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Lowell Brueckner

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Sorrow Turns to Joy


Prophecies of the Millennium should fill our lives with anticipation and longing. They are marvelous promises! The Lord will use His hosts to attract the world’s inhabitants to Jerusalem (v.20). Everyone will have a desire to please Him and that will be a pleasure for them. Among the cities they will call to one another to go to seek God. Can you hear the emotion in their voices when they cry, as children shouting to the neighboring friends to go to some spectacular exhibition?

“The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to entreat the favor of Jehovah, and to seek Jehovah of hosts: I will go also.”.           Zacarías 8:21

An expository study of Zechariah 8:10-23

Preparing to receive blessing

Verse 10 describes the time of which Haggai wrote: “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes”(1:6). Haggai assured them that it was because they had given priority to their own affairs, instead of the things of God. For that reason, He permitted rivalries and factions. The people are now ready to walk with God and this day cannot be compared to those former days (v.11). Sometimes the experiences of the past can leave us with a negative attitude concerning God’s intentions for our lives. Jacob had that problem (Gen.42:36), thinking that all the circumstances were against him.

We have to adjust our thoughts and prepare our hearts for what lies ahead. It’s not going to be as it was. God promised blessing to accompany all the labors of the Jews (v.12) and therefore, by hope and faith they could work heartily with strength. The harvests will produce abundantly; heaven and earth will cooperate. The attitude of the neighboring nations will change on their behalf and there will be peace. God will give salvation and remove all reason for fear (v.13). Verses 14 and 15 serve as confirmation on the part of the Lord of Hosts and, in this way, the Almighty, to whom nothing can be added, guarantees a perfect work. He cannot lie and He is totally faithful, He never has to give a confirmation to back up His word, but He does so many times, taking into account our weak faith (see, for example, Hebrews 6:11-20).

If we are going to see a people, acting in the will of God, it will be because they speak truth (v.16). Paul encouraged the church in Ephesus to do the same and he probably was quoting the prophet: “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor…” (Eph.4:25). A careful study of Scripture, Old and New Testament, will convince you of the supreme importance of truth. Truth must be raised above unity and peace. This is something that must be emphasized in these days, when the truth is sold very cheaply. Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.”

The enemy is subtle in  his manner of deceit, because many times, he does not speak simple lies, but confuses and twists the order of priorities of good things. It is very difficult to combat such methods, because in doing so, many people think that you are slighting good things. They are offended, but they must come to understand that you are not against these things, but you are putting them in the proper place. The truth must be raised like a banner; without truth, even love is false.

We find a good example in this same 16th verse to illustrate a doctrine, which has been twisted in our day, distorting and teaching out of the place that corresponds to the Bible. I am thinking about the subject of judging. The prophet combines judgment with truth, and note that he does NOT say, “don’t judge”, but “speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace”. Jesus did not eliminate judging, but said “judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24), and Paul spoke to the churches about the necessity of having someone to judge among people (1 Co.6:1-5). Judging according to truth triumphs over confusion and deception, and leads to peace.

The Lord is very capable of hating and when we enter into things that He hates, we come into danger of falling under His curse (v.17) In chapter 5, studying the ephah, we saw that the ephah represented a curse upon those who steal and swear falsely. We learned that swearing falsely means to use the name of God to confirm a lie, and it also leads to at least two other sins: In the first place, it is taking the name of the Lord God in vain and, in second place, it associates the name of God with a lie. That is a tremendous blasphemy! Possibly this sin is a result of thinking evil against our neighbor and then, with a desire to do him harm, we follow by swearing falsely. The farce of the judgment of the Sadducees and Pharisees against Jesus is an example of using God’s name to accuse falsely; it is the most horrible example that we can give.

Blessing arrives with His coming
The Lord of Hosts again speaks with Zechariah of fasting (v.18-19). In chapter 7, the representatives of Bethel asked about one of the fasts, and answering, God mentioned another. Now that we have the four together, we will look at the background to each one: 1) The first was in the fourth month and commemorated the time when Jerusalem was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer.52:6). 2) The fast of the fifth month was instituted because of the ruin of the temple (Jer.52:12-13). 3) That of the seventh month was done because of the assassination of Gedaliah (Jer.41:1-2). 4) The fast of the tenth month had to do with the attack against Jerusalem the took place on the tenth day of the tenth month (2 Kings 25:1).

In Luke, Mark and Matthew 9:14-15, the disciples of John Baptist asked Jesus about fasting: “‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.’” We see that in the four preceding cases, fasting had to do with mourning, strictly commemorating sad times, and as we have seen in 7:5-6, they did it for themselves.

Jesus directed fasting into the area of relationship with Him. In fasting we see again a sensitivity towards God and of intimacy with Him. To have God made flesh co-habiting with His disciples was not a motive for mourning. They had to take advantage of those days to the highest degree to observe, learn and rejoice with Him. When he was taken away from them, then they had reason for mourning.

The Bridegroom prayed: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me…” and the bride should be sensitive to that desire. She walks in the world, not at all at home, as a stranger on a pilgrimage towards the place that the Bridegroom has prepared. She lives for the day when He will come for her and then, she can be with Him forever. In the meantime, while He is with the Father and she is here in this sad world, bodily separated from His presence, we have many motives for fasting.

However, the days of mourning “shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts.” Once again the prophecy takes us to a better day, when in His presence there will be fullness of joy. Joy is the natural and eternal state for all that has to do with God. Sadness might endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning! Even in these times, how many times have we seen God throw the clouds aside, so that His sun might shine upon His children? His reign is joy in the Holy Spirit that this world and its tragedies cannot take away. Here we see the solemn feasts are cheerful; joy accompanies the solemnity and takes nothing away from the reverence and the seriousness of the occasion. He adds that they are for those that love truth and peace.

Prophecies of the Millennium should fill our lives with anticipation and longing. They are marvelous promises! The Lord will use His hosts to attract the world’s inhabitants to Jerusalem (v.20). Everyone will have a desire to please Him and that will be a pleasure for them. Among the cities they will call to one another to go to seek God. Can you hear the emotion in their voices when they cry, as children shouting to the neighboring friends to go to some spectacular exhibition? “Let’s go!... I’m going!” (v.21).

In these days, there exists a controversy among ‘the many’ and ‘the strong’, spiritually speaking. I mean to say that ‘the many’ are following cheap things that lead them to spiritual weakness, while ‘the strong’ are the few that desire the solid meat of God. In the Millennium, there will be many strong, and society, in general, will want that, which takes place among the population, to be that which is pleasing to God (v.22). It is difficult for us to imagine such times, see the filth that dominates society today.

Instead of straying from God, as is the case in our age, we will see a growing desire to be close to Him (v.23). The nation of Israel will be the envy of the Gentile nations, because of their closeness to the throne of the Messiah. “In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew.” Ten, symbolically, is a definite number to speak of an indefinite number of people, as take hold of the robe is a gesture asking favor of a superior to share his privileges. It is an expression to describe the strong desire from the ‘ten’ Gentiles, as they ask the Jew to lead them to their country and to the city of Jerusalem. In the force of that longing, they will not let him go. If the press exists in that day, you will see this headline of the front page of the newspaper: THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB HAS RETURNED TO HIS PEOPLE; THEIR MESSIAH REIGNS IN JERUSALEM. The news will spread across the earth, in every language. How long will it be until the Millennium becomes a reality? Will it be in this century? In twenty years? In ten? In seven? I don’t know, but we are coming close. Thy kingdom come!


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