Visions of Hope (Zechariah)

Scripture: Zechariah 3:10
Date: 06/15/2013 
Lesson: 11
"Though Israel had been punished for its sins, it was time for its people to live again in relationship with God according to His promises."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church here in sunny Sacramento, California. We're so excited that you are joining us - whether this is your first time or you do every week. Happy Sabbath and a big welcome from central church. We know there's many of you listening on the radio or you're watching live right now at our website at '' or the various television networks - it doesn't matter however you're joining us - welcome. And we are so excited because we have a special surprise for you.

Just like last week we had extra special music, today is no exception. We're joined this morning by weimar academy - oh, not far from here. They're just up the interstate and they're going to be providing our music and I would like to introduce you to chad bernard. Chad is the principal at weimar academy. I have a - good morning! I have a couple questions for you.

Tell me about weimar. If someone has never heard of you before, what is it? Okay, weimar academy is just like you said - it's just up the hill about 40 minutes and we have an - praise God we have an amazing program. I mean, you would expect the principal to be pro - for the academy. I'm 100 percent biased. We have an amazing group of young people - 57 students this year - and our focus is, quite simply, train our young people to - whatever they choose to do in life - to do it for the glory of God.

And our focus is Christ and loving each other like God has called us to do. Our program is - could be unique compared to other schools. We have time every day where the kids can get into our gardens that are close to the school and they'll learn about agriculture. We have an amazing agriculture teacher that just connects everything to Christ and that's a blessing. We have a work-ed program where the kids are working different jobs.

Some are laying tile, some are doing mason work, some are doing plant services - they're operating heavy machinery like weed whackers and rakes and shovels, some are in the cafeteria. But they work every day - trying to instill in them a solid work ethic. And we do a lot of evangelism. We like to travel into our community, throughout the world. We visited the Philippines, korea, belize - we also went to a native American reservation in Utah this year - so our focus is really being passionate about Christ and serving our fellow man.

That is awesome. I have always liked to see kids and I guess that makes me sound really old - I'm talking about kids - doing a work study program and learning to work and be - you know, when you graduate from high school you already know what to do out there. Absolutely. Our focus is on character because we understand that that's what it's all about. You - this is a practical way of living.

Whether you get a job or retain a job is based on your character - your work ethic - if people can trust you. They don't care if you got an 'a' in home-ec or not, they care about if you'll represent their company well. And we have a higher aim. We want to represent Christ well because not only do we want to live in such a way that we have favor with men, we want God to be pleased with all we do. And we find that that is a method for success and our young people are happy.

We have a good time. We enjoy life and God is richly blessing our school. Great. So if you want - if someone would like more information about weimar academy, what do they need to do? Oh, they can just go to the website. It's 'weimar.

edu' - w-e-i-m-a-r - quite simple. And check us out online. Perfect. Thank you very much chad. At this time we're going to listen to two beautiful pieces by the weimar academy choir and orchestra.

The first is 'anthem of praise' And then 'o my Jesus'. Beautiful. I've never heard 'a vow to thee my country' with other words before. That is lovely. Thank you so much weimar academy and orchestra.

It's wonderful to have you here and we look forward to more music following in more of the service today. At this time I would like for you to join me as we pray. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for bringing us here today to worship you. Thank you for bringing weimar academy to bless us with heavenly music. I pray that you will come and live in our hearts.

Be with us as we open up your word and we study together. Be with our extended family around the world. You know each and every one and we thank you so much that one day we will get to join together on the streets of gold and sing praises to you. Be with our speaker as he brings us the lesson study and just may we feel your presence as we open up Your Word. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by - yes - by Pastor Doug Batchelor, our senior pastor here at Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. Thank you debbie and thank you to the weimar academy orchestra and choir. I enjoyed that very much. And welcome friends. I'm going to be doing Sabbath school from up here today because we have some of the music apparatus down there and I might hurt myself and I don't know if our insurance would cover that.

We are continuing with our study guide dealing with 'major lessons from the minor prophets'. And in a moment we'll delve into the book of Zechariah. We have a free offer we want to mention to you called 'no turning back' and it talks about making a commitment to follow the Lord and not being discouraged and turning back from that. And if you'd like a copy of that, all you have to do is call the number - 866-study-more that's 866-788-3966 and we'll send that to you for free and - under the condition that you do read it and it'd be nice if you shared it with someone afterward. I also want to welcome some of the extended members of central church that may be watching.

We know that we've got a lot of friends from all different parts of the world that study the lesson with us and we're glad that you've tuned in today. Today we delve into a book that has 14 chapters. We're only going to be able to get into the first half of that. We're talking about minor prophets, but Zechariah is probably one of the more major books of the minor prophets. It's also considered to be one of the apocalyptic books of the Bible.

Principally four of these apocalyptic books that have a number of visions in them and the others are - well, Revelation, of course, you have Ezekiel, you've got the book of Zechariah and the book of Isaiah has also got some visions in it. But we're only going to be able to get through probably the first seven chapters and we'll be blessed if we can do that today. We have a memory verse that comes to us from chapter 3, verse 10 in your lessons and I'll be doing it from the new king James version. I always appreciate if you can say that along with me. Our memory verse is Zechariah chapter 3, verse 10 and are you ready? "'In that day,' says the Lord of hosts, 'everyone will invite his neighbor under his vine and under his fig tree.

'" Now the central theme of the book of Zechariah is to try to encourage the people. He prophesies about two months after the book of Haggai - or Haggai begins his prophecies. They're still in the situation where they're wanting to rebuild the temple but it's been suspended for some time and Zechariah comes along to encourage and to comfort the people. One of the things he does is he reminds the people that this temple, though smaller in scale than the temple of Solomon, this temple is significant because it is the temple the Messiah is actually going to come to and so he spends quite a bit of time in his book talking about - encouraging the people, speaking peace to the people, also giving some warnings and some counsel and prophetic advice. The name Zechariah means - and you always want to take a good look at the names of these prophets - it means 'God remembers' or 'God has remembered'.

And through the whole prophecy of Zechariah, he continues to remind them God has not forgotten them. It seems, at times, like they're going to be enveloped by their enemies and they'll never be able to fulfill the big purpose that God had and he's there to encourage them, 'it is going to happen.' Now, you find that name 'Zechariah' in the Bible about times. When you get to the new testament it's called zacharias. That's just the Greek way of saying 'Zechariah'. It's the same name.

So it was a very common name and especially common among the priests. Now, I don't even know if I want to say this because it could just raise a question. Zechariah is known as - if you look in verse 1, Zechariah chapter 1, verse 1 - "in the eighth month of the second year of darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah The Son of berechiah, The Son of iddo the prophet," - Zechariah The Son of berechiah. You know, there was another priest by the name of Zechariah who was The Son of jehoiada and he was killed in the temple between the porch and the altar. They stoned him to death because king joash, who was good when he was young - king joash went bad under the advice of some bad advisors and they turned from listening to the Lord and so they had Zechariah The Son of jehoiada slain between the porch and the altar.

Jesus, in giving a prophecy, he says, 'all the blood' - speaking to the people of Israel in his day - 'all the blood of righteous abel unto the blood of Zechariah The Son of berechiah, who was slain between the porch and the altar, will come upon this generation.' And that can cause a lot of confusion. They're wondering, 'did the scribe make an error? Did the scribe mean Zechariah son of jehoiada?' Because the Bible tells about him being slain between the porch and the altar. Or was it saying that this prophet later also died between the porch and the altar? Zechariah The Son of berechiah. So I'll let you look at the commentaries and figure that out for yourself but, if you've run into that - how many of you remember when Jesus says, 'all the blood of righteous abel unto the blood of Zechariah will come upon this generation'? So Zechariah, while he started young as a good prophet, it may be he was also killed in the temple because it does say that he was a prophet and may have been in there and could have made people mad. But that must have happened much later in his life if it happened.

And he says, "the Lord has been very angry with your fathers" - I'm in chapter 1 - "therefore say to them, 'thus says the Lord of hosts: 'return to me,' says the Lord of hosts, 'and I will return to you.'" Alright, we've given out a few verses - I don't know who got them but somebody got James 4:8. If you got that verse hold your hand up and we'll get you a microphone. That didn't take too long. And we'll have you read that in just a minute. This is a very important principle.

God's people have frequently wandered from the Lord and we want to know 'what's the formula for coming back?' Has the Lord folded his arms and turned his back on us? Can we ever return to the Lord? There's a promise you find in James 4:8. We're going to read that. Go ahead elizabeth. It says, "draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

" What does it take for God to receive us? How did The Father respond - the father of the prodigal son when his boy had wandered away - what did the boy have to do in order for The Father to receive him? It says, 'when he saw him coming a great way off he ran to meet him.' And in the same way, when God sees us drawing near to him, he then draws near to us. Does God say, 'oh no, here they come again. I am so tired of their messing up and then they say, 'I'm sorry. 'Sure you are. We know what's going to happen'? Or does God rejoice when he sees us making the first efforts to come near him? And that's what you find right here in Zechariah.

'Draw near to me. Return to me says the Lord and I will return to you.' And that's called repentance. When we make the first steps of journeying back to God, he comes back to us. And then you find another phrase in chapter 1, Zechariah 1, verse , "then the angel of the Lord answered and said, 'o lord of hosts, how long will you not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of judah, against which you were angry these seventy years?'" You know, there are spells where God has withdrawn his mercy and his protection because the people had rejected him. How long does he make us wait? Did God say that they would suffer seventy years because he just figured this is how much punishment they needed? Or did he say seventy years because God knew how long it would be until they returned to him? You know, you read in Daniel chapter 9 and Daniel begins to pray, after they've been there seventy years, and a revival began and that's when things changed in Babylon and it became possible for the children to come home.

God just knew it was going to take that long for that generation to finally turn to him. How long? You find that several times in the Bible. Look, for instance, in psalm chapter 74, verse 10, and we read there, "o God, how long with the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme your name forever?" Have you ever wondered - you know, at the time of this recording - and, of course, this is a seventh day adventist Sabbath school study. We have a lot of people that - a lot of people study along with us from other churches and in the seventh day adventist church, the very name embodies the idea that we believe in the imminent return of Jesus. Seventh day means we believe in the commandments of God including the seventh day Sabbath and adventist means we believe in the return - that's what an adventist - it means 'the coming of'.

It's where you get the word 'adventure' - the coming of the Lord - the return of the Lord. And so we put it right in the name because we have a message to tell the world Jesus is coming back - we need to get ready. But as of this week it's 150 years since we formally organized as a church and so we begin to ask 'how long? How long, o lord?' Well, you're not alone. You're in good company. When God told adam and eve, 'look, through your descendants, your seed - the Messiah - will come.

' They didn't live to see it, did they? And a hundred years went by and a thousand years went by and finally two thousand years go by and God speaks to Abraham and said, 'don't get discouraged, the Messiah is coming. Matter of fact, he's coming through your descendants. He's going to come through the Hebrews.' And a hundred years go by and a thousand years go by. Two thousand years go by and then the wise men ride into Jerusalem and they say, 'where is he that is born king of the jews?' And at that point they had sort of thought it was just a legend. They didn't really believe he was ever coming back.

And so, Zechariah, who lived about 500 years before Christ, they were asking that question again, 'how long lord before the Messiah comes?' Did he come the first time? Not exactly when they expected. It was later than they expected. Will he come the second time? I don't think we have to wait two thousand years. By the way, it's been about two thousand years since his first coming and so I think we are on schedule. So - Isaiah 6:11 - "then I said, 'lord, how long?' And he said, 'until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate.

" And, you know, for Isaiah, that did happen. The people were all carried away and the land was desolated. And, you know, then you see also in chapter 1 - something you're going to find reappearing in the book of Zechariah is horses. He's got several visions of horses and these messengers ride around and they bring comfort to the people. Now, you've got - sometimes you've got horses of judgment but horses in the Bible often - horses and chariots of fire - you remember when the enemy surrounded Elisha? The syrian king sent a large army to surround this little town of dothan and he was going to arrest Elisha because he figured Elisha was God's secret weapon and 'if we could capture their secret weapon, we can conquer the Israelites.

' Fight fire with fire. And so, this army surrounds the little town of dothan. Dothan means 'two wells'. By the way, dothan is the little city where Joseph went looking for his brothers. And the servant of Elisha wakes up in the morning and the sun is just beginning to lighten the sky a little bit and he sees the glittering armor of this army surrounding the little town and he runs back and wakes up Elisha.

He says, 'alas master, what will we do?' And Elisha steps out and he looks around. He sees the army and he - he's not worried about the army. Elisha's worried about his servant. He's worried about his lack of faith. He said, 'look, if you're going to be an apprentice prophet,' - like Elisha was for Elijah - he said 'you've got to learn faith.

' He said, 'there's an army, I know. We've got a problem here, but don't worry about it because God has a bigger army.' And he prays. He says, 'lord, open his eyes.' And suddenly the eyes of the young apprentice were opened and he saw the mountains surrounding the syrian army that was surrounding dothan - those mountains were filled with horses and chariots of fire. Do you find horses in Revelation? We've heard about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Matter of fact, some of the horses - there are four horses and chariots mentioned later in the book and they parallel - not completely - but they parallel in a similar way to the horsemen that you find in the seven seals of Revelation starting with chapter 6.

Alright - and, for instance, you look in Revelation 6:4, "and there went out another horse that was red: and power" - it talks about a white horse and a red horse - "power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword." Then it talks about a black horse and then it talks about a pale horse and these horses represent the different political ages that the church was going to go through between the first and the second coming. So they're not exactly identical to the horses, but in Zechariah, he's also talking about God sending his horsemen out to protect the people. They were afraid they were going to be attacked again by another nation before they got the temple built. And he said, 'there's quiet in all the earth. We're going to let you finish.

God is going to protect you and let you finish this project building the temple.' Alright, let's jump over to chapter 2. At this rate we'll never get through all seven so I've got to hurry along. And one thing I want you to notice in chapter 2, if you go, for instance, to verses 6 and 7 - matter of fact, somebody is going to read that for me. We've got a hand right over here - mike - let's get you a microphone. Where's the microphone? Okay.

You can pass it down to him. And I'll read chapter 2 for you, verse 1, "then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. So I said, 'where are you going?' And he said to me, 'to measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.' And there was" - by the way, in Revelation do you find an angel with a measuring rod? You've probably heard it said before that Revelation is really a kaleidoscope of every prophetic book in the Bible. They all sort of find termination in Revelation and a lot of these visions are echoed in Revelation. Here it's talking about they thought the temple was not going to be built again.

The fact that there's someone who's now surveying - an angel that is surveying in Jerusalem means someone is getting ready to build again. "And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, 'run, speak to this young man, saying: 'Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For i,' says the Lord, 'will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.''" And so he's saying, 'God is going to bless Jerusalem again. Now, he did this two ways. Did God bring back the people from Babylon? Did he bless Jerusalem? Did they rebuild the temple? Did they have some years of peace? Yes they did.

But what's this a fuller prophecy of? Does Revelation also talk about a Jerusalem where there's peace and you don't need walls because you won't have an enemy. I mean, there are walls but it's talking about a time when God's in the city and there's peace and they go out and they come in. Now, read for us - I think you were going to read verse 6, if I'm not mistaken. Read verses 6 and 7 of Zechariah chapter 2. Zechariah 2, verses 6 and 7, "'up, up! Flee from the land of the north,' says the Lord; 'for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven,' says the Lord.

'Up Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon.'" Remember this and it will help you in your Bible study. Very rarely did they talk about the nation that was to the east. They often talked about the King - they do talk about the Kings of the east - but they talk about the King of the north, the king of the south. And the reason for that is to the east of Jerusalem they had a lot of the arabs and a big desert. They had the children of ishmael and a big desert.

Principally, when an invasion came, it came from the south meaning, the people would come from sheba or Ethiopia or Egypt or the north and they would come from Babylon or assyria, nineveh, the syrians - and so you'll hear about these battles between the King of the north and the King of the south. Picture Israel for a moment. Israel is like a land bridge between three continents. You could not really get through the country to the east of Israel because it was a tremendous forbidding deadly desert. Very few people traveled across that desert.

They needed to travel where the stations were - where the truck stops were for the caravans - where the water and the rivers were. So when Babylon came to attack, even though Babylon was principally to the east, they had to come in from the north. And so when he says, 'flee from the lands of the north' they were thinking about assyria and Babylon. The children of Israel were still there. Now God had created peace in Israel.

He said, 'look, I've made it possible for you to come back to the promised land. Why would you stay in Egypt?' Some of them went to Egypt when Nebuchadnezzar came. 'Why would you stay in assyria?' The ten tribes were carried off to assyria. 'Why would you stay in Babylon?' And he's saying 'up' - 'flee the lands of the north.' Why do you have to flee? Revelation 18:1 - another parallel between Zechariah - you should read - you should read Revelation in partnership with Daniel and Ezekiel and Zechariah to understand it. Revelation 18:1, "after these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.

And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying," - you know what he says? - "'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit," - why does he say 'fallen, fallen'? Well, because Babylon really falls twice. Babylon fell back in the days of belshazzar and Babylon falls again, spiritually, - when Babylon fell in the days of belshazzar it meant God's people were free to come back to the promised land. When Babylon falls again in Revelation it means God's people are about to go to the other promised land. So there are parallels here. "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations" - now we're talking about a universal Babylon - "all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the Kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.

" - Notice - "and I heard another voice from heaven" - voice from heaven - good voice. You want to listen to the voices from heaven - "saying, 'come out of her, my people," - so when you read in Zechariah and it says, 'flee from the land of the north. Leave Babylon. Come to the promised land.' And the church is also a symbol for that - "come out of her my people lest you share in her sins," - so staying in Babylon is dangerous - "and lest you receive of her plagues." Who do the seven last plagues fall on? Babylon and God's people who stay in Babylon. Notice God has people in Babylon.

They're his people but they're in the wrong place. How many churches will there be when Jesus comes back? True or false - one of each - one true church one false, right? One is going to worship the beast and his image, one is going to have the seal of God. So there's two. How many different churches in the world today? Thousands. But Jesus said, 'other sheep I have that are not of this fold' - John chapter 10 - 'them I also will call.

They will hear my voice and there will be one fold and one shepherd.' They're going to hear his voice and his voice is going to say, 'Babylon is fallen come out of her my people.' And so there's a message - and, by the way, that's the second angel's message - Babylon is fallen, come out of her. And so God's people are to come out of Babylon and into this fold that is based upon the truth of God's Word. So he's saying, 'Babylon's fallen, come out.' Even here in Zechariah chapter 2. And have you noticed the times in the Bible - the three great patriarchs - Abraham - who's next? Isaac and Jacob - something interesting about the three great patriarchs - very interesting. All three of them married wives that were, at first, barren.

Isn't that right? Sarah was barren and then a miracle - she had a baby. Was rebecca barren? She was. Isaac had to pray for her and she had two babies. Was rachel barren? Yes. Jacob prayed for her and she ended up having two - Joseph and Benjamin.

Where'd they get their wives? Abraham brought his wife from mesopotamia - ur, right? Out of Babylon and where'd he bring her? To canaan, the promised land. Where did Isaac get his wife? Abraham said to eliezer, 'don't let him marry one of the local girls. He's got to get a girl that believes in jehovah. Go back to mesopotamia where my people are. Bring a wife out of Babylon into the promised land.

' Where'd Jacob go to get his wife? Remember rebecca and Isaac were disappointed because esau had married the local girls and sent him back to haran, which was across the Euphrates, to get a girl - they all called that mesopotamia back then - brought her to the promised land. Then God's people - his bride - God's bride - is carried off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. God calls his bride out of Babylon into the promised land. Then you get to our age - does God have a spiritual Babylon in Revelation? And he's calling his people out of Babylon - his bride - back to the promised land. So you see this theme going on all through the Bible here.

You can read in Zechariah 2:10, "'sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,' says the Lord." Now, you want to underline that there - 'behold I'm coming' - that's the main purpose of this section on this day. Does Zechariah talk about the coming of the Lord? Which coming is he talking about? Well, you know, these prophets, they were sort of tricky. Sometimes they talked about both in one sentence. Did Jesus - did the Messiah come after Zechariah? Yeah, he came the first time. Did he come to the temple that Zechariah helped them build? Did Jesus teach in that temple? Did he drive the money changers out of that temple and they - the children were singing his praises in that temple? Finally he walked out of that temple, he said, 'your house is left unto you desolate and there won't be left one stone upon another that won't be thrown down.

' He said, 'destroy this temple made with hands, in three days I'll make one without hands' - speaking of his body, right? When Christ died he rose again and he built a different temple. 'What, know you not that ye are the temple of God?' That you are living stones and are part of a royal priesthood and Christ is the cornerstone. And so does God still have a temple? So Zechariah is thinking about the Lord coming to two temples - one he's coming to - the first coming when he came to that temple and he taught, and then he's coming again to inhabit his people. And he's coming, literally, again when he comes in the clouds of heaven. Romans 15, verse 9, and why don't I get someone to look up for me Hosea 1:7? Who's got that verse? Over here - we'll get you a microphone - not far away.

Okay, we'll get you - it'll take a moment but let me read Romans , verse 9, "and that the gentiles might glorify God for his mercy, as it is written, 'for this reason I will confess to you among the gentiles, and sing to your name.' And again he says: 'rejoice, o gentiles, with his people!' And again: 'praise the Lord, all you gentiles! Laud him, all you peoples!' And again, Isaiah says, 'there shall be a root of jesse; and he who shall rise to reign over the gentiles, in him the gentiles shall hope.'" Now, you know the operative word in this passage I just read? Let me - let's see here - one, two, three, four, five - maybe six times - six times gentiles are mentioned. Gentiles were non-jews - they were the other nations. Paul, when he writes this - has the new testament been written yet? Paul writes this in Romans. So Paul is talking about all the prophecies that say that the gentiles were supposed to receive the Messiah. Does the old testament say that salvation was just for the jews or is Paul quoting that the gentiles would come to Christ? That the Messiah was not just for the jews? And this is part of the message of Zechariah - that his house is going to be a place where all nations are going to come and worship.

Meaning not just the temple but Christ's new temple. Alright, going under section three - 'God's readiness to forgive' - and we learn here about God being a God who's willing to forgive. Turn with me to Zechariah chapter 3 and there's a prophecy. By the way, the book of Zechariah has eight visions. There are eight visions - most of them are in our section.

First you've got the horses among the myrtle trees, then you've got the four horns and the four craftsmen, then you've got the man with the measuring line, then you've got the cleansing of Joshua - we're about to talk about - the high priest, you've got the golden lamp stands and the olive trees, the flying scroll, the woman in the basket - that is a really weird prophecy - and then the four chariots - like you've got the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Now we're talking about the vision of Joshua. Who is Joshua during the time of Haggai and Zechariah? He was the high priest who had come back from Babylon and I - most of you know but there's always someone in the crowd that didn't know that the way you say Joshua - yeshua in Hebrew - the Greek way is Jesus. It's the same name and so it's very interesting that in the old testament there are two principle Joshuas - you've got one Joshua who is a high priest who leads them from Babylon into the promised land and then you've got a Joshua in the book of Joshua, who is a general, who leads them from the wilderness into the promised land. Jesus is our Joshua.

He's the one who leads us from the wilderness and from Babylon into the promised land. He is our high priest and he is our commander - our lord, right? And Joshua is also a prophet and Christ is our prophet. Alright, so it says, "then he showed me" - he's in this vision - "Joshua the high priest standing before an angel of the lord, and satan standing at his right hand to oppose him." - By the way, the word 'satan' it means adversary, someone who opposes. It's interesting, the opposer is standing there to oppose him - "and the Lord said to satan, 'the Lord rebuke you, satan! the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?'" Now, can you think of another time in the new testament where God said to the devil, 'the Lord rebuke you'? Book of Jude - I heard someone say it - the book of Jude verse 9 - there's only one chapter. When Michael - so when it says the angel of the Lord stood there and they're having this contest over Joshua, Joshua represents the nation because he's the high priest.

The high priest used to bear the sins for the whole nation and so here the devil is saying, 'they're mine. They turn from you.' And this angel of the Lord may very well be Michael again, he says, 'the Lord rebuke you.' Same exact thing that you find also in the new testament. He is a brand plucked from the burning. Have you ever seen a stick that one end of it begins to smoke and you pull it out and you can put it out and save it? It's like somebody once - I was at a campout one time and the kids were all throwing things in the fire and one of the older members of the church that came to the campout had a wooden walking cane and he'd set it down too close to the fire and one of the kids stuck it in the fire because he was going to use it for roasting marshmallows and we plucked it from the fire as a brand from the burning and managed to salvage it, though the end was a little scorched. Well, in other words, it was about to be completely consumed but it was rescued.

You know, sometimes you hear about these houses that catch on fire and the dog or the cat manage to get out a little singed but they survive like a brand plucked from the burning. And so, here it's got this picture of God - God's people were about to be destroyed in Babylon but he has decided to rescue them. So the devil's saying, 'they're mine' and God says, 'no, they returned to me so I returned to them. I'm pulling them from this judgment as a brand from the burning.' But then, there's a problem. They're guilty.

You might have chosen to save them, but they've sinned. They must be judged. "Now Joshua" - verse 3 - "was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the angel. Then he answered and he spoke to those who stood before him, saying," - the angel - "'take away the filthy garments from him.' And to him he said, 'see, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.'" And what do the filthy garments represent? All of our righteousness is like what? Filthy rags. We are all - our sins - are filthy.

But what does God do? When God's people return and through the intercession and prayer - the high priest represents that - he says, 'I'm taking away your filthy garments and I'm replacing them.' What does The Father do for the prodigal son when he returns to his father? He covers his unrighteousness. You know, there's a lot of stories in the Bible that depict this truth. When blind bartemeus comes to Jesus it says, 'he cast aside his garment' - probably filthy rags - 'and he came to Christ.' We come to Christ that way. When Elisha gets a double portion of Elijah's spirit - you remember Elijah goes to heaven, he tosses down his mantle as he's caught up by the fiery chariot? Elisha tears his own garments and he takes up the mantle of Elijah. This is kind of what we do.

Jesus ascended to heaven - he left a robe behind, didn't he? That robe represents the righteousness that he offers you and me. It's a blood-stained robe. But when God looks at that, because of the blood of Christ, we're declared clean. What did Jacob's - sorry - yeah, what did Jacob's sons - Joseph's brothers - present to Jacob to cover their sin of selling their brother? They presented a blood-stained robe, didn't they? And it's through the robe of Christ that our sins are covered and God says we are a brand plucked from the burning. Don't you want to be a brand plucked from the burning? Is there a lake of fire out there in the future? We want to be spared from that fate.

So Joshua represents what God has done for the whole church. It says - oh, I love this part - 'I have removed your iniquity.' You remember when Isaiah is forgiven in chapter 6? It says, 'your sin is purged, your iniquity is forgiven.' And so God promises to do that. 'I have removed - wouldn't you like to hear those words? 'I have removed your iniquity.' Don't we all need to hear those words? He said, 'take away his garments. See, I have removed your iniquity from you and I will clothe you with rich robes.' In heaven, what does it say about the 144,000 and the great multitude? They are arrayed in white robes. So - oh, you know, sometimes I just like reading through and I feel like I've got to keep going back to the lesson.

I like just reading the Bible. One more thing, I want to read verse 7, "thus says the Lord of hosts: 'if you will walk in my ways, and if you will keep my command, then you shall also judge my house, and likewise have charge of my courts; I will give you places to walk among these who stand here.'" So God is promising, 'trust me. Obey me. Walk in my ways and I will give you a place among those.' Here he's in heavenly places and he says he will give us that place. Oh, one more thing, - I haven't forgotten that you've got a verse all queued up - beyond fasting - this is under this section - you know, when the temple was destroyed, it was destroyed in the fifth month.

And to commemorate, it's like - do we sometimes do special things on 9/11 now? Used to be December 7th which was pearl harbor day. There are certain days that are ominous for a country that are sort of a memorial. And here we've got a memorial weekend coming up. Well, a memorial for them was when the temple of Solomon was leveled by Nebuchadnezzar and they used to fast, as a remembrance of that, every fifth month. But now they've come back from Babylon and they're rebuilding the temple.

And so they come scratching their heads and they asked the prophet, Zechariah, 'are we supposed to keep fasting in the fifth month?' The word of the Lord came to him - Zechariah chapter 7, verse 8, "then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 'thus says the Lord of hosts: 'execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or The Fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.''" In other words, if you want to please me, don't feel like you need to wring your hands and fast because the old temple was destroyed, if you want to please me here's the fast that I want: love your neighbor. Walk in my ways. Behave righteously.

Does that sound a lot like Isaiah 58? Isaiah 58, verse 6, "is not this the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?" And so, he said, we're going to rebuild the temple. You don't need to be in perpetual mourning. Now I had jumped over a part here about 'not by human power' and this is very important. I'm kind of hoping we can spend some time here. Zechariah 4 - Zechariah 4, verse , ".

..and said to me: this is the word of the Lord to zerubbabel: 'not by might nor by power, but by my spirit,' says the Lord of hosts." How is God - does he accomplish things? How - they didn't say, 'how is he ever going to rebuild the temple with all this opposition we're getting, with not having enough funds?' How are you going to bring about revival and bring the people home? Is it by human power that things are accomplished? How is God's work done? You know, in the church, we're really good at having - 'let's have another seminar on this. Let's have a syllabus. We'll have a program. We'll teach a technique. We'll publish a manual with a new method.

We'll raise money. Get more money. More funds.' We can do anything with money, right? And what is it that God needs? Another program? A slogan? A theme? A logo? We need a vision statement. We've got a lot of things that are substitutes for what really gets it done. Do you know what really gets it done? Now, all those things have their place, but ultimately it says, 'it's not by might nor by power but by my spirit' says the Lord.

Alright, go ahead, for us, read Hosea 1:7. "Yet I will have mercy on the house of judah, will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword or battle, by horses or horsemen." It's really easy for us to think that we can use human devisings to bring about our salvation but, ultimately, it's from the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23, "thus says the lord: 'let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches;'" - now, would we all like to be a little wiser? I would. Would you like to be a little mightier? Just add a few more weights without any trouble to your lifting regimen. Would you like to be a little richer? You don't have to raise your hands, I know you would.

All those things might be fine in themselves, but he says, 'if you're going to glory, "'glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord.'" Are there going to be wise men that will be lost? Are there going to be strong men that will be lost? Are there going to be rich men that will be lost? Matter of fact, Jesus says very few of them will be saved. That's what he says, right? But if you know the Lord, isn't that what really makes the difference? Those that know me. Let me give you one more along that same theme. It says in Philippians 2, verse , "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure." God does it in us. It's by his spirit.

Alright, in chapter 4 there's one more thing that I want to talk about. He has this vision in the beginning. Look in chapter 4, verse, 1 - I realize some of this is out of order, but just forgive me and I think you'll be able to piece it together. "Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, 'what do you see?' So I said, 'I am looking, and there is a lamp stand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps.

'" Now where does that come from? Doesn't it talk about that in Exodus when they built the temple and wasn't there seven - the menorah - the seven-candled lamp stand in the temple? And he said also he saw "'two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.' So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, 'what are these, my lord?' Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, 'do you not know what these are?' And I said, 'no, my lord.' So he answered and said to me:" - wait for it. Go to Revelation chapter 11. Does Revelation 11 talk about an olive tree and a lamp stand? Huh? Verse 3 - Revelation 11, verse 3 and it says, "'I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.' These are the two olive trees of God and the two lamp stands and the two olive trees standing before the God of the earth. - He's drawing directly out of Zechariah, isn't he? Well who are these two witnesses? - "And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.

These have the power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire." Who are these two witnesses? Now, my friends in a lot of the charismatic churches they say, 'this is Moses and Elijah.' And I understand why they say that - because Moses and Elijah appear to Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. Does Moses - do you find plagues in the books that Moses wrote? Do you find Elijah having fire come down from heaven? A lot of the same characteristics are found in the lives of Moses and Elijah. They're right conceptually. They're wrong technically. It represents the law and the prophets - the new and the old testament - the Word of God.

Go back to Zechariah real quick. In Zechariah 4 he said, 'lord, what are these?' He's asking 'what do they represent?' He said, "'this is the word of the Lord to zerubbabel:'" and then he goes on to say "'not by might nor by power'" so these olive trees and these - this candlestick, they represent the Word of God. Doesn't the Bible say, 'thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path'? And what keeps the lamp burning? It's the oil from the olive oil - the olive trees. It's the Spirit and so it's the spirit and the word that it's talking about. They're really represented by the Word of God.

In the new and the old testament do you have fire coming down from heaven? Does Revelation talk about fire coming down in the new testament? In the new and the old testament do you have plagues? You have ten plagues in the old testament, seven plagues in the new testament and so it's talking about the law and the prophets, the Word of God, the new and the old testament. These are the two witnesses that witness for the Lord and what word are we going to be judged by? Isn't it the Word of God? Doesn't the Bible say, 'in the mouth of two or three witnesses.' Jesus, when he rose from the dead, he taught them from the law and the prophets and then one time it says, 'the law and the prophets and the Psalms' - that would be the third witness. So Zechariah is encompassing all these things. Oh, there is so much more here I wasn't able to get to. The eyes of the Lord - and it tells us about the eyes of the Lord that see all things.

You've got the seven eyes - if you look in Isaiah chapter 11, verse 2 it talks about the seven spirits or characteristics of God's Spirit and that God's eyes see everywhere - it's a symbol for that and - oh, out of time. Alright friends, I just want to remind you before we go off the air, we do have a free offer I wanted to mention to you. Ask for offer #146 and we'll send it to you. 'No turning back' - if you just ask for it - call 866-study-more that's 866-788-3966 and if we can invite our ushers to come forward, we are going to have our closing prayer here. I want to thank you for studying with us - those who have been watching via television - and God bless you until we study together again next week.

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