GOOD AND COMFORTING WORDS - Zechariah 1

Shabbat Shalom family,

Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 8:2-3 “Thus said יהוה of hosts, ‘I shall be jealous for Tsiyon with great jealousy, with great wrath I shall be jealous for her.’ 3 “Thus said יהוה, ‘I shall return to Tsiyon, and I shall dwell in the midst of Yerushalayim. And Yerushalayim shall be called: City of the Truth, and the Mountain of יהוה of hosts, the Set-apart Mountain.’”

Very powerful words indeed, as we see the emphasis being placed on the jealousy of יהוה for His people and His city; and because of this ‘jealousy’ He promises to fight for His Bride and return and dwell with Her in His beloved city!

Last week we looked at Eliyahu and how ‘zealous’ he was for יהוה, yet felt alone in his ardour for the Truth, and we also discussed Pineḥas and how his ardour for יהוה caused him to stand up and confront the lawlessness and corruption that had breached the camp through the sick and twisted mixed worship of Ba‘al. In following on from the theme of the zeal we are to have for יהוה, and how He is jealous for us I would like us to be once again encouraged as we are continually reassured by His sure Word of His great love for us and that He is coming soon and therefore strengthen us to rise up and be counted and lift our heads to the Most High Elohim – יהוה of Hosts who fights for us, aměn!

In a message tonight called , ‘GOOD AND COMFORTING WORDS’ may we certainly be comforted by His Good Word as we look at and glean some great insights into Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 1 (Read).

Zeḵaryah prophesied in the days of Ezra at the time of the return of the Southern Kingdom of Yehuḏah from the Baḇelonian captivity. We read in Ezra 6:14 that the elders of Yehuḏah were blessed by the prophesying of Zeḵaryah and Ḥaggai, while they were building and as a result finished the building, being successful to reconstruct the Temple. Here in his letter he was writing to those still in Baḇelon. And one thing that we see being carried right through the book of Zeḵaryah is the constant flavour of victory for Yerushalayim and he speaks of another day when the city would be surrounded by the their enemies, yet יהוה will again prove to be triumphant as He destroys all the enemies of His Bride. Zeḵaryah’s words are prophetic for end-time events and are words that are meant to encourage us and keep the hope that we have in Messiah alive and filled with great zeal, as we are being built up in the most set-apart faith, just as the elders were blessed at his words at the time of their return from exile!

In verse 14 we see the instruction given to Zeḵaryah:

And the messenger who spoke with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus said יהוה of hosts, “I have been jealous for Yerushalayim and for Tsiyon with great jealousy.

And I believe that these words need to certainly be proclaimed still today – sadly too many are not responding to His jealousy over us and as a result have no regard for His Torah.

The root word for ‘jealous’ here is קָנָא qanah – Strong’s H7065 meaning, to be jealous or zealous, be envious, ardent and for ‘great’ is גָּדוֹל gadol – Strong’s H1419 meaning, great, mighty, exceedingly, high.

His ardent love for us ought to cause us to be as ardent for Him and not bow to any other ; for even His Name is Jealous:

Shemoth/Exodus 34:14 “for you do not bow yourselves to another mighty one, for יהוה, whose Name is jealous, is a jealous Ěl.

Let us dig a little into this first chapter of Zeḵaryah/Zechariah and see what our Jealous Ěl is telling us:

The Word of יהוה came to Zeḵaryah in the 8th new moon of the 2nd year of Dareyawesh, with a stern message of repentance. This was around the year 520B.C.E. (before the common era).

The name of Zeḵaryah זְכַרְיָה – Strong’s H2148 means, יהוה remembers – he was the son of בֶּרֶכְיָה Bereḵyah – Strong’s H1296 which means, Yah Blesses who was the son of עִדּוֹ Iddo – Strong’s H5714 meaning, His witness. This is very powerful as we see the witness he was to be, to an exiled people, that יהוה remembers those whom He blesses and does not forget!

יהוה was angry with their fathers who had turned away from Him and here יהוה gives Zeḵaryah the clear instruction to command Yehuḏah to turn back to יהוה – for if they do He would turn back to them! In verse 3 we see the use of יהוה of Hosts 3 times and places a great emphasis straight up on who is talking and giving the orders here! This is a military title of יהוה as the Commander of the heavenly Hosts, and it is used here to warn the hearers to fear יהוה and return to Him, for those who do not will be destroyed in His wrath!

Ya’aqoḇ uses the similar language in calling us back to יהוה in repentance, and in our need to submit to Elohim and resist the devil:

Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:8 “Draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners. And cleanse the hearts, you double-minded!

For far too long Yisra’ĕl and Yehuḏah had sinned and transgressed against יהוה and the call to return had gone out, and the promise of יהוה in turning back to those who turn to Him would be a reminder of the greatest blessing the priest could speak over Yisra’ĕl and by which the Name of יהוה would be put upon the children of Yisra’ĕl and be blessed (Bemiḏbar/Numbers 6:24-27); for יהוה to “turn back” to them would be a causing of His face to be upon them and shine upon them and give them protection, favour and shalom – certainly great words of encouragement to a people to whom His back had been turned away from,  after they had received many warnings to repent from their lawlessness and whoring.

And here at the command of the Most High they are told to not be like their fathers who ignored the warnings from the prophets who had been sent to them from יהוה. We find ourselves in the same position today as we hear a clear command to return to our Maker and Husband, as we recognise the inherited lies that our fathers inherited.

Their fathers had heard the words sent by the prophets and acknowledged that fact yet chose to ignore them. Today we do not have to look too far back to see how many of those leaders who had gone before us acknowledge that they are in error, yet we do not see the call to get back in line. An example of this is through the error of Sun-day observance having replaced the keeping of the Sabbath and while many well-known theologians acknowledge that there is nowhere in Scripture the change of the Sabbath to Sun-day, they sadly continue the inherited pagan practice of sun-worship services on the first day of the week!

Here are a few quotes from not too far back (please understand that I am quoting directly from actual records and therefore will be quoting wrongly inherited and pagan rooted names and titles for the sake of helping us understand how those who have gone before us have acknowledged errors in practiced forms of worship, yet no return to the truth by these institutions was forthcoming):

From the ‘Anglican/episcopal’ church:

T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18, 1884:

“I have repeatedly offered $1000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the Holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy’. The Catholic Church says: ‘NO. By my divine power I abolish

the Sabbath day, and command you to keep holy the first day of the week’. And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church.”

Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, a paper read before the New York ministers’ conference, Nov. 13, 1893, reported in New York Examiner, Nov. 16, 1893:

“There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week. Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament—absolutely not. To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years’ intercourse with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question . . . Never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated. Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history. . . But what a pity it comes branded with the mark of Paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!”

From the ‘Disciples of Christ’

Alexander Campbell, The Christian Baptist, Feb. 2, 1824, vol. 1, no. 7, p. 164:

“’But’, say some, ‘it was changed from the seventh to the first day’. Where? When? And by whom? No man can tell. NO; it never was changed, nor could it be, unless creation was to be gone through again; for the reason assigned must be changed before the observance, or respect to the reason, can be changed! It is all old wives’ fables to talk of the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day. If it be changed, it was that

august personage changed it who changes times and laws EX OFFICIO– I think his name is DOCTOR ANTICHRIST.”

From the Methodist

John Wesley (1703-1791), The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., John Emory, ed. (New York: Eaton & Mains), Sermon 25, vol. 1, p. 221:

“But, the Moral Law contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the prophets, he [Christ] did not take away. It was not the design of His coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken . . . Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of God and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each other.”

I could go on, but I chose to simply give a  couple of examples of how the generations no too long ago did the same as those fathers being spoken of at Zeḵaryah’s time – they heard the warnings yet did nothing about it! And here the command is as alive for us today as it was back then – do not do as your fathers did!!! We went back just over a 100-200 years, yet for many of us, we just have to look back to our own fathers and realise that we cannot do as they did – they or the prophets who were sent to them are no longer – but יהוה’s Word is still here and still alive as it will always be.

Their fathers did not turn away from their evil ways – their ‘walk’ was ‘evil – the word used for ways is  דֶּרֶךְ  Derek – Strong’s H1870 which means, way, road, distance, journey and is from the word דָּרַךְ  darak – Strong’s H1869  which means, to tread or march and so speaks of our walk, our every step that we take – this we are to commit to יהוה.

Sadly their fathers did not commit but did ‘evil’, which is the root word רַע ra – Strong’s H7451 meaning, bad, evil, wicked, harmful’. This word is often expressed in the feminine as רָעָה  ra’ah which is very interesting as we see in Hebrew another word with the same sound yet spelt with a difference of one letter!

In Bemiḏbar/Numbers 27:12 Mosheh was to go up and ‘see’ the Promised Land before he died and the word for ‘see’ is the Hebrew word רָאָה ra’ah – Strong’s H7200 meaning, to see, look, observe, pay close attention, consider. This is a command that we all would do well to heed today – and that is to observe and pay close attention to that which lies ahead for us as we await the return of our King, so that we are able to discern and act wisely, as we follow the Torah (instructions) of Elohim. We will not make it ‘home’ unless we too are ‘gathered, delivered and led’ by the Living Torah – The Word made flesh - יהושע Messiah as we return to Him and continue to walk in His ways!

The difference between רָעָה  ra’ah (evil, wickedness) and רָאָה ra’ah (see, observe, pay attention) is the middle letter – with ‘evil’ containing the letter – ‘עָ’ – ‘ayin’ and ‘to see’ contains the letter ‘אָ’ – ‘aleph’. This should be a clear ‘wakeup call’ for us to see how things may sound correct yet may cause us to ‘look’ at what is wrong – many of our father’s teachings and ways may sound good and true yet when tested against the measuring stick of the Torah we find that most of what we inherited was in fact not good at all and what we must learn is that corrupt practices spoil our relationship with יהוה!

In verse 7 we see that the Word of יהוה came to Zeḵaryah 3 months later – 3 months after the call to repentance, and he had some visions, which I want to just briefly touch on those we see being spoken of in this chapter.

Zeḵaryah sees a man riding on a red horse and standing among the myrtle trees. I firmly believe that this was יהושע, as we see in verse 7 the reference to the term ‘The Word of יהוה’ came to him, and this is a title given to יהושע, and in verse 9 Zeḵaryah calls him my Master! The word for ‘red’ here is אָדֹם  adom – Strong’s H122 meaning, red, ruddy and without any vowel pointings this could also render ‘Adam’s horse’, as the root terms are the same and together with this depiction of one in Adam’s position, with the fact that He is also called the messenger of  יהוה which is also another title used for Messiah, this One who was speaking with Zeḵaryah has to be יהושע who was speaking to him about the restoration of Yerushalayim! We see the words of Messiah carrying the same zeal and passion for Yerushalayim in:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 23:37-39 “Yerushalayim, Yerushalayim, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to her! How often I wished to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you would not! 38 “See! Your house is left to you laid waste, 39 for I say to you, from now on you shall by no means see Me, until you say, ‘Blessed is He who is coming in the Name of יהוה!’

So here we have a picture of יהושע standing among the myrtle trees as the ones on the red, sorrel and white horses who were sent to go throughout the earth and bring back report, came and reported to Him that the earth is at peace and rest. This is a picture of how the nations are at ease in their wicked and corrupt ways, while the children of יהוה were suffering under the hardships of captivity due to lawlessness. The imagery of these horses certainly points us to the prophetic picture of the end times that we read of in Ḥazon/Revelation 6 when the red horse goes out to take peace from the earth and was given a sword. What Zeḵaryah was being shown is that deliverance is near at hand – it was not yet time but it was coming, and we also know that יהושע tells us that He did not come to bring peace but a sword (Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:34). In verse 12 with the cry of intercession going up to יהוה of Hosts as to how long would He have no compassion on Yerushalayim and Yehuḏah, we see a wonderful picture of our Messiah who continually is interceding for us who are returning and draw near to Elohim through Him:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore He is also able to save completely those who draw near to Elohim through Him, ever living to make intercession for them.

And here in verse 13 we see that יהוה answered and the Messenger spoke good and comforting Words and we know that He answers when we call as Dawiḏ cried out in:

Tehillim/Psalm 20:9 “Save, יהוה! Let the Sovereign answer us in the day we call.

The Hebrew root word for ‘myrtle’ is הֲדַס  hadas – Strong’s H1918  and a derivative of this word is the name of הֲדַסָּה Hadassah – Strong’s H1919 the brave queen who stood up for her people and caused the death sentence decreed over the Yehuḏim to be reversed and Yehuḏah struck down 75000 of their enemies at the decree of the king! This had taken place before the 70 year exile had ended and so would have also been a comforting image as a reminder that Yehuḏah, Yerushalayim and Yisra’ĕl would be delivered from their enemies.

The myrtle tree stays green the longest and the branches of myrtle trees were used to make the booths for Sukkot/Tabernacles – which is also a great reminder to us of יהושע being in our midst as we sojourn here!

The picture of Him standing among the myrtle trees is a wonderful encouragement that shows how The Living Word stands amongst His Covenant people, even in the midst of our troubles and oppressions, just as He is in the midst of the seven lampstands as recorded in Ḥazon/Revelation 1!

After the good and comforting words, Zeḵaryah is told to proclaim how jealous יהוה is for His people and His city and expresses His anger at the nations who are at ease who continue in their evil and wicked ways. And the promises He reassures His people with here is that He will return with compassion to Yerushalayim and build His House in it and stretch out a measuring over it – in other words order will be restored according to the plumb line of His Torah – and then His cities will flourish and prosper and His comfort will return! These are good and comforting words!!!

Zeḵaryah then lifts up his eyes and sees 4 horns and asks what they are and is told that these 4 horns are the horns that scattered Yehuḏah, Yisra’ĕl and Yerushalayim. ‘Horns’ in Scripture depict power, assertiveness, dominion, offence and defence and strength – and any de-horned animal is humiliated, defeated and impotent! While Zeḵaryah could not see the animals and only the horns, he is clearly told that it is the 4 authoritive powers in the earth that have scattered the chosen people of Elohim and when we tie up these visions with that of Dani’ěl, we can determine that the 4 horns can picture for us: 1 – Baḇelonian Empire; 2 – Media-Persia Empire; 3 – Grecian-Macedonia Empire; 4 - Roman Empire – all strong powers that have caused the scattering of a called out and chosen people!

Zeḵaryah was then shown 4 ‘craftsmen’ and asked what they were coming to do and he was told these ‘craftsmen’ would come and trouble and throw down the horns of the nations that lifted their horns against Yehuḏah.

What struck me here was the fact that these 4 horns not only scattered Yehuḏah and Yisra’ĕl but they also caused no one to ‘lift up their head’.

What we see here is that the ‘power’ exerted by these corrupted nations have caused pure worship to be rendered powerless in a sense, and ‘lifting the head’ in Hebrew carries the connotation of being counted!

The word for ‘lift up’ is the primitive root נָשָׂא nasa – Strong’s H5375 meaning, lift up, carry, take, bear, support, and the word for ‘head’ is  רֹאשׁ  rosh – Strong’s H7218 meaning, head, beginning, captain, chief, census, leader’.

In last week’s torah portion form Bemitbar/Numbers 26:2 Mosheh was commanded to ‘take a census’ of the fighting men and the term ‘take a census’ – שְׂאוּ אֶת־רֹאשׁ  – ‘seu et rosh’ literally means ‘lift up the headsas the word  שְׂאוּ - is from the primitive root נָשָׂא nasa – Strong’s H5375 meaning, lift up, carry, take, bear, support, and you will notice that the first letter ‘nun (נָ)’ falls away as it is in the qal imperative and the ‘weak nun (נָ)’ falls away and the emphasis is placed on the command to ‘lift up and count’, and is seen as a very strong command or divine instruction from Elohim. So it is not a soft gesture to take a count, but rather comes across as a very strong ‘LIFT UP YOUR HEADS!!!

I have expanded on this in the Torah notes that I urge you to look at, yet what we see in Zeḵaryah is that no one was standing up and being counted because of these 4 horns! Yet the promise of יהוה shows us that His Word never fails and for every ‘horn’ He had a ‘craftsman’ who would throw down the horn, so that heads could be lifted and people could be ‘counted’ and serve and follow Elohim and walk in righteousness!

This word for ‘craftsmen’ is חָרָשׁ  ḥarash – Strong’s H2796 and means, engraver, artisan, blacksmith, carpenter and in its root form means to cut in, engrave, plough, devise.

And I find this greatly encouraging as we clearly see that for every power the enemy tries to exercise over us in getting us to turn away from the Truth – we are reassured that His Good Word is always available for us to strengthen us in turning to יהוה, and that with His word we can tear down and overthrow horns of wickedness and corruption:

Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 10:3-6 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not fight according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons we fight with are not fleshly but mighty in Elohim for overthrowing strongholds, 5 overthrowing reasonings and every high matter that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, taking captive every thought to make it obedient to the Messiah, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

The word used here for ‘throw down’ is יָדָהyadah’ - Strong’s H3034 and literally means ‘to throw, shoot or cast, to confess, laud with praise, extol, i.e., make a public confession of the attributes and acts of power of a person

Yadah’ in practice would be to lift my hands in gratitude and thanks, expressing a surrendering of self totally unto יהוה!

We know the victory that total surrender brings! When Mosheh lifted up his hands in prayer and supplication and praise unto יהוה Yehoshua had victory on the battlefield, and when his arms were down Yehoshua faced some defeat! Lifting hands in surrender unto יהוה is for me a great expression of praise unto His Name. It is an acknowledgement of His Name as יהוה of Hosts – Head of the heavenly host that battles for us, He is our banner – the one under whom we walk, He is our Healer, Shepherd, Provider – He is our Peace and He is our Saviour! Lifting hands unto Him reveals our acceptance of His work and provision and confesses our reliance upon Him, where we recognise that our hands cannot bring what He brings and so we lift up hands in praise in devotion to declaring His authority and rule over our lives!

He is Jealous for us and so as we turn to Him and walk according to His ways, lifting our hands in praise we are equipped to throw down that which our hands previously had engaged in, and exercise great authority in His Name over horns of compromise and deceit, to be a people who our Jealous יהוה of Hosts remembers, and causes us to be ardent for Him in lifting our head and counting the cost of following Him and walking as יהושע walked.

Be encouraged by these good and comforting words and do not be like our fathers were, but let us lift up a banner of praise as we walk strengthened in His Good and Comforting Words, aměn!

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you, and show favour to you;  יהוה lift up His face upon you, and give you Shalom.”

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