Study Notes

Zechariah 10:5-12


We have had four studies in the first four verses of Zechariah chapter ten. Tonight, we will be finishing the rest of the chapter, looking at some astonishingly specific prophecies given about Israel as a nation. Now I believe it is important to keep the context of the burden - the oracle - of the Word of the Lord that we've seen in chapters nine and ten.

In a nutshell, God said that Alexander the Great was coming in conquest of the known world, but would go around Jerusalem. God also gave the promise that Christ was going to enter in on a donkey, coming to a time when the instruments of war had been removed from the Jews. There was the reminder that they had been set free from the Babylonian Captivity, and an encouragement for the rest of the Jews to return from it as well, before that kingdom was judged by God. The prophecy also foretold the victory of the Macabbean Revolt. In the midst of encouragement, there was another prophecy of the Messiah coming, being brought in specifically through the house of Judah.

This is where we pick up tonight, in verse five...

10:5-8 Gathered Together

Here we see the promise of the regathering of Israel in the land. Notice that it is all of Israel, not just Judah and Benjamin.

God will whistle for them to gather them in the land. The Hebrew word for "whistle" here is "shaw-RAK," which can either mean to hiss or to whistle. The word appears in the Old Testament twelve times, and the translators of the NAS have chosen to use "hiss" when it speaks of a sound made in derision, and "whistle" when referring to a calling.

It has been noted that beekeepers in ancient times would use this sound in the morning to get their bees out of the hives to work, and again to bring them home at dusk (see Isaiah 7:18). Here, God is saying that He will whistle for them to gather them together, in the same way that the beekeeper would bring his bees home.

First A Scattering

Now remember, they had already returned from the Babylonian Captivity. God is speaking of another day when they would be regathered. This indicates another scattering. The Jews to whom Zechariah is prophesying remained in the land long enough to see their Messiah enter in on a donkey, just as God promised. However,

Luke 19:41-44 ...when He approached, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."

Sure enough, the people did not recognize the time of their visitation. Just as Gabriel had prophesied,

Dan. 9:26 "...the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary..."

Jesus was rejected by the Jews and crucified by the Romans. Less than forty years later, in 70AD, the Roman army led by Titus Vespasian decimated Jerusalem, and the Jews were scattered into all the world.

Then A Gathering

The scattering occurred, and about eighteen hundred years passed. Both Jewish and Christian Bible scholars wondered if the prophecy of a regathering would ever come true.

In 1896 the World Zionist Organization was founded with the idea of enabling the Jews to return to the land. Without official permission from any government, and against bans established by Great Britain and all of the Arab nations, Jews began settling the land of Israel which was now referred to as Palestine.

As World War II ended, Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors were arriving at Palestine on ships and boats, only to be caught by the British navy and placed in refugee camps.

Then on May 14, 1948, Jewish leaders signed a Proclamation of Independence. Eleven minutes after it went into effect, at 6:11pm EST, our President Harry S. Truman said, "The US Government has been informed that a Jewish State has been proclaimed in Palestine and ... the United States Government recognizes the Provisional Government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel." Many countries followed our lead and recognized the nation of Israel.

Treading Down The Enemy

Since that regathering began, we have seen fulfillment of the prophecy proclaiming them to be as mighty men, fighting, and treading down the enemy in the streets of battle.

The enemies of Israel have been put to shame time and time again. Imagine - a tiny nation smaller than New Jersey surrounded by enemies full of hate and swearing to destroy them - yet they continue to experience victory after victory! From the 1948 War of Independence to the 1967 Six-Day War, to the conflicts that continue today with 85% of the terrorist attempts against Israeli citizens being foiled. How can this be? The answer is found right here: Because the Lord is with them, and has had compassion on them.

Numerous As Before

Verse eight told us that they would be as numerous as before. There were about three million Jews that left Egypt during the Exodus. During the days of King David, the army alone totalled well over 1.5 million (1Chr. 21:5-6). We can only imagine that total numbers would have been four or five million.

No doubt this would be hard to imagine in Zechariah's day, when the returning Jews numbered less than 50,000. And yet God's Word is always true and trustworthy. In 1948, when Israel became a nation again, the Jews numbered just 650,000. But as of last year, the Jewish population of Israeli citizens was between 4.7 and 4.9 million!

Truly a fulfillment of prophecy, and simply amazing statistics for a people that the devil has been trying to destroy for the last few thousand years!

10:9-11 Scattered And Brought Back

Now we hit a snag, because these verses don't seem to be talking about the current regathering.

While many Bible teachers group these verses in with the previous ones, there are problems with doing that. First of all, the regathering spoken of here is a return to the Lord as well as the land.

Zech. 10:9 "...they will remember Me..."

But the fact is that the vast majority of Jews in Israel today have not remembered the Lord. They are Jews by heritage, but not by relationship with God. Most are secular humanists, relying on their good works, not a good God. The regathering being spoken of here is a return to the Lord as well as the land.

Secondly, we read,

Zech. 10:10 "...And I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, until no {room} can be found for them."

In this regathering, so many of the Jews will be brought into Gilead and Lebanon that there won't be enough room for them. But the Jewish settlers currently in Gilead (today called the Golan Heights, about 1,200 square kilometers at the northeast corner of Israel) number just 18,000.

Even more problematic is that the Jewish population of Lebanon in 1948 was just 20,000, and as of the year 2000, there were less than 100 Jews left in Lebanon (which is located at the northern border of Israel). Most of them left the country in 1967.

The way I read this prophecy is that there will be a gathering together (10:8), a subsequent scattering (10:9), and then a final return (10:10) after a time of terrible distress (10:11).

There is a contention among Bible teachers as to whether we can expect another scattering of Israel to take place. And yet, I see no problem reconciling the two positions, for the Scripture is clear. Israel has been gathered, yet in unbelief. There will be another scattering, and most teachers who doubt it have already taught it without even realizing it.

I believe that verse eleven's reference to the "sea of distress" is the same event that Jeremiah calls, "the time of Jacob's distress," which is the Great Tribulation.

Remember, we are expecting the antichrist to arise to power very soon, and the temple to be rebuilt. But he will defile the temple by committing the abomination of desolation, which is when he...

2Ths. 2:4 ...opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

When he commits this act, Jesus warned,

Matt. 24:15-16 "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains

Revelation 12 tells us that when the Judean Jews flee into the wilderness, they will be miraculously protected. When this happens, the antichrist will become enraged, and goes into the rest of the world persecuting and killing all that are found.

This will go on for three and a half years. Finally, as Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is observed, the Jews will cry out to God for their true Messiah, Jesus Christ. They will return from hiding in Petra, in Egypt, and Assyria, which is the area of southern Turkey and northern Iraq. From all over the world, they will come out from hiding and come to Israel. It will be another Exodus, as Iraq is humbled at the judgment of the nations, and Egypt will have the ability to put people to death taken away from them.

10:12 In His Name

The Jews will receive their promised land. The first half of Numbers 34 describes Israel's true borders, extending from the Nile to Euphrates Rivers. All of the territories being disputed today: the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, will be overflowing with the Jews. Until then, we will expect to see the hostilities of their enemies continue.

Psalm 122 exhorts us,

Ps. 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem...

When we do, what we are really praying is the same thing that the Lord taught us to pray:

Matt. 6:10 "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

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