Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Revelation 6

The time has come for the seven-sealed scroll to be broken, seal by seal. We stand with John the Apostle as he sees the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, break open each seal releasing judgment upon the earth. Then with the 6th seal we see the true wrath of God break out on the earth. Join us in a verse-be-verse study of Revelation 6.

Verse of the Week: 1 Timothy 3:1

Verse of the Week: 1 Timothy 3:1

It is a trustworthy statement: If any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 1 Timothy 3:1

(The majority of the footnotes are taken from the Ryrie Study Bible, to clarify additional verses quoted in this writing.)

The Elder is the most important person in the church today. Because of poor training and a de-emphasis on male leadership, this office has fallen short of its high calling. The Elder has tremendous AUTHORITY but is not to bully the congregation with raw POWER. The Bible lays down how the Elder is to carry out his teaching and guiding roles. Let’s look at the scriptural guidelines.
The Greek word for Elder is PRESBUTEROS. It simply implies an older and wiser man who is to lead by depth, calling, spiritual aptitude and human experience. Respect must again be recaptured for this office. Young people and children must know again how to look up to and follow the Elder. In all cultures, and of course among the Jews, Elder leadership was absolutely essential. No culture can survive that dishonors and fails to follow the advice of its elders.[1]

It is a trustworthy statement: If any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 1 Timothy 3:1

It is- Paul begins by describing how wanting to be an elder in the church shows how honored the position should be.

Paul has just written that women are not to hold positions of spiritual or doctrinal authority over congregations, but he did not want to leave the impression that just any man is qualified. No man is qualified to be a spiritual leader in the church just because of his gender.[2]

Trustworthy statement- The statement that Paul makes about wanting to be an elder is reliable. The fact that it is a noble work is something that can be taken to the bank. This is a faithful saying which no one can dispute, of which no one should doubt.

Any man- This is office is for a male, not for a female. This is a hugely unpopular opinion today, but the Scriptures set forth the office of an elder as for men, not women.
We will also see in vv. 2-7 how this office is for male only. Certain of the requirements can only be fulfilled in a man.

Aspires- These men are eager and actively recruiting for it. No such thing as an elder who will only be an elder if the people call him. This is a man that wants to be an elder and he has let the elder board know it. He knows the Lord the has put this on his heart and he can do nothing but act on it.

This is not “campaigning” as we see the politicians do. The prospect does not inform what he will do if he becomes an elder. It is because of what he does and what the other elders see presently in his life that enables him to be chosen to be an elder.

But just because a man wants to be an elder does not mean he automatically gets it. The man must be proved by the qualifications that Paul will list. These qualifications must be adhered to and not neglected. They must be met by the individual for the proof that they are at a level of spiritual maturity that will be acceptable before God and man.

Overseer- Other names include elder, the most used in Acts, bishop, and pastor. These names are used interchangeably in the New Testament. There is no evidence that any of these are superior to the other.

                Importance in titles:       
1.       The word Overseer – EPISCOPOS- “To over-look.” Elders were to carry out this function.
2.       The word “to shepherd.” This is from the verb POIMAINO, “To shepherd,” from the noun POIMAN which means Shepherd or Pastor.
3.       IMPORTANT: The Elder is to Pastor. The Pastor is to be an Elder. The word Pastor is only used as a noun only once in the New Testament.

Nowhere in Scripture are elders elected to the office. They are to be appointed by other elders, such in the case of the command from Paul to Titus:

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains,[3] and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, Titus 1:5

In all passages the new elder is appointed by a body of elders. Since the pastor is also an Elder, he would also be appointed by a body of elders. The idea of “voting” on a pastor is not found in Scripture. When we put the power of electing a Shepherd for our congregation people will always vote in their own best, self-interest. Though we typically have an opinion on everything and are allowed to vote on major issues, in this case we have to swallow our pride and work with what is best for the church. The sheep cannot spiritually see and understand everything from a biblical perspective. We need someone who can “see over” OVERSEER, issues that we can’t.

The elder, the principal official in the local church, was called by the Holy Spirit:

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.[4] Acts 20:28

The elder is to be recognized and acknowledged by other elders:

Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you with the laying on of hands by the presbytery[5] [elders]. 1 Timothy 4:14

His duties will include ruling, or presiding, over the body of Christ, which would include preaching [their word to unbelievers] and teaching [their word to believers]:

Let the elders who rule [preside] we be considered worthy of double honor,[6] especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 1 Timothy 5:17

The elder was to guard the truth, which is the ultimate job of an elder:

holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching; that he may be able both to exhort in sound [healthy] doctrine and to refute those who contradict. Titus 1:9

And they have a general oversight of the work, including finances:

29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined [they were not forced, they chose to] to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea.
30 And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul [later, Paul] to the elders. Acts 11:29-30

A fine work- It is a noble task that the man wants to begin and be a part of. But it is not an idle work. The man who desire to be an elder will find himself working more at this than any secular job could possibly require. There will be sacrifices of time that the elder must be prepared to make.

He desires- Literally, "stretch one's self forward to grasp"; "aim at".
For the man who desires to be an elder this is a labor of dedicated service that should bring forth the best in him. This is not a position for a carnal believer or for someone looking to increase their own personal ambition.

To do- It is work.  What we see here is a man who did not occupy a plush office. He did not wear fancy liturgical gowns. He did not have a handsome salary at his disposal. He did not have a bevy of assistants who waited on him hand and foot while he supervised. This was a man who was ready to get down in the trenches and work until he hands bled and he felt he was about to fall over from exhaustion.

Before an elder, or even a deacon, is appointed, the body of elders must ask itself the following questions:

1.       Is the man that we are considering growing in grace and maturity? Do we see the Holy Spirit operating in their lives?
2.       Are there sins that are overwhelming to their character and life? Would these sins hinder their effectiveness in a position of leadership?
3.       Are they sensitive to their failures and weaknesses? Do they strive to contain that which would cripple their walk before other?

In the following weeks we will examine vv. 2-7. Paul lists 16 qualifications for the man who wishes to be appointed an elder in the church. When the candidate is examined it must be ascertained if they meet these stringent demands that are required of them. We will examine each qualification in detail to see what is required of the man who wishes to be an elder.

[1] How to Start a New Testament Church, Dr. Mal Couch, Ph.D., p 9.
[2] Enduring Word Commentary, Book of 1 Timothy 3, David Guzik, https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/1-timothy-3/
[3] What remains. A church is defective unless it has constituted leaders. In Crete these were appointed (=ordained) by Titus.
[4] With His own blood. Literally, with the blood of His own (Son).
[5] The presbytery. The body of elders.
[6] Double honor. Respect and renumeration (v. 18). The church was beginning to face the problem of financial support of its workers.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Revelation 5

A verse-by-verse study of Revelation 5.
Continuing where Revelation 4 left off, we are in the throne room of God and behold, the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God enters and takes the scroll from God's hand and prepares to execute His will. All break into praise and glory to God and the Lamb for what is about to happen.

Click here to watch Revelation 5:1-7

Click here to watch Revelation 5:8-14

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Revelation 4

A verse-by-verse study of Revelation 4. We join John as he enters the throne room of God and is overwhelmed with the magnificence that he observes. Angels, living beings, elders, and at the center is God Almighty. John is given a light show of colors that are beyond his ability to explain.
This study is broken down into two videos. The first video covers Revelation 4:1-4 and the second video covers Revelation 4:5-11.

Revelation 4:1-4

Revelation 4:5-11

Verse of the Week: Jeremiah 7:18

Verse of the Week: Jeremiah 7:18

                God had prohibited Jeremiah for interceding for the people of Judah. The nation’s sin had progressed to a point that God would not even listen to the pleadings of Jeremiah. In this passage Jeremiah highlights how idolatry had progressed in the nation of Judah and its influence among then nation. The parents, who should be the examples of true worship and devotion, began to lead their children down the path of idol worship and evil ceremonies. God would eventually bring this generation into captivity. It is interesting to note that after the Babylonian captivity the Israelites would not be as tempted by idolatry as they had before.

“The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out libations to other gods in order to spite Me. Jeremiah 7:18

The children gather wood- This word is in the plural, so they are gathering much wood. They are scouring fields or being out and about in their neighborhoods working very diligently. Some say these are not little children, but young men. This is very possible as it would be the young men who were able to cut down trees, and bear and carry burdens of wood. This was harder work. Young men would have an easier time at this than their fathers would. But smaller children could be out looking for smaller sticks, kindling for the fire.

the fathers kindle the fire,- The father’s took the wood from their children. The fathers would lay it in order and put fire to it. This would imply that they approved of what their children did, and that what they did was by their direction and order.

and the women knead dough,-  So that every age and sex were employed in idolatrous service, which is here intended; the corruption was universal; and therefore the whole body was ripe for ruin. 
The idolatry of Judah and Jerusalem was a family affair. Each member of the family had their own role to play in honoring pagan gods such as the queen of heaven.

“Family worship is a most amiable and becoming thing when performed according to truth. What a pity that so few families show such zeal for the worship of God as those apostate Israelites did for that of their idols!” (Clarke)

Not merely isolated individuals practiced idolatry; young and old, men and women, and whole families, contributed their joint efforts to promote it. Wouldn’t it be nice to see that same zeal for the worship of God as there is for error in our religious world?

to make Cakes- “The word cakes (kawwanim) is of foreign origin, occurring against only in Jeremiah 44:19, where the same cult is described.” (Harrison) “A female deity is foreign to Old Testament theology; so the implication is that this cult was of non-Hebraic origin.” (Feinberg)
These flat cakes were possibly formed into the form of the goddess or the shape of the moon.

queen of heaven- This was the Assyrio-Babylonian Ishtar, the goddess of love and fertility who was identified with the planet Venus, whose worship, similar to the cults of the Canaanite goddesses, Asherah, Ashtaroth and Anath, was probably introduced into Judah by the apostate king, Manasseh:

For he [Manasseh] rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed and he erected altars for Baal and made and Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the hosts of heaven and served them.  2 Kings 21:3

The Israelites fell into this idolatry in the time of the Judges. Solomon was carried away by it. Josiah suppressed it.
Figure 1Ishtar

From Dr. Thomas Constable:
The "Queen of Heaven" was most likely a title of the Assyrian-Babylonian goddess Astarte (or Ishtar; cf. Jeremiah 44:17), though some scholars believe the name applied to several pagan goddesses. [Note: Craigie, pp123, mentioned the Canaanite goddesses Anat, Ashtaroth, and Shapash, all of whom the Canaanites associated with heaven.] Worship of the Queen of Heaven had been popular in Judah during the reign of Manasseh (2 Kings 21; 2 Kings 23:4-14), though it began earlier in Israel’s history (Amos 5:26) an possibly reintroduced into Judah the reign of Jehoiakim.
This "queen" was an astral deity that appealed particularly to women (cf. Jeremiah 19:13; Jeremiah 32:29; Zephaniah 1:5). Her worship involved offering cakes made in the shape of the deity or the moon, or stamped with her image, and drink offerings (cf. Jeremiah 44:19). Other symbols of this goddess were the planet Venus, a moon, and a star. This cult had evidently survived Josiah’s reforms, probably because people could worship Astarte in their homes.  Worship of the Queen of Heaven and all other idols constituted a rejection of Yahweh’s sole sovereignty as Lord of Israel’s covenant.
There is also a form of goddess worship in the Roman Catholic religion. Mary is sometimes given the title ‘The Queen of Heaven.’ We should all be alarmed when we hear such a title given to her.

From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen. Ad Caeli Reginam, Proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, Pope Pius XII – 1954
Mary, Queen of Heaven, help us to transform the world according to God’s plan. Pope Francis, Twitter, 8/14/14

Pour out libations- Usually wine. This is typically a drink that is poured out in religious ceremonies to honor or as an offering to a deity or deities.

To other gods- These libations would be poured out to other gods besides Ishtar. The Israelites were guilty of worshiping many gods instead of the One God alone.

The table above lists many of the chief Babylonian gods and goddesses which may have been part of this illicit worship by the Israelites.

To- This is a deliberate action. They are willfully sinning. This is not ignorance on their part. They know what they are doing. This implies design: in worshipping strange gods they seemed as if purposely to provoke Jehovah.

To spite Me- Not that this was their intention, but so it was eventually. When we read of God “complaining” of being provoked, it is the same though and action as if He had said, “the Jews are now openly carrying on warfare against Me.”
This false worship only harmed those who participated, they could not harm God. Their attempt to damage Him by worshiping false gods was strictly a ploy of Satan.
The people would eventually, when God’s patience ran out, bear the consequences of God’s anger and wrath which would be poured out on all Judah. They would soon find themselves drug from their homes and moving to a foreign land.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Psalm 2

A verse-by-verse study of Psalm 2. This Psalm revolves around the expectation of the coming Messiah, the hope of the reign of Christ in His future kingdom. Click Here to Watch

Verse of the Week: Colossians 3:1

Verse of the Week: Colossians 3:1

If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

(The majority of the footnotes are taken from the Ryrie Study Bible, to clarify additional verses quoted in this writing.)

                Paul now begins the ethical or practical application section of his letter to the Colossians. Beyond all Paul wishes to clearly impart to the Colossians that without a clear understanding that without a foundation of Christian theology Christian living is difficult. Paul has acknowledged that they are believers in Christ, now is the time to take what it means to be a Christian and let your walk become a beacon of Christianity. We are risen in Christ, now act like it. Knowing that Jesus is raised from the dead and letting that guide our ways in this life should not be two separate endeavors, but one goal to be obtained.

If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

If- A better translation would be “since.”

You have been- Past tense. This is an accomplished action which can never be repeated. This happens at the new birth, when we accept Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection.
Paul does not doubt the position of these believers. They are Christians who will one day either be raptured or meet the Lord after their death. Paul is concerned with their experiential walk during life on this planet. Are they living the life that Christ has given them? Are they seeking out and applying every golden nugget of spiritual life that has been provided for them by Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit? From previous reading in this letter it doesn’t appear so. At least not to the extent it should be. Paul begins his writing reminding them of who they are as Christians.  

Raised up- The Christian has been raised up, or has risen, with Christ; so it is imperative that the Christian exhibits the new life.

To be raised up is to be “co-resurrected” with Christ. Believers are spiritually entered into Christ’s death and resurrection at the moment of their salvation. In Galatians Paul writes of the union of the believer with the Lord:

“I have been crucified with Christ;[1] and it is not longer I who live, but Christ who lives[2] in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.  Galatians 2:20

This union demonstrates the shared life we have with Christ. David Guzik writes in his online commentary:

                         Because we were raised with Christ, we should act just as Jesus did when He was                               resurrected.

After His resurrection, Jesus left the tomb. So should we – we don’t live there any                    more.

After His resurrection, Jesus spent His remaining time being with and ministering to His disciples. So should we – live our lives to be with and to serve one another.

After His resurrection, Jesus lived in supernatural power with the ability to do impossible things. So should we – with the power and the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

After His resurrection, Jesus looked forward to heaven, knowing He would soon enough ascend there. So should we – recognizing that our citizenship is in heaven.[3]

With Christ- In union with Christ. By His resurrection a new, spiritual life is given to us. Our spirit is resurrected from the dead because of the sin of Adam, but now is alive because of Christ.

Keep seeking- Keep your focus on this continuous activity throughout your entire life. This is a lifelong, constant, daily seeking that will not be accomplished in a few weeks or a few years. We have an obligation as those raised with Christ to live and seek out the realities of what it means to be a Christian. A continual seeking out should be the pattern of every believer’s life.

Our new life is powerful. It is a reality that we live with every day. However, we must remember that sin still is in our lives. It is no longer our master, but it is an ever-present reality that must be dealt with. If we are not seeking how to live for Christ it will trip us up and overpower us in our physical life. If we are not seeking Christ and what He has for us we will be seeking what will please our own sinful desires. “Our preoccupation with heaven must govern our earthly responses.” (Mal Couch)
Unfortunately, we live in an age where most people want everything immediately. Instant messaging, email, one day or one-hour shipping, microwaves. Many believers today have forgotten what it means to be heavenly minded as they are concerned about earthly things to the exclusion of heavenly things. When this happens, they lose all good they could do on this earth.
Not so with the things above.

Things above- The things were Christ is, not the things that are created by the mind of man. Colossians is concerned with several ungodly practices that the Colossian believers are facing such as Jewish legalism (dietary requirements, Sabbath observances, circumcision), worship of angels, ascetism and early Gnosticism, to name a few.

Instead they were to look upon Christ and what He offers:

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your minds dwell on these things.
9 The things you have learned and received and heard in me, practice these things’ and the God of peace shall be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

We should continually seek God’s presence through the Scriptures, be in constant communication with Him in our prayer life and surround ourselves with brothers and sisters in Christ who will build us up instead of tearing us down. Our goal should be:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places[4] in Christ, Ephesians 1:3

Our lives should be continually fixed and centered on the risen, glorified, and ascended Jesus Christ. We should keep our eyes on Him an emulate Him at every opportunity. This would include such things as tenderness, kindness, meekness, patience, forgiveness, strength, purity, and love.[5]

Where Christ is- What happens when we do not read or study our Bible daily? What happens when we neglect fellowshipping with fellow believers? What happens when we neglect our obligation to support our church or those in the ministry? What happens when we neglect to pray and stop talking to God?

We will begin to look for something else. A philosophy, mysticism, angelic beings, a new fad that is running through the church that we want to be cool and be a part of. This is the result of abandonment of Christian truths or at the least an ignorance of what Christ taught what is important in our walk with Him.

Christ is seated in the heavenlies in a position of power and authority. We are invited to boldly come into His presence and ask what we want.

Seated- The fact that Christ was exalted and is constantly seated at the Father’s right hand shows that His redemptive work was finished and accepted:

Therefore also God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,[6] Philippians 2:9
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Hebrews 1:3

At the right hand of God- Being seated at the right hand indicates the place of honor which He occupies. Because of His defeat of death and all the forces of Satan, including Satan himself:

14 Since then the children share in flesh and blood,[7] He Himself likewise also partook of the same,[8] that through death He might render powerless[9] him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14, 15

Jesus is worthy to sit in this position of divine authority next to the Father.

Additional verses on the right hand of God:

                Luke 22:69           Acts 5:31              Romans 8:34       Hebrews 1:3       1 Peter 3:22
                Acts 2:33              Acts 7:56              Ephesians 1:20   Hebrews 8:1

[1] I have been crucified with Christ- Crucifixion with Christ means death to or separation from the reigning power of the old sinful life and freedom to experience the power of the resurrection life of Christ by faith: knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; Romans 6:6.
[2] It is no longer I who live, but Christ- Christ has taken up His abode in Paul, yet He did so without submerging Paul’s own personality.
[4] In the heavenly places- Lit. in the heavenlies, i.e., in the realm of heavenly possessions and experience into which the Christian is brought because of his association with the risen Christ. This term also occurs in 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12; cf. John 3:12.
[5] The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Colossians & Philemon, p. 128
[6] Through self-denial and obedience Christ won sovereignty over all peoples and things (v.10)
[7] Flesh and blood- An Old Testament figure for human nature.
[8] Partook of the same- I.e., the same human nature.
[9] Render powerless- Lit. bring to naught or make inoperative or useless, but not annihilate, for the devil will exist in torment in the lake of fire forever (Revelation 20:10). This verse states the overriding purpose of Christ’s accepting “a lower status.”

Friday, April 10, 2020

Psalm 1

A verse-by-verse study of Psalm 1. This is a foundation stone for the study of the Psalms and introduces the reader to what is needed to understand the Psalms. Click here to  watch

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Verse of the Week: Zechariah 9:9

Verse of the Week: Zechariah 9:9

(The majority of the footnotes are taken from the Ryrie Study Bible, to clarify additional verses quoted in this writing.)

                Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
                Behold, your king is coming to you:
                He is just and endowed with salvation,
                Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
                Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

Today we observe what is known as Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, the day we observe for the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I prefer Resurrection Day or First fruits but for sake of what many are familiar with we will call it Easter.) Palm Sunday is a remembrance of when our Lord entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey.  It is the first day of Passion Week or Holy Week. It is the last week of our Lord’s life before His crucifixion and resurrection from the dead.
This day is important for Christians. This is one of the few events recorded in the Gospels that is written in all four Gospels. Events which are recorded in all four Gospels deserve special attention for the lessons they contain for the believer. However, we are not going in this direction. Instead we are going back in time, about 500 years before Christ, and examine the prophecy concerning His triumphal entry.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
                Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
                Behold, your king is coming to you:
                He is just and endowed with salvation,
                Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
                Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

                Rejoice…Shout- The first two lines are written utilizing a literary device used in poetry called synonymous parallelism. This involves the repeating of the same idea in successive lines. The first half of a verse will make a statement, and the second half will essentially say the same thing in different words. The statements are “parallel” in that they are juxtaposed, or side by side, and they often share similar syntax. You are reading the same thought but with slight changes in the wording. But by repeating what you have said you have reinforced the thought and should be given the thought more attention.

                He…Humble…Even- The last three lines are written utilizing a literary device used in poetry called synthetic parallelism. In synthetic parallelism, which is not really parallelism at all, related thoughts are brought together to emphasize similarities, contrasts, or other correlations.[1] We see a progressive flow of thought that builds as each line is added.

                Rejoice greatly- Literally, “dance with force,” “go around and around.” This is a celebration. Something wonderous has happened that has caused the people to break out in dance. Think of David when the Ark of the Covenant was being brought home:

14 And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, and David was wearing linen ephod.
15 So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouting and the sound of the trumpet.
16 Then it happened as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him (compare Michal’s reaction with the reaction of the Jewish elders when Jesus entered in the city) in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:14-16

                Greatly carries the idea of exceedingly. Look at how David carried himself before the ark. Now the people have Someone greater than the ark to dance about.

Why were they rejoicing? We will soon find out.

Shout- “Raising a shout,” “give a blast” like on a trumpet. Make some noise people, the king has come.

Daughter of Zion…Jerusalem- This the same people that inhabit the same location: Jerusalem. This is not an occasion for the Gentiles. This is for the Jewish people and their long-awaited Messiah.  This would be one of the clues as to the fulfillment of this prophecy where it was to occur, Jerusalem.

Behold- Pay attention. Pay attention to the words that Zechariah is writing. This is a future event and you need to know what to look for. Pay attention because this is big. When we see the word Behold we are being prepared for something so very important that we must not overlook it.

It is impossible to capture from just reading the passage, but the style that Zechariah is writing this is as if he was there witnessing the event.

Your king- This is why the women are to rejoice. This is why the woman are to shout. Their King has come.

Here we find an agreement between Orthodox Judaism and Orthodox Christianity. Judaism understood this to mean what it says, a king is coming for them to rule over them. This king will be identified by the method that he enters the city and the response of the people. Christianity maintains the same interpretation but believes that Jesus has fulfilled this verse. He is the One who rode into Jerusalem before His death on a donkey. He is the One who rode into Jerusalem to the acclaim of the people. Is there anywhere we see this as occurring anywhere in history apart from Christ? The Jewish writer and commentator Rashi wrote:

Behold! Your king shall come to you. It is impossible to interpret this except as referring to the King Messiah, as it is stated: “and his rule shall be from sea to sea. We do not find that Israel had such a ruler during the days of the Second Temple.[2]

Is coming- Future. This is a prophecy for something that will occur after this writing. They were given the signs to look for to be able to identify who this king would be. This prophecy would not be fulfilled until God was ready in time for it to be fulfilled. We cannot force it to happen as some tried to do during the time of Christ:

Jesus therefore perceiving that they were intending (about) to come and taken Him by force, to make Him king,[3] withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone. John 6:15

                The King will come to them one day, but it will be God’s timing and in the fulfillment of His perfect will.

To you- To the Jewish people, in particular Jerusalem’s inhabitants were this prophecy would occur. This prophecy was not given to the Gentiles.

He is not coming for His own pleasure or benefit. He is coming for the sake of His brethren.

He- Though calling Him a king earlier should have been the only identifier needed for His gender, the Holy Spirit added that the King will be a “He.” Maybe the Holy Spirit looked down the road 2,000 years after Christ and knew this needed to be put in because we have about 57 genders in our vocabulary (sarcasm, though maybe with a grain of truth).

Just- He is righteous. He is in right standing with God, in fact in perfect standing with God. Jesus is right in conduct. Jesus is right in character. Jesus is right in His deeds. By being a King that is righteous, His kingdom will also be characterized by righteousness:

                5 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,
                When I shall raise up for David, a righteous Branch;[4]
                And He will reign as king and act wisely
                And do justice and righteousness[5] in the land
                6 “In His days Judah will be saved,
                And Israel will dwell securely;
                And this is His name by which He will be called,
                The LORD our righteousness.’ Jeremiah 23:5, 6

Endowed- Having the ability to offer Himself up to suffering and death at the hands of His enemies in order to deliver or save others. The only way this could happen is by His perfect righteousness. This is a unique proof that He was in possession of that indispensable prerequisite for the justification of guilty sinners.
With salvation- Were the crowds thinking of Isaiah:

As a result of the anguish of His soul,[6]
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge[7] the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11

                Probably not, they were more in tune with thinking of the hated Romans and the desire to be saved from them. The crowds did not understand the need for spiritual salvation before the physical salvation could occur. Jesus had offered them physical salvation when His ministry began but it was contingent upon one word, “REPENT”.

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven (millennial kingdom) is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

                However, repentance was the last thing on their minds. Instead of trusting in Jesus, they trusted in their ancestry from Abraham:

And do not suppose that you can to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our Father’; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Matthew 3:9

“The common teaching of that day said that the Jews participated in the merits of Abraham, which made their prayers acceptable, helped in war, expiated sins, appeased the wrath of God, and assured a share in God’s eternal kingdom. Consequently the people were started when John and Jesus preached the necessity of personal repentance.”[8]

                What they did not understand is that by the death of Jesus salvation did come to the people. Not just to the Jews but to the entire world. When Jesus returns in His Second Advent[9] He will give the Jewish people the physical deliverance they have been longing for.

Humble- Poor, afflicted, wretched? How can our Messiah be described by these words? At His first coming Jesus reflects the dual nature of the Messiah in the aspect of the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53 gives this graphic description of Him). He was poor during this life. His parents sacrificed two doves in the temple for His redemption price which only the poor offered. He was raised in the carpentry profession. Unlike today this was not a hugely profitable business to work in. (On top of that Joseph had to support himself, Mary, Jesus, 4 other sons, and probably 3 or more daughters). At one point he didn’t have somewhere to sleep. At His crucifixion the only thing of value was his garment. Even in death Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb.

Mounted on a donkey- Most likely there were Roman guards somewhere along the path. When word got out about the gathering of people and the excitement of what was happening Rome would have been there to investigate and make sure there was not threat to Rome or to peace in the city. What a strange sight for them to behold. What would motivate them to proclaim someone riding on a donkey as king? When a victorious general would return, he would carry booty, he had prisoners to show off, he had slaves that would be ready for the slave market. Some of the victory parades would last up to three days. Not so with Jesus. No prisoners, no slaves, no captured loot from an opponent. Just a humble man demonstrating that He would be a different kind of King.

Even on a colt- This may be a Hebrew expression of speech that would denote and emphasize that the animal is a purebred. The foal has never been ridden. The Messiah is not riding a magnificent stallion that had been bred since birth for warfare. Far from the fact. The donkey was an animal of peacetime as they carried much when people were traveling or merchants who used them to carry their inventory.

The foal of a donkey- Jesus was on a lowly animal that was only ridden by someone who had no rank or worldly position. As mentioned above, this would be the animal of a poor person. If one of Israel’s kings had ridden on a donkey it would have indicated he had lost his crown any authority he had once possessed. The donkey was considered a best of burden, a burden-bearer:

                [10]28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
          29 “Take My yoke[11] upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
                      30 “For my yoke is easy, and My load (burden) is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

This has also been a problem for many Jewish thinkers. The idea of a king entering Jerusalem, ready to get rid of the Roman conquerors, and he is riding a donkey. Part of the difficulty for the Jewish people comes from the teaching of the Babylonian Talmud:

“If they (Israel) will be righteous (the Messiah will come) on the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13); if they will not be righteous (he will come) as a poor man riding upon an ass (Zechariah 9:9)… King Shabur (Sapur) said to Sh’muel: “You say that the Messiah will come upon an ass; I shall send him a well-groomed horse.” He answered, “do you, perchance, have a horse of a hundred colors?”[12]

                As mentioned above, Matthew 3:9 demonstrates that the people thought they were righteous by being the offspring of Abraham. Since at His first coming Jesus did not ride in on a horse, but on a donkey, obviously He could not be the Messiah.

                The answer to the question is not either/or. It is both. The Messiah has fulfilled the first half when He came to the earth as a humble, lowly man. He paid the price for sin and enabled each of us who believe and trust in Him to be a citizen of the kingdom that He offered the Jewish nation. At His Second Coming He will come in power, majesty, and glory. He will come on the clouds and every eye will see Him. Messiah will rule the nations as presented by Zechariah 9:10:

                                And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim,
                                And the horse from Jerusalem;
                                And the bow of war will be cut off.                          
                                And He (Jesus) will speak peace to the nations;
                                And His (Jesus) dominion will be from sea to sea,[13]
                                And from the River to the ends of the earth. Zechariah 9:10

                I hope you have enjoyed this look at Zechariah 9:9. Please be sure to share it with anyone you believe would benefit from it. I would encourage you to spend some time today and look at the four Gospels and read their accounts of the Triumphal Entry of Christ.

[2] The Judaica Press Complete Tanach, Rashi Commentary, online version http://www.chabad.org/library/
[3] Jesus had to escape from the enthusiasm of the crowd, which would have forced Him to lead them in revolt against the Roman government. Jesus refused to become a political revolutionary.
[4] Literally, a shoot, a Messianic title signifying the new life that Messiah will bring. “In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and adornment of the survivors of Israel.” Isaiah 4:2
[5] He will secure righteousness for His people.
[6] His whole being, including His soul was involved in the offering.
[7] By knowledge of Him. See Romans 3:26.
[8] The Ryrie Study Bible, Matthew 3:9 note.
[9] This is not the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture will occur first, then a brief period of confusion, followed by a covenant between Israel and her enemies facilitated by the Antichrist which inaugurates the seven-year tribulation. At the end of the seven years Christ will return in power and glory delivering Israel from annihilation. This return is typically known as the Second Advent or Second Coming.
[10] This great invitation; extended to all is threefold: (1) to come and receive salvation; (2) to learn in discipleship; and (3) to serve in yoke with the Lord.
[11] The yoke involves instruction under discipline. Yet, in contrast to the teaching of the scribes, Jesus’ yoke is easy. Through the ages these verses have been among the most beloved in the New Testament.
[12] Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 98a
[13] The fulfillment of this prophecy of universal peace awaits the second advent of Christ.

2 Peter 2:14-22