Zechariah 8:14 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.
16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:
17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.
18 And the word of the LORD of hosts came unto me, saying,
19 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.
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.
In verse 14 God reminded the Jews that He had planned to punish them. God had warned the Jews before they ever entered the promised land of the need to obey Him. He had blessed them so much and He showed them the blessing of following Him. Yet, as is usual for us as people, obedience is not common. Obedience is wise, but not common.
The people knew that God keeps His Word. He thought to punish them, and He did not repent of His plans. God reminded them that this rebellion had been going on for a long time. Their fathers had rebelled and they had provoked Him to wrath.
In verse 15 the LORD stated that just as He had kept His Word regarding punishing them, so now He thought about doing good to the people. He did not do that because they had repented. He wanted them to repent, but that was a rare thing in Israel. It still is today. God punished the Jews, but His punishment is always limited. He never gives man what He deserves. He punishes with the hope that man would turn to Him and repent. The Jews did not need to be afraid. God keeps His Word. He promised to bless the Jews if they would obey Him. He also promised to forgiven the repentant sinner. God is not a vengeful God. He loves man and wants man to know Him.
In verse 16 the LORD reminded them of what He expected from them. He expected them to speak the truth to their neighbours. They also needed to execute judgment of truth and peace within Judah. God’s people need to treat one another in a loving manner. It is natural for lost people to mistreat one another. The flesh does not aways want to be kind. However, God’s people need to walk in the Spirit. Not all Jews were saved people, but all Jews should have been saved people. God expected them to be a light to the Gentile nations. In the same manner, born again Christians need to be different from the ungodly. We need to have a genuine care for the well-being of others. Some Christians will be carnal, but that is never acceptable to God.
In verse 18 the LORD again reminded Zechariah and the people that He was speaking to them. Zechariah was the messenger, but the message came from the LORD.
In verse 19 the message was with regard to the fasts they should keep. These fasts were to be kept with joy and gladness. God did not give the fasts to the nation to cause them to mourn. He gave them fasts to remind them of His provision and His blessing toward them. They were to be cheerful during those fasts. That joy and cheerfulness, did not include the debauchery that took place just prior to the invasion by Hamas on Oct.7. Israel still keeps some of the fasts from Bible times, but they have corrupted them and they have lost the meaning of the fasts. They are doing things similar to what they were doing prior to being sent into exile in the times of Zechariah. They complained when God did not bless their corruption. He needed to remind them that His fasts were important and when kept His way, there would be plenty of opportunity for joy and cheerfulness.
In verse 19, the LORD stated that the requirement for the people was to love the truth and peace. To love the truth is to follow the truth. To love peace is to love the truth. When a person refuses to live by God’s standard, they cannot enjoy His peace. Israel is seeing that today. They are not yet understanding the connection. I do not know how many true born again Christian Jews there are in Israel today. I know there are “Christian” tour groups that go to Israel. It would certainly be appropriate for them to remind the Jews they meet there of the importance of knowing the true God. When we were there a number of years ago, we met some professing Christians there, but they would fit well into the New Evangelical camp. They were not sound in the faith. We did have some discussions with our tour guide regarding Who Jesus Christ is and why He came. Our guide was very polite, but he did not get saved.
There is a great need for some true evangelists to go to Israel and remind the people of the truth. There are organizations that work in that country, but all the ones I know of are compromised. They do not speak the truth. They do not love their neighbours as God spoke of in our text.
In the closing verses of this chapter it is clear that the LORD is speaking of a future time. He is speaking of the peace that will permeate the land. He is speaking of how the Jews will get along with one another and they will be able to travel freely without threat of terrorists. That is not the case today. In fact, the Jews are being warned of travelling. Jews from other lands are being urged to move back to Israel because antisemitism is on the rise and has risen exponentially since Oct.7. Jewish students needed to barricade themselves into a room at a university because of safety concerns. Jews in Russia were in danger of being murdered at an airport. Jews in France are not safe either. In Canada the Hamas supporters are also very vocal and are calling on Ottawa to push for a ceasefire in Gaza. Our government is walking a tight rope because they are looking for votes. They are not principled people. It is all a political game to them. Many nations are under the curse of the LORD because of their hatred for the Jews. Sadly, our country is one of those. There should be a clear and loud voice in support of a Jewish homeland. There should be a clear condemnation of the terrorists. However, our politicians are trying to find a middle ground and there is none. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and the squeaky wheel in this is the terrorists.
Born again Christians need to continue to pray for the salvation of Jews. God wants all people to be saved. That is the greatest need of the Jews today. When they know God’s peace, they can pass it on to others.
Zechariah was told to encourage the Jews of his day with a hope that was real. They could have known God’s peace in their day, but the majority of the Jews were not interested. We know that at the time of Christ’s first coming, Zacharias and his wife, and Simeon and Anna were looking for God’s promise of the Messiah. We know that John the Baptist grew up in a home where the truth was taught. However, there were many Jews who wanted the healing and the feeding, etc., but they rejected the truth. They gave lip service, but their hearts were not right with God.
The apostle Paul’s greatest opposition was from the Jews, not the Romans. The Romans came to hate him because the ungodly Jews stirred them up. The Jews did not want the peace of God in their hearts. In recent history, the government of Israel has debated forbidding any Christian Jews from living in Israel. They want a secular state. Mr. Netanyahu alluded to the Bible in a speech just this week. However, it was just for convenience. It was not because his heart is right with God. Prayerfully, he will see the need to be saved before it is eternally too late for him. Many other Jews need to be saved as well. Of course many Gentiles also need to be saved.
Those that are saved need to be like Zechariah and speak the truth to those we meet. Many will take offence, but they need to be reminded of the truth. God will bless those who speak the truth with a genuine love for their neighbour. God is the God of peace. Jesus Christ is the Prince of peace. There is no peace apart from knowing the true God.
In verse 23 we read of the blessing that the Jews will be in the Millennium. People will seek out godly Jews and they will want to align themselves with them. They will see that the LORD is with the godly Jews. That is the way God is. It is always a benefit to follow after a godly person. A godly person can lead you to the Lord. It is sad that so many reject the truth and choose to align themselves with the ungodly, rather than with the godly.