Thursday, October 28, 2021

Zechariah 13:4-6

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4 “On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive. 5 Each will say, ‘I am not a prophet. I am a farmer; the land has been my livelihood since my youth.’ 6 If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’" Zechariah 13:4-6

Today, we return to our study of Zechariah 13 where God's forgiveness of the sins of repentant people is at center stage. Forgiveness means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel the debt created by unacceptable choices. Forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. No one deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is an act of love, mercy, and grace. God's free gift of forgiveness is possible due to His Son's obedience to come to earth and hang on the cross, this, paying the penalty for our rebellion.

In v.4 of today's text we read, "On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive."

At the end of the Tribulation, the Lord Jesus will return to set up His millennial kingdom here on earth. At that time, as indicated in v.4, anybody who is known as a prophet will quickly try to conceal the fact that he was a prophet.

You see, this is the problem with those who falsely embrace the way of God, they do not come clean until they are caught. They will have no choice in that day to come clean because they will not be able to hide. God's righteousness will reign, and sin will have a short lease, in His presence.

In Deuteronomy 14:1 we read, "Now you’re the children of the Lord your God, you Israelites, so you shall not cut yourselves." 

The unbelievers were taught, in that day, by the prophets of Baal to cut themselves. They thought, cutting themselves, hurting themselves, would cause God to shown them favor. In addition, the prophets of Baal had a ritual of shaving themselves bald. Another futile attempt of trying to fool God. Like all religions, it was man's attempt to gain the forgiveness of God. But, there is no way in hell that any of us can earn God's favor. 

In 1 Kings 18:28 we read, "And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their manner with swords and lances till the blood gushed out."

So, when the prophet in Zechariah 13:5 said, "I’m no prophet, I’ve just been a farmer. I’m not into any of that pagan stuff. I’m just a farmer." Somebody inevitably asked, as we read in v.6 of today's text, "What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends." 

They cut themselves according to their religion. Their wounds were the wounds of false teaching and idolatry. This is why it is so important to know the truth, because the truth sets us free from such faulty thinking. The problem of man is: There is never a way to escape when God begins to deal with our sin.

Thankfully, God is loving and merciful, and He is eager to forgive us of our sins! In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." God desires to forgive us, so He provided for our forgiveness.

Someone might ask, "Why couldn't God just say, 'You're forgiven? Why was the sacrifice required?'" God could not have just forgiven sin without a sacrifice or a payment for the penalty  because to do so would be unjust. Imagine a world where rape was just forgiven. How about if serial murderers were just forgiven. What if we just forgave pedophiles? All of these individuals would keep on doing these horrible things without any consequences. What kind of world would this be? A world without any justice.

The only just penalty for our sins is death. The first half of Romans 6:23 declares, "For the wages of sin is death…" Eternal death is what we have earned for our sins. But, God, in His perfect plan, became a human being. The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, taking the penalty for our sin that we deserve. 

In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we read, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." The Lord Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment that we deserve! As God, the Lord Jesus’ death provided forgiveness for the sins of the entire world. 

In 1 John 2:2 we read, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." And, according to 1 Corinthians 15, the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, proclaiming His victory over sin and death. Through His death and resurrection, the second half of Romans 6:23 is applicable to the broken sinner, "…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."