Dec 27, 2015
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!
We turn to Isaiah 64. Yesterday in chapter 63, we heard the people of Israel ask a whole series of questions about the Lord, like:
“Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea, with Moses as their shepherd?
And here is another verse:
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
18 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.
We turn to Rev 18. The part that puzzles me most in chapter 17 is this:
8The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pitb and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died.
Satan’s sponsorship of the beast is clear. But how will this ‘eighth king’ reveal himself as someone who previously died so that people actually believe it and are amazed?