Zechariah 7-10

Signs Part 1

In Matthew 16 we read that the religious rulers came to “test” Jesus by asking Him to show them a sign from heaven. The Greek word translated “test” means to prove good or evil, weakness or strength. That is why this word is also translated “tempt” when the goal is to entangle one in sin. What is sad about what the religious rulers did in “testing” Jesus is that they fell into temptation because they were trying to prove Jesus was not the Messiah rather than find out the truth. 

What brought this all on was that Jesus had just finished feeding four thousand men plus the women and children with seven loaves of bread and a few fish. I would think this might qualify as a sign but even the disciples struggled with understanding the sign in verses 5-12.

Jesus noted the religious rulers were able to predict the weather by observing the sky. A red sky in the morning meant a storm was coming or a red sky at night meant fair weather. They couldn’t control the signs but they could benefit from observing them.

The Book of Zechariah has a number of signs regarding the first and second coming of Christ. Our goal is to observe the signs, rather than attempt to control them or God. If we do that the signs will clearly prove Jesus is the Messiah and that is extremely important to us today.

There is a question about four fasts in our reading today. These were man ordained fasts meant to move God and get Him to respond to their denial of self. When the siege of Jerusalem began in the tenth month the first fast was proclaimed. The second fast was proclaimed in the fourth month of the following year when the city wall was broken through. The third fast followed a month later when the Temple was destroyed, and the fourth fast in the seventh month was proclaimed when Gedaliah was assassinated. There was to be a fast on Day of Atonement on the tenth day the seventh month. Sadly, the people could have remained in the land and avoided all this had they practiced true fasting as described here and in Isaiah 58. (See Jeremiah 7:3)

So now, years later after the Temple had been destroyed and the people held in exile for seventy years, the Temple is being rebuilt and it appears these fasts have become a religious tradition. A tradition that misses the point as God makes clear in the balance of Chapter 7. Chapter 8 speaks of God’s plan and the second coming of Jesus as King. When Jesus sets up His millennial reign it will be a time of rejoicing like the earth has never known and at that time these fasts will be turned into festivals that people from all nations will come and celebrate.

The judgement that came upon Judah will also be a judgement that comes on the enemies of Israel we are told in Chapter 9.  Verses 1-8 describe the conquest of Alexander the Great which is yet to come. Following the Greek conquest in verse 9 we are given a sign of the first coming of Jesus which was fulfilled that final week when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.  He came to save but very quickly in this sign we see that He is the coming King who will one day set the entire world in order and peace.

At the beginning of this study, when the religious rulers asked for a sign from heaven, Jesus pointed out that they were used to looking at the clouds in the heavens to determine what the weather was going to be. They did not know they were talking to the one who created and controlled the weather. Weather is the topic of Chapter 10. Just as we are dependent on the rain storms for survival, it appears we need spiritual storms to remind us of who God is. That was the case with Job. Job suffered two attacks from Satan which took everything he had and left him barely alive. His friends came to comfort him but ended up accusing him of unconfessed sin. As Job defended himself a storm was brewing. Since Job found no comfort from his friends he wanted to plead his case directly with God. In Chapter 38 of the book of Job God speaks to Job out of the storm. Job could hold his own with his friends but he was no match for God and was pretty much silent for the remainder of the book. As Job defended himself he was drifting away from his dependence on God, relying more on his righteousness and works. God did not want to destroy Job. He wanted to be the foundation of Job’s life. The same is true for Judah as we read in verse 4 of Chapter 10 of Zechariah. When the cornerstone is set in its proper place the entire house can be built and established. This is what we are reading about in Chapter 10.

 Jesus, our Savior and King is our cornerstone. It is a wise person who understands the signs and makes Jesus the chief cornerstone in their life. Proverbs 24:3&4 declares, “By wisdom a house is built and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” NIV

God loves us and wants to bless us. In the Book of Zechariah there are signs that have been fulfilled and signs that are yet to be fulfilled. As we look to the fulfilment of the signs let us make sure we are building our house on the rock and not on the shifting sands of this world’s thinking and ways. It is only in Christ Jesus that we truly have hope.

May God grant us eyes to see and understand the signs. Proverbs 20:12

Pastor Dave