Posted in arm, good shepherd, prophecy, the worthless shepherd, zechariah

The strong arm of Jehovah and the antichrist’s withered arm

There are many symbols in the bible. Many of those symbols refer to an aspect of God, the Spirit, or Jesus. In the case of God, his ability to reach into the doings of humankind is shown in a symbol of His mighty Arm, or His right hand. I focus on His arm.

I was listening to a sermon by RC Sproul on Mary’s Magnificat, and in Luke 1:51, Mary extols the strength of the LORD by His arm in saying,

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; (Luke 1:51)

Here are other verses which do the same:

Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1)

You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain; You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm. (Psalms 89:10)

Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.” (Exodus 6:6)

Dr Henry Morris at The Institute for Creation Research wrote,

“The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:10)

The human arm is often used in the Bible to symbolize spiritual strength or power. The word is first used in Jacob’s dying prophecy concerning His beloved son Joseph: “But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24).

The source of all true strength is in the mighty God, so it is not surprising to find at least 40 biblical references to the Lord’s powerful “arm” or “arms.” One of the most striking is our text, promising that when God “bares His arm” for His great work of delivering the lost world from its bondage to Satan and sin and death, then the whole world will see His salvation (literally, His “Jesus”).

It is an interesting article, please feel free to click the link and read the rest.

The arm of the LORD symbolizes many aspects of Himself, but for now we focus on the strength. How much more can we see the lack of strength when we contrast the following verse,

He stomps the earth but his arm is withered!

Woe to my worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! Let his arm be wholly withered, his right eye utterly blinded!” (Zechariah 11:17)

That powerful chapter of Zechariah depicts a several-fold prophecy over the course of time. Zechariah is prophesying about Israel’s future rejection of Christ. Here is an outline of the verses’ meanings by Roy Gingrich:

3. The coming of a false shepherd (11:15–17)
(Because Israel rejected Her true Shepherd, God will chasten her by giving her a false shepherd. There is already a time gap of more than 1900 years between verses 11:14 and 11:15.)
a. His character—He will be “a foolish, (wicked) shepherd.” The Old Testament writers often associated foolishness and wickedness. See Psa. 14:1.
b. His identity—He is: (1) The “little horn,” Dan. 7:8; (2) “the desolator,” Dan. 9:27; (3) “the willful king,” Dan. 11:36; (4) “the man of sin,” 2 Thes. 2:3; and (5) the “Antichrist,” 1 John 2:18.
c. His origin—God will indirectly raise him up to punish His people, 11:16. Satan will directly raise him up to promote his end-time total rebellion against God, 2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 19:19.
d. His ruthless ministry—He will not feed, but will fleece, the flock. He will not tend, but will tear, the flock. He will not edify, but will eat, the flock. He will not feed, but will feed on, the flock.
e. His punishment (his end)—He will receive woe. His right arm (with which he slew the sheep) will be completely dried up and his right eye (with which he looked upon the sheep for evil) will be completely blinded. These things mean he will be utterly destroyed, Dan. 9:27; 2 Thes. 2:8; Rev. 19:20. God will first use and then punish this masterpiece of Satan.

Gingrich, R. E. (1999). The Books of Haggai and Zechariah (p. 52). Memphis, TN: Riverside Printing.

The worthless shepherd will strike the sheep, but the LORD will wither his arm.
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This foolish and wicked shepherd Zechariah speaks of is the prophesied antichrist, also spoken of in the book of Daniel. John MacArthur writes of the Zechariah verse,

With the removal of the true shepherd, the drama called for the prophet to play a foolish shepherd, who depicted the antichrist of Daniel’s 70th week. (cf. 2 Thess 2:3; John 5:43; Dan 9:27). Zechariah’s prophecy jumped from the first century A.D. to the last days before the second coming, omitting the present mystery of the church age.

This foolish (wicked) shepherd had a broken staff or club that he used to beat stubborn sheep into submission, something clearly inappropriate for a shepherd who thoughtfully and carefully cared for his sheep. Because they did not choose the good shepherd, Israel will do a foolish one who will do absolutely the opposite of what is expected of shepherds. He will destroy the sheep (11:16). This is exactly what the antichrist does. (cf. Dan 9:27, Matthew 24:15-22). Source: MacArthur Study Bible: Note on Zech 11:17

In returning to the symbolism of the arm, we have a great God whose arm is stretched out to perform mighty deeds, the mightiest is that Jesus is God’s arm. Christ is the power of God unto salvation (cf Isaiah 53:1, 52:10)

Thus the foolish shepherd is also a worthless shepherd who rightfully deserves the condemnation pronounced (Woe). The arm indicates his strength and the eye his intelligence. The foolish plottings of the worthless shepherd will be annulled when the True Shepherd returns (cf. 12:10; Rev. 19:19–20).

The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.)

We can ponder the mightiness of the arm of the LORD in giving His Son to us. Whether one meets the Messiah Redeemer as friend or foe, His mighty arm will be extended to perform wonders and holy perfections. He will wither the arm of the worthless shepherd. He will strengthen His saints. He will direct His angels. He will cast the rebels into the Lake of Fire. His arm does wonders, forever!

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Let Us Reason Ministries: The Arm and Right Hand of the LORD

Alexander MacLaren, The Arm of the Lord from his Expositions of Isaiah and Jeremiah

Posted in millennial kingdom, prophecy, zechariah

Even the pots will be holy

And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the LORD.” And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar.
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And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.

~Zechariah 14:20-21

EPrata photo

Pastor Steve Hadley once said while preaching through Zechariah, that pound for pound, Zechariah contains more prophecy than any other book of the bible, including Revelation. It is an astounding book, magnificent in its history, prophecy, and terrible beauty.

Here, we see the very end of Zechariah’s book, the last verse. Zechariah is speaking of the Day when Jesus (the coming Messiah, the Lord) will rule on earth during the Millennial kingdom. John Walvoord explains the verse in his commentary:

In that day holiness will characterize millennial life (cf. 8:3) whether it be in public life (the bells of the horses), religious life (the cooking pots in the LORD‘s house, the millennial temple, Ezek. 40–43), or private life (every pot in Jerusalem and Judah). Perhaps the general thought is the removal of a dichotomy between secular and sacred. In the Old Testament a Canaanite had become symbolic of anything ceremonially unclean and ungodly (the dishonest “merchant” in Hosea 12:7 is lit., “the Canaanite”). In the millennial temple no such defilement will occur. Thus Zechariah’s prophetic book which began with a call to repentance (Zech. 1:2–6) concludes with an affirmation that all will be holy to the LORD (14:20–21). Because He is the LORD Almighty and the Holy One, He will establish holiness throughout the glorious Millennium!

Lindsey, F. D. (1985). Zechariah. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, pp. 1571–1572). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

I like even better Gill’s Exposition. What a joyous time it will be, when ALL is holy!

Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts,…. Such will be the number of sacrifices and sacrificers, that the pots in the Lord’s house will not be sufficient; wherefore every pot, in city or country, shall be sanctified and devoted to holy uses:

and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein; this denotes, as before, the general holiness of the professors of religion in those times; and that there will be no difference in the vessels of the Lord’s house, or any distinction of Jew and Gentile; but they will be all spiritual worshippers, and offer up the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise to the Lord

Posted in israel, jews, Obama, prophecy, turkey, zechariah

Israel PM brother-in-law says Obama is an anti-Semite

I happen to agree with Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu’s brother-in-law. Here is news today regarding Obama in Israel-

Netanyahu’s Brother-In-Law Says Obama Is An Anti-Semite, Hates Israel
“In the midst of trying to ease tensions following one of the worst diplomatic rifts between the US and Israel in recent memory, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to distance himself from his brother-in-law Wednesday after he accused US President Barack Obama of being an anti-Semite during a radio interview. “It’s not that Obama doesn’t like Bibi,” Hagai Ben-Artzi said during the interview, according to Haaretz. “He doesn’t like the nation of Israel.” Ben-Artzi attributed Obama’s alleged anti-Semitism to his long association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose views Obama came to disavow during his presidential campaign in 2008. “When there is an anti-Semitic president in the United States, it is a test for us and we have to say: We will not concede. We are a nation dating back 4,000 years, and you in a year or two will be long forgotten. Who will remember you? But Jerusalem will dwell on forever,” Ben Artzi said.”

Netanyahu immediately distanced himself from his brother-in-law and rejected his opinion.

However, as with anyone, anywhere, check to see that what they say and what they do match up. Obama’s behavior over the last 4 years as president toward Israel’s prime minister has not been one of love or even regard, but of barely disguised disdain.

Last September, Reuters reported, In an unusual snub, Obama to avoid meeting Netanyahu

In 2010 the UK Telegraph reported, “Obama snubbed Netanyahu for dinner with Michelle and the girls, Israelis claim
“Benjamin Netanyahu was left to stew in a White House meeting room for over an hour after President Barack Obama abruptly walked out of tense talks to have supper with his family, it emerged on Thursday.”

In January 2013, an American columnist with close ties to the White House described Obama’s disdain for Netanyahu.

This is not how you treat your ONLY ally in a harsh and hostile part of the world, not if you have regard and respect for its people nation to nation, that is.

Obama seems to be getting some props for “brokering” a rapprochement between Israel and Turkey. Their relations had broken down after Turkey violated (allegedly) a marine blockade by Israel and Israel shot several Turkish officers in the sea scuffle. Diplomatic relations had been called off since late 2010-early 2011, with only one phone call by Netanyahu to Turkey to offer help after Turkey’s earthquake. Turkey said no thanks.

The Japan Times explains, “Israel and Turkey were once close allies. Relations began to decline after Erdogan, whose party has roots in Turkey’s Islamist movement, became prime minister in 2003. Erdogan has embarked on a campaign to make Turkey a regional powerhouse in an attempt to become the leading voice in the Muslim world but has in the process distanced the country from Israel.”

However, despite those ambitions, at least for today, the two nations appeared to ‘bury the hatchet’ as Japan Times said. Haaretz reports, “In November 2012, Israel and Turkey resumed talks on ending the crisis in relations between the two countries. On March 22, 2013, Netanyahu made the phone call to Erdogan, apologizing over the deaths of the nine Turkish citizens in the flotilla incident. The normalization agreed by both countries included the return of the Turkish ambassador to Tel Aviv and the Israeli ambassador to Ankara.”

Some say that it is good that diplomatic tensions have eased between the two nations. The region is aflame with Syria’s civil war and refugees streaming into Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. Israel could use Turkey’s help with the situation and vice versa. Others say it is not a good idea, Israel looked weak to bow to Turkey after all this time and lowered morale of the soldiers. His apology created a firestorm at home. And after all, biblically, Turkey will attack Israel in the Gog-Magog war. (Ezekiel 38:6). If they form warm relations now, it won’t last.

At the end of Obama’s trip to Israel, he stopped to tour the ancient rose-red city of Petra in nearby Jordan. Petra means rock, and it is located in the region of Bozrah, which means sheepfold. It is the place where the Jews will flee to when they see the abomination of desolation. (Matthew 24:16). How do we know this?

Daniel 11:41 declares that Jordan is the only place that will escape the domination of the antichrist in the last days. The Jews at that time will flee over the mountains as per Matthew 24:16 and as Revelation 12:14 says, they will cross the desert. Geologically, the only mountains and desert is toward the southwest, over the Jordan river and into Edom. Isaiah 63:1 shows the Lord Jesus coming from Bozrah with blood stained robes, indicating one of His stops before He lands on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4) will be to save the Jews hiding there.

To see a person such as Obama who has such a strong antichrist spirit (1 John 4:3 and also here) standing in such a prophetically wonderful and important place for the Jews, and he who hates Israel so much…it is a jarring juxtaposition.

As far as Netanyahu’s brother-in-law goes, I am in total agreement. Obama by his behavior and by his placement here at this time in America, seems to have severe disdain for the nation of Israel. But that is no more or no less than the rest of the world, which seems to be hurtling toward fulfillment of the following prophecy:

“On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.” (Zechariah 12:3)

Zechariah has much to say about the coming times. There is an incredible amount of last days prophecy throughout Zechariah’s book, including parallels with Revelation. As Pastor Steve Hadley says, pound for pound, Zechariah has it almost over even Daniel in terms of prophecy. If you would like to listen to a preacher preach through this book, verse by verse, I’d recommend Steve Hadley at Harvest Family Fellowship, here.

Always keep your eyes on the Lord through His word. What He is doing is amazing. We look at the news in wonder but the real wonder comes when we read His valuable and precious word, and see what He has planned. Did you ever stop to think that it is amazing in itself that He even tells us what He plans to do? He is God after all. He doesn’t have to. Just reading the bible is a miracle for us, because it is the place where His holiness and perfection and love is revealed. If your bible is dusty, brush it off and open it up. There are many wonders awaiting you there.

Posted in israel, prophecy, zechariah

The Spectator: Israel Under Siege, Zechariah 12 coming to life

This is an excellent summation of the new geo-political situation in the Middle East regarding Israel and its neighbors. It is easy to read and detailed. Read it with Zechariah in your mind as a backdrop to provide prophetic context.

“The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: 2“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. 3On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. 4On that day, declares the Lord, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. 5Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God.’ “

“6“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem.”

7“And the Lord will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah. 8On that day the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, going before them. 9And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:1-9)

The Spectator: Israel Under Siege: The Jewish state faces an ever-increasing threat from Islamist neighbours

Israel_SE

“When Israel last entered Gaza, in Operation Cast Lead three years ago, the Arab World was stuck in the stasis it had been in for a century. Since their last defeat against Israel in 1973, the dictators had stuck to their old borders. Unpleasant, certainly, but not eager for conflict or any other variety of change. Their stance may have included populist denunciations of Israel, but they rarely took any genuine interest in the subject, any more than they took any interest in the welfare of their own people. But Israel’s new neighbours are more than racketeers: they are ideologues…”

“It is obvious why this matters to Israel. The country is surrounded. All its efforts at normalisation in the region have come to nothing. To the north, Lebanon remains dominated by Iran’s proxies of Hezbollah. Egypt and Gaza are under the control of the Brotherhood. Syria is a redoubtable enemy and ally of Iran. But when the opposition have toppled Assad, they will be just as hostile and almost certainly head in the same Islamist direction. In recent days even the majority Palestinian Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has begun to look vulnerable. The situation is now so unstable that the King has had to cancel his visit to Britain after thousands have come out on to the Jordanian streets demanding his downfall.”

In my opinion, Turkey and Jordan are the next nations to watch. I’ve written about Jordan recently, and Turkey is admirably covered in The Spectator’s article.

Please continue to pray to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and understanding of the times. Pray that those with an unregenerate heart would respond to the touch of the Lord and that He would give them salvation. Pray for Christians and missionaries in this region. Whatever you feel led to pray for, please continue praying. Prayer is powerful. See John Piper’s exposition of the Revelation verse about prayer in his sermon “The Prayers of the Saints and the End of the World“!

Revelation 8:1–5

“And when he broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God; and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the altar and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.”

John Piper– Prayer and the Consummation of History

The utterly astonishing thing about this text is that it portrays the prayers of the saints as the instrument God uses to usher in the end of the world with great divine judgments. It pictures the prayers of the saints accumulating on the altar before the throne of God until the appointed time when they are taken up like fire from the altar and thrown upon the earth to bring about the consummation of God’s kingdom.

In other words, what we have in this text is an explanation of what has happened to the millions upon millions of prayers over the last 2,000 years as the saints have cried out again and again, “Thy kingdom come . . . Thy kingdom come.” Not one of these prayers, prayed in faith, has been ignored. Not one is lost or forgotten. Not one has been ineffectual or pointless. They have all been gathering on the altar before the throne of God.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)