Bible Believers' Newsletter 874
"We focus on the present Truth – what Jesus is doing now. . ."
Christian greetings in the precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; we are pleased to see you.
Kindly remember Pastor Gulam Masih in your prayers. His liver is not working, his stomach is swollen and doctors in Pakistan have declined to admit him to hospital, so this is not a "want" but a "need" that only Jehovah Rapha can provide.
Newsletter 870 briefly mentioned tithing. One Brother reasoned without Scriptural support that tithing is fulfilled and is not a New Testament obligation, adding that there is no stipulation as to the amount to tithe. However, the word tithe means "one tenth." As of old Christians are bound to tithe 10% of their increase to the pastor (Genesis 14:18-20; Luke 10:7; I Corinthians 9:9; I Timothy 1:5). Your increase is your net income from wages, salaries, inheritance or pension after taxes; for businesses after deducting expenses such as rent, materials and wages.
Another Brother was supporting a political party, that is, "the world" (James 4:4) with God's money when we are not given discretion to spend His tithe which is to provide for the pastor who is obligated to tithe from his increase to ministers who provide his Spiritual sustenance. The Holy Spirit showed these things to those Brethren. We are to pay God's tithe first and meet debt, family and other responsibilities from the remaining 90%.
In our study today we will advance to "Zechariah Chapters Seven and Eight" from the viewpoint of the present. The Lord was disciplining those who had returned to Judah from Babylon for reasoning against His revealed Word by human wisdom, which is the mark of the beast. The priests and the people were observing fasts and conventions never ordained by God as many ministers and brethren in the circle of this Message celebrate Easter and Christmas which are not "the foundation of the apostles and prophets" but pagan Babylonian feasts dressed in Christian trappings. God requires heartfelt obedience of faith, not tradition. These chapters trace the history of the Judeans and their dispersion under the "times of the Gentiles" through disobedience to His strict word.
Finally, Zechariah promises blessings and prosperity upon the whole house of Israel when they return from exile in Daniel's Seventieth Week, and in the millennium.
This Newsletter serves those of like precious faith. Whoever will receive the truth is welcome to feed their soul from the waters of the River of Life. Everything here presented should be confirmed personally in your own Bible.
Tsunami Animation: Cascadia 1700
January 26, 2015 Just before midnight on January 27, 1700 a tsunami struck the coasts of Japan without warning since no one in Japan felt the earthquake that must have caused it. Nearly 300 years later scientists and historians in Japan and the United States solved the mystery of what caused this "orphan tsunami" through careful analysis of historical records in Japan as well as oral histories of Native Americans, sediment deposits, and ghost forests of drowned trees in the Pacific Northwest of North America, a region known as Cascadia. They learned that this geologically active region, the Cascadia Subduction Zone, not only hosts erupting volcanoes but also produces megathrust earthquakes capable of generating devastating, ocean-crossing tsunamis. By comparing the tree rings of dead trees with those still living they could tell when the last of these great earthquakes struck the region. The trees all died in the winter of 1699-1700 when the coasts of northern California, Oregon, and Washington suddenly dropped 1-2 m (3-6 ft), flooding them with seawater. That much motion over such a large area requires a very large earthquake to explain it—perhaps as large as 9.2 magnitude, comparable to the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 [that Brother Branham spoke three days beforehand]. Its tsunami would cross the Pacific Ocean and reach Japan in about 9 hours, so the earthquake must have occurred around 9 o'clock at night in Cascadia on January 26, 1700 (05:00 January 27 UTC).
This animation shows how that tsunami may have crossed the Pacific Ocean in 1700, followed by maps of calculated maximum wave heights first on the open ocean and then at coastlines as determined by PTWC's forecast model. It is based on the maximum estimated earthquake magnitude, 9.2. Such an earthquake would have ruptured the earth along the entire length of the 1,000 km (600 mile)-long fault of the Cascadia Subduction Zone and severe shaking could have lasted for 5 minutes or longer. Full story: youtube.com
Comment: Brother Branham prophesied that the tsunami generated by the sinking of Los Angeles will sweep the world and be far more devastating than this USGS video simulation (Luke 21:25-27; Revelation 16:18). For the full report about the Orphan Tsunami of 1700, please see usgs.gov. Please see this video about Cascadia's ghost forests.
Ukrainian Government: 'No Russian Troops are fighting against Us.' Sanctions against Russia based on Falsehoods
January 31, 2015 Ukraine's top general is contradicting allegations by the Obama Administration and by his own Ukrainian Government, by saying that no Russian troops are fighting against the Ukrainian Government's forces in the formerly Ukrainian, now separatist, area, where the Ukrainian civil war is being waged. Here is a screen-print of a Google-Chrome auto-translation of that statement:
The Chief of Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces, General Viktor Muzhenko, is saying, in that news-report, which is dated on Thursday January 29th, that the only Russian citizens who are fighting in the contested region, are residents in that region, or of Ukraine, and also some Russian citizens (and this does not deny that perhaps some of other countries' citizens are fighting there, inasmuch as American mercenaries have already been noted to have been participating on the Ukrainian Government's side), who 'are members of illegal armed groups,' meaning fighters unpaid by any government, but just 'individual citizens'. General Muzhenko also says, emphatically, that the 'Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian army.'
In other words: He is explicitly and clearly denying the very basis for the EU's sanctions against Russia, and for the US's sanctions against Russia: all of the sanctions against Russia are based on the falsehood that Ukraine is fighting against 'the regular units of the Russian army' i.e., against the Russian-Government-controlled-and-trained fighting forces.
The allegation to the effect that Ukraine is instead fighting against 'regular units of the Russian army' is the allegation that Vladimir Putin's Russia has invaded Ukraine, and the sole basis for economic sanctions now in force against Russia.
Those sanctions should therefore be immediately removed, with apology, and compensation being paid to all individuals who have been suffering them; and it is therefore incumbent upon the Russian Government to pursue, through all legally available channels, restitution, plus damages, against the perpetrators of that dangerous fraud and the news reports have already made clear precisely whom those persons are, who have asserted, as public officials, what can only be considered to be major libel.
Otherwise, Ukraine's top general should be fired, for asserting what he has just asserted.
If what General Muzhenko says is true, then he is a hero for having risked his entire career by having gone public with this courageous statement. And, if what he says is false, then he has no place heading Ukraine's military.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of "They're not even close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity".
Full story: globalresearch.ca
Comment: According to official stats last year nearly 360,000 Ukrainians fled to Poland, in the last 30 days 17% of those within military age near Romania fled to that state. Also, the hotels near the Ukrainian border, within Romania, are now full with youthful Ukrainians. In the regions of Koniuchy and Kozowski nearly all those of military age have fled to Russia. Further, in the Ivano-Frankovski region 57% of those of military age have disappeared outside of Kievian officialdom. The cannon fodder obviously don't relish the idea of risking their lives for self-styled home-grown, US and Israeli Jewish oligarchs.
2015 Bilderberg Meeting confirmed: June 11-14
January 30, 2015 Austrian police have confirmed the date of the 2015 Bilderberg meeting. The security for the annual conference will take place from June 9th-14th. The meeting itself will take place from the Thursday to the Sunday of that week, June 11th-14th, at the exclusive Interalpen Hotel, in the mountains near Telfs. The police have stated that they will be undertaking just the one single security exercise for the Bilderberg conference and for the G7 summit taking place nearby at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany, from the 7th-8th June. Full story: bilderbergmeetings.co.uk
Standing with Israel is Anti-Christian, Anti-Jewish
"Marx and Engels never tried to refute their opponents with argument. They insulted, ridiculed, derided, slandered, and traduced them, and in the use of these methods their followers are not less expert. Their polemic is directed never against the argument of the opponent, but always against his person" Socialism. Likewise the corrupt Scofield Reference Bible. Full story: Video by Brother Charles E. Carleson.
Israeli Forces caught up in Al Qaeda's Complex toil in both Golan and Gaza
August 28, 2014 The Syrian rebel offensive to wrest Quneitra would have stood no chance without Israel's aidnot just in medical care for their injured, but also in limited supplies of arms, intelligence and food. Israel acted as a member, along with the US and Jordan, of a support system for rebel groups fighting in southern Syria. Their efforts are coordinated through a war-room which the Pentagon established last year near Amman. The US, Jordanian and Israeli officers manning the facility determine in consultation which rebel factions are provided with reinforcements from the special training camps run for Syrian rebels in Jordan, and which will receive arms. Full story: warsclerotic.wordpress.com
US is preparing for Something Big Civil War, Coming WW3, Collapse of America?
December 23, 2014 Economist Martin Armstrong is predicting that rising resentment against the status quo as a result of economic inequality is likely to cause a serious political uprising before 2016. As we reported back in August, the US Army is preparing for civil unrest in the United States. US Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33: Civil Disturbances outlines how troops may be required to deal with "unruly and violent crowds" where it is "necessary to quell riots and restore public order." Protest against police militarization and federal training designed to target law-abiding patriotic Americans . . .
Full story: youtube.com. New World Order declared 2015 Alert Obama's New America.
Comment: The world is falling apart. Brother Branham foretold race riots in the USA.
Personal Relationship with Jesus is dangerous says Pope
December 7, 2014 In this video you will see and hear pope Francis declare that a personal relationship with Jesus or even the thought of it, outside the control of church (obviously he means the Catholic church) is dangerous, harmful and absurd!. Traditional Catholic teaching stresses that the ordinary man (or woman) cannot understand the Bible without the supervision or mediation of a catholic priest.
In this latest heavy-handed move he takes it a step further by saying that you can't even hope to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ without the guidance and mediation of "the church" (obviously he means the Catholic church. The words Apostasy and Blasphemy come to mind!
This is without a doubt the starting point for something much more serious, watch, be vigilant and study the book of Revelation, particularly chapter 17 in relation to this. Full story: youtube.com
Comment: The midst of Daniel's Seventieth Week will see this reflected in Revelation 17. This is an evidence of the coming "squeeze" that will culminate in Revelation 13:15-18. German arms sales in the Middle East, and the rise of the Roman Empire. Full story: thetrumpet.com
The Dark History of the Templars
Although the Crusaders are commonly thought to have been motivated by their deep Christian faith, the Crusades were actually wars inspired by avarice. At a time of utmost poverty and misery prevalent in the West, the attractions of the Eastin particular the Muslim societies' wealth and prosperityplayed on the minds of Europeans, especially those in the [false] church. These attractions, bolstered with [perverted] Christian teachings, begot the Crusaders' mindset, seemingly motivated by religion but actually motivated by worldly designs. This is the reason why [so-called] Christians, who had followed more or less peaceful policies in the previous 1,000 years, suddenly began to display an appetite for warspecifically the "liberation" of the holy city of Jerusalem and Palestine as a whole.
We can retrace the beginnings of the Crusades to November 1095, when Pope Urban II gathered the Council of Clermont. Three hundred members of the clergy convened under his chairmanship. The pacifist doctrines that had dominated Christendom were abandoned, laying the foundations for the conquest. At the close of the Council, Urban II announced this state of affairs in his famous speech to a congregation that comprised all social classes, demanding that Christians stop the infighting and warring among themselves. The Pope called on themwhether rich or poor, aristocrat or peasantto unite under one banner and to free the holy land from the Muslims. To him, this was "a holy war" . . .
Full story: american-buddha.com
Comment: Howbeit the [unholy (Revelation 11:8] holy land has nothing to do with Christians this side of the millennium.
Elvis, another Jew!
January 8, 2015 By Halakha, if not in practice: The "king's" maternal great-great-grandmother was a member of the Tribe. January 8, 1935, is the birthdate of Elvis Presley, making today the 80th anniversary of the birth of one of the Western world's most adored entertainers, a man whose early career changed the direction of popular music in the US, before veering off into campiness and unwitting self-parody . . . Full story: haaretz.com
Comment: Protocol 13:23-24: When the King of Israel sets upon his sacred head the crown offered him by Europe he will become patriarch of the world. The indispensable victims offered by him in consequence of their suitability will never reach the number of victims offered in the course of centuries by the mania of magnificence, the emulation between the GOY governments. Our King will be in constant communion with the peoples, making to them from the tribune speeches which fame will in that same hour distribute over all the world.
Zechariah Chapters Seven and Eight
I contemplated bypassing Zechariah chapters seven and eight supposing this would be historical and scarcely relevant to Christ's end-time Bride. But no, human nature does not change and Israel types the Church. Here was a moral warning, a situation akin to Laodicea wherein the prophet discerns motive and objective and brings correction. And here Zechariah declares the future universal salvation is not restricted to Israel but includes the more numerous Gentiles.
The Israelites have returned from Babylonian captivity to the land of Palestine and God's prophets Haggai and Zechariah are attempting to encourage themdisheartened as they are by the surrounding perils and by the humble aspect of the templeto the work of rebuilding as instructed by the Lord. In the midst of their work a delegation sent from Bethel visits to consult with the priests.
Zechariah 7:1-3, "In the fourth year of King Darius, the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, Chisleu, when the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men, to entreat the favour of the Lord, and to ask the priests of the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, Should we weep in the fifth month, [sanctifying] ourselves by separation [from all defilements], as we have done for so many years?"
This visitation took place two years after Zechariah had received eight major consecutive visions and a direct Word from the Lord, during which time the work of rebuilding the temple had proceeded with the promise of a speedy restoration of the ancient worship in its integrity. Now the people of Bethel who had returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel, having rebuilt their city (Ezra 2:28; Nehemiah 7:31-32) sent delegates to offer sacrifices and beseech the Lord's favour, and to speak with the priests regarding the propriety of continuing to observe the solemn fasts, especially that commemorating Nebuchadnezzar's razing of the city and temple on the tenth day of the fifth month.
Zechariah 7:4-7, "Then the Word of the Lord of hosts came to Zechariah, Say to all the people of the land including the priests, "When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and in the seventh month, for these seventy years, was it for Me that you fasted? Was it for Me? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? When Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, with her cities around her, and when the Negev desert in the South and the coastal plain of Shephelah were inhabited, the former prophets (Isaiah 1:16-29; Jeremiah 7:5, 23) warned that this [hypocritical] attitude would surely lead to ruin, as it has".
Here Zechariah rebukes the delegation and also the priests, "for the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and the people should seek the Law at his mouth: as he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 2:7) but these priests were unable to enlighten the delegates and required instruction in understanding themselves. They had become formal, and public worship had become the emptiness of mere ritual which leads to hypocrisy. The delegation was sent from the remnant of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in Bethel where the golden calves were once set up; Zechariah discerned they were still hypocrites whose prime objective was to receive priestly approval for their religious observance of man-made ritual as a mask for their disobedience. Had they obeyed the Words and warnings of God's prophets there would have been no occasion to institute these fasts as Jerusalem and the temple would never have been destroyed (Zechariah 7:9-14). It was not sacrifice and fasting God sought, but obedience, without which their fasting was hypocrisy. The fact God was prospering construction of the new temple rising before their eyes should have caused them to rejoice, yet they were prepared to fast and mourn for the old temple destroyed eighty years beforehand.
The priests themselves needed instruction even though the fast upon which they were questioned was not a Divine appointment but had been decreed by man as was the fast of the seventh month which was observed on the anniversary of the murder of Gedaliah and his companions (Jeremiah 41:1-11). It was therefore a matter of supreme indifference to the Lord whether they observed these man-made fasts, or not, just as it was entirely a personal affair whether a man ate and drank or fasted. None of these issues was observed in service to the Lord, and construction of the new temple was progressing, so was it not hypocrisy to mourn? There was in any case only ever one compulsory fast in the ritual of the Old Testament, and that was the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29), yet today the self-styled Jews observe as many as fourteen annual fasts and "by their traditions transgress and make the Commandment of God of no effect" (Matthew 15:1-9).
Denominational churches today observe annual manmade fasts, feasts and rituals like Easter and Christmas, saints' days, catechisms, christenings, nicolaitane priesthoods and false baptisms that originated in Nimrod's Babel with far greater zeal than they apply to "study to show themselves approved of God, as workmen with no need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth" (II Timothy 2:15). Like Zechariah in his day Brother Branham directed the heart of God's elect to the faith once delivered to their fathers, for the Lord is not satisfied with ritual and cold lectionary preaching, which is what led Judah and more recently the churches of Laodicea into apostasy, and they "know it not."
Paul had the same experience and declared: "The mystery of iniquity is already at work." Galatians 4:8-11: "Formerly, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to so-called gods that did not even exist; but now when you know God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you are turning back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments to which you want to be enslaved once more? You observe days and months, festivals and years. I am afraid I have laboured over you in vain." Paul elaborates further on the subject of manpleasing and bondage in Colossians 2:13 4:6: "Let no man judge you in questions of food and drink, or the observance of a festival, new moon, or sabbath-keeping, which are shadows of things to come; but the Body of Christ is the substance that cast the shadow. Let no one defraud you of salvation's prize, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels based upon delusional visions which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind . . ."
Those religious spirits that imprisoned the souls of the Judeans in the days of Zechariah and Paul have multitudes of souls imprisoned now.
Zechariah answers the delegates' question and corrects the people: Zechariah 7:8-14, "And the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, Thus spoke the Lord of hosts, Render justice [based on the true facts without regard to personal considerations]; let everyone show lovingkindness [to the unfortunate] and mercy to his brother, and do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the stranger [Heb. 'ger'], or the poor. Let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken, turned a rebellious shoulder and stopped their ears that they should not hear. They made their hearts like adamant, lest they should hear the Law, and the Words which the Lord of hosts has sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. And it came to pass, that as He called out and they did not hear, so they call out and I do not hear, says the Lord of hosts; and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one even traveled through it: and the pleasant land was made desolate".
Zechariah told the people his instructions were not his personal understanding but "the Word of the Lord." Overstrained devotion to ritual observances misleads men to lay stress upon mint, anise, and cuminlegalism in dress and conduct rather than judgment and mercyhence he exposed the hollowness of mere outward fastings then reminded them that the cause of their fathers' ruin was not inattention to ceremonial observances, but disregard to the commonsense duties of justice and humanity. The Lord requires obedience rather than sacrifice and the obstinate disobedience of Jewry today is evident in their determination to build another temple at Jerusalem. But the disobedience of professed Christians in their adamant refusal to hear the Words of the former prophets, and the vindicated "Elijah" of this day whose ministry revealed "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and foreverin the office of Son of man discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart. . . as it was in the days of Lot," will cause Him to "smite the Earth with a curse" and they will perish in the great tribulation (Malachi 4:5-6; Luke 17:28-30; Hebrews 13:8; 4:12).
Isaiah 1:4-17 prophesied Judah's rebellion, the Captivity and desolation, and as Jesus prophesied the moral depravity and religious duplicity of modern Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8), Isaiah also compared Judah to Sodom: "Of what significance is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me? says the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams and with the fat of your fatted calves; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or lambs, or he-goats. When you come to appear in My Presence, who required you to trample My courts with these offerings? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to Me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I am weary of bearing them. Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates: they have become a burden; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread forth your hands [in supplication] I will hide My eyes from you: even though you make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood".
The Lord was fed up with the religious hypocrisy of the Judeans. And today He is similarly vexed with denominational worshippers. Jesus has cried out to this last age, "You have the Word. You have more Bibles than ever, but you are not doing anything about the Word except dividing and hacking it into pieces, taking what you want and leaving out what you don't want. You are not interested in LIVING it, but debating it. I would sooner you were cold or hot. If you were cold and rejected it, I could stand that. If you would get white hot to know its truth and live it, I would praise you for that. But when you simply take My Word and don't honor it, I in return must refuse to honor you. I will spue you out for you nauseate Me" (William Branham, An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages, p. 340:3). Therefore the Lord must be grieved with worshippers in the denominations that have arisen in the circle of this Message, whose people know the rhema but not the Logos of the Message and parrot, "The Prophet said"! "The Prophet said"! Not understanding what he MEANT.
Isaiah alludes to God's promise of redemption from sin by the Blood of the Lamb under the New Testament dispensation (Revelation 7:14): "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your ways from before My eyes; cease from evil; learn to do good; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land: but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken".
Scarlet was a fast colour which neither dew nor rain nor washing would remove; hence it is used as a metaphor for the fixedness and permanency of sins in the heart of man. No human means will wash them out. No effort of man, no external rites, no tears, no sacrifice, no prayers are of themselves sufficient to wash away that stain.
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the Blood of Jesus!
Malachi was another straight-talking prophet: "A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If I then am a father, where is My honour? And if I am a master, where is My fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise My Name. You say, How have we despised Your Name? By offering polluted food upon My altar. And you say, How have we polluted You? By thinking that the table of the Lord may be held in contempt: when you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer the lame and the sick, is that not evil? Present that to your [heathen Persian] governor; will he be pleased with you, and show you favour? asks the Lord of hosts. And now, entreat the favour of God, that He may be gracious to us. With such a gift in your hand, will He show favour to any of you, says the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 1:6-9).
That dilatory spirit on the Judeans in the days of Malachi led the Jewish church to crucify the Son of Man four hundred years thence; the same spirit today is leading the Gentile churches to crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh.
We have to say the right thing to God, which means we must have His mind in us. We need to distinguish and correctly place the dispensations of Son of man, Son of God, Son of man, and Son of David if we are to recognize our day and it's Message. How can we call upon Him if we do not know whether He is working in the Office of Prophet, Priest, or King, as typed in the Old Testament? Brother Branham said, "Jesus, His Name on earth was Redeemer, Jesus. When He was on earth, He was the Redeemer; that's true. But when He conquered death and hell, and overcome them, and ascended on high, He received a new Name. That's the reason they holler the way they do and don't get nothing; it'll be revealed in the thunders. See" (The Revelation of the Seven Seals, p. 158:3)?
Zechariah had rebuked the people for their formalistic self-works that brought "great wrath from the Lord of hosts" as the dreadful consequence of disobedience through carnal reasoning against the revealed Word of God, since perpetuated in the Babylonian Talmud by recalcitrant Jews. God did not want them to abandon the activities ordained in His Word but to align their hearts to His revealed will, and as Isaiah said: if when reasoning is concluded they submit to Him, by grace through faith He will transform their desires into the substance of things hoped for. He does not want you to try your best to obey His Word but to trust, obey, and yield soul, spirit and body to Him. There is nothing man can of himself do for the Lord. He wants the preeminence to live through you and accomplish for you. This alone will bring the Token on display whereby His Life is "known and read of all men".
After urging the Israelites to obedience by the fate of their fathers, Zechariah in chapter eight urges them to obedience by promises of coming prosperity vouchsafed by a decalogue of "Thus saith the Lords." Naturally, the promises pertain to the ongoing restoration of the nation; spiritually they will come to pass "in the last days" or Messianic age of redemption and completion when the Kingdom is extended to we Gentiles.
Zechariah 8:1-8, "Again the Word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and with great fury [against her oppressors] I am jealous for her. Thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called the city of Truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts (Isaiah 2:2-3) the holy mountain" (Jeremiah 31:23).
The glory of the Lord departed the Temple when Jerusalem yielded to her foes (Ezekiel 11:23). His absence had caused all of Israel's woes and His return is the one sure pledge of permanent restoration (Psalm 46). The beginning and indispensable condition of all true prosperity is the Presence of the Lord. Now He has decreed His determination to return to Zion, and Jerusalem was certainly the place where Truth was found for God only meets man under the blood of the lamb so that Jerusalem was then God's only provided place of worship (Deuteronomy 16:2, 16). However the strict fulfillment of this promise must be referred to the Messianic period for the glory of the Lord never returned in the form of the Shekinah, and in the bodily form of Messiahthe Logos and Truth of God manifest (John 17:17)His glory was despised and rejected.
The Shekinah will not return to Jerusalem until it manifests unrecognized above the Mount of Olives signifying the end of the Gentile dispensation and Christ's second or 'parousia' Coming to Israel to take residence in the millennium temple of 144,000 elect Israelites after the midst of Daniel's Seventieth week (Ezekiel 43:1 48:35; Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5; 15:2-4; 19:1-9). Throughout the millennium, as in the renewed heavens and renewed Earth, the Shekinah will overshadow God's dwelling place, which is New Jerusalem, His elect, called Jehovah-Shammah: "The Lord is there" (Ezekiel 48:35).
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with a staff in hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets".
The future restoration of Israel is portrayed in all security and happiness. Long life and a numerous progeny were ordinary theocratic blessings as temporal rewards for obedience (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 7:13-14).
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Because this will appear in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days so difficult as to be incredible, should it be unbelievable in My eyes also that I should be able to fulfill My promises because of natural circumstances? says the Lord of hosts." A great source of unbelief is the limitations men place upon God's power. Faith is righteousness, sin is righteousness perverted to unbelief in God's revealed Word.
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will save My people [from all lands as far as the Sun shines] from the land of the sunrise and from the land of the sunset; and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: they shall be My people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness".
Zechariah proceeds to encourage the Judeans of his day on the basis of these promises. However there is certainly no historical evidence of a general return of the diaspora to Palestine and this promise must be restricted to the time of Daniel's Seventieth Week (Leviticus 26:40-46; Psalm 17:7; Isaiah 6:10-13; 11:11-16; 13:14; 27:13; 49:17; Jeremiah 3:12, 18; 16:15; 23:8; 31:8; Ezekiel 37:14; 39:27; Micah 5:3; Zechariah 10:9-12; Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 12:14, etc,). Only then God will reconfirm His New Covenant (Jeremiah 31; Daniel 9:27) through the ministry of the two Hebrew witnesses promised in Zechariah 4 and Revelation 11.
Zechariah 8:9-13, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Let your hands be strong, you who in these days hear these Words from the mouth of the prophets, since the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be rebuilt. For before those days there was no wage for man, nor hire for beast; neither was there any peace for anyone going out or coming in because of the enemy: for I had set every man against his neighbour. But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, says the Lord of hosts. For I am sowing the seed of peace; the vine shall yield its fruit, and the ground shall give its increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And as you were a byword of cursing among the heathen, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong".
To have strong hands is a metaphor meaning "to be of good courage" (Judges 7:11; II Samuel 16:21). In this instance because God is "jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and with great fury [against her oppressors] I am jealous for her" as declared by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah on "the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid that the temple might be rebuilt." Construction was disrupted by the Samaritans throughout the reigns of Cyrus and Darius, and in the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus (Ezra 4), so there was great unemployment and insecurity both within the city and in the country where it was no longer safe to farm. But now that the Lord is bringing peace and Judah will prosper, rather than being an imprecatory formula, it will be a formula of benediction among the heathen. The distinct mention of "Judah" and "Israel" here proves there has as yet been no general return of the diaspora to Palestine as we commented in verse eight.
Zechariah 8:14-17, "For thus saith the Lord of hosts, As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked Me to wrath, says the Lord of hosts, and I repented not: so have I thought again in these days to do well to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear not. These are the things that you shall do; Speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and justice, leading to peace in your gates. Do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these are things I hate, says the Lord".
God's Word is true, just as His threatened chastisements did not fail to befall the nation when their fathers failed to repent, so His blessings are assured so long as Judah obeys his instructions. "For all these are things I hate," and in conformity to God's nature, we should love what God loves and hate what God hates.
Zechariah 8:18-23, "And the Word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love truth and peace".
Here begins the second "Word of the Lord of hosts" to Zechariah (8:1). And here the prophet answers the enquiry of the delegation from Bethel in Zechariah 7:3 concerning the fast in the fifth month commemorating Nebuchadnezzar's razing of the city and temple by a reply applying to all of their faststhe fast of the fourth month in commemoration of the overthrow of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 39:2), the fast of the seventh month in commemoration of the murder of Gedaliah and his companions (Jeremiah 41:1-11), and the fast of the tenth month in commemoration of the commencement of the siege (Jeremiah 52:4)are to be turned into festivals of joy because the general condition of Judah and Jerusalem will be blessed with such happiness and prosperity as to render fasting inappropriate.
On the day of Pentecost, which inaugurated "the acceptable year of the Lord" or Pentecostal jubilee and release from sin (Isaiah 61:2), ritual fasting including the Day of Atonement was done away, for by one sacrifice for sins Jesus Messiah took away the Law of the Old Testament that He may establish the New Testament of good things to come as witnessed by the baptism of the Holy Ghost which puts God's laws into our hearts and into our minds and remits our sins so that there is no more offering for sin (Hebrews 10:7-20).
When Israel crucified Messiah the nation rejected its Atonement and the Lord ceased dealing with Israel until the Gentile dispensation is fulfilled (Romans 11:25). We will discover as we progress through Zechariah's prophecies how the elect of Israel will truly weep, sanctifying one another by separation from all defilements, when they catch the revelation of Christ's 'parousia' Coming to them after the midst of Daniel's Seventieth Week. "And they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zechariah 12:10; Leviticus 16:29-31; Acts 1:7).
The Holy Spirit will quicken the Message that was delivered by Israel's "Moses" and "Elijah" "to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zionto give them a laurel wreath instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called oaks of righteousness planted by the Lord for His own glory. And [in the millennium] they shall rebuild the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations and renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. . ." (Isaiah 61:3-4).
"And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10). Glory!
Zechariah 8:20-22, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities; the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to beseech the favour of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I too will go. And many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the Lord".
Stimulation of revelation! The Lord is emphatic, notwithstanding all past desolations, yet this will come to pass. And peoples, not merely individuals, but entire nations will embrace Christianity, although the general exhortation, "Let us go speedily" leads to the individual affirmation, "I too will go." This is vouchsafed by the preface "Thus saith the Lord." Just before Christ's Coming, a sense of the inadequacy of their systems of philosophy and religion grew up among the heathen which disposed them favorably towards Yahwism embraced by proselytes from various parts of Asia Minor who in turn embraced the fulfillment of its prophecies when Christianity was preached to them (Acts 2:5-12, 37-47; 10:34-48; 13:46-48; Romans 11:12-15; Isaiah 60:1-5; 66:23).
"Thus saith the Lord of hosts, In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men of all languages of the nations shall take hold of the skirt [by the fringe and blue ribbon upon it which was a distinguishing badge of an Israelite (Numbers 15:38; Deuteronomy 22:12)], saying, We will go with you [to Jerusalem]: for we have heard that God is with you".
Prior to Calvary it was necessary for all adult males to assemble in Jerusalem for worship three times in the year: in the feast of Unleavened Bread, in the feast of Weeks, and in the feast of Tabernacles. Hence Zechariah describes the Gentile converts as seeking the Lord in Jerusalem where the blood of the Pascal lamb was shed; no Israelite could conceive of real conversion except one had come under the blood of the lamb (Deuteronomy 16:16). Thus the glorious conversions of Gentile nations throughout all Seven Church Ages of the Gentile dispensation foretold by Israel's prophets for Israelite ears were presented throughout the Old Testament in harmony with Jewish conceptions.
Zechariah reveals that future universal salvation is not restricted to Israel alone but the nations of the Gentiles as well, and that the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel will lead to the removal of all the fasts that mourn their refusal to heed the Word of God in the past. Revelation 21:4, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away".
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Brother Grigor-Scott is a non-denominational minister who has ministered full-time since 1981, primarily to other ministers and their congregations overseas. He pastors Bible Believers' tiny congregation, and is available to teach in your church.