Tag: Zechariah

The Vision of the Surveyor

Zechariah 2:1-13 

Surveying, GIS, mapping – how to measure: straight-line distance, follow the contours. Results depend on your perspective, tools used for measuring. Keep this in mind: idea of tabula rasa is wrong according to Bible. No one from before birth onward has mind that is totally blank. Means we all approach every subject / situation with some kind of preconception. Is important that preconceived ideas be informed by good input. Of crucial importance… when approaching God’s word, what happens when ideas / beliefs / principles we have and follow don’t correspond with the Bible? Do we allow God’s word to change our perspective?

In third vision prophet Zecharah experienced on that busy night, once again sees something designed to reorient his perspective on the future, in particular what God intended to do. Already know one thing about vision – designed to encourage Zechariah who would then declare what he saw/heard to fellow Jews… for their encouragement.

A. Image  v. 1

man with measuring line

different image of surveyor than what we might expect – are more familiar with surveying as 2-person operation, one with stick, other with transit

not that many years ago other tools were used, e.g. chains with carefully made links of specific dimensions – here, a rope of specific length… made so as not to stretch

in his hand – ready… but not in use – incomplete picture, made necessary for prophet to ask for help to understand – only thing obvious: what kind of professional, what he would be likely to do

B. Question   v. 2a

where are you going?

on the move, enough clues in vision to make this valid question, one we would ask under wide variety of circumstances

sent from… to…

could tell he was purposely headed somewhere – apparent from his demeanor even though origin and destination unknown

could surmise had been sent by someone to do task – who sent him, for what purpose had he been sent – obviously to measure something, but what and why

open-ended

more than one-word answer would be welcome… and was forthcoming – anyone hearing question would know that, to give barest minimum answer often sign of “attitude”

curiosity on part of questioner rarely limited solely to destination… unless picking up a hitch hiker – most times will readily accept any / all information person is willing to offer

prophet gets start of explanation from surveyor – what he has to say, its significance an encouragement to Zechariah and people

but will see very soon: more to this than meets the eye – a plot twist in store for Zechariah, twist that will significantly change his perspective about what God presently doing, what God intends to do in future

C. Explanation  v. 2b-5

place

Jerusalem – center of Jewish life: social, religious, political, iow a significant element in functioning of family, church and state

pilgrimage feasts 3 times a year, only authorized location for sacrifice, meeting place for Sanhedrin (court) and home of king

picture of the church – all three institutions certainly affected by God’s comprehensive plan, not all of equal standing: church is foremost (Eph. 5:25)

must admit: if Jerusalem of Zechariah’s day an accurate reflection of church / God’s kingdom, things not looking very good!

purpose

surveyor declares intent to measure width / length of the city – first step to establish / re-establish a city, define boundaries

in just minimal response is clear to prophet: God by no means finished with Jerusalem and all it represents – God has a plan and is working his plan, also has a goal or end in view

remember condition of city: Temple would be completed March 12, 515 BC… wall surrounding city not completed until September, 445 BC… seventy years later

which raises question: what was the surveyor going to measure, where would he put in his stakes? marking present footprint of the city? or some other boundaries (larger or smaller)?

plot twist

prophet hardly has time to process information before scene changes – interpreter angel shows up, then another angel

interpreter angel going out to gather more information (perhaps) from surveyor but is met by another divine messenger – did he speak loudly enough for surveyor to hear?

wrong perspective – go tell the prophet he and his people have wrong idea about future of Jerusalem

small, undefended, few people, humble beginnings of replacement temple, wouldn’t have rubble cleared from Babylonian conquest for another 70 years but… that is limited human viewpoint

God envisioned something much different: prosperous well-populated community of people too large to be enclosed by walls

promise (5)

but wait, there’s more: God had (still has) way more in mind for his people than simple return to specific piece of real estate

this is language of covenant… God intends inhabitants of his city to be his people and he will be their God and… will include Gentiles as well as Jews!

God doesn’t intend reconstructed Temple or rebuilt city to be source of pride and glory – God himself will be the glory of his people… something not even dreamed about in modern Jerusalem

NOTE: this promise a general one, indicates God’s attitude toward his people, his enemies – promise includes specific future events, but not limited to them

certainly includes glory of coming Messiah to Jerusalem but not limited to that – looks beyond to glory of Christ in his church

D. Oracle  v. 6-13

warning (6-7)

God’s plan fully comprehensive – intends to bless his people, also to protect them… and vindicate them – show by how he treats their enemies that they are his people

judgment will come – seen already in “rise and fall of nations”, would continue but… recognize hand of God in directing those actions on world stage

side note: God not on sabbatical, is still involved in world affairs… including those of Koreas, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran

comfort (8-9)

don’t forget: God acts, he doesn’t react – all that takes place is part of his eternal plan, designed for his own glory and good of his people – is true whether we grasp details / interconnections or not

God acts for the sake of his own glory – glory of his grace as he cares for his people, glory of his justice in dealing with enemies

glory of his holiness as he makes his people holy; glory of his power in ruling and overruling forces of nations and nature; glory of his truth in bringing understanding / light to minds darkened by sin

each occurrence of God’s acting throughout course of human history skirmishes previewing and promising final battle and victory over sin and Satan and death… and its glorious eternal outcome

God’s people are his special possession – lit. “pupil of his eye”, Hebrew idiom, only here, can be understood with two senses

what is seen there is focus of vision / attention – people of God are ones he is primarily concerned with, focused on, attentive to, acting with regard for

one of most sensitive parts of body, instinctively protected and defended from harm… for good reason – God just as committed to protecting / defending his people

acting on their behalf brings him glory – think about circumstances of Jewish people, Christ’s church through centuries

overpowered by vastly superior numbers / forces, humiliated, marginalized, persecuted and killed – when God pushes back, his glory seen more profoundly than in matters of daily life

response (10-13)

praise – here is ultimate fulfillment of promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 15:5) – salvation extending far beyond Jewish people

worshiping community with God dwelling among / within his people “redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation”  (Rev. 5:9)

worship – praise, yes, and reverent silence because overwhelmed by majestic glory of conquering sovereign Lord of all creation

This glorious Lord carrying out his purpose through the church… the church in the wilderness, the church in Zion, the church of NT period. Church is “pupil of his eye” because God most supremely loves his Son, head of the church and one with his church, his body.

Several take-aways for us: must be sure are measuring right thing with right instrument – Christ’s kingdom from perspective and with standard of God’s word. In all circumstances, remember who we are – God’s people, his special possession with a glorious future.

Four Horns and Four Craftsmen

Zechariah 1:18-21 

Remember circumstances of target audience: church whose territory had become pawn in international chess game, moved around at will by overwhelming and oppressive powers. Often at mercy of “local” officials with little regard for national policy. Zecharaih’s task: serve as God’s messenger to his people to give them “heart”, inspire hope for the future, help them to take the long view.

Current thinking often does not have adequate perspective – want life to work like short story. Basic elements: characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution. Goal is that things of concern to us go from setting and plot through conflict to resolution in hours / days / weeks at most. Cannot bear thought of situation not reaching resolution for years, or maybe not even in our lifetime. Want them fixed by end of next election… or sooner.

Yet think about Jewish people – troubles started in earnest during 8th century BC. Period of back and forth, then serious assault, final overthrow of northern kingdom 722 BC. Was inevitable (because of human stubbornness) that southern kingdom would also eventually be overcome. Included destruction of crown jewel, Temple and surrounding city. Then captivity, eventual return, process of restoration and rebuilding. From Assyria’s first serious move against Israel until night of Zechariah’s vision, more than 200 years elapsed… and replacement temple not completed yet… and would be nearly 75 years more before Jerusalem secured again.

No surprise God’s people needed encouragement… and so do we. Drawn out pace of movement in God’s eternal plan not excuse for his people to slack off, far from it. Must be actively diligently carrying out tasks God has assigned, confident God has a plan and is working his plan. At same time, should not be put off or discouraged by unfavorable appearances, or opposition by God’s enemies. Also should not be surprised by opposition – Satan may be on a leash, but he is not without power and resources. Will never give up attempting to overthrow Christ and his kingdom.

Don’t know if Zechariah given opportunity to take notes, write down important points from one vision before experiencing another. In any event, next one follows soon on heels of first and is closely connected with it. The scouts finished their reconnoiter of earth’s kingdoms, brought back report, God not pleased. In fact was “exceedingly angry with the nations at ease” (Zech. 1:15). Interpreter-angel goes on to explain God had good intentions for Jerusalem and Zion. But… does not indicate what God’s plan is for nations he is angry with. Follow me.

A. Image  v. 18, 20

four horns

primary usage of word qeren – animal horn, ram or wild ox e.g.; also used frequently for “horns of the altar”, projections at each corner of brazen altar

can be used/understood in symbolic way, a metaphor indicating might or power or strength – think how animal with horns uses them to dominate others

similar imagery in our expression “lock horns” over something – two people engaged in test of wills or strength, only one winner

four craftsmen

word used of various kinds of craftsmen, artisans skilled in working with various materials – wood, metal, stone, fabric – and varying degrees of intricacy – carpenter/cabinetmaker, blacksmith/jeweler…

in each instance, artisan takes particular kind of material which he then forms and shapes into something else, often radically different from original – thread into tapestry, e.g.

significant that craftsman does not ask permission of “raw” material, no input from material as to what it wants to be made into

B. Question   v. 19, 21

what are these?

prophet continues humble spirit of teachability – asking questions, seeking further understanding, and is very open about it

doesn’t try to take credit for more understanding, lets whole world know he asked for help – good to remember!

asked interpreter-angel tour guide to explain not only what he was looking at… wanted to know meaning and purpose

wanted to know what was represented by four horns – being a PK, probably had some ideas but wanted to be sure

what are these going to do?

vision obviously did not show craftsmen in action – would not be the range of translations in that case: carpenters, blacksmiths, artisans, workers with hammers

by time he saw the craftsmen, Zechariah knew what horns represented – without action, could not go beyond that with certainty

would horns prevail over craftsmen? craftsmen harness all four together? carve them into different shapes? throw them on ash heap of civilization?

C. Explanation  v. 19, 21

enemies of God’s people

Zechariah receives answers to his questions, sufficient for him and his audience, although we might prefer some additional details

first question: four horns represent enemies of the Jews – those who were involved in large portion of population being displaced

remember: this was all according to God’s’ plan… discipline for his people because of unfaithfulness to him… and used nations’ natural enmity for that purpose

tempting to assign names to each of four horns: pick from Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome – all involved in some way in Israel’s humiliation

truth is… whether seeking identity of four horns or four craftsmen, God saw fit to remain silent… and really is better that way

God’s answer

like with identities, God withheld information on what method craftsmen would use when they acted on his behalf

instead, describes effect of their labor – those nations presently at rest, thinking they had prevailed over God’s people, they would become displaced people, turned out of territory they had acquired

nothing left to chance – according to God’s purpose his enemies would be thoroughly humiliated and defeated, something that would cause them great terror

important to note: aggression against people of God always includes offensive behavior directced toward God himself, something he takes personally and seriously

poster child for that in NT – Acts 9:1-4 – “Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord”… “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

D. Oracle

no formal oracle, however…

are some take-aways: first, about the names of the nations – Zechariah’s countrymen would have understood who was meant, would have been encouraged by the message of the vision

since some details purposely omitted, shows intent for people in other times and places to receive benefit from what God showed prophet… people like those of 1st century church… and 21st century church

comfort for all ages

important to reinforce – people of God in all ages have enemies… starting with Cain… continuing until Second Coming when Christ puts an end to all rule and authority and power, and will have subdued all his enemies (1 Cor. 15:20-28)

notice significant detail from vision: for every horn there is a craftsman – for every enemy of God and his people that comes from 4 corners of earth, God has appointed means of dealing with it

point to remember: it is never safe to oppose Christ and the advance of his kingdom, is never safe to oppose Christ’s church

Christ will meet every force raised to oppose building of his church and subdue it – how he chooses to do so is his business

God intended his church, place of worship in Jerusalem should be rebuilt. Sent his prophets to encourage his people to carry on the work… confident God would make sure they succeeded. Lord Jesus assured his followers he would build his church and even hell’s gates cannot impede its progress. Regardless of particular circumstances, how things might look, we must press on and do the next thing. We may see the results, it may be reserved for future generation. Either way, God takes care of his own, supplying their need, ensuring the outcome of their labor for him will serve his eternal purpose.

The Man Among the Myrtles

Zechariah 1:7-17  

Many of prophets had task of stirring up people to particular actions – repenting of their sin, recovering proper observance of religious ceremonies (circumcision and Passover, e.g.), returning to work of construction on restored Temple. Zechariah’s opening charge to his people certainly had that character – calling them to repentance, not making same mistakes as their fathers.

Zechariah’s primary focus not on what people should be doing for God, instead was concerned with what God would do for his people. God by no means uninformed about or unaware of his people’s circumstances and their needs. God had his plan, was working his plan, had told his people some things about his plan. Was much they did not know, especially what was God’s schedule of planned events. When extended period of time passed and people had heard no word, seen no obvious activity from God, would lose heart.

Many prophets received word from God, were told what to do with it. Some, like Zechariah were shown multimedia presentation, included both sight and sound. On occasion, would even have a tour guide, positioned to aswer questions, provide explanations.

February 15, 519 BC, busy night for Zechariah. btw, Shebat the Babylonian name for 11th month of Jewish calendar, corresponds with our February. Saw a series of 8 visions, served to encourage and strengthen prophet first, then his hearers, finally all his readers. Was important that prophet himself have strong confidence in God and his plan. Doubting prophet not equipped to encourage / inspire confidence in audience.

Each of visions Zechariah saw that night followed similar pattern: an image the prophet saw; one or more questions the prophet asked; the explanation given to the prophet; an oracle, a message from God for his people.

A. Image  v.8, 10, 11: Man

riding chestnut horse  (8)

primary figure in scene who attracts and holds attention: man seated on red or chestnut horse, standing in valley, accompanied by riders on other horses of varying colors

in this vision, colors of horses not of great significance – pretty much normal horse colors; is the man and companions that matter

identity of the man not made clear at first – comes out gradually as vision and its description progresses – helps us enter into experience along with prophet, discovering details as he sorts them out

standing among the myrtles  (10)

myrtle commonly found in Palestine, grows in variety of locations / conditions – evergreen, dark scented leaves, delicate white flowers with purple edging, berries used in medicine

low shrub on hillsides, can reach 9 or more feet in low-lying well-watered valleys – probably sufficient foliage to conceal riders / horses

as vision moved along, first rider dismounted, was standing in valley next to his horse… seen by the prophet but not easily visible to others

the Angel of the Lord  (11)

Zechariah asks angel, messenger from God, standing next to him for help interpreting – angel begins to respond, then is interrupted

man standing among the myrtles declares who his companions are, other riders address their response to man identified as “the Angel of the LORD”

53x in Zechariah – LORD of hosts – gives hint of what their mission might have been, identity of the Man: same who encountered Joshua at Jordan River by Jericho

B. Question   v.9

“what are these?”

even a prophet needs help to understand point of what is hearing / seeing – God graciously supplied one with accurate information

before anything else is said, prophet knows what he is seeing, has no clear idea of what it signifies – who the riders are, what their mission is, how it relates to him and his people

important example set here: when considering revelation from God (for us, his Word) first stop for interpretation should be divinely supplied interpreter (Holy Spirit), content of revelation (explanation)

when God supplies explanation / interpretation of his revelation, start by taking it at face value – follow plain sense, don’t try to give another sense to it

“I will show you”

interpreter-angel begins to respond to Zechariah’s question – distinguished from “the Angel of the Lord” who interrupts, takes over

even though someone else was there who could give explanation, prophet (…and us) not encouraged / allowed to shift focus

the Man, Commander of the Lord’s Army, pre-incarnate Christ the one who should and would receive all the attention

C. Explanation  v.10-13

the Lord is present (10)

Bible tells us Satan, and of course his agents too, prowling the earth seeking to push forward their evil agenda against Christ, church

are not alone in spiritual dimension – God has his agents led by Commander, Son of God himself, scouting throughout the earth

this a comparable idea to what Apostle John saw, Son of Man walking in midst of lampstands – God is present with his people

may be concealed from our view, at least physical sight, but should not be concealed from understanding – are not alone in the world

the world is at peace (11)

report the scouts give to their commander: have completed assignment, not long process since on horseback, can go everywhere

kingdoms of the earth experiencing relative peace, no major conflicts anywhere – kinda like now, small skirmishes but world powers not engaged in conflict

becomes clear from follow-up question this kind of peace not a good thing – a world at peace while people of God suffer not pleasing to God – further explanation is coming

> further question – how long (12)

keep in mind: vision has application to people in all ages, given first to Jewish people shortly after worst time of their life – exile – and things hadn’t gotten very good even by 20 years later

cry went up from Man – how long before you show mercy to your people, restore them to favor once again?

the Lord responds (13)

God’s answer comes back to interpreter-angel, gracious or good and comforting words… who then shares response with Zechariah

many things implied by good comforting answer to that question: God not sleeping, powerless, disinterested, frustrated, aimless

D. Oracle   1:14-17

the Lord cares (14)

God not unconcerned with the suffering of his people – greatly moved with compassion and will move on their behalf

has purpose not only to restore his people but to be properly worshiped – hence distinction between Jerusalem and Zion

this is LORD of Hosts declaring his intentions – iow, the God who is in covenant with his people and has power to change things

the Lord is displeased with the nations (15)

nations had agenda against people of God, so God let out the leash… permitting them to overthrow and capture, read punish, Jews

one problem… for them – took their greed and aggression too far, being unnecessarily harsh and unjust toward Jews – figure they have put God and his people in their place, won’t be bothered again

God will not allow that to go unnoticed, unpunished – evidence? where is Assyrian Empire? where is Babylonian Empire?

the Lord will prosper his church (16-17)

God has his timeline in view… as always, and now is the time – he will remove all hindrances to rebuilding of his house, and more

city will be rebuilt as well and prosperity of church and city will overflow to surrounding area – not looking forward to unending hardship, resistance to growth

Is difficult at times to see what God is doing in the world. Easy to judge state of world and church by how things are here. Here can be local church family, town, region, nation. Need to keep in mind: 2000 years ago NT church had 120 members (Acts 1:15). Look at it now… around the world. No nation on earth where Gospel is not known, where Christ does not have a church. And people are being added to the church daily. Christ is present in his church, among his people, carrying out his plan according to God’s perfect timing and methods. Take heart, there is no power that can frustrate it, slow it down, change its course. Our good and gracious heavenly Father can be trusted to complete his plan of redemption and lead all his people safely home.

 

Call to Repentance

Zechariah 1:1-6  

Zechariah common name, ~30x; means “the LORD remembers”. Young man (Zech 2:4), born during exile in Babylon. Perhaps adopted by grandfather (Ezr. 5:1; 6:14) – father died young? Iddo perhaps / probably priest identified in Neh. 12:1-4, 16 – makes Zechariah both priest and prophet (like John the Baptist). Also like John, similar focus / priorities: repentance in anticipation of coming Messiah.

“He presents Messiah as a king (Zech 9:9), a stone (Zech 3:9; 10:4 NIV), a slave sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zech 11:12), the smitten shepherd (Zech 13:7), the Branch (Zech 3:8; 6:12), and the glorious Redeemer and Ruler of Israel (Zech 14:1–4, 9, 16–17).” Wiersbe

Only certain knowledge we have relates to his prophetic ministry, none to rest of his life. His prophecies quoted or referenced at least 41x in NT.

described by Ezra as joint prophetic ministry (Ezr. 5:1) “Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem”

each had individual emphasis: Paul and Barnabas kind of team – Haggai the one who came first to prod people into action; then Zechariah, encourage them to keep going

neither self-appointed – “word of the Lord came”… with expectations – did not appoint themselves to prophetic ministry, God made clear what they were to do… e.g., Zech 1:3 “Therefore say to them…”

rebuilding began 23 days after Haggai’s 1st message; 1 month later, 2nd message, stirring up people to work on in spite of hostility and discouragement

Zechariah commenced following month after Haggai’s second message, Oct-Nov 520 BC, 18 years after first return from exile

Text of this evening introduces (preface to) series of eight visions, snapshots of what God intends to do to encourage his people, finishes with emphasis on coming Messiah. Throughout, theme is “God’s commitment to deliver His people from the discouragement that stands in the way of His worldwide eternal redemptive purposes.” Parker

In introduction, speaks of new direction people need to take, an old mistake they need to avoid, and a timeless truth that will give them courage.

A. a new direction v.1-3

God’s messenger

prophet-priest – greater emphasis on spiritual than simply practical – a complex man with a complex message for people of God

understood what prophetic ministry was like – knew first-hand that God had not left himself without a witness during exile

even though we don’t know much of Iddo, his name and office carried weight with readers of Zechariah, primary function as priest who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel

encouraging to piety – work alone not enough – had insider knowledge / understanding of pastoral ministry (preacher’s kid)

used by God to reinforce point that God wanted a holy people, not just a holy place – in part the lack of sincere worship that sent their fathers into exile

God’s anger

rightly displeased with forefathers – goes on to remind of some of their issues, related to covenant issues  indicated by YHWH

since he used personal covenant name, makes clear YHWH’s commitment to his covenant even though angry w/ fathers for abandoning / breaking it

also letting people know their time in exile not an accident of global politics – was purposeful by God’s design, for their good

risk return of his anger without change of course – spoke in past tense… “has been / was very angry”, implies he is not presently

God had not overlooked sins of previous generation indefinitely, would not for them either – God is longsuffering, slow to anger, but has his limits

way of life in Jerusalem needed to be different from that of Babylon – enthusiasm for rebuilding must be matched by enthusiasm for renewed relationship with the God who would be worshiped there

God’s challenge

return to me – might have returned to land but not to God – hearts / desires were still focused elsewhere – might have recommitted to rebuilding but not to right relationship

I will return to you – if they turn loyalty / devotion back to him, he would “make His face shine upon [them], And be gracious to [them]” (Num. 6:24-26) – if not… iow, needed to follow new direction

B. an old mistake v.4

they had prophets, too

Haggai & Zechariah not the first… nor would they be the last – many had come before… starting with Enoch, prophesying judgment on the ungodly of his generation (Jude 1:14-15)

ones most immediately in view: those God sent to warn Israel and Judah during rise of Assyrian power – Elijah, e.g., and ff.

few were well-treated – see Matt. 23:31ff, Heb. 11:32-38 – most important, how hearers responded to prophet’s divine message

at best, overwhelming majority paid no attention, treating as unimportant background noise – responses ramped up from there, covered spectrum… sound familiar??

urged to repent

turn from means turn to – whether stated or not, God expected his people not to move from one brand of evil to another

intended they should turn to the only true good… the true God, YHWH – btw, God’s message has always been exclusive

since belief governs behavior… no matter what claims individual may make – why Jesus said you’ll know the tree by its fruit

requires change of mind – for lasting change to behavior acceptable to God, must have new way of thinking, about God and self

refused to listen and obey

lack of desire, not lack of ability – were free to make any choice they wanted, those were the ones they freely made

needed change of desire along with change of mind – meanwhile, persisted in rebellious disobedience in spite of consequences

implied: rebellion brought ruin

God makes direct connection between rebellion and ruin – was their sinfulness that brought about harsh consequences – iow, they were responsible… and so was God

Zechariah’s generation (and ours) needed to be reminded: they were just as much at risk of ruin as their ancestors, personally if not nationally

— between repentance and redemption – God could justly respond with favor when they repented and turned back to him

old mistake: they could follow their own way even when God said different… and still somehow come out ok – they must not fall back into that same way of thinking

C. a timeless truth v.5-6

things change

forefathers and prophets long since gone – many died in conflict leading up to exile, more died in exile… how did they use time – did they leave a good legacy, what should you do about it

influence can persist… for evil (fathers) or good (prophets) – influence is important, whose would they choose to follow

God’s word and statutes endure

of first importance: God and his word outlive them all – prophets’ legacy worthy… because message / life pointed to God

have ministry report tucked in, second half verse 6 – people heard and responded to prophet’s challenge, declaring change of mind and acknowledging God’s faithfulness

confessed: God kept his word re: punishment, doing as he said – can expect will keep his word re: blessing… if they repent

Giod is faithful to his purpose

has plan to redeem his people from ruin – single comprehensive plan beginning with Adam, inclusive of all people groups in all periods of human history – see Rev. 5:9-10 

is doing his part to carry it out – showed by returning people from exile, sending prophets to inspire and encourage, all in preparation for centerpiece of redemption: Messiah

expects his people to do their part – not because God lacks power or ability to do it all himself; could if he chose, has not chosen

involvement contributes to sense of responsibility – missions team from away, constructed building for “natives”; later, “come fix your roof”

Call today the same as in Zechariah and Haggai’s – don’t make same mistake as those of previous generations, even among our own. Turn back to the one who is true, whose word is true, show by speech and action confidence in God and his faithfulness. Are 2500 years nearer the close of God’s redemptive plan, must be work for us to do since still here. Is just as reliable today as then, must urge the lost to turn to only true God without delay.