Several times I have noted Zechariah and other prophets who use the figure of shepherding a flock— picturing God’s people. In chapter 11, there were puzzling verses where Zechariah evidently performed an outward demonstration involving two staffs. Other prophets did such demonstrations. In this one, evidently Zechariah stood in for the Messiah. The two staffs were named Favor and Union. Our Messiah, Jesus, came to restore us to God’s favor and give us unity as God’s people— no matter from what race. The 30 pieces of silver is spoken of with irony: “this magnificent sum at which they valued me.” Remember this shepherd picture!
Yesterday in chapter 63, we heard the people of Israel ask a whole series of questions about the Lord, like:
Is. 63:11b NLT “Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea, with Moses as their shepherd?
And here is another verse:
Is. 63:15 NLT LORD, look down from heaven;
look from your holy, glorious home, and see us.
Where is the passion and the might
you used to show on our behalf?
Where are your mercy and compassion now?
The chapter ended with deep pathos:
Is. 63:18 NLT How briefly your holy people possessed your holy place,
and now our enemies have destroyed it.
19 Sometimes it seems as though we never belonged to you,
as though we had never been known as your people.
However, don’t forget how the chapter started, with the Lord wearing blood-stained robes from trampling out the grapes (yes, ‘grapes of wrath’)— the nations who oppressed his people. This is a picture of the grape harvest that we saw so recently in Revelation 14. Note that in Isaiah the Lord does the trampling alone. And so we see also in Revelation, the final battle is won by the Lord acting alone.
The part that puzzles me most in chapter 17 is this:
Rev. 17:8 GNT That beast was once alive, but lives no longer; it is about to come up from the abyss and will go off to be destroyed. The people living on earth whose names have not been written before the creation of the world in the book of the living, will all be amazed as they look at the beast. It was once alive; now it no longer lives, but it will reappear.
While that is confusing, the important thing is clear: Satan is the sponsor of the beast.
GNT Translation note:
Zech. 12:10 [NLT “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.//GNT “I will fill the descendants of David and the other people of Jerusalem with the spirit of mercy and the spirit of prayer. They will look at the one whom they stabbed to death, and they will mourn for him like those who mourn for an only child. They will mourn bitterly, like those who have lost their first-born son.]
[The Masoretic Text says ‘me’, but then the undergoer changes to ‘him’ in the next phrase. This unexpected shift in undergoers caused some textual variants, as scribes tried to reconcile the grammatical difficulty. See the note in the NET at Lumina.Bible.org. The NLT translation is more faithful in showing the difficulty. The GNT followed textual variants in order to make the grammar sound right.]
Rev. 18:18 and cried out as they saw the smoke from the flames that consumed her: [They said,] “There never has been another city like this great city!”
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