Bible reading for December 15 -- 16
Dec 15 -- Zechariah 2 and John 5
Dec 16 -- Zechariah 3 and John 6
"Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people." (Zechariah 2:10)
THE CITY RESTORED (ch 2). Zechariah and Haggai spoke to the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. The people needed encouragement to rebuild the city and the temple. They needed hope for the future. Zechariah prophesies of the time of future glory and security for Jerusalem, which will also become an international gathering place for God's people from many nations. The restoration of the city, the priesthood, and the people takes place in historical stages. The earthly Jerusalem and the mount upon which the temple stood, Zion, is a shadow (or type) of God's heavenly city (Gal 4:26; Heb 12:22-24). The city was re-established after the Babylonian exile, but after Christ's death and resurrection, the church (the body of all believers from all nations) is the temple of God's special presence (Acts 2; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; 1 Pet 2:4-9). However, God has not abandoned Jerusalem (or the Jews, Rom 11), which will be a key part in the unfolding of end-time events, and will become the place of God's manifested glory during the Millennium (Rev 20; Ezekiel 40-48). The ultimate and final glory of Zion will be in the eternal state (Rev 21:1-5) where the Lord says, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God" (Rev 21:3).
THE PRIESTHOOD RESTORED (ch 3). Zechariah also tells us that Joshua, son of Jehozadak (Ezra 3:2), would be set apart and restored as high priest. Like all the returning exiles, Joshua needed forgiveness and cleansing. The priesthood came at God's calling and not by human choice (Heb 5:4-5). King David foretold that one day the priesthood would be of a different order (Ps 110:4; Heb 5:1-10). This Joshua was a shadow or type of one to come (another Joshua --> Yeshua aka Jesus), known also as the Branch (Isa 11:1; Jer 23:5) and the perfectly wise Stone (Isa 28:16). The prophets of the OT are all agreed that the new world coming -- the new creation with all sin removed -- will come about through God's appointed mediator, the Messiah. And though the story may seem long and ponderous, he will remove the guilt of sin in one day (at the cross) and the presence of sin (at his return). When God is at work, things can change in a day!
"Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (John 6:35)
BIBLICAL TESTIMONY (ch 5). Jesus said, "If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" (vv 46-47) If people do not accept Moses and the Old Testament as authoritative, they are not believing, nor will they believe, in the historical, true, and living Lord Jesus. In other words, as long as people receive glory from one another -- seeking validation and defining truth in light of mere human opinion -- they simply will not come to faith in Jesus, because their faith actually rests elsewhere. Read more here.
THE BREAD OF LIFE (ch 6). One thing that stands out in the Gospel of John is how often Jesus makes reference to OT imagery, and specifically, the tabernacle. As our Lord Jesus teaches and acts, we see that every feature of the Mosaic tabernacle is fulfilled in him.
About this newsletter: I'm Sandy Young, and I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Subscribe for email at Buttondown.email/Sandy. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. A very helpful resource is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.