Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds Zechariah's foretelling of war against God's chosen by Satan. Dr. Johnson also conveyes teaching on the many cults and false movements in history which have attempted to claim the return of Christ.
[Message] Zechariah chapter 10. And we’re reading verses 1 through 12. Zechariah chapter 10, the entire chapter of twelve verses. The first verse of the 10th chapter of the Book of Zechariah in thought belongs to the 9th chapter. But since we did not read it last time, I’m going to read it for this morning. But you will recognize if you’ve been reading the Book of Zechariah, as we have been studying it, that the subject matter of the 1st verse continues the thought of the end of chapter 9.
“Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. For the idols have spoken vanity (That word for idol is a word that means a household idol. Strictly speaking, it was the word Teraphim. You remember the letters “im” are the Hebrew plural so that seraphim or seraphs; Teraphim or Teraphs. And so these are particular idols; household gods.) For the Teraphim have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way (that is Israel) went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds (no doubt the false shepherds), and I punished the goats (Now this is a term in the Old Testament for chiefs or leaders of peoples, he-goats). And I punished the goats: (Now we have a lot of goats with us in the 20th century too; some leaders who no doubt deserve this term). For the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. Out of him (that is out of Judah) out of him shall came forth the cornerstone, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together. And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded. And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them. And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD. I will hiss for them (this word really means to whistle or perhaps to pipe, to play a tune) I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased. And I (Now the 9th verse, let me retranslate this verse because it really begins with a concessive clause). Although I scattered them among the peoples: yet they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again. I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them. (In other words, things are going to be so prosperous that it is going to be difficult for them to gain a place to live). And he shall pass through the sea with affliction (The he is a reference to God). And he shall pass through the sea with affliction (Or the sea of affliction. A reference, of course, to Israel’s sufferings among the nations during their dispersion. And, of course, they are dispersed now and they are suffering now). He shall pass through the sea of affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away. And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.”
May God bless this reading from his word.
Now this morning, again, as we’ve been doing for most of the mornings in the Scripture reading, I’ve been saying some extra words so that we will not have to say them in the message that follows. Some of the texts of the Old Testament need a great deal of retranslation and the prophets especially do.
This past week I was in Chicago and Cicero, Illinois preaching. The pastor of the church told me a little story. He said that many years ago after he read the Scripture every morning that he used to stop for just about three or four minutes and give a brief resume of the reading of the Scripture. And one morning as he left after the message and went out front to greet some of the people he heard a little boy who had been taken into the meeting by his father say as he was leaving, “Boy, dad, they must pay that preacher an awful lot. He preaches two sermons every Sunday morning.” It’s not my intention to do that. I assure you. May God bless the reading of his word. Let’s bow together in prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee that we are able to open the Scriptures. For in them we find the light which Thou dost desire for us to have. We thank Thee that in them is to be found the truth. And we pray, oh God, that as we continue to study together that our own hearts may be open to the truth and to the light. And that we may find the illumination that will give us understanding, not only of our life, but of the plans and programs which Thou hadst for this world and the people within it.
We thank Thee for every one present and for all of the families that are represented here. We pray especially Lord for some who have great problems. And we pray that Thou wilt minister and that Thou will work a work that will cause them to sense Thy hand in their lives. We thank Thee that we can lift our hearts to Thee and know that in the great crises of life we have someone not only to whom we can turn, but someone who is interested, someone who desires to help, someone who loves us as a father. And not only loves us, but has the power to carry out the desires of his heart. And so Lord, accept our worship today.
And we pray that as we study the word together this morning that our love and devotion to Thee may grow.
And, oh God, we pray that if some are here without Christ, the Holy Spirit may touch their hearts, make them tender and responsive. May they sense their need and may they turn in simple trust to Thee. And may they accept the provision that Thouest made for them. Through Jesus Christ. May they have the inexpressible joy of leaving this auditorium convinced of the possession of life from Thee. We thank Thee for our wonderful Savior and for the promises that mark him out as our Emmanuel. God with us. We rejoice that he was with Israel and shall be with Israel yet. We rejoice that we have the privilege of having him with us too.
We pray Thy blessing upon the ministry of this church. Especially, Lord, do we pray for the young people. And pray that the activities and the work that is going on in an attempt to reach them may be worthwhile and fruitful. And oh God we pray for young people that Thou will touch their hearts with the importance and with the necessity of putting Jesus Christ first in their lives. And for the children, we pray for them as they grow and mature and learn in school. May the things that they learn fit them for a life of usefulness in this world in which we live.
We pray again for every Christian church today. Wherever the word of God is proclaimed in purity, may Thy blessing rest upon that congregation. May Jesus Christ be exalted. And Lord we pray for the ministry of this assembly, not only today, but throughout the days of this week and in the immediate future. We pray, oh God, that Thou will give each one of us a sense of mission that we have been called of Thee each one of us in our place to serve Thee. And may together we have the joy of the Lord in seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst and through those who meet with us. In Christ. These things we ask. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] The 10th chapter of Zechariah is the subject for our study today. And the subject is, “The Cornerstone, the Tent Peg and the Battle Bow.” And if you know the 10th chapter, if you listened as we read it, you immediately recognize that the title is taken from the 4th verse in which we have a number of Messianic titles; references to our Lord Jesus Christ. Bishop Pike’s Satanic seances and Taylor Caldwell’s demonic ESP premonitions have reminded us again of some of the great features that shall characterize the last days; and particularly, the last days of the tribulation period. But our period is not accepted from this. These characteristics that are set before us in this chapter are the characteristics of idolatry and false prophecy.
Now as you have been listening to, and reading your newspapers, about the bishop’s antics, you no doubt have noticed that on at least a half a dozen occasions he has gone to mediums and has attempted to make communication, or to communicate, with his son and with other friends who have gone on from this life. In the course of his communications, he thinks that he has had conversations with his son and with others of friends; some of them friends of his in the ministry of the church to which he belongs. Some scoffer and comic said that perhaps this was a chance for the bishop to correct his theology. But I’m quite sure that from the mediums that he consults he will not get any correct theology.
Now this phenomenon of idolatry and this phenomenon of false prophecy and this phenomenon of seance and ESP is part and parcel of the warfare between God and Satan, between heaven and hell, and ultimately between Christ and antichrist. One of the great themes of the word of God, as you know, is the warfare between heaven and earth, or between God and Satan I should say. It began in heaven. It is now extended to the earth. We see evidences of it in the Old Testament record from time to time. For example, when Pharaoh attempted to keep the children of Israel in Egypt, it was his magicians upon whom he leaned and they were the satanic and demonic influences of his day. We saw this conflict reach its climax in the cross of Jesus Christ and we remember as we read the New Testament that the Apostle Paul has stated that when Jesus Christ died he put off principalities and powers and made a show of them openly. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews also refers to the conflict between Satan and our Lord Jesus Christ. And our Lord himself, in one of his own words as he drew near to the cross said, “This is your hour and the power of darkness.”
Now in the present age we also have the warfare continuing. In fact, when Paul was given his commission by God one of the things that was stated was that he should turn men from the power of Satan unto God. This was one of his commissions. And so the Apostle Paul, as he went about preaching, not only preached the forgiveness of sins, but he preached also the release from the power of the devil.
Now when we read the New Testament we discover the reality of this satanic and malign influence.
Now we like to speak of him as the Old Nick or something like this and we make fun of him in this way, but I want to assure you that if we accept the teaching of the Bible then we must accept the teaching of the existence of Satan and his demons. I do not know a whole lot about them from the standpoint of experience so far as I know. But I am sure that such exist. And I am sure that wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and wherever the word of God goes forth and men respond to it that there is satanic influence there. We may call it psychological influence today. In some cases, no doubt it is. But there are other influences that cannot be described in that way.
Now we have had, in the history of the Christian church, a succession of this type of thing. It’s nothing new. I think that in some ways our age is becoming more and more intense in its consultation of mediums and its false prophecy. But from the beginning we have had this. Not only in the New Testament, but as early as the rise of the Montanists. Montanist himself, so far as I can tell, was a man who was not too incorrect in the principle features of his doctrine, but he was influenced by two women and they together formed a movement which became an erratic and an heretical movement within Christianity. The names of these women I have forgotten. I remember one of their names was Priscilla. But I don’t remember the name of the other. That is insignificant. I noticed simply that the women were involved.
Now I also remember that it wasn’t long ago that there was a Mrs. Rowen who announced that Jesus Christ would come on the sixth of February. This was back in the 1920s. She said he would come on February 6, 1925. Then there was Ellen G. White who was influenced by William Miller who caused a lot of people to sell all of their possessions and they went out to a mountain in the west and there they waited for the Lord to come. They, of course, were disappointed. There was Ann Lee. Ann Lee began the movement known as the Shakers. She had visions and revelations. And if I remember correctly she said that she was the second coming of Christ. And she is not the only woman who has said that she was the second coming of Christ. Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy also said that she was the second coming of Christ. So we have a long series of women who have been involved in false prophecy.
Now I know the men are sitting there very pleased because you know that this is characteristic of women and so what should you expect. It’s only natural that a Jeane Dixon and a Taylor Caldwell should arise. It’s part of the makeup of the female. Well I remind you men that Mormonism, which is perhaps one of the leading false cults of the day, was formed by a man. And he was just as crooked as he was satanic in his activities. Dowieism was formed by J. Alexander Dowie. He said that he was Elijah II and he also had his apostles. And then what shall we say of the International Bible Students Association, alias Millennial Dawnism, alias the People’s Pulpit, alias Brooklyn Tabernacle, alias the Tract Society, alias Russelism. And I don’t know what its latest name is. All of this, of course, from men. So all of these things contribute to the fact that today we are living in days in which there is an intensification of the occult and of the demonic.
Now in this 10th chapter of the Prophecy of Zechariah, Zechariah declares that the shepherd king amid the climax of occultism which shall occur in the tribulation period and amid that tremendous satanic opposition which shall reach its climax in the antichrist, he will fulfil the hopes of the nation. You know Paul, writing in the 15th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, states that all of these things in the Old Testament were written for our admonition. Let me read that verse. It’s Romans chapter 15 and verse 4. And the apostle states, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Those things that were set forth in the Scriptures were designed in their instruction to give their readers a hope.
Now they had to exercise that hope amid endurance and amid patience, amid the consolation that came from the word only. In other words, what Paul is saying is the Old Testament has set forth before us a great number of things that shall come to pass, but they are the promises of God.
Now the promises of God must be received as promises and they must be held even though those promises have not been fulfilled at the present time. We are to believe these promises to set our faith and trust in them and then to wait for their fulfillment. And so the word of God, the written word of God – for that’s what he’s talking about – was said by Paul to be the means ultimately of hope. And hope not only for the Old Testament believers, but hope also for us. So then we’re to read of their future history in the 10th chapter of Zechariah. And though these things were not transpiring in their lifetime, they nevertheless were to lean upon that word and through the instruction of the word amid the endurance of the things that they were going through they would have hope of the ultimate fulfillment of the truth of God.
Now we are no different today. We turn to the word of God for hope. We know that many of these things are not to be fulfilled in the lifetime of some of us. But nevertheless in the midst of our experiences we have an endurance which is sustained by the truth that the word of God is sure to come to pass and in this we have hope in the midst of the things that we read in our newspapers about such people as I have been mentioning.
Now the chapter is very simple. And I want to again attempt to hit two or three of the high spots and not cover every single phrase or clause. The first thing that the prophet sets forth for us is Israel’s future deception and its cure.
Now he mentions prayer in the 1st verse because he says prayer will bring blessing for disasters have been caused by trust in lying spirits. He writes about the deception of the future in verse 2.
Now let me say this. That all of this passage as we know is set in the future. All we have to do is to read the context. So Zechariah is giving us some things that are going to happen in the future.
Now these tendencies have been seen in the past. And no doubt there was an anticipation of this in the Maccabean successes which followed shortly after the writing of the prophecy of Zechariah. But ultimately they have to do with the future. And he states in the 2nd verse of the 10th chapter, “For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain.” In other words he speaks now about the Teraphim and the diviners, those who practice divination, those who read the livers of animals in order to tell the future, those who practice hepatoscopy. These are ones who are false spirits and if we lean upon them we shall have apostasy and we shall have distress until the restoration of the nation Israel.
Now I want to stop here for just a moment and say just a word about the Teraphim and the diviners. These were household gods, the Teraphim. And the person who possessed the Teraphim was supposed by their customs to have the rights to the family property. This is why when Jacob married Rachel and he began to make his plans to leave from Laban’s home where he had been that Rachel, as they left, stole the Teraphim. And she went into the house and she found the Teraphim and she took those Teraphim and she took off. And she took off because, if she possessed them, she had the right to Laban’s property. And she wanted that for Jacob. So the Teraphim were household gods. And Israel frequently in times of stress turned to the household gods of the heathen. Not only did they turn to the household gods, but they also turned to the false prophets.
Now we look today at them and we are inclined to say that there is no danger of our doing anything like this. After all, we’re living in the twentieth century. But there is, in human nature, this pattern. That whenever we are disobedient to the word of God and whenever, therefore, the fellowship that we have with God is broken and whenever we’re unwilling to face the fact that we have sinned against God, then in the light of the fact that the heavens suddenly become brass for us we tend to turn to other remedies. And so instead of reading ourselves and knowing that we have sinned against God and are out of fellowship with him, we turn to the false gods. We turn to the idols. We turn to anything that may give us an experience that will build us up and cause us to successfully bypass the real problem that faces us. And that is our relationship to the Lord.
Now this has been customary down through the years. In the case of Israel, when they disobeyed, instead of turning to God because the heaven is now silent and confessing their sin and imploring his mercy upon them, they turn to men in order that they might go after the familiar spirits. Isaiah speaks about the wizards that peep and mutter. And he is talking about those in ancient times who acted as ventriloquists and when you went to them they would give you some prophecy, something about what was going to happen in the future. And they did it in a voice which they disguised. They were wizards that peeped or chirped and muttered. That’s the way Isaiah describes them.
Now that’s the kind of medium to which the bishop went. He went to a medium. And, as you remember, this was a religious man that he went to. But the name of the medium who spoke through the Reverend Mr. Ford of Canada who is a member of the Disciples of Christ denomination, he said that the medium’s name was Fletcher. That was his name.
Now he was a wizard that peeped and muttered. And I wasn’t there, of course, but I just have a hunch that the voice of Fletcher was different from the voice of the Reverend Mr. Ford. In other words, the same kind of thing that we had back hundreds and hundreds of years ago is transpiring today right in front of us. And there are people who become very much disturbed over this very frequently. In fact, whenever something like this happens and it is splayed across our newspapers, a Jeane Dixon or a Taylor Caldwell, it is amazing how many people come to me. And I know they do this for every teacher of the word of God. It’s amazing how many will come and say, “Now is there really anything to this? Is there really anything to it? Is it possible that Jeane Dixon does know the future? Is it possible that Taylor Caldwell really can tell us about the future? Is it possible the dollar is going to be devalued?” And that’s what she said.
Now anybody reading the newspapers, of course, might suspect that that was going to happen. She said that we are weak in our missile defenses. Well, are we weak in them? Well, anybody reading the newspapers might guess that we might be a little weak. But is this happening? Is it really possible for someone to foretell the future? Well, now in my opinion the future belongs to God. I do not think it is possible for anyone to foretell the future. I believe in demonic activity. And I do believe that demons have a limited freedom given by God. And if men persist in refusing the testimony of the word of God he will give the demons more and more liberty with them. And so ultimately the future belongs to God. He may permit someone who is so disobedient to God and who does not turn to him, he may permit him to go in his evil way until finally he becomes a worshiper of the demons; a worshiper of Satan. And we see that today in this present year of 1967.
Now here in the future we are told that there is going to be a great intensification of this activity. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy chapter 4 that that is true. The Book of Revelation, as it describes the great society of the tribulation period says that one of the things that characterizes it is necromancy and sorcery; this type of thing. So we can expect in the latter days for there to be an increase in this type of thing. I think also that there is an application of this text to Christians who go off after activities like speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues for many people is an attempt to obtain reality in their lives. They do not have any reality. No real Christian reality. And so they’re looking around for reality often times not willing to face the fact that the reason they do not have any reality is because there is sin in the life and fellowship with God has been broken and, therefore, the heavens are silent since God, by the Holy Spirit, is trying to bring home to our hearts that we’re out of fellowship with him. And so we turn to these expediences. We turn to speaking in tongues in order to give us some experience that will make us feel good.
Now there has never been anyone, so far as I know, speak in biblical tongues in eighteen hundred years. There may have been some cases in which there is some form of documentation. I have not seen it. Perhaps that is so. I do not say it is absolutely impossible. But what we know as speaking in tongues today generally is not the speaking in tongues of the Bible. Some run after divine healers, which are neither divine nor healers. But they run after them and they seek in this to find some indication of a reality which they do not posses in their own life. And still other simpleminded Christians are taught by Bible teachers sometimes that God still speaks today and you can hear them, “God spoke to me today and he told me this. And God spoke to me yesterday and he told me this. The other night I had a vision.” I often run across people who come up to me and say, “I had a vision.” Well, I just do not believe it. I just do not believe it. I do not believe that anybody is seeing a vision from God today. They may have had a psychological experience. They may have thought they saw a vision, but they’re not seeing a vision in the biblical sense. These are escape mechanisms designed to bring reality into the Christian life when there is no reality. As Zechariah says, “They have told false dreams; they comfort in vain.” All of their comfort is nothing more than breath if I may paraphrase roughly the Hebrew text at that point. What is the cure? Well, Zechariah says in the 4th verse, “Out of him (that is out of Judah) shall come forth the cornerstone, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.” Just as today, the remedy is our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, of course, today we do not have the personal presence of the Lord Jesus. Israel in the future shall have his personal presence and he shall come to the earth and he shall deliver them from all of the trials and distresses of that future period of time. But today we have the word of God. This is what Isaiah means in the 8th chapter of his prophecy when after speaking of the wizards that chirp and mutter. Let me read you the verse. I love that. Isn’t that wonderful language? The wizards that chirp and mutter. Verse 19 of chapter 8, “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?” In other words, should we in behalf of the living go to dead people?
Now notice the 20th verse.
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (or no mourning for them). To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light or mourning for them.”
In other words, you run off after the false spirits, the diviners, the fortunetellers, the mediums and all of that sort of thing. When, in doing this, you are going to dead people in behalf of living. Should you not go to the word of God? “To the law and to the testimony.” This is the recourse of the Christian and it is always the recourse of the Christian. It is very unfortunate that today so many Christians do not have an attitude toward the word of God that sets this word of God in their lives in the place that it ought to be. “To the law and to the testimony.” Everything is to be according to the word of God.
Now I want to say something else too. In Evangelicalism, there is a tendency today to go to the Bible for salvation and to the law and to the testimony for the saving work of Jesus Christ, but for the work of the church, not to go to the law and to the testimony. We’re living in the 20th Century. And so we change the law and the testimony for the work of the church in the 20th Century. We do not follow the biblical principles of the Bible in the activities that we carry on. And I think that in this we are making a mistake which ultimately shall lead us to error. So, “To the law and to the testimony.”
Now, of course, for Israel as they face the great tribulation of the future, they look forward to the Messiah and his coming. And Zechariah sets him forth here in a threefold way. He says first of all that, “Out of him (that is Judah) shall come forth the cornerstone.”
Now Messiah, the cornerstone, is a reference to the fact that Messiah is the foundation of the work of God. He will be the foundation of that kingdom that shall come through his second advent. He, of course, is the foundation of salvation. He is today the foundation of the church of Jesus Christ. And what this means is that infidelity cannot prevail in the true church of Jesus Christ as long as we stick to the word of God. If we move away from the word of God, infidelity comes into the church. And the foundation stone is no longer the foundation of the activity of God.
I fully believe that the reason that God has blessed the ministry of Believers Chapel in this community to this point is because there has been an attempt to have Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone of this work. And whenever the time comes that Jesus Christ is no longer the cornerstone of what is being built here then we can expect to be building to that extent upon sand. And God will not bless this work. He may give us increasing numbers. He may give us a building in which to worship. He may give us the outward evidences or we may obtain the outward evidences of prosperity, but if we lose this we lose the vitality of the genuine work of God. And you can sense it. All you have to do is to come into an organization or a group of people when the work of God is going on and there is something in that meeting that tells you immediately that the work of God is going on here. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit. And if we do not have that we shall never make progress. So Messiah, the cornerstone. And I am so thankful that as long as we hold fast to him infidelity shall not prevail in this organism. Upon this rock I shall build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Now Zechariah says not only that he is Messiah, the cornerstone, and that he is coming to be the foundation of the kingdom work of God in the future, but out of him also comes the nail or the tent peg.
Now this is a very interesting word because it refers to something that went on in ancient times which we don’t really have anything to do with today. But in ancient times, when a man lived in a tent, or even when he lived in his house, it was a custom for him to have as one of the most prominent pieces of furniture in his tent or in his house a nail or a tent peg.
Now it was not a tent peg that held the tent up. It was a tent peg on the inside of the tent upon which he put all of his valuable belongings. And he put that tent peg in the side of the wall or in the post of the tent and he kept everything that really was precious to him upon that tent peg. In other words, if we did that today, if I walked in your house and you had a tent peg I would look over there and I would notice your wife’s new Neiman Marcus dresses. There they would be hanging right on the tent peg you see, the most precious things in the house. I probably would also notice – you men – I would notice your season ticket to the Cowboy football games. It too would be hanging on the tent peg. Or your baseball glove, boys, or your hunting rifle, or your golf clubs, or one Thousand shares of General Motors might be hanging there too. Or, girls, your boy’s fraternity pin. It would be hanging on that tent peg too. It was the place where everything that was precious hung.
Now when the Prophet Zechariah says that out of Judah shall come the tent peg, Messiah as the tent peg. He means that out of Judah shall come the Lord Jesus and when we see the Lord Jesus as the king in the kingdom days then all of the glory of the kingdom shall be associated with him. He shall be the complete glory of that future kingdom. That’s what we referred to in the 6th chapter in the 13th verse when we read, “He shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne.”
Now I didn’t begin at the beginning of the verse and I missed the clause. “Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory.” That is, he shall be the tent peg. And when we see Messiah in the kingdom we shall see the glory of God’s kingdom in our Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, he says, “Messiah, the battle bow. And out of him shall come the battle bow.” This of course is a reference to our Lord Jesus as the warrior and conqueror supreme.
This past week when I was in Cicero I had a privilege I don’t often have, and that is to have my days free. And so in the morning we ate breakfast at 8:00 and I went back to the church and I went upstairs in the library and I spent the day studying, just reading various things, reading the word, working on Zechariah chapter 10 and other things. And I went over and looked in the library and I saw some books that interested me very much. They were old, old, old copies of our Hope magazine, which was edited by Arno C. Gaebelein for fifty or sixty years.
Now you who are new Christians, you don’t probably know a thing about our Hope magazine. But it was a magazine that had quite an influence among Evangelical Christians up to about 1950. And it was in existence for about sixty-five years. But Mr. Gaebelein edited this for a number of years, at least half a century. And it was a very influential paper. Almost all of the Bible teachers of a few generations back read our Hope magazine. And so I opened it up and I began reading as long back as the 1910, 1911, 1912 issues, 1907 I think. I was utterly astounded. Mr. Gaebelein used to have a section called current events and the Bible. And if you ever had a chance to read through them it would be most interesting to you because so many of the things that have come to pass, this man of God prophesied, but not as false prophets, in just the teaching of the word as he analyzed the trends of the day and the light of the word of God. It’s amazing how many of those things came to pass. It’s just miraculous.
In the course of it he mentioned something that I want to mention now. He said he had a conversation with a Jewish rabbi. And this Jewish rabbi spoke to Mr. Gaebelein and said, “You know, Mr. Gaebelein, the age waits for a great law giver; a man like Daniel come to judgement. “Who shall execute judgement righteousness and shall reprove with equity for the meek,” as Isaiah says in the 11th chapter. And Mr. Gaebelein went on to say we know who that man is. He is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the law giver. He is the battle bow who shall come. Then he went on to say that he spoke with a Hebrew governor of one of our states back in the early years of the 20th century. And this man said to him that he had spent a great deal of his life in suffering. He said, “After all, I’ve been a Jew. And you know, Mr. Gaebelein, how the Jews have suffered.” And then he went on to say in the light of his serving as governor, he said, “After all, Mr. Gaebelein, who is fitted better to rule than one who has suffered?”
And then Mr. Gaebelein went on to say, “Well you know our great ruler, our great law giver, is one who has suffered as no other person has ever suffered. And this is one reason why Jesus Christ is going to be such a wonderful ruler. Because who is fitted better to rule than someone who has suffered.” And also in that same issue, Mr. John Wanamaker had a statement. Yes, the John Wanamaker. He was a Christian man. Mr. Wanamaker said – he had a little clause he used to like to say over and over again and he would say it to his Christian friends – he would say, “There’s a wounded man on the throne. There’s a wounded man on the throne.” And he was referring to the Lord Jesus Christ who is on the throne now who shall come again to establish his kingdom. But he shall never have absent from him this sense of having suffered and the sense of having been wounded for our sake. And so, “Out of Judah shall come the cornerstone, out of Judah shall come the tent peg, out of Judah shall come the battle bow. And when the Lord Jesus comes then all of the oppressors shall go out together.” And that’s the meaning of the remainder of that verse.
By the way, did you notice that men have nothing to do with it? It’s all of grace. Just as the work of salvation is of grace, so the work of deliverance of Israel in the future is of grace, so the work of our deliverance day by day is by grace. It is not of law. Over and over in this chapter it is stressed that God is the one who does the work. So difficult for us to believe that God works on the basis grace. We like to go out and make up our little merit badges and display them. I have prayed today. I have witnessed this week. I have attended the meetings this week. And we get enough merit badges on us so that we feel that we’ve made enough points with God and now God is going to smile upon us and bless us because we’ve been doing all of this. There is one thing the Bible writes a big X across; it is that type of thing. And we see it here in this chapter.
Now I must hurry. The 5th through the 7th verses set forth the future destruction of Israel’s foes. Triumph and joyous repatriation is set forth here since God is with them.
Now he again, again he moves beyond the Maccabean days. He says, “The time is coming when they of Judah and of Joseph and Ephraim shall as mighty men,” in the 5th verse. By the way, the Jews in ancient times were good soldiers. The Egyptians loved to enlist them in their armies. The Assyrians tried to enlist them in their armies. The Romans tried to enlist them in their armies. They have always been good soldiers when they have been properly motivated. And we have seen an exhibition of that this past summer. Because the accuracy with which they used their weapons in the campaign with Egypt was something that marveled all who had any opportunity to see it. The Jews have always been good warriors. And the time is coming when they’re going to be the greatest fighters that the world has ever seen, much greater than the Romans, greater than the Greeks, greater than the Spartans are going to be these mighty men of the land of Judah when the lion of the tribe of Judah is at their head. In the 7th verse he says, “And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through grape juice.” [Laughter]
Now I have some friends who like to make a great point over the fact that the Lord ’s Supper should be grape juice and unfermented wine. “And so their heart shall rejoice as through grape juice.” No, that isn’t the meaning of the biblical word wine. The biblical word wine means wine. It means wine with alcoholic content. That’s exactly what it means.
Now I’m not in favor of your going out and drinking as much alcohol as possible. But I’m just setting forth for you what the word of God says. “Their heart shall rejoice as through wine.” What does he mean? Well, he means there’s going to be a tremendous transformation on the inward side which is going to make them rejoice on the outward. Have you ever noticed the transformation that happens to a man when he gets a few belts? Well, he becomes a different man. I’ve seen the weakest, meekest, mildest men. And they hit the bottle for a little while and they want to go out and fight the world. You’ve seen that. I’ve seen real quiet fellows who go and take a few drinks and my you could not possibly shut them up. A transformation has taken place within.
Now when the Holy Spirit takes hold of a man the same transformation occurs in the inner man. And so he says here that there is going to be an inner transformation in Israel in the future. So tremendous, that they shall rejoice as if they have been filled with wine. Just as the men on the day of Pentecost. This is what Paul means when he says, “Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess. Don’t be filled with the spirit, but be filled with the spirit. The spirit of God.” And when a man gets down before God and gets right with God and confesses his sin and comes into fellowship with God, that man is transformed. I’ve never yet seen a Christian who has ever known what it is to be filled with the spirit, controlled by the spirit. Not doing some type of dance or rolling on the floor or foaming at the mouth or speaking in tongues or anything like that; just controlled by the spirit. There is a transformation in that man. And he becomes the kind of man God wished for every one of us to be.
Now finally in the latter part of the chapter we have here the future deliverance of Israel. And we have talked a great deal about this. And this morning I’m not going to say a great deal about it. Just try to point out the highlights. As you can see, this is a grand climactic note of full restoration. There is the regathering set forth in verse 8. “I will hiss for them.” I will whistle for them. That’s the sound a shepherd makes by the way. David Baron says that many years ago he was camping on the Lebanon. And while he was camping with some of his missionary friends an Arabic shepherd came by and engaged them in conversation. He talked for a longtime and his sheep scattered all over the mountainside. When the time came for him to leave he pulled out a little whistle and he began to play a little tune. Mr. Baron says it wasn’t a very nice tune to listen to. But he began to pipe on his little whistle. He said it was amazing. All of the sheep began to gather around the shepherd. And it wasn’t but just a few moments before they were ready to move off again. And that’s what God is going to do.
Today the Zionists all over the world are engaging in all kind of activity and propaganda in order to get Israelites to go back to the land of Egypt, to the land of Palestine. They’ve managed to get two and a half million of them there, but they’re worried now because some of them are coming back. They’re disenchanted with life in Palestine. And so they’ve been working hard. The war has done a great deal to increase their interests again. But they were losing population just before the war. Well, the time is coming when God is going to whistle and all of the Jews are going to make a B line back to the land of Palestine when Jesus Christ comes.
Now this present return to the land is not of God. The Jews who are back in the land are not believers in Jesus Christ. It is a counterfeit movement. It is a movement back in unbelief. The time is coming, however, when God whistles and it will be a movement in belief. And he shall gather them all together there and then he shall complete the great work preparatory to the kingdom. So there is the regathering. There is the resettlement in the 10th verse. There is the release from domination in the 11th verse. And you get the picture in the 11th verse of the Lord himself marching in the van of his people as he did at the Red Sea. And he’s going to break the power of gentile domination and take the Jews right back into that land and make them the head of the nations again. And the final rejuvenation of them is set forth in the 12th verse. “And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in my name, saith the LORD.” The preachers in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus are going to be converted Israelites. There is going to be some great preaching in that day. Here are men who know God. And they are fitted by dispersion to carry out the work of Evangelism. The greatest activity of Evangelization will not occur in this age, but in the age of the tribulation, and then throughout the kingdom, a constant preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now I must close. I want you to notice these concluding words of the 12th chapter. “I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.”
Now those three words, “saith the LORD,” form the seal and the signature of the certainty of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah chapter 10. This is the word of the Lord. Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Not only was Israel of the past days to have that hope in the certain fulfillment of the Scriptures, but we too are to have that hope. All of the promises of the word of God are sure to be fulfilled. And as Peter says, “This is the stone which has been rejected of you the builders and there is no other foundation; for there is salvation in none other name than in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If you are here this morning and you have not believed in the Lord Jesus, we point you to the man who has been wounded for you. That wounded man who is now on the throne. And because he has been wounded for you, has suffered for you, if you turn to him and say, “Lord I thank you that you have died for me.” The moment that you do that in a conscious sense of your own need for the forgiveness of sins God gives you the forgiveness of sins. You become a believer in Jesus Christ, become a member of the family of God made righteous before him, given everlasting life, possessed of the Holy Spirit of God. That tremendous transaction takes place right in your heart saith the Lord. May God help you to respond in faith to him and believe. Shall we stand for the benediction?
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the wonderful words of this prophecy. Deliver us from the familiar spirits and the wizards and false prophets that chirp and mutter. May we go to the law and to the testimony. And whatever speaks not according to them, pay no attention to it. And then Lord, we pray that our hope as based upon the word may shine brightly through the days that are before us. Now may grace, mercy and peace be in abide with each one present. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.