Zechariah Ch. 03

December 13, 2013

tissot_zechariahThe book was written from 520-518 BC during the reign of Darius the Great after some of the Jews began returning to Jerusalem and Israel following the 70 years of Babylonian exile. I am impressed by the depth and density of messianic prophesy and allusions to the ministry of Jesus in this old testament book.

I will be adding verses and chapters as I have time.

1 Then he showed me Joshua [In the NT believers are called “Christians” meaning simply “followers of Christ”; Joshua is actually the same name as “Yeshua”, Jesus’ Hebrew name, meaning YAHWEH Saves!] the high priest [in the Jerusalem temple] standing before the angel [mal’ak, messenger; theophany] of the Lord [Yahweh], and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. [Joshua is “standing before”, an act of priestly service; he is ministering to the second person of the Godhead, Yeshua]

2 The Lord [Yahweh Yeshua, in the form of the angel] said to Satan, “The Lord [Yahweh the Father] rebuke you, Satan! [Similar to Jesus rebuking Satan when he was trying to tempt Jesus through Peter] Indeed, the Lord [Yahweh the Father] who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” [Joshua and we all have been rescued from certain destruction and Hell]

3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. [our sin makes us dirty and unworthy of fellowship with God, thus Satan’s accusations; “filthy” or tsow’ is the strongest of Hebrew terms, only used twice in the entire OT, here and in verse 4]

4 He [Yeshua, YAHWEH’s angel] spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” [Our sins are forgiven by God’s action] Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” [We have been robed with Christ’s righteousness, Isa 61:10, Gal 3:27]

5 Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban [Exodus 28:36-38 says the high priest was to wear a turban with a gold seal engraved with “Holy to YAHWEH”; Eph 6:17 says we are to put on the “helmet of salvation”] on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments [Joshua is given a positive righteousness. Being clothed by God in righteousness runs from Genesis (Genesis 3:7 and 3:21) to Revelation (Revelation 7:13-14)], while the angel of the Lord was standing by.

6 And the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access [Paul tells us “through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father” in Ephesians 2:18] among these who are standing here. [Similar to the admonishment given to the first Joshua in Joshua 1:7.  YAHWEH promised Joshua privileged access into the presence of God, not a surprising promise for a High Priest, but we too can enter YAHWEH’s presence: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” Hebrews 4:16]

8 Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol, [or “a sign” – they represent the free access we have to YAHWEH through His provision, the Messiah, just as Joshua was given clean clothes] for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch [A messianic reference, see Isaiah 4:2 and 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15; Jesus used similar imagery when He said “I am the vine and you are the branches”, John 15:5].

9 For behold, the stone [we are told in Isa 28:16 that YAHWEH has laid in Zion “a precious cornerstone” and in Psm 118:22 that “the stone rejected by the builders has become the very cornerstone”–Christ Jesus is the cornerstone rejected by the builders, national Israel] that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. [seven is the perfect number, representative of God and the eyes represent God’s omniscience; the stone is YAHWEH Himself] Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ [Zion/the people of God are inscribed on the palms of YAHWEH’s hands, Isa 49:16; Yeshua is the visible manifestation of God and was crucified with nails in His hands; per Jn 20:27 He still bears the scars after resurrection]  declares the Lord of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day’ [when Yeshua died He paid in full for the sins of the world on the day of Passover, the first of the 7 Leviticus 23 Feasts].

10 ‘In that day,’ [the day that iniquity is removed and all the days that follow] declares the Lord of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.’” [proverbial expression that means prosperity and peace specifically under the Messiah–we are experiencing the “first fruits” now, but the full experience will occur during His millennial reign]

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Allah, Allah, all come free (of Allah!!) “Inside the Kaaba with David Wood a Message to all Muslims” on YouTube

December 8, 2013


Revelation 6:5-6

June 17, 2011

The Third Seal—the Rider on the Black Horse

In the first two verses of  Chapter 6, the first seal was broken by the Lamb, Yeshua, revealing the rider on the white horse—this represents the Roman Empire’s present-day (for John) high water mark, which crested in the 2nd Century with Emperors such as Hadrian, Pius and Commodus.  The second seal unveiled the red horse, representing war and bloodshed—beginning in 193 AD there was almost incessant civil war, with 32 different Emperors in a 90 year span.  The Empire was falling apart and losing territory.  By 222 AD, rampant inflation and its terrifying companion famine were becoming common.  This is the era of the black horse…

5 When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.

When He broke—each time Yeshua initiates the process; John is again invited by the living creature to see the result.

Third living creature—third of four, stationed around the throne of the Father.  These are described earlier in Revelation; check back for an upcoming commentary on Chapter 4.

A black horse—Black, the absence of life, joy, light; the “color” of hopelessness.  Job bemoans the day of his birth in Job 3:5: Let darkness and black gloom claim it; Let a cloud settle on it; Let the blackness of the day terrify it.  Black speaks of terror, the unknown.

And he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand—The ancient form of measurement that compared objects of known mass with items to be weighed, by means of balancing them.  Balances were shown on Roman coins; this was a statement of fairness & equality.

6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

Something like a voice—John finds it difficult to exactly describe God’s voice.

In the center of the four living creatures—the Being at the center was identified in Revelation Chapter 4 as “Creator God” (v11).

A quart of wheat for a denarius—The denarius, a small silver coin, was the main coin of the Roman Empire until about 250-275 AD, around the first years of Diocletian.  A quart of wheat is about the amount needed to sustain one person for a day; likewise “three quarts of barley” could also sustain a single person, but it is inferior in taste and nutrition.  This equation then begs the question “In what year was a quart of wheat worth one denarius?”  We know when that wasn’t—the 1st Century cost (time of Jesus/John) of one quart of wheat was 1/8 of a denarius, and a typical day’s wage was about a denarius.  So John is saying, at some point in the future, after 800% inflation, food will cost 8 times what it costs you now.  Basically it will take your entire day’s wage just to eat!

This “1 denarius” price of 1 quart of wheat or 3 quarts of barley occurred during Severus Alexander’s reign from 222-235, identifying this era as the time this Seal predicts.  The denarius, though historically still in use, has almost no value by the end of the Third Century.  People were suffering economically on a widespread basis; Pax Romana was long gone.  Taxes were levied on the food items mentioned—wheat, barley, oil and wine, the prices climbed higher and higher. Agriculture was failing in various districts. The Roman armies were feeding and preying on people.  Injustice and bribery was common.

Do not damage the oil and the wine—basically, don’t touch the good stuff, or probably more accurately, the economic bottom is going to drop out and very few are going to be able to enjoy the good life; it will be out of reach, “undamageable”.

While there was famine in the mid-3rd Century, the overall sense being communicated in these verses is one of decline in the standard of living and loss of buying power (inflation); these verses picture a waning empire that lacked the confidence of the “white horse” years. Three of the four horseman have ridden out; only one remains.


Revelation 6:3-4

June 6, 2011

The Second Seal—the Rider on the Red Horse

This post will discuss Revelation Chapter 6:3-4.  In the first two verses of the chapter, the first seal was broken by the Lamb, Yeshua, revealing the rider on the white horse representing the Roman Empire’s present-day (for John) high water mark, which soon began to wane and unravel.  Picking it up in the third verse we see that a pattern emerges, first found in verse 1 and is repeated in verses 5 and 7—Yeshua breaks a seal and then one of the four living creatures invite John to “Come”:

3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.”

When He broke—each time Yeshua initiates the process; John is then invited by the living creature to see the result.

Second living creature—second of four, stationed around the throne of the Father.  To be covered in an upcoming commentary on Chapter 4.

4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.

A red horse—representing the next phase of the Roman Empire, the era of bloody conflict.  Red in the Bible represents struggle, warfare and murder.  The first occurrence of the word is used to describe Esau, a hunter, at his birth in Genesis 25.  The violence of shed blood shows up in Genesis 4 with the killing of Abel by Cain. 

It was granted to take peace from the earth—After the crest of its influence and territory in 116 A.D., the Empire began its slow decline.  In 180 A.D. the youthful Commodus succeeded his father Marcus during an era of unprecedented peace; there was no potential competitors to remove nor enemies to punish; he was elevated to the imperial throne at the acclamation of both the Senate and the Army. The barbarians had been granted an honorable peace, resulting in near universal joy.  This was all soon to end.

Men would slay one another—Emperor Commodus was assassinated in 193 A.D., beginning an era of almost incessant bloodshed and war lasting from 193-284 A.D.  During this period there were 32 Emperors, with constant civil war.

A great sword was given to him—the sword was the symbol of Imperial power and authority. Emperors would present swords to head of praetorian guards/governors (See Romans 13:4: “Governors bear swords not in vain”). There were power struggles that literally began tearing the Empire apart.

The four horseman are symbolic, not literal—these weren’t/aren’t four actual beings, angelic or demonic, riding white, red, black and green horses across the Earth.  They are representative of the slow motion collapse of the great power of John’s day—the Roman Empire.  Eventually this Empire will die, only to be insidiously reborn in an image of its former glory, this time in religious garb.


Zechariah 2:1-13

June 3, 2011

Yeshua’s Prophesied Return

Let’s examine this intriguing passage, which I believe is an “End Times” and a “Beginning of the Millennium” prophecy due to the presence of numerous clues…

 

1 Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man with a measuring line in his hand.

Then I…–Zechariah

A man–actually an angel; see verse 3.

A measuring line–for purposes of evaluation–the size, proportions, maturity, development…of Jerusalem; see verse 2.

2 So I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see how wide it is and how long it is.”  3 And behold, the angel who was speaking with me was going out, and another angel was coming out to meet him, 4 and said to him, “Run, speak to that young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it.

Without walls–the people who dwell therein will be safe and have no need of protection; see verse 5.

Multitude of men–an uncountable amount.  This is a description of the “New Jerusalem”, which is the ekklesia, the ‘called out ones’, translated “church” in English.

And cattle–this is symbolic of wealth and the lack of nothing.

5 For I,’ declares the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”

I will be the glory in her midst–Yeshua will illuminate the city, His people.  This is similar to Rev 21:23:  And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it.

6 “Ho there! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the LORD, “for I have dispersed you as the four winds of the heavens,” declares the LORD.

Flee from the land of the north–A command to national Israel. Its possible “the land of the north” refers to Russia/former Soviet Union, since about a million Jews in Israel emigrated from there.

For I have dispersed you as the four winds of the heavens–Besides “the north” giving up Jews, this verse explains that they’ve been scattered around the world–>four winds = every direction.  And notice God claims credit: “I have dispersed you.”

7 “Ho, Zion! Escape, you who are living with the daughter of Babylon.”

The daughter of Babylon–not actually the literal city of Babylon, but its descendant, both spiritually and geographically, the Arabs and Islam.  Many Jews have fled these nations in the last 60-80 years around the time of the re-formation of national Israel.

8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.

For thus says the LORD of hosts–this is preincarnate Yeshua speaking; He goes on to say He is sent by God, a problematic verse for a Unitarian Jew.

He has sent Me–this another example of “God sending God”, or the Trinitarian God in action.

After glory–i.e., after Yeshua has been resurrected and glorified, so this can’t be fulfilled in inter-testamental times.

He has sent me against the nations which plunder you–as seen in other passages such as Isaiah 63 and Zechariah 14, Yeshua comes to the rescue of His people Israel.

9 For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me.

They will be plunder for their slaves–the tables will be turned on the oppressors of Israel; the surrounding nations, all currently dominated by Islam.

The LORD of hosts has sent Me–the Messiah, the Deliverer–Yeshua.   Another problematic “God being sent by God” verse, unless you believe in a Triune God.

10 Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD.

I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD–this is not figurative; the only way for God to come literally is with a body, which the Father does not and will never have, but which Yeshua the Son currently has and will have for eternity.  Yeshua comes to literally, physically reign over Israel (and the world) from Jerusalem.

11 “Many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.

Many nations will join themselves to the LORD in that day–Here we have evidence that nations other than national Israel will “join themselves to the LORD (YHWH)”.

And will become My people–They literally become God’s “My people”.  This is a stunning revelation in the OT referring to the ekklesia.

12 The LORD will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.

The LORD will possess Judahchoose JerusalemYeshua will reign from Judah, His tribe, and Jerusalem, the City of God.

13 “Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”

He is aroused from His Holy habitation–Yeshua leaving Heaven for Earth to initiate judgment and his reign.


Revelation 6:1-2

May 17, 2011

The First Seal—the Rider on the White Horse

This post will cover the first two verses of Revelation Chapter 6.

The Historicist approach to interpretation of Revelation, under which my eschatological view falls, tries to faithfully follow the dual instructions of first verse of Revelation, verse 1:1—it tells us that the book concerns “things which must soon take place” and that they were “signified” (KJV, NKJV) to John.  The word “signified” in Greek is Strong’s G4591 σημαίνω sēmainō, which generally means “to signify or indicate by means of a sign”, in other words John saysDon’t take this literally!’  So we have in the first verse of the book two very important instructions on how to interpret it:

1.  It will happen soon, not thousands of years in the future.  We’re not waiting for a future, 7 year Great Tribulation.  Contrast that with Daniel 12:4, where Daniel was told to “seal up the book until the end of time” and that “many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase”—this seems clearly to indicate the very end of the Age, which many (including me) believe we are approaching quickly.

2.  What is to occur will be described in signs or symbols, not literally.  So a ‘beast arising from the sea’, for instance, isn’t ‘Godzilla climbing out of Tokyo Bay.’  Most people get that one, but not many of the other symbols in the book—they want ‘stars’ to be literal stars, and so on.  So unless there is clear evidence that what is written is meant to be literal, it must be interpreted symbolically.

 So keeping John’s instructions in mind, let’s dive into one of the most exciting portions of the book that describes the unrolling of the Seals, the blowing of the Trumpets, and the Bowls being poured forth on the Earth.

1 Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.”

The Lamb broke—remember it is Yeshua who is in complete control.  He is called the Lamb, not because he is literally a sheep (Ovis aries), but he was given by God to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

Seven seals—the first on an outer scroll, with another one inside, and a third inside of that; see comments on 5:1.

Four living creatures—to be covered in an upcoming commentary on Chapter 4.

2 I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

I looked—we need to actively take part in what God is revealing to us; don’t wait for God to tap us on the shoulder!

A white horse—the first four seals reveal four horses of different colors.  Horses represent strength, and in the Bible are used in the context of battle and martial authority and power, appearing 150 times.   Job 39:19-25  includes the following description of a horse: “…he rejoices in his strength…is not frightened…smells the battle from afar.”  White—this color is used both positively and negatively in the Bible; while it can represent purity and holiness (Ecc 9:8), it can also be a color associated with leprosy and a land stripped bare by an enemy (Lev 13:3, Joel 1:7).  Since the rider “went out conquering” and his equipment includes a bow (a weapon of war), we should deduce a negative meaning here.

He who sat on it had a bow—an allusion to battle; a purely offensive weapon.  It is a tool of God’s judgment.  Job complains “His archers surround me. He pierces my heart and does not pity…” (Job 16:13)  The sword represents the word of God (Heb 4:12) whereas the bow is used mostly in a human context, and battle (2 Sam 22:35).  A Roman coin shows Aurelius the Emperor circa 170 AD riding a horse riding to battle.

A crown was given to him—the word “crown” is Strong’s G4735 στέφανος stephanos, meaning a wreath or encircling garland for the head; a crown or reward.  They were worn by, among others, Olympic game winners, the Spartans as they went into battle and the Roman Emperor, as seen engraved on coins of that day.  This seems further to identify this rider with the political and military scene.

He went out conquering and to conquer—again descriptive of the warring nature of this rider.  Since this is the first of the series of revelations given to John, and since they were to “soon take place”, it is reasonable to look at the current events of his day, or shortly thereafter, for a fulfillment of this prophecy.  In doing so it has usually gone one of two ways—interpreting this as symbolic of the early victories of the church and its exponential growth around the Empire or as the zenith of the Roman Empire’s success; I believe it is the latter, for several reasons:

  1. All the other horses (Red, Black and Pale Green), and for that matter the remainder of the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls, represent negative developments; it would be out of place to insert a positive interpretation for this one.
  2. The other ‘rider on a white horse’ in Revelation is clearly Jesus:  “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.” (Rev 19:11).  The first white horse represents a false & temporary worldly victory, in contrast to what the last rider brings.
  3. The cavalry/crown/bow allusion is to physical battle and political victory, not to spiritual inroads being made. Jesus describes “wars & rumors of wars” in Matt 24:6, early in the chapter that goes on to predict the downfall of Jerusalem and the temple, but it is “not yet the end.”

Some have described the high point of the Roman Empire as the reign of Nerva and his selection of Trajan in the late 90’s, just after the completion of the writing of Revelation by John.  In 116 A.D., the Roman Empire was at its greatest territorial extent.  From that point on, it began slowly to lose territory and influence.  So John very accurately describes the Rider on the White horse in victorious terms.

–  –  –  –  –

What makes Historicism a particularly difficult interpretational framework is that it necessitates some understanding of long-gone battles, politics, peoples, systems, religions—it is not user friendly in our frame-a-second, flashing, visual world.  It requires significant research and reading, something that almost no one has time for nor the inclination to do.

Another aspect to the Historicist method that one soon encounters is that the symbols can be interpreted and attributed an almost infinite amount of ways.  It’s much simpler to envision a final, 3-1/2 or 7 year future conflagration of literal scorpions and stars falling into the water, making them bitter.  There are, however, some major events that many of the prophecies foresee; these common and relatively solid interpretations will be laid out in subsequent posts.


Revelation 5

May 12, 2011

Here begins the three series of divine judgments, each broken into seven “doses”, on humanity prior to the return of Yeshua. The judgments seem to increase in severity through time; apparently the judgments begin shortly after the writing of Revelation per the first verse of the book which states that it was given to show “the things which must soon take place.”

1 I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals.

The right hand—representing strength and authority; the Father does not have a literal “right hand,” since He is a Spirit (John 4:24).

Him who sat on the throne—God the Father, the “first” person of the Trinity, first in role, not in importance.

A book…sealed up with seven seals—A small book or more likely a scroll (biblion), sealed inside a scroll, sealed inside a scroll…

2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?”

Who is worthy—a rhetorical question to those in Heaven, since Yeshua had triumphed over the enemy on the cross, but quite impactful to John, who was observing the Heavenly proceedings (4:1)

3-5 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it, and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

Elders—24 in number, most likely angelic, although not specified (4:10)

The lion…from the tribe of Judah—Jesus was of the tribe of Judah; this phrase references Gen 49:8-10, where it is prophesied that the rule and the kingly scepter shall remain with Judah, resulting in obedience from all the peoples.

Root of David—Not only is Jesus the offspring of David, but also the root from which he springs! (See also 22:16)

Has overcome—by virtue of his victory over sin and death

6 And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.

Lamb standing—Yeshua, the Lamb of God; He was standing, since He is a now a man, forever.

Seven horns and seven eyes—Seven represents Divine perfection; horns represent authority and eyes the ability to see; so Yeshua has perfect authority (omnipotence) and perfect vision (omniscience).

Seven Spirits of God—see the previous explanation—Yeshua is all-knowing and all-present, but in Spirit form. The NASB capitalizes the word “Spirits”, although capitalization does not exist in Greek. The word “spirit” (pneuma) is used as a general designation, both for man’s spirit and God’s spirit. So the sense here is nothing escapes Yeshua, as Eternal God Himself.

7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

And He came and took the bookYeshua took the book

Out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne—The Father “sits” on the throne

8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Fell down before the Lamb—The living creatures and elders deem Yeshua the Lamb worthy of worship, in Heaven; he is coequal with God

Each one holding a harp—a musical instrument, for worship

And golden bowls full of incense—the prayers of the saints. This verse is the basis of the harp & bowl style of prayer & worship, popularized by International House of Prayer, for one.

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

They sang a new song—even in Heaven “new” songs are being invented

Men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation—through all time, all continents, all “races”, though the Bible doens’t recognizes “races”, except for the human race.

10″You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

They will reign upon the earth—the Ekklesia will function as representatives of the government of Yeshua when it is established on Earth in the coming Age.

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” 13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” 14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen ” And the elders fell down and worshiped.


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