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, August 13, 2018

I. The Candlestick and Two Olive Trees

Chapter Ten
I. The Candlestick and Two Olive Trees

Zechariah chapter four blends Zechariah’s present situation under king Zerubbabel and the vision of God’s hidden spiritual presence and influence in it all.  The point of the text is that God is in control.  Again, as in chapter three, God is revealing what Zechariah sees in the physical world and how God sees the things invisible to us in the spiritual world.  When we understand what God is doing, it completely changes our perspective of human events.  The point is that God sees a lot more than we see.  It is difficult for most people, even faithful believers, to keep their minds wrapped around this reality.  God is not limited in the ways we are limited.  

Even within the trillions of trillions of things going on through God’s infinite creation, He knows when a blade of grass is moved by the wind and when a sparrow loses a feather.  We know with absolute assurance there is nothing within God’s existence in which He is not being proactive.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). 

God did not just create and then abandon everything He created to just happen by chance (Deism).  Neither does God cause everything that happens.  He knows what will happen before it happens but does not necessarily cause everything.  Humanity was given a free will.  Yet, God can, and often does, intervene in circumstances to change the hearts of people.  We simply are not aware of the invisible chain reaction of human events that God is creating by one special event He might cause.  Some of these chains of events began hundreds and thousands of years in the past.  Even while Israel was under Babylonian and Assyrian captivity, God was still in control of the circumstances that control the hearts of the kings. 

1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, 2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof” (Zechariah 4:1-3).

Apparently, Zechariah was so amazed by the previous vision from the LORD, he was entranced by it.  His mind was spinning and overwhelmed by what God brought before his understanding.  We should be astonished by prophecy.  As the LORD regains his attention, the previous vision disappears, and a new vision captures his attention.  The “candlestick” is undoubtedly the heavenly Temple Menorah.  The heavenly Menorah represents the “light” of God and His constant witness to the world.  They key word to remember the significance of this Menorah vision is the is the word testimony.  

Most of the priesthood of Israel failed to be faithful in their witness to God’s Word and in their testimony to the children of Israel.  Thereby, they were also unfaithful to their mission in the world in which they lived.  

What Zechariah sees in Zechariah 4:2-3 is not understood by Zechariah.  That is the point of the LORD’s question, “What seest thou?”  The LORD is not asking for a physical description of the vision, but an explanation of the meaning of what is being revealed to Zechariah.  There are several elements in the vision that are essential to understanding the meaning.

1. A candlestick all of gold
A. With a bowl upon the top of it
B. His seven lamps thereon
C. Seven pipes to the seven lamps
2. Two olive trees by it

Zechariah would have been familiar with most of these elements as the “candlestick” is the seven bowled Temple Menorah, although he did not understand its big picture significance.  Most of the Jews reverenced these items without ever really understanding their spiritual significance. 

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick. 3 And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps thereof over against the candlestick, as the LORD commanded Moses. 4 And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses {apparently God gave Moses a vision of the literal Menorah that was in Heaven}, so he made the candlestick” (Numbers 8:1-4).

Obviously, the “candlestick” that Zechariah sees in this vision is considerably more extensive than the Temple Menorah.  The heavenly Menorah represents God’s Spiritual connection to His redeemed within His New Creation.  It also represents the illumination by the Spirit as believers begin to approach God for worship, prayer, and service.  It also represents God’s enabling grace of the believer through the operations of His Spirit.  The main point of the representation is that without God’s help, all people, even believers, are spiritually blind and spiritually helpless to be righteous.  The Temple Menorah is the spiritual representation of Paul’s statement, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).  Therefore, the Temple Menorah was much more than a mechanical light fixture.  Yes, it provided light, but it was a spiritual portrayal of a big picture aspect of the spiritual provision of God’s presence of which we all need to be reminded.  God is not just there for us.  God is there to help us! 

4 So I {Zechariah} answered {the question, ‘What seest thou?’ in verse two} and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. 8 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:4-10).

Clearly, from Zechariah 4:6, the intent of this vision is to reveal that nothing happens by chance or by the powers/abilities of men, even faithful prophets, preachers, or kings.  God is spiritually connected to every event in human history.  Everything good that happens is sourced in the goodness of God.  However, the severity of God is also evident.  The goodness of God is His kind and understanding graciousness.  The “severity” of God simply refers to his abrupt decisiveness in His judgments.  God is longsuffering in His “severity” as is obvious with His dealing with the nation of Israel, but when His longsuffering ends, His judgments are decisive and abrupt.

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” (Romans 11:19-22).

The “candlestick” vision of Zechariah chapter four shows us the constant spiritual connection of God to His creation in all matters of our present existence.  NOTHING happens without His PERMISSION.  Although God never causes evil, He does allow evil to run its course and bear its evil fruit in the lives of those choosing evil practices.  The “candlestick” vision shows us that God provides constant and consistent spiritual light for people to make moral, righteous choices.  However, they must bear the consequences of evil choices as well as the impact those evil choices make on people under their influence.  Even the “severity” of God is good in that its intent is upon turning hearts in repentance to righteousness to lessen the impact of selfish and evil choices.  Until we understand the dynamic of the goodness of God within the curse, what we deserve, we will never understand the grace of God’s provisions.  

Some of the most blasphemous things ever coming from the mouths of sinners is that they and the world do not deserve what God has allowed to happen.  Poverty should not exist.  Every sickness should be curable.  Every pain should be eliminated.  Wars should be immediately stopped.  God is blamed for every form of evil simply because He allows evil to exist.  Yet, people forget that Satan introduced evil into God’s creation and humanity chose evil over good.  That was humanity’s first free will choice.  

God cursed all His creation and damned it to eternal toil, pain, and ultimately destruction.  Yet, God’s grace provided humanity one lifetime EACH to repent and be “born again” into a New Creation.  His grace necessitated His incarnation into humanity to bear the curse in His body on Calvary’s tree.  God knew the death of His Son would be necessary before He ever cursed His first creation.  Christ is the “lamb slain from the foundation of the earth” (Revelation 13:8).  

Therefore, it is wicked blasphemy to accuse God of being uncaring or unkind because God has never disconnected Himself from this cursed creation.  Just as men chose evil, they must choose to repent and turn to God’s goodness.  This is what the Spirit of God is working to accomplish within every person’s heart while being opposed by evil at every turn.  Until you understand this big picture, you will never understand God’s grace within it as portrayed by the “candlestick” vision given to Zechariah. 

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:13-14).

In Zechariah 4:4, Zechariah reveals his ignorance of the meaning of the vision by asking, “What are these, my lord?”  Here Zechariah uses the Hebrew title âdôwn (aw-done') in addressing the “angel of the LORD.”  This Name of God refers to Him as the Sovereign of the universe, recognizing that the Lord is in control.  Although Zechariah uses the term Adoni, it does not appear he truly understands the theological and practical significance of the term.  Such is often the case with believers.  There exists a large degree of superficiality even within our understandings of God.  Superficial knowledge of God will result in superficial worship of God and superficial service to God. 

Therefore, the LORD responds with another question to Zechariah (vs. 5), “Knowest thou not what these be?”  There appears to be an implication of expected understanding.  Did Zechariah have enough revelation of the character and nature of God to understand the depraved helplessness of humanity and the divine helpfulness of God?  Why is it that believers do not know of the depth of the sovereignty of God within the human predicament of sin?  Isn’t the pattern of God’s intervention and care a redundant constant throughout the Scriptures?  

The Tabernacle, or Tent of Meeting, in the Wilderness had one Menorah.  Solomon created ten Temple Menorahs and had them placed five on each side of the entrance into the Holy of Holies.  The Temple of Zerubbabel, the second Temple, again had but one Menorah, which is more in alignment with its spiritual significance.  The fact that the Menorah was placed inside the Temple near the Holy of Holies reveals that its intent is to show the light of God in both the redemption/salvation of people and His desire for the redeemed to live sanctified before Him.  Therefore, the “candlestick” represents God’s constant personal involvement in the lives of people in this twofold way – SALVATION and SANCTIFICATION.  

In Zechariah 4:6; the LORD answers the question He asked of Zechariah in verse five.  “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).  If you understand the divine principle stated in Zechariah 4:6, how does it impact our lives?  The emphasis is upon maintaining our intimacy with God in a sanctified relationship with Him so that His grace can flow through us.  

The “candlestick” vision is intended to keep apparent to us the spiritual operations of God that are presently invisible to our sight.  We must see everything that happens in this world through the divine perspective of the lens of understanding of the “candlestick” vision given Zechariah in chapter four.  Everything good that God wants to do will be done through the lives of Spirit filled sanctified believers.  Therefore, our focus of priorities in life must constantly be maintain upon our personal relationship with God and maintaining the “fellowship” of holy unity with His Spirit and His mission in this world.  In Ephesians 5:18, the words “be filled” is a present, passive, imperative.  What is the significance of knowing this?  We must constantly be being filled with the Spirit.  We cannot fill ourselves.  It is disobedience not to be being filled.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:11-21).

We tend to give credit, or glory, to people for what God does.  Spiritual leaders will often receive glory that only God deserves, when in fact they had very little to do with what God does.  Faithfulness is merely a vessel through which God’s grace flows.  Does the vessel then deserve to be glorified for what God does through it?  The plate upon which the food is served is merely utilitarian.  In other words, it serves the purpose for which it was created and designed.  We expect the plate to be clean so that the food is not defiled by filth.  We may even want the plate to be decorative to make the food more eye appealing.  However, none of that will have any merit if the food is not good.  

Yes, Joshua and Zerubbabel were faithful within the capacity of their callings.  However, neither of them was the source of God’s blessings, grace, mercy, and their restoration and return to Jerusalem.  The point here is that all people, especially spiritual leaders, MUST maintain the spiritual perspective of their contributions to what God does, often in spite of them.  This is humbling one’s self “in the sight of the Lord” so that He might “lift you up” (James 4:10).  Many people cannot handle God’s exaltation to leadership positions because they start taking credit for what God does through them. 

19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (II Timothy 2:19-21).

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). 

Although sin hindered the work of God, it did not keep God from accomplishing His will.  Our frailties and weaknesses will not keep God from fulfilling His prophetic announcements.  Your frailties and weaknesses may hinder people in their coming to Christ and from living in sanctity before God, but they will not keep God from doing what He says He is going to do.  In other words, simply because you choose to live outside of God’s will, will not keep God from doing His will.  Your life is not that powerful my friend.  Nonetheless, seek to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem!

Although it was Israel’s unfaithfulness to their promises to God that brought them into captivity, it will be God’s faithfulness to His promises to them that will restore them in the Kingdom Age.  The fulfillment of God’s prophetic messages will not be hindered by the “might” or “power” of men.  The fulfillment of God’s prophetic messages might be helped by faithfulness, but the fulfillment of God’s prophetic messages will not be hindered.  The point is that although prophetic history as not yet been completely fulfilled, it is already written.  This is no excuse for Christians not getting their spiritual act together.  This is expanded upon in Haggai 2:1-9. In other words, the statement to Zechariah in Zechariah chapter four does not stand alone. 

1 In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying, 2 Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, 3 Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? {The rebuilt second temple compared to Solomon’s temple was but an organized pile of rubbish made from the destroyed first temple.  To look upon the second temple must have been discouraging to those who had seen the first temple.} 4 Yet now be strong {strengthened or encourage by God’s future prophetic promises}, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: 5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. 6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory {His own presence in King Jesus}, saith the LORD of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. 9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:1-9).

“I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:4).  Do we comprehend the blessings of this promise?  God maintains an intimate connection with His faithful redeemed.  When we fall and become defiled with sin, God is waiting for us to repent, confess, and be cleansed by the already shed Blood of the Lamb of God (I John 1:9).  God has already prepared for our failures?  

Was Israel’s great blessing to able to have a glorious Temple like Solomon built?  Or, was Israel’s great blessing to have God dwelling with them?  Never forget the blessing of the words, “I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:4).  Say these words repeatedly to yourself.  Every time life starts getting rough and the darkness starts to engulf your life, remind yourself that God says, “I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:4).  Oh, how easily we miss the REAL blessings of God!

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, August 6, 2018

The BRANCH and the Stone

Chapter Nine
The BRANCH and the Stone

We know from history that the priesthood of Israel would ultimately fail regarding the very warning given in Zechariah 3:6-7 to Joshua.  Joshua’s sons would intermarry with pagans.  It would be Joshua’s descendants who would plot with the lies and deceptions that had Jesus crucified to manipulate the situation, so they might keep their power and prestigious positions in Israel.  Pilate immediately saw through their lies and deception but gave them what they demanded anyway washing his hands of their corruption (Matthew 27:24).  It is sad when God’s appointed spiritual leaders become traitors to the responsibilities given them as they rebel against the God they swore to serve.  It is to this very issue of the betrayal of the Messiah by the priesthood of Israel that the LORD addresses in Zechariah 3:8. 

8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH” (Zechariah 3:8).

          The message to Joshua and his “fellows,” the remnant priesthood of Israel, as he stands before the eternal Son of God, continues in verses eight through ten of Zechariah chapter three.  The rest of Israel’s priesthood had apostatized and abandoned their commission to serve God faithfully.  The testimony of the faithfulness of men who wait long and live faithfully in anticipation of the fulfilment of the prophetic promises of God, amazes the unbelieving people of this world.  These people of faith believe that all that the Bible says the Messiah will do, He will do.  If these truths are believed, every believer lives in the shadow of expectation of the fulfillment of these momentous events of future history.  

Jesus was born of a virgin just as the Scriptures foretold.  Jesus was vicariously offered for the sins of the world to satisfy God’s wrath upon sin and to justify believing sinners “by grace” and “through faith” just as Psalm twenty-two and Isaiah chapter fifty-three said He would do.  He rose from the dead on the third day just as He said He would do.  Just as sure as all those things were fulfillments of prophetic announcements, all the things prophecy says Jesus will do yet in the future, HE WILL DO! 
People who believe these prophetic truths about Jesus, live like they believe these things will happen.  They also believe that all the promises to the faithful connected to these fulfilled events will happen.  The world may mock the idea of faith, but at the same time they are amazed at the people who live by faith.  They are amazed by the people who give their lives to be ambassadors of these truths and ministers of the message of eternal reconciliation with God (II Corinthians 5:17-21). 

          Zechariah 3:8 records the LORD saying, “behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.”  Zechariah 3:8-10 is obviously chronologically Kingdom Age and beyond.  God called Jesus forth from the grave to be seated at His right hand in glory for the whole Church Age.  However, God will “bring forth” Jesus to conquer Satan’s world and remove Satan as the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).  The Hebrew word translated “BRANCH” means a bud or new sprout.  The intent is a new eternal line of humanity created through faith in the death, burial, resurrection, and glorification of Jesus. 

The continuum of the New Creation happens when believers begin to reproduce in others what Jesus produced in their lives.  Salvation is not merely a gift to receive.  Salvation is a message to share and communicate with others.  The gift of salvation comes with an obligation of communication.  Believers are obligated to communicate the Gospel because that is the only way people will hear and understand to become part of this new eternal line of humanity by trusting in the substitutionary work of Jesus to satisfy the wrath of God upon their sin and receive the gift of His righteousness given to them in the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 10:14).  Therefore, believers are “born again” into this unfolding New Genesis offered “by grace” and received “through faith.”  

The “bud” or “sprout” (BRANCH) begins to grow like the mustard seed grows into a tree (Matthew 13:31-32).  The Vine bears a branch (John 15:1-8) and the branch bears fruit, which continues the growth of the New Genesis beginning with the ONE growing into millions of millions.  The “BRANCH” represents the beginning of a new family tree of “born again” humanity disconnected from the curse and connected to the New Genesis in Christ, the “last Adam” (I Corinthians 15:45).  

The word “BRANCH” in Zechariah 3:8 is a word that connects to many aspects of the character, nature, and purposes of the Messiah in Jesus.  When we think of the “BRANCH,” we should see God connecting many truths together throughout Scripture.  Theses many truths are all fulfilled in the birth, death, burial, resurrection/glorification, and second coming of Jesus.  The 1917 Scofield Reference Bible gives four different main connecting points throughout Scripture referring to Jesus Christ.  Each point connects to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other portions of Scripture, which develop the doctrine of Christology (the doctrine of Christ) throughout Scripture.  The metaphor of the “BRANCH” are truths all growing from the same source in the prophecies of Scripture by inspiration of God. 

A name of Christ, used in fourfold way:

(1) ‘The Branch of Jehovah’ (Isa 4:2), that is, the ‘Immanuel’ character of Christ Isa 7:14 to be fully manifested to restored and converted Israel after His return in divine glory Mt 25:31.
(2) the ‘Branch of David’ Isa 11:1; Jer 23:5; 33:15 that is, the Messiah, ‘of the seed of David according to the flesh’ Ro 1:3 revealed in His earthly glory as King of kings, and Lord of lords;
(3) Jehovah’s ‘Servant, the Branch’ Zec 3:8 Messiah’s humiliation and obedience unto death according to Isa 52:13-15; 53; Php 2:5-8.
(4) the ‘man whose name is the Branch’ Zec 6:12-13 that is His character as Son of man, the ‘last Adam,’ the ‘second Man’ 1Co 15:45-47 reigning, as Priest-King, over the earth in the dominion given to and lost by the first Adam. Matthew is the Gospel of the ‘Branch of David’; Mark of ‘Jehovah's Servant, the Branch’; Luke of ‘the man whose name is the Branch’; John of ‘the Branch of Jehovah.’”[1]

With the Scriptures being so redundant with these connecting truths about the promised Messiah, why were the priests of Israel ignorant and deceived about His coming?  We know the people of Israel were ignorant because the priests were ignorant, but why were the priests ignorant?  Why didn’t Nicodemus, the “teacher of Israel,” know that we all “must be born again” to even be able to “see” and understand the “Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  False doctrine is simply educated ignorance lacking the continuity of the harmony of the Scriptures.  False doctrine is always the outcome of lazy, superficial, and often convoluted Bible study.  This is what happens when spiritual leaders become disconnected to the big picture provided through inductive Bible study (accurately putting all the pieces together).  

Ignorance of Biblical prophecy is the outcome of lazy Bible study.  God does not give us truths He does not intend for us to understand.  9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Corinthians 2:9-10).  Scripture interprets Scripture.  Yes, there will always be details we will not be able to fully grasp about which we can only speculate, but the big picture of prophecy is clearly presented.  The term “BRANCH” is a term that connects our understanding to hundreds, thousands, of verses of Scripture about Christ.  Peter warns of the ignorance of prophecy in the third chapter of his second epistle.

11 Seeing then {through the prophecies of Scripture} that all these things shall be dissolved {vs 10; ‘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’}, 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? 13 Nevertheless we, 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, 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 {uneducated or ignorant} and unstable {vacillating, or without foundations} 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 3:11-18).

When Bible truths are lost or corrupted among theological academia, these corruptions are propagated and compounded because they are then taught to people who trust their academic authorities.  These corruptions cannot be corrected without condemning the corrupted authorities teaching them.  People tend to protect and defend their trusted authorities.  This is what happened during the four-hundred years of silence from God in the inter-testament period between Malachi and John the Baptist.  

The remnant of Israel, returning to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem under the direction of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Haggai, were mostly faithful priests from the faithful line of Zadok.  Joshua of Zechariah 3:1-8 is the son of the High Priest Josedech (Haggai 1:1) taken into the Babylonian captivity by Nebuchadnezzar.  These were descendants of the line of priesthood from Eleazer fulfilling God’s prophecy regarding the casting away of the descendants of Eli as High Priests (I Samuel 2:22-33).  Abiathar would be the last High Priest from the line of Eli (I Kings 2:26-27) when Zadok was appointed High Priest by king Solomon.  

The point of the warning of Zechariah 3:8 is that even though Joshua was a faithful High Priest to Israel, his faithfulness did not guarantee the faithfulness of his progeny.  Children MUST be trained to know the Scriptures and live the Scriptures.  The prophecies of Ezekiel confirm this faithful line of priests will be restored during the Kingdom Age.  The Zadokean priesthood if the Kingdom Age will be Church Age believers.

13 And they {vs.10; ‘the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols’} shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed. 14 But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein. 15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD: 16 They {the Zadokites} shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge” (Ezekiel 44:13-16).

The application of these truths is very apparent.  Every believer will be rewarded for his/her faithfulness in obedience to the commands of Scripture.  However, the only way to ensure our children and grandchildren are faithful is consistency in studying the Scriptures, teaching them the Scriptures, and living the Scriptures before them just like we live them before God.  The thousands of little inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and duplicities in our lives will be the ropes that bind our next generations in spiritual death.  This truth has been prevalent throughout thousands of years of recorded history from the beginning of time. 

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance {context implies repentance of ‘dead works’ that precedes salvation; in other words, they needed to get saved first}: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father {belief that they were saved because of their genetic connection to Abraham rather than their faith connection to Abraham; Galatians 3:126}: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now {right now the prophecies about the casting away of the apostate priesthood of Israel was being fulfilled in that generation} also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance {sanctificationally}: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan {a tool to separate chaff from wheat} is in his hand, and he will throughly purge {cleanse or purify} his floor {the nation of Israel at His second coming}, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff {lost Christ rejecting Jews; especially the apostate priests} with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:7-12).

9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day {the purging with the fire of God descending from heaven at the end of the Kingdom Age}. 10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree” (Zechariah 3:9-10).

This is a remarkable text that looks beyond this creation to the New Genesis “in Christ.”  The Kingdom Age is but a small representation of the ultimate living Temple of God where all the redeemed become one with the Lord in perfect harmony of eternal existence.  The text is difficult to understand because the truths to which it speaks are unfathomable to the human mind.  

The fact that this prophecy is future should be evident by the twice repeated “I will” words of “the LORD of hosts.”  The “one stone” is Jesus Christ.  He is the “cornerstone” upon which all aspects of the New Genesis rests.  Every “born again” believer is created to be a living stone at present is built upon this Cornerstone.  However, in “one day” every believer will literally and spiritually become part of this “one stone” in the living Temple of the New Genesis in the new Heaven/Earth created after the Kingdom Age. 

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Revelation 3:12).

At the dissolution of the first creation after the Kingdom Age, the redeemed of God will experience for the first time a cohabitation with God hitherto never imagined, nor could it be because it is unfathomable.  This is the fulfillment of what I Corinthians 2:9 speaks; “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”  The fact that this engraved stone with seven eyes is God and the New Genesis in Christ is revealed by Zechariah 4:10 representing the omniscience of the all-seeing and all-knowing God; “For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.”  The “stone is a metaphor for God representing His unchanging eternality.  However, the living stone metaphor that we find elsewhere speaks of a union of the redeem with their Redeemer in the New Genesis, which will ultimately be joined with the Father in the New Genesis.  

Zechariah 3:9-10 is speaking of the “consuming fire” of God’s presence returning to His first creation to purify it and destroy.  This is the context of Isaiah 64:1-5 from Which Paul quotes in I Corinthians 2:9.  The material first creation will literally melt away at the coming of God at the end of the Kingdom Age. 

1 Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, 2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! 3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. 4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. 5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved” (Isaiah 64:1-5).

II Peter chapter three gives us considerable expansion upon our understanding of what Isaiah 64:1-5 speaks.  The interpretation of Scripture is corrupted if we do not understand the inductive methodology.  Inductive simply means the whole is equal to the sum of its parts.  In other words, we must gather all the parts and put them together to understand the whole.  This is tedious and laborious work that few will take the time to do.  It is often the outcome of a lifetime of diligent Bible study.  God has given us the prophetic pieces of a gigantic puzzle and He expects we will be curious enough to work at putting it all together.  This is a labor of love.  

The second coming of Jesus is the “day of the Lord.”  The “day of the LORD” is the day of JEHOVAH.  Jehovah is the Name of God the Redeemer.  This is Jesus the eternal Son of God as the second person of the Trinity.  Jesus came to redeem lost souls and humanity’s dominion lost to Satan in the fall into sin.  Satan will be bound for the one-thousand-year Kingdom Age period.  The earth will be restored ecologically, and topographically to the way it was prior to the great flood.  The people entering the Kingdom Age will live for the whole one-thousand-year period.  Death and disease will be eliminated.  The earth will experience peace with King Jesus ruling the world.  

However, the Kingdom Age is not the ultimate utopia.  Although Satan and his fallen demons will be bound, the Earth will still be filled with unglorified sinners.  They will marry and give birth to children needing to repent and be “born again.”  Many of those born into the Kingdom Age will reject Jesus as their Saviour and when Satan is loosed for a “little season” at the end of the Kingdom Age, they will join Satan in an attack against the Lord Jesus.  Then they will experience the “day of God.”  The ultimate utopia will be created in “one day” called the “day of God.” In that same day, the whole of the first creation will be “dissolved with fervent heat” at the very presence of Elohim. 

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days 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? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (II Peter 3:3-13). 

On the “day of Pentecost” the New Covenant began to unfold.  Every believer was indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God creating a theanthropic union with every believer.  Those believers were sealed with the Holy Spirit “unto the day of redemption” of their bodies (Ephesians 4:30).  That union is an eternal union that will never be broken (Hebrews 13:5).  However, that was just the beginning of our redemption; not its end.  The next phase of “the regeneration” is the glorification of the believer’s body when the believer is removed from his Sin Nature and the “old man” is left behind in the resurrection/glorification.  

The next phase of “the regeneration” is the Kingdom Age when Jesus returns to Earth with His glorified redeemed to restore dominion to humanity as He rules Earth from Jerusalem through a worldwide network of glorified believers dispersed into the cities through the world.  We can only imagine the extent of the theanthropic union of the glorified believer with the heart and mind of Christ during this period of world history.  Will we know what Christ knows?  Will we see what Christ sees?  Will we feel what Christ feels?  Is the “filling of the Spirit” during the Church Age intended to represent a small embryonic sense of the believer’s glorification in the Kingdom Age?  Can we even imagine what it would be like to exist without the constant convolution of the Sin Nature?  Can we imagine constantly being filled with the Spirit of God?  Yet, as wonderful as this new extension of “the regeneration’ will be, it is not the end of our transfiguration.  There is a new last and eternal day dawning on the horizon of eternity. 

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:1-8).

[1] C. I. Scofield, Notes from the Scofield Reference Bible, 1917, Module file location: C:\Program Files (x86)\SwordSearcher\Modules\Scofield.ss5cmty, Module file time: 7/31/2011 8:15:28 PM UTC.

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.