I HAVE BENT JUDAH
Zechariah 9:12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; 13 When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. 14 And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. 15 The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. 16 And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. 17 For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.
This glorious chapter, along with all the writings of Zechariah, was given by the Lord God some five hundred years before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And yet, even then, it is filled with instruction concerning the natural, under the law, being changed to the spiritual, under the gospel kingdom. For everything in past revelation was to prepare mankind for the spiritual realm, which would then be brought into the glorious and the eternal!
Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
1 Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
It seems that those in our own day who concern themselves with religion have forgotten, and therefore lost the concept that our God is a Spirit, and must be worshipped in spirit and truth! The spirit of worship must be truthful, and the truth must be spiritual! Listen to these words of our Commander – the Person of the Word himself! John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Yet we still seem to prefer the dead rhetoric of past human writers, and would rather have Dr. Bottlestopper to provide us with “sermons,” rather than have a spiritual “message” from the Holy Ghost. But did you really read the verse just listed above? – THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING, for his words are spirit in order to be life! The Apostle Paul instructs the believers at Corinth concerning this also. 2 Corin. 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. We must be careful that we are not ministering death by intellectualism, rather than life by the spirit of the word!
For how else shall we understand the words of verse thirteen, listed in our context? “I have bent Judah.” And what possible edification (spiritual upbuilding) can that phrase have for you as an individual believer in facing the dangers and toils of daily life today? – Remember, the flesh profiteth nothing! If it is not presented to us as a spiritual word, then it cannot be a worshipful word!
In verse ten of our chapter the Lord clearly states, And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: Yet we see him on a white horse in Revelation 6:1-2, and in Revelation 19:11. And his armies, the church, are also mounted in like fashion!
And he also emphatically stated in verse ten that the battle bow shall be cut off:! Yet we read that he shall bend Judah, and shall fill that battle bow with the arrow of Ephraim! Do we not see the impossibility of this having the slightest opportunity of any edifying effect on our hearts today if left only in the literal and natural – which, – – – profiteth nothing?
But if we build up our faith upon not just this prophet, but can obtain an Apostle to bring it into the wonderful usefulness of the spiritual, then we will have something! Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
But first let us consider two more phrases in God’s writings from Zechariah. …and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. (9:13) …and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. (10:3). Here the Lord God plainly announces that, even though he has already stated that both the physical battle bow and the horse shall be cut off, he shall make his people to have the effect of them both in the warfare of faith!
Now, lets listen to the Apostle Paul for some spiritual clarity concerning this Old Testament prophesy. First he instructs us that God’s weapons are not natural – guns, explosives, bayonets, or bows, swords and horses etc.. 2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; His weapons, like his words are spiritual!
Just the weapon of the fervent prayer of his righteous men avail much! (James 5:16). Revelation 8:1-6 gives an understanding of the power of the church’s prayers as mediated by our Intercessors (Christ and the Holy Spirit – Romans 8:26,34)! These prayers are used to verily shake the kingdoms of this world! And this shaking is in order for our receiving the spiritual kingdom of Christ! Hebrews 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
When the effectual prayers of the Lord’s people on earth are co-mingled with the fiery spirit of Christ’s work at Calvary, and are then poured out into the human realm, lightening revelations flash forth from the Spirit, gospel messages thunder from the pulpits, and fear and trembling become the lost soul’s condition before the Holy God, as those false foundations built upon the sand are shaken! Rev. 8:5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
The reason that there is such an increasing amount of pageants, dramas, and visual aids required in the religion houses of America is to keep the attenders interested. They cannot receive the Holy Spirit because they cannot see Him! John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
They need their pictures of a man who looks more like Wild Bill Hickok than anyone else to depict their “Jesus! But the true Lord Jesus said he’d not be seen by the world any more! But he would be known by his life within, which is the very life of the true believer. John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. The eyesalve recommended to the Laodiceans by the Lord of the church (Rev. 3:18) is certainly much needed in today’s religious world.
But the true believers have the spiritual ability to see spiritual things! 2 Corin. 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. And this discerning sight is granted them by the gift of faith, which alone affords one to see such things! Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
These even spiritually “see” the very Person of Christ! John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. And their view of him shall, one day, change them into eternal glory! 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Therefore to bend Judah is to reveal that God’s weapon in the spiritual, gospel kingdom is the church! They are to beseech the world in Christ’s stead! Christ has given them both the ministry and the word of reconciliation! (2 Cor. 5:18-20). And the weapon that they have been assigned to effectually conquer the sinful hearts of man is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God! (Ephes. 6:17). For the gospel is the power of God unto salvation! (Romans 1:16).
And that gospel power is exactly what the Harlot church lacks! And it is from these that the spiritual church is instructed to turn away! 2 Tim. 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
The Scripture is not unfamiliar with the tongue being compared to a sword, and words unto arrows! Psalm 64:3 Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: This is also clearly shown in the spiritual revelation of the Person of Christ in his ascended form, as recorded in his Revelation, chapter one, verse sixteen. For there we read; And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
There are several other comparisons of natural things being brought over into the realm of the spiritual in this chapter. There are two “seas” spoken of. There is the sea in verse four into which Tyre was actually cast down by Alexander the Great, ruler of the third Gentile kingdom. Then there is the sea mentioned in verse ten which shows the world wide dominion of Christ’s kingdom. For under his spiritual kingdom there was no more sea (Rev. 21:1). For in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, (identity of nationality), male nor female, (identity of sexes), bond nor free, (identity by social standing)! (Gal. 3:28).
Then there are two “strong holds” mentioned. The one in verse 3 is a physical fortress in which Tyrus trusted for his protection. Then there is the one listed in verse 12 that Nahum 1:7 reveals to be the Lord! The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. For the true church trusts not only in the protections of Christ, but Christ, the Protector!
There are two “kings” mentioned. The one in verse five is a natural king who cannot preserve his own life! But the one brought forth in verse 9, not only rules over physical life, but also has salvation to provide his subjects with eternal, everlasting life! John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
There are two mounts – the ass and the horse – mentioned in verses nine and ten. These reveal the two aspects of Christ’s Person, for he is both Lion and Lamb! (Rev. 5:5-6). As the Lamb he is associated with the ass, and the fold of the ass. He is meek and lowly of heart! (Matt. 11:28,29). And he does not call attention to himself! (Matt. 12:14-21). For love seeketh not her own! (1 Corin. 13:5).
But as the Lion he is associated with the horse as we see him overcoming the strong man (Satan), being stronger than he, and spoiling him of his goods of captured souls! (Luke 11:21,22). And he rides out in sovereign, gospel power on his white horse conquering souls for his kingdom! (Rev. 6:1,2). Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
There are also two stones mentioned in verses fifteen and sixteen. One kind shall be trampled under foot by the true church. The other represents the true church lifted up in a crown while being placed on her heavenly Husband’s head! (See Mal. 3:16-17).
Pastor Gene Breed
March 9, 2011