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

Jeremiah – Chapter 22

Book of Jeremiah Chapter 22 Summary

Student Note: Chapter 22 deals with the last four kings of Judah, though not in chronological order. The historical order was: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah

  • God tells Jeremiah to go to the King of Judah and bring him a message.

22:3 Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

  • The resident alien??? Hmmm. This means the outsider; i.e. non-Jewish person who still lives within Judah. Even today this is true of Arab citizens of Israel. They get the same protection, opportunities, and justice as does some Judean or Israelite living in Judah; 2017.
  • Jeremiah’s supposed to go through the usual repentance speech: change your ways and stop oppressing widows and orphans, don’t shed innocent blood, and make sure you punish robbers, (yadda-yadda).
    • 22:4 “If you do__?___, then I will__?__.”  Just as every promise or covenant in the Old and New Testaments, all is conditional on us to first follow God and Jesus allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us. It is obvious Jeremiah is delivering a message of “stop that sinning” to the rulers. God’s patience is growing short.
  • If they, Judah, heed this advice, they’ll have righteous kings in the future. But if they don’t, the city will be destroyed and without a Jewish king [until the return of Jesus].
    • What is confusing about this prophecy from Jeremiah to the King(s) of Judah, administrators and Priests? Nothing is confusing or complicated about it. However, it seems to be too simple for the simple minded leaders of Judah to comprehend, desire, and put into action. They want to create a god in their self-centered ways instead of the other way around.
  • At that time, per Jeremiah, things in and around the Judean palace might seem as lush as Gilead or Lebanon. But God will turn the land into a desolate waste if the rulers don’t respond accordingly.

Gilead or Lebanon?  22:6b Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon; yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited.

Sadly this is precisely what eventually happens to Judah. After their Babylonian 70 year captivity, they were little more than a shadow of their previous self and greatness. America has need of this same understanding. We may have been given a temporary reprieve with the election of someone who respects Israel and more than once has been seen with a bible in hand.

  • The destroyers will cut down their best cedars and burn them.
    • Hebrew is a fascinating language since it has specificity in the use of words even when they appear closely related. The word “destroyers” is shaw-khath’ and the word for “worship”, is shaw-khaw; the opposite or antithesis of “destroyer,”. This is precisely why this author encourages bible students and readers to use multiple translations in personal bible study. So close in spelling are these two words but so antipathetic to each other in meaning by changing ONE LETTER.
  • All the nations will see Judah’s destruction and gossip about how they were destroyed for disobeying God.
    • The word “nations” in some translations should read “Gentiles of other nations”; i.e. those outside of Israeli descent. It may be discussed within other nations by gossip, wonder, or awe, but it will be those in-the-know who will wonder what happened to a once powerful and religious nation. Did their God desert them?
  • Don’t weep for the dead, says God—weep for the people being sent into exile.

Jeremiah 22:10 [God] says to not weep for the dead but pray for those who will be taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. The “he” mentioned in this verse is King Jehoahaz who is soon to be taken captive to Egypt. Shallum, the second king of the four remaining kings of Judah, also called Jehoahaz, was the son of Josiah. He was carried captive into Egypt and died there without seeing his native land any more.

God says that King Shallum [Jehoahaz] will die in exile and never see Jerusalem again.

dielikedonkeyHow to Die like a Donkey

  • God says that rulers who exploit their workers to build fancy palaces for themselves will end up suffering.

o   Jer 22:17  But you have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.”

Might this be a close description of the world news today, here and around the world; N. Korea, Syria, Middle East, Iran, Turkey, Yemen, Ukraine, Politburo of Russia, the streets and courts of America?

  • A bigger palace doesn’t make someone a true king—ruling righteously does.
    • This is the center of issue with Israel since day one. They put so much emphasis on THINGS and little on worship. They even claim protection as they have the Temple of God, their religious ceremonies, Grand Pupa priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees; a class order similar today as is true in India.
  • Regarding King Jehoiakim and his arrogance, God says that people won’t lament his death and he’ll be buried like a donkey. He also burned the scrolls of Jeremiah.

o   Jer 22:19  With the burial of a donkey he [Jehoiakim] shall be buried, dragged and dumped beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”

Wish a better description of “buried like a donkey?”  Jehoiakim, the third king, built his palace with unpaid labor and would be dragged . . . out of . . . Jerusalem, to die unlamented. He would be buried with the burial of a donkey that is, tossed into a ditch so says Jeremiah. What a way to win friends and influence people. He must have missed that Dale Carnegie book or course.

  • The people should go cry in Lebanon and other places since their lovers (allies) have been crushed.
    • Too many ministers and bible students miss the meaning of verse 20; chapter 22. Judah is told to cry with others outside their own country as they too will suffer similar fates at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
  • The people of Israel seldom obeyed God for long. It’s been like this for generations.
    • During prosperous times God forewarned all of Israel and Judah that their prosperity may get in the way of their worship; i.e. pay a tithe and move on without much consideration of fellowship with God the rest of the week. What about us (you and me)? Does our prosperity or deprivation bring us closer to God?
  • So they’ll all get taken into captivity along with their allies.
    • The word “allies” may be a bit misunderstood. How were they allies? In part as neighbors who lived at this time without wars between them and Judah. But more so, allies in the cruelty about to be brought upon each of them by the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar.signetring
  • As for the next king after Jehoiakim, Coniah (aka: Jehoiachin), God says that even if Coniah wears the signet ring on his hand, he will tear him off. He and his mother will both be sent into exile in Babylon, where they will eventually die; never return to Judah.
    • Verses 25 – 27 offer a bit of insight as to why Zerubbabel in 538 B.C. returned to Jerusalem after 70-year Babylonian captivity with less than 1% of those taken into the Babylonian captivity. It isn’t that so many will die in Babylon before Cyrus the Mede releases the Jews from captivity. It is because so few will desire to go back to Jerusalem where the homes and city are in total ruins and be required to rebuild the Temple.
    • Zechariah had a vision about him (Zechariah 4).;
    • Haggai prophesied to him (Haggai 1 and 2).

miniJim

Dr. JStark

June, 2017

Jeremiah – Chapter 13

Book of JeremiahNo empire, kingdom or nation has survived since the beginning of history up to and including today. However, the only nation to resurrect from the lost and gone is Israel. Autonomy lost in 620 B.C. and resurrected in 1920 but officially in 1948. I am attaching a brief history of how Israel came back into existence along with this study of Jeremiah 13. Why? Jeremiah saw a new Israel although during his life he only witnessed the existence of Judah; i.e. the Southern Kingdom of the former Nation of Israel under the reign of three kings: Saul, David, and Solomon.

Those who do not study history are bound to delete it. Others are called history revisionists. This website is dedicated to simply providing the facts, then, let the reader or student of the Word decide. Many fail to understand that the current Arab nations and the State of Israel were carved out of the Ottoman Empire after WWI (please read the appendix document per history as it really is).

Jeremiah 13 begins with God telling him to dress in the priestly order. He is told to buy a linen loin cloth (something like a pair of undershorts), put it on, wear it for a while, do NOT wash it. Then Jeremiah is told something that to us sounds odd. God said to wear these shorts for a while, then take them off and hide them in between rocks in Parah (Parath), an area near his home town of Anathoth but along the Euphrates River.

JIV NOTE an aha-moment: In medicine we know of a disease called Parathyroid tumor. It is something that can easily be remedied by surgery but if not done, it will lead to death. There may be a parallel between the name of the place Jeremiah is told to hide his loin cloth, its relative ease in correction, and its fatality if not removed. http://www.parathyroid.com/

The stubbornness of the people of Judah was an abomination to God. Earlier we studied that the people were convinced that nothing could happen to them as did their northern cousins (Kingdom of Israel).Temple.jpg After all, they had the Temple, right [Jeremiah 7:1-7]? They wanted to believe that God would protect them because it is His Temple. Jeremiah knew better. He knew that the Temple structure was not the dwelling place of God but a place of sacrifices and worship of God. Their worship of other gods made God look upon Judah as useless loin cloth. Once very close to Him but now trashed.

Verse 4-6 of chapter 13 states (CEV): “Take off the shorts. Go to Para[t]h and hide the shorts in a crack between some large rocks.” And that’s what I did. Jer 13:6  Some time later [after many days] the LORD said, “Go back and get the shorts [loin cloth].
Jeremiah observes in verse 7 that the shorts (loin cloth) “…were spoiled and it [now] good for nothing” [ESV]. As God so often does in scripture, he uses object lessons. In the New Testament they are called parables. Jeremiah 13:9-11 is summarized in v9 regarding the spoiled linen loin cloth: “Thus says the LORD: Even so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem…

We must note in v11 that once again God includes both Judah and Israel in his proclamation. A JIV thought… even today the Jews are looked upon in disdain as a people. Much of this self-serving attitude has been the plague they have lived with since originally entering Palestine, the Promised Land. In a very real sense, the loin cloth also depicts the sensitivity and personal closeness of his relationship with God’s Chosen People.

In 13:12, Jeremiah shifts gears. Now the comparison of [Israel and] Judah is to a jar of wine. Jeremiah tells them that “every jar will be filled with wine,” something symbolic of a good life. The people of Judah and their leadership laugh at him saying in their conceit and contempt that they are God’s Chosen.  Of course they will live the good life, they say to Jeremiah. This is not just jars of wine God is comparing to their successes and good life, but that consumption of too much strong drink makes them symbolically drunk; a people possessing no reasonable sense due to too much wine often think they are invincible and infallible. Just like the drunk in a bar or at a party, s/he can whip anyone. Neither do they care what the neighbors think. Judah has no respect for Jeremiah and no concerns about their security. They also have to fear of their neighbors. It isn’t that God will make them drunk. He will allow them to have the same confidence of a drunk; father, sons, priests, rulers, (false) prophets, daughters and mothers. (Also see Isaiah 51:17 & 63:6)

God will NOT RESCUE them this time until the 70 dispersion to Babylon is compete. As we learned in our Daniel studies, when this 70 years is past the large majority will continue in their pious ways and NOT return to their homeland. PS: Hundreds of thousands of them still live in this area: Babylon, Mesopotamia, Iran, and Iraq. What is the difference today? Many former Judeans who still live there do not even realize they are of Israeli DNA.

Verse 16 is similar to a common phrase today… “it is the eleventh hour.” God is giving his 11th hour warning for Jeremiah to carry to the people of the Kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah states “If you are too proud to listen, I will weep alone. Tears will stream from my eyes when the LORD’s people are taken away as prisoners” [CEV]. Jeremiah truly loved his country and countrymen. It was a one-sided love, but love them he did.

Let no stone be left unturned. In verse 18, God says to Jeremiah, inform the king AND the queen-mother. It sounds like King Jehoiakim may listen to the queen-mother, but history tells us neither of them followed Jeremiah’s pleas. Neither did King Zedekiah. Recall that later Nebuchadnezzar removed Jehoiakim from the throne in Jerusalem replacing him with Zedekiah. Once again to solidify the pious attitude all Judah, even after the overthrow of Jehoiakim by Nebuchadnezzar, Judeans still believed they were safe. Sin can blind a person to actualities as they continue to live in the false environment of their personal realities. It can happen to them but not to me, right?

NOTE: To those who want to keep it somewhat straight per bible names of kings and others. Jehoiakim had a son named Jeconiah. He is also known as King Jehoiachin.

Jeremiah 13:20 puts it straight and on the line yet the king and queen-mother still fail to understand. “Where is your (lovely) flock [citizens of Judah] gone” is the question posed to them? Nebuchadnezzar has emptied the cities of Judah either by captivity or scattering them by fleeing his occupation of Judah. The king is told that those he has thought to be friends of his and the Kingdom will soon be in charge over him and the kingdom.

Verse 23 is a common phrase today but few realize it comes from Jeremiah 13:23. It is by comparison the odds that Judah will listen and avoid calamity.Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you [who] can do good who are accustomed to do evil”. God gets very blunt at this point. He says that he will “show your shame by personally lifting up the skirt of Israel and its people. In other words, they no longer have a chance at being pious, stiff necked, ceremoniously religious; have the Temple to protect them, nose in the air attitudes. All things personal will now be exposed.

“I have seen your abominations, your adulteries and neighing; your lewd whoring on the hills [and] in the field. Woe to you, O Jerusalem!”

In this sense, even though I do not recommend the CEV (Contemporary English Version) for doctrine or deep bible study, they make it clear as to what the other translations seem to avoid saying flat out.

[CEV] v26, 27: You were married to me, but you were unfaithful. You even became a prostitute by worshiping disgusting gods on hilltops and in fields.

v27:  So I’ll rip off your clothes and leave you naked and ashamed for everyone to see. You are doomed! Will you ever be worthy to worship me again?  

This is far from the end of our Jeremiah study, but it is the end of both the Kingdom of Israel and Judah as recognized and independent territories. It is the reason the New Testament and Jesus the Messiah of Israel and the world is born into this world some 600 years later. Chapter 13 has three arguments against Judah. 

  1. Spiritual adultery;
  2. An inordinate or excessive eagerness to worship idols;
  3. Shameless participation in pagan god-worship and orgies. 

Chapter 14 discusses great and natural environmental issues design to drive Judah to the bended knee. In the meantime, read the attached that follows. It helps us to understand the issues of this world today and almost universally bad attitudes toward Israel/Judah. All is part of the End Time scenario. 

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark

January 2017 

LEAGUE OF NATIONS

PERMANENT MANDATES COMMISSION?

MINUTES OF THE  FIFTEENTH SESSION

Held at Geneva from October 24th to November 11th, 1927.

Does Israel occupy Palestinian’s land on the West Bank? This is what those who did not take the time to study history want us to believe and precisely what Arabs want us to understand. Israel knows better.

He who does not know history is destined to DELETE IT. The desire of so many Middle Eastern (and other) States to “wipe Israel off the map” has little to nothing to do with borders. Prior to the end of WWI most of the Arab nations we know today did not exist. Arabs were wandering bands of Bedouins and city-states under the thumb of the Ottoman Turks prior to and up to the end of WWI. (Turks are not Arabs).

What about the assignment or appointment of Middle Eastern governments, kings, and rulers? This was not by popular vote by the League of Nations after WWI, but totally influenced by geo-political faithfulness to the victors of WWI. These areas were a mix of people, tribes, religions, and ethnicities. However, only one group was appointed ruler of each British and French mandated “new” countries at the expense of the other peoples’ living within these mandated country or national lines in the sand.. Israel was defined at the same time but it took time to develop as a country.

Let’s not leave out French-Indonesia/China? In the 16th Century through 1954 when it comes to occupation of other lands the French are a modern day example of this charge against Israel.

What about the Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, and German occupations and dividing of the Americas amongst themselves?

After WWI and the defeat of the Turks who aligned themselves with the Germans, the British- French mandates “CREATED” the States of Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Iraq/Iran (Mesopotamia) and seven other nations in Africa. This was done under what was called the League of Nations Mandate. USA was NOT a member. The French and British literally drew lines in the sand, mostly to their benefit, identifying the territory within these lines “as countries.” All of the territories subject to League of Nations mandates were previously controlled by states defeated in World War I, principally Imperial Germany and the Ottoman Empire

History word. Magnifier and puzzles.

Historical knowledge deleted: One of these post-WWI lines in the sand ran north and south along the Jordan River on the east and the Mediterranean Sea on the west. This land since bible times is called Palestine and designated by the same mandate as “Palestine,” the National Jewish homeland. This Jewish homeland is 1/630th the size of Arab territories established under these very same mandates defined as legal by the League of Nations and the Belfour Agreement. Just like each territorial mandate, people of mixed races, tribes, and religions lived within them. In each case and at the expense of the mix of people, ONE was selected the governing body. All but one, that being Palestine, were Arab-Muslims.

USA is a territory; Americans are a mix of people. Palestine is a territory. Palestinians are ANYONE living within Palestine todays Israel, just as anyone living in the USA is considered to be American. Jews of Israel are original Palestinians. See The Covenant of the League of Nations; Article 22. This has been true since 1456 B.C.; 3456 years ago.