Pastor Steve has personally written a daily devotional of every chapter of the Bible.
Move your relationship with the Lord beyond weekly church attendance to include a
daily appointment with the Holy Spirit
through these chapter-by-chapter Bible teachings.
“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.”
“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!
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious...”
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9
The book of Zechariah divides into two parts. The second division embraces chapters 7-14. Chapters 9-11 deal with the coming of Messiah, Jesus, and His rejection by Judah. (Chapters 12-14 follow with the inspired account of Jesus’ second coming and His acceptance by the repentant Remnant.)
Israel’s refusal of the Messiah was connected with the state of moral decline into which the people had fallen long before. The cross was just the culmination of a course of willful hardening that had been going on since the days when Moses was guiding Israel through the wilderness. Because of this “willful hardening” of the heart, Israel suffered various captivities; and many afflictions had come upon them. When these Divine disciplinary rebukes resulted in true repentance, God mercifully relented His rebuke. It was such repentance that Israel was called to in chapters 7 & 8.
In chapter 9, the prophet begins speaking of the coming of the Savior King and how hearts must be prepared to receive Him. Today’s passage is quoted in three of the four gospels: Matthew 21:2-5; Mark 11:1-9; Luke 19:28-35, and all three speak of the direct fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy.
And what an accurate prophecy it was! Try and visualize, if you will, Jesus riding into Jerusalem amid the welcoming cries of His disciples, a “remnant” from among those who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. They all cried out, “Hosanna!” which literally translates, “Save us now!” Surely, they saw Jesus as the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prediction. In this way, Jesus came as the Prince of Peace, the chief Cornerstone of the rebuilding of Israel’s worship, only to be despised and cast away as a stonemason casts off a rock unfit for construction.
But when Jesus comes a second time, it will not be as the humble Prince who rides His donkey through the streets while His disciples herald his arrival. No, in the second coming, He will present Himself as the Warrior-King on the white horse of victorious judgment. (Revelation 19)
But between verses 9 & 10, this entire dispensation of grace comes in; it is evident that the latter part of chapter 9 has never been fulfilled. The King came but was refused. His cross has become the sign of salvation for all who trust in Him, while He Himself has taken His seated beside the Father in the Heavens. Never, for even one hour, has He occupied the throne of David. He will take that throne when He descends from the Heavens with power and great glory. Then He will cut off all the enemies of Jerusalem, and “He will proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion will extend from sea to sea, from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:10b. Only when He appears in person will Zechariah’s words fully have come to pass.
“The Lord of Hosts says this’: ‘Though it may seem incredible to the remnant of this people in those days, should it also seem incredible to Me...”
“The Lord of Hosts says this’: ‘Though it may seem incredible to the remnant of this people in those days, should it also seem incredible to Me?' – the declaration of the Lord of hosts. The Lord of Hosts says this: ‘I will save My people from the land of the East and the land of the West. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem. They will be My people, and I will be their faithful and righteous God.’ The Lord of Host says this: ‘Let your hands be strong, you who now hear these words that the prophets spoke when the foundations were laid for the rebuilding of the Temple, the house of the Lord of Hosts. For prior to those days neither man nor beast had wages. There was no safety from the enemy for anyone who came or went, for I turned everyone against his neighbor. But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days’ – the declaration of the Lord of Hosts.” Zechariah 8:6-11
Today’s chapter is another one of those incredibly encouraging, exhorting, and uplifting sections of Scripture. Yet, we will only focus on a small portion of it. But what a portion it is!
Have you ever thought to pray for something yet paused and said to yourself, “That would be asking too much of the Lord.”? I have. But God’s statement to Israel conveys precisely the opposite sentiment. He tells Israel that what may seem incredible to them is commonplace to Him. Split a sea in two? No problem. Speak the cosmos into existence with a single word? Easy. When we align ourselves with His Word, we begin to take on His character. We want the things He wants and seek His will over ours (or the world’s will). Then, we know what to pray for. Therefore, if you are pursuing such Godly Biblical “alignment,” pray away! God, through His Spirit, will guide you and teach you that some of the things we used to pray for were Worldly and trivial; and He will direct you toward His heart. It is amazing when our prayers are God-led because that is when we see what is humanly impossible materialize before our eyes.
This is what God is telling the remnant of Israel: He is saying that a day will come when Jerusalem will be rebuilt, restored, and re-populated. It seemed impossible to the Babylonian remnant, standing amidst the dirt & rubble of their destroyed city. It seemed impossible in 1948, just before Israel was again reformed, seemingly overnight, and it will seem impossible in the days of Antichrist, when evil will dominate the world, threatening to annihilate all who follow the Lord. More than simply rebuilding the city, the Lord will literally lower the “New Jerusalem” from Heaven. Seems far-fetched? It is not for God, especially in light of all the other “miracles” documented in the Bible.
God will save His people from the West and East. The West, with its “Liberty without accountability” mindset, and the East, with its “Discipline without personal relationship” ideals will both be laid to waste; out from the East & West will come true accountable disciples with freedom in their personal relationship with Messiah Jesus. We must take in the words of the prophets that everything we need will be eternally provided-for, in God’s timing & wisdom. It is planned. The Lord has declared it.
“The word of the Lord came to me: “Take an offering from the exiles, from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon...”
“The word of the Lord came to me: “Take an offering from the exiles, from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go that same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. Take silver and gold, make crowns and place them on the head of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. You are to tell him: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Here is a man whose name is Branch; He will branch out from His place and build the Lord’s temple. Yes, He will build the Lord’s temple; He will be clothed in splendor and will sit on His throne and rule. There will also be a priest on His throne, and there will be peaceful counsel between the two of them.” Zechariah 6:9-13
After eight visions, the Lord directs Zechariah to carry out a symbolic act with significant Messianic implications. Zechariah was told to take silver and gold from the relatively small number of exiles who had returned to Jerusalem and fashion a crown to be placed on the head of the high priest. It was to encourage them and demonstrate that God had a plan, and their return was part of a greater deliverance.
But there is a problem. High priests are not to be crowned kings. The kingship was exclusively given to the family of David from the tribe of Judah, and the priesthood went to Aaron’s descendants from the tribe of Levi. So, why would the Lord tell Zechariah to crown a high priest as King? God is sending a message concerning Messiah, Who will be both High Priest and King, forever. We know this because God tells Zechariah this Priest/King will be named “the Branch,” specifically, a name given to Messiah throughout history.
“In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.” Isaiah 4:2
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Isaiah 11:1
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.’” Jeremiah 23:5
“In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; He will do what is just and right in the land.” Jeremiah 33:15
Interestingly, God says, “Here is THE MAN whose Name is the Branch,” the same words Pilate used to present Jesus: “Behold the man” John 19:5
Thus, we get another clear picture that Jesus’ advent, some 2000 years ago, was not arbitrary but has been planned since before time began. (Micah 5:2; Revelation 13:8; John 1:1-14)
“I looked up and saw a flying scroll. ‘What do you see’ he asked me. ‘I see a flying scroll,’ I replied, ’30 feet long and 15 feet wide.’ Then he said to me...”
“I looked up and saw a flying scroll. ‘What do you see’ he asked me. ‘I see a flying scroll,’ I replied, ’30 feet long and 15 feet wide.’ Then he said to me, ‘This is the curse that is going out over the whole land, for every thief will be removed according to what is written on one side, and everyone who swears falsely will be removed according to what is written on the other side. I will send it out,’ – the declaration of the Lord of Hosts – ‘and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name. It will stay inside his house and destroy it with its timbers and stones.’” Zechariah 5:1-4
In Sikeston, Missouri, there is a famous restaurant called Lambert’s Cafe. Lambert’s is known as “The home of the throwed roll.” That is, whenever the dinner rolls are baked and just hot from the oven, the cook steps just outside the kitchen and yells, “Who wants a roll?” If you want a roll (and everyone wants a roll), you raise your hand, and the cook proceeds to throw your roll across the room to your table! Better yet, bring a catcher’s mitt!
Today’s chapter in the King James Bible is titled “The Flying Roll.”. My Bible titles the chapter “The Flying Scroll,” which is more accurate to the prophecy. Having left the Angel of the Lord, Zechariah is back with his “interpreting angel,” who explains the meaning of the scroll and its curse on all who steal and swear falsely by the Name of the Lord. Everyone knows what a thief is, but what does it mean to “swear falsely” by the Lord’s Name? Let’s start with what it does not mean. It does not mean to use the Lord’s Name as a swear word or as a curse. The offense is much deeper than that. To swear by the name of the Lord is more closely related to the third commandment: Do not take the Lord’s Name in vain. To understand taking (or using) the Lord’s name in vain, it helps to think of our relationship with Him in terms of a marriage. When two people get married, the bride generally takes the husband’s last name as her own. Anyone seriously studying the Bible knows that God often describes His relationship with Israel as that of a husband and wife. Furthermore, the New Testament refers to Jesus as the “groom” and The Church as His “bride.” It also commands men to love their wives as Messiah loves the Church.
Now, imagine a man and a woman get married and (as is the cultural norm) the woman takes the man’s last name as her own. But what if the woman refuses to live faithfully to her husband and flaunts her adulterous lifestyle? She would have received her husband’s name, but in vain, because she had rejected the essence of marriage: faithfulness. Now, imagine if she went around town telling people that her “husband” was saying things he never said, nor would he ever intend to say? This was Israel in Zechariah’s day. Israel wanted the benefits of being God’s “bride” and would swear to be faithful to Him. Still, all the while, she was practicing idolatry, serving other gods, all the while claiming that her “husband” had authorized such behavior. Just as an unfaithful woman will eventually face the wrath of a jealous husband, Israel was about to face the wrath God was storing–up for her punishment. 80% of American households have a Bible in them. On average, they have 2 Bibles. Far from a “flying scroll,” there is a “lying scroll,” i.e., a Bible lying around most American homes that testifies against all who refuse to read and obey it.
“So he answered me, ‘This is the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts. What are you, great mountain?”
“So he answered me, ‘This is the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts. What are you, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel, you will become a plain. And he will bring out the capstone accompanied by shouts of: Grace, grace to it!’ Then the Word of the Lord came to me: Zerubbabel’s hands have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me to you. For who scorns the day of small things? These seven eyes of the Lord, which scan throughout the earth, will rejoice when they see a plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Zechariah 4:6-10
When I was in college, I ran cross-country and long-distance track. I had a guilty pleasure back in those days. I used to laugh when the young runners would compete in their first college races. They would always start out in first place, but most of them would be rounding out the last place by the race’s end. That is because they had not developed a significant mileage “base,” which is essential for enduring long races at fast paces. Long-distance runners cannot have sprinters’ strategies. Otherwise, they burn out too fast.
As briefly mentioned in yesterday’s devotional, Zerubbabel was the uncrowned heir of David’s line. It was his job to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Another son of David’s, Solomon, had built the original Temple. Yet another known as the “Son of David,” Jesus, would come later and, indeed, He has gone ahead of us, not just to build another Temple, but to prepare a whole New Jerusalem for those who faithfully believe in Him. Zerubbabel was a building contractor. As such, he had a long-distance runner’s mindset. To finish his task, it took a step-by-faithful-step strategy.
If you have ever been on a large-scale construction site toward the end of construction, you have probably noticed it was pretty impressive. But construction is unimpressive for the first 2/3 of the build. That is because any good contractor knows the importance of building a proper foundation. Wise contractors don’t get over-excited about getting the walls & roof built. They level the ground, wait for it to settle, then they steamroll it, grate it, wait…then pour the foundation. After that, everything seems to go quite quickly.
The same is true with our spiritual growth. Often, we are too concerned with producing the “fruit” of evangelism that we neglect to lay a strong Biblical foundation. We ask, ‘Where’s the fruit?” but whoever asks about the foundation? That is why many talented young believers have successful ministry experiences and then quickly crash & burn. Sadly, the whole Messianic community suffers unnecessarily simply because people would rather be sprinters than long-distance runners!
God tells us that we should not scorn the day of “small things.” There is power in doing simple things diligently: Bible study, prayer, seeking His will above ours. You may not be a huge “fruit producer” initially. But foundational disciplines are “root builders,” growing seeds of readiness & righteousness. The Lord, in His timing, provides the might & strength needed for spiritual success, according to His will, which we have learned from reading His Word and experiencing His faithfulness when we obey Him.
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, with Satan standing at his right side..."
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, with Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Angel of the Lord said to Satan: ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! May the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Isn’t this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’ Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the Angel. As He spoke to those standing before Him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes!’ Then He said to him, ‘See, I have removed your guilt from you, and I will clothe you in splendid robes.’” Zechariah 3:1-4
Today’s chapter is so full of theological “gold” that it seems shameful to limit the exposition to one aspect. Still, we have our limits with these daily devotionals. I always recommend you dig further into a good commentary to help you “mine” all the gold there is.
There were three significant “Joshuas” in the Bible. First, there is Joshua, son of Nun, who led Israel into the Promised Land. There is, of course, “Yeshua” (a form of the name Joshua), known by most of the World as “Jesus,” the Messiah. And there is today’s “Joshua,” high priest and associate of Zerubbabel, and the uncrowned heir of David’s line. In essence, Jesus was a combination of the two “Joshuas.” He is our great High Priest who atones for our sin, and He is leading us to the New Jerusalem.
In today’s passage, Joshua, the high priest, is standing before the Angel of the Lord as if for judgment. At his right-hand stands Satan, the Accuser, the never-ceasing accuser of God’s people. We see this scene of Satan the Accuser, at least three other places in Scripture:
“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing” Satan replied.” Job 1:6
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus the Messiah, the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the whole World.” 1 John 2:1-2
God’s great grace and mercy is that, even though Joshua was standing next to Satan the Accuser and was wearing filthy clothes (instead of the usual spotless garments of the priesthood), God rebuked Satan before he could speak. And, He gave Joshua new clothes. As the high priest, whose job was to atone for the sin of the community, new clothes for Joshua meant forgiveness for the community. Who could ask for more? Satan is silenced, and righteousness is extended by grace. Sounds like Jesus to me!
“‘Daughter Zion, shout for joy and be glad for I am coming to dwell among you’ – the Lord’s declaration. ‘Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day and become My people.”
“‘Daughter Zion, shout for joy and be glad for I am coming to dwell among you’ – the Lord’s declaration. ‘Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day and become My people. I will dwell among you, and you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me to you. The Lord will take possession of Judah as His portion in the Holy Land, and He will once again choose Jerusalem. Let all the people be silent before the Lord, for He is coming from His holy dwelling.’” Zechariah 2:10-13
Today’s chapter contains only one vision – that of a man with a measuring line in his hand. Upon seeing him, Zechariah asks where he is going. The man replies, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and length.” At this, the interpreting angel left the prophet’s side and went to meet another angel who was coming toward him. The latter cried, “Run, speak to this young man, saying Jerusalem will be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle inside her; for I, says the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire around her, and will be the glory in the midst of her.”
Important to note is that the Mormons foolishly believe the young man with the measuring line to be Joseph Smith (the false prophet) and the angel to be Moroni, who is fabled to have revealed to him the golden plates of the book of Mormon. I point this out simply to illustrate that people fall into such cults, primarily because they are Biblically illiterate. Even the most casual reading of today’s chapter would make clear that it has no reference to a “Zion” in America but is ultimately connected to what has gone before and follows after, as to Jerusalem and the land of Israel.
Now, onward to today’s passage. Many theologians believe the angel that the “interpreting angel” left Zechariah to speak with was the Angel of the Lord, a specific title for pre-advent Messiah (Jesus). That is, Jesus, in the glory He had with the Father before he came to earth as a baby. (Micah 5:2) The reason for this belief is the language the Angel used: “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day and become My people. I will dwell among you, and you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me to you”. The idea that Gentiles would be accepted by the Lord as His people is not a New Testament invention. God’s redemption of Gentiles is firmly rooted in the Prophets. Notice the similarities in today’s passage, with Isaiah and Jesus’ words.
“‘And to the foreigners who convert to the Lord, minister to Him, love the Lord’s name, and are His servants who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it, and who hold firmly to My covenant – I will bring them to My holy mountain and let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.’ This is the declaration of the Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel: ‘I will gather to them still others besides those already gathered.’” Isaiah 56:6-8
“Then He entered the Temple area and began driving out those who were selling. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers’” Luke 19:46
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