World Condition When God's People Deliver.
World Condition When God's People Deliver.
You remember through our study of the eleventh chapter of Daniel and Isaiah chapters seven and eight and onward, they bring to view a war and the deliverance of God's people in a time of great distress. That is a point that I am to emphasize this afternoon. We will read first
Zech. 1:18, 19 -- "Then lifted I up mine eyes and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem."
The prophet saw four horns, and the angel that talked with him made him to understand that these horns were symbolical of the Gentile nations which had scattered Judah (the two-tribe kingdom), and Israel (the ten-tribe kingdom), and also Jerusalem (the capital city of the two-tribe kingdom -- Judah). In other words, in the symbol of the four horns, Zechariah saw those Gentile nations which scattered God's people and destroyed their kingdom.
Zech. 1:20, 21 -- "And the Lord shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it."
The prophet first saw four horns which perfectly symbolize those Gentile nations which scattered God's people, for horns are used to push and scatter. Afterwards though, he saw four carpenters, thus lending the impression that they have come to build; for that is the business of carpenters. When the prophet saw the carpenters he wanted to know the purpose of their presence. In his answer, the angel first told him that these carpenters are none other than the four horns (Gentile nations) which had scattered Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem. And these same horns that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem have now returned as carpenters to cast out the Gentiles and thus free God's people. It therefore becomes obvious that the four horns which Zechariah first saw point back to the time when Israel and Judah were scattered, and the symbolism of the four carpenters must point forward, to a time years later when God is to restore and rebuild the kingdom. Briefly, then the symbolism of the horns looks back to the destruction of the kingdom, whereas the other, the carpenters, looks forward to the repairing of it.
The question we ought next to consider is whether the fulfillment of the work of the carpenters took place in the time when the Jews returned from Babylon after their 70 years captivity, or whether it refers to some other time; for you remember that the Jews were scattered, and their land was taken, and they went into captivity under Babylon for the 70 years of Jeremiah's prophecy, after which they returned and the city was rebuilt.
Zechariah says there were four horns which would include all the nations that had a part in scattering God's people. And, moreover, if this prediction met its fulfillment in Nehemiah and Haggai's time, all the Gentiles should have been driven out forever. But they were not. Besides, the horns were those nations that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem, and now they have returned to free them and repair the kingdom, and in chapter two of Zechariah's prophecy, God declared that not only would His people's kingdom be restored, but many nations would join themselves to the Lord. Since both Israel and Judah did not return, and since other nations did not join themselves to the Lord and His people when the Jews returned from Babylon, we cannot say that this prophecy met its fulfillment in the return of the Jews from Babylon. And since this prophecy has never been fulfilled, it must take place at some future time.
Through it all we see in Zechariah's prophecy a prediction that one day Gentile nations would be engaged in rebuilding the Israelitish kingdom in Palestine that was once destroyed. We see also that there is to be a world war in which Gentiles outside of Palestine and the Gentiles within will be involved. In that war God's people, Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem, are to be delivered and made free and the kingdom will be rebuilt. That is as plain as anything I have ever seen.
In Luke 21:24 we find these words: "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." It is at the time Zechariah's prophecy is fulfilled -- when the four carpenters drive out the Gentiles -- that Jerusalem shall no more be trodden by the Gentiles, for their time to occupy the Holy Land shall be brought to its end.
Jeremiah, chapters twenty through thirty is one long account, or book, if you please, containing both history and prophecy. It deals with the wickedness of the Jews, and how God would deal with them if they did not repent. And the Lord tried every possible way to lead them to repentance, but they would not respond. In the twenty-sixth chapter is an account of a conference they held to determine what to do with Jeremiah, the Lord's prophet. Some wanted him killed, but others objected to it and his life was preserved. One of the most important facts to be observed in these chapters, however, is that the Lord declared that the punishment He was to mete out to His people, the Jews, would sometime be given to the kingdoms of the Gentiles also. We shall now read
Jer. 30:1, 2 -- "The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book."
Jer. 30:3 -- "For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it."
All that God had said about the destruction of Israel and Judah was to be carefully written in a book, because sometime He is to deliver them both, and He did not want that fact to be forgotten.
I am positive upon Bible authority that the kingdom restored is not to be made up in heaven above. It is to be made up in the very land where God's people lived until they were driven out because of their sins. Yes, the Bible teaches that all the twelve tribes some day will return and possess that land -- the land that He gave to their fathers. After the millennium God's people will possess not only Palestine, but they will possess the whole earth. They must first, however, return from among the Gentiles and possess the land of their fathers in fulfillment of the prophecy we are now studying. Necessarily, then, it must take place before the millennium, before God's people go to heaven.