Lesson Commentary - American Baptist Association
Winter Quarter, 2009-2010
Written by Larry Crouch, David Butimore and James Crain
EDITOR IN CHIEF:
Larry E. Clements
Editor’s Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
About the Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Introduction to the Book of Ezekiel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lesson 1 The Remnant Will Return . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Lesson 2 The People Will Be Regathered. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Lesson 3 The Nation Will Be Restored . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Lesson 4 The Temple Will Be Rebuilt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Lesson 5 The River Will Be Rerouted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Shawn Blase, Jeff Allen,
Lesson 6 The Land Will Be Redistributed . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Introduction to the Book of Daniel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
Lesson 7 The Preview of World Empires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Daniel 2; 7
Lesson 8 The Time of Christ’s Coming. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Lesson 9 The Terrors of the Tribulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Introduction to the Book of Zechariah. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Baptist Sunday School
4605 N. State Line Ave.
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Daniel 11; 12
Lesson 10 The Deliverance of Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
Zechariah 9; 10
Lesson 11 The Redemption of Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
Lesson 12 The Cleansing of Israel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Lesson 13 The Coming of the King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Biblical Eschatology—the study of end-time events—has taken on new
meaning in the past several decades. With the nation of Israel firmly established
in its biblical homeland, surrounded by an alignment of enemy nations
desiring its eradication, surely the stage is set for last day events! The city of
Jerusalem came under complete Israeli control following the Six-Day War in
1967 as the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan fell in quick defeat. We should
not underestimate the enormity and significance of that occasion. The major
factor and key to end-time events is God’s historic people, the nation of Israel,
occupying its traditional homeland. Long prophesied to be the centerpiece, endtime nation, God’s chosen people, occupying their historic land, is an essential
key to the timetable of God and the return of Christ in the final days.
During this Winter quarter of our Through-The-Bible Sunday School lessons,
we will focus on the Prophecies of Christ’s Return as revealed in the books
of Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah. To study each of the seventy-four chapters
contained in these three prophetic books would be impossible during this
thirteen week quarter. But to focus on what Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah
revealed about the second coming of Christ was thought to be an interesting
and enlightening grid for study. Prophecies of the first and second coming of
Christ occupy a substantial portion of the prophetic message of these books.
Biblical prophecy is the unfolding of God’s program for the ages.
Our study of Ezekiel will focus on the return of the remnant, the regathering
of the nation, the restoration of the people, the rebuilding of the Temple, the
rerouting of the river and the redistribution of the land. The study of Daniel
will center on the preview of world empires, the time of Christ’s coming and
the terrors of the tribulation. When we come to study Zechariah, we will learn
of the end-time deliverance of Israel, the redemption of Israel, the cleansing of
Israel and the coming King, our Lord Jesus Christ!
A thorough study of prophecies dealing with the second-coming of Christ may
serve as a preparation for the Spring and Summer quarter’s studies in 2010.
During those twenty-six weeks, we will do an in-depth study of the Revelation
of Jesus Christ, as written by the apostle John.
This Adult Lesson Commentary is an in-depth study of the Scripture passages
in each lesson. Every lesson consists of three elements: the narrative of the
Scripture passage; the manna, a discussion of interesting and informative
topics related to the Scripture passage; and the word studies, which are based
on specific words from the original language used in the Scripture text. The
number following each word study identifies the word by the numbering system
of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and is provided for the benefit
of those who want to examine the Word of God in greater detail.
For this issue of the Adult Lesson Commentary, we appreciate Larry Crouch
who wrote the lesson narratives, James Crain who did the word studies and
David Butimore who prepared the mannas. Thank you men!
Larry E. Clements, Editor in Chief of Publications
Baptist Sunday School Committee
About the Writers
Recognized for their knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the Holy
Scriptures, the writers of the Adult Lesson Commentary are faithful pastors,
teachers and spiritual leaders among the Lord’s churches. Following are a few
biographical notes about these men.
Brother Larry Crouch is a native of California, saved
and baptized at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church
in Sacramento, California, in 1952. He surrendered
to preach on August 4, 1957, at Bayshore Missionary
Baptist Church in Vallejo, California. Brother Crouch
received his Bachelor of Theology degree from California
Missionary Baptist Institute in Bellflower, California,
in 1976. He remained with the school for several years
and taught Major and Minor Prophets, Pastoral and
Prison Epistles, Hermeneutics and Journalism. He is
a member of the California and American Baptist Association History and
Archives Committees. The Fresno Missionary Baptist Institute in Fresno,
California, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1998.
He has pastored in Washington and California and currently pastors
Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in Oakhurst, California. He and his
wife, Joyce, and son, Zachary make their home in Oakhurst, California. His
address is PO Box 768, Oakhurst, CA 93644.
Brother David Butimore, Sr. was born in January,
1951 in Lynwood, California. He graduated from
Westminster High School (Westminster, California)
in 1969. He attended and graduated (AA degree) from
Orange Coast College in 1972. He was saved August
20, 1970, at a Missionary Baptist Encampment in
Northern California. He was baptized by the authority
of Community MBC, Orange, California. He enrolled at
California Missionary Baptist Institute and Seminary
(CMBI) and graduated with a Doctor of Theology
in 1990. He was ordained by the authority of Olive Hill MBC, Oroville,
California (1975), and has held pastorates in California and Washington. He
is currently the pastor of First MBC, Fresno. He served as faculty member
and administrator of CMBI (1987-1993) and is currently President of Fresno
Missionary Baptist Institute and Seminary. In the California Association, he
has served as moderator, music director and parliamentarian. He has served
in the Washington Association as moderator. He has served as Music Director,
Assistant Parliamentarian, Parliamentarian, Vice President and President
of the American Baptist Association. He is currently serving on the Baptist
Sunday School Committee and is Treasurer of the American Baptist Association
of Theological Schools. He is the author of six books. He has been married to his
wife, Debby, since 1977, and has two sons, a daughter and son-in-law and one
Brother James “Jim” A. Crain was born in Longview,
Texas, and reared near McNeil, Arkansas. He was saved
at the age of sixteen. He served in the military during
the Vietnam conflict. He was baptized and licensed to
preach by Mount Zion MBC of Cale, Arkansas, in 1972.
He received Bachelor, Master and Doctor of Theology
degrees from the Louisiana Missionary Baptist Institute
and Seminary, where he serves as an instructor.
Since beginning writing in 1983, he has written in
the Missionary Baptist News, Baptist Sunday School
Committee publications and various other publications. He has twice served
as a local missionary. He presently pastors the Calvary Missionary Baptist
Church in Minden, Louisiana. Beverly, his wife, is the daughter of a Baptist
minister and a native of Texas. They have two children and grandchildren.
The Book of Ezekiel
The book of Ezekiel ranks fourth in size among the sacred writings
of the Scriptures. Ezekiel’s use of visions and symbols makes it one of
the least studied and most neglected books in the Bible. Many students
falter at the first chapter with its complex vision and details. One cannot
be a casual reader or student of Ezekiel and hope to glean the spiritual
and up-to-date applications found in the book. The so-called higher critics
have assailed this book from beginning to end, making it the subject of
songs with blasphemous words. Science fiction fans claim they have found
in Ezekiel proof of flying saucers and outer space beings who came to
earth as gods. These attacks and erroneous views should challenge us
to carefully study to silence the ignorance of foolish men who are vain
talkers out to deceive. All of the Bible was given by the inspiration of God
and is profitable study for His children. The book of Ezekiel declares God’s
sovereignty, grace, holiness, justice and man’s individual responsibility.
The final and complete victory of God’s people is clearly presented. The
fervent student will find a spiritual gold mine in this quarter’s study.
What we know of the book’s author, Ezekiel, is found within the book
itself. Ezekiel means “God strengthens.” He was from a noble family of
priests living in Jerusalem. He was born in the year 622 BC and was
about twenty years younger than Jeremiah. Ezekiel’s father, Buzi, was a
priest whose lineage could be traced through Zadok. Zadok was a faithful
priest during the reigns of David and Solomon (1 Kings 1:32-34), whose
family line went through Eleazer and Aaron (1 Chron. 6:3-8). Ezekiel
made mention that Zadok and his family remained faithful to their charge
(Ezek. 48:11). Abiathar sided with Adonijah in his attempt to usurp David’s
throne. Because of this, Solomon sent him and his family of priests to live
at Anathoth (1 Kings 2:26). Since he was a priest, Ezekiel would have
been highly educated. It is clear from his prophecies that Ezekiel was well
acquainted with the priestly orders and traditions. He knew all the details
of their holy duties before God and the people. No doubt he looked forward
to his days of service in the Temple.
Ezekiel was a young boy when Josiah’s reformation was sweeping the
outward signs of idolatry from Judah. He would have witnessed the great
Passover and spiritual renewal that took place under the leadership of
the young king. But with the death of Josiah the revival was short lived.
Therefore, Ezekiel also was witness to the rapid decline back into idolatry
under Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin. Just five years after the death
of Josiah, Jehoiachin surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in
the summer of 605 BC. This was about the time of Habakkuk’s prophecy.
At that time, Nebuchadnezzar had his army carry many of the Temple
vessels back to Babylon along with the choice young men and princes of
Judah. Daniel and his companions were among this number (Dan. 1:1-7).
The last three kings of Judah, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, were
puppet kings ruling under the strong hand of Babylon.
God called three courageous young men to stand in the gap during this time
of turmoil. Jeremiah stayed with those who were left in Judah and ministered
and prophesied among them. Daniel was quickly established as a leader in
Babylon and ministered and prophesied to the Babylonian and Persian kings
as well as to Judah and the Gentile empires of the world. God sought out a
special young man to live among and minister to the captives in Babylon,
this was Ezekiel. Rebellion brought Nebuchadnezzar and his armies back to
Jerusalem during the reign of Jehoiachin. Ezekiel was twenty-five when his life
was interrupted and greatly changed. In March of 597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar’s
army took Jehoiachin, his mother and ten thousand leading citizens (mostly
craftsmen) captive to Babylon. Ezekiel was among this number of captives (2
Kings 24:8-16). His hope of ever becoming a priest was cut off. His life must
have seemed to lose much of its meaning. Ezekiel and others may have hoped
for an early return to Jerusalem and a restoration of Temple worship. However,
Jeremiah’s letter addressed to the elders, priests and prophets in captivity
concerning the fate of the false prophets Ahab, Zedekiah and Shemaiah (Jer.
29:1, 8-10, 21, 32) revealed there was no hope for his return to serve the Lord as
a priest in Jerusalem until Judah spent seventy years as captives in Babylon.
But God had a plan for Ezekiel’s life. When Ezekiel was thirty years old, the
age priests began their service (Num. 4:1-49), God called him to be a prophet
and watchman unto the house of Israel. Ezekiel lived in his own house in
a settlement called Tel-abib by the river of Chebar (Ezek. 3:15, 24). He was
married, but was widowed in the ninth year of his captivity at the young age of
34. God instructed him not to mourn as a sign to Israel concerning the loss of
their sons and daughters (Ezek. 24:16, 17). Ezekiel was likely acquainted with
both Jeremiah and Daniel before the Babylonian invasion. His unselfish nature
is noted as he never bemoaned his calling or place of ministry. He voiced no
desire to change places with Jeremiah in Judah or Daniel at Nebuchadnezzar’s
palace. Daniel had already been in Babylon for thirteen years, and was already
high up in the palace when Ezekiel was called to be a prophet among the
captives. Ezekiel had surely investigated as to what kind of young man Daniel
was. Had he given in to Babylonian ways? Was he remaining true to God
and Judah? Ezekiel’s mention of Daniel commends his righteousness (Ezek.
14:14, 20). Jeremiah’s message was centered on the judgment of God. Daniel’s
message was centered on the absolute sovereignty of God. Ezekiel’s message
was centered on the glory of God.
The Jews, long before the birth of Christ, included this book as part of the
sacred writings. The book came from Ezekiel’s own hand and was completed
by him. It is one of the most orderly, logical, and chronological books of the
Bible. Almost every event and prophecy is dated by the day, month and year
that it happened or when it was given to Ezekiel. His message, at first, was
not popular with the captives. But, as time proved his message to be true, the
elders afforded him the respect due his office and calling (Ezek. 8:1). Ezekiel
is referred to as “son of man” ninety-three times without the definite article,
the. Ezekiel is thus reminded of his humanity as he was permitted to commune
with God. Jesus is called “the Son of Man” some eighty-six times in the New
Testament. This does not simply note His lowliness in taking on the fashion
of man, but by this title is declared the divinity of the Messiah, the sinless
and glorified Man, the heir-redeemer of humanity. Ezekiel’s message is one of
redemption, not just for Judah, but also for all those who repent and turn to
Ezekiel made use of symbols and allegory more than any other Old Testament
prophet. He recorded twelve symbolic actions that helped him in getting the
message across to the people: (1) He was made dumb (Ezek. 3:24-27); (2) He
drew on the tile to picture Jerusalem’s fate (Ezek. 4:1-3); (3) He lay on his side
to bear the iniquity of Israel and Judah (verses 4-8); (4) He ate the defiled
bread (verses 9-17); (5) He divided his hair (Ezek. 5:1-4); (6) He moved all his
belongings (Ezek. 12:3-7); (7) He ate his bread with quaking and trembling
(verses 17-20); (8) He sighed before Judah (Ezek. 21:1-7); (9) He cried and
howled at the terror they faced (verses 11, 12); (10) He boiled choice meat in a
pot until it was scum and burned (Ezek. 24:3-14); (11) He was told not to cry
over the death of his wife (verses 15-24); (12) He placed the two sticks of Israel
and Judah back together as one (Ezek. 37:15-17).
The section of Ezekiel that we will be studying in this Commentary may be
outlined as follows:
1. Prophecies of the restoration (Ezek. 34:1—39:29).
A. False and true shepherds and the remnants return (Ezek. 34:1-31).
B. The nation regathered and restored (Ezek. 35:1—36:38).
C. Valley of dry bones and two sticks (Ezek. 37:1-28).
D. Godless nations destroyed (Ezek. 38:1—39:29).
2. The millennial kingdom and Temple (Ezek. 40:1—48:35).
A. The Temple rebuilt (Ezek. 40:1—43:27).
B. The worship of Jehovah (Ezek. 44:1—46:24).
C. The Promised Land redistributed (Ezek. 47:1—48:35).
For Sunday, December 6, 2009
The Remnant Will Return
Jerusalem had fallen just as Ezekiel prophesied it would (Ezek. 24:2527). Today’s message comes three years after Ezekiel’s prophecy of doom
and fifteen months after the actual fall of the city of Jerusalem. One who
escaped from Jerusalem finally arrived in Babylon with the alarming news
(Ezek. 33:21). For a time Ezekiel was silent. The captives in Babylon had
given little heed to his message up to this point. The Lord prepared Ezekiel
the night before the messenger arrived in Jerusalem (Ezek. 33:22). This
marked a turning point in Ezekiel’s ministry. His ministry had mainly
been one of judgment. But this was now fulfilled. The Word of the Lord
and Ezekiel had been vindicated. He was now free to proclaim a different
message. His ministry was now concerned with consolation, restoration
and God’s blessings.
The word shepherd is used five times and shepherds ten times in
today’s study. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Micah, Zephaniah and Zechariah
also spoke of the Lord’s shepherds. In the fifty-six passages where the
prophets spoke of either a shepherd or shepherds they used a form of the
Hebrew word ra’ah meaning “to tend a flock, pasture it; a herdsman, to
keep sheep, pastor, a shepherd.”
Seven times in Jeremiah it is translated pastors and one time as pastor
in Jeremiah 17:16. This is the only passage where the word pastor is used.
In the New Testament the word pastors is used in Ephesians 4:11 and
is from the Greek word poimen, meaning a shepherd, one who tends a
flock. The other seventeen times it is used it is translated shepherd or
shepherds. It is a great responsibility to have the oversight of others. This
is even more so when it is the Lord’s flock. Jesus called His disciples a “little
flock” (Luke 12:32). The apostle Paul identified the feeding of the church
of God and the flock as being one in the same (Acts 20:28). No one should
ever foolishly seek such a position. The Holy Spirit appoints men to the
position of undershepherd. Shepherds in both the Old and New Testament
were called and directed by the Lord. Isaiah saw the throne of God and
the seraphims praising His name (Isa. 6:1-10). Jeremiah’s encounter with
the Lord made him understand that his calling was by divine decree (Jer.
1:4-10). Amos was a herdsman and a picker of sycomore figs when the Lord
The Remnant Will Return / 9
told him, “Go, prophesy unto my people” (Amos 7:15). Jesus chose the twelve
apostles from all walks of life (Luke 6:12, 13). The apostle Paul made it clear to
the young man Timothy that the ministry was a calling from the Lord (1 Tim.
1:12). Shepherding one of the Lord’s flocks is not a professional call to a career
such as a medical doctor, a lawyer or some other line of work. Your ministry
must be a calling from God or it is doomed to fail. Every pastor today must
consider this truth and examine it in his heart. There is a sense in which every
ministry of the church is aiding in the shepherding of the flock. Therefore,
every deacon, teacher, youth leader, Discovery leader and music director should
be chosen prayerfully.
Ezekiel, as God’s prophet and shepherd, was to deliver a three-point message:
(1) He must remind the people why Jerusalem fell. (2) He must expose the false
shepherds who betrayed the trust of the people and more so the Word of the
Lord. (3) He was given a message of hope through the coming of the Great
The relationship of Jehovah and the people of Israel as Shepherd and sheep
has many parallels in the New Testament concerning Christ, the Good/Chief
Shepherd, and His flock, New Testament churches.
WARN THEM FOR ME
Ezekiel 33:7 declares, “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman
unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth,
and warn them from me.” The work of the watchman is most important in
relationship to the care of the sheep. The watchman must clearly hear the
words of His commander and chief. In Ezekiel’s case, as well as ours, this is
Jesus Christ. The Lord’s command to His watchman is simply this: “Hear the
word at my mouth.” God spoke directly to His Old Testament prophets. The
prophet Amos recorded that “the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his
secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). No true prophet of God ever
made up his own sermon. It was always thus saith the Lord. The true prophets
of God did not have to go into their study chambers and study for or prepare
notes for their message. The Scriptures teach that the message was from God.
Their job was to deliver the message as it was given to them. “Knowing this
first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the
prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake
as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20, 21). God told Ezekiel and
tells His pastors today “warn them from me.” Pastors are not to mince words.
Pastors are God’s spokesmen to the lost sheep as well as to those sheep who are
safe within the fold. The apostle Paul did not approach his ministry as though
he was above those to whom he spoke. His goal was to present Jesus Christ
in clear and simple language. He did not use worldly wisdom but relied on
the Holy Spirit to use the power of God’s Word (1 Cor. 2:1-5). If the watchman
failed at his job, the blood of the unwarned would be on his hands. “But if the
watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be
not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is
taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand”
10 / Ezekiel 34
(Ezek. 33:6). The apostle Paul set the example for the elders at Ephesus and
left us a wonderful picture of preaching the Word. Paul had not been hesitant
in preaching “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
Once the watchman delivered the message, the responsibility of hearing and
heeding it fell upon those he warned. The sheep are to hear, heed and do what
the message states. Failure to do so will result in certain death. “If he do not
turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity” (Ezek. 33:9). By preaching the
message, thus saith the Lord, the shepherd would deliver his soul, or his life.
Each and every person is accountable for what he does with the warnings from
the Word. The captives of Israel and Judah finally agreed with the prophets that
it was their sins that brought God’s judgment. They were wasting away because
of them. The Lord had announced the ruin of the Promised Land, Jerusalem
and the Temple. They were to pay the wages for their sin (Ezek. 33:10; Rom.
6:23). Jesus Christ is ready to forgive whenever we are ready to repent and call
upon Him. Repentance and restitution are always in order. The Lord takes no
pleasure in the death of the wicked. It is His desire that all men everywhere
turn from sin and live. The question is clear and so is the answer. “Why will
ye die?” It is our transgression and wickedness that goes unchecked without
repentance. What little righteousness we may do shall not be remembered. We
die because of sin. The little word if is important in this passage. We must be on
guard constantly against the snares of the devil. He is a liar with the cunning
of a sly fox. His snare for you will be a sin that so easily besets. The caution
sign has been given; therefore, let us take heed lest we too be taken captive.
Let us not be complainers, like the people of Israel, but accept His grace. He
will judge each one after his ways. The captives were hypocritical, as well as
foolhardy, by charging God with not treating them fairly. These were the folks
who showed up for the morning oblation then turned with an olive branch
under their noses and faced the rising sun in worship to a false god. “Yet the
children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them,
their way is not equal. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and
committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his
wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye
say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every
one after his ways” (Ezek. 33:17-20). It is easy to be a finger pointer. This will
generally direct folk’s attention to someone else. The Lord never honors fingerpointing and talebearing. The last person we want to be guilty of pointing our
scrawny finger at is the Lord. Jesus, during His Sermon on the Mount, made it
clear that we are to judge self and not others. The basic principle stated is this:
what goes around, comes around (Matt. 7:1-6).
NOT TO BE HEARERS ONLY
God will not hear or answer hypocritical professors. The Israelites bragged
about being the seed of Abraham. But for most of them their sins had lost for
them any bragging rights they may have had. Yes, God promised Abraham
and his seed a land. However, He also warned them what would happen if and
when they forsook Him and His Law. “Then the word of the Lord came unto me,
The Remnant Will Return / 11
saying, Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak,
saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land
is given us for inheritance” (Ezek. 33:23, 24). Their descendants were still doing
this when Jesus was on the earth during His personal ministry (John 8:33).
They lied! Had they forgotten about the many years in Egypt, the time spent
under bondage during the days of the judges, or the captivity by the Assyrians,
Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and the Romans? Actions always speak louder
than words. Just saying it does not make it so. They broke the Law by eating
blood, looking to idols and the strength of their own hands instead of the
Almighty God to keep them in the land of promise. “Wherefore say unto them,
Thus saith the Lord God; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward
your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land? Ye stand upon your
sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour’s wife: and
shall ye possess the land” (Ezek. 33:25, 26). To rely on the flesh will always
bring trouble and defeat. The apostle Paul made it a matter of the heart not of
the flesh when he stated, “He is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision
is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of
men, but of God” (Rom. 2:29). The land of Israel was to be judged because of
its sins. Where is America today by God’s standard? Where do we as Baptists
stand in His view? Where are we individually? If we, like them, choose to live
in the waste, we too shall be devoured. America today is quickly becoming a
wasteland spiritually. Laws have been passed that contradict the Word of God.
Laws that allow the premeditated murder of life in the womb are a disgrace in
the eyes of God. Laws that allow what God’s Word calls an abomination to be
forced upon society are enacted. Laws that remove prayer and the Bible from
our schools, courtrooms and other public buildings have made America ripe for
God’s judgment. How can we sing or pray “God Bless America” when America
keeps turning its back on God and His Word?
We, like Israel, are not just to hear but heed and be doers (Ezek. 33:30-32;
James 1:22-25). God, His prophets and ministers will be vindicated. His Word
will not be made void or of none effect. God, either with us, without us, or in
spite of us, will see to it that His Word accomplishes that which He pleases
(Isa. 55:11; Ezek. 33:33).
THE FAITHLESS SHEPHERDS
WILL BE JUDGED Ezekiel 34:1-10
The work of the Lord’s shepherds is clearly outlined in God’s Word. They
are to feed the hungry sheep. In the New Testament, pastors are commanded
to feed the church, which is the flock of God (Acts 20:28). The shepherds are
to strengthen the weak in the flock. This is more than just praying. It is our
duty to put God’s Word into action. The restoration of a weak or broken one
helps to keep the flock strong. This is a huge spiritual plus for every ram, ewe
and lamb in the fold (Gal. 6:1). The shepherd must take special care in his
daily life to make certain that he is not offensive to others. To cause any of the
Lord’s sheep to stumble, to offend or make them weaker is a sin against God.
Those strong in the faith are not to be condemners but edifiers to those who
12 / Ezekiel 34
are weak and hurting (Rom. 14:21—15:3). Without compromising doctrine or
moral principles, we must learn to meet folk where they are. Some like to clap,
others do not. Some like drums and other instruments, while others prefer
the organ and piano. Let us be careful not to confuse methods with doctrinal
issues. There must be a willingness to help and gain the weak by being made
all things to all, that we might save some (1 Cor. 9:22, 23). Shepherds are to
do their best to heal, which is making those who are sick whole again. “Ye eat
the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed
not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed
that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither
have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought
that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them” (Ezek.
34:3, 4). The context of the lesson clearly shows this is a matter of spiritual
healing and care (James 5:13-15). The afflicted James spoke of are those who
are suffering hardship. The sick is a reference to the feeble and weak. The
prayers of the church shall save (deliver or protect) those who are tired and
weary. The shepherds are to carefully and tenderly bind up the broken. The on
guard shepherd will earnestly strive to see that things do not get broken. This
could be broken pride or a broken heart. This takes special love and care. Jesus
is the Great Physician for all our health needs (Psalm 103:2, 3; Luke 4:18).
The shepherds are to bring back the strays and those driven away. The Good
Shepherd, Jesus Christ, will bring His sheep home safely to the fold He has
prepared (Ezek. 34:13). We need to be ready to forgive and help. The shepherds
are to seek those who are lost. Jesus told Zacchaeus the reason He came was
“to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The parables of Jesus in
Luke 15 teach us the importance and joy of seeking those which are lost.
The Lord was against the faithless and lackadaisical shepherds for several
reasons. Their labor was selfish and not motivated by truth and love. They were
getting rich off the flock, but yet, they neglected its care and forsook its needs.
The primary task of the shepherd is to see that his flock is properly fed. This is
part of taking the oversight of God’s flock. Look closely at Peter’s admonition to
the shepherds. “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight
[episkopeo, ep-eeskop-eh’-o: to look upon, inspect, oversee, look after or care
for] thereof, not by constraint [anagkastos, an-ang-kas-toce: by force or against
your will], but willingly; not for filthy lucre [aischrokerdos, ahee-skhrok-erdoce: sordidly, eager for base gain], but of a ready mind; neither as being lords
over God’s heritage, but being ensamples [tupos, too-pos: a die stamp, proper
shape or resemblance] to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear,
ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Peter 5:2-4). A selfwilled shepherd will be ruinous to the flock (Ezek. 34:5, 6). Without proper
shepherding the flock will become easy prey and end up as meat for the wolf
and lion. Without a caring shepherd, the sheep will scatter which will leave
them most vulnerable to attack. Without a shepherd, the people of Israel and
Judah wandered to all the mountains and hills following every idol and false
doctrine that came along. This is also true of Christianity and churches today.
The Lord told Ezekiel that not one of these faithless shepherds took the time
The Remnant Will Return / 13
to search or seek after them. Sad, but we are often guilty of either shooting
our wounded, or watching them go off elsewhere to die! Paul’s love and care
for Onesimus is the Christian example and thing to do (Philemon 1:18). Paul’s
experience with the young John Mark shows how we are to forgive and be
accepting of those who have made mistakes in the past but have grown in grace
and have proven to be useful in the Lord’s ministry (2 Tim. 4:11).
The Lord disowned these careless shepherds (Ezek. 34:7-10). They proved
themselves to be hirelings who ran in the face of danger; therefore, they were
fired. God’s sword of judgment will fall on the idol shepherd (Zech. 11:17). We
must remember who called us to be a shepherd and not run away from our
duties like a frightened hireling (John 10:12, 13). The sheep are also responsible
to listen to, heed and follow their shepherd.
THE CHIEF SHEPHERD
Every undershepherd should strive to follow the example of the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. His promise that He would personally search and seek out
His sheep is still good today (Ezek. 34:11, 12). Jesus told Zacchaeus that He
came to seek and to save that
which was lost. His promise
included bringing back those
The Duty of a Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:11who had been driven away
16): The kings of Israel and Judah, the
(Ezek. 34:13). The fact that
appointed shepherds of those flocks, were
the nation of Israel exists toresponsible for their spiritual deterioration.
day is proof He is still their
The sheep were scattered, wandered off,
Shepherd. What are we doing
lacked protection from their enemies and were
to bring the wandering and
basically ignored in their necessary provisions.
Ezekiel contrasted their ineptness with that
hurting sheep back to the fold
of the promise of the true Shepherd of Israel,
of a New Testament church?
Jehovah. He promised them that He would
The apostle Paul was a good
protect them, search for those who had strayed
example of a faithful shepand ultimately regather them from the other
herd. For Corinth, Paul was
nations. Once that took place, He promised
willing to spend and be spent
them that He would provide and care for them
(2 Cor. 12:15); for Onesimus,
as a loving Shepherd. He would then restore
them to their own land and place them in the
Paul was willing to pay the
lush pastures and mountains.
debt (Philemon 1:18); and for
As the loving Shepherd, the injured and
the nation of Israel, Paul was
sick would be healed, those scattered would
willing to be accursed from
be reunited with the flock, and those who were
Christ (Rom. 9:3). Shepherds
weak would be strengthened.
must continually confirm
their love for the sheep and
seek to restore the wanderers in the spirit of meekness.
Seven times in today’s lesson the Lord spoke of feeding His sheep (Ezek.
34:13-16, 23). It is an awesome responsibility and, yet, it is a wondrous privilege
to be called of the Lord to feed His sheep. Their diet must be made of healthy
food (sound doctrine). This is what will strengthen the weak. The strong ought
to bear the infirmities of the weak and be willing to do whatever the Lord may
14 / Ezekiel 34
require that we may save some. Good shepherds take special precautions never
to offend or put a stumblingblock before those who are weak (1 Cor. 8:9-12).
The Great Shepherd will judge the unfaithful shepherds who have trampled
down the grass and muddied the waters (Ezek. 34:17-19). There were those
who thought this was a small thing. But the Lord held them responsible for
depriving the sheep of the good grass and cool, clear waters. Today’s shepherds
who trample under foot the pastures of
sound doctrine and muddy the waters
Shepherd: the meaning is “for
with their own brand of the gospel will
one person to associate with
be accursed. Faithful shepherds and
another person, thing or things in
a close relationship.” The wording
flocks are to withdraw from both the
also refers to the action of the
false shepherd and his teachings. The
first toward the second, such
Lord will judge both shepherd and sheep
as, to minister to another in an
by looking closely at both the fat and the
association. The shepherds of
lean (Ezek. 34:20). The word judge in this
Palestine commonly lived in the
verse means “he would bring matters
fields with their flocks of sheep,
to the rule of light.” The unfaithful
leading them to pasture and water.
Word Study #7462.
shepherds pushed and shoved their way
around through the flock until they were
Deep Waters: the wording refers
scattered (Ezek. 34:21, 22). The Lord
to an abundance of water, such
promised to save His sheep and to deal
that could overflow or flood.
These waters, being abundant,
The Great Shepherd will set up one
represent depth of water. Deeper
shepherd over His flock (Ezek. 34:23).
waters are likely to be clearer and
purer waters like the water that
This is in keeping with the Davidic
comes from a deep spring. The
Covenant (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Psalm 89:19representation is of good waters.
21). This promise will be fulfilled in Jesus
They have enjoyed drinking from
Christ when He sits on His father David’s
the best springs. Word Study
throne (Isa. 40:10, 11). He will be their
God (Ezek. 34:24). “My servant David”
has reference to the greater son
of David, the Messiah, Jesus
Christ. The word prince is from
One Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:23): The
a word meaning “an exalted one,
prophet noted that the one Shepherd of
or one lifted up.” This honor God
Israel would be the right occupant of the
the Father has promised to His
throne of David, according to the Davidic
Covenant. While it is obvious that David
The Great Shepherd will make
had died long before Ezekiel wrote the
them His sheep (Ezek. 34:25words of the prophecy and was thus not
31). He will establish a covenant
going to literally shepherd Israel in the
ages to come, then the statement must
of peace with them (verse 25).
refer to the prophetic fulfillment of the
Under the new covenant His
covenant; namely, the Lord Jesus Christ
sheep will experience showers of
will most assuredly assume the throne of
blessings (Ezek. 34:26, 27; Joel
David and be the one true Shepherd of the
2:23, 24). All of creation will go
through a most glorious change
The Remnant Will Return / 15
when the Great Shepherd
dwells among His sheep
(Isa. 65:25; Rom. 8:18-25).
The sheep will dwell safely
without fear (Jer. 46:27;
Ezek. 34:27, 28).This dream,
though greatly desired by
the people of Israel today,
will not be realized until
the Lord returns. Then,
and only then, will His
sheep, both they of Israel
and His churches, will no
longer be ashamed (Ezek.
34:29; 1 John 2:28). Israel
will finally know “that I
the Lord their God am with
them” (Ezek. 34:30, 31).
Faithfulness is com
manded and expected of all
God’s children (Luke 12:42,
43; 1 Cor. 4:2; Titus 1:9). It is
important that we understand
that God’s judgment of the
unfaithful is necessary for the
blessings of His people. Why
will God judge the unfaithful?
Because these faithless ones
refused to trust Him and
repent of their sins. Why is
it necessary for God to judge
the unfaithful? Because they
cannot be allowed to pollute
the dwelling of the righteous.
Why will God bless His people?
Because they have faithfully
trusted Him for salvation.
What is required of us?
We are to return and follow
the Shepherd and Bishop of
our souls (1 Peter 2:25). We
should let all those around us
know that God will judge the
unfaithful and the unsaved.
Our lives will be an example to
others either by God’s blessing
A Covenant of Peace (Ezekiel 34:25): In view
of the various dispensational covenants God
had made with His people, Israel, the Lord
promised them an additional “covenant of
peace” (verse 25), which is not the same as
the New Covenant. The Palestinian, Davidic,
Abrahamic and New Covenants have been
assured to be fulfilled in their order. The peace
covenant guaranteed the nation that they would
see the ultimate removal of foreign nations
(wild beasts) from their land. They would be
able to live securely, have an abundant harvest
from the unceasing yield of their land, know
without question that Jehovah their God
had been the One to deliver them and finally
realize that they were God’s people and that
He was their God. The peace covenant will be
inaugurated by the Lord once the nation accepts
the New Covenant instituted by the Mediator of
that covenant, the Messiah.
No More a Prey (Ezekiel 34:28): Through
numerous opportunities God had promised
the security of the people of Israel, but,
such was not fully realized due to their
disobedience and the worship of other gods.
Through their actions, the nation forfeited
the divine protections promised. Other
nations overcame them, pillaged their land
and even brought them into captivity for a
time. Without divine protection, the nations
were able to take evil advantage of them.
When the Lord Jesus Christ establishes His
rule during the millennial reign, the people
of Israel will no longer have to be concerned
with the nations taking advantage of them
anymore. King Jesus, the Great Shepherd,
will be unceasing in His care for His people
so that they will peaceably dwell in the land
which God had originally promised their
forefather Abraham in peace without any
more fear of attack or further reprisal.
16 / Ezekiel 34
or by His judgments. Any country will suffer because of the sins of its people
(Prov. 14:34). God will judge those who abuse His people (2 Thess. 1:5-10).
Every shepherd that has been called of the Lord to the oversight of one of His
flocks should prayerfully memorize the shepherd’s code set down by the apostle
Peter. “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof,
not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither
as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when
the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth
not away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).
For Sunday, December 13, 2009
The People Will
The chapter in today’s study clearly teaches that God will preserve the
nation of Israel, bring His chosen people through the fires of judgment
and restore them in their land. Chapter 36 addresses the land of Israel
rather than the people. Even one who is casually acquainted with recent
history must conclude that the prophecies of both the Old and New
Testament are being fulfilled before our eyes today and the ultimate and
complete fulfillment is in the near future. Israel and the Middle East are
the focal point of world news almost daily. Sixty-one years ago the state of
Israel did not exist. Just forty-two years ago they did not have control of
Jerusalem and their beloved wailing wall. Not one word of God’s prophets
shall fail. The fulfilled prophecies we have already been privileged to
see are proof of the inspiration of the Scriptures. Many of the prophecies
concerning Israel, Judea, Babylon, Egypt, the birth and life of Christ were
given hundreds of years before the events happened. These have served
to give us hope and the assurance that not one jot or tittle shall pass or be
changed until all is fulfilled, just as His Word says. “We have also a more
sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto
a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star
arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture
is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by
the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the
Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:19-21). These chapters in Ezekiel are a deathblow
to any who would attempt to explain prophecy by any way other than as
the literal Word of God.
Israel’s history has been one of judgment and preservation. Not one of
Israel’s enemies had been preserved as a distinct nationality. Major efforts
have been made to dislodge the people of Israel from the land of Palestine,
particularly from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. All such efforts
have failed so far. Though the vast majority of the Jewish population is
in unbelief, God is still in control. God will never forsake His promises to
Abraham. Evidence abounds today that the coming of Christ is close at
18 / Ezekiel 36
God promised to preserve His chosen people, Israel, and restore them
to the Promised Land. Israel’s history is one of service and blessings, sin
and judgment, exile and preservation. Major efforts have been made to
dislodge Israel from their God-given homeland. Although blindness in
part has fallen upon the people of Israel, God’s covenant with Abraham
remains in full effect. Although the majority of Israelites are nonbelievers,
God is still in control of the affairs of His people.
God will never forsake His chosen people, Israel. This is also true of the Lord’s
New Testament churches. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and
be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). God will keep His promises and the covenant He
made with Abraham. “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee
and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be
a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Gen. 17:7). All the Lord asked in
return was faithfulness in their worship to Him. If the people of Israel would
simply confess and repent of their iniquities and humble themselves before
God, He promised, “Then will I remember My covenant” (Lev. 26:42). God had
not forsaken them, but they had forsaken the Lord. His promise was, “My
covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips” (Psalm
89:34). Since God cannot lie, He will remember His covenant and restore the
people of Israel as in the days of their youth and will establish with them an
everlasting covenant (Ezek. 16:60). Jesus is the keeper and preserver of those
who are His.
THE HEATHEN WILL BE PUNISHED
Ezekiel chapter 35 concerns Mount Seir and the Lord’s judgment upon
Edom. The same figure of mountains is used to give Israel hope. “Also, thou
son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of
Israel, hear the word of the Lord” (Ezek. 36:1).
Israel’s enemies in every age since the days of Ishmael and Isaac have put
them to scorn and ridicule. This remains true today. Edom, the descendants
of Esau and his wife, the daughter of Ishmael, boasted that they would take
possession of all the strong places in Israel. This sounds like the boast of the
so-called Palestinian Liberation Organization with its terrorist group, Hamas,
now holding the leadership positions. Because of the people of Judah’s sins,
the Lord God had taken up His position of enmity against them. “Thus saith
the Lord God; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient
high places are our’s in possession” (verse 2). This was blasphemy toward the
Almighty God. “And thou shalt know that I am the Lord, and that I have heard
all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel,
saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume” (Ezek. 35:12).
The mountains of Israel were promised to Abraham and his seed through Isaac
“The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my
progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on
the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate
The People Will Be Regathered / 19
from his brethren” (Gen. 49:26). Israel is a thing of scorn and ridicule among
her enemies. “Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Because
they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye
might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in
the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people” (Ezek. 36:3). The seed of
Abraham, along with the land of promise,
had been made a reproach which was a
result of their perpetual backsliding into
Talkers, Infamy: talkers refers to
the use of the tongue in speech
idolatry. “Because for our sins, and for the
in a negative manner. It means
iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and
“to slander or speak condemning
thy people are become a reproach to all
words about others.” The word
that are about us” (Dan. 9:16). The Arabs,
infamy also refers to evil talking, but
who are descendants of Ishmael and Esau,
points to a reputation. The nations
who was also called Edom, clapped their
around the people of Israel had
hands and rejoiced over the fallen (often
slandered and spoken evil of them.
Word Studies #3956 and #1681.
children). “All that pass by clap their
hands at thee [a sign of mockery]; they
hiss [the shrill whistle of the women in
scorn] and wag their head [to shake in disbelief] at the daughter of Jerusalem,
saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the
whole earth?” (Lam. 2:15). This scene was repeated in many Arab capitals
after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on
September 11, 2001. They danced in the streets and burned the American flag.
They have no respect for Jews or Christians because they have no respect for
Jehovah God. Sadly this is not totally confined to the Arab world. On every
continent and in every nation of the world one can find anti-Semitism. Israel
and its peoples remain a byword today just as God through Moses foretold.
“And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among
all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee” (Deut. 28:37). Such actions are
not just an assault on Israel, they are an assault on the Lord God of Israel.
For 1,876 years the seed of Abraham was without a homeland. The Caesars
of Rome drove them from the land of promise and Jerusalem under penalty of
death if they entered the city. For more than sixty years Jewish worship was
forbidden, but in AD 132 Shimon Bar-Kokhba led half a million Jews against
the Romans. Thousands were killed before Bar-Kokhba and his followers were
finally defeated in a last stand at Beitar, a fortified hill not far from Jerusalem.
After this, the Roman made sure that rebellion would not break out again.
Almost to the man the remaining Jews were forcibly scattered throughout the
Roman empire. The word Judea was removed from all maps. The name Israel
was changed to Syria Palestina, after Israel’s detested enemy, the Philistines.
The many years of exile had begun.
When the Crusaders attempted to liberate the Holy Land from the Arabs,
it in turn generated Jewish bigotry. During the Middle Ages, England, France,
Spain and Portugal expelled their Jews. The Jews were legislated against,
forced to live in crowded ghettos, deprived of civil rights and many were either
killed or forcibly baptized after a recant of Jewish faith. Year by year the land
20 / Ezekiel 36
of Israel became more denuded. It was invaded and occupied by Arabs in 636,
the Crusaders in 1099, Tatars in 1244 and the Turks in 1517. For the next
four hundred years the land and its people were ruled by the Ottoman empire.
During 1,878 years between the destruction of the second Temple and the
founding of the modern state of Israel, the hope of the Jewish people for a
homeland almost became a lost cause.
Early during World War I, Britain promised the Arabs an independent state if
they would help defeat the Ottoman empire, which was allied with Germany. On
November 2, 1917 British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour wrote Lord
Rothschild, a leader of the Jewish community, that Britain was wholeheartedly
in favor of Zionist aims of establishing a homeland for the Jewish people. Within
a few weeks of this declaration, British General Sir Edmond Allenby defeated
the Turkish army at Jerusalem. In 1920, the Allies met at San Remo, Italy to
divide the spoils of war. Britain was assigned the League of Nations Mandate
for Palestine. Under the Mandate the Jews were allowed to reconstitute their
national homeland in the land of promise. The Arabs rioted in protest. In 1929,
an outbreak of Jewish slaughter took place under the leadership of Haj Amin el
Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. By the mid-1930’s Jewish persecution
in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia caused many more Jews to seek refuge
in Palestine. In 1939 the British issued a White Paper, called Command 6019,
which provided that only fifteen thousand Jews could immigrate to Palestine
each year. When the war in Europe ended, over six million Jews had been
systematically slaughtered in Nazi death camps.
In 1945 a number of well-meaning nations sent representatives to San
Francisco to form a new organization to hopefully succeed where the League of
Nations had failed. The United Nations was formed with the hope of controlling
the nations and putting an end to a world that was constantly at war. However,
this was before Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, they
did accomplish one thing. On November 29, 1947, The Assembly approved the
partition of Palestine into an Arab state, a Jewish state and an internationally
administered Jerusalem. This was approved by a thirty-three to thirteen vote
with ten countries, including Britain, abstaining.
On May 14, 1948 David Ben Gurion read a nine hundred seventy-nine word
document that declared the Independent State of Israel. At 5:25 a.m. the next
day the new country heard its first air raid siren; Egypt was bombing Tel-Aviv.
After many hard fought battles, finally on February 24, 1949, Egypt signed
an armistice agreement. Jordan, Lebanon and Syria signed later. Iraq, Saudi
Arabia and Yemen never did sign and officially remain in a state of war with
All the enemies of God’s people will be judged and shamed. “Therefore, ye
mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God; Thus saith the Lord God to
the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate
wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision
to the residue of the heathen that are round about” (Ezek. 36:4). The entire
land of Israel has become a prey. Israel today is constantly under attack by
terrorists. Israel presently possesses only about one fourth of the Promised
The People Will Be Regathered / 21
Land. If the Arab nations
around Israel have their
way, Israel will be pushed
into the Mediterranean Sea
When God Lifts Up His Hand (Ezekiel 36:7):
Because the land of Israel had been pillaged
and destroyed. Israel and
by their attackers who had slandered, not only
Jehovah have been made
Israel, but also their God, the Lord was filled
objects of contempt. God
with indignation against the slanderers. As a
assures Israel that their
result, God swore by His people that He would
enemies shall bear their
vindicate the matter with a holy vengeance. It
should be pointed out that, though the Lord
saith the Lord God; Surely
cared for and was jealous over His people,
the motivation for the vindication was God’s
in the fire of my jealousy
own character reflected in the promises to His
have I spoken against the
people. God’s “lifting up his hand” (verse
residue of the heathen, and
7) was a figurative way of the Lord making
against all Idumea, which
good on His promise by means of swearing an
have appointed my land into
oath. The land which had been pillaged was
their possession with the
and continued to be the Promised Land. Any
joy of all their heart, with
statement by the people of Israel’s enemies in
contradiction to the sovereign will of Jehovah
despiteful minds, to cast
would be followed with decisive retribution.
it out for a prey. Prophesy
And such would be a vindication of His glory
therefore concerning the
and perfect will.
land of Israel, and say unto
the mountains, and to the
hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I have
spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the
heathen: therefore thus saith the Lord God; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely
the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame” (verses 5-7).
GOD’S PROMISE: ISRAEL SHALL
The once desolate land will be made fruitful. The number of trees planted
are in the billions. “But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your
branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to
come” (verse 8). The Balfour Forest in northern Israel covers thousands of
acres in the Galilean hills. The trees include pine, oak, olive, orange, lemon,
almond, pomalee, banana, sycamore, carob (locust) and apple. Today Israel
rivals Belgium and Holland as the flower bulb capital of the world. Israel is the
top exporter of citrus in the Middle East. “For, behold, I am for you, and I will
turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown” (verse 9). The once mosquito
swampland of the Jezreel and Megiddo plains now produce crops of corn, wheat,
cotton, and all kinds of vegetables. The production of food goods in Israel has
grown in greater quantity than larger European countries. The cities have
been inhabited and the waste built up again. “And I will multiply men upon
you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and
the wastes shall be builded” (verse 10). The modern cities of Tel-Aviv, Haifa
and Jerusalem will rival any of the major cities of the world in architecture,
22 / Ezekiel 36
culture, art and public services. In 1909, Tel-Aviv was a kibbutz camp of several
hundred around a few acres of sand dunes. Today it is Israel’s second largest
city with 390,100 residents. The larger metropolitan area, known as GushDan, had 3,150,800 citizens as of the 2007 census. Haifa compares to San
Francisco, California in its setting and beauty with a population of 266,300
with 1,039,000 in its metropolitan area. In 1948 there were 710,000 Jews in all
of Israel. Today, Jerusalem alone has a population of 732,100. The land and its
cities have been settled after the old estates. “And I will multiply upon you man
and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after
your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye
shall know that I am the Lord” (verse 11). The ancient biblical names in Israel
have been preserved. The Arabs, under the Ottoman rule, renamed many of
the cities and ancient sites. However, with the return of Israel the Bible names
are once again used. A few of the more notable cities are listed here, first is the
Arab name followed by the Hebrew name. Kef et-Tur is Bethphage, Azereyeh is
Bethany, es-Sultan is Jericho, Beitin is Bethel and Kiryat-Natsrat is Nazareth.
In accordance with God’s timetable, Israel shall have its full inheritance. “Yea, I
will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess
thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth
bereave them of men (verse 12).
The land will change hands and be restored to the people of Israel. The old
enemies will no longer be a threat. New ones may be on the horizon, but the
Lord will conquer the foes of His people. “Then shall the Lord go forth, and
fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle” (Zech. 14:3).
Israel will no longer be devoured, bereaved or shamed. They will not fall again.
“Thus saith the Lord God; Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up
men, and hast bereaved thy nations; therefore thou shalt devour men no more,
neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord God. Neither will I cause
men to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou
bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations
to fall any more, saith the Lord God” (Ezek. 36:13-15). Israel has taken its place
among the nations, politically, economically and militarily.
Israel’s past history is the record of
God’s broken covenant. “Moreover the
Defiled: the word points to an unclean
word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
or polluted condition. The laws of God
son of man, when the house of Israel
determined what was acceptable for
dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by
ceremonial worship. The term could
their own way and by their doings: their
apply to animals being unacceptable
for offerings, to women who were in
way was before me as the uncleanness
their menstrual time (Lev. 15:25), or
of a removed woman” (verses 16, 17).
to various other persons or things
It will do us well to remember the
which God had determined to be
cause and effect of idolatry. “Wherefore
unacceptable for use. God instructed
I poured my fury upon them for the
the people of Israel to separate
blood that they had shed upon the land,
themselves from such unacceptable
and for their idols wherewith they had
things. Word Study #2930.
polluted it: and I scattered them among
The People Will Be Regathered / 23
the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their
way and according to their doings I judged them” (verses 18, 19). The Lord will
not forsake His chosen people. However, He
does chasten His children. “And when they
Profaned: the meaning is “to
wound a thing.” It is the action
entered unto the heathen, whither they
that the word represents,
went, they profaned my holy name, when
however, the result of the action
they said to them, These are the people
cannot be dismissed as if it does
of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his
not belong to the meaning of the
land” (verse 20). By His chastening hand,
word. It is like telling a lie, and the
the Lord will cleanse and redeem Israel
lie defiles the object. Israel went
from all their sins. “Let Israel hope in the
among the nations, explaining its
presence with a lie and, therefore
Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and
profaned the reputation of God.
with him is plenteous redemption. And he
Word Study #2490
shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities”
(Psalm 130:7, 8). The Lord will save Israel
with an everlasting salvation (Isa. 45:17). When Israel shall dwell safely, he
shall be called “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jer. 23:6). The Lord
is preserving a faithful remnant among the Jews for His name. “Esaias also
crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the
sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved”( Rom. 9:27).
IT SHALL BE DONE FOR
THE GLORY OF THE LORD
God’s holiness and grace will be vindicated. His self-respect will be kept with
regard to Israel. “But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel
had profaned among the heathen, whither they went” (Ezek. 36:21). His name
will be exalted above all
the heavens. “Therefore
say unto the house of
Mine Holy Name’s Sake (Ezekiel 36:22): God’s
Israel, Thus saith the
promise to eventually regather His people was not
Lord God; I do not this
predicated on the merits of the people of Israel;
for your sakes, O house
they had shown over and over again that they
were unfaithful. They had profaned the name of
of Israel, but for mine
their God and caused it to bear shame among the
holy name’s sake, which
heathen nations. God’s promise was based on the
ye have profaned among
reliability of His own character. Even though the
the heathen, whither ye
people of Israel had not given God any reason to be
went. And I will sanctify
merciful to them, God’s grace was clearly shown
my great name, which
in His response to their sinful ways. But the basis
was profaned among the
of all of God’s dealings in grace is never predicated
on the merits of men but rather on His holy name
heathen, which ye have
and character. An individual’s name reflects all that
profaned in the midst of
an individual stands for. The name of God is both
them; and the heathen
great and holy. For that reason He could not allow
shall know that I am
His wonderful name to be profaned in any way
the Lord, saith the Lord
among the nations because of the nation of Israel’s
God, when I shall be
sins and its accompanying chastisements.
sanctified in you before
24 / Ezekiel 36
their eyes” (verses 22, 23).
Israel is in the Promised Land
today by the will of God. When
God Sanctified in His People (Ezekiel
Prime Minister Begin signed
36:23): Since the Lord had been despised
the paper with Anwar Sadat
by His own people and surrounding
of Egypt, he told President
nations, His true nature and character
Jimmy Carter and the world
had been held in universal contempt in
that Israel was a nation by
the world. That could not remain the case
a higher authority than the
for long. There is coming a time when the
United Nations. “For I will
holy name of the Lord will be held sacred
take you from among the
in the world. The nation of Israel will
be regathered, according to the promise
heathen, and gather you out
of Deuteronomy 30, referred to as the
of all countries, and will bring
Palestinian Covenant. The remnant of the
you into your own land” (verse
people will be converted to faith in the
Messiah, and they will give true worship
The grace of God is
to their King, the Lord Jesus Christ. It
evident in His dealings with
will show the world that saved Israel has
the Israelites. He will grant
exalted the name of Jehovah their God.
them forgiveness. “Then will I
During the Millennium, King Jesus will
sprinkle clean water upon you,
rule this world and the nations of the
and ye shall be clean: from all
world will serve Him.
your filthiness, and from all
your idols, will I cleanse you”
(verse 25). This He will do for all those who will trust in His Son, Jesus Christ
(Eph. 1:6, 7). He will grant them regeneration. “A new heart also will I give you,
and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart
out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26). This is the
blessing for all those who were
once dead in sin. God’s mercy and
grace gives the believer new life
A New Heart (Ezekiel 36:26): As a part of
with Christ through the work of
the people of Israel’s ultimate restoration,
regeneration (Eph. 2:1-5). He has
they will be given new hearts of flesh
promised to be with and indwell
to replace their hearts of stone. This is a
His chosen ones. “And I will put
strong indication that such change will be
my spirit within you, and cause
the new birth. The remnant of the nation
of Israel will be saved during the middle
you to walk in my statutes, and
of Daniel’s seventieth prophetic week. In
ye shall keep my judgments, and
Scripture, the heart is emblematic of the
do them” (Ezek. 36:27). The Holy
seat of affection. During Israel’s history,
Spirit seals and indwells the
the people continually showed contempt
believer the moment he trusts
for the Lord, even though He proved
continually that they were His chosen
Christ as his Savior (Rom. 8:9-11;
people and protected them against their
Eph. 4:30). God will bring about
more formidable enemies. In the last days,
the complete conversion of the
the remnant will cease in their former
nation of Israel. “And ye shall
ways and they will be given new hearts
dwell in the land that I gave to
changed through the new birth.
your fathers; and ye shall be my
The People Will Be Regathered / 25
people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleanness:
and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that
ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall
ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and
shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your
abominations” (Ezek. 36:28-31).
This will be accomplished so com–
Stony Heart: it is an enclosed item,
pletely that the heathen of the world shall
such as the physical heart is enclosed
know that Jehovah only is God. “Not for
by flesh, bone and fat. It represents
your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God,
the human mind where conclusions
be it known unto you: be ashamed and
effect feelings and encourages certain
confounded for your own ways, O house
decisions and actions. It may be said
of Israel. Thus saith the Lord God; In
that the heart is midway between
the day that I shall have cleansed you
the understanding and the doing. The
from all your iniquities I will also cause
stony heart is one that has become
resistant to new influences. Word
you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes
shall be builded. And the desolate land
shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in
the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate
is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined
cities are become fenced, and are
inhabited. Then the heathen that are
left round about you shall know that
Like the Garden of Eden (Ezekiel
I the Lord build the ruined places,
36:35): God’s plan for the restoration of
and plant that that was desolate: I
His people will take on a dimension of
the Lord have spoken it, and I will
incredible beauty and lushness which
do it” (verses 32-36). The apostle
had previously been unparalleled.
Paul asked the question, “Hath God
The only parallel description of the
cast away His people?” (Heb. 11:1).
restored and renewed land will be the
His answer was direct and to the
Garden of Eden, which was a perfect
environment since it had been the
point. “God forbid. For I also am an
direct creation of a perfect Creator. The
Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of
restored land of Israel will be such due
the tribe of Benjamin” (verse 1). At
to the movement of the sovereign God
God’s appointed time, the Deliverer
of the universe; therefore, Eden was
shall come out of Zion. Jacob shall
the only fair comparison. The remnant
be turned from his ungodliness. God
of the nation will receive new hearts,
shall take way his sins. This shall
and their land will receive a divine
happen because of God’s promise
renovation beyond human description.
and covenant with Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob (Rom. 11:26-29).
For Sunday, December 20, 2009
The Nation Will Be Restored
Ezekiel 37 pictures Israel during its many centuries of dispersion. It
deals with the regathering of the people of Israel back to their Promised
Land. Those who have studied the history of Israel cannot help but be in
awe of the accuracy of God’s prophets. Here is a nation that was totally
destroyed in AD 70. Its peoples wandered from nation to nation with no
place to call their home for 1,878 years. But today the state of Israel and
its citizens are a national entity that greatly affects world events.
Understand that God will destroy the enemies of His people and establish
a Millennium of peace with Christ as King. The use of an ancient map
that identifies the location of the nations mentioned in today’s message
and a modern map showing their present-day location will be helpful in
identifying the nations and peoples of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Understanding
Israel’s history and its present position among the nations is important to
today’s message. To understand Ezekiel’s prophecies, one must remember
that they are centered on the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. To
better comprehend these passages of Scripture we must place ourselves in
Jerusalem and look about at the nations that stand against it. The events
Ezekiel foresaw will climax in the greatest battle this world has ever seen.
Mankind’s history is the story of war and conflict. In the closing days of
Jesus’ earthly ministry His disciples questioned Him about the end times
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is on constant alert today watching its
borders and city streets. The confederacy of nations against Israel grows
stronger and bolder with each passing day. Only the coming of the Prince
of Peace, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, will secure for Israel and the world
a lasting peace. Nowhere on earth is there a land with the problems and
potentials of the state of Israel.
THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES
This vision came as Ezekiel was transported in a state of spiritual
ecstasy into a valley filled with dead men’s bones. Ezekiel was made to
pass among the bleached bones that were scattered throughout the valley
(Ezek. 37:1, 2). These bones had been in the valley for a long time. Any hope
The Nation Will Be Restored / 27
of life seemed far removed.
The testing question asked
of Ezekiel, “Can these bones
The Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel
live?” (verse 3), indicated that
37:1): One of the literary styles which
there was no way humanly
occurred during the Babylonian exile
possible for them to ever live
was known as apocalyptic literature. It
again. Ezekiel’s faith in the
was popular among the inhabitants of
the Mesopotamian plain which included
Word of the Lord was willing
the Jews in exile. The Lord impressed the
to leave it in God’s hands, “O
mind of the prophet through the image
Lord God, thou knowest” (verse
of an innumerable number of bones
3). Only the miraculous power
scattered through the plain, bleached
of God’s Word could accomplish
and dried from years of decay, and the
such a feat as this.
distant memory of such bones when
Many of God’s prophets have
they had the flesh of living men. The
prophecy was given by the Lord through
been asked to deliver messages in
His prophet to indicate that, even though
strange places and under strange
the nation of Israel was in exile, it would
circumstances. But to preach to
one day be restored to its land. This not
a dead audience, without any
only had to do with their pending release
anticipation of their hearing and
from Babylonian captivity, but more
responding, would seem foolish
importantly for their ultimate occupation
to those of the world. Yet, Ezekiel
of the land God had given the nation
in the original covenant with Abraham
proceeded without any hesitation
through the fulfillment of the Palestinian
or quibbling. Ezekiel was told,
Covenant (Deut. 30).
“Prophesy upon these bones”
(verse 4). What about those we
preach to that are dead in
trespasses and sins? We,
like Ezekiel, must preach
Only God Can Do Anything (Ezekiel 37:3):
the Word, and trust God
The promised restoration of the nation of Israel
for the results (verse 4).
is humanly impossible. Bible prophecy must be
viewed from several perspectives. While prophecy
The rebirth of Israel
is often the prediction of future events, its main
pictured in these verses
objective is to speak in behalf of God. Examining
reminds us of God’s
the Palestinian Covenant, which guarantees
work in creation and
the regathering of the people of Israel to their
regeneration. Both are
promised homeland in accordance with the land
a two step process. We
grant as stated in the Abrahamic Covenant, looks,
read that God said and
even now, to be a virtual impossibility. But such
impossibility is most certainly on the basis of
God breathed. His Word
human impossibility. Jesus said, “With men, this is
was the power behind
impossible; but with God all things are possible”
creation (Heb. 11:3). But
(Matt. 19:26). The promised regathering of Israel is
with the creation of man,
not only impossible to come to pass with men, as
God “breathed into his
well as comprehending how the regathering could
nostrils the breath of
come to pass, must give way to understanding
life; and man became a
as well as believing that God’s promise will be
fulfilled as a result of God’s unique power.
living soul” (Gen. 2:7). In
the new birth, it is God’s
28 / Ezekiel 37—39
Word and the Holy Spirit that makes the believer come alive in Christ. These
lifeless and useless bones could only live again by the power of God’s Word and
His Spirit. This will not be fully realized until Israel repents and turns to Christ
(Zech. 12:10). The first signs of breath were in August of 1887 when Theodor
Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland. The first
Kibbutz [a farm village], called Degania, was founded in 1909 on the southern
shores of the Sea of Galilee by Russian pioneers, which included David Ben
Gurion and Moshe Dayan’s parents. World War II drove the Jews out of Europe
and Asia seeking a home. In 1947, Britain turned the region over to the United
Nations and on May 16, 1948, David Ben Gurion raised the six-pointed star of
David over Jerusalem. Six Arab armies invaded Israel hoping to push them
into the sea. The Arabs were defeated and an astonished and admiring world
begin to recognize the State of Israel. The Jews in Israel have not gained much
breathing room since then. Even after the flesh covered them, Ezekiel witnessed
there “was no breath in them” indicating they will be unconverted when they
first return to the land (Ezek. 37:8). Among Jews living in Israel today only
about forty-five percent practice some form of Judaism. They are divided into
three groups as follows: (1) Orthodox, who refer to themselves as “Torah True.”
They are seeking the political rebirth of Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple
and its rites and are looking for the
Messiah. (2) Conservative, follow the
O Breath: the meaning is “spirit, wind
or breath.” The text uses the word in
Torah and dietary laws. (3) Reformed,
addressing a person. The interjection
believe only the written law is divine;
O represents the emphasis of the
they practice no rites today, they are
direct article in the Hebrew text.
looking for the messianic age and are
Such emphasis in translation is not
big supporters of Zionism. God has
always made apparent except in this
shown, in modern times, that He is
case where the subject is under direct
standing by Israel for they are being
address. It is a direct addressing of the
Holy Spirit of God. Word Study #7307.
gathered from the four winds (Ezek.
With the return of Christ and their conversion, the people of Israel will
witness the fulfillment of God’s promises. They will stand complete as a strong
and mighty army (verse 10). The many years of Israel’s despair and dispersion
finally ended in the Holocaust. For nearly nineteen centuries they were “cut
off” (verse 11) from their parts and left to themselves. Their “graves” (verse 12)
(places of captivity) are being opened around the world. There are some Jews
and most Christians today who recognize this is the hand of the Lord (verses
12, 13). Let us fervently pray that the day will soon come when Israel and all
the world will acknowledge the Lord (verse 14).
THE TWO STICKS
The nation of Israel was divided after the death of Solomon. Ten tribes
followed Jeroboam and formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The tribes of
Judah and Benjamin formed the Southern Kingdom of Judah. They often had
a history of violence and intolerance for one another. The Northern Kingdom of
Israel, under the leadership of Jeroboam and his golden calves, quickly turned
The Nation Will Be Restored / 29
to idols. The majority of
their kings were extremely
Two Sticks Reunited (Ezekiel 37:16, 17, 22):
The two sticks, Judah
The symbol of Ezekiel’s taking two sticks, one
and Ephraim (Ephraim reprepresenting Ephraim and the other northern
resented the line of Joseph
tribes of Israel, and the other representing Judah
and the other southern tribes of Judah, and it
and the Northern Kingdom
becoming one stick is rich in understanding.
of Israel), are today joined
The once divided nation will be united together
as one. “The word of the
again, with no more separation, under the
Lord came again unto me,
rule of a single King, the Lord Jesus Christ, the
saying, moreover, thou son
rightful heir of David’s throne. Ezekiel was told
of man, take thee one stick,
to write the names of Ephraim and Judah on
and write upon it, For Juthe two sticks, respectively, put them together,
observing the miraculous hand of God as He
dah, and for the children
made one stick out of them, thus symbolizing
of Israel his companions:
God’s determination to fulfill all the related
then take another stick,
covenants which would be fulfilled once the
and write upon it, For Jorestoration of a united Israel would come to
seph, the stick of Ephraim,
pass. The grand promises of God through the
and for all the house of Isprophet were enhanced by the various symbols
rael his companions: and
Ezekiel could see and touch. The Messiah would
join them one to another
be the only King who would fulfill the directives
of the Davidic Covenant. Israel will one day
into one stick; and they
be delivered from its past sins of idolatry and
shall become one in thine
unbelief through the experience of redemption.
hand” (Ezek. 37:15-17).
The prophet Zechariah also
spoke of the day when the Lord will once again strengthen both Judah and Joseph, “and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them:
and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the Lord their
God, and will hear them” (Zech. 10:6). When they are questioned, the answer is
simple, “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which
is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them
with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they
shall be one in mine hand.” (Ezek. 37:19).
THE KING IS COMING
The new United Nations will have
one King and one God. They will no
Detestable things: the meaning “is
longer turn to idols but will serve the
filthy or contemptible things.” The term
describes things that someone loathes
Lord God Jehovah (Ezek. 37:21-23).
and abhors and therefore rejects as
David’s greater Son, Jesus, will reign
unworthy for acceptance. He rejects
as King of kings. The angel Gabriel
them assuming the authority to do so.
told Joseph that the Son coming
The declaration that these things are
from the virgin Mary would sit on
detestable assumes the one judging to
the throne of his father David (Luke
be clean and qualified to make such a
1:31, 32). It will be in that day that
judgment. Word Study #8262.
the world will recognize Jesus as the
30 / Ezekiel 37—39
Christ and the “only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim.
6:15). Jesus will be King forever, and He will make an everlasting covenant of
peace. The Lord’s sanctuary will be in the midst of His people, and He shall be
their God. The heathen will know that the Lord has sanctified Israel (Ezek.
A CONFEDERACY IS BEING FORMED
Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 tell of the coming of a confederacy of nations,
headed by Gog and Magog, to invade the Promised Land and wrest the chosen
people in God’s chosen city and land from their rightful and God-given owners.
Ezekiel identified the authority for this prophecy as, “the Word of the Lord
came unto me” (Ezek. 38:1). This lesson must be viewed as coming from God.
Ezekiel was to deliver a message against “Gog” and his kingdom called
“Magog.” Ezekiel 38:2 calls Gog “the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.” The
Hebrew word translated chief is rosh. The context strongly indicates that it
is a proper noun, thus a name, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. The
Hebrew rosh is believed to be the root of the name Russia. Note that God said,
“I am against thee, O Gog” (Ezek. 38:3). Genesis 10:2 identifies these names
as the sons of Japheth. This is helpful in identifying them as to their location.
Ethnologists tell us that Japhethites moved north beyond the Caucasus
Mountains region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. This is in the
area of Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Ukraine. It is from these peoples
the word Caucasian is derived. Josephus, first century Jewish historian,
identified Magog with the Scythians along the north coast of the Black Sea.
The name Meshech finds its modern form in the name Moscow (Moskva). The
Russian River Tobol and the province called Tobolsk are derived from Tubal.
Geographical information given by Ezekiel invites the reader to look to the
nations north of Israel for the fulfillment of his prophecy. Gomer and the house
of Togarmah, and many people with him, are from the “north quarters” (Ezek
38:6). The armies of Gog come from the “north parts” (Ezek. 38:15; 39:2). A line
drawn north from Israel to the extreme north will cross the lands named by
The Lord’s message is directed to the leader of this confederacy of nations
that is set to attack the people of Israel. The Lord declares that He is in control
and will “put hooks” (Ezek. 38:4) into their jaws. The Lord will seize control
over the army and the ensuing battle. The army will come upon Israel fully
equipped. “All of them clothed with all sorts of armour” (verse 4). This allows
for all kinds of weapons that Ezekiel did not know of or have the language to
describe. Look at today’s headlines. It will get worse. Those who are aligning
against Israel are taking sides against Jehovah.
Gog and Magog are not alone in this attack against God’s chosen people and
nation. Five allies are named along with Gog and Magog. “Persia” (verse 5) was
considered an ally of the western powers. But within a few months in 1979 the
The Nation Will Be Restored / 31
Shah was ousted, and the Islamic state of Iran was born. The ayatollahs have
ruled with an iron fist and shown enmity toward the western allies while being
friendly toward the Soviet Union. Russia and Iran have a treaty that states, “In
the case of an Anglo-Soviet war, Russian forces will be allowed to come through
Iran to attack into Mesopotamia.” Iran’s present government is developing
nuclear weapons and rockets capable of hitting both Israel and Europe. Ethiopia
and Libya are nations in North Africa. Ethiopia is the Hebrew kuwsh or Cush,
a son of Ham. Libya is the Hebrew puwt or Put, also a son of Ham. These
designate the nations and peoples of North Africa. This area today includes
Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and the Sudan. All are strong Moslem nations
allied with the Arab league and friendly with Russia and unfriendly to Israel.
Gomer was the eldest son of Japheth. He was the progenitor of the Celtic, Gaul
and Germanic family. Hitler was a son. Togarmah, Gomer’s son, populated the
areas around the Black Sea and west to the Danube River. This area includes
present-day Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania,
Bulgaria and Turkey. All have been unfriendly to Israel.
Why should this concern us? The Lord told Ezekiel, “After many days thou
shalt be visited” (Ezek. 38:8). This indicates a long period of time. “Be thou
prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled
unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days thou shalt be
visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back
from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of
Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations,
and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a
storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and
many people with thee” (Ezek. 38:7-9). It has been almost twenty-six hundred
years since Ezekiel’s prophecy, but time has not diminished the Word of the
Lord. This great army is getting poised to invade Israel in “the latter years”
(last or end times) (verse 8). God made it clear that He is in control. He has
selected the time and the place for this military battle. The Lord will use this
evil confederacy to fulfill His Word. He said, “I will turn thee” (verse 4) and
“I will bring thee forth” (verse 4). It is “after many days” (verse 8) that the
northern confederation is to be formed “in the latter years” (verse 8).
The truth is, Israel will be regathered “out of many people” (verse 8). Their
dispersion will be no longer. Both the place of the regathering and the coming
battle is “the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste” (verse 8).
Therefore, it is to be after Israel returns to the land of promise and is seemingly
dwelling safely. This is a strange statement for, since its rebirth in 1948, Israel
has known no peace. Israel is not dwelling safely at this time. The entire state
of Israel is an armed camp. The U.N., Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Europe
are crying for peace. Condolezza Rice prepared a plan for peace between Syria
and Israel in 2008. Continued rocket attacks led Israel to go into the Gaza
Strip to put an end to the Hamas leadership; therefore, the plan failed.
32 / Ezekiel 37—39
During the first three-and-one-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week,
Israel’s leaders will sign a peace accord with hell itself. However, it will be such
that Israel will apparently relax its military. Things are in such turmoil in the
Middle East today that the nations are being prepared for the anti-Christ.
The treaty will be a deceptive and false peace that is short-lived. Ezekiel 38:9
reveals the invaders will cover the land like a cloud.
This confederacy will not be bluffing. The purpose behind their attack is
twofold. They will be coming to settle the Jewish question once and for all.
Remember Hitler’s final solution? This is the evil thought the Lord said Gog
would be thinking at the time. The description given of Israel and its cities
can only apply to modern times. The rich oil fields of the Middle East, Israel’s
wealth in diamond import and export, fruits, vegetables, flowers and the Dead
Sea minerals are in the eyes of envious Gog who is coming to take a great
“Thus saith the Lord God; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time
shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: and thou
shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are
at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither
bars nor gates, to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the
desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered
out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst
of the land” (Ezek. 38:10-12).
THE ALLIES STANDING WITH
GOD AND ISRAEL
There is another confederacy of nations during these latter days that will
oppose Gog and his allies. “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish,
with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a
spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver
and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezek. 38:13).
Abraham and Keturah had a son named Jokshan, and two of his children were
named Sheba and Dedan (Gen. 25:1-3). Ethnologists believe these two families
combined and their descendants, the Sabeans, settled in the Arabian Peninsula.
They are best known for their queen’s visit to King Solomon. It is clear that
Israel and the western powers will have some friends among the Arab nations
during the last times. We witnessed a glimpse of this during the Gulf War when
the Arab nations on the peninsula allowed the western powers to use their air
bases and ports against Iraq. We are witnessing a strong alliance of nations
either for or against Israel and the war on terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah.
The “merchants of Tarshish” (verse 13) are identified with the land of the
far west of Europe. This includes Spain and Great Britain. Tarshish and its
ships are mentioned nine times in the Old Testament. Solomon received ships
from Tarshish that made a round trip every three years. “For the king’s ships
went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came
the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks”
The Nation Will Be Restored / 33
(2 Chron. 9:21). Isaiah indicates that it was possibly an island nation. “Surely
the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons
from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord
thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee” (Isa.
60:9). Genesis 10:5 indicates the descendants of Tarshish inhabited “isles” or
“coasts.” Tarshish will come with “all the young lions” (Ezek. 38:13). The lion
has long been a symbol of England.
GOD’S FURY WILL BE UNLEASHED
When Gog and his allies come against Israel, God will direct their movements
so the heathen may know Him. “Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto
Gog, Thus saith the Lord God; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth
safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the
north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a
great company, and a mighty army: and thou shalt come up against my people
of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will
bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be
sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes” (Ezek. 38:14-16). Gog will come
with perhaps the largest cavalry the world has ever witnessed. Russia has the
largest cavalry units in the world today. The lay of the land in Russia makes
the use of cavalry invaluable. This is also true of the plains of Megiddo.
God is the great overruler. It is true that He will direct this great army upon
Israel, but He will be leading them to their doom. The Lord is the champion of
His people. Prophets is plural in verse 17. “Thus saith the Lord God; Art thou
he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel,
which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against
them?” (verse 17). Other prophets spoke of this end-time war (Dan. 11:40; Zech.
14:1-3). God’s fury will be unleashed as never before in the history of warfare.
God’s patience will be exhausted. He will call for His sword and magnify and
sanctify Himself before all the nations. “And it shall come to pass at the same
time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that
my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my
wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the
land of Israel; so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the
beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all
the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and
the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every
wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him throughout
all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his
brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will
rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with
him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I
magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many
nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezek. 38:18-23).
34 / Ezekiel 37—39
THE CONFEDERACY AGAINST Ezekiel 39:1-17
ISRAEL IS DOOMED
God is set to use Gog’s army as an object lesson for the nations. All of the
attacking forces will be disarmed. Five-sixths of the invading army will lose
their lives. With the fall of this army their lands will be attacked and destroyed
(Ezek. 39:1-6). The Holy One of Israel is the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God and
all His prophets will be vindicated (verses 7, 8). The spoilers are going to be
spoiled. The weapons will be collected and used for fuel (verses 9, 10).
Gog’s invasion will gain for Him an earthly possession; a grave that will
bear his name. It will be called “The valley of Hamon-gog” (verse 11). This
area will be so cluttered with dead bodies that travelers cannot pass and the
stench will fill their nostrils. A great company of gravediggers will be employed
(literally involving the entire nation of Israel). It will take them seven months
to bury all the dead (verse 12). During this time, the fowl of the air and the
beast of the field will enjoy a gluttonous feast (verse 17).
CONCLUSION: THE NATIONS Ezekiel 39:18-29
SHALL KNOW THE LORD
“Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to
be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their
own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my
face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of
Israel, saith the Lord God” (Ezek. 39:28, 29). The remainder of God’s message
shows His purpose in bringing about this invasion of Israel. It should be clear
that human efforts cannot secure peace in the world. Man has failed where
only Jesus can be victorious. The world will know who the Lord of lords and
King of kings is.
The nations of the world
will become the everlasting
possession of Christ (Rev.
Their Enemies’ Lands (Ezekiel 39:27):
After the prophecy concerning the rise and
ultimate destruction of the forces of Gog,
Ezekiel gave six messages of encouragement
to the exiles. Gog’s defeat would be the
Lord’s ultimate display of His glory among
the Gentile nations. Gentile nations will stand
in awe of God’s judgment upon Gog. In
each of the six messages of encouragement,
Ezekiel reiterates concerning the covenant
promises of God, especially those dealing
with the land. At the time of the regathering,
Israel will know that Jehovah is their God.
The nations will no longer be under the false
impression that the God of Israel was weak.
His people will once again live in their land
without fear of attack from their neighbors.
My Glory: means “to
be heavy or thick with
substance.” It is the
possession of an abundance
of something. The term also
This glory is portrayed
in the text as belonging
to the person speaking.
God is heavy with those
characteristics of His
person, and they may be
readily and amply seen by
the eyes of the beholders.
Word Study #3519.
The Nation Will Be Restored / 35
11:15). Only Jesus can bring peace, save and keep His people. When men
repent of their sins and trust Him, He forgives them and becomes their Prince
of Peace (Acts 5:31; Rom. 5:1). What a glorious day when Israel and the world
recognize Jesus is the Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
My sanctuary: the reference is
to a condition of purity or a
place that has been cleansed
of any defilement. It is a holy
place set aside and cleansed for
the dwelling and presence of
God. He may dwell there and
use that place for His purpose.
Having been cleansed, the place
is a worthy place for His divine
presence. Word Study #6942.
Poured Out My Spirit” (Ezekiel 39:29):
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon
the house of Israel is one of promises of the
New Covenant. The unredeemed people
of Israel and Judah never had the power
and presence of the Holy Spirit in covenant
relation. As such, the unredeemed Hebrew
people were disqualified to be the recipients
of God’s kingdom. But in the last days,
saved Israel will have the outpouring of
the Spirit upon them, which will be evident
of their reception of Jesus as their Savior
and Messiah. God will cleanse the nation,
remove its shame and sin and then pour out
His Spirit upon it which will make the New
Covenant complete. The people of Israel will
never again profane His name or follow after
other gods; for God is a jealous God and will
not share His glory with any other. At that
time, all of Israel’s covenants will be fulfilled.
The people of Israel will live securely under
the rule of their King, the Messiah, who is
the Lord Jesus Christ.
For Sunday, December 27, 2009
The Temple Will Be Rebuilt
To read the last nine chapters of Ezekiel in the literal sense is to learn
that God has a glorious plan in view for Israel and through them all the
earth shall be blessed. In these chapters Ezekiel’s ministry made a full
turn from the glory departing, desecration and destruction (Ezek. 8—11),
to the rebuilding, consecration and the glory of the Lord returning. Herein
is involved the heart of faith.
Ezekiel described the Temple so precisely that we can make a drawing.
The question has been asked what Temple did Ezekiel see and describe?
Some have suggested that he was describing Solomon’s Temple to give
the exiles some encouragement. But the size and overall depiction does
not fit what we know about Solomon’s Temple from 1 Kings 5—8 and 2
Chronicles 2—7. Others have thought Ezekiel was only looking ahead to
the Temple built by Zerubbabel when the remnant returned from Babylon.
Here again, the description given in Ezra 3:8-13, 6:15-18 and what Ezekiel
saw do not match. Perhaps the greatest difference is the return of God’s
glory to Ezekiel’s Temple. This was never stated concerning Zerubbabel’s
Temple. Those who take an allegorical interpretation believe it refers
to the New Testament church. This would impose the reader to make
mystical meaning of Ezekiel’s clear and plain words. A literal, grammatical,
historical interpretation points us to the return of Jesus Christ and His
millennial Temple. Israel shall be converted and restored to the land of
promise, and the Lord Jesus Christ will build His Temple.
God has chosen to meet with His people in a sanctuary (Ex. 25:8). This
is also true in the New Testament (Eph. 3:21; Heb. 10:25). One cannot
worship as well at a creek bank or on a mountainside as he can in the
Lord’s house. God told Moses He would meet with the nation of Israel in
the sanctuary. And He gave Moses a set of blueprints designed in Heaven
(Ex. 25:8, 9, 40; Heb. 8:5). David gave the blueprints to Solomon that
had been given to him by the Spirit and the hand of the Lord, for the
construction of the Temple (1 Chron. 28:9, 12, 19, 20). Zerubbabel and the
returning exiles reconstructed the Temple, as did Herod.
What is located on Mount Moriah today? The Mosque of the Dome of the
Rock, which is the third most holy site to the Muslim world, is located there.
They claim that Mohammed ascended into Heaven from here. Yet, God’s
The Temple Will Be Rebuilt / 37
Word says there will be a Temple to Jehovah built here. Shortly before the
Six Day War in June of 1967, the Washington Post carried an advertisement
to persons of the Jewish faith all over the world. It told how a project to rebuild
the Temple of God in Israel was being started. With God’s guidance and help,
they hoped to complete the Temple and signal a new era in Judaism. National
Geographic has carried several articles concerning Israel, Jerusalem and the
Temple. The December 1967 issue carried an article on the Six Day War which
stated: “For the first time since 1948, when Jordanians occupied Jerusalem’s
walled city and closed it to citizens of Israel, Jews flocked to the most sacred
shrine. Bearing prayer books, they pushed toward the mammoth blocks of the
Wailing Wall, in a plaza created immediately following the capture of the city.
Rubble from houses razed by bulldozers edged the square. On this day, June 14,
1967 approximately two hundred thousand rejoicing Jews streamed through
to celebrate Shabuoth (the spring harvest festival).” The July 1985 issue had a
long article about the rebuilding of the Temple: “A new unapologetic age stirs
as Israelis return to the strength of their Jewish past. In the rough settlements
of Judea and Samaria they dream of the ancient kingdom. In Jerusalem some
of the priestly clan, the Cohanim, study for the priesthood in a sixteen-year
course that includes the archaic laws of animal sacrifice in preparation for the
rebuilding of the Temple. The only place that a sacrifice can be done is at the
Temple, and the only place they will build the Temple is Mount Moriah.” Biblical
Archaeology Review, March/April 1983, devoted an entire issue to: “Where the
Ancient Temple of Jerusalem Stood.” One article stated: “The Holy of Holies
in the Second Temple preserved the site of the First Temple. Therefore it is
concluded that the actual Ark of the Covenant rested on the exposed bedrock
sheltered by the cupola of the Dome of the Tablets.” The Dome of the Tablet
is a small cupola about one hundred yards north of the Dome of the Rock. Its
place on the Temple Mount corresponds with dimensions given for Solomon’s
Temple and then the placement of Herod’s Temple as described by Flavius
Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews Book XV Chapter XI). Josephus wrote, “It is
also reported, that during the time that the Temple was building, it did not rain
in the day time, but that the showers fell in the nights, so that the work was not
hindered.” If one were able to enter the Temple Mount by way of the East Gate,
as could be done during the Lord’s earthly ministry, continuing straight ahead
would not lead to the Dome of the Rock. Going due west from the East Gate
will bring one to the Dome of the Tablets. Measurements taken from ancient
bedrock steps and cornerstones strongly suggest that the bedrock beneath
the small cupola marks the location of the Most Holy Place in Solomon’s and
In April of 1988 Israeli Defense Forces threatened to assault Mount Moriah
because of Arab rock throwing on worshipers at the Wailing Wall below them.
Included in the assault was a plan to blow up the Dome of the Rock. The Muslim
council warned that if this happened all the Arab countries would launch a
holy war against Israel. This is what many of the Jews want to happen for they
believe the Messiah will come and save them and build His Temple.
38 / Ezekiel 40—46
VISION OF THE NEW TEMPLE
The first four verses introduce this vision. It came thirteen years after the
last dated prophecy (Ezek. 32:17). Ezekiel was carried in the Spirit and in
Jerusalem he saw a man with a measuring reed in order to give specific details
concerning the Temple.
The wall, outer court and the gates are described. Outside the Temple area
ran a wall that Ezekiel measured with a reed. The measurement of a reed by
today’s standard of weights and measures has been given varied opinions. The
Companion Bible in Appendix 88 gives the following: The “measuring reed” is
given as being “of six cubits by the cubit and an hundredth” (Ezek. 40:5; 43:13);
and in Ezekiel 41:8, we have the specified standard length of the reed as “a
full reed of six great cubits.” The “great cubit” is therefore one cubit plus one
handbreadth. Six handbreadths are reckoned to the ordinary cubit. In this case
there is one extra. So that the “great cubit” employed in the measurements of
the sanctuary and the land is equal to seven handbreadths. Then the “great
cubit” equals 25.025 inches; and the “full reed” will therefore be one hundred
fifty inches. This equals in round numbers to twelve feet six inches. The Bible
Knowledge Commentary gives a more likely measurement of twenty-one inches.
During Judah’s time in exile, they borrowed the Babylonian cubit, which was
one handbreadth more. This would make the wall ten feet high and ten feet
The outer court is described as having thirty chambers with mosaic floors.
The inner courts contain the ornate rooms provided for the priests. It seems
that there were steps going up from one court to another, and also from the
court of the priests to the sanctuary. “And their windows, and their arches,
and their palm trees, were after the measure of the gate that looketh toward
the east; and they went up unto it by seven steps; and the arches thereof were
before them” (Ezek. 40:22). “The length of the porch was twenty cubits, and the
breadth eleven cubits; and he brought me by the steps whereby they went up
to it: and there were pillars by the posts, one on this side, and another on that
side” (verse 49). The Temple Ezekiel envisioned was being built on a raised
foundation. Three elevations are given from the outside up to the Temple itself.
The three terraces were reached by steps. The gates of the courts are all the
same size. “And their windows, and their arches, and their palm trees, were
after the measure of the gate that looketh toward the east; and they went
up unto it by seven steps; and the arches thereof were before them” (verse
22). Each porch measured fifty cubits long, twenty-five cubits wide and sixty
cubits high (verses 13-15). The “porch of the gate” (verses 6-15) is the plan
given for the Eastern Gate. All the other gates will have the same dimensions.
The distinguishing thing about the East Gate is that it is for God’s Prince.
The verses concerning the slaughtering tables indicate that during the last
days Israel will once again practice animal sacrifices. “Four tables were on
this side, and four tables on that side, by the side of the gate; eight tables,
whereupon they slew their sacrifices” (verse 41). Daniel 9:27 tells us the antiChrist will make them stop this practice. There is some debate concerning
the need for and practice of animal sacrifice during the millennial reign of
Christ. There is nothing in the way of memorial or sacrifice that can in any
The Temple Will Be Rebuilt / 39
way diminish or invalidate the work of Christ at Calvary. The Lord’s Supper,
for almost two thousand years, has been a memorial of His death till He comes.
It in no way has taken away from the cross but has served to cause us to
remember. The sacrifices during the millennial will be as powerless to save as
those offered at the Tabernacle or Temple altars of the Old Testament. But they
will be a constant reminder of the importance and value of the shed blood of the
Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
The ornate entry porch with its pillars was measured and described. Such
details may seem tedious to us but to the Jews it is a bright ray of hope for their
future. It serves to remind us once again of how God takes care of His own.
THE TEMPLE SANCTUARY
It has been reported in several papers and magazines that the Jews are
now preparing and storing materials to once again build the Temple sanctuary.
It will be built at God’s appointed time. First, Ezekiel viewed the Holy Place,
which measured forty cubits by twenty cubits. This would be a room seventy
feet by thirty-five feet. Ezekiel’s attention was directed toward the “most holy
place” (Ezek. 41:4). This sacred area measured twenty cubits by twenty cubits,
or thirty-five feet by thirty-five feet. Note that Ezekiel did not enter. Only the
heavenly messenger entered the most holy place. Only the high priest was ever
allowed to enter this sacred area.
The wall surrounding the Most Holy Place and the Holy Place is ten and a
half feet thick. The side chambers along the west, north, and south walls were
three stories high. Each section contained thirty rooms. Adequate provisions
will be made for those who will minister at this Temple. This is God’s plan.
When we follow His plan, He will provide for those who minister to our spiritual
The “separate place” (Ezek. 41:12) was not part of the sanctuary. Its purpose
is not explained, but there was such a building in Solomon’s Temple that was
used for refuse and sweepings (2 Kings 23:11; 2 Chron. 26:18). God’s plan
includes that His house be kept clean. The terraced buildings were described as
being decorated with cherubim and palm trees. The cherubim speak of holiness
and the palm tress signify victory. The altar of incense was described, but other
furniture of the Temple is not mentioned. This altar speaks of worship and
adoration which will always be in order for the children of God.
Chapter 42 describes a three story terraced group of rooms. These rooms
are to be used by the priests for the time they stay at the Temple. We are
reminded that God delights in having His servants near Him. Therefore, He
makes provisions for those who are called to His service. The cells or chambers
on the north and south side of the Temple are 175 feet long and 87.5 feet wide.
The building was three stories high and had a walkway 17.5 feet wide in front
of the cells. The second and third stories were more narrow than the bottom
floor giving the appearance of a giant staircase. A wall 87.5 feet long enclosed
the courtyard. The priests will use these rooms to eat of the sacrifices and as
dressing rooms. At the East Gate Ezekiel was given the measurements of the
area around the Temple proper. The outer dimensions form a square of 5,250
feet on each side.
40 / Ezekiel 40—46
THE SHEKINAH GLORY RETURNS
In the previous chapters Ezekiel observed the building of the millennial
Temple in Jerusalem. In this chapter we witness the Lord’s acceptance of His
sanctuary. When Moses built the Tabernacle and its construction was complete,
it was filled with the glory of God (Ex. 40:34, 35). When Solomon’s Temple was
dedicated, it too was filled with the glory of God (2 Chron. 7:2, 3). Ezekiel saw
this marvelous manifestation of the Lord leave the Temple (Ezek. 10:18; 11:23).
What a blessing in his life and ministry to be privileged to witness its return. Not
only was the Lord returning to shine in His Temple but upon the whole earth.
“And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and
his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory”
(Ezek. 43:2). This serves to teach us that a building, no matter how elaborate
it may be, is not sufficient in and of itself. However, the presence of the Lord
is needed to make it a true place of worship. Jesus promised the early church
that the Holy Spirit would come and endue them with power (Luke 24:49).
This power was to be theirs once the Holy Spirit “is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).
The character and actions of
the disciples in the church were
so changed that people thought
The Son of Man (Ezekiel 43:7): The term
they were drunk. Peter assured
son of man is used repeatedly in Ezekiel’s
them this was the fulfillment of
prophecy. The prophet Daniel was also
Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:12-21).
referred to as son of man, but only once.
Many children of God would be
Because of the nature of Ezekiel’s writings,
amazed at what would happen
many of which were recorded after divine
if we would just let go of self and
visions, the Lord wanted him to be constantly
let the Holy Spirit take hold.
aware that he was a corrupt, sinful man and
certainly part and parcel with his kindred
There are those today who are
Jews as part of the separated and exiled
constantly crying about getting
people who had abandoned their loyalty
the Spirit. It is not a question
and faithfulness. The term also denotes that
of us getting the Spirit. If one is
Ezekiel should recognize that, in spite of the
a child of God, the Holy Spirit
fact he was a mere, sinful man, God chose
to reveal His prophetic visions to him. The
Lord could have sent His holy angels, His
Heavenly messengers, to deliver the message.
Instead, He chose a mortal man. Ezekiel
could have gotten the big head had he not
consistently been reminded of his human
makeup. In addition to being a prophet,
Ezekiel was a Levite and a priest. But, his
kindred priests had so defiled the office
through the offerings of sacrifices to idols
that he was not referred to in that capacity.
Son of man is a label which implies various
meanings, but it especially denotes that the
divine God of Heaven, perfect in His holiness
and righteousness, is different from His
creatures, especially mere men.
Prospect: the meaning is “to
turn in a direction, and to
do such with the purpose of
seeing or moving forward in
that direction.” It is the face
that normally leads the body
in the direction of motion. The
reference is to the face, that
part that leads in the turning.
The prospect of a house or
temple structure would be
the face or entrance. Word
The Temple Will Be Rebuilt / 41
indwells him. The question is, how much of you are you willing to let the Spirit
Ezekiel was taken to the Eastern Gate
of the new Temple. The glory of the Lord as
Ashamed: the meaning is “to
witnessed in Scripture is filled with great
emotionally wound a person
so as to cause him or her to
brightness and power. The whole earth will
feel emotional injury, shame
be illuminated with His presence (Hab.
or reproach.” A person may
2:14). Ezekiel was brought into the inner
deliberately take action on
court where he witnessed the Shekinah
another for the purpose of
glory of God filling the house. Ezekiel
causing him or her to feel
reminds his readers that this is the same
shame. This shame is an intense
glory he had seen earlier in chapters 1
shame so that the person might
physically blush with red face
and 10. This served to bind his ministry
color. Word Study #3637.
together in perfect unity. The cloud of the
Lord’s glory has been described as “the
atmospheric clothing of the theophany.” It is this presence, however we may
choose to describe it, that makes the new Temple God’s house.
Holiness will be the order of the day when the Lord reigns from His throne in
Jerusalem. All those who worship at the Temple must be free from defilement.
At least fourteen kings of Judah were buried near the sanctuary and during
the millennial age no such defilement will be allowed. Ezekiel was told to use
this vision to bring the Jews to a place of repentance. By showing them what
they lost because of their sins, the hope was that they would turn to the Lord
and repent. The law of the land will be “Holiness unto the Lord” (Zech.
The altar and its consecra–
tion are described. These verses
have presented some difficulty
The Shutting of the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel
44:2): Even though the current Eastern Gate
to many Bible students. We
of Jerusalem (also called The Golden Gate) is
must remember that the Old
closed and permanently sealed, the reference
Testament sacrifices were never
here is not of that gate. This refers to the
meant to take away sin (Heb.
millennial Jerusalem, whose gate is different
in dimensions than that of the Old City. The
10:4). They were meant to be
shutting of the gate is a reference to a historical
a schoolmaster for the people
custom which will have its ultimate reality with
of Israel, to teach them of the
the messianic kingdom. As a show of honor to
one who could take away sin
an eastern king, no person could enter the gate
by which he entered. In the millennial city of
(Gal. 3:24, 25). All the Levitical
Jerusalem, the Eastern Gate will be open until
offerings were fulfilled in the
the King of kings enters triumphantly into the
death of Jesus Christ. The
city. Once He enters, the gate will be closed and
fact the consecration of this
sealed, so that no one will enter it, seeing that
altar will take seven days
the King of kings entered with His majestic
glory. A special sacredness will mark that single
should impress upon us the
gate once the messianic King enters the city
importance the Lord places
on the place of sacrifice. The
42 / Ezekiel 40—46
offerings used here are the same as those used by Solomon. Christ, who is the
perfect sacrifice, will be present to officiate at these ceremonies. His presence
is the real picture we need to see and preach today.
The much photographed Eastern Gate is closed today just as Ezekiel said
it would be. Arabs, fearing a great Christian conqueror would enter this way,
closed the gate and sealed it with solid masonry in AD 810. When Suleiman the
Magnificent rebuilt the present walls, the Eastern Gate was freshly walled and
left much as we see it today. On a visit to Israel our Arab guide, Fayeq AbdelNour, assured us that in the last days Jesus Christ would enter the Eastern
Gate and bring peace to Jerusalem and the world. “Then said the Lord unto
me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in
by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it
shall be shut. It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before
the Lord; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out
by the way of the same” (Ezek. 44:2, 3). Jesus, during His earthly ministry,
would have come from the Mount of Olives and crossed a bridge causeway and
entered the Temple Mount through the Eastern Gate. Zechariah tells us that
when Jesus returns to earth His feet shall once again stand on the Mount of
Olives. This event will cause a great earthquake that will change the lay of the
land, especially on the east side of Jerusalem. The gate will be opened for the
triumphal entry of the King of
kings (Zech. 14:4-9).
Ezekiel witnessed the glory
of God when it left the Temple
Identity of the Prince—Not Jesus (Ezekiel
44:3): One of the longtime puzzles of
in Jerusalem and ascended up
interpretation in the prophecy of Ezekiel
with the cherubims (Ezek. 10:4,
has to do with the identity of the “prince”
18, 19). This was truly a sad day
in verse 3. Some commentators have
for a young prophet who was also
suggested that he is the Messiah, but such
from the priestly line of Zadok
cannot be the case. The “prince” will make
and Eleazer back to Aaron. The
a sin offering for himself (Ezek. 45:22),
which would preclude him from being the
Lord bestowed a great blessing
sinless Messiah. He will also have natural
upon Ezekiel in his vision of the
children (Ezek. 46:16), which will not be
millennial Temple. The prophet/
true of the Messiah. Some of the confusion
priest was overwhelmed by what
may be with the Hebrew word translated
he was privileged to witness, and
prince. The word nasi can be variously
he fell awestruck on his face. The
translated, according to context, prince,
leader, chief. It was often used to describe
returned Shekinah Glory is not
a tribal leader. In this particular usage, it
to be hindered or shut off from
denotes one of prominent position. The
His abode among His chosen
actual identity of the prominent man is not
known, although some have suggested it is
He was told twice to mark
either. He will enter the holy city by means
what he was hearing
of the portico of the Eastern Gate, not the
gate itself. He will function as a leader in
and seeing. He would thus be
the Millennial worship.
prepared to tell the people of
Israel what he had seen. Ezekiel
The Temple Will Be Rebuilt / 43
was to tell the people of Israel about their sin. Israel was told they must reckon
with their abominations before God and let the time of lasciviousness, lusts,
excess of wine, revellings, banquetings and abominable idolatries suffice (be
enough, be satisfactory). They had continued in sin for many years. Ezekiel was
told to declare to them that enough was enough. This new Temple was not to
be defiled. The people of Israel defiled the Temple worship when they brought
uncircumcised pagans to the altar. They permitted the heathen to assist the
priests and to witness the sacred, sacrificial offerings at the altar. God’s house
is dedicated to Him; therefore, it must be kept holy (2 Chron. 3:8-10; 2 Cor.
6:14-18; Eph. 5:25-27). To prevent such an abomination in the new Temple, the
Lord commanded that no one uncircumcised in heart or flesh is to be permitted
to approach the altar of the Lord. Only those who had surrendered their hearts
and lives to the Lord would worship in the future Temple. The people of Israel
had not been concerned with keeping God’s Law. They did what suited them.
The Lord is seeking worshipers today. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when
the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the
Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him
must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23, 24). God grant that we
heed this message today. God does not overlook or tolerate sin. Therefore, let
us come before Him confessing and trusting in the assurance that the blood of
Jesus Christ cleanseth us for all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7-10).
The final nine chapters of Ezekiel form an inseparable unit. The literal view
of these chapters declares the restoration and establishment of the people of
Israel in their own land in the last days of their national history, their conversion
to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the presence and glory of the Lord in their midst.
This view takes into account the overall context of the book of Ezekiel and
is consistent with the prophecies of
the Old and New Testaments. It also
Purged It: the meaning is “to cover a
permits the historical, grammatical
thing.” It originates from the idea of
interpretation of the Bible. Ezekiel
covering wood with a bitumen pitch to
spoke and wrote expecting these
protect it from moisture. The context of
plans to be carried out in every
this covering, however, was the covering
detail. It would be strange indeed to
of defilement or sin. As pitch covers the
wood, so sin can be covered. This action
take the Bible literally all along and
is sometimes referred to as atonement
then get to the great climax and try
and the substance that covers is the
and make it allegorical or spiritual.
propitiation. Word Study #3722.
The more one studies the detailed
measurements of the chapters, the
more the conviction grows that Ezekiel was speaking of a literal plan which is
to be fully implemented at some future date.
There are interesting and instructive omissions in this portion: (1) Pentecost
is not mentioned among the feasts. Perhaps this is due to its great fulfillment in
the church era. (2) There is no reference made to the Ark of the Covenant. This
is because the Lord Himself will be present and He will fill all in all. Jeremiah
3:16-18 will be fulfilled. (3) No high priest is spoken of by Ezekiel. Jesus Christ
will be the High Priest (Zech. 6:12, 13; Heb. 2:17; 3:1; 4:14, 15; 7:26, 27; 10:19-
44 / Ezekiel 40—46
22). (4) There is no mention of the King. At that time Jesus, the greater Son of
David, will be on the throne as King of kings (Zech. 14:9, 16, 17).
THE APPOINTMENT OF SACRED THINGS
This section is devoted to
much detail. The land will be
divided so the Temple area
stands separated from the rest.
The Offering of the Prince (Ezekiel 46:4):
The Lord will have a special
During the millennial reign of Christ,
relationship with His covenant
restored and saved Israel will enter the gate
people. The Jewish nature of
of the inner court of the millennial Temple,
which will only be opened for the Sabbath
these prophetic utterances is
and the new moon observance to worship
clearly seen. Worship will center
the Lord on His throne. During that time, the
around the Temple and the
people of Israel will be unhindered in their
Sabbath day will, once again,
spiritual worship. They will worship as God
play an important role. As we
originally intended. Sabbath observance not
come to the close of Ezekiel’s
only included the lack of labor on that day
ministry it is well to remember
but especially included the unique sacrifices
and offerings attendant to it. The glory and
that he began by seeing the
sanctity of the millennial Sabbaths will be
glory of the Lord and he ended
further enhanced as saved Israel understands
with the same. Let us pray for
and gives thanksgiving to the King for His
the peace of Jerusalem for this
sacrifice offered for them at Calvary.
will involve the coming of the
Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.
For Sunday, January 3, 2010
The River Will Be Rerouted
The words of the psalmist set the theme for this lesson. “There is a
river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place
of the tabernacles of the most High” (Psalm 46:4). The Bible mentions
several important rivers that have to do with God’s children and their
course through life and into eternity. To fully and clearly cover the lessons
presented by Ezekiel and his guide we also need to look at the four rivers
mentioned in Genesis 2:10-14 that flowed from the Garden of Eden. The
prophet Zechariah wrote of the day when living waters would flow from
Jerusalem (Zech. 14:8). The apostle John was privileged to see the river of
water of life flow from the throne of the Lamb (Rev. 22:1, 2).
THE SOURCE OF THE RIVER
Ezekiel’s guide throughout his wondrous journey was a theophany of
preincarnate Christ. He is introduced to the narrative as “a man, whose
appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his
hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate” (Ezek. 40:3). When
the apostle John was on the Isle of Patmos, he turned to see the voice that
spake. The One John saw is the same One Ezekiel saw. “One like unto the
Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the
paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool,
as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like
unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound
of many waters” (Rev. 1:13-15). Brass is a symbol of judgment. This is illustrated several times in the Bible, God’s judgment upon the sacrifice, or
substitute, placed on the brazen altar (Ex. 38:1-7; 2 Chron. 1:5, 6). When
Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, the justice of God
was satisfied as it pictured the cross of Christ (Num 21:9; John 3:14). The
picture here is simply that God is in total control with absolute authority.
The fullness and certainty of God’s justice and triumph over all enemies
is clearly expressed.
46 / Ezekiel 47:1-12
waters issued from God’s
throne by way of the
The River—Literal or Symbolic? (Ezekiel 47:1):
threshold of His house
The description of a river having its origin at
the threshold of the Temple is cited by some as
will pass by the altar.
being symbolic, since there is not currently a
“Afterward He brought
river with its origin from the Temple mount and
me again unto the door
so, in their view, would not follow according to
of the house; and, behold,
natural physical laws. But the time of Christ’s one
waters issued out from
thousand year reign on the earth will be marked by
several differing phenomena, such as the change
under the threshold of
in the nature of animals. Additionally, other Old
the house eastward:
Testament prophets, such as Joel and Zechariah,
for the forefront of the
confirm the details of Ezekiel’s vision. The earth
house stood toward the
during the Millennium will feature a time of
east, and the waters
healing, correcting a number of ills which occurred
during the Fall of Adam. It will be a time of
came down from under
miraculous intervention, a display of God’s power.
from the right side of the
God is not confined to natural laws. As such, all
house, at the south side of
millennial blessings will emanate from the presence
the altar” (Ezek. 47:1). It
of the Lord with His people. The gradual increase
should be duly noted that
of the size of the river only shows God’s incredible
divine care for His people at that time.
our salvation was not an
afterthought with God.
His life-giving grace and
mercy was made ready to flow to fallen man before Adam ever fell. Jesus, the
water of life, stood as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.
Adam could not buy his way back into God’s favor. In the day he ate of the
forbidden fruit, he died a spiritual death. The Hebrew text reads that in the
day of eating from it dying thou shalt die. The fact that Adam attempted to
cover himself with fig leaves and hide from God’s presence shows the result of
his sin, the spiritual death or separation from God. Adam lived nine hundred
thirty years and he died. Physical death, too, is a part of the curse. God freely
and lovingly came to Adam in the garden and provided for his redemption and
The first river mentioned in Genesis 2:11 is named Pison (pee-shone´). A
number of writers have identified this river with the modern day Jordan River
that now runs through Israel. Pison is one of the most ancient of rivers, and the
name means “freely.” It has often been stated that salvation is free. It is true
that those who are athirst are invited to come and drink “without money and
without price” (Isa. 55:1). The last invitation given in the Scriptures is given
to those who thirst. They are invited to come and “take the water of life freely”
The waters of the river of life cannot be bought. When Simon desired to
purchase the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter quickly told him, “Thy money
perish with thee” (Acts 8:18-23). The apostle Paul wrote to tell the Romans
and all future believers, we are “justified freely by his grace” (Rom. 3:24). The
The River Will Be Rerouted / 47
things of God cannot be purchased with silver or gold. This living water flowing
from the throne belongs to God. Salvation, grace, mercy and all that relates
to our salvation belong to God. The psalmist wrote, “Salvation belongeth unto
the Lord” (Psalm 3:8). Jesus Christ alone is the captain, the author (archegos,
ar-khay-gos´), which means “chief leader” and is translated captain, author
and prince and finisher (teleiotes, tel i ot´-ace), which means “the state of
completeness or perfection” (Heb. 2:9, 10; 12:2).
However, this water of life that brings salvation was the most costly gift
God could ever offer to sinful man. It cost Him the life of His only begotten Son
(John 3:16). Think for a moment what it cost God to be able to offer to any of us
the living water Jesus Christ. Yet, He willingly and freely offers mankind all
things (Rom. 8:32). Believers in Christ “might know the things that are freely
given to us of God” (1 Cor. 2:12). Although God offers it freely it will cost us
our pride. This is perhaps the biggest pill we will ever have to swallow. “But
he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth
grace unto the humble” (James 4:6). If the sinner will humble himself under
the mighty hand of God, He will exalt us at the proper or right time. Therefore,
we should be willing to cast all our care upon Him for He cares for us.
THE COURSE OF THE RIVER
Ezekiel 47:1, 2
“Afterward he brought me again
unto the door of the house; and,
Utter Gate: the primary meaning is from
behold, waters issued out from under
a word meaning “to sever or separate
the threshold of the house eastward:
the outside with a wall.” Walls of Old
for the forefront of the house stood
Testament cities had a gate or gates in
toward the east, and the waters came
the wall. Some deep walls might contain
an outer gate and an inner gate. The
down from under from the right side
reference here is to the outer gate as
of the house, at the south side of the
opposed to an inner gate. It is that part
altar. Then brought he me out of the
of the wall that separates the outside.
way of the gate northward [this was
Word Study #2351.
the Sheep Gate], and led me about
the way without unto the utter gate
by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the
right side” (Ezek. 47:1, 2).
The second river that flowed from the Garden of Eden was called Gihon
(Gen. 2:13). The idea behind this name is to burst forth like an artesian well
and swell up and become deep and wide. The living well of water sprang up
from under the house of God and then traveled east by way of the altar. God
has provided life from His house from the beginning of time. The salvation of
man was not an afterthought with God. Jesus Christ has been God’s Lamb
before the foundation of the world was put in place (Isa. 53:7; Acts 8:32-35;
Rev. 13:8). Jesus, the living water, comes to us by way of the altar, the place of
sacrifice, which was at the old rugged cross of Calvary. Jesus is God’s Lamb on
man’s behalf to take away the sin of the world (Gen. 22:8; John 1:29, 36).The
48 / Ezekiel 47:1-12
death of Jesus Christ was the Father’s sacrifice for our sins. On this altar Jesus
paid sin’s debt for all time (Gal. 1:3-5; Eph. 5:1, 2; Heb. 10:8-14).
Sin cannot get any deeper or wider than the river of life. This river of life
flows and covers where we live. The apostle Paul wrote, “For the word of God
is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even
to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is
a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). While taking
chemotherapy treatments for cancer, a part of the treatment was a series
of ten nupregen shots. The chemicals that were killing the cancer were also
destroying the immune system’s ability to build white cells fast enough to fight
the infection. The nupregen went into the bone marrow and enabled it too
more rapidly reproduce the natural immune cells that were needed to fight
the cancer. The river of life, Jesus Christ, is not only our life, He is also our
immune system (James 4:6-8).
The river of life comes by way of the altar, the place of sacrifice. It is by
the cross that we are reconciled to God (brought into harmony) and our sins
pardoned (Col. 1:20). Without Jesus and His shed blood there is no remission
of sin. It is the shed blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, that puts the effects of
sin in remission. “Without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22).
The word remission is from the Greek word aphesis (af-es-is), which is used to
speak of one’s release from bondage. It is freedom, pardon and deliverance. It is
also the curtailing, restraining or reining in of sin’s hold on our lives.
The river of life has a definite path and plan. It is deep enough and wide
enough that its course is definite and unchangeable. God’s purpose and plan
of redemption in Jesus Christ cannot be altered in any way. It is God’s plan;
therefore, it is prefect and needs no changing. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday,
and to day, and for ever” (Heb. 13:8). God’s plan is eternal. Since God’s plan is
eternal, it is also immutable or unchangeable. Paul told Timothy that God’s
purpose and grace “was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2
Tim. 1:9). The Greek word aionios (ahee-o´-nee-os) means without beginning
or end; therefore, it will never cease. It is now manifest (phaneroo, fan-er-o´-o),
meaning it was made apparent, visible realized) by the appearance of Jesus
Christ. His work in God’s plan “abolished [eliminated, got rid of, brought to an
end] death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel
(verse 10). The inheritance of the saints was put in place according to God’s
purpose, counsel and will. Therefore, all of our praise shall be to His glory (Eph.
1:11, 12). The eternal purpose, or setting forth, was made possible, or produced,
through the work of Christ. It is in and through Him that we have the privilege
and honor of speaking openly and frankly with God. Such a plan also gives
the believer confidence, reliance or trust that all He has promised shall come
to pass (Eph. 3:11, 12). The only way God’s grace is received is by faith in the
Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross (Heb. 11:6). The believer is
separated from the profane so that once his life in sin has been forgiven. He is
rendered or made holy by the offering of Christ all at once. Thus the believer
is perfected, that is, he is made complete or a finished work by the offering of
The River Will Be Rerouted / 49
Christ. Jesus was made God’s sacrifice for sin. It was as God’s Lamb that Christ
died for the sin of the world (Gen 22:8; John 1:29).
The grace of God is four-dimensional and covers all mankind. The apostle
Paul presented this truth in his letter to the Ephesians. It was Paul’s prayer
that the saints at Ephesus, who had Christ dwelling in them, would also become
rooted, that is, stable and grounded, laying the basis or foundation on which
to erect, in love. The goal was so they would be able to seize the opportunity
to fully understand the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love
of Christ. This love is so amazing and far reaching that it is beyond human
knowledge and understanding (Eph. 3:17-19).
The breadth of His love is wide enough to embrace the world and all that is
in it. The apostle John wrote to his beloved little children some most reassuring
words. It is not a matter of will we sin, but when. The word if is from the Greek
word ean (eh-an’), which presents a warranted assumption. It is a conditional
particle meaning, provided that, or in case of. But, the believer has an advocate.
The Greek word used here is from parakletos (par-ak´-lay-tos). It is translated
comforter in John 14:16; 15:26 and 16:7, speaking in reference to the Holy
Spirit abiding in the believer. It means to call to one’s side, especially for the
purpose of aid, such as an intercessor or consoler. Our Advocate, Jesus Christ,
is all the “propitiation”; the expiator or the place the atonement is made for
the sins of the world. Jesus Christ is both the sacrifice and the High Priest (1
John 2:1, 2).
The length of His love speaks of its full dimension or its greatest measure.
God went all the way and gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus. He gave us the
best He had to offer (John 3:16). He did not spare, or abstain, His own Son but
surrendered Him up for our sins (Rom. 8:32).
The depth of His love went to the deepest extent. Christ suffered death,
the grave and reached to the lowest hell to save us. He descended in the lower
parts of the earth, preached to the souls in prison and led captivity captive and
carried with Him the keys, or authority, over hell and of death (Eph. 4:8-10; 1
Peter 3:18, 19; Rev. 1:18).
The height of His love speaks of its elevation and how it is exalted. Jesus is
today seated at the right hand of the Father on high within the veil to make
intercession. “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of
promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two
immutable [unalterable] things, in which it was impossible [unable] for God
to lie, we might have a strong consolation [from the Greek word paraklesis,
(par ak´ lay-sis) meaning a calling near], who have fled for refuge (to safety) to
lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor (from
the Greek word agkorh, meaning a safeguard) of the soul, both sure [secure,
certain] and stedfast (stable, trusty), and which entereth into that within the
veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest
for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 6:17-20). Christ did not enter the
50 / Ezekiel 47:1-12
holy place made with man’s hands. This sacred area in the Tabernacle and
the Temple were figures (from the Greek word antitupon, (an-teet´-oo-pon), an
antitype, corresponding to, a representative, or counterpart) of what God has
made in Heaven (Heb. 9:24).
THE GROWING EXPERIENCE OF THE RIVER
Ezekiel 47:3, 4
The third river mentioned in Genesis 2:14 is Hiddekel (khid-deh´kel). This is
the ancient Tigris River that today flows through Iraq. It means “to be rapid or
swift.” Three times we read, He “brought me through.” Each time it was deeper
and the experience was much greater than the one before it. Each time we
come to the river we will grow in grace. The apostle Peter warned his readers
to beware that they would not be led away into the error of the wicked.
Ezekiel’s guide “measured a thousand cubits” which is fifteen hundred feet
or the length of five football fields. At this place on the river bank He brought
Ezekiel through the waters; the waters were ankle deep (Ezek. 47:3). This is a
shallow experience, but one is in the water. This depth is for splashing around
and getting use to the water. Babes in Christ should not be expected to dive in
and go for a swim on their first visit to the river. At this depth one tends to hang
on to others for support and encouragement. They should be willing to listen
and follow the instructions of the lifeguards or pastors and swimmers in the
congregation. God help us to be good listeners and then good instructors.
Ezekiel’s guide cast another fifteen hundred feet “and brought me through
the waters; the waters were to the knees” (Ezek. 47:4). Those experiencing this
depth of the river have either stepped out farther or they have bent down.
Either way the river has covered their knees. The picture presented indicates
they are enjoying the greater depths of the river. This capturing of the knees
manifests the spirit of prayer. The apostle Paul admonished believers to “pray
without ceasing” (at every appropriate occasion) (1 Thess. 5:17). Every child of
God will find he is growing stronger when the river captures his knees. Paul
commended the elders at Ephesus “to the word of His grace, which is able to
build you up” (Acts 20:32). This is only the second stop along the river’s bank,
but how many have failed to go even this far?
“Again He measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were
to the loins” (Ezek. 47:4). Here is the secret of spiritual strength, to see more
of the river and less of us. A difficult place is the yielding of self. At this depth
one begins to feel the movement of the river upon his body. At this point one
must rid self of all that would hinder his going yet deeper into the river. We,
like Paul, must be willing to count all things but loss for the excellency of the
knowledge of Christ Jesus. Paul stated that the things he lost, he counted as
dung, “that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:8, 9). The writer of Hebrews encouraged
believers to follow the examples of the heroes of faith and, “lay aside every
weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us” (Heb. 12:1). The only way
this can be accomplished is to focus on Jesus Christ the author and finisher of
our faith (verse 2).
The River Will Be Rerouted / 51
THE BLESSINGS OF THE RIVER
The fourth river mentioned in Genesis 2:14 is the Euphrates (u-fray-tes),
which means “sweet.” On Ezekiel’s fourth visit to the river’s bank, he traveled
just over one mile. He had witnessed the fountainhead at God’s throne, the rill
where he got his feet wet, the brook that captured his knees, the stream around
his waist, and now, “Afterward He measured a thousand; and it was a river that
I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that
could not be passed over” (Ezek. 47:5).
What a joy and blessing. Ezekiel
was now beyond his footing; he had
Brink: the meaning originates from a word
to trust his guide. Peter went to meet
that denotes an edge of an object that
sticks out so that it might experience
the Lord walking on the Sea of Galilee
the greater friction and wear off. It is like
(Matt. 14:25-32). But, “HE SANK!”
a lip that protrudes the boundary of the
comes the reply. No, he got wet when
main of an object. This lip is the utmost
edge, border, or protrusion of the mass.
he began to look at his circumstance
Considering a mass of land against a
instead of being focused on Jesus.
waterway, this word would represent the
Remember, there were eleven others
edge or bank of the river. Word Studies
in the boat who never got out. Also,
#8192 or #8193.
remember that Peter walked back to
the boat on the Lord’s arm. Once we experience this depth of the river we learn
with Paul that God’s grace is sufficient for every need (2 Cor. 12:9).
A blessing is, the river has the power to heal all our soul’s diseases. “Then
said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down
into the desert, and go into the sea:
[Dead Sea] which being brought
forth into the sea, the waters shall
Resurrecting the Dead Sea (Ezekiel
be healed” (Ezek. 47:8). God can heal
47:8): As the river from the Temple in
both physically and spiritually and
Jerusalem during the Millennium travels
meet all of our needs (Psalm 103:1-5).
south and east through the arid regions
Another blessing is, this river has
of the south Jordan Valley and the
Judean desert, the trees along the river
the power to revive. “And it shall
route will flourish with abundant fruit.
come to pass, that every thing that
The river will then travel to the deepest
liveth, which moveth, whithersoever
valley rift in the world, the Arabah, on
the rivers shall come, shall live: and
its way to the Dead Sea. As the river
there shall be a very great multitude
gradually traverses from Jerusalem
through Transjordan, areas which were
of fish, because these waters shall
previously desolate and unfruitful will
come thither: for they shall be healed;
become lush with new life. Currently,
and every thing shall live whither
the Dead Sea has no life whatsoever in
the river cometh” (Ezek. 47:9). Our
it due to the high salt content. But, the
prayer should be the same as the
effect of the living waters of the river,
psalmist, “Wilt thou not revive us
when it makes contact with the waters
again: that thy people may rejoice in
of the Dead Sea, will cause the sea to
thee?” (Psalm 85:6).
live again. All things in and around the
The river has the power to produce
Dead Sea will come to life.
and sustain life and fruit. “And by
52 / Ezekiel 47:1-12
Year Round Fruit (Ezekiel 47:12): For the
most part, fruit trees bear fruit seasonally.
After the harvest of the fruit, the trees
endure a season of dormancy and the
leaves wither and fall, leaving the trees
barren. Then there is the patient pruning
and further tending of the trees until the
growing and harvesting month. During
the Millennium, the trees lining each side
of the river will not only flourish during
the usual months of growth and harvest
but will also flourish during the other
months as well. Such a phenomenon is
due to one thing. The waters flowing from
the river, having its origin at the millennial
Temple, will cause the supernatural
abundance of fruit and the absence of any
sign of death, such as withering leaves.
Everything Shall Live: the
reference is to measuring so as
to establish constant awareness
of one’s state of being. The
measuring maintains existence or
continues the state of being alive.
This condition continues into the
future. Word Studies #2416 and
#3605 and #5315.
the river upon the bank thereof,
on this side and on that side, shall
grow all trees for meat, whose leaf
shall not fade, neither shall the
fruit thereof be consumed: it shall
bring forth new fruit according to
his months, because their waters
they issued out of the sanctuary:
and the fruit thereof shall be for
meat, and the leaf thereof for
medicine” (Ezek. 47:12).
THE RIVER WILL BE REROUTED
All God’s children need to go down to the river and learn to swim. How deep
is your experience in the river? How deep are you willing to go? Like the apostle
Peter, the Lord will walk or swim with us. In the depths of the river we learn that
our abilities to swim comes from the Lord. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves
to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Cor. 3:5).
Jesus is the water of life. One drink and the thirsting soul is quenched and
God is satisfied (John 4:10). David sang that the Lord is “the fountain of life”
(Psalm 36:9). This fountain of life is Jesus Christ (Rev. 7:17; 21:6). Isaiah spoke
of “the wells of salvation” (Isa. 12:3). The wells are Jesus Christ (John 4:14).
The apostle John stood on the banks of the river of life (Rev. 22:1). The living
water flowing from the throne is sufficient to save and heal all mankind, but it
will only be effective when you drink.
The verses of this lesson are a study of God’s grace and man’s experience
of it. The waters of grace have flowed from the beginning of time (Eph. 1:3; 2
Thess. 2:13). Sinful man rejected the living water and hewn broken cisterns
(Jer. 2:13). We should be thanking and praising God that there is a fountain
springing up flowing into a river that cannot be passed over. At some point
every person must reckon with this river. God’s grace is portioned, dealt and
measured to all. Therefore, we are told not to become egotistical, “but to think
soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of grace” (Rom.
12:3). This does not come by our works or merits but “according to the measure
of the gift of Christ” (Eph. 4:7). The day is coming when these waters shall flood
the earth and fill it with the knowledge and glory of the Lord (Hab. 2:14).
For Sunday, January 10, 2010
The Land Will Be
During the millennial reign of Christ, the Promised Land will be divided
among the tribes of Israel. The city of God, Jerusalem, will be the center of
the political and religious world. God shall keep His promises to Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob and David. The land of promise and the throne of David shall
be established according to the covenant promises made by the Lord. He
always keeps His Word.
The land will be divided so that Temple area stands separated from the
rest. The Lord will have a special relationship with His covenant people.
The Jewish nature of these prophetic utterances is clearly seen. Worship
will center around the Temple and the Sabbath day will once again play
an important role. As we come to the close of Ezekiel’s ministry, it is well
that we remember that he began by seeing the glory of the Lord, and he
ended with the same vision of glory. God’s people need to pray for the peace
of Jerusalem for this will involve the coming of the Prince of Peace, Jesus
Christ (Isa. 9:6, 7). Those who love Jerusalem and the people of Israel
enough to pray for their peace are promised prosperity (Psalm 122:6). A
curse is pronounced upon those who curse God’s chosen (Gen. 12:3).
WHOSE LAND IS IT?
Israel is the only nation in the world that uses the Old Testament
Scriptures as its textbook to study its history. These stories, filled with
wonder, have been read and retold for thousands of years by prophets,
rabbis, and loving fathers. It tells the story of their origins some 3,929
years ago in the Ur of the Chaldees, along the delta of the Tigris-Euphrates
River valley. It follows their wanderings through the Fertile Crescent; it
tells of their triumphs and sad travails in Egypt, of the deliverer Moses,
and of the establishment of an empire under David and Solomon that was
unequaled anywhere in the world. After all of these centuries, the Old
Testament still holds immense importance to modern Israel and every
The people of Abram were originally idolaters who traveled from the
ancient city of Ur to the city of Haran, which is now in Turkey on the
River Balih. It was while at Haran that Abram rejected the idol gods and
by faith finally followed God’s command (Gen. 12:1-3). The Canaanites
called Abraham the Ibri and those with him Ibrim (from the other side).
54 / Ezekiel 47:13—48:35
This was because they crossed the Euphrates River. From Ibri came the word
Hebrew, meaning “one from beyond.”
The covenant was not negotiated between Abram and God. It was a direct
statement of what God determined to do through Abram and his seed. Special
blessings awaited the nation that would come from his loins, but there were
some conditions attached. But, what God told Abram at Ur was simply a matter
of His decree. The final outcome would be accomplished no matter what or who
tried to intervene. There are seven specific things that God determined He
would do through the Abrahamic Covenant. (1) A great nation would come from
Abram. (2) God would bless Abram and His seed in special ways. (3) Abram’s
name would become great among the nations of the world. (4) Abram himself
would be a blessing to those who dealt with him. (5) Those who blessed Abram
would in turn be blessed. (6) Those who cursed Abram in turn would be cursed.
(7) All families of the earth would be blessed through the seed of Abram (Gal.
3:16). The nation coming from Abram became God’s time clock in the field of
prophecy as we rapidly today move toward the final and complete redemption
of His chosen people, Israel.
God renewed the covenant with Abraham’s heirs. Since the land grant is to
be made to Abraham’s lawful heir of the covenant, and since the covenant and
nation will have an impact on the world, it is therefore of great importance to
any Bible student to rightly establish the identity of who the heirs of Abraham
are. God promised Abraham a seed through his wife Sarah. As the years
continued to roll by and age began to take its toll, Abraham and Sarah made a
grave error that would continue to afflict the rightful seed throughout the ages
to come. Rather than waiting on the Lord, Sarah, who was seventy-six years
old, told the eighty-six-year-old Abraham to go and lie with her handmaid,
Hagar. When Hagar conceived, she despised Sarah and the animosity began to
bloom and grow. Hagar’s son was named Ishmael. Genesis chapter 16 records
this disastrous event. Fourteen years later the Lord appeared to Abraham and
promised him a son with Sarah (Gen. 17:15-19). At a hundred years of age
and his wife being ninety, and no longer having her womanly cycle, Abraham
laughed at the idea that they would have a child. Abraham was to call the son
Isaac. The Hebrew name Yitschaq or Yitzhak means laughter or he laughed.
This is a fitting name to commemorate Abraham and Sarah’s reaction to the
news of their son’s birth. God promised Abraham, “I will establish my covenant
with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (Gen. 17:19).
At the time appointed by God, Isaac was born (Gen. 21:1-8). The strife between
Hagar and Sarah quickly passed to their sons. God told Abraham to send the
bondwoman and her son Ishmael away. “For in Isaac shall thy seed be called”
(Gen. 21:12). With the death of Abraham and the birth of Isaac’s twin sons, the
Lord renewed the covenant. Isaac was to journey in the land of Canaan, as did
his father. The promise was clear (Gen. 26:3-5).
When Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, conceived, she was blessed of God with twins.
When the two boys were struggling in her womb, Rebekah consulted with the
Lord. The answer she received would shape history for many centuries to come
(Gen 25:23). Isaac was sixty years old when Esau and Jacob were born. Since
The Land Will Be Redistributed / 55
Abraham lived to be one hundred seventy-five years old, this means he got to
see those boys in their early years. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Abraham
journeyed in the land of promise, “dwelling in tabernacles [tents] with Isaac
and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise” (Heb. 11:9).
Strife between Esau and Jacob likely began early in their lives but was
brought to the forefront when Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of soup
and some bread (Gen. 25:29-34). Through the help of his mother, Jacob and
Rebekah literally pulled the wool over the aging eyes of Isaac and received
the blessings of the firstborn (Gen. 27:1-29). Jacob lived up to his name. The
Hebrew Yaqob (yah-ak-obe´) means “supplanter.” This is one who takes the
place of or supersedes to replace by trickery or force. Esau’s hatred for Jacob
boiled into a plot to kill his brother as soon as he finished mourning his father’s
death (Gen. 27:41). When Rebekah heard this, she hastened to send Jacob
to her brother Laban who lived at Haran. Isaac blessed Jacob and sent him
away to seek a wife among the daughters of his uncle Laban (Gen. 28:1-5).
Witnessing the exchange between Isaac and Jacob, much about the character
of Esau is revealed. “Seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his
father; then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had
Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be
his wife” (Gen. 28:8, 9). Thus the house of Ishmael and Esau were united and
for the past 3,770 years they have continually caused strife and war with their
brothers Isaac, Jacob and his sons.
Traveling to Haran, as he was instructed, Jacob stopped to spend the night
at Beth-el. He dreamed a ladder was resting on the earth, and the top was
reaching into heaven. The angels of God were ascending and descending on it
Accordingly the land of Canaan was called the land of promise (Heb. 11:9).
This is the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his sons (Deut.
9:27, 28; 19:8; 27:3). The land of Israel is therefore God’s land grant to the
promised seed of Abraham. It was not secured by any United Nations charter,
but by the Word of the Lord God of Israel.
A DOUBLE PORTION FOR THE BELOVED SON
Ezekiel 47:13, 14
The Lord directed Ezekiel back to what was first stated in Chapter 45:1. It
had come time to divide the land for an inheritance to the sons of Jacob. The
picture throughout this section of Ezekiel’s prophecy is that of an enlarged
land of promise wherein all the tribes of Israel shall dwell. The boundaries are
to a large extent the same as those given to Moses in Numbers 34:1-15.
But, before the other sons of Jacob were allotted their inheritance, a double
portion, at God’s command, was to be given to Joseph (Ezek. 47:13). During the
twenty years Jacob spent with his uncle Laban, he found his uncle was also a
trickster. In Laban, Jacob met his match. Jacob had tricked his brother Esau
out of his birthright and his father Isaac out of the blessing for the firstborn.
Now he was to be tricked by his uncle. Twenty years of hard work, misfortune
and trickery were ahead. Jacob received his own dose of deception. However,
Jacob’s steadfastness shows that he looked upon them as small setbacks.
56 / Ezekiel 47:13—48:35
God used this time to develop
Jacob’s character. He turned the
works of trickery into blessings.
The Borders of the Land (Ezekiel 47:13-20):
During this time, the promised
The distribution of the Promised Land during
seed, the nation of Israel, was
the time of the Millennium will be almost
born and growing.
exactly as it was given to ancient Israel. The
Laban had two daughters.
distribution followed the original promise
The oldest was Leah. She is
of the Abrahamic Covenant and the specific
land allotments of the twelve tribes. That will
noted as being tender eyed.
include the land apportioned to the Levites.
The Hebrew word raccoth
The Levites did not, and will not, have a
means “soft, delicate, tender
land for themselves, other than the truth that
hearted.” It is also translated
the Lord is their inheritance. There are some
weak or timid. The latter is
differences in land distribution which will be
likely what the writer intended
noted during the millennial reign of Christ.
to portray here as he compared
The land distribution as noted in Numbers
34:1-15 was indicated from the south to the
the sisters and set the balance
north, whereas Ezekiel’s vision shows the
of beauty in favor of Rachel.
distribution from the north to the south. The
Several translations have weak
tribe of Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim) was
eyes or pale eyes instead of the
to receive the double portion afforded to
dark and shining eyes that are
Jacob’s son who received the birthright (Gen.
characteristic of most Jewish
48:5, 6). The Zadokites, the faithful priests
from the tribe of Levi, will receive a portion
girls. Rachel, on the other
with the Lord.
hand, was said to be beautiful.
The Hebrew words yapheh toar
(yaw-feh´ to-ar) meant she was beautiful in her shape and appearance. She was
also well favored. The Hebrew words are yapheh mar´eh, which means she had
a pleasing or beautiful expression of face. Jacob fell in love with the beautiful
Rachel. Since he had nothing to offer for a dowry, Jacob offered Laban seven
years of his labor for the hand of Rachel. Laban accepted the offer believing it
best that she be given to Jacob rather than an outsider (Gen. 29:15-19).
The seven years quickly passed as if but a few days. When the time of
servitude was completed, Jacob came to claim his bride. Laban prepared the
wedding feast and promised Jacob he would receive his bride on the first night
of the weeklong celebration. But, Laban had somehow during the festivities
substituted Leah, Rachel’s older sister, as the bride. This was a masterpiece of
shameless treachery. The unloved Leah was given to a man in love with Rachel.
It was the custom to have the firstborn marry first was Laban’s explanation to
Jacob. However, Laban promised that after the weeklong celebration he would
also give him Rachel if he would serve another seven years (verses 22-30).
The Lord blessed the less loved Leah with four sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi
and Judah (verses 31-35). Rachel was jealous of her sister’s good fortune and
pleaded with Jacob for children. Jacob answered, “Am I in God’s stead, who
hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” (Gen. 30:2). This led Rachel
to give Jacob her handmaid, Bilhah, “that I may also have children by her”
(verse 3). Bilhah bare Jacob two more sons named Dan and Naphtali. Not to be
The Land Will Be Redistributed / 57
outdone, Leah gave her handmaid, Zilpah, to Jacob and she bore him two sons
named Gad and Asher.
Reuben brought his mother, Leah, some mandrakes he found during the
time of the wheat harvest. Mandrakes are a perennial herb of the nightshade
family with a rosette of large leaves, mauve flower blossoms during the winter
and a fragrant round yellow fruit in the spring known as may apples. It is
said to have emetic, purgative and narcotic values. It is claimed that it also
has aphrodisiac qualities, which would explain the discourse between Rachel
and Leah. Leah agreed to give them to Rachel only if Rachel agreed that Jacob
would lie with her that night. God once again blessed Leah, and she bare Jacob
two more sons named Issachar and Zebulun. Leah was also blessed to bare
Jacob his only daughter, Dinah.
After the reproof she got from Jacob it seems that Rachel sought God in
prayer and He heard her. Prayer and faith were able to obtain what impatience
and unbelief had prevented for a number of years. God opened Rachel’s womb
and she bore a son, Joseph. Jacob served Laban twenty years. Fourteen years
for the two daughters and six years for the cattle. During that time, Laban
changed his wages ten times (Gen. 31:41). After they made a covenant at a
place they named Galeed (the heap of witness), Laban returned to his home
and Jacob went his way, and the angels of God met him. Jacob feared the worst
from his brother Esau. He prepared by dividing his family and animals in two
groups. He prayed a prayer of thanksgiving to God and asked God to save him
from Esau. He sent a sizable offering ahead in the hope of appeasing Esau.
During the night he helped his family across the Jabbok River, but he remained
alone. Jacob experienced perhaps his greatest night ever. He was privileged
and honored to witness a theophany, an appearance of the preincarnate Christ
in human form. This was the same angel of the Lord who had appeared to
Abraham. A wrestling match ensued that lasted until daybreak. The match
appears to have been more of a spiritual nature as well as a match of wills.
The Lord was trying to lead Jacob to surrender his life totally to him. Near
daybreak the angel dislocated Jacob’s thigh. Realizing that the angel could
easily defeat him, Jacob ceased his wrestling and asked for a blessing. The
supplanter had tricked Esau, Isaac and Laban but he more than met his
match with the Lord. Hosea recorded that at this point Jacob “wept, and made
supplication unto him” (Hosea 12:4). Asking Jacob to state his name was a
reminder of his scheming and sinful past. The tears, prayer and confession
brought about positive results. (1) He was given a new name, Israel, which
has been given several interpretations. Strong has it as “he will rule as God.”
Brown-Driver-Briggs’ gives it as “God prevails.” Spiros Zodhiates gives it as
“prince of God” which is taken from the Hebrew root sar, which means a person
of rank. The identity of the angel was apparent, which gave Jacob a greater
witness. He named the place of the wrestling match Peniel, “face of God.” That
his life had been spared after this encounter was a sign that the Lord was with
him (Ex. 32:30).
From Peniel Jacob finally made it back to Beth-el, “house of God.” Here
at Beth-el the Lord confirmed the promises He made when they first met at
58 / Ezekiel 47:13—48:35
Beth-el. Here God fixed Jacob’s spiritual name as Israel. This is the name that
became synonymous with Jacob, his family and the nation they produced. The
land grant was also renewed. Rachel was expecting her second child as the
family traveled from Beth-el to Ephrath (Bethlehem). Nearing their destination,
Rachel travailed and named her son Ben-oni (son of sorrow) as she drew her
last breath here on earth. Jacob changed the name to Benjamin (son of my
right hand). Jacob returned to his father Isaac’s house at Mamre (Hebron).
Isaac would have been about one hundred twenty years old and Jacob about
sixty years of age. This would have given Isaac about forty years with his son,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren (Gen. 35:27-29).
When the time came for Jacob to bless his sons and give them their
inheritance, there were a number of historical events factored into his blessings.
Reuben was the firstborn but was not given the double portion because of his
sin with Bilhah (Gen. 35:22; 49:3, 4). Simeon and Levi, sons two and three,
were also passed over because of their cruelty to Shechem, Hamor and the
men of Shalem (Gen. 35:1-31; 49:5-7). Judah, the fourth son, had some family
problems but he finally dealt with his daughter-in-law, Tamar, in an honorable
manner. She bare Judah twin sons, Pharez and Zarah (Gen. 38:1-30). Judah
was given the kingly sceptre and the honor of being a part of the linage of Jesus
(Gen. 49:8-12; Matt. 1:1-3). Jacob continued to bless each of his sons in turn
until he came to Joseph. Joseph was the beloved firstborn of Jacob’s beloved
Rachel. To Joseph went the double blessing that allotted his sons Ephraim and
Manasseh a tribal blessing in the land of promise (Gen. 48:20-22; 49:22-26).
The final charge Jacob gave his twelve sons just before his death echoed his
faith in God’s promises (Gen. 49:29, 30). Joseph honored his father’s request
and laid Jacob to rest in the cave of Machpelah, which is in Hebron. Joseph also
remembered God’s promises concerning the land of promise. On his deathbed,
Joseph “took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you,
and ye shall carry up my bones from hence” (Gen. 50:25).
THE BORDERS OF THE LAND OF PROMISE
As Abram’s travels brought him to Shechem, today called Nablus, there in
the center of the land of Canaan, God promised the land to Abram and his seed
(Gen. 12:6, 7). Abram was told to look in all directions, north, south, east and
west, “for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for
ever” (Gen. 13:15). He was told to walk the length and breadth of it, “for I will
give it unto thee” (verse 17). When Abram came to Mamre near the city Hebron,
God put some specific boundaries to the covenant. “Unto thy seed have I given
this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates”
(Gen. 15:18). When the Lord returns to the Mount of Olives, a great earthquake
will change the geographical picture of Israel as we know it today. It will be
interesting to see where the river Euphrates will be flowing in that day.
The northern boundary described by Ezekiel reaches some two hundred
fifty miles northward from Israel’s present-day northern border. The way
of Hethlon is a place northeast of Tripoli, Lebanon and just north of Mount
Lebanon. Zedad is also mentioned in Numbers 34:8 and other than being a
The Land Will Be Redistributed / 59
part of Israel’s northern border, its exact location is unknown. From here one
can pass into the plain of Coelo-Syria to the entrance of Hamath. Hamath
was established as the northern border (Num. 34:8; Joshua 13:5). Hamath is
located one hundred twenty-five miles north of Damascus on the Orontes River.
Antiochus IV changed the name to Epiphnia. The name given here survives
in the modern city of Hama. Berothah lies between Hamath and Damascus.
It is the same as Hadadezer, which David captured (2 Sam. 8:8). Today it is
identified as the city of Bereitan. The location of Sibraim is unknown at this
time. Hazar-hatticon is said to be in the area of Hauran. This is a two thousand
foot high plateau east of the Jordan River. It is also called Bashan. The early
church thrived in this area until the seventh century, when it was taken over
by the Moslems. Today it is a part of Syria and Jordan.
The eastern border shall be measured from Hauran. Much of this territory
was assigned to Gad, Reuben and half of the tribe of Manasseh. It includes the
kingdoms of Amorites and Bashan. The area stretches from Mount Hermon
eastward some sixty miles. Then, it will follow along the land of Israel down
the Jordan to the Dead Sea.
The southern boundary will be Tamar over to the waters of strife in Kadesh.
This was called Meribah in Numbers 20:13. Today there is a clear, cool spring
of water gushing out of the ground here at Ain Musa, about three miles east of
Petra. On the southwest corner shall be the river of Egypt. This is not the Wadi
el-Arish along the border of the Sinai and Israel that has been wrongly marked
River of Egypt. The Hebrew nehar misrayim, means “flowing river of Egypt “
(Gen. 15:18). The river of Egypt is the Nile. Egypt has no other river. The Nile
is its lifeline. The western border will follow the coastline of the Mediterranean
A modern day map will show that these boundaries will take in most of the
Sinai Peninsula, all of present-day Israel and Lebanon along with a large part
of Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. The land will be divided equally by lot. The foreigner
who chooses to make his home with the children of Israel shall also have an
inheritance with them. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “If ye be Christ’s, then are
ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). The saints
are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17).
DISTRIBUTION OF THE LAND OF PROMISE
The first seven verses detail the inheritance of seven tribes from the north
boundary to the center of the land. These tribes in order from the northern
border are Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben and Judah.
Notice that the sons of Leah and Rachel are given their inheritance closest to
the Temple. The sons of Bilhah and Zilpah are the farthest north and south.
Due to the area that is designated as oblation, and the equal division of the
land to all twelve tribes, the allotments are not the same as those given by
The word oblation is from the Hebrew word terumah (ter-oo-maw), and is
an offering to God, a contribution in sacrifice. The oblation that shall be offered
to the Lord will be placed between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. This is
60 / Ezekiel 47:13—48:35
likely due to their faithfulness to
the Davidic covenant. Here in the
center or heart of the land will be
The Holy Oblation (Ezekiel 48:10): The
placed the sanctuary. The sons of
word oblation refers to the fact that the
Zadok shall also be rewarded for
Zadokites, the faithful priests, will be
their faithfulness. Just south of
given a portion of land which will be set
aside as the land for worship and holy
Judah and north of the sanctuary
use. It will be in the center of the land
will be the allotment set aside for
allotment, with the millennial Temple as
the tribe of Levi. This is entirely
its centerpiece and the sanctuary where
different than under the Mosaic
the Lord will meet with His people. The
era. The tribe of Levi was given
Zadokites will share in God’s portion as
a result of their earlier faithfulness and
throughout all the tribes of Israel.
fidelity. Prior to the Babylonian exile, the
tribe of Levi was one of the more notorious
But during the millennial their
which defiled themselves with the idols of
portion will lie north next to the
their neighbors. The Zadokites were the
sanctuary. The area allotted the
designation of the priests which remained
priests and Levites will be 2,880
true, and God will reward them in the
kingdom age to come by their abiding
To the south of the sanctuary
presence in the land contributed for the
will be the king’s city with its
service of worship to the Lord.
many suburbs. The city with
its suburbs will be in the midst
and cover an area of one hundred forty-four square miles. The city shall have
twelve gates named after the tribes of Israel (Ezek. 48:30-34). There is great
care given to the detail and
there is no reason not to take
it literally. Only in the study of
the Tabernacle and its priestly
The Portion of the Prince (Ezekiel 48:21):
The “prince” (verse 21) who will serve as
services will one find more details
the formidable leader in the worship of the
given as to measurements and
King of kings, will be afforded a particular
placements. To the extreme east
Went Astray: the meaning
represents the reason, the way
and the result of an action. The
result is that one has gone out
of the normal path and entered
an abnormal area. Getting there
involved staggering, swaying
or vacillating. This activity may
be self-imposed or wrought
through the deceptive powers
of another. The reason for such
wandering astray is unsavory.
Word Study #8582.
portion of land for his inheritance which
parallels the land for worship and the
habitation of the Zadokites. The identity
of the prince is not known, but he will be
an individual who has a most prominent
position of leadership and governance. His
land allotment will be contiguous to that
of Judah and Benjamin, the southern tribes
who were loyal to the Davidic dynasty
and who will be utilized in governmental
leadership at the disposal of the prince. The
property of the Levites and priests will lie
in the center of the prince’s land. His land
allotment will lie to the east and west of
the sacred portion and will extend to the
national boundaries, east and west.
The Land Will Be Redistributed / 61
and west bordering the city’s suburbs and the sanctuary is the princes’ portion.
This area is located, planned and positioned so the king may administer over
the affairs of the Kingdom.
The inheritances of the other five tribes lie south of the sanctuary and the
city. In order of their position they are Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun and
Gad. It should be noted that in the list of the tribes given by John in Revelation
7, the names Dan and Ephraim are missing and the tribes of Levi and Joseph
are named instead. The reason for this seems to be clear. God warned the
children of Israel, by man, woman, or tribe against bringing idolatry into their
worship (Deut. 29:18-21, 24-26). A member of the tribe of Dan was the first to
do so and to come under this condemnation (Lev. 24:10-16). As tribes, Dan and
Ephraim were the first to introduce and embrace idolatrous worship (Judges
18:2, 30, 31).
THE LAND WILL BE REDISTRIBUTED
The book of Ezekiel began with him seeing a vision of the glory of God. It
concludes with the Lord in His city. The final verse is the crown of completion
for Israel. The presence of
the Lord will be the crowning
touch. The city’s name shall
The Gates of the City (Ezekiel 48:31-34):
be “The Lord [Yehovah/
During the one thousand year reign of Christ
Jehovah] is there.” The grace
on the earth, the city of Jerusalem, which will
and love of God for Dan and
have a six square mile radius (compared to
Ephraim has wiped out their
four square miles in the past), will have three
past, and they are restored
gates per side, according to Ezekiel’s vision.
for their inheritance as
On the north will be the tribes of Reuben,
promised to Abraham, Isaac
Judah and Levi, who were three of the sons
and Jacob. “The gifts and
of Jacob’s unloved, but fruitful, wife Leah.
calling of God are without
Respectively, they were the sons who were the
firstborn in age, the first in patriarchal blessing
repentance [change of mind]”
and the priestly order. On the south will be the
tribes named for the other three sons of Leah,
over Ephraim, “What shall
Simeon, Issachar and Zebulon. The three gates
I do unto thee?” and again
on the east will be the location of the two sons
“How shall I give thee up,
of Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin, and for one
Ephraim?” (Hosea 6:4; 11:8).
of the sons of Rachel’s handmaid Bilhah, Dan.
The Lord looked ahead to a
On the west will be Gad and Asher, the sons of
glorious day when, “Ephraim
Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid, along with the son of
shall say, What Have I to
Bilhah, Napthali. The fact that the names of the
do any more with idols?”
tribes of Israel will appear on the gates of the
(Hosea 14:8). We should all
millennial city show the unity and harmony
of the nation, so long divided in the past. All
be thankful that, “where sin
of the old contentions will be gone and the
abounded, grace did much
unity of the nation will be on display to the
more abound” (Rom. 5:20).
surrounding Gentile nations.
The Book of Daniel
IS THE BOOK OF DANIEL AUTHENTIC?
Sir Isaac Newton said, “To reject Daniel is to reject the Christian
religion.” Yet, there are many liberal theologians and critics who deny
that the book of Daniel is authentic. Their reasons can be summed up
with the one word, unbelief. They refuse to believe that events can be
written beforehand. Since the days of Porphyry, a third century Syrian
who claimed the book was written by a pseudo-Daniel after the death of
Antiochus IV, liberal religionists have been trying to prove that Daniel was
written by some holy, pious and gifted Jew a short time before the time
of Christ. How could a man be either holy or pious who would attempt to
palm off a work of fiction as being the Word of God? Theirs has been, and
continues to be, a vile attempt to destroy the sovereignty of God and the
prophetic utterances of the Bible. If these self-proclaimed higher critics
leave the book of Daniel intact, then, they must admit defeat. Things only
an Omniscient God could know are revealed in the book of Daniel. If one
denies the supernatural use of dreams, visions and prophecies, then, he
must attempt to destroy the book of Daniel.
Among the sacred writings of the world’s religions one will not find
predictive prophecy. The “Hindu Vedas” is filled with magic, myth, legends,
parables and humor. Buddhists revere the Tripitaka (three baskets),
“Vaipulya,” and “Prajnaparamita Sutras” which set forth their doctrines.
Confucian wisdom lies in the “Five Classics,” ascribed to the Master’s time,
and the Four Books written and assembled by disciples. The one entitled
“Analects” gives the sum and substance of Confucius’ teachings. Taoists
turn to the “Tao Te Ching” [The Way and Virtue] which was written in the
third century BC. It is filled with mysticism, poetry and paradox. Islam and
Muslims revere Mohammed as the greatest prophet who ever lived and as
the last of the messengers of Allah. The Hadith is a collection of incidents
in Mohammed’s life, his likes and dislikes, his laws and traditions that
augment the Koran. In all of these so-called sacred writings one will not
find any predictive prophecy. Prophecy is unique to the Bible, the Word of
the living and true God (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21). If the human
authors of the Vedas, Tripitka, Five Classics, Tao Te Ching and the Koran
had made any attempt to foretell the future, the fallacy of their writings
would have soon been apparent. The acid test for a true prophet is given in
Deuteronomy 18:19-22: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not
hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it
of him. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name,
which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the
name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine
heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow
not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken,
but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid
of him.” Only God can prewrite history one hundred percent accurately. The
Lord God will not allow the words of His prophets to idly fall to the ground
(1 Sam. 3:19). Therefore, Daniel could, without any hesitation or doubts, tell
Nebuchadnezzar, “God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass
hereafter” (Dan. 2:45). In the book of Daniel the blasphemous ruler, Antiochus
Epiphanes, is so clearly foretold that liberal critics reason that Daniel must
postdate this Seleucid king of Syria and Israel. The Septuagint (the Greek
translation of the Old Testament) was translated by seventy Jewish translators
who were summoned by Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 BC) to Alexandria,
Egypt. They began their work in 280 BC and the completed copy contained
the book of Daniel. This was a hundred years before the rule of Antiochus
Epiphanes who did not come to power over Israel until 173 BC. His desecration
of the Temple (the abomination that maketh desolate, Dan. 11:31) took place
in 167 BC. This was many years after the book of Daniel was already included
in the Septuagint. The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (Book XI; Chapter
VIII), records an event that took place in 332 BC. “And when he [Alexander
the Great] went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to
the high priest’s direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and
the priests. And when the book of Daniel was showed him, wherein Daniel
declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he
supposed that himself was the person intended.” This was one hundred fiftyseven years before Antiochus IV became the successor of his brother, Seleucus
IV Philopator who had been assassinated as king of Syria.
WHO WROTE THE BOOK OF DANIEL?
The book of Daniel was written in two languages, Hebrew and Chaldean
or Aramaic. Beginning with chapter 1:1 through chapter 2:3 it was written in
Hebrew. From chapter 2:4 through chapter 7:28 it was written in Aramaic. It
is called Syriack in 2:4 which is Aramiyth or Aramaic the language of Babylon
in Daniel’s time. From chapter 8:1 through chapter 12:13 Daniel returned to
the use of Hebrew. The liberal theologians and higher critics have tried to use
this variation of language to make it appear that there must have been at least
two authors. One writing is in Aramaic and the other writing is in Hebrew.
The unity of the book is without question; therefore, it must be conceded that
whoever wrote one part also wrote the other part. The book is clearly divided
into two parts. The first being the history of Daniel and the second being the
prophetic elements of his ministry.
The doctrinal statement of the American Baptist Association, under article
two, states the following: “We believe in the infallible, verbal inspiration of the
whole Bible and that the Bible is the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice
(Psalm 119:160; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17).” Those who do not believe and accept this
doctrinal statement have a difficult time with Daniel, even claiming that such
an Old Testament prophet never existed. Rather than believe the book they
cite that no other records of him or Belshazzar exist outside the Bible.
Critics quoting from secular records note that Nabonidus was king of Babylon
from 556 BC to 536 BC when he was taken captive by Cyrus. Nabonidus was
not killed but was given an allowance and was listed as the last king of Babylon.
However, Daniel plainly wrote that Belshazzar was the last king of Babylon
and was killed the night the city was taken. For centuries the battle raged. But
the archaeologist’s spade has done marvelous things concerning the book of
Daniel. In the Mesopotamian Valley thousands of clay tablets and inscriptions
have been uncovered among the ruins. Among these tablets were found those
that contained the name of Belshazzar. One had both the names of Nabonidus
and Belshazzar which showed they lived and ruled at the same time. From
these tablets it was learned that Belshazzar was the eldest son of Nabonidus
and was born in 575 BC. Nabonidus was an archaeologist and spent much of
the last seventeen years of his reign in northern Arabia. One of the inscriptions
discovered in recent years records that before Nabonidus left for Tema in
Arabia, he placed his son Belshazzar in charge of the affairs of Babylon in
the year 553 BC. This explains Belshazzar’s offer to make Daniel third in the
kingdom if he would interpret the handwriting on the wall (Dan. 5:16). Daniel
was correct because he was there writing history as well as recording God’s
prophecies and messages for the future.
Archaeology aside, the greatest test of the book of Daniel is that Daniel was
recognized and accepted by Jesus as a prophet (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14). Jesus
adopted the title “Messiah” which was given only in the book of Daniel (Dan.
9:25, 26; John 1:41; 4:25, 26). To make a claim that the prophet Daniel was a
fictitious character is calling Jesus and the Holy Spirit liars.
Ezekiel mentioned Daniel three times and commended his faithfulness and
wisdom (Ezek. 14:14, 20; 28:3). The apostle Paul, like Daniel, spoke of the
coming man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3, 4; Dan. 7:8; 9:27; 11:36). In the Revelation
of Jesus Christ, the apostle John also recorded the coming of the “man of sin”
as well as his destruction (Rev. 13:2-10; 19:19, 20). The writer of Hebrews,
while reviewing the sufferings and trials of Old Testament saints, made special
reference to one who “stopped the mouths of lions” (Heb. 11:33). This event
happened as recorded to the prophet Daniel (Dan. 6:16-24).
The leaders of the ancient synagogues believed the true test of a book
was inspiration. Since they believed Malachi was the last prophet, and that
inspiration ceased with him, no writing or book was considered a part of
Hebrew Scripture after his writing (397 BC). The book of Daniel was never
challenged by these ancient rabbis.
ANALYSIS OF THE BOOK OF DANIEL
DANIEL IN JERUSALEM
Daniel was born around the year 620 BC during the later years of the reign
of King Josiah. He would have been old enough to remember the great revival
and good accomplished by this godly king. Upon the death of Josiah, who was
killed in battle at Megiddo against the Egyptians, Jerusalem and Judah came
under subjection to Pharaoh-necho of Egypt. Jehoahaz, the son of Josiah, was
anointed as king of Judah by the people. His reign was in its third month when
Pharaoh-necho carried him in chains to Egypt where he died. Pharaoh-nechoh
made Josiah’s son, Eliakim, king, and changed his name to Jehoiakim.
In May-June of 605 BC Nebuchadnezzar led the Babylonians to a great
victory over the Egyptian army and Pharaoh-necho at Alchemist, an ancient
Hittite city on the west bank of the Euphrates (Jer. 46:2). This changed the
balance of power and gave Babylon control of the west. Nebuchadnezzar
continued his march south through Judah to Jerusalem. Jehoiakim was made
subject to Babylon. To help insure his cooperation Nebuchadnezzar carried a
number of captives to Babylon among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael,
and Azariah (2 Kings 24:1; Jer. 25:1-11; Dan. 1:1, 2, 6).
DANIEL IN BABYLON
His faithfulness, wisdom and understanding, chapter 1. His great promotion,
chapter 2. The fiery trial, chapter 3. Nebuchadnezzar humbled, chapter 4. After
the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel does not mention any visions during the
reigns of evil—Murdoch, Nerilissar, or Labashi-Marduck. So there was a period
of silence for at least sixteen years. The four beasts (first year of Belshazzar)
chapter 7. The ram and goat (third year of Belshazzar) chapter 8. Fall of
Babylon, chapter 5.
DANIEL WITH THE MEDES AND PERSIANS
In the lions’ den, chapter 6. The seventy weeks (first year of Darius) chapter
7. Vision of God’s glory (third year of Cyrus) chapters 10—12. The book of
Daniel presents the absolute sovereignty of God over all human affairs. This is
witnessed in every chapter. This serves as a guarantee of God’s help in all the
yet unveiled future to those who trust Him. May God richly bless as you study
this great book from God’s Word.
For Sunday, January 17, 2010
The Preview of World Empires
Daniel 2; 7
Chapter 2 of Daniel gives us some insight to the nature of King Nebuchadnezzar. Here also is the first prophetic unfolding of world kingdoms.
Beginning with chapter 2 and verse 4, Daniel wrote in Aramaic, also called
Chaldean. He continued to do so through chapter 7. In the book of Daniel the writings in Aramaic deal with Gentile powers. The other chapters
written in Hebrew are dealing with Israel, Judah, and Jewish matters.
This is the outline of God’s program for the times of the Gentiles and
the chastisement of Israel. It speaks of the world during the time it is
under Gentile rule. During this long period of time, Israel will be judged
for their sins against God. The complete picture stretches from the year
605 BC to the second coming of Christ which is drawing nearer as you
study this lesson. During the final phase of the Gentile powers, all earthly
government will be destroyed, and the eternal kingdom of Christ will be
Chapter 7 is closely related with chapter 2. Chapter 2 saw the rise in
succession of six great world empires, all visible and universal in their
concept. The last empire will be the everlasting kingdom of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Chapter 7 also reveals in succession these same empires. Daniel
saw the same kingdoms that Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed about sixtytwo years earlier but in a different manner. Daniel saw the consummation and triumph of the sixth empire, the kingdom of the Lord. Both the
dream and the vision were given and explained by God. Chapter 2 views
the empires from man’s view. Man sees mastery and competence and selfglory. Chapter 7 views the empires from God’s point of view. God saw the
beastly brutal characteristics. The diminishing quality of the metals is
also insinuated by the order in which the beasts are named.
The United States of America is the only modern day nation founded
upon the principle that all men have the right to serve God without the
interference of government. The Declaration of Independence states: “We
hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among
these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The First Amendment to the Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” No
other country ever had such a birth or passed such a law at its beginning.
It is these biblical principles that made America great. As we look at the
The Preview of World Empires / 67
empires revealed in the book of Daniel, let us note what made them great
and what caused them to fall. The greatest day of independence and freedom
is yet to come when Jesus sets up His everlasting kingdom.
AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY
Nebuchadnezzar had been reigning as coruler with his father Nabopolassar, who was the founder and first ruler of the Chaldean dynasty. The time of
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was during the second year of his reign as the only
seated king of Babylon (Dan. 2:1). The second year would have fallen during
the years 602-601 BC. This would have been the end of the third year for the
young Hebrew boys who had been placed in special training. Daniel and his
companions were still young men, likely in their late teen years.
Nebuchadnezzar believed dreams were messages from the gods. The dream
he had on this occasion left him troubled and sleepless. He wanted to know what
it meant, but he called on the wrong people for help, just like many do today.
Daniel 2:2 tells us he commanded to
call four different classes of so-called
Magicians, Astrologers and Sorcerers:
sages or men of knowledge. First
the three terms are similar in the persons
to whom they refer. Each term, however,
were the magicians. The Hebrew
historically represents a different group.
word used here is chartom (kharMagician means “to engrave or to be an
tome), which refers to scribes and
interpreter of mysterious engravings.”
sages practicing the occult, a horoscoAstrologer refers to an enchanter or one
pist. The second group called was the
who made incantations with a purpose of
astrologers. The Hebrew word is ashinfluencing demons. Sorcerer means “one
shaph (ash-shawf), which refers to an
who uses witchcraft or magic.” Word
Studies #2748, #825 and #3784.
enchanter, a conjurer, a necromancer,
or an exorcist. The third group was
the sorcerers. This is from the Hebrew word kashaph (kaw-shaf), which means
to whisper a spell or to use witchcraft. It is always used in reference to idolaters.
The fourth group was called Chaldeans. The Hebrew word kasday (kas-dah’ee)
refers to the Magians, which were professional astrologers. This group was also
members of the priest caste known as oriental scientists.
Sorcery and witchcraft were widespread during biblical times. Such practice
was condemned and exposed in Scripture. A witch was to be put to death (Ex.
22:18). Those who experimented in this cultic practice were an abomination in
the sight of God (Deut. 18:10-12). They are of Satan an enemy and perverter
of righteousness. They were still around during the New Testament era. The
apostle Paul confronted a sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-jesus on the
isle of Paphos. Paul rightly accused him of being full of “subtilty and all mischief” (Acts 13:6-10). Simply put he was a malignant decoy of Satan.
Astrology is still popular today. Millions do not start their day without reading their daily horoscope. There are 7,890,000 web sites listed under astrology.
It is foolish to think our fate is in a satanic reading of the stars. Nebuchadnezzar’s soothsayers lacked both the ability and the truth to answer his request
(Dan. 2:3, 4). From a human standpoint Nebuchadnezzar gave an impossible
order. He told his so-called wise men, “The thing is gone from me: if ye will not
68 / Daniel 2; 7
make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be
cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill” (verse 5). The king’s
degree was a matter of life and death (verse 6). It appears that the Magi understood the king, knew the dream and was testing them as to their validity
(verse 7). Nebuchadnezzar did not want to be tricked. If they could divine an
interpretation, they could also divine the dream. He did not want his ears tickled; he wanted the truth. Many people today are just the opposite, preferring to
hear what is pleasing to the ear rather than the truth that needs to touch the
heart. They heard the command, but they were seeking more time. The king
told them, either you know the dream or you are liars (verse 8).
The Magi had to confess their incompetence. “There is not a man upon
the earth than can shew the king’s matWise Men: the meaning is “to be
ter: . . . it is a rare thing that the king
skilful in the use of knowledge.”
requireth” (verses 10, 11). They believed
If the designation were applied
only the gods had the answer. Their reply
by men, the judgment is a human
was partially true for no man on earth
understanding and a human
had the answer. This is still true today!
application of the term to another.
It was not the gods, but the God whose
The application is, therefore, a
dwelling is not with flesh. It may be that
human assumption. God might
or might not agree with such an
they at least had some head knowledge
application. Word Study #2449.
concerning Daniel’s living God in Heaven. So many know about God; yet, they
stay in their sins and unbelief. The stage was being set for Daniel to reveal the
God who is above all the gods of men. The king gave a foolhardy command to
kill all the wise men (verses 12, 13). Acting rashly, man has often made grave
errors. A hasty and rash command will hurt the innocent.
PRAYER AND REVELATION
Daniel’s wisdom sought
no fast or easy answers from
man. When Arioch, the capMercies from the God of Heaven (Daniel 2:18):
tain of the king’s guard, told
After the failure of the Chaldean wise men to
Daniel what was happeninterpret the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, they
were to be killed. To avoid being killed, Daniel
ing he told Nebuchadnezzar
asked the king for some time in order that he
that if he would give him
might be given the interpretation of the dream.
some time he would bring
Daniel sought the prayer support of the other
back the answer. Daniel
three Hebrew youths. They sought the mercies
went to his home and told
of Jehovah, recognizing their own inabilities,
Hananiah, Mishael and Azabut they also showed their complete and utter
riah. They joined together
dependence upon Him not only to receive the
proper interpretation of the king’s dream, but also
in prayer knowing that the
to show the prevailing of their God over the false,
answers needed would come
nonexistent gods of the Babylonians. The pagan
from God (Dan. 2:14-18).
wise men, on the contrary, showed considerable
Group prayer is powerful.
pride, but the four Hebrew youths showed
Mercy and life are found on
humility before Jehovah.
our knees in prayer. What
The Preview of World Empires / 69
do we need to pray for today? Our country? State? Home? School? Spirituality?
The New Testament churches? The list we might make must include our own
daily spiritual needs.
God never forsakes His own. He answered the prayer of Daniel and his
companions (verse 19). Daniel’s prayer was intimate and personal with
God. Note how Daniel saw the Lord God. He saw Him as the God of Heaven
(verse 19). He saw Him as the God whose name is to be praised (verse 20). An
expanded translation of Psalm 8:1 might
read O LORD our Lord, the self-existent
one, eternal, our sovereign, how powerful,
Right Response to Answered
glorious, goodly, lordly, noble, and worthy
Prayer (Daniel 2:19): As a result
is Thy name in all the earth! Who hast
of Daniel’s humble submission
set, ascribed, assigned Thy glory, beauty,
to the Lord, God revealed
excellency, honour, majesty, above, over,
the interpretation of King
and beyond the heavens. His name is not
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Rather
to be lifted up in vain (Ex. 20:7). Daniel
than show a proud arrogance
for his achievement, he humbly
saw Him as the God of wisdom. The apostle
gave a blessing to the One who
Paul addressed Him as “The only wise God”
actually revealed the secret of the
(1 Tim. 1:17). Jude called Him, “the only
king’s dream. True and faithful
wise God our Saviour” (Jude 25). Daniel
servants of the Lord acknowledge
saw Him as the God of might. Daniel saw
God’s wisdom and power when
Him as the God in control of times and
spiritual victories are won.
seasons (Dan. 2:21). It was God who set
the sun, moon and stars in place to divide
the day and night, for signs, seasons, days and years (Gen. 1:14). Therefore,
since God created them, God can easily control them. He made the sun and the
moon stand still for almost an entire day so Joshua could defeat the Amorites
(Joshua 10:12, 13). Daniel saw Him as the God of kings (presidents, governors,
senators and congressmen). Daniel saw Him as the God who gives wisdom and
knowledge. James wrote, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James
1:5). Daniel saw Him as the God who reveals and knows all things (Dan. 2:22).
“God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things” (1 John 3:20). Daniel
saw Him as the God to be thanked and praised. Note the intimate use of I, my,
me, we, us, thee and thou. He included his friends—Hananiah, Mishael and
Azariah. “I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast
given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we
desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter” (Dan.
2:23). This is the fervent prayer that gets answers from God (James 5:16).
THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN
Daniel 2:24-43; 7:2-8
Daniel appealed to Arioch, who had been ordered to kill all the wise men
of Babylon. He requested an audience with Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:24, 25).
Daniel’s audience with the king was brief and to the point. Nebuchadnezzar
went straight to the subject on his mind (verse 26). Daniel acknowledged that
no man could reveal the answer. But, Daniel was in touch with the One who
could. “But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets” (verse 28). It was
God who revealed the dream and the interpretation to Daniel.
70 / Daniel 2; 7
The dream revealed that the
king had seen a great image with
a head of fine gold, his breast and
There Is a God in Heaven! (Daniel
arms were of silver, his belly and
2:28): Daniel’s response to King
thighs were made of brass, his legs
Nebuchadnezzar’s inquiry as to the
were iron and his feet a mixture of
interpretation of his dream is a statement
iron and clay (verses 31-33). In the
of consistent priority. Daniel took
dream the king also saw a special
advantage of the situation in which the
wise men of Babylon were unable to
stone that was cut without hands.
render interpretation. Daniel proceeded
This stone struck the image at its
to give the interpretation, which he stated
weakest point, the iron and clay
was only possible by the God of Heaven
feet and broke them to pieces. This
being solely able to perform that which
resulted in such a total collapse of
had eluded the Babylonian officials.
the image that its pieces were scatDaniel’s intent was to give glory to God.
tered like the chaff on a threshingfloor. The smiting stone became a
great mountain, and it filled all the earth (verses 34, 35).
Chapter 7 takes us back several years before the fall of Babylon to the first
year of Belshazzar, 541 BC (Dan. 7:1). During the years of silence, from the
death of Nebuchadnezzar (561 BC) to the fall of Babylon (538 BC), a period
of twenty-three years, Daniel was living in retirement. He was brought back
into service when he was in his mideighties. With this chapter the reader
Syriack: the original meaning is “to be
enters into a new section in the book.
high or lifted up.” It was a reference to
It is the literary turning point from
the land located north in the Euphrates
historical accounts to visions and
River valley area. It was the highland of
the valley. Some of that land became
prophecy. This chapter is the heart
associated with Aram of Syria, and the
of the book of Daniel. This chapter is
reference in the text is to the language of
one of the most important prophetic
the Syrians. Word Studies #758 and #759.
chapters of the Bible. Like the historical record of chapters 1—6, the
visions are dated chronologically in the order they were received. By comparing chapters 2 and 7 we can get a better understanding of Nebuchadnezzar’s
dream and Daniel’s vision.
The four winds (Dan.7:2), speak of the various forces at work upon the sea.
The number 4 speaks of the four corners of the earth and indicates that the
coming destructive storm will be universal. Upon the great sea symbolizes the
Mediterranean Sea. This puts into view the geographical location of the empires. The great sea was a Roman lake under the rule of that empire. All of the
empires, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, bordered on it and were beholden
to it for much of their wealth and power. Daniel 7:17 makes it clear that the
great sea is symbolic of the earth and its peoples (Isa. 17:12, 13; 57:20; Rev.
13:1, 11). The earth’s population is seen as a great sea amidst a storm. Daniel’s beasts arise from the sea (Dan. 7:3). The four as outlined in chapter 2 are
Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome; or, gold, silver, brass and iron. They
were diverse or distinct in pomp, size and power. The diversity is also seen in
The Preview of World Empires / 71
The first comparison comes between the head of gold in Nebuchadnezzar’s
dream and the lion in Daniel’s vision. The God in Heaven revealed both the
dream and the interpretation of the king’s dream to Daniel. History has proven
Daniel to be one hundred percent accurate. The Babylonian empire was the
head of gold. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar, “Thou art this head of gold” (Dan.
2:38). Daniel saw the head of gold here pictured as a lion with eagle’s wings
(Dan. 7:4). This is a picture to show us the empire was kingly, strong and swift.
King Nebuchadnezzar was pictured as a great eagle in Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning Babylon (Ezek. 17:3, 12). Under his command, the Chaldean armies
conquered rapidly and fiercely. The plucked wings speak of the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity when he was no longer strong and bold like a lion. The
kingdom, for a time appointed by God, was taken from him. His own court
drove him away. During this time, he lived like an animal. This form of insanity
is called lycanthropy. It literally means wolf-man. A person actually believes he
is an animal. Other historical figures that have also been documented as having this rare malady are George III (1738-1820) of England and Otto (912-973)
of Bavaria. The giving of a man’s heart indicates his humbleness before God
(Dan. 4:34-37). These two characteristics also picture Babylon during the final
years of the empire under Belshazzar.
The second comparison was between the silver and the bear (Dan. 2:39; 7:5).
The Medo-Persian empire was the chest and arms of silver. Nebuchadnezzar
was told that this kingdom would be inferior to him and Babylon. The word
inferior is from the Chaldean ara (ar-ah). It is the word for earth or ground.
Figuratively, it speaks of something that is low or beneath you. The second
creature, or animal, Daniel saw was like a bear. As with the metals in chapter
2 we see a marked distinction and deterioration. As silver is inferior to gold, so
the bear is inferior to the lion. The picture of the bear rising on one side shows
the superiority of the Persian influence and authority within this empire. The
character of this empire is well represented by the bear. The Medes and Persians, like a bear, were cruel and ravenous spoilers. The three ribs in its mouth
are a fitting picture of this. They indicate the three conquered kingdoms, Babylon (536 BC), Lydia (Asia-Minor, Turkey) (546 BC) and Egypt (525 BC).
The third comparison comes between the brass and the leopard (Dan. 2:3943; 7:6). The mighty empire of Greece, headed by Philip of Macedonia and then
his son Alexander the Great, was the belly and thighs of bronze. Again we
note the inferiority as we move down the scale of metallurgy and the animal
kingdom. The leopard was a fitting picture of the Greeks under Alexander the
Great. The leopard is one of the swiftest of beasts and has a carnivorous thirst
for blood. The four wings show its unprecedented quickness of movement. This
is a historical fact concerning the Grecian empire. There is no parallel in ancient times for the swiftness of Alexander’s conquests and his lust for more
battles and lands. The leopard in Daniel’s vision had four heads. Heads represent rulers or governments (Isa. 7:8, 9; Rev. 13:3, 12). The Greek empire evolved
into four heads with the death of Alexander in Babylon in 323 BC. Four of his
generals divided the empire: (1) Ptolemy I (aka Soter) took Egypt and Libya.
(2) Seleucus I (aka Nicator) took Syria and Babylon. (3) Antipater took Greece
and Macedonia. (4) Lysimachus took Thrace and Asia Minor. During the one
72 / Daniel 2; 7
hundred fifty years that followed, Israel remained a land of contention between
the Ptolemies and the Seleucids.
The fourth comparison comes between the iron and the beast (Dan. 2:40;
7:7). Rome was the legs of iron which denote power. They wielded a brand of
power never witnessed before in history. Their army and governmental policies
were hard and tempered like iron. There was no animal in nature that Daniel
knew of to which he could make a comparison. He described it as dreadful
and terrible. Its power was diverse from the others. The fourth empire was accurately described by the iron in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and the dreadful
beast shows the awesome power and rule of the Roman empire. The world to
this day has not witnessed Rome’s equal in terror and brute strength. Rome
devoured its enemies with teeth of iron, breaking all that stood in its way and
grinding them to dust.
THE IRON, THE CLAY AND THE LITTLE HORN
Daniel 2:41-43; 7:8
The final world power is seen in the toes of iron and clay, which shows both
strength and weakness (Dan. 2:41). This could be a mixture of anti-Semitic
Asia and Europe with the Arab League who, although they do not get along
with each other, will join as one to fight Israel and the great Satan (non-believers of Allah) aka the United States of America. However, the ten-toed and
ten-horned kings have a short-lived hour of power (Rev. 17:12). The kingdom of
the anti-Christ will quickly rise and fall (Dan. 7:8).
THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
Daniel 2:44-49; 7:9-14
The kingdom of Christ is an everlasting kingdom established by the great cut
stone (Dan. 2:44, 45). Jesus is
the Rock of Ages (Deut. 32:4,
15, 18). Jesus is the Rock
that followed Israel in the
The Indestructible Kingdom (Daniel
wilderness (Ex. 17:6; 1 Cor.
2:44): On the heels of the interpretation of
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, which indicated the
10:4). Jesus is the Rock of our
emergence of four great Gentile empires, the
salvation (Psalm 95:1). Jesus
conclusion of the interpretation noted that those
is the rejected Rock (Psalm
four great empires would eventually succumb
118:22: Matt. 21:42). Jesus is
to the eventual kingdom of the Messiah
the Rock foundation that is
whose kingdom will prevail over the previous
precious and sure. Although
kingdoms, and will endure forever. The four
rejected by the builders, He
Gentile powers will actually be destroyed by
the fifth kingdom. Their memories will fade
is the Head and Chief Corner
as dust. In spite of the grandeur of the four
Stone (Isa. 28:16; Matt. 16:18;
kingdoms, their prominence was short-lived.
Eph. 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6). Jesus
In succession, they were overtaken by the
is the Rock who shall destroy
next empire in the succession. The kingdom of
Satan and all those nations
Christ will endure beyond time into eternity.
and peoples who follow him.
There is a God in Heaven!
Nebuchadnezzar was now at Daniel’s feet (Dan. 2:46). This is but a prelude
to what all men shall do when they bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
The Preview of World Empires / 73
(Phil. 2:9-11). All in Heaven and in earth shall acknowledge that there is a God
in Heaven. Our God is a God of gods and Lord of kings (Dan. 2:47).
Daniel was greatly rewarded by Nebuchadnezzar. He was made a great man
and a ruler of Babylon, and all its wise men were under him (Dan 2:48). We
cannot even begin to imagine what is in store for us (1 Cor. 2:9). Daniel manifested a sharing and loving spirit toward his companions (Dan. 2:49). Their
prayers and support had been helpful to him in seeking God’s answers. He did
not forget those who had faithfully stood with the Lord and with him during
the times of testing. The same God is still in Heaven today. He is the God of
salvation and life. Like Daniel, we need to humbly seek Him now in this day of
trouble and strife.
Daniel continued looking “till the thrones were cast down” (Dan. 7:9), literally set in place or put in an orderly fashion. When all thrones were in place
the “Ancient of days did sit” (verse 9). That is, He took His proper and rightful
place. The “Ancient of days” refers to the fact that He is the eternal God and
King (Deut. 33:27; Psalm 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17 ).
The description given in Daniel 7:9, 10 is the same given by John in Revelation 1:12-15; 20:11-15. The “garment was white as snow” (Dan. 7:9). This
identifies His purity and holiness (Psalm 30:4; 1 Peter 1:15, 16; 1 John 3.3).
The hair of his head, like the pure wool, identifies Him as being eternal, righteous and worthy of honor and glory (Lev. 19:32; Prov. 16:31). His throne was
like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire is a symbol of His justice
and judgment. His throne is set on wheels within a wheel that encompass all
of creation (Ezek. 1:15-21). His throne has the appearance of fire (Ezek. 1:27;
10:6, 7). A fiery stream is literally a river of fire. God’s wrath will be poured out
on these beasts like nations (Rom. 1:18; Rev. 14:9, 10). Thousands of thousands
ministered to Him (Rev. 5:11). Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before
Him. Never has there been such a number dedicated to God. Judgment was set
simply means court was convened. (Rev. 14:6, 7). The books were opened. God
keeps perfect records of men’s deeds. However, the books are likely the Scriptures (John 12:48; Rev. 20:12).
This final beast, the little horn and his confederation, shall be destroyed in
the flame (Dan. 7:11). The other beasts lost their kingdoms, yet their lives were
prolonged (verse 12). Babylon, Persia and Greece had their kingdoms taken.
But, final sentencing awaits the judgment of nations (Joel 3:1, 2; Matt. 25:3138). The Roman empire boasted that it did not destroy the cultures of those
they conquered but to some extent incorporated them into their own. This was
seen in Imperial Rome and continues to be seen in Ecclesiastical Rome. Imperial Rome gradually began to fade as a world power in AD 193. The last Roman emperor was Romulus Augustulus who was overthrown by Odoacer in
AD 476. But Emperor Constantine the Great (AD 324-337) set up the church
at Rome as the Holy Catholic Church of the empire in AD 325. In AD 326 he
built Constantinople on the site of Greek Byzantium (modern Istanbul), which
continued until AD 1453. But papal Rome has survived and rules more souls
than any Caesar ever dreamed possible.
The Son of Man mentioned in Daniel 7:13, 14 is the Messiah, Jesus, making
His grand entrance with the clouds of Heaven (Matt. 24:30; Acts 1:9-11; Rev.
74 / Daniel 2; 7
1:7). The statement presenting the Messiah as the “Son of Man” is the most
quoted, and it is used in the New Testament eighty-seven times. This is the
hour for which the angels and saints have long awaited (1 Thess. 1:10; 2 Thess.
3:5; 1 Peter 1:12). The Son will be presented before the throne to receive the
Father’s gift, an everlasting kingdom (Psalm 2:6-9; Dan. 7:14).
THE VISION INTERPRETED
Daniel made inquiry because he was grieved and troubled (Dan. 7:15). He
sought God’s help to know the meaning of the vision (verse 16). The four great
beasts were four kings which would rise out of the earth (verse 17). They would
hold sway over the governments of men. In God’s appointed time each would
crumble and fall. The kingdoms of this world will be given to the saints of
the most High (verse 18). This is the first time Daniel mentions the saints.
Who are they? Saint or saints is used thirty-nine times in the Old Testament.
The following Hebrew words are used. Qaddiysh (kad-deesh´) is a sacred or
consecrated thing. It is translated holy and used to refer to a saint. Chasiyd
(khaw-seed´) is the word for pious (a saint), a holy or godly person. Qadosh’
(kaw-doshe’) means that which is sacred, a saint or holy one. These words are
used in the Old Testament to identify believers (Deut. 33:1-3).
Daniel desired to know more about the fourth beast (Dan. 7:19, 20). The
fourth beast astonished him. The ten horns and the horn with eyes and a
mouth puzzled him. The little horn will make war with the saints and prevail
for a time (verse 21). The Little Horn will be the leader of the last Gentile
confederation of nations. He is also called the man of sin, the son of perdition
(2 Thess. 2:3). This beast has all the evil and bad qualities of the other beasts
(Rev. 13:1-3). He is more stout than his associates. He will subdue three kings
(Dan. 7:20, 24). Daniel outlined the character of the little horn (verse 25). He
blasphemes God (Rev. 13:1, 6, 17:3). He wears out (afflicts, persecutes) the
saints (Rev. 13:7). He will change times and laws. He will attempt to abolish
religious holidays (set times) and religion altogether (the laws). The saints will
be given to his hand for three and one-half years.
The Ancient of days and His saints will come and the antichrist will be
defeated (Dan. 7:22, 26, 27). Judgment shall be given to the saints over the
beast (aka anti-Christ and Satan) He will be cast in the flame (Rev. 19:19-21).
The kingdoms of this world will be surrendered to Christ and His saints (Luke
12:32; Rev. 11:15).
THE PREVIEW OF WORLD EMPIRES
Daniel 2; 7
Daniel learned this was the end of the vision. He was shown no more. His
grasp of things and his mental conceptions troubled and terrified him. Think
for a moment about what Daniel saw. Does it trouble you? Daniel’s countenance
changed. Coming face to face with the end times should change our composure.
It is recorded that Daniel kept the matter in his heart. It gave him hope and
faith in the God of Heaven. He understood that all kings and kingdoms are
under God’s control and that His kingdom is everlasting.
For Sunday, January 24, 2010
The Time of Christ’s Coming
Daniel was among the first captives taken to Babylon during the fourth
year of the reign of Jehoiakim in 605 BC. He was a student of God’s Word
and studied the scrolls that were made available. Daniel studied Jeremiah’s
scroll and was well acquainted with the prophecies concerning the seventy
years of captivity (Jer. 25:11; Dan. 9:1, 2). Through study of the Word and
prayer, He understood that the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy was at
hand because the seventy years in Babylon were accomplished. In 536
BC the armies of the Medes and Persians, under Cyrus and Darius, took
the city of Babylon in one night (Dan. 5:30, 31). It is likely that Daniel
had studied the scroll of Isaiah, knew Cyrus and desired the prophecy to
be fulfilled (Isa. 44:24, 28—45:4). That same year, the first year of Cyrus’
reign over Babylon, Cyrus issued the decree that the Jews could return to
Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple (2 Chron. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-3) . Under
the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua, 49,897 returned to Judah.
God allowed Daniel to live long enough to witness the return of many of
his countrymen to the land of promise (Dan. 1:21). God’s Word is precise.
Seventy years meant just that. This is a strong testimony for the divine
inspiration of Scripture, which is always accurate and true. This same
book can make one wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15). And this same book
will be the standard by which all men are judged (John 12:48; Rev. 20:12).
It is important that we read the book, believe the book, and strive by God’s
grace to live the book.
THE TIME OF THE REVELATION
Daniel 9:1, 2
Although the events of chapter 9 are commonly referred to as the third
vision of the prophet Daniel, they are a prophetic revelation. The first two
visions, or revelations, detailed God’s program for the Gentile nations.
Chapter 9 reveals God’s program for Israel pertaining to the little horn of
chapters 7 and 8 and the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to reign on
This is one of the greatest prophetic chapters in the Bible. It serves
as the backbone for New Testament prophecy especially the book of
Revelation and the ministry of Christ concerning the end times. It is
definite proof that God knows the beginning from the end. “Declaring the
end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not
yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isa.
46:10). The Scriptures were literally breathed into God’s prophets. They wrote
76 / Daniel 9
and spoke only as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Peter
1:20, 21). To overlook this study is to miss out on the truth of God’s plan for the
people of Israel in the last days. This is not a difficult prophecy to understand
and will prove to be a blessing to all those who study it.
The time for this vision (revelation) was the first year of Darius. He was of
the Medes and the son of Ahasuerus (aka Astyages). He succeeded Belshazzar
as the king of the Chaldeans. In history he is also called Cyaxares II and was
the predecessor of Cyrus. He was the first of the foreign princes that reigned
over Babylon. “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of
the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans” (Dan. 9:1).
He is the same Darius mentioned in Daniel chapters 5 and 6. This would have
been the year 536 BC or seventy years after the Babylon captivity began in
605 BC. It was within a few months after the fall of Babylon to the Medes and
The passage under consideration makes clear the reason for Judah’s
exile to Babylon. They refused to hear the Lord’s Word and had forsaken His
Sabbaths. Therefore, the Lord sent them into servitude in Babylon for seventy
years. Those who teach that this number is not significant have not looked
deep enough in the Scriptures. The number seven plays an important part in
the economy of the Jewish people both in the past and in future events. The
seventh day was to be the Lord’s Sabbath, a day of rest. The seventh year was
to be a fallow (unplanted) year in which the entire land and people rested. The
Lord promised to provide an abundant harvest in the sixth year. It would be
enough to eat until the eighth year’s planting was harvested. After seven such
sabbatical years, the fiftieth year was to be a special year of jubilee. When
these Sabbath days and years were honored, God blessed the people and the
land (Ex. 20:8-11; Lev. 25:1-11). Judah had forsaken the Sabbatical years for
a period of four hundred ninety years. Thus the Lord took the necessary steps
to insure the land its rest. Judah served Babylon seventy years during which
time the land remained fallow (2 Chron 36:20, 21; Jer. 7:34; 12:11).
Daniel understood the time had come for the Babylonian captivity to end.
He knew this because he studied the books (scrolls). “In the first year of his
reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word
of the Lord came to Jeremiah the
prophet, that he would accomplish
Desolations: the meaning is “to dry, parch,
seventy years in the desolations of
waste or ruin the surface of a land so that
Jerusalem” (Dan. 9:2). Daniel was
there is an absence of life on the land.” The
not just a reader of the scrolls;
desolation may represent a lack of human
he was a student of the Word.
life, or an absence of vegetation, or the
combination of both. In the days of Jeremiah,
He set the example before those
God prophesied the captivity of the people
in captivity. He was not taken in
of Judah and Jerusalem under Babylon.
by the false prophets during the
Their land would be emptied of Hebrews
early years of their captivity. He
and called a desolate land until the day of
searched the scrolls to find the
restoration (Isaiah 62:4; Jeremiah 6:8; 9:11).
truth of God’s message. This is
Word Study #2717.
like the believers Paul found at
The Time of Christ’s Coming / 77
Berea. The Bereans were daily students of the Word. They believed it must be,
thus saith the Lord. The Bereans were “more noble than those in Thessalonica,
in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the
scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Children of
God need to strive to follow their example of study in the Word. Timothy’s
grandmother and mother saw to it that he knew the Word. “And that from a
child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise
unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). The scroll
Daniel was most interested in was the one written by the prophet Jeremiah.
He particularly was interested in the passages concerning the time of their
captivity. Jeremiah foretold of the land’s destruction, the length of time they
would be captives and that they would return home. “And this whole land shall
be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king
of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are
accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith
the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it
perpetual desolations. And I will bring upon that land all my words which I
have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah
hath prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings shall
serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their
deeds, and according to the works of their own hands” (Jer. 25:11-14). “For thus
saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit
you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this
place” (Jer. 29:10). It seems likely that Daniel also studied the prophecies of
Isaiah. From this prophet he would have learned about Cyrus being the Lord’s
anointed. He was desirous for the prophecy to also be fulfilled. “Thus saith the
Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord
that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth
abroad the earth by myself.” “That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall
perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to
the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” “Thus saith the Lord to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and
I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and
the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places
straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of
iron: and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret
places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name,
am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have
even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not
known me” (Isa. 44:24, 28; 45:1-4).
The study of the Scriptures should make us eager to know more. The Lord’s
disciples were always desirous to know more about the meaning of Christ’s
teachings. “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto
him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be
the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt. 24:3). There are
those who will mock and turn a deaf ear. But thanks be to God for those who
78 / Daniel 9
will listen to the message of the Word again and again. “And when they heard
of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee
again of this matter” (Acts 17:32).
DANIEL, A MAN OF PRAYER
Daniel’s prayer recorded in this chapter is the great climax to a life of prayer.
Daniel did not look upon prayer as some sort of talisman or lucky charm.
Daniel communed with God three times a day. These were his daily exercises
of fervent, unquestioning faith and a special time when he visited with the
Lord (Dan. 6:10). Such prayer worked for Daniel and Elijah, and it will work
for us today (James 5:16)
It was a fervent prayer. “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by
prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” (Dan. 9:3).
Daniel said, “I set my face.” That is, he gave, or yielded, full attention “unto
the Lord God.” It is useless to pray to any other than our Father in Heaven.
Daniel’s desire was to search out and make a request by intercession with
the Lord. The word supplication speaks of earnest prayer or entreaty which
was here witnessed by Daniel’s fasting and the sackcloth and ashes. This is a
picture of the separation and humility that accompanies a fervent prayer life.
It was a prayer of intercession. “And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and
made my confession” (verse 4). The word prayed used here by Daniel is from
a Hebrew root meaning to intercede. Daniel was concerned for his people (the
Jews) and his city (Jerusalem).
It was a prayer of adoration. “O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping
the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his
commandments” (verse 4). Daniel addressed “the great [high, mighty, noble]
and dreadful [one to be venerated; reverenced] God.” The word covenant is from
a Hebrew word meaning the cutting of an agreement (because it is made by
passing between pieces of flesh that were laid on altars which stood side by
side). The covenant Daniel had in mind was the unconditional covenant God cut
with Abraham (Gen. 15:9, 10, 17, 18). God not only kept His covenant but also
gave “mercy.” The Hebrew word chesedh is one of the most important words in
the Old Testament. It is an act of love, kindness or mercy shown someone. The
quality of it is usually the type shown a close family member or dear friend.
David showed it to Mephibosheth because of Jonathan (2 Sam. 9:1). God shows
it to believers because of Jesus Christ (John 16:27).
It was a prayer of confession. Daniel said, “I . . . made my confession [held
out my hand; revered with extended hands]” (Dan. 9:4). He set forth his sin and
the sin of the people. Daniel included himself in the prayer by saying, “We have
sinned [missed the mark, been lead astray, bare the blame, trespassed], and
have committed iniquity [been deceitful, perverted the truth], and have done
wickedly [done wrong, violated the law], and have rebelled [been rebellious],
even by departing [turning off, declining, leaving undone, removing] from thy
precepts and from thy judgments. Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants
the prophets” (verses 5, 6). Their unfaithfulness stood in sharp contrast with
the Lord’s righteousness. They stood before God with shamed faces. They were
The Time of Christ’s Coming / 79
driven out of the land of promise into strange lands (verses 7, 8). The Lord
was merciful although they were rebellious (verse 9). The Lord judged them
according to the words He had spoken through Moses. The “curse” (alah, oath
of the covenant) was upon them. They had been duly warned; therefore, the
judgment was sure and just (Deut. 28:1-68; Dan. 9:10-12). Even with all the
evils upon them they still had not repented (Dan. 9:13). Daniel said, “Yet made
we not our prayer” (verse 13). The word prayer is from a Hebrew word meaning
“we did not admit we were weak, we did not grieve, we were not sorry.” God
judged their sins because He is righteous and His judgments were equitable in
every way (verses 14, 15).
It was a prayer of entreaty (verses 16-19). The plea was made according to
God’s righteousness (verse 16). The words thine anger refers to the flaring of
the nostrils and rapid breathing that accompanies passion and anger. Thy fury
means to be hot with displeasure and indignation. This was God’s response
to the unfaithfulness of Israel and Judah who had aroused the heat of His
judgment when they disobeyed and served other gods (Deut. 9:19; Jer. 42:18).
Once God’s fury is aroused, His righteousness and justice must be satisfied.
Daniel’s prayer was a plea for Jerusalem and Zion to be restored for they were
now a “reproach” (an effrontery, a disgrace, a shame) to all (Dan. 9:16). It was
a plea for the Lord’s “sanctuary” (Temple) to be restored (verse 17). Daniel
pleaded as the Lord’s servant to once again “cause thy face to shine upon thy
sanctuary” (verse 17). Because of Judah’s sin, God’s glory had left both the
“sanctuary” (the consecrated holy place), and the “city” (Jerusalem) (Ezek.
10:4, 18, 19). Without the shining of God’s glory all remained desolate. The
Temple, no matter how elaborate, remained but an empty shell. This is true of
a local church and the individual believer. If His presence is not there, we are
nothing (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 6:19, 20; Eph. 2:19-22). It was an impassioned plea.
Daniel pleaded for God’s mercies to intervene on behalf of His people, city and
sanctuary. Note how Daniel pleaded for the Lord’s attention in this matter.
“Incline [stretch out or spread out] thine ear, and hear [discern, perceive,
understand]; open thine eyes [be observant], and behold [consider, take heed]
our desolation, . . . O Lord, forgive [pardon, spare]; O Lord, hearken [mark
well, regard] and do [accomplish, act]; defer not [do not procrastinate, delay,
tarry]” (Dan. 9:18, 19). It was an unselfish plea. Thirteen times in four verses
Daniel reflected upon who God is and what rightfully belongs to Him: Thy
righteousness . . . Thy fury . . . Thy city (three times) . . . Thy holy mountain . . .
Thy people (twice) . . . Thy servant . . . Thy face to shine . . . Thy sanctuary . . .
Thy name . . . Thy great mercies. Daniel did not ask for himself but “for Thine
own sake” (verse 19).
THE MESSENGER GABRIEL
Daniel’s experience here teaches us that when a child of God prays in
accordance with the Word, the answer is already on the way (Dan. 9:20, 21, 23).
Gabriel’s words to Daniel are a source of comfort to every faithful, praying child
of God. “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth”
(verse 23). It was while Daniel was still praying that Gabriel came with the
80 / Daniel 9
answer. The Lord hears the prayer of
the righteous worshiper of God (Prov.
Presenting My Supplication: two words
15:29; John 9:31); the answer comes
constitute the phrase. The first means “to
while the person is still speaking.
fall or throw down something so as to
present it openly in a humble fashion.” It
We can rest assured that God both
is to lay it down in front of another for a
hears and answers our prayers (Isa.
presentation. The second means “to seek
65:24; 1 John 5:14, 15).
the favor, mercy or help of a superior
The man, Gabriel, (Dan. 9:21), is
person.” The two together portray a
same as in Daniel 8:16. Angels
prayer for mercy from God. Word Studies
are ministering spirits doing God’s
#5307 and #2603 and #8467.
will. They are the ambassadors
and couriers of Heaven (Heb. 1:13,
14). They can move swiftly like a bolt of lightning (Ezek. 1:14). Gabriel was
dispatched from before God’s throne and caused or made to fly swiftly to bring
Daniel the needed spiritual insight. Let us remember that the answer to our
prayers is conditioned by God’s will and timetable. He is Omniscient and
Omnipotent; therefore, He knows what is best, when the best time is, where
the best place is, and how to deliver. The angels are to us what God desires
them to be. They are bound by His will (Psalm 103:21). Gabriel touched (put
his hand on) Daniel at the time of the evening oblation which was around 3:00
The reason Gabriel came was to give skill and understanding to Daniel
(Dan. 9:22, 23). Gabriel informed Daniel of God’s plan. Nothing was left to
chance or guesswork. Daniel was guided by God’s messenger. Gabriel informed
this great warrior of the Lord that he was “greatly loved” (verse 23) by the
host of Heaven. Daniel was given spiritual and mental insight concerning the
things God showed him. God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that
we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). The revelation was all that Daniel asked for and
THE REVELATION GIVEN
An important period of time was
outlined for Daniel. “Seventy weeks are
Make Reconciliation: the primary
determined [cut out or decreed] upon thy
meaning is “to cover.” Historically,
people and upon thy city” (verse 24). God
the meaning began with the covering
of wood with bitumen resin so as
used the term weeks (literally meaning
to preserve it. It is to remove that
sevens) to represent a set period of years.
which is weak from that which
Daniel and the Jews were familiar with
would endanger it. The meaning
this concept. The seventh day was a
was then applied to the covering of
Sabbath (Ex. 20:8-11). The seventh year
transgression. The weakness of sin is
endangered by the judgment of God.
was Sabbath (Lev. 25:3-7). After a period
A covering for sin would make it
of seven Sabbath years the fiftieth year
no longer subject to condemnation
was the year of jubilee (Lev. 25:8-13).
and, therefore, remove the cause of
Two examples of days and weeks used
division, allowing for a reuniting or
for years are Jacob’s contract with
reconciliation. Word Study #3722.
Laban to work for Rachel (Gen. 29:26,
The Time of Christ’s Coming / 81
27) and Israel’s wandering in the
wilderness (Num. 14:34). Daniel’s
seventy weeks speak of a period
Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9:24): The prophet
of four hundred ninety years in
Daniel was given understanding from
which God would deal specifically
the Lord through Gabriel concerning
the consummation of Jehovah’s national
with the Jews and Jerusalem.
and spiritual purpose for the people
Six important things are to be
of Israel. Seventy prophetic weeks, or
accomplished during this time
seventy sevens, refer to seven year units
(Dan. 9:24). (1) “To finish [to stay,
of time called heptads. Each prophetic
shut up, forbid] the transgression
week consists of a seven year period of
[moral and religious rebellion].”
time. So, seventy weeks of seven years
This was a national rebellion
each culminate in a total of four hundred
(Isa. 59:12, 13). Only the Messiah
ninety years. The Hebrew word translated
could stay their transgressions
weeks is the word shavuim and literally
means “units of seven,” whether they are
(Isa. 53:5). At His coming He
days or years. In the current context, the
will redeem Israel from all their
word refers to units of seven years. The
transgressions (Isa. 59:20; Zech.
statements in Daniel 9:24-27 are the most
13:1); (2) “To make an end of
detailed and vivid description of the time
[to close up, to seal, mark, stop]
elements for end-time events, especially as
sins [the habitual offences and
they related to God’s purpose for His Old
sinfulness].” The Messiah will put
Testament covenant people.
a new heart in redeemed Israel
(Ezek. 36:26, 27). Their habitual idolatry will be cleansed and taken away (Ezek.
37:23). The Lord will take away their sin (Isa. 27:9); (3) “To make reconciliation
[pardon, propitiation, atonement, cleansing] for iniquity [perversity and moral
evil].” This means the Lord will blot it out by means of an offering. All iniquities
have been laid on Christ, theirs, as well as ours (Isa. 53:6). The Messiah will
remove their iniquity (Jer. 50:20); (4) “To bring in everlasting righteousness.”
Transgression, sin and iniquity will have run their course. Jesus will come the
second time without sin (Heb. 9:28). When the Messiah comes He will make a
New Covenant with Israel and remember their sins no more (Jer. 31:31-34). The
kingdom of Christ will be one of righteousness (Psalm 96:13; Jer. 23:6); (5) “To
seal up [to close up, stop] the vision and prophecy.” Jesus is the fulfillment of all
the Old Testament references to the Messiah (Luke 24:44). Christ accomplished
each one to every jot and tittle (Matt. 5:18); (6) “To anoint the most Holy.” We
catch a marvelous glimpse of this during Christ’s first coming (Matt. 3:16, 17;
Luke 4:18; John 1:41; Acts 10:38). At His second coming He will be crowned
King of kings and Lord of lords. Every knee shall bow before Him and every
crown will be placed at His feet (Rev. 4:10, 11; 15:3; 17:14; 19:16).
Next, Gabriel explained about the first of seven weeks of the seventy or a
period of forty-nine years (Dan. 9:24, 25). The beginning of the seventy weeks
was marked by “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem . . . the
street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times” (verse 25).
This best fits the time of Nehemiah and the decree of Artaxerxes during the
twentieth year of his reign. This decree was given during the month Nisan 445
BC (Neh. 2:1). The first day of the month that year would have fallen on March
82 / Daniel 9
14 according to our present
calendar. The first seven
weeks or forty-nine years
Command to Build Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25):
marked the completion of
There are four commands in the Scriptures with
the rebuilding of Jerusalem
respect to the restoration of the people of Israel
as well as the end of the
to their land and the city of Jerusalem. The first
Old Testament canon with
took place in 536 BC during the first year of the
the book of Malachi in the
reign of Cyrus the Great of Persia. That decree
year 396 BC.
was specifically for the purpose of rebuilding
Next, Gabriel explained
the Temple. The second edict came from King
a period of sixty-two weeks
Darius the Mede and was a reconfirmation of the
previous decree of Cyrus. The third command
or four hundred thirtywas issued by King Artaxerxes I during the sixth
four years (Dan. 9:25, 26).
year of his reign, and referred to the resumption
Adding this number to the
of Temple services in Jerusalem (Ezra 7). There
previous seven weeks we
was a fourth decree issued by King Artaxerxes I
have a total of sixty-nine
during the twentieth year of his reign, found in
weeks or four hundred
the second chapter of the book of Nehemiah. The
eighty-three years. At the
king gave expressed instructions to Nehemiah,
conclusion of this four
his cupbearer, with the authority to rebuild the
hundred eighty-three years
city, its walls, the streets and the fortresses of the
city. The specific instructions included in that
the Messiah would be
decree fulfills the prophecy of Daniel 9:25.
cut off. The Hebrew word
karath had to do with
slaughtering or cutting up
an animal and placing it on
an altar for sacrifice. This
The People of the Prince that Shall Come
is speaking of the type of
(Daniel 9:26): After the completion of the first
death the Messiah would
sixty-nine heptads or prophetic weeks, which
suffer. Daniel was given
ended with the cutting off of the Messiah (the
the time of the Messiah’s
crucifixion of Christ), there was a time-separation
until the seventieth heptad known as the time
When using weeks to
of the Gentiles. Approximately forty years after
represent prophetical years
the death of Christ, Roman armies, under the
the inspired Scriptures use
leadership of Titus, completely destroyed the city
the Jewish reckoning of
of Jerusalem, along with the Temple. The siege
of Titus’ armies took place in AD 70. The Temple
three hundred sixty days
still lies in ruins today with only the western
per year (Rev. 11:1-3; 12:6;
wall, known as “the wailing wall,” the only
13:5). The forty-two months
visible structure left. According to the Hebrew
is the same as three and
text, the definite article is not present before the
one-half years or the same
word translated prince. The lack of the article
as 1,260 days; which would
makes it less confusing.
make three hundred sixty
days to the year. Daniel
spoke of this period as being time, times and a half (Dan. 7:25; 12:7). Therefore,
Daniel’s vision of four hundred eighty-three years speaks of a time period equal
to 483 years times 360 days for a total of 173,880 days. Using Artaxerxes’ decree
The Time of Christ’s Coming / 83
as the starting point, Nisan 1, or
March 14, 445 BC 173,880 days
Messiah: the word is in context as a proper
will bring us to Wednesday, Nisan
name. It refers to an anointing of something
14 or April 9, AD 32 the day of the
or someone so as to consecrate the same
for a purpose. The action designates a choice
by another, and the purpose, therefore, is
The final week of this revelation
set by another. The name is a designation of
will be a period of seven years
the Anointed One whom God has promised
at the end of the Gentile and
and chosen. It is a reference to Jesus Christ.
church age that will usher in the
Word Studies #4899 and #4886.
millennial reign of the Messiah
(Dan. 9:27). This final week looks
ahead to the time of the anti-Christ: “The prince that shall come” (verse 26).
He will be discussed more fully in chapter 11. Daniel tells us this “prince” (aka
anti-Christ and man of sin) will confirm a covenant with the still unbelieving
Jews for one week or seven years. In the middle of the week, after three and
one-half years, he will break the covenant and stop all sacrifices. Jesus spoke
of these days as did Paul and John (Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 11:1, 2; 13:4,
5). God’s Word is precise in every detail. Christ was cut off, crucified, not for
Himself, but for the sin of the world. Such marvelous and exact prophecies
cannot be denied. They were given by an all-knowing God who is also merciful
and is desirous to save all those who will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE TIME OF CHRIST’S COMING
Christ will gather Israel back to the land of promise. He will stand that day
on the Mount of Olives and appear to them. They will mourn as they look upon
the One they pierced, and this great meeting will bring about their conversion
and usher in the millennial reign of Christ.
What a great and glorious hope this is for the New Testament believer. Paul
devoted three chapters in the book of Romans to the calling and keeping of the
nation of Israel. Romans 11:26 states, “And so all Israel shall be saved.” This
speaks of a glorious era for the children of Israel. Neither they nor we are saved
because we deserve it. Forgiveness of sin does not come on the basis of personal
merit. It is the grace and mercy of God that has been given through His Son,
Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible. Jesus is coming soon, ready or not.
Are you ready for that great day to come?
For Sunday, January 31, 2010
The Terrors of the Tribulation
Daniel 11; 12
Chapter 11 gives us a view of history from the time of Cyrus in Daniel’s
day until the millennial kingdom is established by Jesus Christ. Verse 1 of
this chapter belongs with the last verse of chapter 10. Apparently Gabriel
and Michael had worked together on some other matter during the first
year of Darius the Mede. Since Michael was Israel’s prince, this matter
likely concerned the Jewish people. The struggle is not named, but the
timing was right for the decree to allow the Jews to return to Judah and
Daniel was foretold and recorded the future of Persia, Greece, the wars
that would take place between the Ptolemies who ruled in Egypt, and the
Seleucids who ruled in Syria, the infamous rule of Antiochus Epiphanes
and the coming of the anti-Christ.
Daniel chapter 11 in clear detail shows how biblical prophecy foretells
history before it happens. The unfolding of history as it was foretold by the
prophet is verification that his calling was from God (Deut. 18:19-22). So
accurate was Daniel’s prophecy that the critics were in great distress as
they tried to prove it a fraud. The book bearing the name Daniel belongs
to him of whom Ezekiel spoke, a man of his own generation and time, and
not some second century pseudo-Daniel (Ezek. 14:14, 20; 28:3). This is
the man that Jesus recognized as a prophet and proclaimed his prophecy
would yet come to pass.
Although the first thirty-five verses of this chapter are now history,
the entire chapter was prophetic when Daniel was given the vision and
wrote it down. Here are listed key historical events that lead up to the end
times, the coming of the anti-Christ and ultimately the coming of Messiah.
The historical fulfillment of verses 2-35 stand as verification that the rest
will come to pass exactly as Daniel wrote it down. Only a supernatural
revelation can account for what is recorded in this chapter of Daniel (2
Peter 1:20, 21).
The context of “at that time” (Dan. 12:1) refers to what was spoken of
in Daniel 11:37-45. The subject is still concerned with the anti-Christ and
his program in the end time. These visions were directed to Daniel and
they concerned his people, the Jews, and his city, Jerusalem (Dan. 9:16, 24;
10:14; 12:1). “Thy people” are not the Gentiles nor are they the church as
The Terrors of the Tribulation / 85
some try to interpret this passage. Neither has all of this passage yet been
fulfilled. The speaker clearly declared that what he revealed to Daniel would
not be fulfilled until the time of the end.
Daniel’s prophecies began what is known as the time of the Gentiles and
it will end with the coming of the Messiah and the setting up of the His
millennial kingdom. Jesus spoke of this time period, which has now stretched
over the last 2,604 years, and foretold how “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of
the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). During
the Six Day War in June, 1967, Israel regained control of the old wall city of
Jerusalem for the first time in 1,895 years.
Each vision or prophecy in Daniel overlapped the previous one, then it gave
new information and each would reach the same climax. Chapter 2 introduced
the great Gentile world powers: Babylon (the head of gold); Medo-Persian (the
breast and arms of silver); Greece (the abdomen and thighs of brass); Rome
(the legs of iron with the feet mingled with clay) and this concluded with a
stone cut without hands which destroyed all other kingdoms and filled the
earth. Chapter 7 referred back to Chapter 2 by introducing the same kingdoms,
but this time under the guise of beasts. Babylon, the head of gold, was pictured
as a lion. Medo-Persia, the silver, was pictured as a bear. Greece, the brass,
was pictured as a leopard with wings. Rome, the iron, was pictured as an
indescribable beast. This also concluded with all the kingdoms being given
to the Christ. Chapter 8 referred to the infamous ruler of Seleucid Greeks,
Antiochus IV Epiphanes. It introduced him has a forerunner of the anti-Christ,
and concluded with his being broken by the Prince of princes, Jesus Christ.
Chapter 9 referred to Babylon and the fact that the seventy year captivity
was finished. It introduced the time of the Messiah’s sacrifice, the judgment
of the anti-Christ and the second coming of Christ. Chapter 11 referred to
Persia and Greece, Antiochus, and the anti-Christ, who was brought to their
end. Chapter 12 continued the vision introduced in chapter 10. It spoke of the
Great Tribulation, the resurrections and the final glory of God’s children. As
you read and study this portion of Daniel, keep in mind that there is no break
in the vision from chapters 10 to 12. This serves as a conclusion to Daniel’s
book and life. May we glean those things that would help us to be faithful to
the Lord like Daniel.
THE TRUTH ABOUT PERSIA
Daniel 11:1, 2
At the time of Daniel’s prophecy, Cyrus (550-530 BC) was king of the Persian
empire (Dan. 10:1). After Cyrus there were to be three more kings. Cambyses
ruled from 530 to 522 BC and was called Ahasuerus in Ezra 4:6. Ahasuerus
was not a name but a title, like king or Pharaoh. He invaded and conquered
Egypt. Pseudo-Smerdis ruled for just a few months in 521 BC and was called
Artaxerxes in Ezra 4:7-23. Artaxerxes was also a title given to Persian rulers.
His real name was Gaumata. He usurped the throne by pretending to be
Cambyses’ murdered brother, Smerdis Bardiya. Hystaspes ruled from 521 to
486 BC and was called Darius in Ezra 4:5, 24. He reorganized and enlarged
the empire. He had the Suez Canal redug. He allowed Joshua and Zerubbabel
86 / Daniel 11; 12
to continue their work on the Temple in Jerusalem. In secular history he is
remembered for his defeat at Marathon by the Greeks in 490 BC.
A fourth king, rich and powerful, was to stir up the Greeks. This king was
called Xerxes by the Greeks and he ruled from 486 to 465 BC. (The title Xerxes
is the Greek transliteration of the Persian, Ahasuerus). This was Esther’s king
(Esther 1:1). He enlarged Persia to its greatest area with 120 provinces. He put
together the largest and greatest army and navy the world had ever seen by
gathering and training 2,641,000 men. He stirred up Greece by invading the
isles and mainland in 483 BC. He defeated the Spartans at Thermopylae, but
his army and navy were soundly defeated at Salamis in the Saronic Gulf just
east of Athens. He was finally assassinated by his own armor bearer.
GREECE AND PTOLEMY AND SELEUCUS
The remaining Persian kings are not mentioned by Daniel. With the death
by assassination of Ahasuerus, the empire began to wane. Daniel jumped one
hundred thirty-nine years to the time of Alexander the Great (336-323 BC),
who was “a mighty king” (Daniel 11:3). Alexander defeated the Persian empire.
The exploits of the “mighty king,” also called “an he goat” and represented by
the leopard with wings, were clearly outlined by Daniel (Dan. 7:6; 8:5-7).
When Alexander died, his four generals—Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy,
and Seleucus—divided up the empire (Dan. 7:6; 8:8; 11:4). Alexander’s two sons,
Alexander IV and Herakles, were both murdered. Thus none of “his posterity”
(Dan. 11:4) inherited any of the empire.
Although the Greek empire was divided into four parts, Daniel only
discussed the Ptolemies and the Seleucids. The land of Israel is between Egypt
and Syria and often became the battleground for the ensuing conflicts. The
first two Ptolemy kings were wise and good kings.
The first king of the south was Ptolemy I Soter, also called Lagi (323-285
BC) (Dan. 11:5). The Seleucid king, or king of the north, during this time was
Seleucus I Nicator (312-280 BC). According to Jewish historian, Josephus
(Ant. XII.I.I), Ptolemy took Jerusalem in 312 BC on a Sabbath day without
any trouble. He gave the Jews equal privileges of citizenship. He put many of
them in the garrisons of his military. His favorable treatment caused many
Jews to migrate and settle in Egypt. There was a large Jewish population in
Alexandria during this time. This marked the beginning of a bitter and long
struggle between the descendants of Ptolemy and Seleucus.
For a brief time an alliance was formed between the Ptolemies and the
Seleucids (Dan. 11:6). The Ptolemaic king at this time was Ptolemy II
Philadelphus (285-246 BC). The Seleucid king was Antiochus II Theos (261246 BC). The treaty came in the year 250 BC, Philadelphus’ daughter, Bernice,
was married to Theos. Philadelphus established a museum and a library at
Alexandria. The royal librarian, Demetrius, secured the help of seventy Jewish
scholars which he brought to Alexandria to translate the Hebrew Scriptures
into Greek. This work is called the Septuagint (Josephus, Ant. XII.II.I). The
majority of Old Testament quotations in the New Testament are directly from
The Terrors of the Tribulation / 87
Before Theos could marry Bernice he had to divorce his wife, Laodice. She
waited for her chance and killed both Bernice and Theos at Antioch (Dan. 11:6).
With the Seleucid throne empty, she crowned her son, Seleucus II Kallinikos as
the next king (246-226 BC). Bernice’s brother, Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-221
BC), sought revenge. Euergetes was able to pillage Antioch, Babylon and Susa
and carry large treasures back to Egypt (Daniel 11:7-9).
Kallinikos’ son, Seleucus III Ceraunus, attempted a revolt against Egypt
(Dan. 11:10-12). He had a short reign of about two to three years (226-223 BC),
and he was assassinated while on a campaign in Asia Minor.
Antiochus III the Great (223-187 BC) and Ptolemy Philopater (225-205
BC) continued the one hundred thirty-year-old war (Dan. 11:13-19). Antiochus
marched through the “glorious land” (Israel), and took many cities and treasures
(verses 13-16). Israel felt the pressure between these two ruthless warriors
(verse 16). Antiochus was defeated at Raphia, just south of Gaza.
Ptolemy V Epiphanes (205-182 BC) was only five when his father died.
Antiochus was so determined to rule that he offered his daughter, Cleopatra,
to be given in marriage to the infant king; the marriage took place in 193
BC. Antiochus thought he could gain control through her but “she shall not
stand on his side” (verse 17). In 187 BC, he hoped to replenish his treasury
by looting the Armenian’s temple, but, instead, he and his soldiers were killed
Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175 BC) found the empire in heavy debt to
Rome, so he raised taxes (verse 20). He was destroyed “neither in anger, nor in
battle” (verse 20); he was poisoned by his tax collector, Heliodorus. All of this
prophetical and historical information was given to introduce the reader to the
most ruthless rulers the Jews and the world would ever see. Step-by-step and
year-by-year the prophecies came to pass. Thus, the reader should have no
reason to doubt that all the rest will come to pass as recorded.
THE EVIL ANTIOCHUS IV
Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 BC) was the eighth Seleucid king. Daniel
called him “a vile person” (verse 21). He serves as a picture of the anti-Christ
who will arise in the last days. Antiochus was a great flatterer (political smooth
talker). The people were deceived with his talk of peace (verse 21). It did not
take Antiochus long to show his true nature (verse 22). He broke treaty after
treaty, told lie upon lie, and with a small army he took the best places (verses
23, 24). He sought to destroy the king of the south (verses 25-27).
With the death of Ptolemy VI (173 BC) war broke out. Ptolemy Philometor
was taken prisoner. Antiochus had himself crowned king of Egypt (171-165
BC). While in Egypt, he heard of problems in Jerusalem. When he returned to
Jerusalem, he plundered it and desecrated the Temple (verse 28). The prince of
the covenant was likely Onias III. Onias was the Jewish high priest at the time.
His brother, Jason, was the leader of the Hellenistic Jews. Antiochus made a
league with Jason. As a result, Onias was exiled and Jason was made high
priest. The worship of Zeus was introduced. Circumcision and daily sacrifices
were against the law. The Temple was pillaged of its treasures. The abomination
88 / Daniel 11; 12
of desolation occurred
when a sow was
offered on the altar
The Time of the End (Daniel 11:35): Many theologians
and Antiochus set
simply regard the prophecy as depicting the rise (and
his throne up in the
fall) of Antiochus Epiphanes as a figure of history.
Temple (verses 29During the second century BC, the Jews were engaged
in a battle with the Seleucid empire under the rule of
32). Thousands were
Antiochus. The Jews were led by Judas Maccabeus.
killed for their refusal
One of the shrewd ways Antiochus succeeded was to
to bow to him.
deceptively negotiate with his enemies, such as the
During this time,
Ptolemic kings of Egypt to accomplish his evil ends.
were true beBut, if the narrative of Daniel’s prophecy only dealt
lievers who rose up
with those historical events which took place only
about three and a half centuries after it was written,
then, the supremacy the prophecy gives to the kingdom
(verse 32). This peof Antiochus Epiphanes seems illogical. Antiochus
riod of history gave
Epiphanes served as a figure or type of one who was
rise to the Maccabees.
to come later, at the actual time of the end. He was
Judas, called Maca shadow of a greater worldwide leader who will
cabeus (hammer), led
emerge. The anti-Christ is the antitype of Antiochus.
the faithful to break
The prophetic message of Daniel has both a historical
the Syrian yoke. The
context, as well as an eschatological (end-time) context.
The influence and evil deception of the anti-Christ
Temple was redediwill be of such magnitude that the similar patterns of
cated on December
Antiochus’ behavior could only be a glimpse of what
14, 164 BC. Antiochus
would take place in the actual time of the end.
died the following
year in Persia. During those dark hours God had faithful ones who acted as instructors (verses
THE COMING OF THE ANTI-CHRIST
The last two lines of verse 35 introduce the reader to a long time interval
we know as the church age. These verses transcend the time of Antiochus and
bring us to the last days leading up to the coming of Christ. Thus far, 2,162
years have fallen between verses 35 and 36.
Though there are many similarities between Antiochus and the antiChrist, it is clear that Antiochus is no longer the subject beginning in verse
36. Antiochus did not exalt himself above every god (verses 36, 37). He did not
reject the gods of his fathers (verse 37), nor did he worship a god unknown by his
fathers (verse 38). He worshipped Zeus whose statue he placed in the Temple
in Jerusalem. Context attests that the ruler spoken of here will come in the
“time of the end” (verse 40). This blasphemous ruler was already introduced by
Daniel (Dan. 7:8, 20-22, 24-26). Daniel wanted his readers to be able to readily
recognize this ignoble prince of darkness.
Daniel was told the character of the anti-Christ (Dan. 11:36-39). He will
be arrogant and “do according to his will” (Dan. 8:4). He will be the greatest
blasphemer of all time (Dan. 7:20, 25; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:6). He will prosper
for a time until the time of “indignation [wrath] be accomplished.” God’s wrath
The Terrors of the Tribulation / 89
will be poured out upon the sinful world in the last days (Rev. 14:10, 19; 15:1,
7; 16:1). “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers” (Dan. 11:37) implies
that the anti-Christ will spring up out of Israel. Israel is looking within itself
for the Messiah. A non-Jew would not be accepted as Messiah. The anti-Christ
will thus come as an apostate, atheistic Jew. God is the Hebrew word elohiym.
This is the same word used in Genesis 1:1. “The desire of women” (Dan. 11:37)
may be read, “the one desired by women” or “that desired by women.” Since
the fall of Adam and Eve, and the promise
of Genesis 3:15, it has been the desire of
Make Away: the wording means
“to seclude or devote something
every Jewish woman to be the mother of
for a purpose.” Sometimes the
purpose was religious good and
The anti-Christ hates God and His
other times evil. The text speaks of
Son (1 John 2:22, 23). He will espouse no
the evil purpose of the anti-Christ
religion; his god will be that of force (Dan.
to “make away” (Dan. 11:44) or
devote many to destruction. Word
11:37-39). By force he will rule over many
(Rev. 13:11-18). He will be a man of war
(Dan. 11:40-45). This great conflict will
take place at “the time of the end” (verse 40). He will invade Israel “the glorious
land” (verse 41). Modern Jordan will be spared but not Egypt, Libya or Ethiopia
(verses 41-43). The greatest battle the world has ever witnessed was foretold.
“He shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many
[ban, curse, destroy many]” (verse 44). This has reference to his final attack
upon Jerusalem and the Jews.
His palace shall be between
the Mediterranean Sea and the
Dead Sea upon the beautiful
At That Time (Daniel 12:1): Since the chapter
mountain which is Mount Zion
and verse divisions of the Bible did not occur
in Jerusalem. He will use the
until the sixteenth century when the Parisian
publisher Robert Estienne (known to many
Temple in Jerusalem as his
as Stephanus) provided them, the prophecy
headquarters (Matt 24:15; 2
of Daniel is actually a running narrative. The
Thess. 2:4). This battle will
complete context of the last vision of prophecy
be fought at Megiddo in Israel
by the prophet is found in chapters 10—12. The
(Dan. 11:44, 45; Ezek. 39:1-29;
statement at that time refers to the statements
which immediately precede it. And the context
Joel 3:1-16; Zech 12:2-9; 14:1-9;
of Daniel 11 describes a time of trouble,
Rev. 16:12-16). The anti-Christ
darkness, the appearance of the anti-Christ and
“shall come to his end, and none
the Battle of Armageddon. Though Michael the
shall help him” (Dan. 11:45).
archangel is described as one who stands up
The unholy trinity shall fall—
for the people of God as their protector, such
does not mean that God’s covenant people
Satan, the beast, and the false
will be spared the calamities of the vicious
prophet (Rev. 19:20; 20:10).
schemes of anti-Christ. Because the buildup
This will be cause for great
to the final conflict will only be won by divine
rejoicing among the people of
intervention, Michael will serve as an aide of
God. Satan will be brought
strength for God’s people in anticipation of that
down to the pit (Isa. 14:15-17).
Israel shall be saved by the
90 / Daniel 11; 12
Lord. This battle has raged through the centuries, but praise the Lord, we
know who wins the war.
“And at that time” (Dan. 12:1) refers to “the time of the end” (Dan. 11:35)
which was introduced by Gabriel (Dan. 11:35). The word time is mentioned
four times in this one verse. This repetition served to assure Daniel, and his
readers, that the subject was still “the time of the end” (verse 40). “At that
time” is indicative of the specific point in the world’s history when the antiChrist will come to power as foretold (verses 36-45).
This period overlaps
and returns to the seventy
weeks spoken of earlier
(Dan. 9:27). This section of
The Time of Trouble (Daniel 12:1): Over the
Daniel’s book is concerned
course of history, the people of God, whether the
nation of Israel or the New Testament churches of
with the last week, or seven
Christ, have faced times of incredible persecution
years, of the seventy year
and opposition. Chronicling the various histories
period that is to come upon
show that there have been unspeakable things
the Jews and Jerusalem.
done to the people of God. However, as severe as
This seven year period
those trials have been, they will not compare to
is called the Tribulation
the time of trouble which will occur at the end of
this age. And since the prophecy describes events
Period. The word tribulation
which will take place during the seventieth
is used twenty-two times
prophetic week (seven years), we know that such
in Bible. In the three Old
is described by the prophet Jeremiah as a time
Testament references, it is
of Jacob’s trouble, namely, the final period for
a form of the Hebrew word
the redemption of the remnant of the Hebrew
tsar which means “a tight
nation. The entire course of prophetic Scripture is
moving toward the same revelation that history
place, trouble, adversity,
will be consummated in a time of indescribable
or distress.” It is found
and unbelievable turmoil and conflict. The world
nineteen times in the New
is not gradually entering a time of peace and
Testament and is some form
quiet but a time of unparalleled conflict and
of the Greek word thlipisis
meaning “pressure, affliction,
burden or persecution.”
This period is also referred to by several other names and descriptive terms
in the Bible. It is called “the abomination of desolation” by Jesus (Matt. 24:15).
The Lord told Jeremiah it would be “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7). Isaiah, when speaking of the end times and the resurrection, referred to this time
as “the indignation” (Isa. 26:20). Gabriel called it “The time of trouble” (Dan.
12:1). The word for trouble is from the Hebrew root tsar.
The seven years of the Tribulation Period are divided into two equal periods
of three and one-half years (Dan. 9:27; Rev. 11:3; 12:6). The last half is called
the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21: Rev. 7:14). This abominable time was
described to the prophet Zephaniah (Zeph. 1:12-18). The full details of this time
are recorded in the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev. 6—19).
The Terrors of the Tribulation / 91
The Tribulation will be
a time of judgment upon
apostate Israel and the
Found Written in the Book (Daniel 12:1): The
nations that have forgotten
book of life, as described a number of times in
God. During this time, Israel
the New Testament, especially in the book of
will pass under the rod of God
Revelation, is not a concept unique to the New
(Ezek. 20:34-38). Michael,
Testament economy. The term is first found
whom God has chosen to be
in Exodus 32:33, as the term described those
of Israel in the wilderness who had remained
Israel’s prince (chief captain,
in covenant relationship with the Lord. In the
general), will stand up in
latter days, the book of life will refer to those
Israel’s defense during that
of the remnant of Israel who turn in salvation
time (Dan. 10:21; 12:1; Rev.
to their Messiah. Anyone who has a righteous
standing with God through faith in Christ will
The end will come with
have their names recorded in the book of life.
great blessings for those who
At the time of the end, there will be a number
of Jews, 144,000 in all, who will see who the
know the Lord. It will be a day
anti-Christ really is, turn from him and turn to
of deliverance for everyone
the Messiah whom the people of Israel rejected
who shall be found written
for so long. The remnant of the nation will be
in the book. This is likely the
saved, thus ensuring that their names will be
book of the living spoken of by
found in the book of life.
David (Psalm 69:28). In the
New Testament it is called
the book of life (Phil. 4:3; Rev. 20:15; 21:27). In that day Israel will look upon
the pierced One, Jesus Christ, and mourn for Him (Zech. 12:8-10). Jerusalem
will become the center of worship worldwide (Zech. 14:16). The Lord’s throne
will be on Mount Zion (Isa. 24:23; Micah 4:7).
Daniel 12:2, 3
There are several types of resurrections mentioned in the Scripture. First,
there is a spiritual resurrection. This
takes place when the soul, dead in
Turn Many to Righteousness: the root
trespasses and sin, is quickened
meaning is “to be right or just in the eyes
(brought to life) by the Word of God
of the judge.” By the laws of the right, one
and the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:1, 5).
is judged to be equitable or of value. The
This is a new birth and new life
word in the text also presents the idea
that is wrought by the power of
of causing the condition of righteousness
so that many are caused to become
Christ’s resurrection (1 Cor. 15:22).
righteous, hence a force, strong but not
Because Jesus lives, those who have
irresistible, is applied to turn many to
experienced this new birth will live
righteousness. Word Study #6663.
also (John 14:19). There will be a
national resurrection of Israel (Jer.
16:14, 15; Ezek. 39:1-7). This was first glimpsed on May 16, 1948 when the star
of David was raised over the city of Jerusalem. This awaits consummation at
the coming of Christ. There will be a physical resurrection of the dead from
the grave. Both the just and unjust shall arise (John 5:28, 29). Although no
92 / Daniel 11; 12
Resurrection to Life and Contempt (Daniel
12:2): The revelation of Scripture is an
unfolding one. To examine Daniel’s prophecy
at face value, one gets the impression that there
will be a general resurrection, namely that all
people, saved and lost, will be raised together.
Understanding Daniel’s prophecy requires
that the book of Revelation be used as a means
of properly interpreting the prophecy. Since
Daniel’s prophecy gives general information
regarding the resurrection in the last days
but does not give the specific chronology, we
find the unfolding of those necessary details
in the Revelation. The resurrection which will
take place will have two essential divisions.
The first refers to the raising of the redeemed,
occurring at some time before the completion
of the seventieth week of Daniel. But as the
details of the book of Revelation further
unfold, there is a one thousand year separation
between the time of the resurrection of the
redeemed and the resurrection of the lost. The
saved will be raised to the glories of Heaven,
the lost to the destruction of the second death
and the lake of fire. The account of Daniel is in
harmony with the account of the Revelation.
time element is mentioned
in Daniel, the resurrection
of life and the resurrection
of contempt are separated
by the one thousand year
reign of Christ.
There will be a resurrection for the just/saved (Luke
14:14). Only those who have
had a spiritual resurrection
in this life will be a part of
this resurrection. It is also
called “resurrection of life”
(John 5:29); the “better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35); the
“first resurrection” (Rev.
20:6). The fact that there
is a first necessitates that
there will be a second. Otherwise, it would be the only
There will be a resurrec
tion for the unjust/lost (Acts
24:15). It will occur after
the thousand year reign of
Christ (Rev. 20:4, 5). It is
also called the “resurrection of damnation” (John
5:29) and “the second death” (Rev. 20:14).
“They that be wise” is from the Hebrew sakal meaning “an expert instructor,
skillful teacher, or a wise guide.” During the millennial age, these will be
honored for they will “shine as the brightness of the firmament . . . as the stars
for ever and ever” (Dan. 12:3). Jesus, perhaps, had this passage in mind when
He spoke of the righteous shining as the sun (Matt. 13:43).
THE MESSAGE PRESERVED
Gabriel told Daniel to seal the book. This meant to affix or set the signet
which would authenticate the document. Such was done for letters (1 Kings
21:8), a king’s decree (Dan. 6:17, 18), the purchase of land (Jer. 32:10-12) and
on books and documents as it was here. Setting the signet designated that
which is secure being under the seal (Dan. 12:9). The book was to be secured
and authenticated even to “the time of the end” (verse 9). This book, though
viciously attacked by critics, has stood the test of time. Jesus, New Testament
writers and the archeologist’s spade have all agreed to its authenticity. God’s
Word will not fail (1 Peter 1:23).
The Terrors of the Tribulation / 93
At the time of the end there will be a hunger to know this book. Paraphrasing
this verse we may read it as follows: Many shall persist in study and information/
knowledge shall increase; or Many shall search/examine it (turning every page)
from end to end and their understanding will increase. The book of Daniel is
better understood today than at any other time in history.
Daniel was once again visited by heavenly guests (Dan. 12:5). The location
was at the River Hiddekel (Dan. 10:4). The two angels are not identified. The
man clothed in linen was the preincarnate Christ (verse 5) who was standing
above the water.
A conversation took place between Christ and the angels (Dan. 12:6, 7).
Even the angels of Heaven desire to look into and know these things (1 Peter
1:12). The question, “How long?” referred to how long these things will continue
once they begin to happen. Christ gave the answer by taking an oath before
and by the authority of God. There was to be no doubt about the answer. The
raising of the hands to take an oath was a common practice among the Jews
(Gen. 24:41; Deut. 32:39, 40). Once an oath was made it was not broken (Num.
30:2). As He had done with Abraham, God once again covenanted together with
the angel and Daniel (Heb. 6:13-20). Christ gave the answer as time, times,
and an half or three and one-half years. This is the same period of time spoken
of in the earlier vision (Dan. 7:25). This also agrees with the forty-two months
of the anti-Christ’s rampage (Rev. 12:14; 13:5).
Daniel did not understand but was again told to seal the book (Dan. 12:8,
9). “Till the time of the end” is on God’s timetable. The tribulation will have a
twofold affect (verse 10). First, many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.
Many of the Israelites will be saved (Rev. 7:13, 14). Israel will come through the
fire (Zech. 13:9; Malachi 3:2, 3). Second, the wicked shall do wickedly (Rev. 9:20,
21; 16:9-11). None of the wicked shall understand. Being void of the Spirit, they
cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). They will believe a lie but
not the truth (2 Thess. 2:11). But the wise shall understand because they are
guided by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13).
The time spoken of will be marked from the abomination that makes
desolate (Dan. 12:11, 12). This will take place in the middle of the tribulation
week (Dan. 9:27). There were three other number of days given by Daniel.
The 1,290 days and the 1,335 days are difficult to explain with real certainty.
We do know that they deal with the Jews and Jerusalem. We also know that
when the Tribulation is completed there will be other things taking place of
great importance to Israel before the millennial kingdom is set up. Daniel
8:13, 14 spoke of 2,300 days until the sanctuary is cleansed. This has to do
with reestablishing the offerings after Ezekiel’s millennial Temple is dedicated
(Ezek. 43:18-20). These other added days might have to do with the judgment
of the Jewish remnant (Matt. 19:28) and the judgment of the sheep and goat
nations that Jesus said would take place immediately after the tribulation of
those days (Matt. 24:29, 30; 25:32-46). The blessed will be those people and
nations rewarded for their faithful adherence to the Word of God and their
faithful service to the people of God.
94 / Daniel 11; 12
This nearly ninety-year-old faithful servant, Daniel, was promised a time of
“rest” (Dan. 12:13). Daniel was ready to cease his labors and rest (Heb. 4:9, 10).
Daniel died in the Lord and found his rest and his reward.
Daniel was promised he would “stand [abide, continue, serve] in thy lot
[portion or destiny; as determined by lot or judging].” What blessed assurance
this held for his future and ours. What about your future? Do you have the
hope of God’s grace at the time of the resurrection? Will you sing the victor’s
song (1 Cor. 15:55-58; 1 Peter 1:13)?
THE TERRORS OF THE TRIBULATION
Daniel 11; 12
Praise God we can look beyond the terrors of the Tribulation. There is hope
in the promised victory of Jesus Christ. Jesus will triumph and reign as King
of kings. Beyond all the pain and sorrow this life may bring, there is the coming
kingdom of our Christ. He is coming in power and glory. To this wondrous end
we long and wait for the conflict to end so we can sing the victor’s song.
This promise remains and it is true, “Thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot
at the end of the days.” The writer of Hebrews declared: “There remaineth
therefore a rest to the people of God” (Heb. 4:9). “Thy lot” (Dan. 12:13) is a
reference to the land of promise. There will be a full and complete restoration of
Israel. Is there a lot for the children of God and for the New Testament church?
We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:17). The faithful,
like Daniel, will also stand in their lot.
The Book of Zechariah
The book bares the name of its writer. The name Zechariah means “the
Lord remembers.” At least twelve men in the Old Testament bare this
name. The author of the book of Zechariah was the son of Berechiah (Bera-kyi-ah), whose name means “Jehovah blesses.” Zechariah’s grandfather
was named Iddo and his name means “God’s friend.” Both his father and
grandfather were priests, as was Zechariah (Neh. 12:1, 12, 16). Iddo was
also designated as a prophet (Zech. 1:1, 7). Therefore, like Jeremiah and
Ezekiel, Iddo was both priest and prophet. His family was among the
exiles who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Zer-oob-baw-bel) in
536 BC. His father, Berechiah, either died young or remained in Babylon,
for Zechariah is named as the successor of Iddo in the priestly line under
Joiakim who followed Joshua (Neh. 12:1-4, 12-16). Zechariah was born
while his family was captive in Babylon. Along with Haggai and Malachi,
they make up the group known as the postexilic prophets.
The time period of the book of Zechariah covers approximately thirtythree years from 520 to 487 BC. Zechariah was a young child at the time of
the return and was a young man when he started his prophetic ministry
in 520 BC. The young man mentioned in Zechariah 2:4 is most likely the
prophet Zechariah. He dated his first prophecy as the eighth month of
the second year of Darius. This is Darius 1, the Great, also called Darius
Hystaspes, who ruled Persia in 521—486 B.C. During this time Confucius
was living in China. Darius Hystaspes is mentioned in the following
passages of Scripture (Ezra 4:5; 5:6, 7; 6:1; Haggai 1:1 and Zech. 1:1).
This would make the utterance of the first prophecy during our months
of October and November in the year 520 BC. This was two months after
Haggai began his ministry (Haggai 1:1). Zechariah 7:1 gives a time of two
years later in 518 BC. Zechariah 8:1; 9:1; 12:1 suggest a later date and
time after the completion of the Temple in 516 BC.
Haggai’s first message was given on Elul 1, 520 BC (Haggai 1:1). Elul,
pronounced e-lool, means “to shout for joy” and it falls within our month
of September. Haggai’s second message was delivered on Tishri 21, 520
BC (Haggai 2:1). Tishri, pronounced tish-ra, means “begin.” This would
have been during the month of October. Zechariah’s first message was
preached sometime during the Jewish month of Marhesvan 520 BC (Zech.
1:1). It is also spelled Heshvan. It is pronounced mar-he’sh-wan and means
“showers.” This corresponds to the month of November. Haggai’s third
message was given on Kislev 24, 520 BC (Haggai 2:10). Kislev (Kis´lef) its
derivation is uncertain. This would place it during the month of December.
Haggai’s fourth message was given on Kislev 24, 520 BC (Haggai 2:20).
Zechariah’s night visions happened on Sebat 24, 519 BC (Zech. 1:7). Shebat
is pronounced se´-bat and the meaning is unknown. This is the month of
February. The last date given is that of Kislew 4, 516 BC (verse 7).
The key verses of the book are Zechariah 8:3 which states, “Thus saith
the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem:
and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of
hosts the holy mountain.” Zechariah 14:9 declares, “And the Lord shall be king
over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.”
Within the book of Zechariah are contained some of the most amazing
prophecies of the Bible. There are a number of key words in the book that
are a reference to the coming Messiah. Zechariah is second only to Isaiah in
messianic prophecies and makes great use of figurative and symbolic language.
Because of this, Zechariah has been referred to as “The Apocalypse” of the
Old Testament. There are at least ten references to the coming Messiah. He
is called “my servant” in Zechariah 3:8 and this is referenced in Mark 10:45.
Christ is called “the Branch” (Zech. 3:8; 6:12). That this passage is speaking
of the Messiah was attested to in Isaiah 4:2 and Isaiah 11:1. Isaiah referred to
the Messiah as a netser (nay’-tser), meaning He was a descendant of Jesse the
father of David. Both were listed in the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:1, 5, 6).
The Messiah was also called the “King” (Zech. 9:9; 14:16, 17). The first reference
was fulfilled at Jesus’ birth and again when He made His triumphal entry into
Jerusalem (Luke 1:32, 33; Matt. 21:1-5). He was presented as the king-priest
in Zechariah 6:13. This was fulfilled by Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and
ascension in Hebrews 6:20—7:1. He was called the lowly King in Zechariah 9:9.
The fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded in Matthew 21:4, 5 and John 12:1416. He was the betrayed One sold for the price of a slave in Zechariah 11:12, 13.
This was fulfilled by Judas’ betrayal of Christ for the thirty pieces of silver as
recorded in Matthew 27:9. He was seen as the pierced One in Zechariah 12:10.
This was fulfilled when the Roman soldier ran his spear through Jesus’ side
as recorded in John 19:34. He was called the “fountain” in Zechariah 13:1. He
forever shall be the fountain of living water as mentioned by John in Revelation
21:6. He was presented as both deity and man in Zechariah 6:12; 13:7. This was
clearly taught by Christ and recorded by the apostle John in John 1:1; 8:40.
He was seen as the smitten One in Zechariah 13:7-9. This was fulfilled during
His mock trial and crucifixion as recorded in Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27.
His second coming was clearly foretold in Zechariah 14:5-9. This event, yet in
the future, was spoken of by Christ and the apostle John in John 10:16 and
Revelation 11:15; 21:27.
The Lord and Zechariah were concerned about the welfare of His chosen city
Jerusalem, which is mentioned forty-one times within the book of Zechariah.
The expression “the Lord of hosts” is used fifty-two times. It was first used in
2 Samuel 6:2 as a proper name. It is used to present Jehovah as ruler over
heavens angelic host (Gen. 32:1, 2; Psalm 148:2).
The decree of Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the
Temple (Ezra 1:1-4). Isaiah 44:28 was prophesied one hundred seventy years
before the fact. Only a remnant returned at this time with Zerubbabel. According
to the registry given in Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7, those returning from Babylon
were 24,144 people from various tribes; from among the twenty-four orders in
the priesthood only four orders are reported that numbered 4,289; among those
serving in the service of the Temple were one hundred twenty-eight singers,
one hundred thirty-nine porters or gate keepers and three hundred ninetytwo Nethinims (Naw-thee-nims) who were Temple servants; there were six
hundred fifty-two who had no proof of their family lineage and 12,542 Levites
who had no record of their families place of service. This brought the total to
42,360 Jews along with 7,337 singers that are not named in any lineage. The
total remnant that returned numbered only 49,697.
Haggai, the older of the two prophets, encouraged the people to rebuild the
Temple. Zechariah also called upon the people to rededicate themselves to this
task. However, he desired a complete spiritual return of the people to the Lord.
The Samaritans (Jewish and Assyrian mix) came seeking to help build the
Temple but were refused any part by the governor and high priest. As a result
the Samaritans set out to hinder the work by any means possible (Ezra 4:1-5).
The Samaritan resistance paralyzed the work for fourteen years. Haggai and
Zechariah encouraged the people to finish the work of the Lord and not let it go
undone. The work was stopped again when the Persian governor, Tatnai (tatten-ah’ee), questioned the reason behind rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem. In
the second year of Darius (da-rye-us or dar-ee-us) Hystaspes (his-tas´pez), the
original decree of Cyrus was confirmed and permission was given to continue
the work (Ezra 5:3-6; 6:6-13). With the opposition the Jews had grown weary in
well doing and began to build homes and plant crops. Haggai encouraged the
people to consider their ways and finish the house of God (Haggai 1:3-8).
This was a critical time in Israel’s history. The Messiah was to come through
this chosen people, the Jews, but the nation was all but lost. This is evident
by the small remnant that returned out of the hundreds of thousands that
could have if they desired to do so. The returning remnant prospered under the
ministries of Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 6:14, 15). The work was finished in
the sixth year of Darius Hystaspes in 515 BC. This was twenty-one years after
the first group had returned from Babylon.
Because of Zechariah’s portrayal of the Messiah, Jewish writers have had
much difficulty with their interpretations of his prophecies. This is not the
picture they wish to portray of their Messiah. However, the message transcends
the time of Zechariah to the earthly ministry of Christ and then beyond to
Christ’s coming in power and glory to reign on earth as King of kings.
Zechariah’s prophecy mainly falls into two sections: (1) In chapters 1
through 8 he encouraged the people to finish the Temple and showed them the
far-reaching effects of this work. He accomplished this through revival (Zech.
1:1-3); consolation (verse 13); and inspiration (Zech. 1:16; 4:9). (2) In chapters
9 through 14 he detailed the coming kingdom of the promised Messiah. The
marked difference in style and subject matter brought the liberal critics to
call for a different author. The wording is so precise that critics alleged that
they had to have been written after the fact (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:21).
Note: These chapters contain no dates. Zechariah wrote these chapters late in
life, and the message focused on many years into the future. The translators
of the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) and the Jewish canon both favor the
authenticity of these chapters and that the Holy Spirit inspired but one man,
Zechariah, to write them.
The sections in Zechariah are easily divided. Chapters 1 through 8 are
various subjects set apart by paragraphs: Zechariah 1:1-6 presents the way
of salvation; Zechariah 1:7—6:8 gives eight Messianic visions; Zechariah 6:915 presents The Branch; Zechariah 7:1—8:23 presents four messages that
are summarized by love, truth, and peace; Zechariah 9:1—14:21 presents two
burdens concerning the day of the Lord coming.
Jewish tradition claims that Zechariah, Haggai, Malachi, Ezra and Nehemiah
were all members of the great synagogue and helped to gather and preserve
the ancient Hebrew scrolls of Scripture. All of these men are credited with Old
For Sunday, February 7, 2010
The Deliverance of Israel
Zechariah 9; 10
The last six chapters of Zechariah deal with the coming of the Messiah
and Israel’s future glory. The prophecies recorded here are some the most
familiar in the Bible. They are the most quoted of any prophet in the
gospels relating to the Lord’s passion week. Zechariah gives in detail God’s
program for Israel and the nations in relation to the person and work of
the Messiah. The messages of these six chapters contain two burdens: the
rejection of the Messiah Shepherd (9:1—11:17) and the acceptance of the
Messiah King (12:1—14:21).
The prophecy of today’s lesson speaks of the furthest reaches of Israel’s
borders. This is about where the borders of Israel were during the reign
of King Solomon (1 Kings 4:21, 24). The Lord will keep His promise to
Abraham and give this land to his descendants (Gen. 12:7; 17:8).
At the time of Zechariah’s writing Israel was no longer troubled by
those who opposed the rebuilding of the Temple and Jerusalem. They were
rather at that time being attacked by enemies of old—the Syrians, the
Phoenicians and the Philistines. Zechariah foretold the defeat of Israel’s
hostile neighbors. The battles of Alexander the Great are foretold in verses
1-8. Zechariah also foretold of the Maccabean wars in verses 14, 15. It is
important to keep in mind that there is a double picture presented within
these verses. There was a fulfillment in the near future and a greater
fulfillment awaiting the coming Messiah. The Lord passed judgment upon
the contemporary nations of Zechariah’s day. This serves as a warning
and sure sign of the Lord’s judgment on all the nations around Israel who
would align themselves against God’s chosen people today.
History bares out the accuracy of the book of Zechariah and rightly
so since it is “the word of the Lord” (Zech. 9:1). As we study these great
prophecies our hearts are filled with wonder and joy, and the prayer of the
lips soon turns to “even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
THE BURDEN UPON SYRIA
Zechariah 9:1, 2
Damascus, the capital of Syria, is one of the oldest continually inhabited
cities in the world. Zechariah identifies the nation as being under the
“burden of the word of the Lord” (verse 1). The word burden is from
the Hebrew word massa (mas-saw´), which is an utterance or oracle of
doom. They had a long history of attacks upon the people of Israel with
instruments of iron (Amos 1:3). The Septuagint renders this verse, “They
100 / Zechariah 9; 10
sawed with iron saws the women with child.” During the reign of Jehu in
Israel and Jehoahaz in Judah, Hazael king of Syria led a vicious attack upon
Gilead. The people were brutally broken and torn apart (2 Kings 12:17, 18).
Hazael and Ben-hadad continued to afflict Israel and Judah (2 Kings 13:1-3).
The Lord does not overlook such transgressions against His chosen people.
God ordered the destruction spoken of here by Zechariah. As at other
times God used human instruments to carry out His will. At this particular
time it was Alexander the Great. After the battle of Issus in 333 BC, in which
Alexander defeated Darius III of Persia, Alexander turned south to Syria,
Lebanon, Philistia and Israel. Hadrach is only mentioned here in the Bible. It
is recalled in Assyrian writings which places it between Hamath and Riblah
along the Orontes River in North Western Syria. Damascus was a city-state
of the Aramaean kingdom and is the capitol of present-day Syria. It sets on a
plateau watered by the Abanan and Pharpar Rivers. Damascus was in constant
conflict with Israel. Hamath, about one hundred twenty-five miles north of
Damascus, was the city of the Hittites and later an Aramaean stronghold allied
God caused the eyes of the world to be turned upon Him and Jerusalem as
Alexander moved rapidly to conquer. “When the eyes of man, as of all the tribes
of Israel, shall be toward the Lord” (Zech. 9:1). As the in the days of Daniel and
Nebuchadnezzar, God still rules over the nations of the world (Dan. 4:17, 25,
Today Syria is in a declared state of war with Israel. Syria’s President Assad
demands the return of the Golan Heights. The Golan is a highland area that
is east and north of the Sea of Galilee. During ground battles, the army that
controls this area holds a distinct advantage. From these commanding heights
an army can attack and control the entire area around the Sea of Galilee.
Assad’s government continues to back terrorist groups; mainly the Hizbullah in
Lebanon which has killed thousands in suicide attacks within Israel’s borders.
God has seen and kept record of the evils that nations have inflicted upon all
the tribes of Israel. The day is soon coming “when the eyes of man, as of all the
tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord” (Zech. 9:1).
THE BURDEN OF PHOENICIA
The reason for the burden against this city that for centuries stood as a
jewel in the whole of the Mediterranean is its sinful pride. In the ancient world
Tyre was known for its beauty, wisdom and stronghold. It was the greatest
naval and trade city at that time. “Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise.
And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust,
and fine gold as the mire of the streets” (Zech. 9:2, 3). Tyre built a fortress city
on an island a half-mile off the coast. It included a breakwater 2,460 feet long
and 27 feet thick. Tyre successfully resisted the Assyrians for five years and
the Chaldeans for thirteen. But, such success was to cease (Psalm 33;16, 17).
Nebuchadnezzar was successful in destroying the inland city, but the people of
Tyre moved to the isle just offshore and rebuilt the city.
The Deliverance of Israel / 101
Alexander defeated Tyre in seven months in 332 BC. Ezekiel gave a detailed
account of Tyre’s fall (Ezek. 26:4, 5, 14). As foretold, the Greek soldiers moved
the rocks and dirt off the inland city into the sea and built a breakwater out to
the island city and set it ablaze. The island city was totally destroyed and left
like the top of a rock. Today fishermen use the mole to dry and mend their nets.
All the merriment of this once joyful city ceased. The destruction of Tyre at that
point in history was so complete it was as though it were uninhabited.
Nations, kings and peoples who had engaged in trade with Tyre trembled
when they heard the news of its ruin. Some even sang as if it were a funeral
hymn. They could not believe that the seemingly invincible city could be
destroyed. Likely they were thinking that if this could happen to them, what
about us? Ezekiel prophesied against Tyre and said, “Thy borders are in the
midst of the seas” (Ezek. 27:4). It was a city of magnificent beauty with the
finest of cedar and other wood decorated with ivory and fine needlework. The
city’s leaders were compared to skilled mariners, capable of taking the helm of
state and city affairs. So vital was its position to the commerce of the ancient
world that mercenary armies protected Tyre from its enemies. History and
archeology have proven that the words of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah
concerning Tyre literally came to pass. These prophets collectively list at
least twenty-five things, and each in God’s time, that came to pass. This is not
happenstance but the will of an Omniscient and Omnipotent God.
Tyre is often in the news concerning the war in Lebanon between the
Hizbullah (army of Allah) and Israel. Hizbullah, a terrorist group backed by
Syria, has its headquarters located in Tyre. Israel has attacked the Hizbullah
emplacements by air, sea and land in attempts to halt its rocket and suicide
attacks on the northern cities of Israel.
Sidon was the great grandson of Ham and firstborn of Canaan (Gen. 10:1520). Today the city serves as a commercial fishing port and also another hideout
for the Hizbullah. Zidon was the hometown of the wicked Queen Jezebel who
brought her idolatry with her into Israel (1 Kings 16:31-33). Jesus visited these
cities and healed a young Syrophenician girl (Mark 7:24-30). As in the days
of Alexander so shall it be in the day when Messiah comes (Zech 9:4). These
prophecies should serve as a warning to the prideful cities of the world today
that have turned their backs on God, His Word and His people.
THE BURDEN OF PHILISTIA
The Philistines were a thorn in the side of Israel from the day God’s people
entered the land of promise (Num. 33:55). Their sin was their savage treatment
of Israel and its captives. When they heard what happened to Tyre, the
Philistines paled in fear. Ashkelon would not be inhabited and would fade away
(Zech. 9:5). Ashkelon is the oldest known Canaanite city being first inhabited
around the year 2000 BC. The crusaders fought several battles there. Baldwin
III took it in AD 1153 and it was destroyed in AD 1270. Israel recently began
to excavate and rebuild here. It is under the National Parks Authority as a
102 / Zechariah 9; 10
Gaza would be “very sorrowful” or writhe in pain (Zech 9:5). Gaza was and
remains a constant antagonist of Israel. The Anakims (giants) were left in
Gaza, Gath and Ashdod (Joshua 11:22). Samson was imprisoned at Gaza and
destroyed their temple of Dagon (Judges 16.21-30). Several prophets foretold
Gaza’s destruction (Jer. 47:5; Amos 1:6, 7; Zeph. 2:4). Alexander captured Gaza
in 332 BC and killed all the men and sold the women and children into slavery. It
served as the main base for the Turks in World War I. The British lost over nine
thousand men when they took the city. The PLO and Hamas have headquarters
in Gaza. From this area, called the Gaza Strip today, the Hamas terrorist group
has carried out many suicide bombings throughout Israel. It is their hope to
proclaim an Arab state in this area and the West Bank with East Jerusalem as
its capital. Be well assured that they are under the watchful eye of the Israeli
Defense Forces and a greater force than they, the eye and hand of God.
For her pride Ekron, the northernmost Philistine city, was to be put to
shame (Zech. 9:5). The captured ark was returned from Ekron to escape God’s
wrath (1 Sam. 6). Ekron was to be rooted up and her people perish (Amos 1:8;
Ashdod was the center of worship for Dagon. It was here that Dagon
tumbled over and fell apart before the presence of the ark of God (1 Sam. 5:27). Strong language was used against Ashdod (Zech. 9:6). Ashdod was to be
corrupt, polluted and would lose its native people (Amos 1:8). Three miles north
of the old city of Ashdod, Israel is building a new city into the country’s largest
seaport. The Leyland Bus Company has built an assembly plant there.
By God’s mercy and grace the Philistines are to be converted. They would
become like the Jebusites and be incorporated into Israel’s commonwealth
(1 Chron. 11:4-7; 21:18-28; Zech. 9:7). The greater picture here is that in the
future Gentiles would be brought in as the people of God. Salvation in Christ
is the same for all mankind (Rom. 1:16; 10:12). Jews and Gentile are made one
in Christ (Eph. 2:14-17).
JERUSALEM KEPT SAFE
The Lord is Jerusalem and Israel’s protector (Zech. 9:8). This protection was
necessary “because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth”
(verse 8). Alexander the Great passed by Jerusalem more than once during
his Middle East campaign without attacking the city. Flavius Josephus, (The
Complete Works of Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XI, chapter VIII
sections 3-5), tells how Alexander came to Jerusalem. When at Tyre, Alexander
sent a letter to the Jewish high priest to send him supplies and provisions.
Jaddua refused to do so because of his oath to Darius not to bear arms. This
angered Alexander, and he threatened an expedition against Jaddua. After
taking Tyre and then Gaza, Alexander turned toward Jerusalem. Jaddua was
afraid but went out wearing the high priest garments in a procession of priests
and citizens to meet him. Alexander, upon seeing this, approached Jaddua
and adored the name of God. He entered the city and went to the Temple and
offered a sacrifice to God, according to Jaddua’s direction. And when the book of
Daniel was showed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should
The Deliverance of Israel / 103
destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that he himself was the person
intended. The next day, “he granted all they desired,” and permitted the Jews
in Israel, Babylon and Media to worship according to their laws.
Israel and Jerusalem are to be oppressed no more. Alexander took the city
under his protection, at the time he conquered their neighbors including the
Samaritans. The Lord carefully marked His people and intervened. In the
future the Lord will liberate Israel, and the enemies will know that God has
had His all-seeing eye upon His chosen (Psalm 34:15; Ezek 28:24).
THE FIRST COMING OF THE MESSIAH
Alexander’s coming caused fear, but there was coming a reason for Jerusalem
to rejoice and shout greatly. The promise was of the coming Messiah/King (Zech.
9:9). How would Zechariah’s contemporaries and future generations know this
would come to pass? Follow the fulfillment of his prophecies step by step. This
is a sure sign that Zechariah was God’s prophet (Deut. 18:19-22).
He is Israel’s long awaited Messiah/King (Isa 9:6, 7; Luke 1:31-33). “He is
just” (Zech. 9:9). This is the Hebrew word for one who is lawful and righteous
(Jer. 23:5; Isa. 11:1-5). He is “salvation” (Zech. 9:9). This is from a Hebrew word
meaning to be free, to be safe;
to succor: to defend, deliver,
preserve, rescue and bring
The Significance of a King on a Donkey
salvation (Psalm 95:1).
(Zechariah 9:9): Conquering kings during the
He will come “riding upon
period of Zechariah’s prophecy would ride
an ass, and upon a colt the
into a city on their warhorses, thus showing
foal of an ass” (Zech. 9:9). This
the grandeur of their victory by their armies
shows that He is “lowly” (Matt.
over their vanquished foes. Zechariah’s
11:28; Phil. 2:8). The gospel
prophecy shows a twofold coming of Christ.
Instead of a victorious parade through the city
writers wrote of the fulfillment
of Jerusalem on a warhorse, the Messiah came
of these words around the trion the foal of a donkey, thus symbolizing
umphal entry of Jesus Christ
humility and peace. Jesus’ triumphant entry in
into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:4, 5).
the city did not signify the destruction of war,
From the day of Solomon the
but of the promise of peace He would provide
ass was thought of as a lowly
as the Savior of His people. Immediately
animal that symbolized peace
after Jesus rode through the city of Jerusalem
as their hailed King, the Jews immediately
(1 Kings 1:33, 38, 39). Jesus
rejected His offer of true peace and eternal life.
saw to it that this prophecy
was precisely fulfilled (Matt.
THE SECOND COMING OF THE MESSIAH
He will inaugurate a peaceful kingdom: “I will cut off the chariot . . . and
the horse . . . and the battle bow” (Zech. 9:10). The implements of war will
be remanufactured for peaceful usage (Micah 4:3). Jesus Christ is the Prince/
King of Peace (Isa.9:6). This kingdom will be a united kingdom. “Ephraim,” the
cast-off Northern Kingdom of Israel, will be made one with Jerusalem (Jer.
30:3; Ezek. 37:19; Hosea 1:9, 10). It will be a universal kingdom. “He shall
104 / Zechariah 9; 10
speak peace unto the heathen” (Zech. 9:10).
Messiah’s kingdom will not be limited to
the Promised Land. The phrase ends of the
earth has all the world in view.
It will be a day of redemption (verse 11).
Prisoners are set free by the shedding of
blood. The Jews will no longer be held in
exile confined in dry cisterns and dungeons
of sin’s bondage. There is no redemption
apart from the shedding of blood (Col. 1:14;
Heb. 9:12, 22).
It will be a day of turning to
the Lord. “Turn you to the strong
hold” (Zech. 9:12). “The strong
hold” is not Jerusalem for it was
The Blood of Thy Covenant (Zechariah
unwalled at the time Zechariah
9:11): As the Messiah prepares to reign in
wrote and so will it be when
Jerusalem as King of kings and especially
Messiah comes (Ezek. 38:11).
messianic King over saved Israel, He will
The stronghold or fortress is the
bring His and the people of Israel’s enemies
into full surrender. Jehovah bound Himself
Lord Himself (Nahum 1:7). The
in covenant relationship with His people.
prisoners set free are given a
To some, this covenant might refer to
special name “prisoners of [the]
the Mosaic or Law Covenant which God
hope” (Zech. 9:12; Joel 3:16). The
engaged with the people of Israel in the
Lord is the stronghold and hope
wilderness. However, due to the failure of
in the ages to come (Micah 4:8;
the people, that conditional covenant cannot
be in view. The blood covenant is probably
It will be a day of glorious
the Abrahamic Covenant, an unconditional
“double” blessings. “I declare
covenant in which God promised Abraham
and his progeny. That promise has not
that I will render double unto
been completely realized in the past or
thee” (Zech. 9:12). When Israel
the present. During the beginning of the
sinned they received double punMillennium, the captives of Israel will be
ishment (Isa. 40:2; Jer. 16:18).
ultimately set free and the tribes will live in
When Israel returns to the Lord,
peace in the land allotment promised them
they will be returned a double
in the Abrahamic Covenant.
portion, the portion of the firstborn (Ex. 4:22). Jesus is the firstborn of every creature (Col. 1:15). The New Testament church is of the firstborn
(Eph. 1:11, 12; Heb. 12:23).
The divine warrior, the Lord of hosts, will fashion Judah and Ephraim
into warriors. “When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim,
and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as
the sword of a mighty man” (Zech. 9:13). The word Greece in this verse is the
Hebrew Javan. Javan was the son of Japheth. This is a reference to the wars
of the Maccabees and Seleucid kings, especially Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The
Lord ruled over these battles as Israel’s defender. The history of the Maccabean
Wars is filled with examples of how the Lord defended His chosen (Zech. 9:14,
15). The enemy is pictured as helpless stones shot wide of their intended target.
Dominion: the meaning is “to have
rule over something, and to claim
authority over it.” It is a state
of political condition. The idea
first appears in Genesis 1:14-18
as God gave the sun, moon and
stars dominion or rule over the
day and night. (Compare Genesis
37:8.) The text points to the rule
of the future King of Israel. Word
The Deliverance of Israel / 105
Like lions after their prey the taste of blood stirs the army. The greater picture
here points to the great battle between the Messiah and the hordes of the antiChrists of whom Antiochus was a type (Rev. 16:14-16; 17:4; 19:19, 20; 20:7-9).
One the greatest blessings will be that the Lord will save His flock (Zech.
9:16; Isa. 40:11; Ezek. 34). The church is also called His flock and is promised
the kingdom (Acts 20:28; Luke 12:32). This special care is because of the
preciousness of the flock. They are like crown jewels (Zech. 9:16). God will make
up His polished and refined jewels (Malachi 3:3, 4, 17). The Lord’s chosen shall
be adorned like a bride (Isa. 61:10). The apostle John saw the bride of Christ
(the church) adorned and ready for the marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7; 21:2, 9,
10). The blessing of the Millennium is described as goodness and beauty (Zech.
9:17). Let us pray for this day to come (Zech. 1:17). Are you ready for the coming
of the Messiah King?
THE LAND RESTORED
These verses speak of Israel’s blessings once they have reoccupied the land
of promise. God will restore His blessing to Judah, which will be witnessed in
nature. The latter rains are those that occur in the spring months. These rains
are important for the growing and maturing of crops. “Time of the latter rain”
(verse 1) is literally rain of rain. This is a sign of blessings both temporal and
spiritual. God’s favor upon the people
of Israel will also be witnessed in their
Vanity: the root meaning is “to pant as in
complete turning to the Messiah.
breathing hard due to labor or physical
They will rid themselves of their idols
effort.” The effort is unproductive
for all time. This is the teraphim (terin nature and produces nothing of
aw-feme), which were the household
value. It is said to be light or without
gods. They were used like good luck
substance. Definitions contain words like
dolls in a futile attempt to foretell
nothingness and falsehood to explain the
meaning of vanity. Word Study #205.
the future. Israel’s time of suffering
and dispersion without a shepherd or
king will be over. The expression went
their way speaks of the time they have wandered as a people without proper
spiritual guidance. The evil shepherds pictured as goats are the Gentile kings
and rulers who spoiled and abused them. They shall forcibly be removed and
the Good Shepherd, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, shall take their place.
The picture of the sheep and goats is exchanged for one of a horse that
is fully equipped for battle. This horse
Mercy: it is to tenderly pity or to
has had special care in training, feeding
love another. The substance of the
and grooming. The Lord’s chosen are the
word suggests that it is not merely
special objects of His care. When Israel
love, but an intense passion that
is obedient to God’s Word, His blessings
is behind the expression. One
are not withheld. Some writers attempt
loves another with intensity and
to place the fulfillment of this prophecy
has compassion so much so that
during the victories of Judas Maccabees
he gives more than is reasonable
and his warriors. A close examination of
or more than one would expect
the context shows the ultimate fulfillment
another to give. Word Study #7355.
shall come when the Messiah reigns.
106 / Zechariah 9; 10
When the land of promise is fully back in Israel’s possession, the Jews will
receive a renewed strength that will allow them to tread down their persecutors and confound the
military might that is sent
against them. On more than
I Will Hiss for Them (Zechariah 10:8): The
one occasion we have surely
Hebrew word for hiss refers to the idea of a
witnessed the hand of God
shepherd whistling for his flock to be gathered
upon the land of Israel since
to him. The promise by the Lord, as stated in
they have become a nation
the Palestinian Covenant of Deuteronomy 30,
in 1948. In a matter of days
concerns His anticipated restoration of His
the Israeli Defense Forces depeople from faraway lands. During the time of
feated the combined forces of
the end, the Lord will hiss for them to return
to their true homeland. The Lord will regather
five Arab nations. They were
His people by means of redemption. Some
outnumbered and outgunned,
have suggested that this prophecy might have
but in what is now called the
been fulfilled during the return of the captives
Six Day War they won a decifrom Babylonian exile. But a careful study of
sive victory and reclaimed all
the time of Zechariah’s writing reveals that his
of Jerusalem including the all
prophecy was written after the return of the
Babylonian exiles and, therefore, anticipated a
restoration of Israel at a much later time. God’s
Wall. General Moshe Dayan,
covenant people will be signaled, restored
who was Minister of Defense
to their land of possession and will abide in
during this time, was asked
peace from that point on. Such will take place
by a reporter how he was able
during the Millennium.
to do in six days what General
Westmoreland had not been
able to accomplish in Vietnam in six years. Minister Dayan’s reply was simply
that, when one fights, he fights to win.
All the land of promise will be restored. Judah and Israel’s northern and
southern boundaries will be restored and reunited as one. Ephraim, whose
people have been exiled the longest, shall be glad and rejoice as in the day of
new wine. The Lord has no lost tribe. He will whistle or call to them, and they
will return to Israel from the lands where they have been scattered for so many
THE PEOPLE RESTORED
Zechariah addressed specifically the land of their captivity. The word sow is
talking about the scattering of seed which the wind has carried far and wide.
This has been the history of the Jewish people over the last two millennia. The
Lord has permitted His chosen people to be removed from the land of promise
and scattered throughout the far countries. Zechariah named Israel’s oldest
enemies, Assyria and Egypt. Still to this day they remain unfriendly to Israel
and the Jewish people. These two stand in the north and the south of Israel
as representatives of the nations to which Israel fled in the dispersion. God’s
judgment plan upon His enemies is set in place by an oath. The “Assyrian”
will be broken in Immanuel’s land. The yoke will be broken and God’s chosen
people freed and return home (Isa. 14:24, 25). Egypt is one of the world’s oldest
The Deliverance of Israel / 107
continuing civilizations. Their idolatry, oppression of Israel, pride and
cruelty marked them for judgment.
The Lord used a combination of civil
strife, upheavals in nature, plagues
and foreign invasion to bring Egypt
to its knees. It was never foretold
that Egypt would be totally destroyed as was Philistia, Nineveh
and Babylon. Egypt still remains a
nation today, but, as prophesied, it
is a base nation (Ezek. 29:14, 15).
At the time of Zechariah’s prophecy much of the Jewish population
was far away from their homeland
that was promised to the seed of
Abraham. Today, even after some
six million have returned, millions
are still found around the world.
The Lord will keep His promise to
return all of the Jews to their own
country. Gilead and Lebanon are
mentioned to remind the Jews that
these areas are a part of the promise. These two areas were among the
most beautiful and productive of Israel’s ancient territories during the
reign of David and Solomon. After
the complete restoration of the land
the Lord promised that all of Israel
would be like Gilead and Lebanon.
All the tribes will fully enjoy the
blessings of the Lord.
God’s Sowing Among the People
(Zechariah 10:9): In addition to their
restoration to the land and their
redemption by their messianic King, the
remnant of Israel will also be repopulated.
They will not only survive among the
Gentile nations, they will thrive. The
bounty of the great sower will cause them
to prosper in His blessings and increase
in all regards, including their posterity.
Additionally, when they return to their
land in the regathering, they will continue
to increase through the abundance of
God’s blessings. The land, desolate during
their absence, will prosper with a fertile
and fruit-yielding bounty.
Walk Up and Down in His Name
(Zechariah 10:12): Upon their restoration
to the Promised Land, the remnant
of Israel will conduct themselves on
the basis of their redeemed condition.
They will be enabled to live in such
a way as to be ambassadors of God’s
character. Their previous experience as
a separated people by the Lord showed
the people delinquent in demonstrating
to the Gentile world concerning their
commitment to Jehovah. They walked
in the way of darkness, rather than the
expected life of separation. However,
in the latter time, saved Israel will
finally demonstrate the fidelity of their
commitment and faithfulness to Him.
The watching Gentile people will finally
observe a consistent and unswerving
loyalty and worship to Jehovah.
Zechariah 9; 10
The Lord Himself will bring about
this return and restoration by His
own hand. When Prime Minister
Menachem Begin was asked about the United Nations’ role in securing the
land of Israel, he told the reporters, President Jimmy Carter and President
Anwar Sadat of Egypt, while standing on the White House lawn that “we are
there by a higher authority than the United Nations.” This was reported on the
evening news after he and Sadat had signed a peace agreement witnessed by
President Jimmy Carter. As promised, the Lord will give the people of Israel
His strength, and they will go about in His name and by His authority.
For Sunday, February 14, 2010
The Redemption of Israel
This chapter introduces the second burden presented to Zechariah.
Chapter 11 foretold the rejection of the Shepherd Messiah. Now in this
chapter the message centers on the acceptance of the pierced One, Jesus
Christ. This burden, or woe, from the Lord may be outlined as: (1) A Great
Day of Battle; (2) A Great Day of Salvation; (3) A Great Day of Smiting;
and (4) The Great Day of Christ. The theme is the same as that of the first
burden—judgment, deliverance and blessings.
The words that day are used seventeen times in the last three chapters of
Zechariah. This shows that this time element is important. Of all the cities
mentioned in the Bible, none holds the place of prominence of Jerusalem.
Zechariah calls Jerusalem by name twenty-two times in twenty verses
in these three chapters. The same time period is under consideration in
all three chapters. The events described by Zechariah embrace the entire
earth, its nations and peoples. This section is eschatological in content and
climaxes with the glorious reign of Christ over all things.
The millennial kingdom will be a time of both spiritual and physical
restoration for the people and the land. The earth will be like the Garden
of Eden (Isa. 11:6-9). Death will be stayed (Isa. 65:19, 20). The Lord Jesus
Christ will reign in Jerusalem and men shall come there to worship Him
(Isa. 2:2-4). The nation of Israel will be converted and many others will also
come to Christ (Isa. 2:3-5; 66:7-9). All of creation will sigh with relief and
shout for joy in the day of redemption (Rom. 8:22, 23). This is the glorious
time John spoke about for those who have part in the first resurrection
Events in this chapter describe a world confederacy against the Jews
and Jerusalem that will be mounted at the close of the church age. These
final chapters need to be studied and reviewed along with Lesson 3 from
Ezekiel 37—39 and Lesson 9 taken from Daniel 11; 12. This world war is
also under consideration in chapter 14 of Zechariah. It will be during these
troublesome days (the time of Jacob’s trouble), that the people of Israel’s
repentance and turning to Jesus, the wounded Messiah, will finally take
place. This should stir the heart of every child of God to long for the Day
of the Lord. Have we reached the time that as we see the signs coming
to pass, we should be listening for the sounds of His coming? The apostle
Paul wrote about the sounds of His coming to the church at Thessalonica.
The Redemption of Israel / 109
What glorious sounds when the saints shall hear the Lord descending from
Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, and
the dead in Christ shall rise, and the living saints shall be caught up together
with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:16, 17). Is our
prayer that of the apostle John? “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
THE GREAT DAY OF BATTLE
In the first verse of today’s lesson the Omnipotent God spoke to Zechariah
concerning Israel. “The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the
Lord” (Zech. 12:1). The word burden is used some thirty-four times in the
prophetical books of the Old Testament. It is from the Hebrew word massa
which means “an utterance of a doom, a heavy load (such as packs on one’s
back), the raising of the voice, an oracle.” The authority behind this oracle or
burden is the Lord Jehovah. His omniscience is declared in detail. He is the
Creator “which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the
earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him” (verse 1). The word formeth,
yatsar (yaw-tsar) in Hebrew, means “to squeeze into shape, to mold into a form,
to fashion, to make.” The spirit speaks of breath and life that was breathed into
man by God Himself (Gen. 2:7). God made and created man in His own image
(Gen. 1:26, 27; 5:1). The word made is from the Hebrew word asah (aw-saw),
which means “to fashion, accomplish in the sense of completing or bringing
about.” The word created is from the Hebrew word bara (baw-raw), which is the
same word used in Genesis 1:1. Bara is always used with God as the subject
doing the forming and shaping. The Lord is the Creator of all things and by
Him all things “consist [set in place or hold together]” (Col. 1:16, 17). He is the
Creator of all things in Heaven and earth (Isa. 42:5; 45:18) and as such He
owns it all. It is His by right of creation. Man, made in the image of the living
God, was made a living soul by the breath of God (Gen. 2:27). Before this was
done Adam was just a lump of clay formed from the dust of the earth. With this
breath of life, God created man to live eternally. The soul of man was separated
from God in the fall because of sin (Rom. 5:12). Therefore, it requires the new
birth, which comes by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ (John 3:3-7; Rom.
10:17; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). God gave man the breath of life and He reclaims it when
we die (Eccl. 12:7). The eternal souls of saints and sinners alike belong to God.
The Lord spoke through the prophet Ezekiel these words, “Behold, all souls are
mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that
sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). The Lord did not end the message there, but
added these words, “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath
committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right,
he shall surely live, he shall not die” (verse 21). Our faith in Christ makes the
difference today, tomorrow, and in eternity for the rest of our souls (Heb. 4:13).
The Almighty God will form Jerusalem into a cup of trembling. “Behold, I
will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about” (Zech.
12:2). The word cup is literally a dish for holding blood or wine; or a basin
like that used in the Tabernacle and Temple worship (Ex. 12:22; 1 Kings 7:50).
110 / Zechariah 12
The enemies of Israel will look upon
Jerusalem as a bowl or basin filled
with wine which they believe they
Jerusalem, a Cup of Trembling
can easily take and consume. They
(Zechariah 12:2): During the final 1260
will quickly discover the Lord has
days of the seventieth prophetic week
made Jerusalem a “cup of trembling”
of Daniel, the nations under anti-Christ
will so despise the people of Israel that
(Zech. 12:2). The word trembling is
they will not cease in their destructive
from the Hebrew word ra’al (rah-al),
ways to bring an end to them. The
meaning “to reel from intoxication
figure of the cup of trembling suggests
like a drunk, to shake uncontrollably.”
that the nations will be so bent on their
The contents of the bowl will produce
singular desire to destroy God’s people
a stupor-like state upon the enemy
that they will be absolutely intoxicated
with the contents of the cup so as to
causing them to stagger and shake.
tremble like an alcoholic trembling in
Jerusalem’s enemies will tremble in
the midst of his addiction when he lacks
fear because of the Lord’s presence
the effects of the alcohol. They will be
with His chosen people (Isa. 64:2;
so drawn to engage in battle with the
Jer. 10:10; Joel 2:1, 10). The enemies
Jews that they will fail to realize that
of Israel, “in that day” (verse 3) will
they will be ultimately defeated by the
coming King in all His glory.
consist of all the “people round about”
(verse 2) which is in reference to the
neighboring nations that circle and compass them on every side. The enemies
will be gathered to be squeezed in the winepress of God’s wrath (Rev. 14:18,
19). From the west will come a European confederacy (Dan. 2:40-44; 7:7-9; Rev.
13:1-7; 17:1-18). This confederacy is brought about by mutual consent and not
because one nation conquered the others. This is taking shape rapidly today
among the countries of Europe. The European Economic and Monetary Union
already has twenty-two nations with several more, who were once behind the
so-called “iron curtain,” taking the necessary steps to join. Pope Benedict has
been very busy visiting the heads of state throughout Europe in hope of also
uniting them religiously. From the north will come Gog and Magog with all
their allies (Ezek. 38:1-3; 39:1). The reference to unwalled cities in Ezekiel
notes that the enemy will attack at a time when Israel feels they are dwelling
safely. The Arab League of Nations, with several countries that are right on
Israel’s borders, has long been an antagonist of Jerusalem and Israel (Ezek.
38:5; Dan. 11:40). From the east will come
the largest military force the world has
Burdensome: the meaning is
ever witnessed (Rev. 9:14-16; 16:12-16).
“to load or impose a burden on
The numbers here speak of an army that
another.” The word points to a
thing that has weight and is heavy
is two hundred million strong. They will
to bear. It is not, however, merely
be led by the four fallen angels who are
the weight, but the action of
loosed from their bonds to go forth and
loading that is in view. Someone is
slay the third part of men. These are
causing this weight to be loaded on
supernatural things or beings. There is
another. The loading is by design
nothing on earth like them today.
and purpose. Word Studies #6006
The Almighty God will also make Jeand #4614.
rusalem a burdensome stone. “And in
The Redemption of Israel / 111
that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone
for all people” (Zech. 12:3). A
The Meaning of That Day (Zechariah 12:3, 4, 6,
conflict involving all the na8): Just prior to the second coming of Christ, the
tions of the world was once
confederacy of nations under anti-Christ will
thought impossible, but toconverge on the nation of Israel and the city of
day we know that this is not
Jerusalem to stage a final siege and deathblow
on God’s people. So horrific is the anticipation
only possible but also highly
of that time that it is described specifically as
likely. Jerusalem, long the
that day in Zechariah’s prophecy. It will begin
scorn and byword of the naduring the last 1260 days of Daniel’s seventieth
tions (Deut. 28:37: 1 Kings
prophetic week and will gradually build toward
9:7), will be used to bring
the final showdown during the shortening of
about God’s judgment upon
days prior to the end of that prophetic week.
The confederation of those nations’ armies
these rebellious nations. Alwill be completely obsessed with the taste
though the reference to the
of potential victory that they will move with
burdensome stone here can
reckless speed because of their overconfidence
mean any heavy stone, the
in the massive numbers of their armies, their
enemies that come against
supposed impenetrable defenses, the sheer
the people of Israel will find
power of their weaponry and the pride which
will go with their belief that their forces will
that Jehovah is the stone of
attain undeniable victory.
help for Jerusalem and its
people. The Septuagint has
“a stone trodden.” (Note Luke 21:24.) The Lord Jesus Christ is the tried and
immovable stone (Isa. 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6). The people of God will not be budged
because they stand on the sure foundation laid by God. When the whole world
is shaking at His presence, the people of God and the things of God shall not
be moved (Heb. 12:27) The same stone that saves Jerusalem will destroy the
enemy. “All that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces” (Zech. 12:3;
Luke 20:17, 18; 1 Peter 2:7, 8). The word cut means “to serrate or make a gash.”
This word is used of those who cut their flesh during their times of mourning
(Lev. 19:28; 21:5).
THE TENTS OF JUDAH SAVED
The Lord will neutralize the enemy war machine. “In that day, saith the
Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness:
and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse
of the people with blindness” (Zech. 12:4). The scene presented is one of total
panic. The enemy, Satan, and all his allies will be neutralized (Dan. 7:21, 22;
1 John 3:8; Rev. 17:14). The enemy of all men since the fall of Adam, death, will
be neutralized (Hosea 13:14; Heb. 2:14, 15). It is not because of Israel’s military
prowess, but it is God’s watchful eye, “I will open mine eyes” (Zech 12:4). “For
the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself
strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chron. 16:9).
The Lord is keeping a close watch on His chosen people Israel and the New
112 / Zechariah 12
The Lord will also make Jerusalem like a torch. “And the governors of
Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my
strength in the Lord of hosts their God” (Zech. 12:5). Recognizing the Lord is
their strength, Israel shall unite and do great exploits (Dan. 11:32). Israel and
Jerusalem will finally recognize by faith the divine source of their power and
victory. This will encourage them to trust in the Lord for complete victory over
their enemies. Supported by God, they shall devour their enemies (Amos 9:8;
1 Peter 3:12). The context indicates a united people. No longer are they two
kingdoms but one.
Zechariah described Israel’s victory using two similes. “In that day will I
make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a
torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall
devour all the people round about, on
Hearth: the root meaning is “to dig
the right hand and on the left: and
through as digging through ashes left
Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in
behind from a fire.” The word here
her own place, even in Jerusalem” (Zech.
refers to a pot or furnace where a
12:6). Israel is likened to a fire pan and
fire kindles and burns. It is not the fire
itself but the place that contains the
a fire brand among the stubble of the
fire. The governors themselves would
enemy (Ezek. 39:7-12). The enemy, like
be like these containers of fire among
the chaff of wheat, will be consumed.
wood. Word Studies #3564 and #3595.
God will be fighting for Jerusalem and
Israel as a consuming fire (Deut. 9:3;
Heb. 12:9). Jerusalem shall
be inhabited (Hebrew yashab;
shall remain, be settled, abide)
Jerusalem Inhabited in Her Own Place
again (Hebrew `owd; continue,
(Zechariah 12:6): When the nations of the
repeatedly, still, henceforth).
world seek to conquer Israel and to turn on
Jerusalem will be settled before
Jerusalem, their massive armies will find a
and after the attack. When this
surprising turn-of-events. They will not be
battle is over, they will not be
able to have any success in their siege of the
moved from their promised
city because of the power of Judah’s leaders.
They will be empowered to withstand the
attacks of their enemies on either side of them.
Those outside the city will be
Jerusalem will then be inhabited by those
saved first. “The Lord also shall
who are supposed to be in the city. Such will
save the tents of Judah first”
occur because of a twofold victory. First, the
(Zech. 12:7). It must be noted, it
Lord will overpower and deprive the enemies
is the Lord who does the saving
of Israel of their strength, and then, He will
and brings about the victory.
empower and fortify His people to resist and
conquer their foes.
One person shall not be exalted
above the other. “That the
glory of the house of David and
the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against
Judah” (verse 7). The same deliverance is needed by all and for all. Jerusalem’s
glorying, as is ours, is in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:29-31; 2 Cor. 10:17). Against these
invading hordes the people of Israel will realize their only hope of victory is in
the Lord. Jerusalem will remain because the Lord is the defender of the city.
The Redemption of Israel / 113
So complete is the salvation
of believers who accept the
gospel of Jesus Christ that
The Lord Shall Defend Jerusalem (Zechariah
the weakest among us shall
12:8): The prophet Zechariah made it plain that
be as strong and courageous
the victory, which will take place in Jerusalem
as David when he defeated
prior to the end of Daniel’s seventieth
Goliath. Two-thirds of the
prophetic week, will be supernatural. The
leaders whom the Lord will empower will
people in the land shall die;
also realize and acknowledge that the support
and one-half of Jerusalem
given them from the inhabitants of the land
taken captive before the Lord
will be effective only because the Lord will
takes control of the battle
sustain and support His people. They will not
(Zech. 13:8, 9; 14:1-3). The
assume any responsibility for the success of
house of David, Judah, will
their resistance of the enormous and vicious
fight with the power of God
attack of the nations of the earth against them.
God’s miraculous intervention will convince
and His angels. “He that is
the leaders of His power.
feeble among them at that
day shall be as David; and the
house of David shall be as God,
as the angel of the Lord before
them” (Zech. 12:8).
Look Upon Me Whom They Have Pierced
“And it shall come to pass
(Zechariah 12:9): After the Lord delivers His
in that day, that I will seek to
people and their land from the siege of the
destroy all the nations that
armies of anti-Christ, they will realize that
come against Jerusalem” (verse
the conquering Lord was the One whom they
9). Enemies past, present and
rejected and they had been responsible for
future have found and will find
His death at Calvary. Their realization will
this true. Those who attack
also be marked by a sense of overwhelming
grief. They will humble themselves, praying
the people of God, attack God
for repentance and forgiveness. As a result,
Himself (Deut. 32:10; Zech. 2:8;
the Lord will pour out His spirit of grace and
John 17:22). I will seek is from the
supplication upon the leaders of Jerusalem
Hebrew word baqash (baw-kash),
and the entire remnant of believers among
meaning I will require or request
the nation of Israel. They will, as never
the shamad, extermination or
before, experience a remorse which will lead
plucking down of all the nations
to their spiritual conversion as well as the
blessings of God upon them as His covenant
that stand against Jerusalem.
Perhaps it will be as when the
angel of the Lord fought against
the Assyrians (2 Kings 19:35). Or
maybe as when the chariots of fire circled around Elisha (2 Kings 6:16, 17).
Israel’s war of independence, the Six Day War, the Yom Kipper War, and their
survival through numerous terrorist attacks are all evidence that the Lord
is still standing up for His people. The great end-time confederation against
Israel will fail. It will not be determined by military might but by the hand of
the Almighty God. The nations and kingdoms of this world one by one will come
under the reign of Jesus Christ forever (Rev. 11:15). Their foolish challenge of
the Lamb and His people guarantees their utter defeat (Rev. 17:4). The Lord
114 / Zechariah 12
will come forth robed in white upon a white horse. The armies of the beast
and false prophet will be destroyed and cast into the lake of fire burning with
brimstone where they shall be tormented forever (Rev. 14:11; 19:11-20; 20:10).
THE SPIRIT OF GRACE
Zechariah was then privileged to see Jerusalem look up and witness a great
spiritual awakening. First, Zechariah saw Jerusalem’s conviction for their past
sins. “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of
Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications” (Zech. 12:10). The prophet
Joel foretold this promise. “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).
This is God’s way of showing them they are still His chosen people the promised
seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Here the Holy Spirit is witnessing through
the Word of the Messiah (John 15:26). Conviction of sin is the work of the Word
and the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-11). Regeneration (the new birth) is the work of
the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-6; Titus 3:5).
Through conviction and prayer will come Jerusalem’s conversion. Their eyes
and hearts will be fixed upon the pierced One. “And they shall look upon me
whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:10). Israel has long been invited to look to
the Lord as has the whole earth (Isa. 45:22). Jesus told His disciples that all
must be fulfilled, which were spoken of Him in the Law, the prophets and the
psalms (Luke 24:44). While He hung on the cross of Calvary, Jesus was pierced
to fulfill this passage of Scripture. “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced
his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare
record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might
believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A
bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall
look on him whom they pierced” (John 19:34-37). Jesus was pierced by wicked
hands for man’s sin (Acts 2:22, 23).
Because it was the preparation day for the Passover and it was getting
late, the ungodly Jewish religious leaders did not want the bodies of the two
malefactors and Jesus to hang on the cross after sundown. They sent a request
asking Pilate to have all the men killed so they could be quickly removed from
their crosses and buried. The orders were given to break their legs. This would
speed the death of those hanging on the crosses. They would no longer be able
to push up with their legs to help them get a breath of air. Their lungs would
fill with fluid and they would die from suffocation. In keeping with their orders,
the soldiers hurriedly broke the legs of the two thieves crucified with Christ.
However, when they came to Jesus, the soldier realized He was already dead.
Perhaps out of spite and hate the soldier ran his spear through Jesus’ side.
Unbeknown to him, he fulfilled the Word of God. The water and blood flowing
from Jesus’ side represent the two vital elements needed for life and salvation
(John 3:3-5; Rev. 1:5).
A DAY OF MOURNING
Seeing the pierced One, Jesus, and finally recognizing Him as the Christ,
will bring about great mourning in Jerusalem. “And they shall mourn for
The Redemption of Israel / 115
him, as one mourneth for his only
son, and shall be in bitterness for
Mourning: the meaning represents an
him, as one that is in bitterness for
action of lamenting or wailing. It may
include such an action as the tearing
his firstborn. In that day shall there
of hair or beating of the breast. It is
be a great mourning in Jerusalem,
an outward show of intense inward
as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in
sorrow or regret. The action of
the valley of Megiddon” (Zech. 12:10,
mourning might bring repentance, but
11). Jesus truly fits the meaning of
the meaning does not necessitate such
firstborn. Jesus is the firstborn of God;
a move. Mourning can occur without
His only Son: the unique One (John
repentance. Word Study #5594.
1:18; Col. 1:15, 18). The day of weeping
is compared to Judah’s mourning over
the death of good King Josiah (2 Chron. 35:22-25).
The mourning will spread to every family in Israel. “And the land shall
mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their
wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;
the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of
Shimei apart, and their wives apart;
all the families that remain, every
Apart: the meaning is “to be solitary or
family apart, and their wives apart”
alone.” It is when a person or thing
(Zech. 12:12-14). Two families from
becomes isolated. The isolation is not a
the kingly line are named: the family
removal from all things as in a vacuum,
of David and the family of Nathan
but it is removal from others of like kind.
It is as the sparrow on the housetop in
who was the second son of David
Psalm 102:7. The text suggests a time of
born in Jerusalem to Bath-sheba (1
isolation for mourning or praying, such
Chron. 3:5). Solomon’s kingly line
as with the prayer closet which Jesus
was cut off because of the sins of
taught in Matthew 6:6. Word Study #905.
Coniah (aka Jeconiah, Jehoiachin,
Jechonias) (Jer. 22:28-30). The Lord
clearly stated here in Jeremiah that no seed of Jehoiachin would prosper or
sit on the throne of David. Had Jesus been born of the seed of man, through
Joseph, His lineage would have come through this cursed seed (Matt. 1:11).
Jesus’ royal lineage came through David by his son Nathan (Luke 3:23, 31). The
house of Levi is also named as having a part in this great day of mourning and
cleansing. The phrase each family a part means each by itself, with their wives
by themselves points out that each in turn are sorrowful and repentant and
thus we witness the sincerity of the mourning. It will not be just an outward
ritual of compliance.
When Jesus comes again, not only Israel but also the entire world shall see
His pierced wounds. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see
him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail
because of him. Even so, Amen” (Rev. 1:7). Through the wonders of satellites and
television there is not a household that will not be able to see these wondrous
events as they unfold. Throughout the millennial age every time we look at His
wounds we will be reminded that our sins put them there (Rev. 5:9). Like the
Lord’s invitation to Israel so ours today is look and live. “Look unto me, and be
116 / Zechariah 12:1-14
ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isa.
THE REDEMPTION OF ISRAEL
In both the Old and New Testaments we read about the Lord saving Israel.
First, we read of the Lord saving Israel out of the hand of the Egyptians (Ex.
14:30). This statement was made after they had killed the Passover lamb and
applied the blood. It was made after they had crossed the Red Sea on dry ground
and witnessed their enemies drowning in the sea. The Lord is our Saviour.
Believers are under the blood of the Lamb of God (John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18-20).
Our enemies, Satan, sin, death, the grave and hell have all been defeated (1 Cor
15:53-58; Heb. 2:14, 15).
Several years later the Lord spoke to the new generation of Israelites as
they were concluding their wilderness journey. “Happy art thou, O Israel: who
is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is
the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee;
and thou shalt tread upon their high places” (Deut. 33:29). Brothers and sisters
in Christ, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us (Rom. 8:37).
The Lord’s people should be the happiest people on the earth as they “rejoice in
the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Phil. 4:4).
Isaiah prophesied of the time when “Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an
everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without
end” (Isa. 45:17). Praise the Lord our salvation is everlasting. Believers are
given eternal life (John 3:16). Those who put their faith in Christ and build
upon the Chief Cornerstone shall not be confounded. This is from the Greek
word kataischuno (kat-ahee-skhoo’-no) meaning “they will not be shamed
down, disgraced, made to blush or dishonored.”
The apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans spoke of the salvation of Israel
(Rom. 9:27; 11:25-27). After emphasizing that Gentiles could be made acceptable
to God, Paul added that only a remnant of Israel shall be saved. He used Isaiah
10:22, 23 to prove his position. Paul called the relative standing of the Jew
and Gentile before God during the church age, a mystery. The blindness of
the nation of Israel and the fulness of the Gentiles are both the result of the
ministry of Jesus. The hardening (blindness in part) of the Jews during the
church age is the consequence of their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. The
fulness of the Gentiles is basically the church age. The statement, all Israel
shall be saved, does not mean that all Jews will be saved simply because they
are the seed of Abraham, nor does it mean they will be given a second chance.
This refers to national Israel and not to individuals. When the Jews see the
pierced Christ, many of them will be turned away from ungodliness and come
to know that Jesus is truly the Messiah. All men, Jew and Gentile, must trust
in Jesus Christ regardless of the age in which they live (Acts 4:12).
For Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Cleansing of Israel
This chapter ties so closely to chapter 12 that they are inseparable. The
same time element, subject and people are under consideration in both
chapters. Chapter 12:10 through chapter 13:6 are chronological. Chapter
12 reveals how Israel will one day in the near future look and turn to the
crucified Messiah, Jesus Christ. Chapter 13 reveals the provision God has
made for their cleansing. The Spirit of God will be at work to bring about
Israel’s repentance and the nation’s spiritual cleansing. For Israel to be
delivered physically it is imperative that the people come to repentance
and spiritual renewal in Jesus Christ.
There was never a shortage of false prophets in Israel. There are those
in every generation who are willing to bow to the wishes of the people
and speak what the masses want to hear. The God-called prophets did not
hesitate to openly correct and chastise both the fraudulent prophets and
their adherents. (Note 1 Kings 18:16-40; Jeremiah 23:1-40; Ezekiel 13:123; Micah 3:5-12).
There is no shortage of false prophets today. This is why we are
admonished by John to try the spirits (1 John 4:1-4). False religion,
oftentimes referred to as cults, puts man before God (Rom. 1:24, 25). This
brings about the teaching of situational ethics, works for salvation, or
works to remain saved, denial of the deity of Jesus Christ (1 John 2:22),
the use of writings that are held equal to the Bible, or they reject the Bible
all together. These are the ones easy to identify. Others are less obvious
because their name seems right, and they appear to use many of the right
words and theological terms.
Religion is the devil’s business, and he camouflages it every way
imaginable. Satan has brought a lot of confusion to the name Baptist. Frank
S. Mead, in his book Handbook of Denominations In The United States,
listed twenty-seven different organizations using the name Baptist. Why
so many? This is Satan’s attempt to cash in on, as well as destroy, a good
name. Many of these groups, calling themselves Baptist, are straying from
and denying the historic faith that was once delivered to the saints. Many
have adopted the universal church theory; they receive alien immersion
and practice open communion. Free Will and Six-Principle Baptists teach
falling from grace. Free Will Baptists also practice foot washing as an
118 / Zechariah 13
ordinance. Primitive, Separate, Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit and Duck River
Kindred Baptists are Calvinistic in their teaching of unconditional
election, limited atonement and irresistible grace. Seventh Day Baptists
worship on Saturday. Space does not permit a list of all the irregular
beliefs and practices propagated under the name Baptist today. Thank God
for those Baptist churches who hold the truth of God’s Word dear and will not
compromise His Word.
By the grace of God and the truth of His Word we can strive to keep the
Lord’s churches and ourselves pure in doctrine and practice. This lesson deals
with the Lord judging and cleansing Israel of false religion. Peter spoke of
the Lord beginning His judgment with the house of the Lord, which is the
New Testament church (1 Peter 4:17). The time for cleansing and standing
for the truth is now. False doctrine, since it is a lie, is constantly changing,
and attempts are being made to prop up their house of wood, hay and stubble.
Truth preaches the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Truth can be told the
same way every time.
THERE IS A FOUNTAIN
Zechariah used the phrase in that day sixteen times in the last three chapters
of his book. Thus, he continues his subject of the day fixed and known by the
Lord. This is the day that the
patriot Abraham desired to see.
By God’s grace he was permitted
The Fountain of Cleansing (Zechariah
to do so with great rejoicing
13:1): As a result of the remnant’s salvation,
(John 8:56). This is speaking of
their sin and iniquity will be completely
the future day of the Lord. This
purged. The fountain of cleansing will not
is not speaking of a twenty-four
be found in the laver of the Tabernacle
hour day. This day embraces
or Temple, which needed to be filled
the redemptive plan of God.
repeatedly, but in the fountain of the Lamb’s
Such expressions as this are
blood, which satisfied the just demands of
used some one hundred times
Jehovah. The cleansing has reference to both
with reference to this major
justification with regard to their national
guilt and sanctification with regard to their
theme in Bible prophecy. They
moral impurity. Calvary’s blood is that
included the second coming of
which cleanses the nation, as the remnant
Christ, the Judgment Seat of
will finally turn to their Messiah, who
Christ, the Great Tribulation,
provided the once-for-all sacrifice for them.
the millennial kingdom, the
Great White Throne Judgment
and the new Heavens and new earth in eternity. In the Old Testament God’s
wrath and judgment are referred to as the day of the Lord. Isaiah, Jeremiah,
Ezekiel, Joel, Obadiah, Zephaniah and Malachi all used this expression, as did
Peter, Paul and John in the New Testament.
The weeping of Israel, brought about by their recognition of the pierced
One, shall not be in vain (Zech. 12:11). The Lord has promised to wipe away
their tears (Isa. 65:19). The day of their weeping shall cease and be turned into
joy with the coming of the Messiah (Isa. 30:19; Psalm 30:5). What a joy it is to
The Cleansing of Israel / 119
know the promises of God. When the saints enter the eternal ages with Christ,
He will wipe away all tears (Rev. 21:4). When believers are changed and made
like Him there will be nothing left to cry about. Any tears from that point on
will be tears of joy.
The Spirit of God’s grace will be at work on the nation of Israel (Zech. 12:10).
The Lord will do for the nation what was earlier done concerning Joshua, the
High Priest (Joshua 3:3-5). They will be made ready to serve and honor the
Lord. The house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zech 12:10; 13:1)
speak of the entire nation of Israel. The Spirit of God’s grace brings with it the
“fountain” (verse 1). This speaks of a source of water, blood or tears naturally
flowing like a spring or artesian well. This is the same word used by Jeremiah
to describe the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Jer. 2:13; 17:13).
Zechariah proclaimed that the fountain shall be “opened” (Zech. 13:1).
This fountain shall break forth wide, free and be unstoppable. The Hebrew
construction speaks of continual action and permanence. The flow of the
fountain will become a river that cannot be passed over (Ezek. 47:1-5). It will
break forth and cause the desert to blossom (Isa. 35:1, 6). It was sealed up in
the Rock, Jesus Christ, but the smitten rock gushed forth with life (Ex. 17:6;
1 Cor. 10:4).
The fountain is for cleansing from
sin and uncleanness. The word sin used
Uncleanness: the basic meaning is “to
here is from the Hebrew word chatta,
wave a thing to and fro as if desiring
which speaks of habitual sinfulness
to remove it from oneself.” The idea
is that of making with the hand a
and impurity that is subject to the
sign of moving or thrusting it away in
consequences of the action. It is missing
rejection. This definition describes the
the way or mark, the failure to meet
thing in view as worthy of rejection
God’s standard. It is the transgression
and worthy of being thrust away.
of God’s Law (1 John 3:4). The word
Word Studies #5079 and #5074.
uncleanness is from the Hebrew word
niddah, and speaks of rejection because
of impurity, either personal bodily defilement (Lev. 15:19, 20, 26) or moral
filthiness (Ezek. 36:17). The cleansing of Israel’s sin is a provision the New
Covenant promised by the Lord (Jer. 31:31-34). To sanctify His name the Lord
will take the people of Israel from among the heathen and cleanse them from
all their filthiness, remove the stony heart and give them a new spirit (Ezek.
36:23-29). This is yet a great hope for the people of Israel (Rom. 11:26, 27). The
Lord and His righteousness will be vindicated.
That Jesus Christ is the cleansing fountain is clearly taught in the New
Testament. He is the Rock that followed Israel in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:4).
He is the source of the fountain filled with blood. He is the Lamb of God
and was manifested to take away our sins (John 1:29; 1 John 3:5). He is the
fountain that brings eternal life (Psalm 36:9; John 4:10-14). He is the fountain
that is offered freely to all who believe (Rev. 21:6, 17; 22:17). The day Christ
was pierced the fountain was opened and it still flows today. It was upon this
verse that William Cowper wrote his great hymn, “There is a fountain filled
with blood, Drawn from Immanuel’s veins; and sinners, plunged beneath that
120 / Zechariah 13
flood, Lose all their guilty stains.” At this fountain believers have their sins
washed away (Rev. 1:5); they are redeemed, that is, they are purchased never
to be sold or placed on the auction block again (Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18, 19); they
receive the remission of sins, that is, sin no longer has dominion over them
(Rom. 3:25); they are justified, that is, they are no longer condemned nor can
one bring a charge against them (Rom. 5:9); they are made nigh, that is, they
are close at hand and have access to God and His throne (Eph. 2:13); they have
peace, that is, they are no longer at enmity (Col. 1:20); they are continuously
cleansed (1 John 1:7-9).
ISRAEL CLEANSED OF IDOLS
AND FALSE PROPHETS
If Israel or any nation is to be clean, it necessitates the removal of all false
prophets and idols. Idols require false prophets, and both are to be removed
from God’s chosen people. Idolatry and false prophets were the besetting sins
of Israel. Despite the Law of God these both abounded in Israel throughout
the Old Testament (Deut. 18:20). The Hebrew word ‘eliyl (el-ell) is used twenty
times in the Old Testament and is used to speak of something that is useless,
good for nothing, or of no value. It is translated idols, idol and images. The
Hebrew word gillul (ghil-lool) is also translated idols forty-seven times. Its
primary meaning is a log, a carved piece of wood. The Hebrew word miphletseth
(mif-leh’tseth) is used four times and literally means “a terror or horrid thing.”
The Hebrew word shiqquts (shik-koots) refers to something that is disgusting
or filthy. We can easily see from the use of these words what the Lord thinks
of false gods and idols. The psalmist described them as unable to do anything
and those who make them, he said, are just like them (Psalm 115:4-8). The
dangers of idolatry and false teachings are always real. God’s true prophets
by God’s grace stood ready to expose and denounce the false prophets in Israel
and Judah (Jer. 23:14; Ezek. 13:3, 8). The names of the idols being cut off is a
declaration of their total annihilation (Hosea 2:17). The “unclean spirit [spirit of
uncleanness]” (Zech. 13:2) was present in the false prophets (1 Kings 22:14-23).
Such evil and unclean spirits are spoken of ten times in the New Testament.
The Lord does not tolerate false doctrine or its teachers for long. They will
answer in turn when they stand before Him in judgment (Matt. 7:22, 23).
Neither did the apostle Paul put up with those who preached a false gospel. He
strongly spoke out against them and said, “Let them be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).
We should be just as bold and ready to stand up and identify false teachers
and their doctrines (Rom. 16:17; Titus 3:10, 11). The doctrinal line must be
drawn according to the Word of God. Any deviation from the truth makes it a
lie. Paul told Timothy that false doctrine would eat away like a canker (2 Tim.
2:17). The word canker is from the Greek word gaggraina (gang´-grahee-nah),
which means “to gnaw.” It is our English word gangrene. If the disease goes
unchecked and untreated, it will continue to eat away like an ulcer or cancer
until it has consumed the whole.
In the messianic age loyalty to Christ will be a reality. The false prophet
will be an outcast to his own family (Zech. 13:3). The parents of the false
The Cleansing of Israel / 121
prophets will carry out the sentence
Prophesy: the word comes from two
as prescribed by Law (Deut. 13:5).
thoughts. The pro means to be in the
Under the Old Testament Law of
place of another, such as, with the word
Moses, parents were required to
pronoun. The latter part of the word
deliver up the rebellious son to the
means “to speak.” The meaning then is
men of their city for punishment
“to speak in the place of another.” A
(Deut. 21:18-21). Moses instructed
godly prophet spoke in the place of God.
the people of Israel that any prophet
His message might concern the past,
the present or the future. Such is not
who spoke in the name of other gods,
determined by the meaning of the word,
“even that prophet shall die” (Deut.
rather the context. Word Study #5012.
18:20). Stoning was used for capital
punishment throughout Israel’s
history, but here they were to be thrust through. In Zechariah 12:10 the same
word is translated pierced. For long years Israel and Judah embraced the
messages of the false prophets. With the coming of that day they will have
finally tired of the lies and strongly desire to hear and embrace the truth.
This turning to God from idols by the people of Israel will cause these false
prophets to be confused and put to shame. The wolves in sheep’s clothing
will be exposed for all to see
and know their folly. Both Jesus
and the apostle Paul warned the
Prophets in a Rough Garment (Zechariah
disciples and early church of such
13:4): Old Testament prophets were
false prophets (Matt. 7:15; Acts
characterized by the wearing of a rough
20:29). In an attempt to deny
haired mantle, often of the hair of camels,
their falsehoods they will change
as a sign that they prophesied in the name
their garments (Zech. 13:4). They
of the Lord. The deceiving false prophets
will no longer wear the cloak
of Israel and Judah wore their mantles with
or garments of a prophet, but
pride, arrogantly parading themselves to
the people as spokesmen for God. In the last
further lie by saying they have
days, false prophets will be so ashamed that
been simple farmers or cattlemen.
they will refuse to wear the rough haired
Clerical collars and robes cannot
mantles and will refuse to prophesy. Even
hide false teachings. In the
the parents of those deceptive prophets will
presence of the Great Prophet and
seek to bring them to justice, which carried
Messiah, Jesus Christ, they “shall
the penalty of death for prophesying falsely.
be ashamed” (verse 4) that is, they
will grow pale with fear. When
their falsehoods are exposed, they will have no place to hide. True believers
in Christ have no cause to fear the false prophet or his message (Deut. 18:22;
1 Peter 3:12-15). The rough garment spoken of refers to it being unkempt or
wild like hair that is tossed or bristling. Such a garment was made either of
untanned sheepskin or a cloak of camel’s hair. This was the garment of Elijah
and John the Baptist (2 Kings 1:8; Matt. 3:4). There are those that say, clothes
make the man but the deception of false cover will no longer work. Exposed, the
false prophets will attempt to disavow and recant (Zech 13:5). When they come
under interrogation, their lies will continue (verse 6). Since they are ministers
of Satan, they will follow his example as the father of lies (John 8:44).
122 / Zechariah 13
THE TRUE SHEPHERD
Zechariah 13:6, 7
When asked about the wounds “in thine hands” (verse 6) (literally between
your hands), it is referring to the chest and back. Such wounds betray the
ecstatic prophet who self-inflects the wounds to gain attention (1 Kings 18:28).
The “wounds in thine hands”
(Zech. 13:6) is literally
wounds between the hands,
Wound in the Hands (Zechariah 13:6): False
and refers to the lacerations
prophets would often cause themselves to be
one receives by the practice of
pierced to be brought into a state of ecstasy
believing that such a practice enabled them to
self-mutilation. Such is still
prophesy. The injuries, which would often be
practiced by both priests and
found on the chest area (between the hands),
laymen in several religions
would stand out to the righteous to identify
today. Some even go so far
those prophets as being false and deceptive. In
today as to be nailed to a cross.
the last days, false prophets will do anything to
Such actions do not get the
avoid suspicion that they would escape death
attention of God’s grace and
for their sin. The godly remnant will so desire
to rid themselves of the false prophets that they
mercy. Rather, they call His
will go to any length to expose them.
wrath to smite them for such
foolishness and blasphemy.
The word friends is from the Hebrew word ahab meaning “to have affection
for sexually”; it carries a derogatory connotation of an idolatrous lover or of
spiritual idolatry (Jer. 22:20; Ezek. 16:33; 23:5, 9). It could be translated lovers.
All idolatry, the false prophet, the beast of the end-time and Satan himself will
be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night forever (Rev. 13:1-18;
The smitten Shepherd is the pierced One of chapter 12. It is only through
Him that the people of Israel or anyone else shall be saved. There is a call
given to awake the sword “against my Shepherd” (Zech. 13:7). The metaphor of
a shepherd was used in the Old Testament to refer to national leaders (Ezek.
34:1-31). However, the reference here is not to the foolish shepherd or national
leaders. The smitten one is the Lord’s fellow or associate. The word fellow speaks
of one who is a close companion. As it
is used here, it denotes a relationship
Fellow: the meaning is “to associate as
in huddling closely together.” Such a
of equality and oneness like that of
huddling has purpose for the persons
which Jesus said existed between Him
involved in the association. The word
and His Father (John 10:30; 17:20-24).
points to a person who exists nearby
“My shepherd” (Zech. 13:7) is the Good
as a neighbor, but more than just being
Shepherd (John 10:11, 14), the Caring
there, this person is in near proximity
Shepherd (Isa. 40:11), the Great Shep
to others for mutual benefit. They are
herd (Heb. 13:20), the Soul’s Shepherd
fellows closely related in place and
activity. Word Study #5997.
(1 Peter 2:25) and the Chief Shepherd
(1 Peter 5:4).
Zechariah 13:7 changes the subject and the time of the events taking place.
At this juncture in Zechariah’s prophecy we find ourselves at the time when
the Jews rejected Jesus as the Christ. God permitted His sword to be awakened
against His own Shepherd to put Him to death for the sins of the people of Israel
The Cleansing of Israel / 123
and the world. The awakened sword is the sword of divine justice. The death
of the Messiah is viewed as an act of the Almighty God (Isa. 53:10-12; Matt.
26:31). The sword is personified as a warrior who is commanded to get ready
for action. “Awake, O sword” (Zech. 13:7). God awakens the sword to do His will
as attested to in Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:22-24). With the
shepherd smitten, the sheep quickly begin to scatter. This is a prophecy with a
double application. Jesus Himself applied it to His own disciples (Matt. 26:31,
32; Mark 14:27). However, there is a significant application to the dispersion
of the Jews who are the Lord’s national sheep. The smiting of the shepherd
began early in Israel’s history as they turned from the living God to serve idols.
The smiting also began early on during the Lord’s personal ministry when His
own rejected Him (Luke 4:16-31; John 1:11). It continued in Gethsemane with
the betrayal by Judas (Luke 22:48), at His mock trial when the crowd cried,
“Crucify him” (Luke 23:20, 21) and climaxed at Calvary where He was slain
(Luke 23:33). The people of Israel were scattered abroad to every continent
because of rejection of the Messiah, Jesus (Psalm 44:11; Ezek. 34:5, 6; 36:19;
Matt. 23:37, 38). The Lord promised, I will turn Mine hand upon the little ones.
The turning of the hand was often used to speak of chastisement (Psalm 81:14;
Isa. 1:25: Amos 1:8). But, here it speaks of love, protection and salvation (Isa.
THE REMNANT OF ISRAEL REFINED
Zechariah 13:8, 9
It is evident from a study of history that the events spoken of in these verses
have not yet occurred. There is no justifiable reason to attempt a figurative
translation of these verses to apply them to the Lord’s New Testament
church. They are to be interpreted literally and applied to a yet future time in
Jerusalem’s history. Jerusalem is an ancient city. The first mention of it in the
Bible is found in Genesis 14:18. Here, Abraham met with Melchizedek, “king
of Salem” (Jerusalem). This would date the city as far back as 2000 B.C. When
Israel came to the land of promise from Egypt, the city site was inhabited
by the Jebusites. Second Samuel 5 gives the account of how David and his
men took the city and moved the capital of Israel from Hebron to Jerusalem.
It is a sacred city to a number of religious groups. It remains the center of
Jewish religious life. It is the third most holy city of Islam. They teach that
Mohammed ascended into Heaven on his horse from an area covered by the
Dome of the Rock. This Mosque towers over the Temple mount today. At least
three groups, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Patriarchs
each have their seats in Jerusalem. Jesus said, “Jerusalem shall be trodden
down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
Jerusalem today is once again in the hands of the people of Israel. However, the
Temple mount is still under Islamic control and much of what is called East
Jerusalem is predominately populated by Arabs. The time for the fulfillment of
these prophecies and the Lord’s return is within the near future.
Before Israel is fully restored, there will be a time of devastating carnage
in the land in which two-thirds of the population will die (Zech. 13:8). The
unbelieving Jews have suffered through the wars with Rome (AD 66-72 and AD
124 / Zechariah 13
132). First, Titus came and killed thousands and took thousands more captive.
The city was destroyed and the Temple ransacked of its many treasures. In
AD 132, a man named Bar Kochba led a revolt against Rome. It has been
called the Jewish War of Freedom. The Roman Emperor Hadrian had the Jews
scattered throughout the empire. Any Jew was under the penalty of death if
he entered the city of Jerusalem. The site of the city was literally plowed over
and the name was changed to Aelia Capitolina. Pagan idols were erected on
the Temple mount. Islamic rule controlled the area from AD 628-1099. It was
during this time that the Muslim leader Omar built a mosque in Jerusalem and
Caliph Abdul Malik built the Dome of the Rock. The Crusaders came and took
control of various parts of Israel from AD 1099 to 1244. During the time of the
Crusades, Jerusalem suffered horribly. With Saladin’s defeat of the Crusaders,
the Kharezmian Tatars had control from AD 1244 until 1517. The Ottoman
Turks ruled Israel and the entire Middle East from AD 1517 until December
9, 1917. During World War I, Jerusalem was captured by the British led by
General Allenby. Jerusalem once again
became the capital under the British
Refine: the meaning is “to heat a
Mandate from 1917 until May 14, 1948
substance until it becomes liquid.”
when David Ben Gurion declared the
In the liquid form, any defiling
state of Israel. During World War II, over
substance, being foreign to the
six million Jews were killed. This was
original substance, becomes separated
and may be easily removed from the
followed by the War of Independence,
liquid. The process brings purification
the Six Day War, the Yom Kipper War,
of the substance as it purges away the
and the numerous terrorist attacks
dross. Word Study #6884.
that have killed thousands more. Their
greatest suffering is still to
come during the Tribulation
Period also referred to as “the
time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer.
The Third Part that Survives the Fire
30:7). It is during this time
(Zechariah 13:9): At the time of their
that the final purging and
national distress which arises out of the
Great Tribulation, the remnant of the nation,
salvation of Israel will occur
represented by the third, will survive that fiery
(Zech. 13:9). The refiner’s
trial, much like gold and silver survives and
fire must be hot enough to
is refined by the purifying fire of a furnace.
remove all the dross (Ezek.
That remnant will be brought through the
37:23; Malachi 3:3). In the
most trying of circumstances ever known in
time of great tribulation they
the history of the world. The purpose of the
purging is the purifying and developing of the
shall call on the name of the
faith of that remnant. Their physical deliverance
Lord. This will bring their
will be accompanied by spiritual conversion.
deliverance (Joel 2:32). The
And in harmony with the prophecy of Jeremiah
Lord has promised to hear
concerning the New Covenant, all of its
them when they call (Psalm
provisions will be finally fulfilled, which will
include the nation’s full and final renunciation
91:15; Isa. 65:24).
of its blatant idolatry.
The Lord scattered them,
but He has kept them as His
The Cleansing of Israel / 125
own, and He will call them back to Israel and unto Himself (Ezek. 11:16, 17).
The believing remnant of Israel shall be saved. “I will say, It is my people: and
they shall say, The Lord is my God” (Zech. 13:9).
The Good Shepherd is the Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God. He alone can
save and keep the sheep of Israel and the churches (Jer. 31:10; Luke 12:32;
John 10:16). When the world of sin, false prophets and false religion are being
judged, what manner of person will you be? (2 Peter 3:11-13).
THE CLEANSING OF ISRAEL
The genuine repentance of the people of Israel will become a reality. Jews
from all walks of life will weep in deep grief and sorrow when they see the scars
on the body of Jesus. They will turn to Him and be converted. Their time of
weeping will be turned to joy as they stand before Him forgiven and restored.
True to God’s Word, the nation is a burdensome stone to the Arab nations
round about them. The worst is yet to come for this tiny nation. However, with
the return of Christ and the setting up of His millennial kingdom a time of
great joy and prosperity will come to a converted and cleansed Israel. This will
be a great time of rejoicing for the saints of God, especially the New Testament
For Sunday, February 28, 2010
The Coming of the King
Zechariah chapter 14 deals with the events that will bring about the
culmination of this present age and inaugurate the messianic or millennial
kingdom of Jesus Christ. The last three verses of chapter 13 are enlarged
upon here. This is one of the most significant chapters in the Scriptures
dealing with the glorious return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. This chapter
presents a challenge to God’s people to be faithful as they watch and wait.
It is also a warning to the unsaved to get ready to meet the Lord. Jesus is
coming ready or not.
There is a wide range of opinions as to the order of the end-time events,
even among Baptists. It is highly unlikely that any two will agree totally
on all the details. Concerning the rapture there are at least five different
points of view taught among Baptists. (1) Pretribulation (first of the week)
teaches the rapture will occur before the Tribulation Period begins. (2)
Midtribulation (middle of the week) teaches the rapture will occur in the
middle of the Tribulation Period. (3) Posttribulation (end of the week)
teaches the rapture will occur at or near the end of the Tribulation Period.
(4) Split (partial) teaches the faithful church will be taken out before the
Tribulation, while the unfaithful will be left to go through the Tribulation.
(5) Prewrath teaches the saints will be raptured before the wrath of God
is poured out during the Tribulation Period, which they teach occurs when
the seventh seal is ready to be opened.
Concerning the Millennium there are three different views that are
taught: (1) Postmillennial—before 1916 there were a number of Baptists
who held to a Postmillennial view. They believed that the increasing
Christian dominance would usher in the millennial after which the Lord
would return. However, World War I, World War II, and other world events
have refuted their view. (2) Amillennial—in more recent times several
Baptist colleges have tended to be Amillennial. They teach there will be
no literal Millennium or earthly kingdom between the return of the Jesus
Christ and the final consummation of eternal Heaven age. They believe
the Millennium to be spiritual and heavenly rather than literal. (3)
Premillennial—Premillennialists believe that Christ’s coming will bring
about the establishment of His righteous and glorious kingdom here on
earth. They hold to a grammatical, historical and literal interpretation of
The Coming of the King / 127
Scripture and that the prophecies of a Messianic kingdom will literally be
fulfilled. This is the position held by the vast majority of Missionary Baptists
Do not allow the differing opinions on these subjects to discourage your
study of prophecy concerning the end-times. Instead, let it be a challenge to
adhere to the words of Jesus. “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the
master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing,
or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping” (Mark 13:35,
36). The point has been clearly made. We do not know the day or hour of His
return. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to be ready for the soon return of
the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
THE LORD IS COMING
Jesus, the Messiah, is coming again (Zech. 14:1). The word behold fixes the
reader’s attention upon this awesome situation about to unfold. What is our
situation today? Are we safe? Is there peace? Or, are we living in the perilous
times spoken of by the apostle Paul. “This know also, that in the last days
perilous times shall come” (2 Tim. 3:1). The word perilous is from the Greek
chalepos (khal-ep-os), which is used to speak of difficult, dangerous and by
implication, furious times. Where should our focus be today? Where are we
looking for the answers? We hear much today about the signs of the times.
Perhaps we have reached the day that we should be listening for the sounds of
His coming. Paul told the church at Thessalonica about these sounds. Are our
ears ready to hear the shout, the voice and the trump of God? (1 Thess. 4:16).
These blessed voices and music will be the sweetest sounds the living saints
The phrase “the day of the Lord” (Zech. 14:1) is used twenty-five times in
the Scriptures. What is learned from these passages is that it does not refer to
a twenty-four hour period or single day. It is a prophetic term used to describe
the final days or years of this present age. It is a day the Bible also refers as
“the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) and the “great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21).
The prophet Joel spoke of this time as a day of “destruction” (Joel 1:15), a day
of “alarm” (Joel 2:1), a day that shall be “great and very terrible” (Joel 2:11, 31),
a day that will bring man into “the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14). This coming
day is especially the Lord’s day. He will have complete control and authority
over this time period (Rev. 5:12, 13). Jesus will put all enemies under His feet
(1 Cor 15:24, 25). Jesus will also show the world that He is King of kings and
Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:13-16). Although this time period is yet in the future, the
day of the Lord is certain to come to pass. In that day spoil shall be divided in
Jerusalem’s streets. The attack of Satan’s allied forces will, at first, bring them
some success. So smug are they in their victory that they will divide the loot
in the midst of the city. However, their victory party will be short-lived since
their sinful pride will quickly bring about their destruction. Other passages
speak of the King of kings defeating the Gentile forces. Zechariah is the only
prophet to give the details of the last triumph of the Gentiles over Jerusalem
128 / Zechariah 14
THE NATIONS’ ASSAULT ON JERUSALEM
The nations of the world, led by the anti-Christ, will attack the city of
Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2). The gathering was announced in Zechariah 12:3. It is
the Lord who will bring this to pass. It is the Lord who said “I will gather all
nations” (Zech. 14:2). The Lord will once again use sinful man to fulfill His will.
He used Babylon to take Judah captive for seventy years so He could reclaim
His Sabbaths. He used wicked men to save Israel in the days of Joseph, even
though they were unaware of it at the time (Gen. 45:21). He also used evil men
to bring about the death of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:23).
Daniel foretold of such a battle that would be led by the little horn. The
little horn will make war and prevail for a time. “I beheld, and the same horn
made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (Dan. 7:21). The little
horn is also called “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition” and “the beast” (2
Thess. 2:3; Rev. 13:1-3). He, the little horn, will be the leader of the great
Gentile confederation of nations during the end time. This confederation will
have roots in the ancient Roman empire, the Roman Catholic Church and the
nations of Islam. The ten toes and ten horns of Daniel’s prophecy will rise up
to fulfill God’s purpose and plan (Dan. 2:41-44; 7:7, 20, 24). This final alliance
of power against the nation of Israel will be a mixture of nations and people,
like the iron and clay of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. It is well that we remember
this will not hold together any better than clay mixes with iron. The kingdom
being divided is a reference to the split within the Roman Catholic Church
that brought about the Western empire ruled from Rome, and the Eastern
empire ruled from Byzantium (Istanbul, Turkey). Saint Sophia’s, which was
the main cathedral and headquarter church for the Byzantine empire, was
once the largest church building of its kind in the world. Today the symbol of
Islam shines from its dome, and it is a Muslim museum. These are the same
ten horns and Mystery Babylon of John’s revelation of Jesus (Rev. 13:1; 17:17; 12-18). This ignoble leader will make a false peace with Israel, the Arab
nations and the powers of the north, Gog and Magog (Russia). After three and
one-half years the treaty will be broken. The anti-Christ, totally controlled by
Satan, will come from the west with his armies and enter the Holy of Holies
and declare that he is god (2 Thess. 2:4). Russia (Gog and Magog), with its
satellite nations, will move down from the north (Ezek. 38:15, 16). The AfroArab league will move from the south and neighboring nations around Israel
(Ezek. 38:5, 6). The Sino nations led by China will move in from the east across
the Euphrates River with the largest army ever put in the field of battle (Rev.
9:14-16; 16:12-14). These combined forces will take the city of Jerusalem, loot
its homes, ravish (rape) the women and take half of the people captive.
THE LORD SHALL DEFEND JERUSALEM
This alliance will appear to be strong and invincible. However, remember
the mixture is made up of iron and clay. According to Revelation 17:12, they
will only have one hour of power with the beast. The anti-Christ’s false peace
with Israel will be broken and this ungodly confederacy will make war and
prevail for a time, but the Lord shall defend Jerusalem and His chosen ones
The Coming of the King / 129
(Zech. 14:3). Battle is not new
to the Lord (Isa. 31:5; Zech.
12:8). The Lord has waged
The Lord Will Fight as When He Fought
battle on behalf of Israel
(Zechariah 14:3): When the Messiah of Israel
and Jerusalem on numerous
converges from Heaven to obliterate the
occasions. He defeated Egypt
worldwide armies of anti-Christ at the Battle of
Armageddon, it will not be the first time God
at the Red Sea by drowning
has fought for His people Israel. The day of
the army in the Red Sea
battle can refer to any occasion when the Lord
(Ex. 14:14; 15:3). In the
supernaturally intervened to deliver His people.
valley of Ajalon He caused
An example would be the Old Testament
the sun to stand still for the
account of the deliverance of God for Israel
best part of a day so Joshua
when they were fleeing from the army of the
and Israel could finish and
Pharaoh of Egypt. When the children of Israel
reached the banks of the Red Sea, the Lord
triumph in battle (Joshua
miraculously parted the sea, and the Israelites
10:13). At Mount Tabor He
crossed the sea on dry ground. When they
gave Deborah, Barak and the
reached the other side of the sea, the Egyptian
armies of Israel victory over
armies were instantly killed when they entered
Sisera and his army (Judges
the dry sea, only to have the thunderous
4:14, 15). When the people of
waters crush and drown the soldiers and their
Israel turned from their idols
horses. In the same way, the Lord will intervene
supernaturally to conquer the massive armies
to God and while Samuel was
seeking to destroy Israel.
offering a sucking lamb, the
Philistines who had gathered
at Mizpeh were discomfited by the Lord (1 Sam. 7:10). The Lord used the
praying and faithful Jehoshaphat against Ammon and Moab at Engedi. He
was told to “set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with
you” (2 Chron. 20:17).
The Lord promised to defend Jerusalem, and history has proven that
He keeps His word. During World War I, General Allenby’s British forces
surrounded Jerusalem. He hesitated to give the order to shell the old, walled
city. Instead, he called for the military chaplain to lead in a time of prayer. While
the British were praying a squadron of British biplanes flew over Jerusalem.
When the chaplain said amen and the soldiers looked up, there was a white flag
of surrender raised on the city walls. The Lord had promised, “As birds flying,
so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it;
and passing over he will preserve it” (Isa. 31:5). It was as though God allowed
Isaiah to look down twenty-six hundred years of time and see the day when
General Allenby would march into Jerusalem as the victor. Those who stand on
the Lord’s side shall always know victory (Ex. 32:26; Psalm 98:1, 2). The Lord
has only begun to fight. The battle may rage on but He will be the ultimate
victor (Ezek. 39:2, 3, 11-13; Zech. 12:2-8).
THE MANNER OF HIS COMING
His coming will be personal (Zech. 14:4). This is the only place in the Old
Testament this mountain is called by this name. David went here [Olivet] to
pray (1 Sam. 15:30). The two angels promised Christ would return to this site
130 / Zechariah 14
(Acts 1:10-12). His sudden appearance on the Mount of Olives, just east of the
old, walled city of Jerusalem, is in keeping with Zechariah 12:10. This is the
highest point around the city of Jerusalem at an elevation of 2,723 feet above
sea level. Thus, the Lord will return to deliver His chosen people, judge the
nations and establish His Kingdom (Matt. 24:27-34). A great earthquake will
bring about several topographical changes around Jerusalem and throughout
Israel. The Mount of Olives will split in half with the two halves moving to
the north and to the south. This will create a great valley that will run all
the way to the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47:1-10). The Dead Sea
fault line runs north and south
the full length of Israel from the
Red Sea, under the Dead Sea,
up the Jordan Valley and along
The Mount of Olives Shall Cleave
the eastern shore of the Sea of
(Zechariah 14:4): When the Messiah
Galilee. The Carmel-Gilboa fault
arrives in Jerusalem at His second coming,
system runs east and west from
He will set foot on the Mount of Olives,
a designation well-known in the New
the Mediterranean, through
Testament but only found in Zechariah 14
Haifa and Mount Carmel,
in the Old Testament. At the point of His
through Megiddo, and splitting
arrival, there will be an earthquake when
into three fault lines at Mount
the mountain will be divided in two, with
Gilboa, which runs to the Jordan
its split going from east to west causing
River. A fissure of the Dead Sea
the two parts of the mountain to shift to
fault called Faria Graben comes
the north and to the south. The chasm will
up from the Dead Sea and runs
cause a large valley to be formed for the
people in the city to flee from the onslaught
under the Mount of Olives and
of the anti-Semitic nations of the world.
the Temple mount. The Lord’s
Currently the Mount of Olives hinders an
descent upon the Mount of Olives
eastern escape from the city.
may well trigger these ancient
fault lines. In any case, His
return will literally shake things up in Israel. John witnessed every mountain
and island being moved (Rev. 6:14; 16:16-20).
The newly created valley will be a way of escape for embattled inhabitants
of Jerusalem (Zech. 14:5). The earthquake will create a new valley running
from Mount Moriah (the Temple Mount) through the now divided Mount of
Olives. This valley will continue to stretch through the mountains of Judea to
“Azal” (verse 5), which has not been identified. The name means to stand still,
to cease. The thought is that they are
free from danger here and no longer
Saints: the word refers to a separation
need to flee. The earthquake of Uzzof something or somebody for a divine
iah’s time is mentioned in Amos 1:1.
purpose. These persons might also be
referred to as holy ones, since the term
According to Josephus (Antiquities
holy comes from the same root meaning.
Book IX, chapter X. section 4) it ocThese are set apart or sanctified into
curred when King Uzziah went into
a chosen and recognizable position by
the Temple to offer incense (2 Chron.
the will of God. (Compare Revelation
26:16-21) Josephus wrote that the
19:14). Word Studies #6918 and 6942.
Temple, roads, mountains and the
The Coming of the King / 131
king’s garden were damaged by the
quake. Zechariah 14:5 declares that
the saints shall come with the Lord.
Light Shall Not Be Clear nor Dark
The word translated saints has ref(Zechariah 14:6): The day of the Lord
erence to that which is sacred, an anwill be unique and will be beyond
gel, or a holy One. Scriptures teach
description to the point that only the
Lord Himself knows the facts concerning
His angels will accompany the Lord
it. It will include natural phenomena
at His return (Mark 8:38). They will
which have not been typical of the past.
gather the Lord’s elect (Matt. 24:31),
The light of the day will be considerably
gather the nations for a day of judgdiminished with the absence of normal
ment (Matt. 25:31-33) and bring rest
light. However, in the evening the usual
to the troubled of the Lord (2 Thess.
darkness will give way to an unusual
light. The daytime and nighttime will
be alike, neither completely light nor
The Messiah’s return will bring
completely dark so that they can each be
about changes in the luminaries of
classified as neither day nor night. There
heaven (Zech. 14:6). The luminaries
will be no light on the earth until the
will not give the proper light. The
judgment and suffering associated with
word dark is from a Hebrew word
the Battle of Armageddon will be over.
meaning “to shrink, dwindle, or
thicken as a clouded sky.” Both Isaiah
and Amos foretold of such events in “the day of the Lord (Isa. 13:9, 10; Amos
5:18). Jesus also spoke of such a day at His return (Matt. 24:29, 30).
It is a day and time that is known only to God (Zech. 14:7; Matt. 24:36). The
words one day speaks of its uniqueness. It will be a day unparalleled by any
other event in history this side of the resurrection of Christ. The appearance
will change the day from darkness and gloom to light. The brightness of His
coming will illuminate greatly against such a sky. At the darkest hour His
glory will dispel the gloom for in Him is no darkness (1 John 1:5).
THE RESULTS OF HIS COMING
In that day Jerusalem will
be a source of blessing (Zech.
14:8). Living waters flowing from
Jerusalem will cover the entire land
west to the Mediterranean, east to
the Dead Sea and south through
the desert to the Red Sea. It will
flow year round “summer and in
winter” (verse 8). These are the two
longest seasons in Israel. Ezekiel
witnessed a river with much fish
and fisherman (Ezek. 47:7-10). Its
waters will produce trees for meat
and the healing of the nations
(Ezek. 47:12; Rev. 22:2).
Jerusalem will become the world’s
capital (Zech. 14:9). Jerusalem will
Living Waters from Jerusalem (Zechariah
14:8): The rivers and streams of Palestine,
which are between the Mediterranean
Sea on the west and the Dead Sea in the
southeast, usually dry up completely
during the hot summer months of that
arid region. During the winter months,
marked by rain, those bodies of water are
temporarily replenished. But on that day
of the Lord, when Jesus steps foot on the
Mount of Olives, those bodies of water
which are deplete during the summer,
will continue to be replenished and will
never dry up. The water supply will be
constant in both summer and winter.
132 / Zechariah 14
become the world’s center for
worship, leadership and commerce
One Lord: the meaning of Lord originates
(Ezek. 5:5). Several ancient maps
in the idea of existing or being, as God
picture Jerusalem as the center
referred to Himself as “I am.” The name
of the earth. The Lord will be
for Lord, Jehovah, is the purest theological
and liturigical form of any reference to
the only Potentate reigning as
God. The name presents God as revealing
King of kings and Lord of lords (1
Himself to His creation. Jehovah is that
Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:14; 19:16). The
primary expression that men may know and
Messiah will reign in Jerusalem
recognize. The word for one comes from
seated on the throne of David.
the idea of unity and collectiveness. God has
Isaiah prophesied of such a day
presented Himself as one Jehovah. Word
(Isa. 24:23). The angel Gabriel
Studies #3068, #1933, #258 and #259.
promised such a day (Luke 1:32,
33), and John witnessed the
fulfillment (Rev. 11:15; 19:15)
Jerusalem will be topograph
ically lifted up and inhabited
The Plague (Zechariah 14:12): At the
conclusion of the victory of the Lamb against
(Zech. 14:10). The hill country of
those who invade Israel, the invading
Judea will become “as a plain.”
armies will suffer an overwhelming plague.
Geba (modern Jeba) marks
The flesh of the soldiers will actually melt
the border six miles northeast
from their bones, their eyes will dissolve in
of Jerusalem. Rimmon (also
their sockets, and their tongues will melt
En-rimmon; modern Khirber
from their mouths. It will be a living death,
previously unknown. Historically, the armies
of the east usually brought their gold, silver
miles southwest of Jerusalem
and fine apparel to battle with them. At that
and nine miles north of Beertime those things will be taken as spoils in
Sheba in the Negeb Desert. The
Israel. The enemies of the Lamb will also
surrounding terrain leveled,
have complete confusion supernaturally
Jerusalem will be lifted up to
administered to them. Additionally, animals
dominate the landscape (Isa. 2:2;
such as horses, mules, camels and every
Micah 4:1). Five landmarks are
other beast in the camps of the enemies of
the Lord and His people, will suffer the same
fate as their human masters. God’s visitation
Gate (Sheep Gate) was near the
of wrath will not be spared on His enemies.
northeast corner of the city, the
First Gate was in the eastern
wall, the Corner Gate was at the northwest corner, the Tower of Hananeel
on the north wall and the king’s winepress was near the king’s garden at
the southeast corner. This shows that the whole city will be elevated. Unlike
Zechariah’s day when the city was sparsely populated (Neh. 7:4; 11:1), the city
will be filled with people.
Jerusalem will be a safe and secure city (Zech. 14:11). Under divine care,
Jerusalem will be protected by the plague on all who will fight against
Jerusalem (verse 12). The Lord will protect by sending tumult (confusion) upon
the enemy (verse 13). It will be protected by the sword of Judah who will rise
up to fight (verse 14). It will be protected by the total defeat of the enemy and
all that pertains to it (verse 15). Only when the Lord, the righteous Branch,
The Coming of the King / 133
is on David’s throne will Jerusalem and
its people know such security (Jer. 23:5, 6; Safety: the word refers to both
fact and feeling. It presents the
fact of a place of safety or refuge.
Jerusalem will become the center for
This is a place where no harm
worship (Zech. 14:16). Jerusalem will not
will come to its inhabitants. The
word also represents the feeling
only be the center of political activity on
of safety, as the inhabitants feel
the earth, but it shall also be the religious
free from danger. They trust in
center. Worship will not be an option but
this place with assurance in heart
mandatory (verse 17). “And many people
of their safety. Word Study #983.
shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up
to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of
the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths:
for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem”
(Isa. 2:3). There will be showers of blessing for the faithful worshiper (Ezek.
34:25-28). Remember all idols and false teachers have been removed (Zech.
13:2). The Lord will make an example of Egypt or any nation that rebels in that
day (Zech. 14:18, 19). Egypt is singled out as a special example because they
are the most ancient of Israel’s enemies.
While it rarely rains in arid Egypt today,
Tumult: the meaning refers to an
their Nile valley life depends on the rains
emotional condition that causes
which fall in the inland mountains.
a noisy excitement, such as a
fearful panic. While it suggests a
The Feast of the Tabernacles celebrated
state of fear and uneasiness, the
the Lord’s care of Israel (Lev. 23:34-36; Ezra
word points toward the resulting
3:4, 5). This is the last of the sacred holidays
action, the panic. It means “the
under the old covenant. It began five days
fearful make a roaring noise like
a panicking mob, distraught with
after the Day of Atonement and lasted for
fear.” Word Study #4103.
eight days. It is also called the Feast of
Booths, or the Feast of the Ingathering. The
Jewish people looked upon this time as walking with God. This feast was a
solemn assembly. It was a memorable feast to commemorate the time they
dwelt in booths in the wilderness, and when God dwelt in the midst of them
in a cloudy pillar. This was when Israel literally walked with God. When the
battle is over and we enter into the millennial age, the saints will walk with the
Lord. The Lord promised the faithful saints at Sardis who had not defiled their
garments, “and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy” (Rev.
3:4). During that time, the tabernacle of God will be with us (Rev. 21:3). That
handful of corn in the earth shall shake like Lebanon. Great shall be the day of
the ingathering of God’s harvest of His saints (Psalm 72:16-19). The sacrifices
during this feast were more numerous than at any other time of the year. The
whole time of the feast was a joyous occasion.
Jerusalem will be a holy city. Once polluted and unclean, the fountain will
make it holy (Zech 14:20). “HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD” was inscribed on
the mitre (turban) of the high priest (Ex. 28:36). The everyday domestic things
134 / Zechariah 14
will also be made holy (Zech 14:21). The unregenerate heathen will be removed
from the hour of the Lord (verse 21). Zechariah, the Lord remembers, echoed
throughout his ministry that the Lord God of Israel has not forgotten His
people (Isa. 49:14, 15).
CONCLUSION: THE COMING OF THE KING
The Lord has waged the battle on behalf of Israel and Jerusalem on numerous
occasions. He has never lost a battle. The Lord has won the battle for you and
me! The battle is the Lord’s against sin (Rom. 6:17, 18; 8:2). This battle has
raged since the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden. By his transgression sin
entered into the world and has been passed on to every man (Rom. 5:12). The
Lord established the wages of sin as death (Rom. 6:23). On our own we would
stand defeated, but the battle is the Lord’s. He won over sin. Although He was
tempted in every point as we are, He was without sin (Heb. 4:15). He did not
know or do any sin (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22).
The Lord fought the battle against the devil and won. Satan tried to tempt
Him but failed. Against every test Jesus quoted from the Scriptures, and Satan
went down in defeat (Matt. 4:1-11). One of the primary reasons Jesus came
to earth was to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). As a result of this
victory, every child of God can claim victory over the temptations of Satan,
“because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John
The Lord fought the battle over death, hell and the grave. Death could not
claim Him, hell could not condemn Him, and the grave could hold Him (Rev.
1:18). This is a victory for every believer. We shall sing the victory song for we
are more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37). “O death, where is thy sting? O grave,
where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the
law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ” (1 Cor. 15:55-57).
The Bible and history teach and prove “the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sam.
17:47). The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:26). Faith
says, “With us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles” (2 Chron.
32:8). And, when the battle is over, we shall wear a crown.
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