OPENING PRAYER THOUGHT
I shall read from The Mount of Blessing, the first two paragraphs on page 159.
M.B., pg. 159 – “God is our Father, who loves and cares for us as His children; He is also the great King of the universe. The interests of His kingdom are our interests, and we are to work for its upbuilding.
“The disciples of Christ were looking for the immediate coming of the kingdom of His glory; but in giving them this prayer Jesus taught that the kingdom was not then to be established. They were to pray for its coming as an event yet future. But this petition was also an assurance to them. While they were not to behold the coming of the kingdom in their day, the fact that Jesus bade them pray for it, is evidence that in God’s own time it will surely come.”
What is the seed thought contained in this reading? What should we pray about? – That we may understand that prayer alone will not take us into the Kingdom; that work is every bit as needful as is prayer. Yes, the interests of His Kingdom should be uppermost in our minds. We are to “work” for its upbuilding as well as praying for it.
We shall turn to Zechariah, the twelfth chapter. The text of our subject is found in the eighth verse, but in order to find the time and the people to which the verse directly speaks, we must begin our study with the first verse of the chapter.
Zech. 12:1 – “The burden of the Word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.”
There are two points in this verse which we must seriously consider: (1) that the burden is the Lord’s, and (2) that His burden is for Israel, the church, not for the world.
Verse 2 – “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.”
From this verse we learn that the Gentile nations are to make a siege not only against Jerusalem, but against Judah also – yes, against the entire Kingdom, church, or people. And at that time, at the time of the siege, Jerusalem will be made a cup of trembling to all people; that is, all the people shall fear Jerusalem and tremble before her.
Verse 3 – “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”
This siege will not be made only by the nations adjacent to Jerusalem, but by all the people of the earth, a thing that is made possible only by the communication lines in our day. Thus will Jerusalem be a burdensome stone to all the people round about. In an endeavor to combat their fear they burden themselves by besieging the city. For this evil work they shall be cut in pieces.
Verse 4 – “In that day, saith the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open Mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.”
Though the Lord shall smite with madness, with astonishment, and with blindness, those who besiege the city, yet He shall open His eyes upon the house of Judah.
Verse 5 – “And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God.”
After the sinners are taken out from her midst by the Judgment work for the living then will the governors of Judah realize that their strength depends upon the saintly inhabitants of Jerusalem and upon the Lord their God, then it is that they will indeed be strong.
Verse 6 – “In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood; and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.”
It matters not what we think, God is to have a strong, faithful people, the very kind here described; and Jerusalem is to be inhabited by holy people, not a sinner among them. Since the antitypical prophet Elijah, who appears just before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, just before the Judgment day for the living, finds the church overrun by the Devil as badly as was the Jewish church in Christ’s day, and as the saints, the first fruits, are to be rescued one by one, He at first sends fishers to fish them out and afterwards hunters to hunt them out (Jer. 16:16). Thus He gathers them one by one (Isa. 27:12, 13). And so it is today – they are fished by this free literature, and are now hunted by men right to their houses, be they in the city, village, or countryside.
Verse 7 – “The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.”
He shall save the tents (the humble dwellings rather than the houses or palaces) of Judah first, that is, the Lord is to save first the common people, the laity so that the ministry may not exalt themselves above the laity, that all may learn to give glory to God, not to any man.
Since nothing such as these verses of Scripture predict has ever taken place in Jerusalem or in any other part of the world, obviously these predictions are yet to meet their fulfillment. And now we are to find out if they are to be fulfilled in our time or later on.
Since the work we are now doing is not sponsored by any man, and since God has led us all the way as definitely as He led the Exodus movement, making our way inch by inch as Providence directs, and also since we are the only people who have the message of the re-establishment of the House of David, and of restoring “all things” (Mark 9:12) and are therefore named Davidians, there is no escaping the conclusion but that the time for the fulfillment of these prophecies is very close at hand even at the door, the reason for which the announcement of these events is now being trumpeted throughout the Adventist world.
Plainly, then, whatever the Lord has to say in this chapter is for our learning and for our own special and present needs. It is a communication especially addressed to us and unsealed at this particular time so that we may know what God would have us do and how to do it so that quickly all things be restored.
We are now to read the text of our study–
Verse 8 – “In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.”
Besides giving us the assurance that the Lord shall defend His people, Inspiration likens them unto David and unto God. Even the feeble ones “shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God,” “as the angel of the Lord before them.” What a great and wonderful statement! What a privilege to be likened unto God Himself!
Now, in order for one to know what it means to be “as David,” one must know what kind of person ancient David was.
To begin with, he was a first-rate shepherd, he risked his own life for the sheep. You remember that in order to save the lambs he courageously went after the lion and the bear, and killed them with his bare hands. And to save his nation’s independence and God’s great honor, on another occasion, he again risked his life by bravely facing the giant Goliath. Because of David’s faithfulness, God delivered him from the beasts and from the giant, and made him king over His people!
The faithfulness of a person in little things indicates his faithfulness in greater things also. Faithfulness always brings promotion. So, in order to be as David, one must be as faithful, as dependable, and as zealous for God’s Kingdom as was David of old.
Now, that we might know what it means to be “as God,” we must study what God is like. At the outset He did not only create and abundantly fill the earth with every good thing for His creatures, but He also planted a garden (home) for the man. Thus He made a model home for all human beings who were to live thereafter. He taught Adam how to keep the home and how to dress the garden. He taught him to speak and to discern the nature between one beast and another, to name them accordingly. God endowed man with knowledge and life in order to make him happy, and useful in making the world what it ought to be. Even after the holy pair fell in sin God was still interestedin them as He was before – so much so, in fact, that He immediately began to teach them how to redeem themselves, and to return to their eternal home. From that day to this He thus continued to teach the human family.
To do this saving work God sent down the Spirit of Truth, He sent prophets and angels, also His only Son – all teachers of redemption. He Himself descended to Sinai and even though they slew nearly all His servants including His son, yet His unfailing interest in the human race has continued on to this very day. Not withstanding our faults, His promise to take us back into Eden there to live with Him if we repent, still stands as sure as does the sun.
Now you see what God is like, and if we are to be “as God,” then that is what we, too, must be like. That means that we must be as interested in one another and in the upbuilding of His Kingdom as He is interested. We are to be as unselfish as He is. We must gladly teach others all that He has taught us. We are to do all we can to improve the living conditions of others. We are to make the world better than it could be if we were not in it. In creation week God did His part. Now we are to do our part of creation if we are to be as God.
Whatever good thing we may have, be it a trade or some other gift that is worth having we are to be as faithful in it and as anxious to teach it to others as He is faithful and anxious to teach us. If we neglect this duty, we shall not only fail to be as God, but shall even be required to give account of our neglect.
All through my life I have found people very selfish and fearful that someone would get ahead of them in one way or another.
When I was learning my trade, I often found it necessary to ask questions, but some with whom I was working evaded my questions. Their selfishness, nevertheless, did not stop me from learning what I wanted to know. I learned it in some other way. Those men, however, did not profess to be so far advanced in Christian living as we profess to be, and for this reason their jealousy and selfishness can be charged only to ignorance. But we who know better should try to pass on our knowledge to as many as possible, expecting nothing in return but their success in life. God Himself will reward us. But if we try to keep our knowledge to ourselves, we most assuredly shall be the losers. Remember, too, that whatever good we may possess is a gift from God. Right here the age-old saying fits nicely: “There is no limit to the good one can do if he does not care who gets the credit.”
The Lord taught the birds how to live and how to build nests, and how to raise their young. Then should we not help others to build and to better their homes and living? You recall Jesus saying, “Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” Matt. 10:42.
Were God not what He is, He would not be God; and if we continue as we ever were we shall never be “as God.”
The house of David, moreover, is to be “as the angel of the Lord before them.” What does this statement mean? – It means that if we are to be members of the house of David, we must be as David, as God, and as the angels, too. The angels excel in strength; they obey God’s commandments; they hearken unto the voice of His Word (Ps. 103:20). They are always at hand to minister to the saints, and they have led them safely over every conflict throughout the ages. God expects His church and people to be just that – “as the angel of the Lord.” Regardless what we as individuals choose to be, God nevertheless will have a church that will be all these.
Now, what is the overall purpose of the house of David? – The house of David, the Scriptures reveal, is being built up for a three-fold purpose: (1) During the ingathering of the people, it is to “build the old wastes,” to “raise up the former desolations,” and to “repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.” Isa. 61:4. This work of rebuilding and restoring has as its type the rebuilding of ancient Jerusalem by the ancient Jews returning from their Babylonian captivity to the land of their fathers. Just as they were to build the wastes, the former desolations – the temple of the Lord, the city and the walls – and to restore the worship of God according to the Lord’s own Divine will, so we, too, now in the antitypical ingathering are called to do a similar work, only much greater both in scope and in proportion. We must therefore labor even more incessantly than they labored, and be happy and thankful for having been privileged to have a part in such a great and glorious work.
(2) In addition to this great and grand work, while in God’s hand as a battle ax (Jer. 51:20), He is with it to break the Gentiles’ yoke which now rests upon the shoulders of God’s people. With it He is to emancipate His people from Gentile rule: “from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea….” (Isa. 11:11). With it He is to “set up an ensign for the nations,” and to “assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isa. 11:12. To get this work done we are to be at first the “many fishers,” then the “many hunters” (Jer. 16:16). Thus it is that the first fruits are to be gathered “one by one.” Isa. 27:12. We are now in the hunting days – going from city to city, from village to village, and from door to door, a thing which has never before been done. Besides fishing and hunting we also are to make “a highway for the remnant of His people which shall be left, [after the first fruits are gathered] from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” Isa. 11:16. After this hunting is over and the highway built up, then it is that the second fruits will flow to the mountain of the Lord’s house. One nation, as it were, will say to another nation, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Mic. 4:2.
Thus our work has also as its type the Exodus movement going out of Egypt, establishing itself in the promised land. As they were freed from their Egyptian bondage, so we shall be freed from the world’s yoke; and just as they possessed the land, and set up the kingdom, so shall we if we make their mistakes our stepping stones to success.
(3) Finally, we are to hasten “the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” We are to bring “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Pet. 3:12, 13.
For another phase of this work, we also have the flood as a type. As Noah’s preaching brought the world to an end in his day, so our preaching will bring the world to an end in our day. As the faithful of that day found refuge in Noah’s ark, so the faithful of today shall find refuge in the Kingdom (the church purified) here forecasted.
The work of these three movements – Zechariah’s, Moses’, and Noah’s – therefore, typifies every phase of our work.
Here is clearly seen that our God-given work does not consist of preaching alone, but of manual work, too. There are thousands in the world who are as anxious to preach as are the bears to fill up their stomachs after coming out of their winter hibernation, but there are few who will put their shoulders to the wheel and keep on pushing.
What the world needs today is not preachers, but teachers who can teach with one hand and use the pick or the shovel with the other hand. Neither is the world in need of men “angling” for Moses’ and for Aaron’s office, but it is in dire need of men who can take orders and successfully carry them through, men who dare face the giant, the lion, and the bear, – men who dare be heroes for God,” “men wondered at,” men with unfailing faith and unlimited patience, believing that God Himself is steering the ship, and that therefore there can be no failure. The world certainly needs men like Noah, Moses, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, and a great number of Job’s.
Our work and duty are now made as clear as they can be made at this particular time. We need not, therefore, err. Need not be ignorant of what is to be done and how it is to be done.
Many honestly believe that they are doing God’s work, or at least helping in it. But if they will examine their daily accomplishments, their motives, their aims and purposes, some will find that they are not working for God, but that they are either killing time, or working for self. Actually, now as in Moses’ time, there are occasions when one is at a loss to know whether saints or devils are busily engaged in God’s great work. Stop, listen, think. Check up on yourselves. It will be well worth your time and your energy. Find out who you are, what you are, and where you are.
Ezra and Nehemiah had an arduous time in building the ancient wastes. I believe that God could have put angels to keep away their enemies from interfering with their project, but He chose to have the faithful builders hold the sword in one hand and the bricks in the other hand (Neh. 4:17, 18). Their work was as hard, if not harder than ours is, but they were faithful at it, and we cannot afford to be any less faithful. Yes, they did as much working as they did teaching. They taught not only religion, but building, too. Do you not see that as the types point out, the things we are called to do can not be done by teaching alone? We are now ready to read –
Verses 9, 10 – “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
When God begins to destroy the nations, He will pour upon His saints the Spirit of grace, then will they really mourn for sinning against the Lord. It is because men do not now have that spirit that their personal feelings are so easily hurt for any little thing done against them. And since the Spirit of grace causes one to mourn not for self, it is understandable that to pity oneself, and to be hurt over what others do or say against him is a sure sign that rather than being imbued with the Spirit of grace, he is imbued with the spirit of the Devil, who is daily seeking to discourage and dishearten by pitying self. Remember that self-pity is outright self-defeat. Not one of us has ever been abused as was the Lord, and yet “self” in Him never was hurt.
If we are to be sorry for anyone, let us not be sorry for self. We sometimes think we are sorry for our sinning and our causing the Lord to be abused and crucified, but our sorrow is not real; it is only theoretical. When this Spirit of grace is poured upon us, then shall we fully realize that it was not the Jews’, but the sins of all of us that crucified Christ, and then we would count it a privilege to be abused for Christ’s sake.
Verses 11-14 – “In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.”
A great day is coming, Brother, Sister. If that day was not right at hand, we would not today have this light cast on our pathway. Let us therefore work for the upbuilding of the Lord’s Kingdom, that His will be done in us, and thus at long last be done “on earth as it is [done] in heaven.” As forerunners of His Kingdom, let us do all we can to prove worthy of standing with Him on Mount Zion, to be “as God, as the angel of the Lord before” the saints, to carry the everlasting gospel to all the nations, and thus to bring the world’s sins and woes to an end.