“Ask the Lord for rain in the season of spring rain. The Lord makes the rain clouds and He will give them showers of rain and crops in the field for everyone. For their idols speak falsehood, and the diviners see illusions; they relate empty dreams and offer empty comfort. Therefore, the people wander like sheep; they suffer affliction because there is no shepherd. My anger burns against the shepherds, so I will punish the leaders. For the Lord of Hosts tended His flock, the house of Judah; He will make them like His majestic steed in battle. From them will come the cornerstone, from them the tent peg, from them the battle bow, from them every ruler.” Zechariah 10:1-4
Today’s chapter details a time when another Remnant of Israel will again reach out to Him, whom they once “spurned” as the Anointed One. From verses 6 and 7, we see that the Remnant will not merely come from Judah but will represent all twelve tribes. These are those brought into blessing and who will settle in the land of their fathers, never more to be uprooted by an enemy’s hand. This chapter communicates more than simple immigration of Jews to the land of Israel. It carries with it the implication of returning to the Lord through Messiah and being restored to the land. In that sense, a Jewish person may immigrate to modern Israel, yet not be fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy if they do not embrace Jesus as Messiah. Furthermore, suppose a Jewish person comes to faith in Jesus and never moves to Israel in their lifetime. In that case, they fulfill Zechariah’s prophecy because Scripture promises they will eventually reside in the New Jerusalem. (Revelation 21:2)
Considering agriculture & meteorology, without the latter rain (Joel 2:23), Israel becomes little better than a desert wilderness. Under natural conditions, the former and latter rains are required to ensure agriculture, and hence, the prosperity of the people. Therefore, we should not be surprised to find the prophets using these “rains” in a figurative sense.
Spiritually, Israel (in her history) had received her former rain when God blessed her by allowing her to be a nation and His Temple established in Jerusalem. But a long season of drought had set in, triggered by her idolatry. Zechariah encouraged them to look up again and ask the Lord for “rain in the time of the spring rain.” In response to their request, God pledged Himself to give them showers of blessing. There is no doubt that Zechariah is speaking prophetically of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit predicted by Joel. It would be Israel’s “latter rain.” But for us, looking forward, the giving of the Holy Spirit constitutes our former rain. We are still awaiting our latter rain when the Holy Spirit works mightily again in this present season of spiritual drought. This will be a brief time before Jesus returns, resulting in a revival that includes Jewish people.
Until then, a spiritual famine of sorts prevails. Yes, Jewish people are coming to faith (and in increasingly significant numbers) in our day; but since the days of Jesus, they have primarily been like “sheep without a shepherd,” blindly following blind guides. (Mark 6:34) That is why our proper understanding (and preaching) of God’s Word is so important: We don’t know how long the Lord will tarry, so we cannot assume our present Jewish friends will be part of this prophesied revival. We must preach as if He will tarry!
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