Old Testament: Zechariah 10:1-11:17
Zechariah 10:1-11:17 Singing In The Rain
In Chapter 10, Zechariah sees Judah and Ephraim restored to their place in the land. Ephraim was one of Joseph’s son’s and often used to stand for the entire northern kingdom (cf. Hosea 10:6; 11:8, 12).
Rain can be a symbol of the Holy Spirit (v. 1, cf. 12:10; Isa. 32:15; 44:3; Ezek. 29:39; Hos. 6:3; Joel 2:23-32). This is implied in verse 1, though, rain would have to refer to literal rain as well. It was needed for the prosperity promised in the rest of the chapter.
The Messiah is predicted in verse 4 (cf. Isa. 28:16). Yahweh will return all the exiles from where they are scattered back into the land in the Millennium (v. 10). Assyria and Egypt are figurative of all nations where the Jews have been dispersed and they will be punished (v. 11). The Jews’ relationship with the Lord will be re-established (v. 12).
In Chapter 11, the fall of Jerusalem is portrayed in the first few verses (vv. 1-3). The false prophets lament that they have been exposed (v. 3).
Yahweh, though, pasturing the flock of Israel was going to let part of it die. Part was represented by a staff called “Favor” and the other by a staff named “Union” (v. 7). He broke the staff called Favor to indicate His break with them.
They insulted the Shepherd/Messiah by giving Him the wages of a slave (vv. 12 -13; Exod. 21:32; Matt. 27:3-7). The money was thrown over to the potter, ironically, the name of the field, the Potter’s Field, bought by the thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas for his services (Matt. 27: 7; cf. Jer. 32:6-9). The “magnificent price” of verse 13 is a sarcastic statement.
Zechariah was told by Yahweh to play the part of a “foolish” shepherd, also picturing the work of the Antichrist in the end time (v. 15). Yahweh pronounces a “woe” on that type of leader (v. 17).
New Testament: Revelation 18:1-24
Revelation 18:1-24 No Singing In The Reign
Chapters 17 and 18 go together. Chapter 17 is the judgment on the worldwide religious system that supports the Antichrist. It is eventually eaten up by the political system seen in chapter 18 (cf. Rev. 17:16).
An radiant angel came down from Heaven to announce that the great world system, Babylon the Great, had collapsed (v. 2, cf. 1 John 2:15-16). This system is so rotten that it is described as a home for demons, unclean spirits, unclean birds and nations who have feasted on its immorality (v. 3).
A voice came from Heaven exhorting believers to stay away from this system because it will be punished double for all it was responsible for (v. 6). This system which has provided the gain for so many for so long will be destroyed in one day (v. 8a). The Lord will use plagues, pestilence and fire to judge it (v. 8b).
All of the leaders who profited from this system will mourn over its destruction which occurs in a very short time (v. 9). The merchants have lost all their customers in a brief time (“one hour,” vv. 10, 17, 19). Although all the crooks who made money off this system mourned, believers rejoiced at its destruction. After all, they wouldn’t have taken the mark of the beast and would have had trouble purchasing anything for the previous seven years in the Tribulation (v. 20) although much mentioned in verses 11 – 19 are luxury items (spec. v. 14).
A strong angel (it would take a strong angel) sunk Babylon, the city, by tying a millstone on it and dropping it into the sea (v. 21). All music went along with it (v. 22a). All iPods and boomboxes must’ve shorted out. Can you imagine this generation without their music? The lights went out (v. 23) and all the contractors immediately found themselves out of work (v. 22b). No one was getting married anymore (cf. Matt. 24:38). The word for “sorcery” (v. 23) in the Greek is pharmakeia implying people were possibly deceived by taking too many drugs. They certainly are being deceived by Satan.
The blood of the prophets and believers who had been killed in the great city is found in her ruins (v. 24).
Psalm 146:1-10 Help! I Need Somebody A Hymn By Anonymous
Proverbs 30:33 Nose Pickin’
Years ago, I used to teach a college-age class at a huge church in Atlanta. Most of the students were Georgia Tech guys. They were probably the most intelligent people I’ve ever taught.
I was explaining the cosmological argument for God to them. The cosmological argument is based on cause and effect. It states that for every effect there is an cause. And for that effect there is a cause. And that cause is the fact of the previous cause. And so on back, in an infinite chain of causes and effects. But there can’t be an infinite chain of effects. There must be a First Cause. That First Cause is God.
I thought it would take a while to explain that to the group of GT people. But they understood it before I even finished the proof. I was impressed.
You probably now understand verse 33. Agur did. He’s saying that, inevitably, when you mash fresh milk, you will end up with butter (v. 33a). If you pick at your nose, you will end up with a nosebleed (v. 33b).
By the same logic, you will have a fight breaking out on your hands, if you put a bunch of angry people together in close quarters (cf. 2 Tim. 2:23). Norman Geisler has basically said that that is a definition of Hell. He says it’s a bunch of selfish people together in close quarters. He said that would be Hell. It would be.
On the other hand, Christians are to renew their minds (cf. Rom. 12:2). If you immerse yourself in the Bible, you will have life and peace (cf. John 1:1; 14:6; 14:27; 16:33).
All effects have causes. All causes have effects. At least as far as men are concerned.
What effects will you cause?
Choose Life: Scripture: Zechariah 11:17 NASB “Meet The Fleecers”
“Woe to the worthless shepherd Who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm And on his right eye! His arm will be totally withered And his right eye will be blind.” Zechariah 11:17
I was called a “hireling” once by one of the local pastors (cf. John 10:12, KJV). He explained himself by saying that I lived far from the church I served. I told him I couldn’t afford a house in the area of the church on what my wife and I were making together. I didn’t bother to tell him I couldn’t sell our house either since we were behind on our payments. We eventually went into bankruptcy to save the house to keep a roof over our heads. I hope his pastor friend saw us, not long after that, at his food bank. We had to go every week for a while to make it through pay periods. We’re doing a little bit better now. And don’t feel sorry for us. We learned how to trust the Lord for everything and be “bond-servants” (cf. Rom. 1:1 and almost every other 1:1 in Paul’s letters, as well as James 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:1; Jude 1; Rev. 1:1).
He was a pastor who was well-paid but preaching what I considered a heresy. He believed that it was not necessary to choose God. A person should just try to tell if he or she was “called” or not. What a breach of grace! In case you’re wondering, you don’t have to be wait to be called. YOU ARE CALLED! Answer the phone! (“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost” Isa. 55:1, NASB). At least answer the door! (cf. Rev. 3:20). Don’t wait! Today is the day of salvation (cf. 2 Cor. 6:2).
I would say that pastors who hold to that false doctrine are antichrists (1 John 2:18). There were already many antichrists in John’s day and now there are even more. Here are some:
1) Pastors who tell you to clean up your life before you’re saved (!) (Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Pet. 1:14-16, both passages addressed to those who had already trusted Christ, never before!)
2) Pastors who tell you you can lose your salvation (!) (John 10:28-29; 1 John 5:13; John 5:24)
3) Pastors who tell you to give ten percent of your income or you’re sinning (!) and won’t “prosper” (cf. 2 Cor. 8:12, 15; 1 Cor. 16:2)
4) Pastors who tell you if you have more good works than bad works, you will eventually make it into Heaven (Eph. 2:8-9)
5) Pastors who tell you can get to Heaven without Christ (John 14:6)
6) Pastors who don’t tell you about the bema seat judgment for rewards for Christians (Rom. 14:10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10)
7) Pastors who don’t warn people about the Great White Throne Judgment and Hell (Rev. 20:11, 12, 15)
If you’re not in God’s grace place, you are in danger of being a false prophet! Or taken in by one!
But the greatest part of the Christian life is to be in the Grace Place! Go there and then spread that grace to others! (See blog The Grace Place.)
If you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Review the above and make sure you’re not being fleeced by YOUR pastor. Is he preaching the Word? Or is he preaching a religion that’s been handed down to him? One thing I’ve learned in the past forty-something years of being a Christian is don’t trust anything that’s not in the Bible. No matter how good or even traditional it might sound, don’t trust it!
Here are a few:
Tithing: see above, it’s not in the New Testament (in the gospels, Christ was speaking to people before the new covenant)
Substitutionary atonement (Christ died for our sins) is not mentioned in the Apostle’s Creed
“God helps those who help themselves” (Ben Franklin, not Scripture!)
What are your beliefs? Do you know of Scripture to back them all up? Is everything your church teaches scriptural? You don’t have to leave your church if it’s not perfect but if the heresy is significant, you may have to ask God for another place to go.
And if you do, you’ll get free.
And you’ll be blessed.
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: No Singing In The Reign