Morning Bible Study
GRANT FUNDRAISER - Daniel & Laura Grant, our missionaries in South
Africa, are trying to raise money so they can come home for a visit next
summer. Laura made these wall hangings out of South African. Cost is $10 each.
The historical background to Zechariah, like that of Haggai, is found in the book of Ezra.
Zechariah lived during the time that the Jews had begun to return from
Babylon and rebuild their Temple.
Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in
Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over
The prophecies of Zechariah are given during the
years of 520-518 BC.
One of the key distinctions of the book of Zechariah is the amount of
prophecy about the coming Messiah.
We now begin a new section in Zechariah, when he gives a series of prophecies
that look far into the future.
9:1-8 Alexander the Great
This next section is kind of cool in light of the recent
archaeological discoveries in Greece where they’ve found a huge ancient
tomb that dates back to the time of Alexander the Great. I’m not sure they’ve
decided yet who was buried in the tomb.
The first part of this prophecy will be about the coming conquests of
Alexander the Great.
Video: Alexander’s Battles map video
In 336 BC after his father was assassinated,
Alexander is made king of Macedonia at Pella.
In 334 BC, he won his first battle against the Persians at Halicarnassus,
on the west coast of Turkey.
In 333 BC, he marched eastward to the northeast corner of the Mediterranean, and won a battle with Darius III at Issus.
In 332 BC, he marched south and conquered the Phoenician city of Tyre.
Over the next year he marched further south along the coast of Israel, into Egypt, where he
established the city of Alexandria.
By 331 BC he had marched north for his final victory over Darius III of Persia at Guagamela.
Over the next eight years, he marched his armies all the way to India and ended up back in Babylon, where he died in 323 BC of a
fever, just short of his 33rd birthday.
:1 The burden of the word of the Lord—
Against the land of Hadrach, And Damascus its resting
place (For the eyes of men And all the tribes of Israel Are on the Lord);
:2 Also against Hamath, which
borders on it, And against Tyre and Sidon,
though they are very wise.
:1-2 Hadrach… Tyre
What Zechariah is doing is actually tracing part of Alexander’s route from
Issus to Tyre.
:3 For Tyre built herself a tower, Heaped up
silver like the dust, And gold like the mire of the streets.
:4 Behold, the Lord will cast
her out; He will destroy her power in the sea, And she will be devoured by
:3 Tyre built herself a tower
Tyre had been considered an unconquerable city.
It was the capital of the Phoenicians, a people world famous for their ship
building, their international trade, and their great wealth.
The Assyrians had tried to lay siege to Tyre for
five years, but gave up.
Nebuchadnezzar tried to capture Tyre, but while he laid siege to
the city over 13 years, the people evacuated the city to an island off shore
about a ½ mile. Nebuchadnezzar wiped out the coastal city, but was unable to
conquer the island city.
Alexander came along and took the rubble of Nebuchadnezzar’s campaign,
pushed it all into the ocean, and built a land bridge out to the island where
he conquered the city. It took him seven months.
Trusting the wrong things
The city of Tyre had thought it was invincible.
It had wealth.
It thought it could buy itself out of every problem.
It had smarts.
It thought it was wiser and smarter than everyone else.
Seventy years before Zechariah, Ezekiel wrote about Tyre,
(Ezekiel 28:5–8 NKJV) —5 By your great wisdom in trade you have
increased your riches, And your heart is lifted up because of your riches),” 6 ‘Therefore
thus says the Lord God: “Because
you have set your heart as the heart of a god, 7 Behold, therefore, I will bring
strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords
against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor. 8 They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you
shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas.
The problem for Tyre was that it did not have
If you think that being smart enough and rich enough is going to solve all
your problems, there will be a day when you will find out just how wrong you
It may be in this lifetime.
It may be the moment after you die and stand before God.
Jesus told a story,
(Luke 12:16–21 NKJV) —16 …“The ground of a certain rich man yielded
And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I
have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build
greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will
say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your
ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This
night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which
you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich
It’s not wrong to have wealth. It’s
just wrong to trust your money or your brain instead of God.
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be
haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us
richly all things to enjoy.
:5 Ashkelon shall see it and fear; Gaza also shall be very
sorrowful; And Ekron, for He dried up her
expectation. The king shall perish from Gaza, And Ashkelon shall not be
:6 “A mixed race shall settle in Ashdod, And I will cut off the pride of the
:5 Ashkelon shall see it and
These are all cities of the Philistines.
These cities would be terrified to see Alexander’s army marching right at
:7 I will take away the blood from his mouth, And the abominations from
between his teeth. But he who remains, even he shall be for our God, And
shall be like a leader in Judah, And Ekron like a Jebusite.
:7 take away the blood from his mouth
Jewish dietary law prohibits eating meat that has not been properly drained
of blood. (Lev. 7:26-27)
Moreover you shall not eat any blood in any of your
dwellings, whether of bird or beast. Whoever eats any blood, that person shall be cut off from
his people.’ ”
The Philistines would adopt Jewish dietary customs.
:7 like a Jebusite
The Jebusites were the original Canaanite inhabitants
of the city of Jerusalem, but were eventually absorbed into the nation of
Israel (2Sam. 24:18)
And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up,
erect an altar to the Lord on the
threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”
God is saying that the remaining Philistines would become followers of
Yahweh and be absorbed into Israel.
:8 I will camp around My house Because of the army, Because of him who
passes by and him who returns. No more shall an oppressor pass through them, For
now I have seen with My eyes.
:8 I will camp around My house
You are His child. He knows how to protect you and provide for you.
The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus records that after Alexander had conquered
Tyre and the cities of Philistia, he headed to
Jerusalem. (Antiquities 11:325-339)
threatened the city but never carried out his threats. Before the general
arrived, the Jewish high priest had a dream which he felt was from God, and in
the dream he was told to dress in his robes and meet Alexander outside the
city. With him went the priests in their white robes. The scene dazzled
Alexander. In fact, he claimed that he too had dreamed of this very scene.
Alexander entered Jerusalem peacefully and never harmed the people or the city
in any way.
(Psalm 46:1–3 NKJV) —1 God is our refuge and strength, A very
present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be
carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the
mountains shake with its swelling.
You can trust God. He’s bigger than
9:9-10 The Coming King
Prophetic Telescoping – a prophecy may hop, skip, and jump through
time without stopping to catch its breath. If you are waiting for something to
tell you that there’s a shift in time, you won’t find it. This is part of the
nature of prophecy.
:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
:9 your King is coming to you
This is not talking about Alexander the Great. He would be known for the
animal he rode on, but it would be a huge stallion named Bucephalus,
not a donkey colt.
We’ve just skipped 350 years past Alexander.
:9 just and having salvation
This coming King is not going to be a crooked, wicked tyrant.
He is “just”.
He always does what is right and good.
Even when Jesus forgives our sins, He is “just”.
(1 John 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Let’s say that the Islamic fellow beheading Americans on
those ISIS videos were to become a Christian and ask Jesus to forgive him.
Would it be “just” for Jesus to forgive him? Shouldn’t he have to pay for all the bad
things he’s done?
Jesus is “just” because He Himself has taken the
punishment that this man deserves when He died on the cross.
Do you think it’s not possible for God to forgive you? Think again.
This king has “salvation”.
He will not just give the Jews salvation from their enemies, He will save the
world from the penalty of their sin.
(John 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have
:9 Lowly and riding on a donkey
We see this prophecy fulfilled in Jesus (John 12:12-15)
The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast,
when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’The King of Israel!”
There will be a day when He arrives on a white horse. But the first time He
came on a donkey colt.
One Bible scholar (Hengstenberg, Feinberg pg.165)
has noted that after the time of Solomon, there is not one record of a king or
any distinguished person riding on a donkey.
Jesus came to demonstrate humility and a servant’s heart.
(Mark 9:33–37 NKJV) —33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in
the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the
road?” 34 But they
kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be
the greatest. 35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone
desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then He
took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him
in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives
Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”
Jesus said that the greatest thing you can achieve is to be a “servant”.
One of the best ways to express true humility is in the way you treat children.
I was so blessed to see how so many people pitched in on Friday night to
pull off the Kids’ Harvest Party.
Some guys have this mistaken notion that it’s not “manly” to spend time
I think the most “manly” thing a guy can do is to learn “How
Video: How to Dad
:10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem;
The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His
dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of
:10 He shall speak peace
Zechariah now jumps far into the future to speak of the worldwide peace
that will come when the Messiah rules over the earth.
This doesn’t happen until Jesus comes the second time.
9:11-17 God will save
:11 “As for you also, Because of the blood of your covenant, I will set
your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
:12 Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That
I will restore double to you.
:12 Return to the stronghold
Perhaps this is a word to those still in Babylon to encourage them to return
home to Jerusalem.
God promises to restore the nation.
:13 For I have bent Judah, My bow, Fitted the bow with Ephraim, And
raised up your sons, O Zion, Against your sons, O Greece, And made you like the
sword of a mighty man.”
:13 Against your sons, O Greece
Long after Alexander the Great, but while the Greeks still ruled the world,
the Jews would rise up in rebellion against Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 BC).
This was the time of the Maccabean revolt (169-135 BC).
Keep in mind, Zechariah is writing this around 518 BC, about 350 years
before the Maccabees.
: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.
:15 The Lord of hosts will
defend them; They shall devour and subdue with slingstones.
They shall drink and roar as if with wine; They shall be filled with
blood like basins, Like the corners of the altar.
:16 The Lord their God will
save them in that day, As the flock of His people. For they shall be like
the jewels of a crown, Lifted like a banner over His land—
:17 For how great is its goodness And how great its beauty! Grain shall
make the young men thrive, And new wine the young women.
:16 The Lord their God
will save them
It’s possible that this might be talking about the Maccabean revolt.
It might also be a picture of when Jesus returns and rescues the Jews from
:11 “As for you also, Because of the blood of your covenant, I will set
your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
:11 the waterless pit
Cisterns were large underground reservoirs used to store up rain water.
When a cistern was emptied of water, it was sometimes used as a dungeon or
God promises to set prisoners free.
:11 Because of the blood of your covenant
A covenant was a legal agreement between two individuals.
Sometimes, when a covenant was made between two individuals, the shedding
of blood was involved.
On the same day the Lord
made a covenant with Abram, saying:
After God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, the “covenant” was ratified
between God and the people with blood.
(Exodus 24:8 NKJV) And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it
on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all
Saved by the blood
It may be that God is simply saying that He will honor His original
“covenant” with Israel, the blood that Moses sprinkled on them, and they can
count on God to rescue them from their “pit”, from their prison.
Yet Jeremiah prophesied that one day there would be a new covenant between
God and man (Jer. 31:31-34)
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—
Jesus came to establish that New Covenant between God and man.
It wasn’t an agreement that was based on man’s obedience to the Law, but it
was an agreement based on trusting the sacrifice, the blood of Jesus to pay for
Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own
blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal
Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated
It was at the Last Supper that Jesus took a cup of wine and said…
26:28 NKJV) For this is My blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The Bible says that the life of an individual is “in the blood” (Lev.
17:11). When Jesus shed His blood, He
was giving His life for us.
We have a vague picture of this in the current news.
Nina is actually home now, cured of Ebola because she was
“saved by the blood” of someone who had conquered the disease.
We are “saved by the blood” of Jesus. He conquered death.
Do you need saving today?