the world was at peace, was that such a good thing? No, it was not. In fact, if we would have lived at that time we would have declared Alexander to be the Antichrist. That was perhaps close to the truth. But then the Lord stepped in: He killed Alexander with a great fever, and the power of Antichrist was broken. His kingdom was broken up primarily in four pieces. That is essentially the meaning of the mighty goat with one horn, in Dan 8:8. The Lord rescued the entire human race by killing Alexander. And so, if all the earth would have been in turmoil it would have been a better report than that all the heathen were at peace with one another. The heathen should not be at peace, because they should know that they are at war with God. And so, when all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest, the nation of Judah pleads with God for a return to God’s dealings with them.

·         How Long, O Lord (Zech 1:12, Rom 5:8-10, 2Chron 36:21, Zech 1:13-15)

Zech 1:12, Then the Angel of the LORD (Christ) answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?

We read here something remarkable. It is a dialog within the Godhead. God the Son, Christ, is pleading with the Triune Godhead to have mercy again on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, because His people are there. This is a message for us, in this 21st century. God is showing us how the Lord Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, pleads for us to the Father on our behalf because we are still not perfect. We still live in a sinful body. We are reminded here of Rom 5:8-10. Please turn there for a moment.

Rom  5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  9  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

And so, we see here an example of how we are cared for in His life. Christ continually intercedes for us. Before we are saved He intercedes on our behalf with His life so that we can be saved. After our salvation He continues to intercede for us in our sanctification. Likewise here He intercedes for the nation of Judah. The Lord was angry with the nation of Judah because of their idolatry. Jeremiah prophesied that the nation of Judah would lay desolate threescore and ten years, 2Chron 36:21, which is seventy years, which refers to the period of punishment of Judah including their Babylonian captivity.

2Chron 36:21  To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.

Therefore Zechariah pleads with God: “How long O Lord. How much longer wilt Thou be angry with us?” He prays for an end to God’s anger. The nation of Judah expected that God’s mercy would have returned to them after they returned from captivity in Babylon, after they had endured the threescore and ten years of the wrath of God. But now they perceived that God had prospered the heathen at their expense or so it seemed. But God had His purpose in this delay. His people had to learn that they were only sojourners in this world. They had to learn that this earth is not their home. This earth is not their goal. Their home is a spiritual kingdom, in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Their king is the Lord Jesus Christ but not in an earthly kingdom. Unfortunately, until the present time, most of the nation of Israel has not understood this. They have returned to their ceremonies as an end in itself. But Christ, as the Angel of the Lord, continues to intercede for us. We read in Zech 1:13-15,

Zech 1:13, “And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.  14  So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.  15  And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.” Here is the Lord’s answer to the situation at hand. The Lord’s answer is “good” because it is full of comfortable reassurance in trying times. The Lord’s answer is “good” because it exactly suits the needs of God’s people. It does not mean that the Lord is now revealing Jesus Christ to the nation of Judah, for they were not ready to receive this revelation. But God spoke to them in their culture and in their Old Testament theology, which included their obedience to the Law, and in assuring them of His love. That is also how God speaks to us today: God assures the church of His love. He will not abandon His church, for it contains people for whom Christ suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Christ, the Second Person of the Triune God has begun a work when He established the church, the Bride of Christ, and since He is fully God, we realize that God will not abandon a work that He has begun. God will not be defeated in anything that He does, no matter what the opposition says. People who claim that the church is dead, and that the Holy Spirit has abandoned the church, do not understand the God whom we worship.

#3.       God is Jealous for His Church (Zech 1:14-15, John 9:2, Psalm 7:11, 73)

Zech 1:14, So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.  15  And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.

In what way did the heathen help forward the affliction of Jerusalem and Judah? It was by the old false doctrine that our misfortunes are a result of our sins. The three friends of Job assumed the same thing, but God told them how wrong they were. The disciples of the Lord Jesus assumed the same thing in John 9:2, where they asked, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” And Jesus told them that this was not a result of sin, but that the glory of God would be served by this calamity. And so, we should not jump to conclusions when we see calamities or illnesses. The heathen assumed that their material prosperity was a sign that God was on their side and that He has blessed them, and that the absence of material prosperity on the Jews was a sign that God was still angry with them. But the Lord told them how wrong they were. This is a false doctrine that is still with us today. In fact, this is a doctrine that is brought to us by the theory of “Common Grace.” Not all who hold to “Common Grace” will admit to this, but it certainly is a doctrine that is popular among them. Most of them insist that prosperity and health are the principle signs of God’s blessing, and the absence of them are a sign of God’s disfavor. This is absolutely not true. In the Old Testament prosperity was a sign of God’s blessing nationally, but not individually. But even the Old Testament times of national prosperity did not mean that everyone in the nation was blessed by God. This is why the people of God needed prophets to tell them if God was pleased or displeased with them. God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). But from Psalm 73 we can conclude that also in the New Testament time God can send prosperity as a curse, or send evil things for our good so that all things work together for good to those who love God. There is no common grace or favor or mercy of God in material things, and those who think so have no explanation for the fact that God gives prosperity and earthly gifts to the ungodly whom He will send to Hell, nor can they explain that God may send cancer and other ills to those whom He loves. God in His wisdom may send illness or disasters to those whom He loves. God is jealous for His church. But it is a jealousy of love that protects and desires only good for Jerusalem and Judah, and it is a jealousy that He manifests for His own glory.

When God speaks of being but a little angry He refers to His anger toward Judah and Jerusalem, and His anger whereby He brought them into captivity in Babylon. God sovereignly used the nations to accomplish this task. Yet those nations are but the tools by which God carries out His judgment. They are only the axe which He swings, and the saw by which He cuts. But they execute only the decree and the will of God. At the end of time they will themselves be destroyed for the hewing and cutting that they have done, for their purpose is not God’s purpose. Their purpose is only to cut off nations not a few. They are used to work out God’s decree, but what they do they do always with wicked hands, and for this they will be punished. The Lord Jesus was crucified by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, but the hands that crucified Him were wicked, and they are going to be punished for their wickedness. The heathen nations, though they were used by God to chasten His people, take a malicious delight in inflicting suffering on the saints, and for this they will be punished. Zech 1:16-17,

·         The Lord Shall Yet Comfort Jerusalem (Zech 1:16-17)

Zech 1:16,  Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.  17  Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

Verse 16 begins with, “Therefore”. Since you have suffered enough under the hands of the heathen, therefore you should know that I have already returned to Jerusalem with mercies. And these mercies refer now to spiritual blessings upon Jerusalem. Here are the spiritual blessings: My house shall be built in it, and a line shall be stretched forth upon it. What does that mean? When God speaks of His house He refers to all those people who have been faithful to His true Gospel, which is the Gospel of grace alone through the cross of Christ. It is the Good News of the forgiveness of sins through faith in the atonement of Christ for our sins, and not through faith in anyone or anything else. Before Christ went to the cross this can be seen in the spiritual meaning of the ceremonial laws. After Christ went to the cross this faith is plainly stated in Gal 3:10, where we read,

Gal 3:10, For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Everyone of mankind is born under the curse of the law since it is impossible for any human being to obey the law every day of his life. But then we read God’s solution for this problem. God stated in Gal 3:13,  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: We now know that the cross is that tree. All those who received that faith are the faithful in whom Christ lives. Temporarily Zion is the place where Christ lives symbolized by Zerubbabel’s temple, which shall be built in Jerusalem. And thus, the city of Jerusalem shall be rebuilt, its boundaries shall be marked again by the line, and Jehovah shall decide how far the line goes, and the nation of Judah shall not only be materially prosperous, but it shall grow and spread abroad. Those are pleasant and comfortable words.

But notice: God says that He has already returned to Jerusalem. He had never truly forsaken her, He had sent His prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel to comfort the nation, and now He comforts the nation in that He will speak again to them and guide them in ways that please Him. He had gone with them to Babylon and preserved them there. And when we bring to bear that He is Jehovah who changes not, we see that God begins to introduce them to the New Testament Gospel. And so, when we read “The Lord shall yet choose Jerusalem”, we know that today there must be two different cities of Jerusalem that are in view. The first is the Jerusalem there east of the Mediterranean, the city of dead bricks and mortar. Is this the city that God shall choose? Has God abandoned the old Jerusalem and now He chooses them again? But then we realize that this is not how God operates; election is not revocable and changeable. Whom God has chosen in the Old Testament time He will continue to love. But God has not elected a city of bricks and mortar, which is the theology of the unconverted Jews. Instead we must see that God has elected people which He elected from before the foundation of the world and they constitute the New Jerusalem. Jerusalem in God’s eyes is not a city of dead bricks. Jerusalem represents people. This prophecy of Zechariah was given to him several hundreds of years before the Lord Jesus Christ came on the scene. When we look several hundred years down in time we should see this prophecy of Zechariah fulfilled: the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. And so, when we read “The Lord shall yet choose Jerusalem”, we must bring in what we have already seen in history. Something earth-shaking has taken place in history: The Lord Jesus Christ died in AD 33. When Christ died in AD 33 on the cross, the heavy curtain in Zerubbabel’s temple, was rent from top to bottom. What were the consequences of that event? It meant that the temple was no longer the place where God resides, the Jerusalem of bricks and mortar was no longer the city of God, the nation of Israel was no longer God’s favorite nation, and from this day on God chooses His favorite nation out of all the nations of the world. The old Jerusalem has been done away in AD 33. Then the Jerusalem we look forward to must be a New Jerusalem, not made with hands in a city that has foundations whose builder and maker is God. And so, all the glorious prophecies concerning Jerusalem must be viewed with the New Jerusalem in mind. This is what we must see in verse 17 of this prophecy of Zechariah. The meaning is not a physical rebuilding of Jerusalem but the spiritual building of the New Testament Church, the real dwelling place of God in the souls of those whom God has given a true faith. And what is the central issue of the New Testament Gospel; what is the central issue of the New Testament Good News? It is the forgiveness of our sins, the atonement of our sins through the death of Christ on the cross. This is the central issue. Has God given us the conviction to understand this as the central issue of our faith? Pray that God will have mercy on us and give us this faith, for we cannot be saved without it. This is the saving faith that is a gift of God unto our salvation. This is the central issue; not our obedience to the law, not our love for the law, but how do we relate to the death of Christ on the cross? That is the central issue. And when the Lord shall give us this faith He has comforted Zion.

AMEN.           Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.