AS FOR THEE ALSO
Zechariah 9:10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. 11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. 12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;
Who is “Thee Also?”
As we had to look back into verse nine to view our King coming to us riding upon an ass’s colt, in order to discover the significance of the horse and chariot being cut off in verse ten, so we must look back to verse ten to realize to whom the Lord is speaking in verse eleven. And in verse ten we find him speaking peace unto the heathen. Therefore, as he is set forth to be meek and lowly in his relation to the colt he rides, so his servants must never be upon their “high horse,” seeking to display themselves in pride! And as he was speaking peace unto the Gentile nations, we understand that it is then that he turns to Israel and states, As for thee also! This is made certain as his first words to them concern the blood of thy covenant.
But we can also understand that in verse ten, as we view his words as spirit and life (Jn. 6:63), we see the general call of the gospel to every creature, in every nation, and then in verse eleven we see the effectual call of the gospel, making application of his blood to the Israel of God! (Gal. 6:16). Matt. 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Remember – Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. The only “nation” that the Lord now recognizes is the holy nation, which is the church, made up of both regenerate Jews and Gentiles! 1 Peter 2:9 But ye 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:
And as we have already noticed his speaking peace, and then referring to the blood by the mouth of the Prophet Zechariah in this passage, so we find these things in the writings of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter two! For there we are instructed that the wall which separated the Jews from the Gentiles, (which was not sin, for all have sinned!), was the law of ordinances. But the Lord has now written his law upon every heart of every believer, Jew and Gentile alike, by the Holy Spirit! For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every believer! (Rom. 10:4).
Therefore we read in Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Notice in verse seventeen that he spoke peace, both to the Gentiles who were afar off, as Zechariah said, and he also spoke peace to the Jews, who were nigh! For no man is justified by the law! (Acts 13:39; Gal. 3:11). And never was a single Jew, (nor Gentile either, for that matter,) regenerated by election! For election is, of itself, not salvation. The Apostle Paul urges the Jew to believe the word for salvation!
Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever (that is, either Jew, or Gentile), believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
The Lord God tore both the veil of the temple, thus polluting the once Holy Place forever, at the time when he tore the flesh of His Son, giving entrance by a new way, and a living way into the eternal presence of the Holy God! Heb. 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; Thus the middle wall of separation between Jew and Gentile was removed! Col. 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Glory to God! We Gentiles are now ushered into the Holy Place, where only Israel’s High Priest, and not even every Jew, could once go! Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Turn You to the Stronghold
Now the conditions in receiving salvation are given in this command. There can be no turning to God except one turn from sin! 1Thess. 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
And that Hebrew word, here translated, Turn you is not only translated in 2 Kings 8:6 as restore, but it is also listed in Ruth 4:15 as, restorer! For none can repent except it be granted by the Sovereign God! It is clearly shown in a familiar verse in Psalm 23. For it is there shown in verse three as, He restoreth! In Psalm 44:10 it is shown as Thou makest us to turn!
This also gives clearer understanding to Jeremiah’s dealings with the Lord in chapter fifteen and verse nineteen. There the word is listed out as, thou return then will I bring thee again. God was instructing his prophet that if he returned, it would only be because God was bringing him! Dear soul, no sinner ever wanted a new heart until he had already received one! For a soul, dead in trespasses and sin cannot “do,” or “want” anything, any more than a physically dead man can!
And to whom must they turn to? They are instructed to turn to the stronghold. We must go to the Prophet Nahum to learn of the identity of the stronghold. Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. We don’t need Dr. Bottlestopper to understand that! We must repent. We can only repent as the Lord grants us repentance. And we must turn from sin, unto Him alone!
And notice in Nahum’s verse that it is not stated what the one turning knows. But it is revealed to us that it is the Lord that knoweth them that trust in him. The Apostle Paul paused to make this clear to the Galatian professors. Gal. 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? And in 1 John 4:19, John also writes, We love him, because he first loved us. The believer absolutely does come to know and love God after he has in reality turned to God! But the initiative was only granted him to do so by God, the Alpha, the Beginning of all things!
Listen to the believer, with an overwhelmed heart crying out to God to lead him back to the stronghold. Psalm 61:1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.
Prisoners of Hope
In verse eleven the Lord calls his elect people, prisoners and tells of the dry pit in which they are incarcerated. And he refers to them the second time in verse twelve as prisoners of hope! For the Shepherd did not lose the sheep, just to lose them! He lost the sheep in order to find them, so they would never be lost again! Sin is a great prison! But even this was to work for their good! Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Joseph, a glorious personal type of our Lord Jesus Christ, was cast into a pit instead of being killed by his brothers. And we read in Genesis 37:24, And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And by his own words we learn that this was the purpose of God for Joseph to be used to preserve those very lives who had cast him into this prison! Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
And we see that Israel itself was “shut up” in a prison until the Deliverer should come to set them freer than they could have ever imagined! For the pit was without water! It was just a dry pit to hold them in. It was not meant to drown them and bring them to destruction! For they were his prisoners of hope! Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Listen to their personal testimony of this experience: Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
The Prophet Joel tells us that the Lord shall be the hope of his people. Joel 3:12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. 13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. 16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. In this gospel age the Holy Spirit is waking those heathen unto whom the Lord told us in Zechariah 9:10 he would speak peace. For faith comes by the effectual voice of the gospel to the soul! (Romans 10:17). The Lord of the harvest comes to gather in his elect peoples, and therefore reveals to them that he has been watching over them for their good from all eternity. Even when they did not realize it, he was their only hope!
Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? For NOW abideth faith and hope! It does not mean, “I hope I’m saved!” But it is a spiritually stedfast trust in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a faith in Him who was raised for our justification! For we do not yet have the glory that shall be the completion of our salvation. But we do have a firm, blood bought confidence and hope in him who doeth all things well! 1Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
Pastor Gene Breed
March 4, 2011