Zechariah Chapter 11

Bottom view of crowns of Lebanon cedars

“Open thy doors oh Lebanon so the fire may devour your Cedars (trees).” Zechariah 11:1 in multiple commentaries present all types of meaningful and some meaningless guess work. We take the high road. Lebanon is well known for its fabulous Cedars. It must mean in end time the great Cedars of Lebanon will be destroyed by fire. Perhaps “in that day” of final judgement.

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare”. [NIV; II Peter 3:10] PS: as go the great Cedars of Lebanon are destroyed by fire. [cf. Zechariah 3:8; 2 Peter 3:11,12; Jeremiah 7:20…My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched.

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Earth-On-Fire%5D

God means precisely what HE writes through Zechariah 11 and noted by Peter in the New Testament. The elements of earth will be destroyed by fire including the great Cedars of Lebanon. A second commentary suggests this is possibly the destruction of the enemies of Israel coming from the north. What we do know is God will reunite the separated Tribes of Israel. They will become the center of the world and Christ will rule within it greatly expanded boarders. A third “guess”? It is the destroyed Temple itself by Romans in 70 A.D. That Temple was mostly built of Cedar from Lebanon [Ezra 3:11] by the remnant of those who returned from Babylonian captivity. One with Zerubbabel, a second return with Ezra and a third return with Nehemiah. (c.f. cut and paste http://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2013/03-05a.html) Three waves of exile and three waves of release and return to rebuild the Temple.

Zechariah 11:2 gives insight into verse 1. “Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled…” The mighty [‘addı̂yr meaning the powerful] are spoiled [shâdad meaning those who destroy or ravage]. This gives credence to the second possibility in the previous paragraph. Enemies or mighty armies from the north who descend upon Israel (Jerusalem) to destroy it. The first frontal attack is destroyed i.e. the great Cedars (soldiers) of the north. The weaker firs (lessor forces attacking from the east) are warned that the greater forces (represented by the Great Cedars) from the north have already been destroyed.

Zechariah 11:3 & 4 go together. Those within Israel “in that day” will howl for a way out, avoidance of pending destruction as they watch others being destroyed by none other than God. It is historically true that Israel as-a-whole does not heed God until they are in a situation where there is no other escape option available. As noted throughout the Old Testament God says: “Then they will know I am their God.” Verse 4 regarding “feed the flock” means to give instruction to them. Feed them the covenants and promises from God that are exclusive to Israelis. Give them an opportunity to again repent. Back in Zechariah’s time they did NOT return to God. “In that day” of inevitability, they will completely heed the voice of God as a nation.

Zechariah 11:5 takes us back to the lack of a shepherd over those, the flock who remain in Judah (Israel). The leadership is fake and without the guidance of God. They profit off their own people (flock) and proclaim it is a blessing from God. Oh, the penalty of this sin is going to be great. It was back then and “in that day” yet to come, it will be even more severe. They sold their own into slavery, became wealthy and committed the unforgivable by publicly thanking or giving credit to God who did not bless them this way. Their real purpose for so doing was to divert their sinful actions by claiming amongst themselves that the proceeds were rewards for “following G-d’s will”. This is so unforgivable. These false shepherds of Judah/Israel give credit to a god, not God. But, in their deceptive use of these claims and words hoped the listener is thinking God, not god. An abomination! [cf. Galatians 6:3; Acts 5:4]

Zechariah 11:6 This writer had a brother who when lectured or instructed by our mutual earth-father to do something, would listen with muted ears, then go out and do precisely as he originally planned. Essentially, this is the core meanings  of verse 6. Though my brother was fed the reality of many wrong and dangerous situations if he proceeded, he continued to pursue his original plans. Even the poor of Zechariah’s audience were guilty of not listening. Eventually, just as with my brother, God gave up even trying to get their ear. They were made aware and knowledgeable of pending doom but did not [want to] believe it.

Zechariah 11:7 is well explained by James Montgomery Boice per the two [shepherd] staves; one named Beauty (grace or favor) and the other named Bands (unity, union, or measuring line; see verse 14).

“Favor symbolizes the favored status of Israel as the chosen people of God. Union symbolizes the internal harmony of the people that was lost at the time of the siege of Jerusalem.” (Boice)

The two staves were broken by Zechariah thus demonstrating these conditions or covenants between God and Israelites no longer existed…until “in the day” of the Millennial Reign. This is emphasized in Zechariah 11:7-*11. There would no longer be any favor from God to his chosen until the end. Now they are dispersed to the four corners of the earth many losing their identity as the chosen people of God. Did the reader catch this? No longer any favors or preferential treatment orchestrated by God on their behalf until “in that day.” If one has followed just a few of the holocaust-type of events in Hebrew history since this time of Zechariah, we can easily see they no longer have his special blessing…until In That Day.

*Take note of verse 11. [Even] the poor of them “in that day” were forced to recognize the chord and bond with their God was no longer a covenant; the staves were cut in two. Did they understand and ultimately convince themselves to change? NO! History shows us the fulfillment of this prophetic demonstration by Zechariah. Zechariah was not making friends, but he certainly was influencing people’s attitude about his nay-saying.

30 pieces of silver – the price of mimimally valued slave.

Zechariah 11:12 accentuates the previous paragraph per verse 11. Zechariah is telling his own people, if they believe him give him his due allowance, heed his words, but if not, continue in their evil ways (JIV). They opted for the latter by adding insult to injury. They gave Zechariah the insulting “allowance” (or pay) of 30 pieces of silver, the price for a minimally valued slave. This is also the price descendants of the same people (their leadership) 500 years later paid Judas for selling-out Jesus. In both Zechariah and time of Jesus, it is a demonstration of absolute contempt by the Jews for Zechariah, God’s covenants, and their Messiah Jesus.

Forget the political correctness of accusation. We KNOW (yadda) that the Jews crucified Jesus using the Roman judges as executioners, so the blood of Jesus was not [supposedly] on their hands. Today they cry…the Romans did it! We are innocent.

JIV NOTE: The Hinnom Valley is also known as the Valley of Gehenna i.e. Hell. King Manasseh ruled for fifty-five years—the longest reign of all the Hebrew kings (2 Chronicles 33:1-2). Even though Manasseh had one of the godliest fathers in their history, Manasseh was Judah’s worst king. He lived just like the godless nations God destroyed by bringing Israel into their land. Hinnom is southwest of Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives is in the northeast of Jerusalem.

Zechariah 11:14-17 points to another shepherd over Israel. One thought is this may be the antichrist of the Tribulation. The false prophet with a signed promise of 7 years of peace. He arrives on a white horse with bow in hand…NO ARROWS…but a crown is given to him. “He will not care for those who are cut off”  (V16).

A second reasonable thought of this “foolish shepherd” is not the antichrist but a shepherd or leader in Israel who will sell out Israel “in that day”. The bible constant is that this foolish shepherd will be present during the time of the 7-year tribulation in this world. Israel is directly involved. David Guzik in his bible commentary states:

[Revelation 13:3 and 12-14] tell us the Antichrist will suffer a severe wound yet survive. This confirms that the worthless shepherd is ultimately fulfilled in the Antichrist.

Rev Dr. Jstark
2020

Zechariah Chapter 9

“In that day”. We sometimes fail to grasp this can be a past or future tense statement. Bible study demands one keeps content and context together in scripture studies. It is not unusual for God through his prophets to make a statement “in that day”. We have all heard of someone speaking of the good ol’ days or in short, back in that day we did such-and-such. Have you ever heard of someone saying, “go ahead and make my day”? This too is an example of something yet to happen “in that day”. One must examine the before and after in scripture to capture the essence of past or future tense. At times this is buried within the pre or post paragraphs, sentence(s), or verses i.e. the context of subject. Zechariah has many examples of “in that day”. He is usually talking about two different futures. Israel’s soon-to-be future and a future Israel yet unfulfilled. This is chapter 9:1 through 14:21…mostly future tense; in that day, one yet to come.

Included in this passage is a curse upon or a pending judgment in that day against enemies of Israel. This is the real meaning of the first three verses in Zechariah 9.

Zechariah 9:1 explodes with future tense. “The eyes of man, as of all [kole] the tribes of Israel, [shall be] toward the Lord”. All (?), if any of the tribes of Israel possibly had their eyes set upon the Lord at this time in Zechariah’s life is a baseless deduction. The eyes of man [aw-dawm’] means all humans created by God through and since Adam. The Hebrew word aw-dawm’ in this translation means the same as it does in the name given to Adam in Genesis father of mankind: red dirt.  We should mention the word “burden” as in the burden of the word of the Lord. This burden means an ultimate judging of sinners. Jesus came into this world so that all [Kole in Hebrew, Pas in Greek] may be saved. Since all will not be believers, it is a burden of responsibility regarding pending judgement. God does not wish this burden, but it is coming. [The Hebrew kole and the Greek pas for “all” means without exeption]

“The eyes of man … shall be toward the Lord”: These Phoenician cities mentioned in this chapter on the Mediterranean coast were known for their skill and wisdom (Ezekiel. 28:12-15), and Satanic influence (Ezekiel. 28:11-19) [bible-studies.org].

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/bible-canaanites-wiped-out-old-testament-israelites-lebanon-descendants-discovered-science-dna-a7862936.html

Zechariah 9:2

JIV NOTE: 2020 DNA research have determined most Lebanese DNA is like the former occupants of the lands of Canaan. Tyrus and Zidon (Sidon) were in the land of Phoenicia. Phoenicia today is within Lebanon. During the military conquests of Alexander the Great these two cities were demolished and have not been truly rebuilt as of 2020. This same area was renamed Phoenicia by the Greeks who believed they originated from Canaan.

Zechariah 9:3 is another issue in and of itself. This verse mentions Tyre. These people had piled up for themselves significant amounts of wealth. They were located to the west [cf. Joshua 19:29] of the lands settled by the Tribe of Asher (Israelites). The city itself consisted of an island and mainland territory. Verse 3 states “they heaped [gold] up like dust of the land”. Their wealth came from making the rare and royal *purple dye.” No wonder Alexander the Great determined to conquer it. Plus they were a major trade route. *Tyrian purple is made by boling snails in lead pots for seveal days.

Zechariah 9:4 is prophetic [in that day] at the time of Zechariah’s prophecies 520 B.C. to around 480 B.C. Some of what he prophesied was fulfilledwhen Alexander the Great [in that day; 332 B.C.] invaded the eastern Mediterranean Sea area; 200 years or so after Zechariah.

JIV MOMENT: Might the reader recall King Ahab and Jezebel of the northern Kingdom Israel (Book of 1 Kings 17; 1 Kings 18:17) and prophet Elijah? Jezebel was the daughter of a king of Sidon [Zidon]. Do not confuse Zidon, Phoenicia with Zion, Israel in history.

Additional insight: Daniel died only a few years before Zechariah began prophesying.

Zechariah 9:5-9 continues to list the pending travesties of anti-Israel nations and powers, in that day. Each nation has its own story. It is a wonderful thing to read secular archeological discoveries that underscore the happenings in the prophecies found in Zechariah 9 alone.

Zechariah 9:10 returns us to the history and prophecies of Israel. This is God’s scripture defining his Millennial Kingdom. We read about the chariots [translated cavalry] of *Ephraim [a surname used for Israel] and the horses of Jerusalem.

*Ephraim was the dominant tribe of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. JIV: This is the tribe that had difficulty pronouncing the “sh” sound. They pronounced shibboleth ‘sibboleth’ [cf. Judges 12:6]. Ephraim and Manasseh were the two sons of Joseph in Egypt.

And his rule is [in that day; future] from sea unto sea, And from the river unto the ends of earth (Zechariah 9:10c). The pronoun “his” in verse 10 is Jesus. His rule will be to the ends of the earth. The words “cutting off” in v9:10a means no more wars…in that day of the Millennial Reign.

Zechariah 9:13 is controversial in its meaning or implication. To bend Judah as the bow and make Ephraim the arrow is not simple to understanding. To begin grasping this meaning re-read verse 12.

“(Re)Turn to the stronghold, O prisoners of hope! Even [in this day] today I declare I will return double to you.” Israel has had an eternal hope for their Messiah. They are prisoners of that belief. They do not believe in the second advent of Christ since they are holding out for the first advent of their messiah. Muslims believe the same thing per their 12th Imam. They both are prisoners of the hope mentioned in this verse. They falter not in their wait for this day to come. It will come but that moment will be the second coming (advent) of Christ to earth with the setting up of his millennial kingdom in Jerusalem.

“I will return double to you”. Amazingly some commentaries skip past this part of 9:12b. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown declare in their commentary state, Great as has been thy adversity, thy prosperity shall be doubly greater. They reference Isaiah 61:7 which is good theology. Let us not forget the entirety of the Promised Lands to Israel were never secured and occupied under their kingships. This doubling could just as easily identify their Millennial land mass, the New Jerusalem. We already studied earlier in Zechariah 2 that the man with the measuring rod showed Jerusalem was not large enough to hold all the people who will occupy it. The New Jerusalem will be 12,000 by 12,000 Strada; 1,500 miles square [cf. Revelation 21:16].

JIV: This is the distance between upper Michigan and mid-Florida. Let this covenant with Israel settle in one’s mind. Now look at any map of the Middle East. Israel today is less than 80 miles wide and only 20 miles at its narrowest point.

Zechariah 9:13 is one of those controversial verses in multiple commentaries. God said through Zechariah that “he will bend the bow of Judah and fill it with Ephraim”. Judah will be filled with Israelites from all Tribes of Israel. Bending the bow increases the space within it. All Israelis will be gathered from the four corners of the earth. The world in their carnal minds will gaze in wonder asking, how can this be?

The Greece mentioned in this verse is not the Greeks as in that country. Very often the non-Israelite is identified in scripture as a Greek i.e. a Gentile, not a Hebrew Israeli. The bow is bent and is *filled with returning Israelis from the four corners of the earth. A very expanded New Jerusalem. Again, see the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21:16. This means ALL, not some.

*Israelis from Jacob/Israel is God’s quiver of arrows.

The confederated armies of the world will line up against Israel, but the sons of Zion will revolt against the attacking Gentile nations. God’s spoken word and tongue will destroy these invaders without the help or military might of Israel.

How do we know this is an understanding of this passage in Zechariah? The rest of this chapter is a double underscore. NOTE: A double underscore is an accounting term meaning a conclusion on a balance sheet or an accounting worksheet.

Zechariah 9:14 is the ultimate result of this entire chapter and the basis for the rest of Zechariah through chapter 14. In a very real way, this is the definitive verse for Zechariah’s writing.

Using the NKJV for verse 14: Then the LORD will be seen over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord GOD will blow the trumpet and go with whirlwinds from the south. Does verse 14 require additional explanation or amplification? This is God’s battle. Not the battle of men. Evil will be defeated. Satan and his minions will fall. The world will recognize how wrong it has been but by this time it is too late for them. Please note once again. This is Israel in the balance, not the modern-day body of believers. They are already Raptured.

We know this is God’s battle since verse 15 to the rest of this chapter states that fact. [NKJV] “The Lord their hosts will defend and save them.” Romans 12:19 “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

P.S. While Christians look for Jesus’ 2nd coming, the Jews await the Messiah and Muslims await the 12th Imam. Only one is correct…in that day.

We Teach – You Decide

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2020