Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 7:33 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Zechariah 12-13 (Select vv. NIV).
A Spirit of Grace (12:10)
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
The context here is that of judgment. And, the judgment is on God’s people, yet not to destroy them, but to revive them. Yet, as with many of the Old Testament prophecies, they sometimes have more than one fulfillment, and they periodically blend together prophecies concerning their present age, and concerning the messianic age, as well. And, that is this case here, I believe.
The one who has been pierced is Jesus Christ, who is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our sins are what pierced him. He who knew no sin became sin for us, though, in order that we might become the righteousness of God. By His stripes we are healed! He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. And, he died in order that we might no longer conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Holy Spirit of God.
So, when we, who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and who have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life, which is to be lived to his righteousness, turn away from what we know is right, and we willfully do what we know is wrong, in a sense, we pierce him again. He grieves over us, for we have left the right way and we have gone off to follow after the gods of this world and our own flesh once again. And, so his goal is always to bring us back. If speaking tenderly to our hearts over a period of time does not get results, then he is not resistant to disciplining us in order to get us to look to him and to realize the folly (absurdity, senselessness) of our ways.
The goal of this divine discipline (judgment, correction), if we have wandered off from our pure devotion to Christ, is to get us to humbly and mournfully repent of our sins and to turn back to following Christ with our lives. And, he will pour out on us the blessings of his grace in reviving our hearts and empowering us once more with his Spirit to live godly lives.
Cleansing from Sin (13:1-2)
“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
“On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land.”
Although God will allow Satan and all his hordes to come against his saints – to attack, kill, hate, reject, persecute, abuse, falsely accuse and misuse – he will never leave us or forsake us. He will give us, who are still alive, all we need to remain strong in our faith, to put on the armor of God, and to set our faces like flint against all of Satan’s wiles and wickedness. Our enemies will not be able to destroy us, though. Although they may kill the body, they cannot kill the soul. The stronger Satan fights against us, the mightier in battle against him God makes us, if we are willing to obey him. The more that the church is persecuted, the further it increases in numbers and in faith, perseverance, forbearance, hope, trust, and courage to keep sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many as possible before Jesus returns.
On the day when God judges his people, and when he judges our enemies, too, and when God’s people, his saints, repent of their evil ways, and they return to him as their ONLY God and Lord, he will cleanse them of their sins. This is not the cleansing that takes place when we first believe in Jesus Christ, and our sins are put to death in our lives, and we are born anew of the Spirit of God. But, it is the cleansing of sin that takes place in the life of the believer who has fallen back into sin and then repents (See: 1 Jn. 1:5-10; Rev. 2-3; Lu. 9:23-25). It is when God renews us and restores us back into fellowship with him, because that fellowship had been broken by our willful sins against him (Heb. 12:1-13; Gal. 6:1; Col. 3:1-10; Ro. 8:12-14). Basically, we are daily needing to be renewed and restored (Jn. 13:1-17).
When God judges our enemies, he will remove from the land what has led his people into captivity, i.e. the false prophets and idols which have led his people astray. I can’t help but feel that the internet and TV will have to be cut off somehow, so maybe we will lose electricity. This judgment will also expose all those deceivers for what they are, which will then open the eyes of the saints who have been duped by these master manipulators. And, that, I believe, is the fountain that will be opened to cleanse the wayward saints from their idolatries, impurities and adulteries. When we no longer have available to us these idols, and when our eyes are opened to the truth, and the blinders removed, this will be a fountain to healing and cleansing.
Scattered Sheep (13:7-9)
“Awake, sword, against my shepherd,
against the man who is close to me!”
declares the Lord Almighty.
“Strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered,
and I will turn my hand against the little ones.
In the whole land,” declares the Lord,
“two-thirds will be struck down and perish;
yet one-third will be left in it.
This third I will put into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”
This passage of scripture appears to move quickly from the time of Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, and the desertion of his followers, to the scattering of the early church during a time of great persecution, and then on to the persecution of the saints and the judgments of God in these last days before Jesus’ return. This passage also speaks of God’s restoration and revival of his wandering saints, as well as it speaks of his purifying and refining of his faithful and persecuted saints (his servants) in these last days. And, included in this is the salvation of souls who have never before trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, who will now say, “The Lord is our God.”
I don’t know the timing of all of this. I don’t know for sure that the tribulation is a literal seven years. But, what I do know is that the prophecies of scripture in Revelation 13 are being realized in our day and time, and I believe some of them have been happening at least since WWII. For one, I believe that television meets the criteria of the “image of the beast” like nothing else on this earth, for truly it is its image (picture, representation, likeness, reflection). And, it is worshiped (idolized) in probably the majority of American households, for sure. It seems most American homes have at least one TV, and often large screen TVs in their living rooms, and the rooms are often focused all around the television set, as also often are the lives of the people who live in those houses.
The internet needs to be included in this, as well, including the use of smart phones, electronic tablets and laptop computers which give people unsupervised (re: children) or unaccountable (to anyone) private internet access. This has ruined entire households and destroyed many marriages.
Also, a global force of the Elite of this World (the New World Order) is presently consuming, plundering, confiscating, murdering, persecuting and otherwise taking over sovereign nations and peoples and lands and properties and churches all over the globe. And, the US government is, basically, leading the way as their “right hand man,” i.e. as the harlot who rides the beast. The US government has no real authority of its own, but it is under the authority of the rule of the Elite (New World Order ‘beast’), which serves as the de facto government (shadow government) of these United States of America. We who live in America cannot trust our leaders or our media or even a lot of our church leaders to tell us the truth. So, we must test everything we hear or read against the Word of God and in prayer.
But, the good news here is that, even though God allows evil to reign for a period of time, and even though he allows his saints to go through difficult times, in order to refine, purify and make us holy, and to conform us into the image of Christ, this will not last forever. One day Jesus is going to come back for us to take us to be with him. When he does, evil and sin will be no more. There will be no more sickness, sadness, pain, and suffering. No one will ever be able to hurt us again. We will be with our Lord forever! Amen!
Yet, while we wait for his return, what kind of people ought we to be? We “ought to live holy and godly lives” as we “look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Pet. 3:11-12; cf. Tit. 2:11-14).
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.