Gone...Gone...Gone

Gone, Gone, Gone – Zechariah 13:1      10/13/2019 As we continue our march through Zechariah, chapter 12 ended with Israel’s return to the Lord.[1]  Zechariah dealt with Israel’s physical deliverance through God’s intervention,[2] and he now addresses repentance and spiritual renewal, all in the context of the nation of Israel.[3]  We discover that judgment is not the last work in Zechariah, just as it is not God’s final word in human history.[4] Now, we have to admit that only some of the prophesies Zechariah made about the coming One have been fulfilled… so far.[5]  That complicates the process of interpreting prophesy.  Some of the prophesies for the Messiah-King remain to be fulfilled.[6]  Jesus indicated that the precise time of this fulfillment will remain a mystery; Mark 13:32-33. The future that Jesus spoke of isn’t some future fantasy-novel type of story, it is a real time where real people will decide what they really believe... with real consequences.  Jesus introduces this terrible time in Matthew 24:15-22.  It is at this point that I need to encourage level of humility and tentativity (if that’s a word) regarding our views on eschatology.  Jesus gives an interesting statement in Matthew 24:34 ~ 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.[7] The question of the hour then becomes, “What did Jesus mean by ‘this generation’ and ‘these things’?”  The word “this” is (αὕτη) [hŏw´-tay], a demonstrative singular pronoun.  A demonstrative pronoun serves to single out an object or person.[8]  The emphasis is on “this” specific generation.  The most natural conclusion would seem to be the generation Jesus was speaking to.  It is possible that “this generation” refers to the generation that, in the future, sees all the things that Jesus has been speaking about coming to pass; that is possible, but honestly it’s not how most of us would read it. Now, “these things” (ταυτα)[9] [tau ta] is a demonstrative plural pronoun bringing emphasis to the things Jesus has just been speaking about.  That’s the tribulation He’s been talking about, the sun and moon being darkened, the sign of the Son of Man being seen in the heavens, the sound of a trumpet, and the gathering of the elect from around all the earth.  But… is He referring to all of these, part of them, a spiritual meaning, a literal meaning?  Most of us would take this as literally all of these things listed in Matthew 24.  That creates a bit of a problem, since the generation Jesus was speaking to is long since gone. Now, historically the “abomination that causes desolation” may be understood to have already occurred… twice!  The first time was during the mid-160’s BC when Antiochus Epiphanies desecrated the temple.[10]  He plundered the temple in 169 BC and then desecrated it in 167 BC by having a sacrifice made to Zeus in the Holy of Holies.[11]  However, since this took place before the time of Jesus, that instance does not apply. Such a desecration took place a second time under the Romans.  When the Romans conquered the city of Jerusalem, in 70 AD, Roman soldiers entered the Holy of Holies, tore down the Jewish ornaments and temple accoutrements, and raised up pagan symbols and Roman standards.[12]  On the 10th of August, AD 70, the temple was burned and the walls completely demolished.  This was the very day that the King of Babylon had burned the temple 656 year earlier.[13]  It all happened just as Jesus had prophesied. Historically, it is interesting that the Christians who took this prophesy literally fled from Jerusalem before it came under siege by the Romans.[14]  The result was that very few Christians were trapped in Jerusalem when Rome broke into the city.[15] Now frankly, I personally expect to see a third desecration take place after the temple is rebuilt on the original site of the temple Solomon built, but I hold this expectation with an open hand as I recognize my expectations could very easily be wrong.  Regardless of how it all plays out, we can know this for certain; God entered into time and space to save the world.[16]  What’s more, He will come again.  When He does, peace will follow in His train.  We saw that two weeks ago when we studied Zechariah 10.  This peace is what all of humanity longs for, but cannot obtain.[17] So now (finally), we get to our passage today, which is Zechariah 13:1.  Zechariah introduces the promise of divine cleansing through an unusual metaphor,[18] that of “a fountain” (מָק֣וֹר)[19] [māqôr].[20]  This term describes a source of water that flows unaided by human hands.[21]  The idea is more along the lines of an artesian well than a fountain.[22]  Zechariah emphasizes the effects of this gushing fountain.[23]  It cleanses the people from their sin, removing it far from their presence.[24] I tend to read this as a reference to Jesus’ first coming.  On the day Jesus was crucified the fountain was opened, forgiveness for all Israel (and the whole world) was made available.[25]  The Spirit of the Lord was poured out at Pentecost, inhabitants of Jerusalem were empowered for service.  They (His family and followers) looked on Jesus and grieved when He was crucified.  Then, with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, there was universal mourning among the Jews.  Just as physical uncleanness is a figure for spiritual uncleanness, so is the earthly fountain a symbol of the spiritual water that cleanses of sin.[26]  This “water” however, is not water at all; the cleansing we need requires a blood sacrifice, the blood shed when Jesus died as a sin-sacrifice.[27] The word translated as “sin” is the Hebrew word (חַטָּאת)[28] [khat·taw·aw].[29]  This word conveys the idea of missing the divine standard for holiness.[30]  It is one of the most common words in the Old Testament translated as “sin”.[31]  It refers to the active role people had/have in violating the Lord’s righteousness.[32] The second word, “impurity” (נִדָּה)[33] [nid·daw], focuses more on the outcome of sin.[34]  It especially addresses the disruption of the relationship between the sinner and the Lord.[35]  It focuses on the sinner’s uncleanness, which makes it impossible to approach God in worship.[36]  The unholiness, or “impurity” (נִדָּה)[37] [nid·daw], resulting from “sin” (חַטָּאת)[38] [khat·taw·aw], renders us unfit to come near the temple,[39] let alone enter into the presence of God. The problem with humanity is that, although a solution to the sin problem has been provided, by and large we don’t want to change, we don’t want to let go of our sin.[40]  That’s true, at least until we’ve made such a mess of things that we’re desperate.  A response is required on our part if Jesus is going to take away this sin.  Provision has been made for cleansing from sin for all who truly repent.[41]  Those who respond in faith shall have their consciences purified and they shall be cleansed from all sin.[42] If this is new information, or if you have never acted on this information, I urge you to consider the fact that you can be forgiven for all of your sins, consider that you are offered the opportunity to start over, to become a new person in Christ. If this is not new information, are there any changes that need to be made to reflect the new person you have become in Jesus?  None of us do this perfectly, and honestly none of us can.  It requires submitting ourselves to the Lord and allowing His life to be lived through us.  It requires so ordering your life that you are following in His footsteps, guided by His Spirit, and being renewed, that in fact, our lives are now oriented around a new set of priorities.

[1] David Guzik, Zechariah, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Zec 13:1.

[2] J. Carl Laney, Zechariah, Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1984), 119.

[3] J. Carl Laney, Zechariah, Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1984), 119.

[4] Elizabeth Achtemeier, Nahum – Malachi, Interpretation Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed., James Mays, OT ed., Patrick Miller, (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.: 1986), 160.

[5] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 978.

[6] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 978.

[7] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 24:33–34.

[8] Michael S. Heiser and Vincent M. Setterholm, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology (Lexham Press, 2013; 2013).

[9]Thomas Newberry and George Ricker Berry, The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2004), Mt 24:34.

[10] John Noē, Unraveling the End: A Balanced Scholarly Synthesis of Four Competing and Conflicting End Time Views, (East2West Press, Indianapolis, IN.: 2014), 304.

[11] Accessed from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Temple-of-Jerusalem on 9/26/19.

[12] Accessed from http://www.bible.ca/pre-mt24-abomination.htm on 9/25/19.

[13] Accessed from http://www.templemount.org/destruct2.html on 9/26/19.

[14] John Noē, Unraveling the End: A Balanced Scholarly Synthesis of Four Competing and Conflicting End Time Views, (East2West Press, Indianapolis, IN.: 2014), 305.

[15] John Noē, Unraveling the End: A Balanced Scholarly Synthesis of Four Competing and Conflicting End Time Views, (East2West Press, Indianapolis, IN.: 2014), 305.

[16] Elizabeth Achtemeier, Nahum – Malachi, Interpretation Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed., James Mays, OT ed., Patrick Miller, (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.: 1986), 160.

[17] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 978-979.

[18] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 372.

[19]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 13:1.

[20] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 372.

[21] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 372.

[22] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 372.

[23] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 373.

[24] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 373.

[25] F. Duane Lindsey, “Zechariah,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1568.

[26] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, trans., James Martin, in Commentary on the Old Testament: Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 612.

[27] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, trans., James Martin, in Commentary on the Old Testament: Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 612.

[28]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 13:1.

[29] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 373.

[30] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 373.

[31] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 373.

[32] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 373.

[33]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 13:1.

[34] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 373.

[35] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 373.

[36] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 373–374.

[37]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 13:1.

[38]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 13:1.

[39] George L. Klein, Zechariah, vol. 21B, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2008), 373–374.

[40] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 980.

[41] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1591.

[42] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1591.

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