Morning Bible Study
Operation Christmas Child – video, explaining, Have Ben
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.
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 in section in Zechariah, when he gives a series of prophecies that
look far into his future.
We are setting our DeLorean time machine for the
time of Jesus. We are going to be
looking at events that would take place roughly between the years AD 30-70.
:1 Open your doors, O Lebanon, That fire may
devour your cedars.
and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God:And
:2 Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen,
Because the mighty trees are ruined. Wail, O oaks of Bashan, For the thick forest has come down.
:3 There is the sound of wailing shepherds!
For their glory is in ruins. There is the sound of roaring lions! For
the pride of the Jordan is in ruins.
:3 their glory is in ruins
Lebanon and Bashan were in the north.
The overall picture that Zechariah is painting is that of the Romans
sending in their armies from the north and wiping out the nation of Judah,
culminating in its destruction in AD 70.
The big question is, Why? What would lead to this
destruction? Stay tuned…
11:4-14 Flocks and Shepherds
:4 Thus says the Lord
my God, “Feed the flock for slaughter,
:5 whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt;
those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord,
for I am rich’; and their shepherds do not pity them.
:4 Feed the flock for slaughter
It appears that Zechariah is going to take a couple of side jobs, as
With these shepherding jobs, Zechariah will be painting a picture of two
different coming shepherds.
The portrait that Zechariah paints first is that of Jesus.
Jesus called himself the “Good Shepherd”.
He came to minister predominantly to the Jews.
He taught them about God, “feeding” the flock.
Yet they were a flock that was headed for
slaughter because of their eventual rejection of the Messiah.
(John 1:11 NKJV) He came to His own, and His own did not
:5 whose owners slaughter them and feel
The people of Israel were going to be led by people who didn’t
care about them.
:6 For I will no longer pity the inhabitants of
the land,” says the Lord. “But
indeed I will give everyone into his neighbor’s hand and into the hand of his
king. They shall attack the land, and I will not deliver them from their
:6 I will no longer pity the inhabitants
It’s bad enough when the leaders don’t care about
the people, but the nation will get to the point where in a sense even God will
no longer “pity” them.
This would be because of their own rebellion.
Jesus told a story that illustrated this:
NKJV) —33 “Hear another parable: There was a
certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a
winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to
vinedressers and went into a far country. 34 Now when
vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they
might receive its fruit. 35 And the
vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. 36 Again he
sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. 37 Then last
of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will
respect my son.’ 38 But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and
seize his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40
“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do
to those vinedressers?” 41 They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and
lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the
fruits in their seasons.”
The nation of Israel kept rejecting each of the servants that God sent to
them. They would eventually kill God’s
That is why God would no longer pity them.
What a tragedy to find yourself in a position of fighting against God.
You will never win if you try and fight against
:7 So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular
the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty,
and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock.
:7 I fed the flock for slaughter
Even though this flock was scheduled to be butchered,
Zechariah still took care of them.
Even though Jesus knew the Jews would reject Him
and hence be scattered as a nation, He still “fed” them.
:7 in particular the poor of the flock
When John the Baptist sent messengers to ask Jesus if He was indeed the
Messiah, Jesus responded,
(Matthew 11:5 NKJV) The blind see and the lame
walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead
are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Jesus didn’t preach to kings, but to fishermen and
Even though Jesus also fed people with “loaves and fishes”, He mainly fed
people with God’s Word.
:7 I took for myself two staffs
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
The staff was part of a shepherd’s tools.
It was what he used to shepherd his flock.
A staff might be used to beat off predators of the
A staff might be used to guide sheep or keep them from
hurting each other.
:7 Beauty … Bonds
beauty – no’am – kindness, pleasantness, delightfulness, favor
This word carries the idea of “comfort” or even “grace”.
bonds – chabal – to bind
The picture is of uniting people.
It seems that the idea is that Zechariah will guide this flock by bringing
them grace and binding them together.
The Shepherd’s Tools
The tools of a good shepherd (or, “leader”) are “grace” and “unity”.
Grace is all about giving, and Jesus said,
(John 10:11 NKJV) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives
His life for the sheep.
A good shepherd is willing to sacrifice himself for the
sake of his flock. Jesus did that for us, we ought to do that for others.
We are to show “grace” to one another.
4:32 NKJV) And be kind
to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave
The Greek word translated “forgiving” is literally
“gracing”. We need to be gracious to
each other in the same way that Jesus is gracious to us.
We can see a touch of the unity when Jesus prayed,
(John 17:21 NKJV) that they all may be one, as You, Father, are
in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may
believe that You sent Me.
Somehow our “unity” sends a clear
message to the world that Jesus is God’s Son.
When we learn to get along and maintain “unity” or a “bond” with others in
a healthy way, it’s something that God delights in.
133:1–3 NKJV) —1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it
is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the
precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard
of Aaron, Running
down on the edge of his garments. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the
Lord commanded the blessing— Life
Oil and dew are pictures of God’s Spirit and refreshment.
Unity is a difficult thing to maintain. Sometimes sheep can bite each other. A leader needs tools to separate some of the
sheep for the sake of unity.
:8 I dismissed the three shepherds in one month.
My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.
:8 I dismissed the three shepherds
As Zechariah is shepherding the flock, there are three other individuals
doing the same.
But they are not caring for the flock, and so Zechariah
There is a lot of disagreement as to what this prophecy means.
Some see it as three classes of leaders in Jesus’ day – kings, priests, and
Others suggest it might mean individuals – such as Pilate, Herod, and
The point is that God would dismiss these bad leaders.
:9 Then I said, “I will not feed you. Let what is
dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other’s
:9 eat each other’s flesh
Forty years after Jesus’ rejection, the nation was
conquered by the Romans and scattered to the wind. There was cannibalism
involved in the siege of Jerusalem
in AD 70.
:10 And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the
covenant which I had made with all the peoples.
:10 Beauty, and cut it in two
The breaking of Zechariah’s staff named “beauty” or “grace” was fulfilled
when the Jews rejected the Messiah and His grace.
:10 the covenant … with all the peoples
With the rejection of the Messiah, God’s covenant to protect Israel from the
rest of the nations of the world was removed, and they would be scattered.
Jesus knew this was coming. At the
end of His ministry …
(Luke 19:41–44 NKJV) —41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept
over it, 42 saying,
“If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that
make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days
will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you,
surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children
within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon
another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
As we’ve seen many times, God’s rejection of the Jews would not be a
God still has things for Israel to do.
God is not finished with Israel. (Hos. 2:23)
Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth,And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained
:11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were
watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord.
:11 the poor of the flock … knew
The “poor of the flock” were Jesus’ disciples.
When the disciples saw these things happening, they realized the Scriptures
were being fulfilled.
:12 Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my
wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces
:12 give me my wages
The Shepherd has had it and asks the “sheep” for his last paycheck.
:12 thirty pieces of silver
The shepherd says that they don’t have to pay him, but they choose to pay
What they pay him is actually worse than if they didn’t pay him.
They pay him 30 pieces of silver.
This was the price of a slave’s life (Ex. 21:32)
If the ox gores a male or female servant, he shall give to
their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.
The sheep didn’t see this shepherd as their leader, but as their slave.
Does this price sound familiar?
and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him
to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.
How much is He worth?
What is Jesus worth to you?
Video: Gospel of John: John 12:1-8 (starts at 1:49:40)
Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred
denarii and given to the poor?”
The perfume that Mary poured out on Jesus was worth 300
denarii, almost a year’s wages.
Matthew records that right after Mary anointed Jesus with oil …
26:14–15 NKJV) —14 Then one of the twelve,
called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to
give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of
Mary was willing to give 300 denarii to pour oil on Jesus.
Judas was willing to sell Jesus out in order to get 30
pieces of silver.
Giving or getting? Mary wanted to give. Judas was out to “get”. The heart
of Jesus is to give, not get.
Do you see Jesus as someone who “owes you”?
Or do you see yourself as being eternally grateful to Him
and willing to do anything for Him?
:13 And the Lord said to me,
“Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the
thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.
:13 princely price
There is a bit of sarcasm in this. (this was a slave’s price)
:13 Throw it to the potter
What an odd statement to make. I
wonder how many times money was thrown “to the potter”. None that I know of.
Yet that’s exactly how the prophecy was fulfilled. When Judas realized what he had done in
betraying Jesus, he took the money back to the chief priests.
(Matthew 27:5–7 NKJV) —5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the
temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests took the
silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury,
because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s
field, to bury strangers in.
If you are wondering why we spend so much time studying the Bible, it’s
because the Bible is a unique book.
This book is divine, having come from God Himself.
There is no other book that speaks of the future with such accuracy over
and over again.
3:16–17 NKJV) —16 All Scripture is given by
inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be
complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Pay attention to this book.
:14 Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the
brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
:14 break the brotherhood
Zechariah is now instructed to break into pieces his second staff named
This is to demonstrate that there will be great internal strife in the
This is exactly what happened in the days leading up to the Romans wiping
out the Jewish nation. The nation broke
up into bitter feuding.
11:15-17 The Bad Shepherd
:15 And the Lord said to me,
“Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd.
:15 take for yourself the implements
First Zechariah was to be a picture of a coming “Good” Shepherd.
Now he’s going to switch roles and play the part of a “foolish” shepherd.
:15 a foolish shepherd
Don’t think “foolish” means “stupid”
foolish – ‘eviliy – foolish, one who despises wisdom; of one who
mocks when guilty
Foolish doesn’t mean “dumb”, it means bad.
This is the antichrist.
(John 5:43 NKJV) I have come in My Father’s name, and you do
not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
The Jews rejected Jesus at His first coming, but they won’t initially
reject the antichrist.
:16 For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not
care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are
broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat
and tear their hooves in pieces.
:17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd, Who leaves the flock! A sword shall
be against his arm And against his right eye; His arm shall completely
wither, And his right eye shall be totally blinded.”
:17 the worthless shepherd
This is a prophecy giving us a glimpse of the antichrist.
Some have suggested that the “arm” withering and the “eye” blinded might be
the result of some sort of assassination attempt, which he survives.
Others suggest that these are symbolic of his “strength” (arm) and “intelligence”
(eye) having trouble, but ultimately surviving.
(Revelation 13:3 NKJV) And I saw one of his heads as if it had
been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world
marveled and followed the beast.
And he deceives those who dwell on the earth—by those signs
which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell
on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and
:16 raise up a shepherd in the land
Feed or Eat
This chapter contrasts two kinds of shepherds.
One gave His life for the flock.
The other devours the flock.
There are two ways of leading people.
It’s all about how you view your “flock”.
Does your flock exist for your benefit, or do you exist
Are you concerned that your flock is healthy and cared
Are you concerned that the flock “produces” for you?
I see this contrast in pastors
There are some pastors who are there to serve and feed the
There are other pastors who are only focused on more
numbers, more people, more money.
I see this contrast in business
Are you out to wring every last cent out of what your employees
can produce to put you over the top?
Are you concerned about the welfare of your employees?
I see this contrast in families
Do you look at your kids as a way of making you look good
– their good grades, sports accomplishments, and popularity?
Or are you concerned on how to help your kids thrive?
What kind of “shepherd” are you?