Sunday, December 15, 2013

Zechariah 2: Emmanuel! God with Us.



Zech 2:10-13 "Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the Lord. "Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling." 

Christmas has nothing to do with Santa Claus. Someone has suggested you could describe age-groups by Santa Claus:

  • Childhood: You believe in Santa Claus.
  • Teens: You don't believe in Santa Claus.
  • Young parenthood: You are Santa Claus.
  • Middle-aged: You look like Santa Claus!
Christmas is Christ! Zechariah's prophecy in today's passage (written about 4 centuries before Christ) points to that special day when Jesus Christ was born. Jesus is Emmanuel, meaning "God with us." Here, Zechariah declares that a day is coming when God would be living among us: "Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the Lord. (Zech 2:10).

Furthermore, Zechariah prophesied that "Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people" (Zech 2:11). This is a reference to the establishment of the Church comprising Gentile nations now joined to the Lord to become God's people, just as Judah is: "For [Christ] himself is our peace, who has made the two [Jews and Gentiles] one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility." (Ephesians 2:14).

The Apostle Paul is saying that through God's coming in the flesh to die on the Cross for all mankind, now the wall dividing Jews and Gentiles has been removed. Formerly, the world is divided into Jews (governed by the Law of Moses) and Gentiles (governed by the Law of Conscience). Now, through Christ there is but one people under God who is governed by the Law of Christ, for Christ came to abolish Moses' Law by replacing it with His own Law of the Spirit (Mt 5-7). Unlike Moses' Law which was given to the Jews, Christ's Law was given to all nations and become our standards of judgment of right and wrong.

But God has not given up on Judah: "The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem" (Zech 2:12). In our generation, we have seen the re-creation of Israel as a nation (1948) and the re-establishment of Jerusalem as the Jewish capital after the Six Day Wars (June 1967). With Israel and Jerusalem reinstated in the ancient holy land, we are now in the final stage of world history. 

God has come more than 2,000 years ago. And He will be coming again: "Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling" (Zech 2:13). Emmanuel!

Father, thank You that You are not a God who is indifferent to human pain and suffering. You came in the flesh so that we can see You and understand You through Jesus Christ. Thank You that on Christmas Day, You came to us. Amen.

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