REMOVAL OF THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT
Zechariah 13:2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. 3 And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. 4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: 5 But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth. 6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
The Holy Spirit is in the midst of His revelation of the character of the coming kingdom of grace, and of the Messiah. We have seen the phrase, In that day several times in the Spirit’s bringing forth these matters to His prophet Zechariah.
In the previous chapter we have seen the results of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. He will give forth a revelation of the glory of the cross, causing all God’s elect believers to look beyond themselves and their personal trials unto the Lamb of God, pierced by their sin! And they shall be given a godly sorrow to rightly mourn for him. They shall be those blessed mourners of whom the Lord shall preach in his mountain message. (Matt. 5:4).
Then we saw in Zechariah 13:1 that the fountain of the cleansing blood of the Lamb of God shall be set wide opened for the losing of all the guilty stains of sinners who plunge into that flood! And now we come to see the effect of the Lord’s death in the casting out of the unclean spirit (this is the only occurrence of this phrase in the Old Testament), and the affect of this on those involving themselves in the gospel ministry.
The casting out of Satan’s usurped authority is one of the reasons given for the Son’s Incarnation. God became man in order that he might die! And in that death he both cast out Satan’s wicked rule as the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), and he delivered the Lord’s chosen ones from sin’s bondage! 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.
These are some of the results of the coming of the Holy Spirit. He is not come to make us rich in purse, but poor in spirit! He is not come to cause us to jabber in foolish speech, but to bring us to sorrowful silence at the foot of the cross! He is not come to make us comfortable, but to make us holy, and acceptable unto God!
THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT
Regeneration is the glorious work of the Holy Spirit imparting the Person and the work of the Lord Jesus to the heart of the elect sinner! And Christ, The WORD, effectually invested into the heart casts out the former reign of Satan therein. 1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
But nothing less than the Living Word can fully accomplish this task! 2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. For the preached word of the gospel, without the applied revelation of the Person of The WORD, has power of Reformation, but not of Regeneration!
One can be morally cleansed of former sinful habits, but without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit bringing Christ’s righteousness to bear upon the soul, the demons with return stronger than before! Matt. 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
And this confession without possession; this reformation without regeneration; this morality without righteousness can bind one up into an eternally irrecoverable state! 2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Dear reader, one can be moral without being righteous, but one is never righteous without morality! For as the imputed sins of the church placed upon Christ, caused him to be made sin for us, so the imputed righteousness of Christ made us the righteousness of God in him! (2 Corin. 5:21).
Listen to these passages relating the casting out of Satan to show the presence of the Christian age: Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. Matt. 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
And you can read in Luke 8:26-36 of Christ’s sovereign authority over the demonic forces, by consigning them into a herd of swine. And this he did by his word!
And that authority was won by him at the cross! John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.
And here is that account set forth in the Book of Christ’s Revelation. Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
And with this understanding, the highly misinterpreted twentieth chapter of the Revelation becomes clear! The angel with the chain is Christ’s power over Satan at the cross! The thousand years is the glorious age of the church beginning at the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. And that effectual gospel power will have to be removed from public benefit in order for Satan, in the little season, to have the permission and ability to gather in all the reprobate “sow and dog” souls for their eternal damnation!
Discerning of Spirits
Our verses two through six of this thirteenth chapter of Zechariah strongly reveal a most necessary and useful spiritual gift that Christ gave the church upon his ascension – the discerning of true ministers! (Ephes. 4:8). This gift is listed for us in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church. 1 Cor. 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
And the Apostle John even commands that this be adhered to in his first epistle. 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. The word, spirits here is the same as “of spiritual (gifts)” in 1 Corinthians 14:12. This is even clearly brought out in this verse of John’s. For after he says, try the spirits, he goes on to refer to false apostles!
And he continues in verse six; We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
Only those who are Christ’s sheep have hearing ears! John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: Therefore he would constantly state, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. It was a matter of concern with his disciples as how the manifestation of God would be known by the true church, but not by the world. Jesus’ answer was that the effectual love of God within the soul of the believer would be God dwelling within them to grant revelation of his word! John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
The exercise of this gift was praised by Christ in his letter to the church of Ephesus! Revelation 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: The flock at Ephesus was being enabled by the Holy Spirit to discern who were false apostles, thereby keeping the gospel ministry among them pure.
And let us not stray to far from the context of Zechariah. He speaks of the spirit of grace and supplications being poured out (12:10), and then of the fountain being opened for the cleansing of sin (13:1). It is only then that he begins to refer to false prophets! For only a man who has experienced the new birth can have the reality of that doctrine upon himself to preach it to others! And only those born of the Spirit have the indwelling discernment to flee from the wolves, and identify and abide under a true shepherd’s care!
And make no mistake about it dear soul, the effectual work of regeneration is never in the hand of the preacher, but is only in the exclusive power of the Holy Spirit! 1 Corin. 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. As was earlier revealed to Zechariah (4:6), It is not by the might of one man, nor by the power of a group of men, but it by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts!
And John even tells his readers that the purpose of his writing was NOT to inform them of what they did not know in their hearts to be true when they heard, or read it, but it was because they would recognize it as God’s inerrant word when presented to them! 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
Restructure of Family Loyality
Verse three of out text, listed above, seems brutality harsh and distant to even the hardest of men. But it only tends to force upon our minds the complete restructuring of family origin and definition! For when the Holy Spirit came, and the atonement was completed, God would bring in his family according to his sovereign election! It would no longer be according to natural blood lines. For the gospel sword is a great divider! Therefore we have such verses as these to fit upon our minds the reality of true gospel procreation. Luke 12:52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Now listen to the Lord Jesus himself give us the spiritual, gospel kingdom definition of family. Matthew 12:46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
Pastor Gene Breed
July 15, 2011