Supernatural Prophecies That Prove God Exists-Program 2

By: Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr.; ©1991
The Bible speaks of many nations who will have and impact on Israel in the last days. In this session Dr. Kaiser talks about Tyre and Iraq.
 

Contents

Iraq in Bible Prophecy

Introduction

Dr. John Ankerberg: The information in this program was taped live at The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute’s Apologetics Conference in Orlando, Florida. Each year we invite laymen, students and pastors to attend this conference and hear seven or eight of the best professors and apologists in Christianity teach on topics of vital interest to all of us.
Our instructor for this session is Dr. Walter Kaiser. Dr. Kaiser is Academic Dean and Professor of Semitic languages and Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Dr. Kaiser received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in Mediterranean studies and he’s the author of numerous books, including The Old Testament in Contemporary Preaching, Toward an Exegetical Theology, Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching, A Biblical Approach to Suffering, which is a commentary on the Book of Lamentations, Toward Old Testament Ethics, The Uses of the Old Testament in the New, Hard Sayings of the Old Testament, Back Toward the Future: Hints for Interpreting Biblical Prophecy, and “Exodus: A Commentary” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary.
In addition, he has written a number of other titles for both popular and scholarly audiences.
What’s more, Dr. Kaiser has contributed articles to a number of periodicals, including Moody Monthly, The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and Evangelical Quarterly.
Dr. Kaiser is a widely respected conference speaker and an enthusiastic and skilled teacher.
Dr. Kaiser’s topic for this session is: “Supernatural Prophecies That Prove God Exists – Part 2.”
As you listen to this information, it will be my prayer that God will increase your faith and draw you closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. [Note: Since our conference, Dr. Kaiser has become President-Elect at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Professor of Old Testament. He has an M.A. and Ph.D., Brandeis University.]
Dr. Walter Kaiser: Thank you and welcome to this session. We want to handle two of the great nations that I think demonstrate that Scripture is that Scripture that speaks about the existence and the truthfulness of the God who has spoken ahead of time.
Let me take you to a passage, first of all, that I think will be helpful to set the scene for us, and that will be Ezekiel 26. I want to look briefly at the very well-known fulfillment of the prophecy of the nation Tyre, or at least the city of Tyre, and Phoenicia or present-day Lebanon. Then we want to go particularly to Babylon, Iraq and the great appearance of the glory of God at the conclusion of history. So we wander into two very, very special passages.
First, Ezekiel chapter 26. Here, particularly in the 26th chapter He says bluntly in verse 3: “This is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘I am against you, O Tyre. I will bring many nations against you.'” I want you to note the plural there, because already there is an interpretive clue given to us that says it’s not just one nation but there are a series of nations, or at least a plurality of nations that will come.
Then notice that He goes on to speak of the one who will carry this out in verse 7. It’s King Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar did, as a matter of fact, in 583 B.C. go and set siege to Tyre on the seacoast north of Israel in present-day Lebanon or as it was called in those days, Phoenicia.
And there in Phoenicia he set the siege to the city and the people of Tyre finally gave up and they said, “We’re not going to outlast him. We will go in ships”–and don’t forget they were the great people of the maritime world of that time–and they went a half mile out into the Mediterranean Sea from where their city had been and they set up a new city there.
Well, Nebuchadnezzar figured that was good enough and he quit. He stopped at that point. But you should notice in this prophecy in Ezekiel 26, it’s not only verse 7 that says the king of Tyre, but it continues with third person singular pronouns.
Verse 6: “He will ravage your settlements on the main land. He will set up siege works against you.”
Verse 9: “He will direct blows of his battering rams against your walls.”
Verse 10: “His horses will be so many they will cover you with dust.”
And so it continued until verse 11. Suddenly, in verse 11 it switches to the third person plural: “They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise. They will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses, and they will throw your stones and timber and rubble into the sea.” Precisely. That’s exactly what happened when Alexander the Great came back in the 330’s. Alexander the Great also attempted to go after them. He used ships. He went out. He was not made for ships. He decided to abandon that. He said, “The only way we’re going to take it is to march the army out there.”
But how to you march an army on water? There are very few that can walk on water and Alexander the Great was not one of them. Nor were his troops. So he decided to take the timbers and the rubble and the stones and he pushed them into the sea. This was before you had bulldozers. And he literally built a causeway out into the Mediterranean Sea for a half mile. Having built this causeway, he marched his troops out and took the city.
In other words, the Bible is plainly, actually, naturally, literally on the mark. It says here, “They will throw your stones and timber and rubble into the sea.” That’s exactly what happened.
You say, “But it wasn’t Nebuchadnezzar.”
That’s true. But this text anticipated that by saying “many nations,” first of all, and then switched from the singular to the plural. That’s the type of thing that you have in these great passages that we’re talking about in Isaiah 13-23; Ezekiel 25-32; and Jeremiah 46-51. Twenty-five chapters, 680 verses that deal with 12 to 14 nations that were neighbors of Israel. That indicates that God, who is the God of not just a chauvinistic pet kind of people like His people Israel, but He is the God of all the nations. He is the One we’re talking about.
Well, let’s go to a second nation–one which is much more contemporary and in the news–Iraq. Turn with me to chapter 50 of Jeremiah. I have been amazed as I watched the events of the Gulf War unfold. I can remember telling students as we began with what I think may be one of the earlier prophets, though I’m not altogether sure, Joel.
Joel in chapter 3, verse 1 says that “I will bring all nations of the earth up into the Middle East.”
And I remember students raising their hand in class and saying, “Prof, how is God going to bring all the nations?”
Now, prior to August 1990 that was a tough question. You know what I said? “I don’t know.” I said that because as I warned you, I’m not a prophet. My father’s not a prophet. He was a farmer. So I’m not a son of a prophet and I work for a “non-prophet” organization. So I couldn’t really say. There is no way in which I could really predict or prophesy any of this.
But now that we have had the United Nations resolutions and we have seen how some 28 to 32 nations came together quickly so that by January–from August to January we had moved equipment, full armies and representing the main continents of the earth–they were in place. And, folks, I want to tell you that I don’t think we have seen end-times but we did see a complete mock-up of exactly what is to take place in these chapters. In other words, I think we have been given a prelude and how fortunate we are.
Look at the chapters with me. Jeremiah chapter 50, first of all. Here, it seems to me, you have some of the grandest statements made in the text. But first, just one or two basic principles for undergirding all prophecies that threaten world powers.
Number one, God is the God of all nations. As Sovereign, He has the right to speak to all nations, all peoples, all religions, all ethnic groups upon the face of the earth. He owns everything. “The earth is the Lord’s; the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1). That’s literally true.
But secondly, God is a God of righteousness and holiness, too, as we see from that great vision of Isaiah chapter 6 where he saw the Lord high and exalted and lifted up and they were singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God.” And He is just and holy.
Thirdly, God’s judgments are never vindictive. God is not a green-eyed monster who says, “I’ve got to get even! I’ve got to have revenge!” God has no need for getting even. He is God. I mean, once you’re at the top you don’t need to get even or fight for the top. There’s no need for revenge. But He is One who will be vindicated. He is not vindictive, but He will be vindicated. And therefore it seems to me He will justify who He is and what He has done before the nations, too. Every nation on Planet Earth must know that.
The judgment of God is not His usual work in the fourth principle we state here; it’s His unusual work. His usual work is that of salvation, of blessing, of grace, of mercy, of long-suffering. As a matter of fact, He is so long-suffering most people think He is a paper tiger. “He’ll go away. He doesn’t do anything. He gives such a slow, even, easy count,” most people say, “He’ll never do anything.” But they mistake the mercy of God for the fact that He really will come in judgment.
And fifthly, God is impartial. He can judge America’s sins just as He judges the sins of Arab nations or also of Jewish nations, too, as well.
So, here we come to a prophecy in Jeremiah chapter 50 that was not fulfilled when Babylon fell in 539. I’d like to point that out to you because it is so important. I think one of the most important texts here would be chapter 51, verse 6: “Flee from Babylon.” Run for your lives. “Do not be destroyed because of her sin; it is the time of the Lord’s vengeance.”
Now, the most interesting thing here is that we do have a man, well, many men on the scene who are captives in Babylon at this time. In that evening in which the empire of Babylon and the city, the capital, fell–also by the same name–60 miles sort of south, almost directly south of Baghdad. Not on the Tigris River as Baghdad is, but over on the Euphrates River. Here was this magnificent capital with walls that are a hundred feet high, that are wide enough for four to six chariots to ride all the way around it. It embraces 25 acres. It has the Euphrates River, 600 feet wide, coming right down through the center of the city and underneath the walls of it with river gates to keep the people out. Four hundred towers around this thing above the wall going up for numerous feet Heroditus says, an unusual figure. But we’ve had the Greek historian and others tell us what took place that night when they brought out the cups, the silver and gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem that had been destroyed almost 70 years previous to that in 587 B.C. They’re toasting Merodach in vessels that are holy, set apart and dedicated to the Lord. Then came that writing on the wall, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.” “Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting.” It scared the willikers out of Belshazzar and out of the people. He could not contain himself. I can tell you the expression there in the Hebrew text means he was really scared skinny, I suppose, is the nicest way to tell you. He was really upset.
But he had reason to be, for it was that night that Cyrus the Great, a Persian, upstream had been digging for quite a while and had diverted the river and it went off into a swamp. And while they’re having this big banquet and big blast and some of them are stoned out of their senses from alcohol, then in comes the army marching, sloshing down, ducking under the river gates now which were way low and the river level had gone way down. And they came in literally without a shot being fired. Well, without a bow and arrow being pulled. And here they are in town. They took over. That was the end of the empire.
But these chapters, 50 and 51, talk about a destruction of Babylon. There was no destruction. They took it intact. The whole thing intact. What is this word “flee” in chapter 51, verse 6? Now, the interesting thing is, hold your finger here and turn to Daniel chapter 9, for one of the characters that was in Babylon at this time and who was one of the captives that had now attained a high position in government and had been there for quite a period of time, almost the whole duration of the Babylonian Empire. He, along with his friends Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego, which is hard for my students in graduate studies to remember, so I popularize them: My shack, your shack and a bungalow.
Here you had these three people along with Daniel that were in high government and Daniel is having his devotions, chapter 9 of Daniel, verse 2, “In the first year of Darius’ reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures.'” What is he calling Scripture? He’s calling Jeremiah the Scripture because he says, “According to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah.” When did Jeremiah write? Just before the exile. That is, he wrote just before the fall of the city. This is, less than 70 years, Scripture is recognized as inspired, as being the Word of God.
You may say, “What’s happened? I thought there was a council in A.D. 90.”
Yeah, I read that too, but they’re not waiting. Daniel doesn’t wait around for a church to say, “How many are in favor of Daniel being in the Bible?” “Okay. It’s six to five and it’s in.” You know? It’s now one of those books. That’s not true at all.
He said, “I understood from the writings, the holy writings, that according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah that the desolation of Jerusalem would last 70 years. Where is he reading from? Jeremiah chapter 25. We know the chapter. We know where he was. Well, if he was reading that, then didn’t he read chapter 51, verse 6, “Flee from Babylon. Run for your lives.”
And when Daniel was brought in and saw “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” he suddenly said, “Is there an El-Al Flight out tonight? I want to get out of here. I suddenly remember a verse.” “Flee from Babylon.”
But he didn’t flee. The fact that he knew Jeremiah but stayed in town is a good indication that chapter 50 and 51 were not talking about 539 B.C. when the kingdom came down the first time. Well, then, when is it referring to? May I suggest to you that it’s in that complex of events that belong to the end-time in connection with the coming of our Lord.
But now, let’s see some more things, though. I think they’re even more dramatic than that. Chapter 50, verse 3 I think speaks of a nation from the North. The nation from the North will attack her and lay waste her land. That couldn’t be the Medo-Persians because they didn’t lay waste to the land. They took the whole thing over: furniture, stuffings, exterior, the whole thing. There is not one record of anything being disturbed in the land. So how could you say it was laid waste? This has to be a northern kingdom that attacks her and no one will live in it, both men and animals will flee away and in those days at that time, Jeremiah 50, verse 4 declares the Lord, “The people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the Lord their God.”
That’s an interesting thing. When do you have the people of Israel and the people of Judah, northern and southern kingdoms, saying, “Oh, if only we knew where the Messiah was.” Try that on the Jewish community at the present time. That won’t fit. But this text says it will in that time. You will find a desperate searching of unusual proportion among the Jewish people.
And he said that “They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces to it and they will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.” Not be forgotten? It’s been forgotten every time since God first made it, but when this takes place, He said, “from then on it won’t be forgotten.” And they’re going to come back home, they’re coming back home.
By the way, that recent airlift of the Ethiopian Jews is just another straw in the wind where suddenly the nations got together on just a very short notice, on a weekend, tore the seats out of cargo planes and regular passenger planes and brought almost everyone back and they said they’ve got to go back and pick up 200 people that are left. But that completes the exodus from Ethiopia. That was last week or the week before’s news. Imagine it. Imagine.
You’re living in those kind of days. So I tell you, be careful. You say, “Well, I’m still from Missouri. I’ve got to see it.” You’re seeing it. You’re seeing part of it. It’s coming to pass.
So I take it that is extremely important here. Not only that but notice that later on in verse 35 through 36, 37, 38 there are five swords that are mentioned there. A sword against the Babylonians; a sword against their false prophets, verse 36; a sword against her warriors; a sword against her horses and chariots; a sword against her treasures. So we know that there will be battle damage in the time that this one is being talked about. When is the date, then, for this?
It will be in chapter 50, verse 4 and verse 20: “in those days.” It’s at that time. That’s your future reference. That’s a common reference in the Prophets to the last day. And therefore it’s in those times. It’s a time equated in chapter 50, verse 19 and 20 with the restoration of Israel to her land again.
Look in 50:19: “I will bring Israel back to his own pasture; he will graze on Carmel and Bashan.” Bashan is the Golan Heights. “And his appetite will be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead.” Ephraim is in the center of the country; Gilead is, again, in that east and north of the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights.
So, when you see the restoration and the coming back of 14 million Jews around the world. How many are in Israel now? About four to five million. The rest, 10 million scattered literally on the full face of the earth. But He said, “When you see that taking place, in those days, at that time, that’s when you’re going to see what I’m going to do to Babylon.” That’s when I’m going to work with Iraq.
Now, why would I equate Babylon with Iraq? Because Babylon was that site that was between the Mesopotamia, the two rivers, the Euphrates on the west, therefore it’s easy to remember: “E” – Euphrates for west; and then you have the Tigris River on the east, so it went like a straight arrow. It’s mainly that site. Of course, Babylon was mainly the southern part and Assyria was the northern part, later on taken over by Babylon so that on up into Nineveh and where the Kurds are, this was all the duration or extent of ancient Babylon. Now it has flowed over a little bit to the sides of the rivers Euphrates and Tigris so that it goes a little bit further west than east, but that’s generally the area. That’s present day Iraq that we’re talking about.
And it was fulfilled when these nations come up against her. Look at chapter 50, verse 9. “I will stir up against Babylon an alliance of great nations from the land of the North.” I could not believe that when I saw that! An alliance of nations. And they come from the land of the North. Some ask me, “Would that be North America?” I don’t know in the final thing. But it seems to me that the land of the North usually, though I’m not terribly sure of this, is reserved for not North America but what would be north of the lands here and therefore would be the great Gog and Magog which are the sectors, the republics that are in the southern part of the Soviet Union. And they would be usually–with Muslim influence at the present time–would be the ones that would be the land of the North.
But there’s an alliance of great nations and he says, “They will take up positions against her from the north. She will be captured and their arrows will be like skilled warriors.” “Arrows” were very, very skillful recently. We had demonstrations of “arrows” going down the heating shafts. That’s skilled, I would think. It qualifies. And so he says, “They will not return empty handed.”
So the text goes on to have stunning kinds of particularity for this future sort of fulfillment. Again, am I suggesting that the Gulf War was the fulfillment? No. I’m suggesting that we were given a privileged kind of mini-screen TV preview of how it is that when again this same thing sort of comes back up again.
It’s interesting the debate that fell out between Schwarzkopf and President Bush over this and there’s just a little flap for a time of whether they should have gone on and pursued Hussein. But apparently he lives to rise again. Some also have wondered, “Yes, but isn’t Babylon more frequently identified with Rome and with the western confederation of which the Antichrist is the head of those ten nations in which three of them are knocked off and he is the head of seven, and he is the one that makes a covenant with Israel, suddenly to break it in the middle of the seven years?” Yes. Babylon is used politically and therefore does refer to some kind of western European, maybe larger alliance, but certainly European. And that is political Babylon. But there’s an economic Babylon, too, as well.
The economic Babylon, I think, is ancient Babylon and is indeed Iraq. So it’s fulfilled when the nations of the earth come up against her in chapter 50, verse 9. “And they come from afar,” says verse 26 of that 50th chapter. “They come against her from afar, break open her granaries, pile her up like heaps of grain, completely destroy her and leave her no remnant.” So I think he’s talking about devastation like we did not see in the Gulf War. This is a complete kind of massacre of unusual proportions.
And verse 41 says of the 50th chapter that an army is coming from the North, a great nation, and many kings.” In case you didn’t get the point, it’s “many nations” and it’s “many kings.” And they’re being stirred up “from the ends of the earth.” That was never possible under any Medo-Persian kind of thing. That was all Near-Eastern in the days of 539 when the first Babylonian Empire fell.
But, of course, you know that Saddam Hussein is sort of picturing himself as Nebuchadnezzar the Second. As a matter of fact, before the big celebration he put there for his 50th thing a side facial view of Nebuchadnezzar the First and then his own pressed over top of that. And on some of the coins you will see the same thing as well. You’ll see him with his face and then you will see the other king with it impressed over the top of it. So an army is coming “from the North, a great nation, and many kings are being stirred up from the ends of the earth.” Again, I cannot believe how privileged we are in our day and age to see this.
And as if to make it plain, chapter 51, verse 2: “I will send foreigners to Babylon to winnow her and to devastate her. They will oppose her on every side in the day of her distress.”
And verse 7 of that 51st chapter, “Babylon was a gold cup in the hand of the Lord. She made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine therefore the nations have gone mad.”
Wine? What kind of Mogen David is this? That comes out of Iraq? What kind of wine is this? Black wine, I think. In this case, oil. The nations of the earth have drunk the oil that has come from this nation and indeed, since 1938, when oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia and then in the surrounding countries, the whole history and the whole economies of the world changed. We went from silver, then the gold standard and now we’ve gone to oil standard. The nations of the earth have drunk and they’ve gone mad, says the text. Gone mad.
So it is an amazing text, to say the very least, and I think the conclusion here, it appears that God will end history with a gigantic judgment on Babylon under its new form, Iraq.
But I’d like to take you to one additional passage, still continuing this same theme of Babylon. Let’s go to Zechariah, next to the last book of the Old Testament. I think we particularly should look at chapter 2. Zechariah chapter 2 where I think you have another kind of stunning statement: “Now after they had returned from exile,” here’s the third vision that Zechariah had in that series of one night when he had eight visions, one after another. And this third vision is about God’s promise to restore and to protect Jerusalem and His personal presence in this particular city. And I think that this text is a great one because it introduces a number of themes here that are exceedingly important and helps us to place the context of Babylon and Iraq into a larger setting or different setting, at least.
Look at verse 7, “Come, O Zion, escape you who live in the daughter of Babylon.” Very similar to the threefold emphasis in Jeremiah 50 and 51, “Flee from Babylon.” Get out of Babylon. Which Daniel, who knew the text and was an obedient man, did what God wanted, did not listen to on that night when the city came down. He was there at the banquet…or he had to be called. He wasn’t at the banquet as a matter of fact. It’s interesting. He declined to come. But he had to be called in the room to give the interpretation of what was on the wall and he gave the interpretation. And the interpretation was one which did not cause him then to remember chapter 50 and 51, “Flee from Babylon.” But here we have it in verse 7 and he mentions that again in this context.
Well, let me sort of trot this out, then, and put this in context. Look, first of all, at God’s protection of the city of Jerusalem, chapter 2, verses 1-9. Here it says that “the Lord Himself,” and the key verse to this section would be verse 5, “I myself will be a wall of fire around Jerusalem, declares the Lord; I will be its glory within.” Here you have the promise of the personal appearance and presence of the Lord and He says you’re not going to need a wall anymore around that city, beautiful as it is.
I remember the first time that I came to visit that city. We arrived late at night. We had plane trouble. We got in to Tel Aviv and took the bus for about 40 minutes. We got to the outskirts of the old city where we were to stay. We were to stay in the old city with 40 students that night. We got there about 10:30, rounded the corner and here is this city with walls about 40 feet high still and with the big gateway there we were coming in off the west side and with flood lights, orange flood lights lighting up that whole wall all around the city. What a sight it was. I was unprepared for it.
But the biblical text says there’s going to be no need for that in that day. The Lord Himself will be resident. He’ll be a wall of fire. Talk about flood lights. His presence will make the flood lights around the city. His very presence will make it. He’ll be a wall of fire. It reminds us of the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. Remember? That went before the Israelites through the wilderness. The Lord said, “I was present there. I’ll be present again.”
It’s too bad we take that word, “the glory of the Lord,” we sort of make that into a religious word. “The glory of the Lord.” You need a little bumpsydoodle in there, you know? That explains the whole thing. You don’t have to say any more. You just say, “The ‘glowery’ of the Lord.” Or maybe you throw your hands out like this, “The ‘glowery’ of the Lord,” meaning the out-splashing there, you know.
But the glory, Kabod, comes from kabod, the verb, which means to be heavy. And the idea is the sheer weight, the gravity, the presence of the Lord. He is there. The God who is there. Every time you see the word “glory,” you could almost put as the first idea, “The God who is there.” Sounds like that ought to be a title of a book. “The God Who Is There.” And that’s exactly what He’s talking about here, “The God who is there, His glory.” He is the resident One. Well, more than that. There is a stress upon His own person. By the way, it’s so emphatic in the Hebrew. You must learn Hebrew, by the way, before you get to Heaven. Shalom. That’ll get you in. But you need more than that, you know. And the text here says, “I. I myself. I will be.” It’s emphatic. He repeats the personal pronoun and makes it so emphatic. “I, I, I will be there.”
And even signs this with His name, “declares the Lord.” That’s like signature, “signed, the Lord.” I mean, you want room service, you put your signature down. God says, “I’m going to be there.” Puts a name down. “Signed, the Lord.” So, “declares the Lord” is like a signature. It’s the validating thing. I mean, you want any greater proof? There it is. You want proof that I am? My signature. My name. My character. That ought to be good enough for you.
And then He goes on to speak of the glory in the midst of them. And He said it’s going to be a glory that will be a wall of fire around the people. Now, this develops here, it seems to me, in terms of, He said, “Look, the city in that day is going to be so great that a man went out with a measuring line in chapter 2, verse 1. He said, “What are you going to do?” He said, “Measure Jerusalem to find out how wide and how long it is.”
And so the angel who is speaking to me left, and another angel came and he said, “Run and tell the young men Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it.” Men, in this case, of course, is generic, unfortunately, for the translation today you’ve got to put it in the full form: “…because of the number of persons and livestock in it.”
And so in verse 6 He says, “Come, come, flee from the land of the North, declares the Lord. For I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven.”
And here comes that same line again that we saw in Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51: “Come, come,” He says. “Flee from the land of the North.” And so I think we’re being given here the news that Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the multitude and then there comes this word that speaks not only of it being so great with the number of people but also because they ought to get out of the other countries where they’ve been.
Isaiah chapter 49, verse 19 and 20 says, “Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land is now laid waste, you will be too small for your people and those who devoured you will be far away. The children of bereavement,” that is, those in place of the children you lost will yet say in your hearing, “This place is too small for us. Give us more space to live in.”
And if you’ve watched the news, too, this is one of the current problems that we’re getting into. How can you get living space for people that are continuing to come in. They expect from Russia alone with the new El Al agreement with the Israeli Airlines and the Aeroflot with the Russian Airlines that something like two million Russian Jews will return back to Israel in the next two years. Two million Jews returning back. Because of the new agreement; because of direct flights between them. Before they’ve had to come through Europe or at least Eastern Europe, stopping off usually at Romania or at one of the other places or immigrating to America then coming over to Israel, which is a very, very complicated piece in our day.
So the return of the personal presence of the Lord and with this He says, “Listen. Listen. Come. Come.” Literally in the Hebrew it’s, “Howy, howy.” But you don’t want to use that these days. It might get you into North Pole talk: “Ho, ho.”
But at any rate, He tries to get our attention. He says, “Hey, hey! Listen here! Flee from the land of the North and from Babylon.” And that’s what chapter 51, verse 6 and 45 said. “Flee from Babylon. Run for your lives. Do not be destroyed because of her sin. It’s time for the Lord’s vengeance. He will pay her what she deserves.”
So Babylon was that gold cup in the hand of the Lord that had made the whole earth drunk, says chapter 51, verse 7 of Jeremiah, and the nations drank the wine, therefore they’ve gone mad. Babylon shall suddenly fall, chapter 51 of Jeremiah, verse 8, and be broken and this passage in Zechariah is based upon that passage in Jeremiah.
The final deliverance and salvation of Israel and the last judgment on Babylon is here declared in Zechariah 2:6. So flee. “Flee from the land of the North, for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven. Come, O Zion, escape, flee you who live with the daughter of Babylon.” For this is what the Lord says after He has honored me and sent me against the nations that plunder you, for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye. I will surely raise My hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent Me.”
“Sent me”? Now it’s an interesting thing here. The character of our Lord. He displays the glory of God and here, mystery of mysteries, here is Yahweh, yet He is sent by Yahweh. How can you be Yahweh and sent by Yahweh? We had this the other night in the debate there.
John Chapter 10: “I and my Father are One,” and yet “the Father has sent Me.” There it is. That’s the whole mystery of the Trinity. “I and my Father are One” and yet “I’ve been sent.” How can you be sent if you are He? There has to be a personal relationship between I and the one sent.
So what is being described here. There is God the Father and God the Son. And so I think He describes it here. He says, “After the Father has honored Me.” Read the first He as the Father. “…has honored Me and sent Me.” The Father sent Me. That’s just like John 10:30. “I and my Father are one” and “the Father has sent Me.” That’s your best text for the Trinity. It’s the one used by Augustine in the third century church; it’s the one used by Calvin in the Reformation. “I and my Father are one” and “the Father has sent me.” There is the mystery of mysteries, conundrum of conundrums. But it’s still true and it still is part of what is being said here.
So you have, I think, in this text “He has sent me” just like in Isaiah Chapter 61. There Jesus was handed, in Luke 4, the reading for the day in the synagogue and He came up and He read from Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord of Hosts is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.” Remember that?
He went on, except He stopped in the middle of the verse where it says “to declare the day of vengeance of our God.” He didn’t read that. He sat down, which is how you preached in those days. You sat to preach. And He said, “This day is this text fulfilled in your hearing.”
In other words, you’re looking at Him. You’re looking at the One who is sent.
And some people say, “Yeah, but that’s not what He meant.” In the Jesus Seminar they’re trying to figure out whether Jesus really said that or not and how are they figuring it out? They’ve got this little game where they’ve got different colored stones they’re dropping in. “Hum. I think He did. Hum. I think He didn’t.” And who cares what any of them thought. It doesn’t mean a row of beans…I should say a “row of stones.”
It’s nothing at all what they think, whether it’s true or not.
Watch the Jews. They pick up stones. They’re going to stone Him. Why would they stone Him, for saying something that was cute or nice? No. They said He blasphemed.
They said, “You’re making yourself Deity! Who do you think you are? God? You had a father and a mother and we know you came from Nazareth.”
So you can debate what the commentators think in what He was really claiming but watch the Jews. When they reach for stones, that’s a good commentary. Very, very good commentary. You know what He’s claiming there at that point. He’s claiming to be Deity. You can’t get any better than that. So He said, “The Father has sent me.” That was in Isaiah 61. The text in Zechariah 2:8 says, “The Father has sent me.” And He said He sent Me “against the nations that have plundered you, for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye.”
Funny thing. In this last battle that comes against Iraq, the nations apparently have ganged up like dogs and have jumped in on one that’s wounded. In the midst of that whole thing suddenly they say, “Israel,” and that detracts all of them. Which almost happened in the last war. They sent the Scud missiles over. The whole thing was to get Israel involved. If they had gotten Israel involved, Bingo! This class would have been cancelled. I definitely think so. That was the missing ingredient in the whole thing. Because then the alliance would have fallen apart and then the Americans would have been embarrassed. America would have had to jump into it as well.
As a matter of fact, the first Scud missile, I am informed through, I think it was U.S. News & World Report, scrambled the Israeli jets. They scramble for everything. If you were over there in Israel, anything that goes wrong, a fight in the street and up go the jets. They are totally responsive to any little thing. So they were in the air with the first Scud that came. They are flying north and they’re wiring back into Washington asking, “Give us the setting so we can identify ourselves as friendly planes and we’re going in.”
And our government said, “You can’t have it” and they came back home. That’s how close we were! That’s how close we were! And that’s what I think happens in this final day.
Have you ever watched that phenomena? I remember as a boy we went out and we were near Philadelphia and we used to get all the stray dogs and pets that no one could take care of any more in the city.
We were just outside near the airport on a farm and many a day a car would come down the road going slowly and the door would open, a foot would come out and out would come Fido. And we’d say, “We’ve got another one.” And there were about 25 sort of stray dogs. We were trying to feed them a little bit and care for them. But they would get out of hand, especially when nature took over and a female would come across and one evening we had just sown many acres and I was looking out over the field while we were having dinner and there were 25 dogs all fighting apparently over one prize. And it was an enormous thing. They were kicking up sand, going after each other where we had sowed in. And I didn’t know what to do. I jumped up from the table without saying anything, rounded the old country farm house, looked around for something. I picked up two small brick bats. I don’t know why. I felt like I needed some kind of armor. If I had thought, I’d have probably stopped to get the shotgun to shoot over their head, get their attention.
But nothing would get their attention. I yelled, “Stop that!” I couldn’t get their attention at all so I heaved in the midst, I hope, one of these small pieces of brick and it hit one of the dogs. The one that the help called Heeber Hobber. I don’t know where he got his name, Heeber Hobber. I don’t know what the etymology is, but that’s what he called him. I think he went on kind of three legs. And so they called him, “Heeber Hobber.” Hit Heeber Hobber. He went over and went crazy. Threw his feet in the air. I thought, “Oh, no.” And with that, all the dogs stopped.
They looked at Heeber Hobber. Forgot all about their main prize. Now they’re looking at this one. And as if on clue, do you know what they did? All of them jumped in! They’re going to kill Heeber Hobber. I felt responsible now. I called for help to the neighboring farm. My brothers and sisters came out. We each had two dogs by the tail holding them suspended toward Heaven. They trying to come up and get our hands, you know. But it’s a little hard. And we’re holding them up until we had 25 dogs in the air suspended. Only then did they come to their senses and cool off. We put them down. By that time Heeber had recovered and kind of went off sideways, you know, but he was functioning and was going there.
And so frequently I’ve thought of that as the nations here too as well. They see one down. “Ah ha! Vrooom!” and that’s how they come. That will be a picture of the final day. The apple of God’s eye and suddenly they say, “Ah ha, that God whom we hate. He’s got some people here and we’re going to get them.” And down it goes.
Look, it’s either that or oil. It’s either that or the economy. And so the nations will be forced to make a decision. But our text says, “Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent Me.” You’re going to find out. A lot of people say, “I want proof.” You’ll know. You’ll know. Wait till you see.
Because the text goes on to describe and look at it as we go to Zechariah 13 and it says here’s what will take place in verse 8, “The whole land of Israel, declares the Lord, two thirds will be struck down and perish.” That’s a lot. Two thirds of the nation down. Yet one third will be left.
And He says in chapter 14, verse 3, “Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations as He fought in the day of battle.”
And when will that be? Verse 2, “When I gather all nations to Jerusalem.” God’s going to permit all nations to come to Jerusalem to fight against it. The city will be captured, the houses ransacked, the women raped. Half the city will go into exile but the rest of the city will not be taken. Two thirds of the land already gone. One half the city of Jerusalem.
The Lord says, “That’s enough. Fine! End of history! I’m stepping into time.”
And that’s the point where He touches down on the Mount of Olives. The old Mount of Olives, it says here, comes unglued.
Verse 4, “In that day when His feet touch down, she splits east and west right across. Not down the fault line which runs north and south but it goes east and west.
And he said, “It’ll go right across there. Jerusalem will be elevated. There will be fresh water coming out of a spring out of Jerusalem running to the Mediterranean Sea and running to the Dead Sea. Living water. Fresh water out of Jerusalem. Out of Jerusalem. Unknown at the present time except for the little Gihon spring. That’s all we know of at the present time. Well, I take it that this is a marvelous text.
But go back as I finish up and then we’ll take some questions here in Zechariah chapter 2. Look what happens in verses 10 through 13 of Zechariah 2. For here I think He goes on to describe four beautiful things that take place in the Millennium, that is, during the Thousand Year Reign of our Lord. We know there’s a Thousand Year Reign because Revelation 20 talks about that; and also 1 Corinthians 15 talks about it too. It says, “As in Adam all die.” And what’s your proof for that? The cemetery. I mean, everybody but everybody is dying. I don’t know of any exception. Oh, Enoch. Oh, Elijah. That’s all though. And our Lord Himself. But everybody else ever known on Planet Earth has died. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Should you stress both “alls”? Yes. Sometimes we do it in teaching or in pulpit. There’s a sermonic way for italicizing. Victor Borge had his own phonetic punctuation. But we need italics too. Victor Borge never had italics. Preachers do though. They waiver their voice. “As in Adam, a..l..l die.” That’s italics. “Even so in Christ shall a..l..l be made alive. But!…” Not a period there. “But each in his own squad,” squad number one, Christ the firstfruits. Easter Sunday morning, “Up from the grave He arose.” Christians greet one another: “He is risen!” and the response is, “He is risen indeed.” Second one, Those that are Christ’s at His coming. Third resurrection: Then comes the end. These are the dead-end kids.
They have said, “Who me? Believe? Over my dead body. Never will I believe.” And the Lord keeps chasing and chasing with goodness and kindness all his life. Now, two little words that are in between: epeita eita, “then and then.” He says, “Christ the firstfruits and then those who are Christ’s at His coming and then comes the end.” Those little words always go together. Love and marriage. Horse and carriage. epeita eita, then and then. They always go together. And they imply time difference between. Resurrection 1, Easter Sunday morning; resurrection 2, when our Lord comes back; resurrection #3, at the end of a period of time that’s in between there.
How much time? John told us a thousand years. So when is it going to take place? He says in verse 10, look at this, “Messiah will live in Jerusalem.” He says, “Shout and be glad, O daughter of Zion, for I am coming and I will live among you.” I will live among you.
That’s like John 1:14: “The word became flesh and dwelt among us.” God was here for 30 years. Walked in our midst.
And Thomas said, “Lord, I don’t know. Are you really God? And can you really demonstrate that?”
John 14, you know. And Jesus said, “Oh, how long have I been with you?” And He said the same thing to Philip, too, “And yet you have not known me. He that has seen me has seen the Father and how come you’re saying show us God?”
That’s a clear, clear, clear claim to be Deity; claiming to be God. “He that has seen me has seen the Father.”
I remember a little boy…I was teaching in the south side of Chicago, Freddie Wilson, and he said to me, he said, “What will Jesus look like when we get to Heaven?” And I thought, “Boy, my theology classes don’t prepare me for these kind of questions.” Then I remembered John 14, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” I said, “Freddie, He’ll look like Jesus.”
I remember afterwards he said, “Mr. Walt, I want to take Jesus into my heart.”
We had a bad day that day. I said, “There’s too much going on, Freddie. You probably don’t want to do it today.” I tried to talk him out of it.
And he said, “Yes I do. Yes I do.”
I remember we had two twins, Nehemiah and Jeremiah. They were fighting. One picked up the seat, ripped off the upper seat, came down over the top of his head. I had discipline problems. And he had knocked him out cold. There he was right in front of me. The fellow said,
“Did you see that? Did you see that?” Did I see it? There he was right at my feet. I had a Bible in one hand and a flannelgraph in this hand and I’m trying to teach this lesson here. And here’s this corpus delicti right in the midst of it here you know.
And so I said, “Boy, this is no time,” but he convinced me. I had prayer with him. He was gone. Do you know, Wednesday night News, Chicago, I’m watching the news and they say, their final wrap-up story, human interest story: “Freddie Wilson, hit and run victim this week. Ten years of age.” That Sunday was the time for him.
Well, the theme here of his question and his question is, “What will God look like?” “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.” So why are you asking for Him? Jesus the Messiah will live in Jerusalem. Then verse 11, “The gentile nations will be joined to the Lord. Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people and will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent Me to you.”
Do you understand we’re in the midst of one of the most fantastic revolutions on our day with regard to the number of people coming to know Christ. The only cold spots in the world are Europe, Canada and the United States. Everything else is hot. Hot. And people are coming to know the Lord at fantastic rates. Guatemala in Central America. Over 33% pressing 50% at the present rate if it continues until the year 2000. Fifty percent will be converted. The same thing, you could go to countries like Singapore. Thirty-five percent of the intelligentsia in Singapore are believing Christians in Jesus Christ. Thirty-three percent when you go to South Korea are professing Christians. You go to Seoul, Korea and you come in on the plane or you look out from a hotel window. What you see over the city is a sea of red crosses. What are they? Christian churches. Christian churches.
Number two profession in that country: minister. What’s the largest ethnic enrollment in seminaries in the United States out of the 52,000 people preparing for missionary, pastor or evangelist? Korean and Korean American in the United States at the present time. We could go on with that.
Third thing here is, Jerusalem will again be designated the holy land.
Verse 12, “The Lord will inherit Judah as His portion in the holy land.” By the way, that’s the only time in the Bible that word is used. Most people refer to the Holy Land. Here’s the only time in the Bible it ever occurred. Holy Land.
And then the fourth one is, worldwide judgment at the Second Coming. “Be still.” He uses the word there, our word “Hush.” “Hush.” That’s what the Hebrew says. “Hush, before the Lord, all mankind, because He has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.” Wait ’til you see, O nations of the earth, He has gathered you together against Babylon and you will come finally then against Jerusalem but be careful. Be careful. He’s in charge. Well, what a great prophecy about what God has already done and what He’s going to do.

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