Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Four Horns and Four Carpenters

Chapter Four
The Four Horns and Four Carpenters

In Zechariah 1:18, Zechariah is given a vision of “four horns.”  We know from Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 17:12 that these are four of ten Gentile kings.  We must understand that God’s resistance of these kings is His resistance against satanic globalism.  This satanic globalism, in its many attempts, opposes God’s divine dominion.  God’s divine dominion will be established through the restored nation of Israel and His promised Messiah fulfilled in the incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, glorification, and second coming to establish God’s one world Kingdom on Earth.  Therefore, a major aspect of satanic globalism is the destruction of the nation of Israel by scattering the Jews around the world.  Gentile globalism is predominantly Anti-Semitic characterized by extreme hostility towards Jews and the support of the nation of Israel.  Therefore, Antisemitism is a predominant characteristic of Antichristism.   The promise of the vision of Zechariah 1:18-21 is that although Satan will succeed for a short time, ultimately Satan’s plan will fail.

     At the time of Zechariah’s prophecy only two of these four horns had come into power; Babylon and Medo-Persia.  Graeco-Macedonia Empire would succeed the Medo-Persia Empire as Zechariah 9:13 foretells.  The Roman Empire would be the fourth and last as spoken of in Daniel chapters two and seven.  The Roman Empire will be revived as the one-world Antichrist government of the seven-year Tribulation period. 

18 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. 19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. 20 And the LORD shewed me four carpenters. 21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these {the four carpenters} are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it” (Zechariah 1:18-21).

          These “four horns” are described as “the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:21).  God was giving hope to the faithful remnant of Israel through prophecies like this.  Although there was going be centuries where Israel would remain scattered, the promise of God is that He would restore and revive the nation of Israel one day in the distant future.  For people who see the consequences of their faithfulness beyond themselves into their future generation, these prophecies were a great encouragement. 

          What we see in these prophecies of Zechariah, given to the faithful remnant of Israel, gives us great insight into understanding God’s empathy for the faithful within the nation of Israel.  God gives these prophecies to the faithful remnant while they are in the middle of the crisis of chastisement for the failures of the unfaithful in the nation of Israel.  God gives these prophecies because the faithful must never forget that the unfaithful are a major responsibility of their prayer life and their ministry in preserving the Word of God through teaching.  In other words, even though God was not going to restore and revive the nation of Israel for thousands of years, there was something every faithful person in every generation could do.  They could be faithful, and they could try to persuade the unfaithful to become faithful.  We have a very similar message to the Jews professing faith in Christ during the Church Age in the epistle to the Hebrews.

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one {Abraham}, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city {New Jerusalem}” (Hebrews 11:8-16).

          Every generation of faithful believers must be able to see all the difficulties and impossibilities of life in the light of faith in God’s eternal promises.  They may have no control over the circumstances of the governments and wickedness of the people with which they must share this planet, but they can maintain a faith vision that sees past it all so as to keep their hope in God’s promises.  This is the testimony of the faithful recorded by God in Hebrews chapter eleven.  Faithfulness remains faithful because these people shared an eternal hope that transcended the temporal difficulties of their lives.  This does not mean that these people did not struggle with occasional bad choices within the difficulties of their lives, but that God saw their faithfulness within those struggles and counted them faithful. 

          The faithful remnant had to maintain a spiritual perspective of the work they were sent back to Jerusalem to do.  The Temple upon which they were making reparations was merely symbolic, or typical, of an ongoing and constant need of spiritual revival in their own lives and in the lives of every generation that would follow them.  The Temple upon which they worked to restore, repair, and rebuild was just a building made with stones.  God wanted them to see that the real temple they were building to His glory was the recovery of lost souls and the lives of people who had lost hope in God’s eternal promises.  It is easy to get lost and discouraged when we are blind to the spiritual and preoccupied with the daily routine of just working at surviving in the middle of the temporal.  It is a difficulty every person faces; especially the faithful.  It becomes easy to forget God and just give up on spiritual goals.  The satanic influences of this world, the curse upon this world, and the worldly people we seek to win to Christ entice sinners with promises of momentary pleasures.  They do this while mocking the things the faithful hold precious.

          The prophecy of the “four horns” of four coming world powers that would dominate, control, and scatter Israel for thousands of years was not a prophecy to discourage, although it might be discouraging.  It is not discouraging because God does not end with just telling them the bad news.  God gives them good news with the bad news.  God is going to raise up “four carpenters,” one for every “horn.” 

The prophecy of the “four carpenters” is God telling His remnant that they are just one of many generations of repairers, restorers, and rebuilders.  God is telling His faithful remnant, to which Zechariah prophesied, that God was going to maintain a faithful remnant under every one of these world powers.  God’s maintenance of the remnant is God’s working with them to recover and restore souls.  The faithful remnant was not abandoned by God as the circumstances made it appear.  However, abandonment is how the forces of evil want the faithful remnant to see their circumstances. 

     God is working through His Spirit anointed and Spirit-filled redeemed people.  God will not over-ride His gift of the free-will given to humanity.  God uses the faithful remnant to persuade those lost in the darkness of unbelief or within the numerous corruptions of false doctrines and idolatry.  We cannot blame God for the ever-increasing growth of iniquity in the world when the professing faithful remnant is increasingly being seduced into worldliness.  This is what Paul addresses in Romans chapter ten in his second of three chapters addressed to national Israel.  Any one and everyone can be saved according to Romans 10:13. However, the problem is not with God’s provision and offering of the gift of salvation.  The problem is with the silence of the redeemed regarding the message of Gospel of Jesus Christ.  “Whosoever” could be saved, but the “whosoever” needed to be told they could be saved and how to be saved (Romans 10:1-17). 

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:13-17).

God uses the faithful redeemed to persuade and convince the lost and the unfaithful of righteousness and His judgment of unrighteousness.  This goes on in the Church and in the world.  This persuasion is the substance of preaching, teaching, and evangelism.  Paul’s epistles to the Church at Corinth exemplify the careful art of persuasion.  The Church at Corinth was a particularly carnal bunch.  They had professed faith in Christ, but were integrating their previous worldly and idolatrous practices and lifestyles in with their Christianity.  Paul’s emphasis in his persuading arguments to them was that what they were presenting to their world as Christianity was not Christianity at all.  Paul admonishes these believers in one of the most remarkable chapters of Scripture in the Bible.

1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God {our motives; Paul was being accused of men-pleasing and of trying to win the following of people for his own personal gain}; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. 12 For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. 13 For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (II Corinthians 5:1-15).

     The faithful remnant’s maintaining of an eternal perspective in life will always be one of the greatest difficulties in the Christian life.  The world is no friend to maintaining this perspective of time in the midst of eternity.  The very people to whom the faithful remnant ministers will be the faithful remnant’s most discouraging foes.  The faithful must always remember that their responsibility is to be faithfully and lovingly persuasive.  Peter addressed this problem in his second epistle as does Jude in his epistle.  Notice that each call believers to remember

1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days {the Church Age} scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? {maintain a Biblical and eternal perspective of reality} 13 Nevertheless we {the faithful}, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things {the faith perspective of life}, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (II Peter 3:1-18).

          Zechariah 1:21 says, “these {the ‘four carpenters’} are come to fray them, to cast out the horns {the dominating world empires} of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.”  The word “carpenters” is from the Hebrew word charash (khaw-rawsh’).  The word refers to a skilled carver in wood or skilled engraver in stone.  The intent is that skilled craftsmen enabled of God shape the lives of individuals thereby rescuing those individuals from the pending and inevitable judgment of God.  The world will not be changed! 

     The word “fray” in Zechariah 1:21 is from the Hebrew word charad (khaw-rad’).  This word means to shudder with terror or to hasten with fearful anxiety.  As the faithful minister to individuals in the world, they must be careful not to eliminate the warnings of God’s pending judgment.  This is the foolishness of giving the good news of God’s gift of salvation without warning people with the bad news of God inevitable and eternal judgment upon the lost.  This is Jude’s reminder to believers in his epistle. 

15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all {to fully convict of their pending punishment} that are ungodly {irreverent and therefore wicked} among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches {harsh and severe comments that are blasphemous towards God and His redeemed}, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling {overloaded} words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. 17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. 19 These be they who separate {disjoin by creating factions and sects} themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, 25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:15-25).

       That God has entrusted the preservation and propagation of His truth from generation to generation to His faithful redeemed is a reality that should overwhelm our senses with both gratitude and responsibility.  Many professing Christians spend their lifetimes trying not to offend anyone.  They do not share their understanding of the Bible because of fear of offending people.  They finally discover at the end of their lives that they have been unfaithful to their primary purpose in life – confronting the world with eternal realities of God’s judgment and the provisions of His grace in Christ Jesus.

     Francis Schaeffer made an excellent comment about the moral obligation of faithful believers confronting error and apostasy in his appendix to his book What Difference Does Inerrancy Make? He says:

“When [one] come[s] to the central things of doctrine, including maintaining the Bible’s emphasis that it is without mistake, and the central things of life, then something must be considered.  Truth carries with it confrontation.  Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless.  If [one’s] reflex action is always accommodation regardless of the centrality of the truth involved, there’s something wrong.

22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:22-26).

Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Defining the Church

Defining the Church

         There is almost complete ignorance by most professing Christians of what God’s Word teaches about the Church (Ecclesiology).  Most professing Christians have simply accepted what they have been wrongly taught because they have believed in the authority and expertise of their pastors and priests.  These pastors and priests, in most cases, have never looked beyond what their denominations have taught them. 

          When Christ says to Peter, “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” what is He saying?  The translation is somewhat misleading.  Jesus is actually saying, “thou art Petros (pet’-ros; literally a piece of rock), and upon this Rock (the foundational truth of Peter’s proclamation of faith that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God”) I will build my church.”  The very first criterion for constituting a local church is that every member must be examined to ensure he has this same testimony of faith in Christ before he is added to the church.  Embodied in Peter’s testimony that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” is all the Scriptural testimonies of what “the Christ” (Messiah) was prophesied to do, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Faith in what the Bible teaches about Who Jesus is and what He was incarnated to do is the foundational truth necessary for acceptance into the membership any local church. 

Apart from the reality of Jesus being “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” the work of redemption could not have been completed, God could not have been propitiated, and justification “by grace through faith” could not have been offered.  From this proclamation of faith and upon this foundational “Rock,” Jesus would begin to build His church one living stone at a time.

4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (I Peter 2:4-8).

          When we read the Epistles of the New Testament Scriptures, we can clearly see that they are addressed to the Church.  However, is this Church some ambiguous entity without geographical boundaries or theological definitiveness?  Is this Church universal and international in scope and governance?  Is the Church a hierarchal and Theonomic institution intent upon ruling over nations and kings establishing and dictating moral Law to the people of the world?  Does this Church hold the “keys of the Kingdom,” determining who can be saved and who will go to Hell?  According to the teaching of Scripture, we must answer each of these questions with a resounding - No! 

          For what purpose does the Church exist and how is it to be governed and administrated?  Every local church is a gift from God and a “holy priesthood” of every believer (I Peter 2:5).  Therefore, every local church as a “holy priesthood” is governed by our Great High Priest Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the “chief Shepherd” (I Peter 5:4).  Jesus governs every local church by gifting local churches with pastors to teach, guide, and administrate the individuals that constitute the ministering priesthood of believers united with that local assembly.  This Biblical and Dispensational definition of the Church helps us answer all questions about why God has established local churches.  The epistle of Paul to the Ephesians is the Magna Carta for teaching the administration of the priesthood of all believers in every local church. 

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16).

          How we answer these questions about the purpose and administration of local churches is singularly important to our worldview and establishing God’s purpose for believers in the world.  Our answer to these questions will also define how believers are to be trained to fulfill that purpose, how believers are to be administrated in their ministry to one another and to the world, and how accountability to God, His truth, one another, and moral culpability is to be administrated.  Therefore, every believer needs a doctrinally sound local church.  Finding a doctrinally sound local church is the great difficulty. 

          When we read of “the church” in the New Testament Scriptures, its use is directed to all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ living after the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-3).  The term “church” cannot be divorced from a dispensational transition from the Dispensation of the Law (Mosaic Covenant) to the Dispensation of the Church Age (commonly referred to as the Age of Grace or New Covenant).  Although Jesus began building His church with the Apostles, the Church was not ordained into existence until the coming of the promised Parakletos (Holy Spirit).  This historical event of the coming of the promised Parakletos marks the beginning of the Church Age. 

The Church is a living organism built upon the foundation living Rock of Jesus being “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  The Church is a building of “living stones” built upon the Rock of the life-giving Stone, Jesus Christ.  These are metaphors revealing deep spiritual Truths defining what the Church is and for what purpose it is created.  Therefore, the Church is much more than an organization (although it is organized).  The Church is a living organism spiritually energized by the indwelling Holy Spirit intended to be a synergism of believers united into a working/ministry partnership with God.  These believers are united by truth {“the faith”) and enabled by the power of God in them. 

1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house {the Church collectively}, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye {the Church collectively} are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (I Peter 2:1-12).

          However, before this spiritual dynamic of the Church being a living organism, believers must be sanctified to bring glory to God.  Therefore, the teachings of the doctrine of grace (supernatural enablement of the indwelling Holy Spirit) must be taught and understood as this doctrine relates to the sanctification and then the consecration of the Priesthood of believers that makes up the living organism Christ calls His Church.
          Where then do we find the Bible’s teaching regarding the true doctrine of the Church?  Gathering all that the New Testament teaches about the doctrine of Ecclesiology must be done inductively (the sum of the parts equals the whole).  However, the epistle to the Ephesians gives us the greatest depth of teaching regarding the doctrine of the Church. 

“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:3-14).

Notice that every pronoun in chapter one referring to believers is plural.  This is evident in the KJV, but not all other English translations.  This is important in that the election (“chosen,” vs. 4) of Ephesians chapter one is the election of the Church corporately to be a new priesthood.  It is not the election of individuals to be saved.  Election is vocational, not salvational.

If we draw the rest of Scripture revelation together with the teaching of the epistle to the Ephesians, we can formulate a thorough inductive understanding of the doctrine of the Church.  A basic outline of Ecclesiology from the epistle to the Ephesians chapter one is as follows:

A. The Church is a corporation of “saints” (sanctified priests), as “born again” believers, faithful to the commands of Jesus Christ (v.1).
B. The Church is distinct from the nation of Israel and her blessings are eternal and spiritual rather than temporal and earthly (v. 3).
C. The Church is chosen corporately “in Christ,” her High Priest, as a new, spiritual Priesthood before “the foundation of the world” (i.e., not an afterthought, but a before creation thought, v. 4).
D. This whole new priesthood, that is “saved by grace through faith,” is predestined to glorification (v. 5).  This is the meaning of the word “adoption” – translated from the Greek huiothesia (hwee-oth-es-ee’-ah).  The word means the placement or position of the sons of God.  This cannot be understood apart from the placement of the “firstborn” as the typical priesthood now fulfilled in the Church as the priesthood of all believers in the “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23). 
E. This new priesthood is “accepted” (positionally sanctified and consecrated) in Christ, “the beloved” (vs. 6-9).
F. The Church is embryonically what all believers of all Ages will be in “the regeneration” in the new Heaven/Earth – a kingdom of glorified priests (vs. 10-14).
G. Paul’s prayer for the enabling power of the indwelling Christ-life of the believer’s High Priest to be realized, actuated, and released in and through the local church as the “body” of Christ (vs. 15-23). 

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

“Be ye not as your fathers”

Chapter One
“Be ye not as your fathers”

          Zechariah (B.C. 520) speaks to the remnant community of Jews that had returned to rebuild the Temple foundations in Jerusalem sixteen years earlier in B.C. 536 recorded by Ezra.  Ezra, a Zadokean priest and prophet, came to Jerusalem with the second group of exiles to restore the Law and sacrifices in B.C. 459.  Nehemiah came to be the governor of the returning remnant in B.C. 446 and to oversee the Temple reconstruction.  

These prophecies lay within the historical context of the battle against the constant barrage of worldliness engulfing and corrupting the children of Israel, even the faithful remnant.  God must continually raise up men to be His voice of revival and encouragement to the faithful remnant of each generation.  This is because each generation can grow apathetic and weary in well doing.  This drift is a historical constant that needs to constantly be addressed and corrected with every generation.  

The beginning of Zechariah’s prophecy is to the remnant that has essentially abandoned the rebuilding work for which purpose they returned.  Zechariah begins with a reminder of why they had been in captivity in the first place.  Then he gives a predominant message to this remnant.  Zechariah speaks as the voice of God (Zechariah 1:3-6).  This is a reminder to us of how easily we can slip into apathy and lethargy in the struggle for the things of God.  We can easily forget the importance of our own purity in sanctification and dedication to purpose. 

1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the {grand} son of Iddo the prophet, saying, 2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. 4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD. 5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? 6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold {overtake as in the sense of catching to capture} of your fathers? and they returned {turned back or away; i.e. repented} and said {public acknowledgement}, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us {they recognized and acknowledged that God was just in His dealings with them in the chastisement of their captivity}” (Zechariah 1:1-6). 

          “Be not as your fathers” (Zechariah 1:4) is a constant historical warning from God given to every new generation about the consistent failures of previous generations in the areas of doctrinal purity and practical sanctification.  Worldliness is really the constant erosion in the compromise of Biblical values and personal holiness to the place where the standard of Biblical normalcy is lost to a generation.  I Peter 4:7-19 to Church Age believers is a very similar message as Zechariah 1:1-6 is to the Jews as they come to the end of the Mosaic Covenant. 

When the standard of Biblical normalcy is lost to a generation, God must send a messenger to be His voice to restore that standard of Biblical normalcy to a remnant of people longing to hear from God.  These voices that speak “as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11) are often ignored, mocked, and usually greatly resisted by those who want to continue living in compromise.  Although there will be few voices to speak “as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11), there will be many voices for the ever-increasing compromising message of drift towards worldliness. 

7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 12 Beloved, think it not strange {unusual and unexpected} concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing {unusual and unexpected} happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian {which should be usual and expected}, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God {the redeemed}: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God {the Christ rejecting unredeemed}? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer {which should be usual and expected} according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (I Peter 4:7-19). 

          The statement, “But the end of all things is at hand” in I Peter 4:7 is the substance of most of the prophecies of the Bible.  These prophesies cannot be separated from God’s Abrahamic Covenant promises and establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven under the lineage of the Davidic throne of the promised Messiah Jesus.  Most of Daniel’s prophesies, Isaiah’s prophesies, Ezekiel’s prophecies, and Zechariah’s prophesies are about the restoration and salvation of the nation of Israel. 

          At the time of the writing of Peter’s first epistle, about twenty-seven years had passed since the beginning of the Church Age on the Day of Pentecost (Acts chapter two).  A new generation of Christians were coming into the ministries of the local churches around the world.  Most of the first generation of Christians had been martyred for their faithfulness to Christ.  Peter addresses what is essential in ministry if this next generation of Christians is going be faithful and produce another generation of faith Christians.  This is very similar to what is going on in the book of Zechariah.  I Peter 4:7-11 gives a spiritual recipe to avoid becoming a lukewarm local church.  In I Peter 4:7-11, we see several words that describe the overflow of the Spirit of God.  These words describe the manifestation of His indwelling power flowing through our lives.  There are seven ministry areas of the Christian life defined.  Each of these seven essentials is intimately and intricately connected to having a right working relationship with the Lord Jesus that are key to releasing His power through our lives in ministry to one another. 

1. Sobriety: from the word sophroneo (so-fron-eh’-o), meaning sound of mind or thinking.  Sound mindedness comes from thinking things through and taking into consideration all the Truths of God’s Word as they weigh upon any given subject or situation.  Sophroneo was a word that described a person who did not allow his mind to come under the influence of alcohol, which extends to any worldly influence.
2. Watch unto prayer: the word “watch” is from the word nepho (nay’-fo), meaning to abstain from wine drinking and connecting sobriety (right mindedness) with prayer (God-dependency) in power with God in all matters of life.  Contradistinctively, failure in nepho (abstaining from wine drinking or any similar worldly practice) would disconnect the believer from power with God.  Worldly desires manifest a weak mind (the opposite of a strong or sound mind).
3. Fervent charity: literally, unceasing sacrificial (parenting kind of) love for other true believers.  The idea is the willingness to make extreme sacrifices for one another, to help one another grow in grace, and to escape the shackles of our own selfishness.  The words “charity shall cover the multitude of sins” in I Peter 4:8 is a quote from Proverbs 10:12. “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”  The idea is that love is not constantly stirring up the dunghill of a fellow Christian’s past failures that have been confessed and forgiven.  Forgiveness supernaturally begins to give historical distance to human failures and sins of those forgiven. 
4. Use Hospitality: from the word philoxenos (fil-ox’-en-os), it simply means being fond of guests.  Christians ought to enjoy the company of other Christians and “use hospitality” to encourage one another.  Notice this comes with the qualifier, “one to another without grudging” (grumbling or complaining about having to do it).  Remember, “God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7).  Hospitality is expensive in both money and in time.  If love does not cost us something, we have not loved. 
5. Minister “the gift:” “gift” is from charisma and “minister” is from diakoneo (dee-ak-on-eh’-o).  In other words, God did not give us the supernatural gift of spiritual enablement (grace) to consume upon ourselves.  He has gifted us with the intent we will use that “gift” and spread it as a resource to the widest possible scale of our influence “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”  Notice, there is a stewardship involved.  Stewardship means we will be held accountable for this “manifold grace of God.”  This accountability defines the Dispensation (stewardship) of Grace.  Salvation is a gift of grace, but with it comes overwhelming spiritual responsibilities for which we are accountable to God.  God expects “fruit.”
6. Speech: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11).  The word “the” is not in the Greek text in front of the word “oracles.”  It should read, “Speak as oracles of God.”  The idea is the “thus sayeth the LORD” proclamation of the Old Testament prophets.  The idea is that you are not communicating some philosophical idea or some great thought from your own mind.  There is no option for debate or dissension when the words out of our mouths come forth “as oracles of God”.  Truth is to come forth from the mouth of the prophet of God, as if God is speaking Himself. Therefore, when you are speaking forth the Word of God, you are to do so with the authority of its Author. 
7. Ministry to the glory of God: “if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (I Peter 4:11b).  We often hear the word charismatic used to describe people who can attract large crowds.  They are like fly paper.  The fly was just looking for a place to land to get something to eat and then he found himself stuck.  This kind of farcical nonsense is not “ministry to the glory of God.”  If people are not part of a local church primarily because they love Truth, and because they are being taught the Truth, they are there for wrong reasons. 

The word “end” in I Peter 4:7 is from the Greek word telos (tel’-os).  This word refers to the point aimed at as a limit or the point of termination.  The Church Age Dispensation is the next to the last age of God’s longsuffering grace upon this fallen creation.  Then comes the “day of wrath” that Paul speaks of in Romans 2:5: “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God . . .” This is the future horizon of which all Church Age believers must be constantly reminded.  We must keep this prophecy as part of today’s possible realities. 

“Be not as your fathers” (Zechariah 1:4)

          Why does God care about the nation of Israel and the people known as Jews?  Scripture clearly states that God is not a “respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34).  God cares about the nation of Israel because He made a promise to Abraham.  God must fulfil that promise or disgrace Himself before men.  The nation of Israel was unfaithful to God and refused to keep the covenant by which they agreed to live before God.  Numerous previous generations of Jews refused to keep the statutes and judgments of God.  

Every faithful Jew recognized and understood the failures of the Jewish “fathers.”  “Be not as your fathers” is a statement that presumes the faithful remnant understood and recognized the failures of their previous generations.  There is no debate going on with God about degrees of failure or definitions of failure.  God has spoken through chastisement and bringing Israel into captivity.  Therefore, the admonition and warning of the words “be not as your fathers” carries the potential for continued captivity and chastisement if this generation too lets things slip.  This is true of every generation of faithful believers. 

          Ezekiel, who begins to prophecy in B.C.595, seventy-five years before Zechariah, was taken into captivity shortly after of the deportation of Jews to Babylon.  Daniel was part of the first deportation.  Ezekiel 36:16-24 gives a detailed explanation of why Israel was taken in chastisement into captivity.  The text also explains why God will restore the nation of Israel even though they deserved what they received.  We must remember that there is extreme accountability to God when calling ourselves the children of God. 

16 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman. 18 Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: 19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. 20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land. 21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:16-24).

“Be not as your fathers” (Zechariah 1:4)

          These five words may form the saddest testimony in the Bible.  These five words are the testimony of God about the influence of generations of unfaithful men upon their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and on Ad Infinitum.  Generation after generation was infected with corruption and compromise by the spiritually impotent fathers.  These were men, if we dare give them the honor of calling them men, who lived for themselves and their own carnal desires.  They gave no concern to the fact they were giving their sons and daughters permission to live just like they lived.  Can we even imagine God having to step in to our family history and say to a generation, “Be not as your fathers”?  

          There have been too many sons to which it was necessary for me to utter these words, “Be not as your father.”  There have been times I would have liked to set down with the fathers of young men I have visited in prison or jail and just tell them off.  I would like to ask those fathers if they ever even thought of the model of manhood they were establishing for their sons.  I have done this on occasion.  However, I also know that selfish people seldom hear criticisms about their selfishness because they are basically cowards.  It takes courage to face failures and admit to the consequences those failures have caused.  These cowards live behind a mask of manhood.  They are despicable degenerates with no conscience of right and wrong.  They are so much in love with themselves they have no room for consideration of others; certainly not their wives or children.  They give lip service to love but live the life of selfishness.
          We have a whole generation of young girls growing up to live in a desperate search for love because they have never known the love of their fathers.  They will quickly drift into promiscuity confusing sex with affection and attention for love.  We have a whole generation of young men who are growing up without any model of what it means to take care of and support a family.  God says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (I Timothy 5:8).  Being a father is not the same as my baby’s daddy.  You will teach your children how to live by the way you live.  Fathers who live in obeisance to their own selfishness will sacrifice the lives of their children to the idols of their heart.  

          What were the failures to which God calls a new faithful generation to remember in the words, “Be not as your fathers”?  Most of these failures can be found in the Book of Judges.  They failures continue today within Christ professing homes.  These continuing failures fall into three categories.

1. Compromise - Failure to possess the Land of Promise (Judges 1:1-2:5)
2. Conflagration of values- Failure to maintain a godly heritage (Judges 2:6-10)
3. Confusion of beliefs - Failure to maintain purity of worship (Judges 2:11-13 and 16-19)

COMPROMISE: Failure to possess the Land of Promise (Judges 1:21-2:5)

21 And the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem unto this day. 22 And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel: and the LORD was with them. 23 And the house of Joseph sent to descry Bethel. (Now the name of the city before was Luz.) 24 And the spies saw a man come forth out of the city, and they said unto him, Shew us, we pray thee, the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy. 25 And when he shewed them the entrance into the city, they smote the city with the edge of the sword; but they let go the man and all his family. 26 And the man went into the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called the name thereof Luz: which is the name thereof unto this day. 27 Neither did Manasseh drive out the inhabitants of Bethshean and her towns, nor Taanach and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and her towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and her towns: but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. 28 And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them out. 29 Neither did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. 30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became tributaries {they took them as slaves/servants seeing these people as a resource workforce}. 31 Neither did Asher drive out the inhabitants of Accho, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob: 32 But the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: for they did not drive them out. 33 Neither did Naphtali drive out the inhabitants of Bethshemesh, nor the inhabitants of Bethanath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land: nevertheless the inhabitants of Bethshemesh and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them. 34 And the Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley: 35 But the Amorites would dwell in mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim: yet the hand of the house of Joseph prevailed, so that they became tributaries. 36 And the coast of the Amorites was from the going up to Akrabbim, from the rock, and upward” (Judges 1:21-36; 8 out of 10 tribes are listed as failures).

          God sent “an angel of the Lord” to rebuke the children of Israel for their compromise and failure in complete obedience to His commands.  We notice in Judges 2:4 that the children of Israel felt bad about their failure and “wept” over God’s rebuke, but they did not repent.  They did not change.  They did not do what was right.  They refused complete obedience because they saw these people as a resource that could make their existence easier.  They justified something which God forbade.  They left the pagan idols still standing in their land to accommodate the heathen.  Understanding diversity of cultures does not justify condoning or placating the unscriptural practices of those cultures.  

1 And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land {the pagans within the Promised Land had one of two choices; stay and be annihilated or leave the country altogether}; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? 3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. 4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept {as a promise of repentance and revival, but it was a mere deflection in defection}. 5 And they called the name of that place Bochim {weeping}: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD” (Judges 2:1-5).

Conflagration of Values: Failure to maintain a godly heritage (Judges 2:6-10)
6 And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. 7 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. 10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:6-10).

One generation after Joshua’s and the other elders of Joshua’s time period had died, remembrance of what God had done in the wilderness and His deliverance of the Promised Land into the hands of the children of Israel has been forgotten – ONE GENERATION!  God holds the fathers of that generation accountable for this overwhelming failure.  They did not teach their children.  “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3).  These fathers failed in their primary role as fathers in their responsibility of raising their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath {by being cruel and severe in dealing with children}: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition {nourish them with loving discipline and careful instruction} of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Confusion of Beliefs: Failure to maintain purity of worship (Judges 2:11-13 and 16-19)

11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. 13 And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth” (Judges 2:11-13).

We worship what we give value or worth.  The worship of Baal took the form of extreme sexual licentiousness.  This was a sex/fertility cult.  Baal worship is what is described in Numbers chapter twenty-five when Baalim instructed the pagan king Balak to send out Moabite women to seduce the men of Israel.  God says, “the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab” (Numbers 25:1).  This brought God’s judgment on those that went in unto those women.  God slew twenty-four thousand Israelite men with a plague.  The priest Phinehas, son of the High Priest, stayed God’s wrath by entering a tent and killing a Jewish man involved in fornication with a Midianite woman by thrusting them both through the abdomen with a javelin.  This fornication in pagan worship in this sex/fertility cult is what God means in Judges 2:11 and 13 by the words they “served Baal.” 

16 Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them {with corrupted false worship thereby plundering their blessings from God}. 17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. 18 And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. 19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way” (Judges 2:16-19).

          “Be not as your fathers” (Zechariah 1:4) is connected to some very specific failures.  God has been fighting against the corruption of marriage and human sexuality almost from the beginning of time.  We cannot separate this from God’s words in Zechariah 1:4 in the careful admonition to the returned faithful remnant after the captivity - “Be not as your fathers.”  

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.