Study Notes

Zechariah 12:1-3


Tonight, we begin the second of two burdens of the Word of the Lord proclaimed by Zechariah. Over the past nine weeks, we found that the first burden contained some unbelievably accurate and detailed prophecies. We will find that this burden is equal in provoking our astonishment.

12:1 The Second Burden

Remember that "the burden of the word of the Lord" is the heavy load put upon the prophets by God. As they received revelation of judgments and events were unveiled to them, they could not be described as anything but a heavy burden.

God The Creator

Before the burden begins, it is attributed as a declaration of God, Who is described as having the power of creation over the heavens, the earth, and man.

Many times we read statements like this and rush right past them. However, if you stop to consider all the power required for creation, you cannot help but be in awe of the power of God.

Having now dipped my toe into the world of building construction, I have found exactly how difficult and expensive it is to simply move dirt around. I think, "Just level that high spot there, and fill in that low spot there - no big deal." And yet it requires all kinds of time, skill, and heavy machinery just to do what I think is a simple task. Now, if I begin to multiply that little job by the size of the earth, and again by the size of the universe, I am completely overwhelmed with the statement,

Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

He spoke all of creation into existence! We cannot fathom the awesome power of our God!

The Spirit Is Formed Within

Notice too that God "forms the spirit of man within him." There are people who have bought into the idea of a "well of souls" somewhere that each get dropped into bodies as they are born.

Nowhere is this idea more prevalent than in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

You see, Mormons believe that we all existed as spirits before we got a body. Joseph Smith, in "The Origin of Man," wrote, "Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal body."

Chapter five of the the Mormon book entitled, "Gospel Principles," begins with this paragraph: "When we lived as spirit children with our heavenly parents, our Heavenly Father told us about his plan for us to become more like him. We shouted for joy when we heard his plan (see Job 38:7). We were eager for new experiences. In order for these things to happen, we needed to leave our Father's presence and receive mortal bodies. We needed another place to live where we could prepare to become like him. Our new home was called earth."

Of course, this is cult fantasy of the worst kind. But it is also easily disproved here in Zechariah 12:1, for it does not say that God places the spirit of man within him, but that He FORMS the spirit of man within Him. This is the same word used when Genesis says,

Gen. 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

God created our spirits within us, they did not live somewhere else and then get placed in us.

12:2-3 Jerusalem A Cup Of Reeling

The burden begins with a prophecy: Jerusalem is going to become a cup that causes reeling, or as the King James calls it, "a cup of trembling."

The description is from a root word that means "to quiver or shake." The prophecy is that Jerusalem is going to be a cup that causes the nations to be shaken.

Today, we see that this prophecy is in full swing, for in fact Jerusalem is the one city in the world that causes more nations to shake and quake than any other. It is really amazing to consider how definitive this prophecy is, yet how contrary to common sense it is. After all, what is Jerusalem? And what is Israel? It is such a tiny fraction of the world!

But unlike any other city, Jerusalem is holy to the three largest religions in the world: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. And the fight for control of this city is ultimately what will cause World War III.

Recently, Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "It is hard to overstate the dangers or the potential for this conflict to impact far beyond the region itself." As nation after nation is sucked into the struggle for control of Jerusalem and the land of Judah, indeed all of Israel (12:1), we see that what the nightly news calls the "the Middle East Conflict" is in reality a political and military whirlpool from which none can escape.

The Peoples Around

The prophecy begins with Jerusalem affecting the peoples around.

A quick glance at a map of Israel reveals that Israel is today surrounded by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

It interests me that President George W. Bush said just last week, "I'm absolutely convinced it's going to require the efforts of the Saudis and the Jordanians and the Egyptians to help cement a lasting peace." He is absolutely right, but I pray it doesn't happen, for there is only one worldly recipe for peace in Israel...

Broadening the circle begins to include Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Libya. These are all Islamic nations sworn to the destruction of Israel and the Jews.

Even Turkey, Israel's only Muslim "ally," has just accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians.

Jerusalem A Heavy Stone Causing Injury

Jerusalem is such a hotbed for conflict that everyone who tries to take on the role of peacemaker is injured, just like someone who gets a hernia trying to pick up a heavy stone! Dozens of leaders have tried and failed to bring peace to the area.

They've failed because they don't understand the real problem. You see, everything you're hearing on the news about the "occupied territories" being the source of these problems conflict is a lie. The only real solution that will bring peace in that area is to completely eradicate or exterminate the Jews.

That's because all of these Muslims believe in a God whose religion dictates the destruction of all who reject Allah, specifically naming the Christians and the Jews. That's why there's no possible way to bring peace.

It's not about the "poor oppressed Palestinians" in the "occupied territories." First of all, Israel only occupies one percent of the Arab Middle East. Why is there a Palestine Liberation Organization in Israel, when Jordan, a nation which was created entirely by Britain, is 70% Palestinian, yet is run by the Hashemites? The reason is that the Hashemites are Muslims.

Why wasn't there a Palestine Liberation Organization from 1949 to 1967, when Jordan annexed and occupied the same territory now held by Israel? Nobody was complaining about it then, because they were Muslims, not Jews.

What the news isn't telling you is that as Israeli citizens, the Palestinians have more rights, privileges, and opportunities than the inhabitants of any Arab nation in the Middle East!

The fact is that this conflict in Israel will never be solved with plans using the theories of "land for peace" or "mutual respect and cohabitation." That's why everyone who tries to pick up this heavy stone is injured.

Why haven't these Muslim nations simply gone in and taken it? They've tried militarily, again and again. But God has supernaturally protected Israel, giving her miraculous victories. Right now, they are actively trying to do it through "spin" - changing people's opinions and understandings to turn the world against Israel. And in fact, that is what we're seeing now.

Culturally-conscious college students all over the world are being deceived by this. They're being told by their Muslim college professors that this is another Apartheid. Hundreds of them have been duped into believing that Israel is the terrorist, genocidal regime, and that the Palestinians are the afflicted people in a terrible plight.

These misguided people have joined groups such as the International Solidarity Movement, and are actually entering the compounds where the Israeli army has surrounded terrorists, like Yassir Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah and the standoff at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. They set themselves up as human shields, believing that were it not for them, these "hateful and racist Jews" would commit mass murder.

While sponsoring terrorism against innocent civilians, Yassir Arafat has been presented in recent weeks as a "besieged leader," and after he was released, he called the Jews, "terrorists, Nazis and racists." Amazingly, the world is buying it! The tide of opinions and politics is turning, and the world is rapidly becoming anti-Semitic again.

All The Nations Of The Earth Against It

The Palestinians continue to kill innocent Israeli citizens, but the world community opposes Israel when they begin to defend themselves.

- The United Nations has continually opposed Israel's right to defend itself against terrorists.

- Just last month, the European Union Parliament voted for sanctions against Israel in response to the growing number of European nations calling for economic sanctions to protest Israel's current military operation. It has not been well-publicized, but the EU is now the biggest single donor to the Palestinians. Israel has documentation showing that millions of Euro-dollars are being used to pay for these terrorist attacks.

- Egypt has warned that if Israel acts against the Palestinian Authority, they will take military action.

- Iraq's Sadaam Hussein has pledged $1 billion to the Palestinian war effort, and has called for the mobilization of 6.5 million volunteers to attack Israel. His Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed said recently that Iraqi forces are training and equipping to be in the forefront of an Arab war against Israel.

- Even the USA, who is still strongly pro-Israel, is compromising towards betrayal. The United States, Europe, Russia and the United Nations joined six days ago to sponsor a Mideast conference this summer with the goal of a Palestinian state. In other words, the Palestinians must be given a portion of Israel as their own nation. President Bush said, "The United States and the EU share a common vision of two states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security." Apparently, he has forgotten that the Bible says,

1Ths. 5:3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly...

Ultimately, all the nations of the earth will be unanimous in their stand against Israel.

Messianically and prophetically speaking, the Psalmist wrote

Ps. 118:10-12 All nations surrounded me; In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off. They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me; In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off. They surrounded me like bees; They were extinguished as a fire of thorns; In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

Ps. 118:17-19 I shall not die, but live, and tell of the works of the LORD. The LORD has disciplined me severely, but He has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness; I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD.

Ps. 118:22-24 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner {stone.} This is the LORD'S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

All the nations of the earth will one day be gathered against Jerusalem. I believe the evidence is all around us that this day is coming very soon.

Jesus said,

Matt. 16:2-3 ..."When it is evening, you say, ‘ {It will be} fair weather, for the sky is red.' And in the morning, {‘There will be} a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot {discern} the signs of the times?"

Luke 21:28 "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

Jesus is coming quickly. I pray that we will straighten up and live in expectation of His arrival!

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