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Zechariah and the visions he received from the Lord
Zechariah 1-8

For the last 2 weeks we have been reading the Book of Zechariah together.

-The time of the Book of Zechariah dates to 520 B.C-- 16 years after the 50,000 Jews and some of their servants, returned to Jerusalem after 70 years of captivity in the land of Babylon
-The message of Zechariah dovetails with the message of Haggai-- Rebuild the Temple of the Lord. If you want God's blessing on your life-- put Him first.
-When the Jews first returned from Babylon their rebuild the foundation of the Temple and the altar-- but then because of Samaritan opposition, stopped building. For close to 16 years no work on the Temple was done. Meanwhile the people built fancy houses for themselves. This displeased God, who, to get the peoples attention, sent hardship their way and finally the prophets Haggai and Zechariah (both of whom called the people to repentance). To the peoples credit, as indicated in both Haggai and Zechariah, they responded to the Lord's rebuke and set their hearts and hands to the work of God and the rebuilding of the Temple

Special things about the Book of Zechariah

-It is very much connected to the writings of Isaiah and the Book of Revelation
-It has a lot to say about Jesus
-The incredible visions of chapter 1-8 are explained
-Zechariah's name means "The Lord remembers" because to a certain degree its what the Book of Zechariah is about- God remembering and reiterating His promises for Israel and His people.

Major Themes in Zechariah

1. The rebuilding of the Temple
2. The call to the Jewish exiles to return home
3. The mercy and grace of God
4. God's control of history
5. The presence of God. God being with his people. God with us.
6. The coming Kingdom and rule of God.
7. The faithfulness of God to His promises
8. The restoration, blessing, and revitalization of Jerusalem and Israel
9. The centrality of Jerusalem and Israel to God's rule, salvation plans, world events, and the future
10. The judgment of Israel's oppressors- justice will be done. The wickedness done to her will be avenged
11. The call to holy and righteous living and the care of the poor, the fatherless and widows and orphans
12. Jesus. The coming Messiah

The structure of Zechariah

Zechariah can be essentially divided into 2 big parts --Ch. 1-8, ch. 9-14

This week we'll focus on Ch.1-8

A quick overview of ch.1-8

1. Chapter 1:1-6-- a call to repentance
2. Chapters 1:7-6:8 Visions from the Lord

This vision is quite involved, filled with lots of imagery, and it circles back on itself (in the sense that what is touched on in the first part of the vision is again touched on in the latter part)

The vision- for our benefit and understanding is not left a mystery for it contains explanatory content

3. Chapters 7-8. Practical teaching as it regarded what God wanted from his people in terms of how to live before and with Him. - Ch. 7-8

Note the overlap with Isaiah 58-- lesson on fasting

SOME LESSONS AND PRINCIPLES FROM CH.1-8

1. WE MUST ALWAYS BE READY TO ATTEND TO THE CALL TO REPENT AND TO RETURN TO GOD
Read 1:1-6

-we are prone to wander
-Repentance, getting right with God, holy living, the pursuit of justice; such are key to His blessings
-tender, sensitive hearts is what God requires of us
-We must be willing to deal with the sin in our lives (all that which is contrary to things of God as outlined in the Bible). Note that repenting involves agreeing with God and confessing His justice and rightness in all He does v.6

Is there something current in your life that you are doing, that you know is contrary to the will of God?

Hear what Acts 3:19 says; "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,"


2. GOD WITH US-- A DOMINANT THEME IN THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH- A CORE TEACHING OF CHRIST FOR US WHO ARE HIS FOLLOWERS. Read Zechariah 2:10-13

In Zechariah 1-8, God's call to repent and return to Him comes with an awesome promise: He will return to us. He will come and dwell with us. He will be our God and be with us. He will reveal His glory to us. He will come to our aid. He will stand in our stead as our shield and defender. To Him we shall be the apple of His eye- His treasured possessions. Read Zechariah 2:7 which says "For whoever touches you, touches the apple of his eye"

God with His people is a major teaching in the Book of Zechariah -- and it all has to do with the call to repent and turn to God.

Now think of Christ. What is His promise to turn to Him as Lord and Savior-- who repent of their sins: "And lo I am with you always to the very end of the age"

Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us - for comfort, care, correction, guidance, instruction, power

Since Jesus is with us-- we not to be afraid. We are to serve Him boldly. "The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" Psalm 118:6


3. NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER, BUT BY GOD'S SPIRIT-- a reminder to depend and look to God for His strength. Zechariah 4:6

We are not to rely on our own strength, our own wisdom, our own resources. In all things we should express a dependence upon God-- such being worked out through prayer and patience.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13

This point also reminds me of Christ and His ministry. His was a Spirit led, Spirit empowered, Spirit directed ministry. The same Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, indwells us. We are to lean upon Him


4. SMALL THINGS, SLOW STARTS, WEAK VESSELS- DON'T BE DISCOURAGED, WE'VE GOT A BIG GOD! Zechariah 4:10

Herein a promise is given that Zerubbabel (The governor being direct descendant of David and zealous for the Lord and His Temple) ,will complete the work of the Temple. God Himself will enable it and so prove His presence with the people and the rest of His promises.

This promise does not depend on Zerubbabel's strength or wisdom but on God- who saw a man devoted to Him. Thought the start of the Temple was small and those involved in the effort weak and the materials ok, God was going to glorify it.

If God be for us, who can stand against us! Nothing is impossible for God

A great verse to know: "The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9


5. THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH HAS MUCH TO SAY ABOUT JESUS AND HIS CLEANSING AND FORGIVING WORK Read Zechariah 3

Explore the vision of Zechariah 3 and it's significance

Things to note

1. Joshua's name means "The Lord saves". The name Joshua is a variant of the name Jesus,
2. Joshua was the high priest at the time. In ch.6 he is anointed as a king (priest and king) reminding us that Jesus is prophet, priest and king
3. Joshua's cleansing in v.3-5 reminds me of the cleansing of Isaiah in Isaiah 6--- wherein Isaiah says "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips" after seeing God on His throne, to which an angel brings a burning coal and touches his lips and pronounces him clean-- symbolizing his sin and guilt being taken away
4. His being called the Branch means he was a type for Christ

Read v.8 and note how the text explicitly says this, calling Joshua "The Branch".

This "Branch" reference takes us back to Isaiah 11:1-10 which begins with "A shoot will come up form the stump of Jess; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--

5. The seven eyed stone of v.9 is a symbol, reminding us that the eyes of the LORD see all things on earth
6. Satan accusing Joshua and God rebuking him (v.1-2) reminds me of Satan's accusations against Job and of Revelation 12:10 which says "For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down."-- referring to the defeat of Satan and his sure doom to eternity in the Lake of Fire

In contrast to Satan's accusing is Jesus our defender and intercessor "Jesus... at the right hand of God is interceding for us" Romans 8:34

Furthermore, I John 2:1 says' "My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One."

7. The removal of the sin of the land in a single day can only find its fulfillment in one person: Jesus Christ and the cross

Jesus is the one who takes away sins. His is the cleansing blood. By his death on the cross- in that one day he made for the forgiveness of all who would believe on Him as Savior and Lord.

His forgiveness is a gracious and cleansing one-- As Joshua was cleansed and given new clothes-- in Christ we are made new creatures and Christ and all our sins are forgiven


Have to you gone to Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?


CONCLUSION

With the cleansing work of Christ in mind, let us prepare ourselves for the taking of the Lord's Supper

Sing: And can it be