The Shape of Things to Come

MEMORY VERSE: “They shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” —Zechariah 13:9

ZECHARIAH 8:1-8, 11-13

ANCIENT Zion was “capitol hill” in Jerusalem during the time the ancient kings of Judah ruled. Because of this the people of Israel looked to Jerusalem and Zion as the center of God’s rulership over them. And because of this the Lord uses Jerusalem and Zion as symbols of the rulership of the messianic kingdom. Concerning the time of that kingdom the Prophet Micah wrote, “Many nations shall come and say, 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, anti we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”—Micah 4:2

It could well be that it is this symbolic Jerusalem and Zion that is referred to in verse 3 of our lesson: “Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.”

In the preceding verse the Lord says concerning the ancient and literal Zion, “I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.” God did favor his people whom he ruled from Zion, and blessed them richly when they were obedient to him. But because of their disobedience his fury ultimately came upon them, and the city was destroyed, and they were taken captive into Babylon. Zechariah’s message to the Israelites was delivered following the end of this captivity; and through him the Lord foretells the establishment of a more wonderful Jerusalem and Zion.

Verses 4 and 5 read, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; there shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.” Actually, as the kingdom progresses, the willing and obedient of the people will gradually be restored to perfection, and feebleness in old age shall be no more. However, in keeping with present human experience this part of the prophecy conveys clearly the thought of peace and security under the blessing of the Lord.

Verses 7 and 8 read: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country. And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.” This language conveys a much larger thought than merely the return from captivity in Babylon, for then the close relationship with the Lord’ here described did not come about. This relationship is described beautifully in our memory verse.

Verse 13 is a revealing one, showing again that this prophecy is a long-range one, portraying the restoration of the Israelites to their land, and God’s blessings upon them during the time of the future messianic kingdom. We quote: “And it shall come to pass, that as ye were ‘a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.”—vs. 13

God’s promises are seldom, if ever, unconditional. In order for the Israelites in the future Millennial Age to be a blessing to their neighbors it will be necessary for them to comply with certain conditions which are set forth three verses later in the chapter: “These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: and let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all these are the things I hate, saith the Lord.”

Any group of people, who in the kingdom measure up to this high standard of righteousness will automatically be a blessing to those with whom they come into contact. While the laws of the kingdom will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, all who become obedient to those laws—both Jews and Gentiles—will have the privilege of co-operating. “Whosoever will” may then “take the water freely.”—Rev. 22:17


What is symbolized by “Zion” and “Jerusalem”?

Upon what conditions may any share in dispensing kingdom blessings?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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