In Zechariah, Jesus is the Firstborn Son over whom they will Grieve and Mourn

8 Dec

pierced hands
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” Zech. 12:10
This is a prophecy that was fulfilled in small measure at the time of the early church when thousands of Jews, many of whom had called for Jesus’ crucifixion, later repented and recognized they were guilty of murdering the Messiah. But a greater fulfillment awaits. God promises to pour out a Spirit of grace and supplication on them. Because of His grace (unmerited favour) they will cry out to Him (supplication). God refers to Himself as the One pierced. This refers to the deity of Jesus. He was pierced on the cross, both in His hands and feet, and the spear in His side.

This was foretold centuries earlier in Psalm 22, a Messianic psalm.
“For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.” Psalm 22:16-18
It’s important to remember that when this Psalm was written, the practice of crucifixion was completely unknown.
The result of their recognition of guilt for the death of the son of God will be to grieve and mourn. This confirms that this piercing resulted in death. The grief will be of the worst kind; mourning as for an only son, and grieving as for a firstborn. And Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, and He is the firstborn, both literally, and in status. He is also called the firstborn from the dead, relating to His resurrection.
This is a promise of salvation to a remnant of Jews. In the book of Revelation there is a similar recognition of who Jesus is, but it comes too late.
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” Rev. 1:7

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In Zechariah, Jesus is the One sold for 30 pieces of silver

8 Dec

blood money
“Then I said to them, ‘If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.’ So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.” Zech. 11:12,13
By God’s direction the prophet demanded wages. He was basically asking, “What am I worth to you?” Zechariah probably didn’t understand the meaning or significance of what happened next. He received 30 pieces of silver.
Likewise, Judas approached the Jewish leaders and asked what they were willing to pay him to betray Jesus to them. He was also asking, “What is He worth to you?” You’d think they’d be willing to pay anything to be rid of Him, that they’d say, “Name your price.” But they gave what had been foreordained, unknowingly fulfilling Scripture.
“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.” Matt. 26:14-16
So this Scripture was fulfilled when Judas betrayed Jesus for the “princely sum” of 30 pieces of silver. This was the price to be paid for a slave who died. (Ex. 21:32) It showed how little they thought of Jesus. In disdain for the paltry sum, God directed it to be thrown into the temple and used for the potter.
“Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it! Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.” Matt. 27:3-5
But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me.” Matt. 27:6-10
When he was remorseful, he returned it to the temple. They recognized it as blood money and could not use it in “good conscience” so instead it was used to purchase the Potter’s field to bury strangers in.
God always promises to fulfill His word. Zechariah didn’t know why he was told to ask for wages, or to throw it into the temple for the potter. Judas didn’t know the significance of the amount he was paid to betray Jesus. The Jewish leaders didn’t realize they were fulfilling Scripture when they offered this sum, or when Judas threw it onto the temple floor, or when they found a “noble” use for the blood money. Yet it was just another Scripture fulfilled in the life of Jesus that should have made the Jews, both then and now, realize Jesus was the Messiah.

In Zechariah, Jesus is the lowly king on a donkey

1 Dec

 

triumphal entry
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zech. 9:9
Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of the King on a lowly donkey when He entered Jerusalem a week before His crucifixion. The people were rejoicing, shouting Hosanna, or Save Now! They seemed to be recognizing Him as Messiah and King of the Jews. This happened in Jerusalem, just as Scripture foretold. It talks of His character; He is just, or righteous. It speaks to His purpose; having salvation, or bringing salvation. This salvation was salvation from sin, not the salvation from Roman oppression, as they were expecting.
Unlike Alexander the Great, who arrived on a war horse, in pageantry and pride, our King arrived on a lowly donkey, which further showed his humble character. This is not a characteristic usually expected in kings.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
This was fulfilled to the letter by Jesus.
“Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”
All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
“Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”
So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’
Hosanna in the highest!”
And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”
So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” Matt. 21:1-11
On His first advent, Jesus rode a lowly donkey. At His second coming, He will be on a war horse, followed by His saints.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” Rev. 19:11
“And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.” Rev. 19:14
Zechariah mentions this as well,
“Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You.” Zech. 14:5c
Verse 10 tells us this results in peace. We have peace with God because of the work of Jesus on the cross. But one day there will also be world peace.
“He shall speak peace to the nations;
His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.’” Zech. 9:10b
Because we don’t see world peace yet, Boice says the entire church age may rightly intervene between verse 9 and 10.

In Zechariah, Jesus is the Angel of the LORD interceding for His people in court

28 Nov

Joshua high priest
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand 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 Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.
Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, ‘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 I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”
So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.”
Zech. 3:1-5
In many places in Scripture we see someone called the Angel of the LORD, who is identified also as the LORD (Gen. 22). We studied this idea of theophanies or appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ previously (in Genesis).
In this instance we have a vision of a courtroom scene. Satan is at the right side in the role of prosecuting attorney, which is appropriate since he is also called the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). The Angel of the LORD is the Judge and Joshua the High Priest clothed in filthy garments.
Joshua appears as one polluted, but he is purified. We are filthy in God’s sight until we are washed and sanctified.
God sees our filthiness but He doesn’t send us away or overlook it. He does something about it. He clothes us in the righteousness of another, Jesus Christ. White robes signify the righteousness of the saints.
The LORD rebukes Satan, claiming Joshua as a brand plucked from the fire. He then orders his servants to remove Joshua’s filthy garments (which represent his sin), and then He clothes him with rich robes and a clean turban. These represent the righteousness of another imputed to him.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21
“And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.” Rev. 19:14
“And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” Rev. 19:8
He pronounces him justified. Jesus is our Advocate before the Father, so when Satan accuses us before God, and points out our filth, which we have, Jesus claims us as clothed in His righteousness and hidden in Him.
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1

Jesus as Commander of the LORD’s Hosts

17 Nov

commander of the lord's hosts
Read Joshua 5: 13-15
The words command/commanded/commandment appear 47 times in this book.
God commanded Moses, God commanded Moses and Joshua, Moses commands Joshua, Joshua commands the people, Joshua commands the priests and the elders and officers.
But the most significant commander is the LORD Himself, when He appears to personally encourage and commission Joshua just before they are to cross the Jordan.
Joshua sees a Man standing by Jericho with a sword drawn in His hand. This is similar to the Man who withstood Balaam (Num. 22:23). As the leader, Joshua approaches Him to ask whether He’s a friend or foe.
This is when you expect a different response. Surely He’ll say He’s on the side of Israel. After all, He’s promised many times that He would fight for them (Deut. 3:22, Josh. 23:10)
But His response immediately reveals who He is. He’s in charge of a greater army than any on earth. He is in charge of the hosts (army) of the LORD. This includes all of the heavenly hosts (angels) and any other creatures in the unseen realm (like the four living creatures in the book of Revelation 4:8).
As soon as Joshua hears this, he falls on his face in worship before this One. The fact that He accepts the worship informs us that Joshua is correct. Then he asks for His orders, like the boy Samuel did, in 1 Sam. 3:10, “Speak, LORD for your servant is listening,” and like the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:5,6) Once they recognize Who is speaking with them, they want to know what to do. Paul asks, “Who are you, Lord?” then “Lord, what do you want me to do?” This is a good model for us to follow as well.
Before He tells Joshua what he is to do, He tells him to remove his shoes because he is standing on holy ground. This should immediately remind us of a similar incident with Moses, Exodus 3:5 when God tells him the same thing. This act of obedience shows reverence and humility before God.
Then the record is quiet. We are not told what the Commander of the LORD’s hosts said to Joshua after this. Was it related to the crossing of the Jordan, or the conquest of the land of Canaan, or was it encouragement and strengthening for the task ahead. We don’t know, it’s something we can ask Joshua when we meet him. 
Several places in the Old Testament Scriptures we find God, Himself making an appearance in the lives of His people. Examples are when He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, when He came down to see the building project at Babel, when He appeared to Abraham, when He appeared to Samson’s mother, and then to both his parents, and when He wrestled with Jacob, as a few examples.
We know God is spirit, and doesn’t have a body. Yet these instances where a representative of God is in human form and yet is worshipped as God, in the Old Testament, is referred to as a Theophany. It’s a physical manifestation of God in the flesh before Jesus came. Sometimes, they are called Christophanies, if it’s believed to be the Son, like as the fourth man in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 4.
This is clearly an example of a theophany.

Jesus Typified in the Life of Joshua

16 Nov

moses ordains joshua.jpg
Joshua’s name corresponds to the Hebrew name, Yeshua, or the Greek name, Jesus. It means Yahweh is salvation. This name is symbolic of the fact that although he is the leader of the Israelite nation during the conquest of Canaan, the LORD is the Conqueror. In Deuteronomy 31, they are promised, “The LORD your God Himself crosses over before you,” and then adds, “Joshua himself crosses over before you.”
He is representative of the LORD who saves His people and brings them into their rest in the Promised Land, as Moses represented the Law. Just as the Law cannot inherit the promises, so Moses was unable to enter the Promised Land.
Moses’ failure to speak to the Rock the second time they were to get water was a picture for us, of how Christ was smitten (struck by the rod of God) in death, and since He is not to be crucified again (Heb. 9:26) speaking to the Rock signified prayer. How wrong it is for the Roman Catholics to re-sacrifice Christ every time they do the mass. It is FINISHED! All that’s needed now is prayer to our Rock.
Moses’ rebellion to the clear command of God would have made us miss this symbolic type if not for God’s response. We had to see how seriously God took this violation, in order to understand why Moses could not enter the Promised Land.
“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
“…but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.” Rom. 9:31,32
“…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” Gal. 2:16

Jesus as the Cursed One on a Tree

15 Nov

Crucifixion
Occasionally we see an obscure directive that doesn’t seem to be something we can’t relate to. This is one of those ordinances. Under the Torah, a man proven guilty of a capital offense and put to death by stoning was displayed in public. It did not refer to strangulation or crucifixion, which were not allowed under the Torah nor practiced in Israel at the time. The reference was strictly to public exposure of the one executed. It was a grim object lesson and warning to the community that such a crime was a disgrace and not to be repeated. It also demonstrated the curse of God on the individual.
“If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.” Deut. 21:22,23
But they were not to leave it exposed overnight. They were to bury the person the same day. Leaving it longer would bring defilement on the community. Here are two examples.
“And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until evening. And as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his corpse down from the tree, cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raise over it a great heap of stones that remains to this day.” Joshua 8:29
“And afterward Joshua struck them and killed them, and hanged them on five trees; and they were hanging on the trees until evening. So it was at the time of the going down of the sun that Joshua commanded, and they took them down from the trees, cast them into the cave where they had been hidden, and laid large stones against the cave’s mouth, which remain until this very day.” Joshua 10:26,27
Like the rest of the Old Testament, we understand its significance when the light of the New Testament shines on it. Isaiah prophesied about the Messiah as a suffering servant.
“He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.” Isa. 53:9,10
In this chapter it says Messiah would die a cursed death with the wicked (plural in this passage). But the words, “at his death”, meaning after death, referred to a burial with the rich (singular in this passage). He would be slain as a criminal but buried as a wealthy man.
During Jesus’ time, the prophetic requirements were somewhat difficult to fulfill. Under Roman domination the Jews didn’t have the right to execute capital punishment. And the Sanhedrin as a rule was opposed to execution. Jewish criminals were executed by Rome, usually by crucifixion. But the likelihood of proper burial following such a death was very slim. Criminals were usually left unburied, disgraced by interment in an unclean place, or carted off to be cremated in the valley of Gehenna.
Nevertheless, Jesus’ death fulfilled both Isaiah’s prophecy and the requirements of the Torah. He was hanged on a tree, receiving the curse of the Torah. And he was executed between two criminals, and buried in a rich man’s tomb.
“…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Pet.2:24
“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.” John 19:17,18
“Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.” Matt. 27:57-60
“After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.” John 19:38-41
Joseph showed great courage in approaching Pilate for the body. As a friend and disciple, he desired to give Jesus a proper burial; as a Pharisee, he was obedient to the Torah’s injunction to remove the body before sundown. Nicodemus collaborated with Joseph by supplying one hundred pounds of burial spices, while Joseph purchased the linen shroud and donated his own garden tomb. Love guided them to do this for Jesus. Burial is to be with dignity because of the value of the body and belief in the resurrection. They ensured that in spite of Jesus’ illegal and cursed death, His burial was timely, according to the Torah, and richly performed. They would not have realized they were fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy.
Jesus suffered the shame of public exposure on a tree, as Peter refers to it, but His body was given burial before evening, fulfilling the Torah’s requirement. Paul makes the connection with Jesus taking our punishment, becoming cursed by God on our behalf.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree).” Gal.3:13
He was cursed so we could receive the favour of God.
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21

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