YE SHALL BE A BLESSING
Zechariah 8:13 And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong. 14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts, and I repented not: 15 So again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not. 20 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. 22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. 23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
As Ye Were A Curse
The last word in the Old Testament is curse! And the ending of the Old Testament economy, based on the blood of bulls and goats, ended with our Savior becoming a curse for us, in order to provide us with the new and living way to God! Gal. 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: For as the flesh of the Son of God was being torn on the cross, God, at that time, tore the veil of the temple, thus polluting that holy place, and ending the physical sacrificial system for ever! Heb. 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
The curse God had promised national Israel for failing to keep his commandments fell on them! Deut. 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: For the law was not given for the atonement of one single sin! But it was given to reveal the exceeding sinfulness of sin! Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Romans 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
So Will I Save You
How then can those who were a curse become a blessing? We must notice the words which come between these two conditions, as revealed in verse thirteen, listed above! – so will I save you!
Remember what the Lord had said as recorded in Zechariah 3:9! … and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. And there was a specific day – a literal twenty four hour period – that began as the sun arose, and before that sun went down to end that unique day, the Final Sacrifice had cried with a loud voice, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). And as prophesied, he had then finished the transgression and made an end of sins, and brought in everlasting righteousness! (Daniel 9:24).
Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Something eternal happened at the cross! Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Redemption Alone Made the Difference!
What the Jews did not realize, (and it seems most in our day don’t either), is that they were sinners! And as sinners, they needed a Savior! This little bit of news, proclaimed by the Apostle Paul got him rejected and even stoned by his countrymen! For they didn’t believe themselves to be sinners like the Gentiles! This is what he is laboring to set forth in his Roman letter! Here is but a portion:
Romans 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
King Jesus Questions a Master
Did you ever look at the recorded conversation between King Jesus and his servant Nicodemus, and wonder how it was Nicodemus was supposed to know about the new birth? Well, that is exactly what the Lord held him accountable for knowing! John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
Since there were only the Old Testament writings at that time, there had to be a revelation of salvation by grace alone, and by the new birth contained within them! For that is where the Apostles obtained it! 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.
Our limited space will not allow the listing out of all the verses, but here are just some of those revelations of the new birth in the Old Testament: 1 Sam. 15:22; Psalms 40:6-9; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:25-27, 37:9-14. Our Lord even preached upon the subject of Ezekiel 37:12 in his discourse in John 5:21, 25-29! Therefore this was the Lord God’s intent all the while!
The Blessing of Abraham
At the very beginnings of God’s dealings with human kind, he promised that there would be those whom he would cause to be a blessing. In Genesis 12:2, 3 we read: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. The promise from God to Abraham – a Gentile! – was that all families of the earth SHALL be blessed through him! How then can we exclusively ascribe to national Israel alone, this promise from Zechariah 8:13?!?
Lets allow the New Testament to reveal the mind of God who made the promise! We’ve already quoted Galatians 3:13 to show how Christ removed the curse from us by becoming a curse himself! Now listen to the next verse of Galatians 3:14: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Amazing grace!
Abraham’s blessings did not just come on Jews, but also on Gentiles, like himself, and not through national heritage, but through faith! But wait! The next two verses of Galatians chapter three are very noteworthy! Gal. 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Wow!
The one whom the Lord God has been referring to, concerning blessings from the very beginning of his dealings with man, has been his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! Abraham saw Christ’s day and was made joyful! John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Abraham walked up on Mt. Moriah, (Gen. 22:2), which mountain is called Calvary in the New Testament! Like God, he went up as a Father to sacrifice his long awaited for son of promise! His son had the wood on his back. The Son of God had the cross on his back. Abraham had the fire and knife at hand. God the Father had the fire of his wrath and the knife of his justice that had to be satisfied! Abraham believed his son would be resurrected! Gen. 22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. God the Son had faith in the Father’s assurance that he would rise again! Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
And the seed of Abraham was Christ! (Gal. 3:16). Therefore it is in Christ that all the families of the earth shall be blessed! Gal. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
And do you remember that thing about the new birth, concerning which the Lord Christ questioned the Israeli Master, Nicodemus? That is of supreme importance! For God considers none but these to be the true Israel! Gal. 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. The only Israel of God now is that which is not identified by circumcision, but by being a new creature, by the new birth in Christ Jesus!
For there are not two churches – one Jewish and another Gentile! Christ’s cross destroyed all such distinctions and made both one body of believers through faith! Ephesians 2:14 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. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 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.
Now all believers, regardless of national origin, are made a blessing through Christ who dwells within them by the Spirit!
Pastor Gene Breed.
February 11, 2011