Zechariah 11:1 Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.
2 Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.
3 There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled.
4 Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter;
5 Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not.
6 For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour’s hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.
Zechariah was called to prophecy about the affairs of Israel at different times in her history. Some of it was directed to his time. Some of it looked far beyond his time to the Millennium. We have looked at some of that already. In this passage, Zechariah looked beyond his time, but some that has already been fulfilled before our time.
In our verses God used different areas around Israel as an allegory for things that would take place in Jerusalem. These places were known to the Jews. God knows how to get man’s attention and to make His truth plain. He uses different means to accomplish His goal. It is important for us to study God’s Word carefully so as to understand when He is using allegories and when He is speaking literally.
We have noted before that Lebanon was a friendly neighbour to Israel for a time. The cedar from Lebanon was used to build the first temple as well as David’s palace. Later Lebanon became an enemy of Israel. That is still their position today. Those who follow the mainstream media will be confused. Much of the news media is in bed with the terrorists. The U.N. insists that there must be a ceasefire. The U.N. is heavily influenced by Muslim nations.
Hezbollah is very active in Lebanon. They have attacked Israel in the past and are at it again now.
In verse 1 of our text, God commanded Lebanon to open its doors. God referred to the cedars of Lebanon. We will see this as we move through this passage. We noted earlier that Lebanon supplied the cedar wood that was used in the Temple. King David had an agreement with Lebanon to supply the cedar required to build the Temple. As we look at the context of this passage, we see that it is in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, including the temple by Titus in A.D. 70. We have the advantage of past history to help us to understand what God is talking about.
Cedar wood is considered a very good wood. It is very durable. It can resist rotting probably better than most other woods. It can withstand moisture well.
In verse 2 there is the lamentation because the cedar tree is fallen. The mighty are spoiled. We know that Titus marched into Jerusalem and he conquered it and destroyed the temple. As noted, Lebanon was noted for its cedars. Bashan was noted for its oak trees. Oak trees are strong. They also make very nice looking furniture with their grains. God used trees here to describe people and nations. When speaking prophetically, God spoke highly of the cedar. If the cedar was not able to stand, how could the fir and the oak tree stand.
By application, if the temple could be destroyed, what hope was there for anyone else. The temple was God’s house. However, what the nation of Israel needed to understand is that God could vacate the temple when it became a place of corruption. Jesus warned that the temple that the disciples were so enthralled with, would be broken down. There would not be one stone left upon another. That happened in A.D. 70 when Titus invaded and destroyed the temple. To this day, the Jews are not sure of the exact location of the temple. God knows and in the Millennium Jesus Christ will build the temple exactly where it should be.
Verse 3 tells us that the shepherds would howl with the loss of the temple. Even though the shepherds were false teachers, they liked to use the temple as an instrument from which to wield their power.
Jeremiah 49:19 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan against the habitation of the strong: but I will suddenly make him run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?
We can see from chapter 11 that God is not really concerned about the trees. He is concerned about the nation of Israel that has disregarded the blessings of the LORD that were constantly seen in the temple. Israel despised the things of the LORD and judgment was coming upon them. During Jesus’ first coming, He was rejected by many of the Jews. They even invited the judgment of God upon them and their children, due to their rebellion. Matthew 27:25 records their boastful ignorance in inviting God’s judgment upon them and their children. They really did not know what they were saying.
The shepherds — the priests and the prophets were to feed the people the Word of the LORD. The shepherds had abandoned their duties. They were under the judgment of the Lord. During Jesus’ first coming, the religious leaders were more concerned with discrediting Jesus and seeking to keep the people from believing in Him, than they were in truth. They tried hard to find fault with Jesus but they could not. They had their false religion and they were not willing to give that up. They did not want to submit to God’s way. They wanted to be in charge. They wanted a god that would be their puppet. They were able to convince many of the people to believe in their false god. However, we see in God’s Word that God is bigger than all the false gods and His Word is able to penetrate to the heart of the most wicked person. Some will be saved but sadly, most just refuse to humble themselves and be saved.
In verse 5 we see that the religious leaders were guilty of killing those they did not like. Yet they justified their evil ways. God used this allegory to point out the evil of the supposed religious leaders of the land. They were in bed with the Roman government and would use that government to crucify Jesus Christ.
In verse 6 the LORD declared that He would no longer pity the inhabitants of the land. They did not need to fall for the lies of the false teachers. While Jesus was on earth, the people admitted that Jesus taught with authority and not as the false teachers had taught. The false teachers had demanded loyalty from the people, but their words were empty. The people knew this, and yet in the end they agreed to cry out for Jesus’ crucifixion, rather than turn to Him in repentance and true faith.
The result of that failure, was that the Roman government would eventually destroy Jerusalem with the temple. They would kill many of the Jews and take others as captives. The LORD would withdraw His hand of protection off the land and off the people.
Zechariah was directed to give a warning to the people regarding the danger they were facing. They would have been wise to listen, but they chose not to. Today as well, we would be wise to listen to the LORD. We should be able see the continual downward spiral we are on. Some people can see this, but they still refuse to bow before the true God. They have their imaginary god that they are still trusting in. The wise person listens to God and trusts in Him for his own salvation and direction and then faithfully proclaims the truth to others. Not many want to know the truth, but God still loves them and wants them to hear the truth.