New birth

76 Sermons On The Old Testament Given By Jesus

Sermon 75 - Zechariah receives a command from God, Himself.

September 7th, 1965

Received by Dr Samuels

Washington D.C.

 

I am here, Jesus.

In Chapter 6: 9 - 15, Zechariah received a Command from God Himself (and not from angels). Here the prophet was no longer in a visionary state: it was morning. A delegation of Jews still in captivity in Babylon had arrived in Jerusalem bearing gold and silver as an offering in the work of restoring the Temple. The prophet was ordered to go that same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephariah, where the metal was deposited, and make two crowns: one of silver for Josiah, the high priest, and the other, of gold, for Zerubbabel. The prophet was ordered to tell the high priest:

“Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying: Behold, a man whose name is the Shoot, and who shall shoot up out of his place, and build the Temple of the Lord; even he shall build the Temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and there shall be a priest before his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. And the crowns shall be... as a memorial in the Temple of the Lord. And they that are far off shall come and build in the Temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of Hosts hath sent me unto you. And it shall come to pass, if ye will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God.”

(Zechariah 6: 12 - 15)

Zechariah, it should be mentioned now, was an artisan, a worker in metals, and he was very capable of carrying out God's Commands with respect to the two crowns. He completed them in the presence of Josiah and the delegation of three, and after the coronation ceremonies, they were hung by golden chains in the roof of the Temple porch.

The Shoot, of course, was Zerubbabel, and the meaning was a reference to the prophet’s interpretation of the Messiah at that period in Israel’s history. He was to be king of an independent nation, and the religious affairs were to be in the hands of a high priest. As you know, of course, this was not to take place, as the Persians had Zerubbabel removed from political power, and Israel was not to become an independent nation until the time of the Maccabean struggle more than three hundred years later. In addition, Zechariah’s vision of the Messiah was still that of a material ruler, interested primarily in restoration, without the soul or spiritual qualities that had characterized David, the King, and, with the land continuing to be ruled by foreign powers, with the high priests as local governors, the conception of the Messiah, the ideal of the people, remained focused upon the restoration of the Hebrew nation with the Messiah as sovereign.

On the forth day of the ninth month, or Chislev (your December-January), in the year 518 B.C., an inquiry was made as to whether the day commemorating the fall of the Temple should be retained as a holiday. As to this question, which arose when a delegation from Babylon was sent for a determination, it was referred to Zechariah in the belief that the prophet could obtain an answer from the Lord or His angels. Zechariah stated that the people had not fasted on that day nor on the day which commemorated the assassination of Gedaliah, the governor of Jerusalem. However, declared the prophet, the Lord was not concerned with fasting, but with doing what is right in His sight. What had caused the plight of the Hebrews in former times was exactly this lack or righteous living, which had been preached by earlier prophets and fallen on deaf ears. Evildoing had reached its harvest. But now that punishment had resulted from the work of their hands, God was eager to bring about restoration and a binding up of wounds. Jerusalem shall become the “City of Truth” and the Temple area should be the “holy mountain.” Hence the Temple should be completed by all means and Jerusalem was to become a city of youth and laughter. Truth and peace should be the watchword, and ethical living and righteousness the laws to be obeyed and revered. Thus would the days of fasting and gloom be converted into a time of happiness and festivals. And thus would the Hebrews be restored to the Favor of the Lord and be the models for all mankind. All peoples would respect them and acknowledge the holiness of their religion and the goodness of their humanity:

“Thus saith Yahweh of Hosts: It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come peoples, and the inhabitants of great cities; and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go speedily to entreat the favor of Yahweh, and to seek Yahweh of hosts; I will go also.’ Yea, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek Yahweh of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favor of Yahweh. Thus saith Yahweh of hosts; ‘In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations. They 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.’”

(Zechariah 8: 20 - 23)

A higher vision of Judaism, based on the righteousness which the Lord demands of His people, and which meant recognition for the Jew and his humanity by other peoples, can hardly be found in the Bible. This is expressed with a love and a yearning that make all devout Jews feel a tug at their hearts and seek the Lord, and know that He is with them.

Now let me return to Zechariah’s prophecy. When I came to earth to live and preach in the Holy Land, I did not come fasting, as it has been recorded of me in the New Testament, but I came eating and drinking, as did my followers. I felt, basically, that God was not interested in what I put into my stomach as food or drink, but rather He was concerned with what came out of my mouth, the expressions that came from the heart indicating the condition of the soul. In short, God is interested in the ethical conduct and in the morals that guide the individual in his paths through the mortal life, and, for the people of the New Birth, the Love that burns in the hearts of those who know me as Jesus of the Bible, their elder brother, and Master of the Celestial Heavens - people whose conduct is conditioned by the Divine Love in their hearts, and not by rites and ceremonies. And as I told guests at the table in the house of my father, Joseph (called Alphaeus in the New Testament to disguise the fact that I had a real father), the followers of John, the Baptist, and the members of the Pharisees used to fast because they were conscious of sin in that they had only the inadequate natural love to combat it, whereas I came with a soul impervious to sin due to the Love therein, and I taught my disciples Divine Love through prayer to the Father and a Divine Soul through His Love, and a solid protection against worldly sin and evil like unto a high battlement watched over by the zeal of the Lord Himself. I also taught prayer for the Love burning in my own soul, my mission on earth as the Messiah of God.

I did not come to dispute or violate the traditions of Judaism, as has been claimed in some circles, but adhered to the Hebrew prophecy as laid down by Zechariah, to the effect, let me repeat, that God was not concerned with fasting, but in doing righteousness, which all the prophets of Israel had proclaimed. I was therefore conforming to the revelations of the prophets, and well within the laws of Israel. My telling disciples and hearers of the presence of the bridegroom simply meant the presence of the Messiah, and the Presence of God on earth through the Love in my heart, and the need for happiness and joy in Its presence as long as I was on earth. I may speak more on this when I discuss the parables found in the New Testament.

Jesus of the Bible

and

Master of the Celestial Heavens