Today’s readings.. (Job 37), (Zechariah 12), (Revelation 14)

All too often the prophets of the LORD had to bring messages of coming acts of judgement from him..  These, , were predictions that were sure and certain.  What a ‘burden’ this is for the prophet. The  Hebrew word for ‘burden’ has the primary meaning of a pronouncement of doom to someone, all too often, to Israel..
Yet Zechariah’s prophecy has many parts but who can say with any certainty how all these parts fit together?  ) Part of  yesterday’s chapter (11) dealt with events to be fulfilled at the first coming of Christ when “thirty pieces of silver” [v.12] were thrown “to the potter” [v.13] – they were a clear prediction which was fulfilled when the temple priests “bought with them the potter’s field” [Matt. 27 v.5-8] after Judas, in remorse, threw down the money in the Temple. Today’s chapter starts, “The burden of the word of the LORD” but it is a ‘burden’ against the enemies of Israel!  It is often quoted because it seems clear it has a latter day application. We note the ‘burden’ of the prophets message is that God will “make Jerusalem a cup of staggering”  firstly “to all the surrounding peoples”.[v.2]
It is the only place where this word, that is translated ‘staggering’, occurs in the Hebrew scriptures– it is rendered as ‘reeling’ or ‘trembling’ in other versions.   It fits rather well the frustrations and weakness of the nations around Israel during my lifetime.
Verse 3 is even more thought provoking!, The LORD’s message is “On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples.”  What peoples?  The prophet continues, “All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.”   Does “all the nations of the earth” refer to a United Nations sponsored force?  – it seems to make sense:  they are utterly unable to ‘lift’ the problem of Jerusalem from their agenda.
The USA and Europe are “staggering” today in one sense – that is, financially.  If we see them totally distracted by a huge financial implosion sometime, maybe soon – is it possible, maybe probable, that the Islamic nations, supported by such as Russia, will sponsor a ‘U.N.’ force aiming to ‘gather’ armies against Jerusalem?
The word ‘Jew’ originates from Judahite, and God will act ”for the sake of the house of Judah … then the clans of Judah shall say … ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts their God” [v.4,5]
“And I’, says God, “will pour out … a spirit of grace  … so that when they look on me, on him whom their pierced, they shall mourn ..” [v.10]  John 19 v.34 tells us that the final act against Christ was the piercing of his side. When the Jews finally recognise their Messiah – what remorse will follow!
But the rest of Zechariah’s prophecy still has many challenges to our understanding – and we hope to comment further tomorrow.  May it not be a ‘burden’ to us to read and meditate on God’s word every day, making sure our meditation includes a personal application..

* Click verse text to see cross references.
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