ZECHARIAH - CHAPTER 8 - THE CITY OF TRUTH Print E-mail

ZECHARIAH – CHAPTER 8

THE CITY OF TRUTH

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

August 27, 2019, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

 

In chapter 7, we read the rebuke of the LORD OF HOSTS  through his prophet given to the Jewish delegation from Babylon requesting whether they should continue with the fast of the fifth month and what is known today as the 9th of Av. 

 

Zechariah’s message was not, however, designed to dwell on the past but to prepare Israel for the future.  The rebuke by the LORD OF HOSTS concerning their failures and past judgments now gives place to a series of ten oracles concerned with the fullness of God’s promises; and the glorious future awaiting Zion and her people.

 

This chapter, we meet God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is revealed dwelling in the glory of Zion, Jesus Christ the mediator of the New Covenant and the Holy Spirit dwells in the City of Truth in the remnant.

 

Through the prophet, the LORD OF HOSTS describes the glory of Zion, Jerusalem, and its people during the Messianic Era. As Christians, our Messiah has come.  He is here.  His name is Jesus and we are living in the Messianic Era.  We are citizens of New Jerusalem.  Zion is where the Throne of God is eternally established.  We are not under the curse of bein hametzarium.

 

Zech.  8:1 -3: Again the word of the LORD of hosts came, saying,

 “Thus says the LORD of hosts:
I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy;
With great fury I am jealous for her.’

 “Thus says the LORD:
‘I will return to Zion,
And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth,
The Mountain of the L
ORD of hosts,
The Holy Mountain
.’

 

“Zion is the dwelling-place of God, where He is gloriously praised, where His doings are known.  Zion is the source of continual salvation.  Those who discover Zion know the fullness of salvation, and yet learn day by day more of an increasing fullness.  Generally speaking, Zion is the Church; specifically, Zion is the overcomer in the Church.  Zion is the joy of the whole earth, experienced already by many, anticipated by others, travailed after by all.” (Kelly Varner – P.P.T. –Psalms)

 

Just as God’s anger is to be understood in relation to the covenant, so is his jealousy or zeal to be understood.  The surge of feeling these words suggests,  is as though God can restrain himself no longer despite the obduracy and sin of the people. 

 

This oracle from the LORD OF HOSTS describes the vision given to John in Revelation 21, where the beloved community of New Jerusalem is portrayed as both bride and city.  He carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high.  This is the very high mountain from which Ezekiel in vision saw buildings that looked like a city.  The beloved city in Revelation 21 is marked out as the true Israel or people of God.  This is emphasized by the reoccurrence of the number twelve and its multiples throughout the description of the city. 

 

This prophecy in Zechariah is fulfilled today for natural Israel as well as for spiritual Israel.

 

Zech.  8:4 -5: Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Old men and old women shall again sit
in the streets of Jerusalem,
Each one with his staff in his hand
Because of great age.
The streets of the city
shall be full of boys and girls
playing in its streets.

 

The city of Jerusalem is prosperous and filled with people of all ages happily living in safety in the city.  Even though they are threatened daily by the nations around them. Boys and girls at play provide the evidence of a return of new and healthy family life.  Healthy families create a healthy church and a healthy nation.  God made the family before He made the Church.  Out of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he brought forth a nation who brought forth the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

 

Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth,
The Mountain of the L
ORD of hosts,
The Holy Mountain
.’

I am noting with special interest today that Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth.  The Holy Spirit moved on me Sunday morning to seal the saints with the Spirit of Truth and release the truth of God from their innermost being.  We know we are baptized with the Holy Spirit and He is the Spirit of Truth.  Yet, I felt on Sunday, there is a greater depth of God’s truth being released to the Ekklesia.  The Holy Spirit dwells in the City of Truth, New Jerusalem.

 

Zech 8:6 - Thus says the LORD of hosts:
‘If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days,
Will it also be marvelous in My eyes?’
Says the LORD of hosts.

 

This is a dualistic prophecy for the remnant of the nation of Israel in the days of Zechariah but also the remnant of every age.  The remnant is that faithful nucleus, which believes the Word of God and is faithful against all adversity.  If we see God’s work as marvelous in our eyes, then the Lord will create it marvelous in his eyes.

 

Zech 8:7-8: - Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east
And from the land of the west.  I will bring them
back,
And they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
They shall be My people
And I will be their God,
In truth and righteousness.’

The LORD OF HOSTS restored Israel after their exile in Babylon as well as the multitude of nations from the lands of the east and from the lands of the west which have set up thrones in Jerusalem.  In 1948, Israel again became established as a nation.  Also, since the 1940’s there has been a great restoration of the power of the HOLY SPIRIT to spiritual Israel.  Natural Israel is God’s stage playing out what He is doing by His Holy Spirit in the earth.

Exodus. 19:5: - Now if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.

 

Unchecked Copy BoxJeremiah 31:31 -33: Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was an husband unto them, says the LORD:

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 

The New Covenant is the New Testament.  Jesus Christ is the mediator of the new covenant and He lives within us.  Jesus Christ fulfilled all the laws of the Old Covenant.

 

Heb 8:8: - For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

 

 Heb. 8: 13: In that he says, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away.

 

Unchecked Copy BoxHeb 12:24 - And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel.

 

Unchecked Copy BoxZech 8:9 -14: Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Let your hands be strong,
You who have been hearing in these days
These words by the mouth of the prophets,
Who
spoke in the day the foundation was laid
For the house of the L
ORD of hosts,
That the temple might be built.  For before these days
There were neither wages for man or any hire for beast;
There was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in;
For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor.   ‘But now I
will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the LORD of hosts.

‘For the seed shall be prosperous,
The vine shall give its fruit,
The ground shall give her increase,
And the heavens shall give their dew—
I will cause the remnant of this people
To possess all these.

And it shall come to pass
That just as you were a curse among the nations,
O house of Judah and house of Israel,
So I will save you, and you shall be a blessing.
Do not fear,
Let your hands be strong.’

 

Verses 9-17 form a two-part sermon:  Let your hands be strong challenges the prophet’s hearers who have listened to his preaching to grasp the opportunity and responsibility of completing the Temple. 

 

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 3:1 - To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

 

It is time to roll up their sleeves and strengthen their hands to do the labor necessary to build the Temple.  The prophets who spoke in the day the foundation was laid were Zechariah and Haggai.  Before this work was started the commercial and civic situation was desperate.  Both man and beast lived below “the bread line.”  Constant danger lurked for all who travelled any distance.  Every man was against his neighbor.   But now, it is a new day and the people are to apprehend the time and season of God.   

 

The seed shall be prosperous.   

ESV translation seems preferable:   Zech. 8:12 - For there shall be a sowing of peace.

NEB: They shall sow in safety.

 

Zechariah is clearly recalling the testimony of Haggai who noted the crop failure due to lack of dew and rain (Hag. 1:10). 

 

The contrast between the past and the future is now crystallized in the closing words of the oracle. Judah once an object of cursing far and wide will now become a blessing to others as a re-united people, Judah and Israel.

 

The second part of the sermon re-emphasizes the necessity for the co-operation of the people with God in bringing about a new era of blessing.  This is what the LORD is calling the Church to in this present day.  We the people have been under siege of judgment for the sins of the past generations as well as our generation. For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor (Zech. 8:10; Isa. 19:20).   In judgment, our nation has been divided in our churches, our government, races, gender and cultures.  The division of the political parties and church doctrine has set neighbor against neighbor, and family members against one another.  It is a judgment of God.

 

 The LORD is calling forth a remnant to co-operate in obedience to the New Covenant of the LORD to turn this nation back to God.

 

Zech 8:14 -17: For thus says the LORD of hosts:
Just as I determined to punish you

When your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’
Says the L
ORD of hosts,
‘And I would not relent,

So again in these days
I am determined to do good
To Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.
Do not fear.

These are the things you shall do:
Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;

Let none of you think evil in you  heart against your neighbor;
And do not love a false oath.
For all these
are things that I hate,’
Says the LORD.”

 

Again the emphasis of the sermon is on the TRUTH.  I do not yet totally understand all the Holy Spirit is doing with regard to releasing a greater measure of TRUTH through the Body of Christ.  I do know I will come into agreement with the Holy Spirit to declare and release the Spirit of Truth on the earth.  We need it in our government, in the media, and in the church.  A “lying spirit” has so taken over our nation that many people no longer know the truth.

 

The word of the LORD OF HOSTS through His prophet deals with major ethical and spiritual principles.  People must be honest with one another.  Civil law must be equitable to establish a harmonious society.  Offensive things such as hatred and perjury must be removed.   

 

Zech 8:18 – 19: Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying,

“Thus says the LORD of hosts:
The fast of the fourth month,
The fast of the fifth,
The fast of the seventh

And the fast of the tenth,
Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts
For the house of Judah.
Therefore love truth and peace
.

 

The prophet digressed from the original question which was if the Israelites should continue with the feast of the 5th month (now the 9th of Av).  The Israelites received much more than they came to town to hear.  They were rebuked for fasting for the wrong reason.  The LORD OF HOSTS, Himself, preached them multiple sermons with correction, instruction, encouragement, and commands to obey.

 

Now the LORD OF HOSTS turns to answer their question.  The solemn fasts he enumerated shall become festivals.  The preparation of their heart for these feasts sets a high value on truth, peace, and justice.

 

What are these fasts that the LORD OF HOSTS ordered to become feasts:

 

  1. Fast of the fourth month, Tammuz – still observed as a time of mourning on the 17th of Tammuz.
  2. Fast of the fifth month, Av –  observed as a time of fasting and fear of impending disaster. 
  3. Fast of the seventh month, Tishrei – observed as a fast day for the death of Gedaliah.
  4. Fast of the 10th month, Tevet – observed as a fast day for the invasion of Babylon.

 

Zech 8:20 -22: Thus says the LORD of hosts:
‘Peoples shall yet come,
Inhabitants of many cities; The inhabitants of one
city shall go to another, saying,
“Let us continue to go and pray before the L
ORD,
And seek the L
ORD of hosts.
I myself will go also.”

Yes, many peoples and strong nations
Shall come to seek the L
ORD of hosts in Jerusalem,
And to pray before the L
ORD.’

 

This is a fulfilled prophecy.  All nations go to Israel to worship and seek the LORD OF HOSTS in Jerusalem and throughout Israel.  The many peoples and strong nations have built churches, memorials, hotels, and made large financial contributions and investments in the glory and holiness of Jerusalem. 

 

Jerusalem is no longer viewed simply as the heart of Judaism but as the centre of God’s dealings with all nations, and as a glorious realization and fulfillment of the glorious promises given to Abraham and all the patriarchs.

 

The Lord spoke to me at the Western Wall, “Carolyn this is my hearth.”

 

For Christians, it is the chosen home and birthplace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He was born to a chosen people who are a peculiar treasure, the Jewish race.  Through his life, death and resurrection, we are brought into the bloodline as a chosen and peculiar people.

 

Tit 2:14 - Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

 

Unchecked Copy Box1Pe 2:9 - But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

 

 

Zech 8:23 - Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ’

 

In those days is in contrast with “now.”  It is probably synonymous with “in that day.”  This scripture is not yet fulfilled.  Ten men is a figure denoting completeness.

 

The Jewish people are still persecuted by many cultures and their name is still dishonored and has been in many nations.  But that will change.  Just as all of Chapter 8 is fulfilled prophecy, verse 23 will also be fulfilled.

 

We had a “sign following” this preaching.  Apostle Samson Rajkumar and Elgin were visitors at Tuesday Morning Service.  He shared with us one of their ministries of giving people in India a Bible.  He told us there were 200 different languages in India and the Bible has been translated into all those languages.  The Jews were given the glory of writing the Old and New Testament.  The glory of the Word of God covering the whole earth which was written by the Jews and fulfilled by Jesus Christ has partially fulfilled this verse. 

 

The glory of God will be fully manifested on the earth in natural Israel as well as Spiritual Israel.  We will together become the City of Truth.

 

Next week, Eschatological sayings.

 

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

www.eastgateministries.com

Scripture from K.J.V.

I entered into the labors of F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary, Zechariah by David J. Ellis.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of

 
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