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Rejection of the Good Shepherd

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 22, 2020 8:00 am

Rejection of the Good Shepherd

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 22, 2020 8:00 am

The book of Zechariah is the fascinating account of a priest who had visions. Discover the lessons these visions teach and see how they relate to issues about religion today, such as what true religion is, what the significance of cleanliness is, and when you should fast. See also the unique picture that Zechariah gives of the Messiah as the shepherd-king. Youll be both enlightened and inspired as you study this thought-provoking book.

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Looking to the Bible studio reviewing Internet Ministry of finance of convincing evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Bortz for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our bearing you to think and act biblically was a question about Zacharias using the Hebrew word muscle Oracle Laura Burton to introduce chapters 9, 10 and 11 of this profit say they should certainly be dispelled by now because burden has to do with judgment and even though the purpose of the book as a whole is encouraging this 11th chapter to which we call is certainly a judgment date. It's the most grim. The darkest in some ways the most discouraging chapter in Zachariah and perhaps in all of the Old Testament written prophecy. The chapter falls into three parts, or say first section poetic inform which comprises the first three verses speaks of a judgment on the land the most political portion of the book, but also in some ways the most terrible and there's a section that begins with verse four through verse 14 in which is described a certain symbolic act that Zachariah was to perform.

He was to act like a shepherd to do it in the symbolic way prophesying by his action, the coming of the good Shepherd Jesus Christ and experiencing in his own person. The rejection of Jesus Christ would receive. When he came as a shepherd of the people then finally in the last portion of the chapter, verses 15 through 17. Zacharias given the second symbolic act.

This time is not to act out the role of the good Shepherd he stacked out the role of the worthless or wicked Shepherd and a judgment comes upon a one whose coming the symbolic act prophesies because the outline of the chapter, we have to look at it section by section. The first verses say open your doors over Lebanon so that fire may devour your cedars wear yellow pine tree for the Cedar's fall in the stately trees are ruined whale oaks of Bashan, the dense forest is been cut down some of the wail of the shepherds there which pastors are destroyed. Listen to the roar of the lion/thicket of the Jordan is ruined his verses obviously describe judgment. That's to sweep over the whole of the land begins in the North and Lebanon go south through Bashan and eventually reaches even the banks of the Jordan and the words all of the land. All of the good land is overrun and destroyed in the judgment which these verses prophesy building is really certain about them is that they are describing a judgment on the land. Every commentator acknowledges that though there's great difference of opinion as to what particular historical. The verses refer to some of the commentators take them in a very general way. They say well this is a judgment of any thing that would happen in a pejorative way to the land of Israel at the hands of Gentile powers.

Certainly that's true Raise any quarrel with that.

But if the earlier portions time specific historical references as I tried indicate when we were looking at chapters 9 and 10 that were probably to think that this has a specific historical reference to even though it may be difficult for us to figure out at first glance what it is, say, in the early part of chapter 9. We have what's obviously a prediction of the campaigns of Alexander the great. This describes exactly how Alexander moved down the coast conquering one city after another and then in a totally unexpected way spared the city of Jerusalem, the same fate befell in the other cities that happen. That's the way it fell out in here Zachariah writing about it hundreds of years before so that's historical we know what that refers to.

Later on in that chapter. Chapter 9 there is a description of what we take to be the wars of the Maccabees that followed all of that's right the first portion refers to the conquests of Alexander the great and the second portion refers to the wars of the Maccabees, probably here in chapter 11. We have another historical reference so we ask well what.

In the history of Israel from the time of Zachariah on the destruction of the land, possibly concern and asked the question that way is perhaps not quite so difficult because while this would perhaps describe the kind of thing that happened in the coming of the Assyrians of the Babylonians before Zacharias time, but the words are a number of periods in the ancient history of Israel, to which it could refer are there really are not many. From the time of Zachariah forward in fact is only one Alexander the great came he destroyed many of the Gentile areas, but he didn't destroy the area that's referred to here so you say what possible. Could it refer to it wasn't the time of Alexander, this did not happen during the years of the Maccabees. Only time it did happen was in the war, the Roman armies in that great war that does describes in great detail by Josephus war that took place between the years 66 and 70 of the present era. Josephus tells about acts in exquisite detail because he was part of the operation. He was a man of rather high position and when the war began to break out as it did in the year 66 A.D. he was sent north to take command of one of the garrisons in Galilee fortified city tried to encourage the other cities to fortify themselves.

Nero sends his best Gen. Vespasian to put down the rebellion that taken place in that year among the revolutionaries city of Jerusalem. They massacred a Roman garrison there in the reprisal was certain Vespasian came, he arrived in the year 6070 established himself in the north and then he moved against the cities of Galilee and eventually moved on South against Jerusalem. Now Josephus's forces were overrun Josephus in a band of soldiers, hid themselves in the cave. They were discovered in Josephus's life was spared because he had spoken favorably in a prophetic way about the victory of the Roman armies they like that kind of thing. They spared his life. They put them in the camp and became more or less the historian of the war so he was there in the camp of Vespasian as they move South against Jerusalem and he recorded all of the operations concerning the siege of the city and the cutting off the supplies and all the things that happened during those desperate years in Jewish history in the year 68, Nero.was a period of indecision Empire was unsettled. Nobody knew who the successor of Nero would be eventually. Vespasian was elected Emperor by his own troops again. There was sort of a pause. Vespasian wasn't sure what to do, but he returned in time to wrong where he became. Indeed, the emperor, and as he left he put the operations of the war in the hands of his second-in-command's name is Titus. So in that year and 68. Titus took up the command of the forces and began a protracted siege against Jerusalem, the drag on for a period of time within the city.

There were three major factions couldn't agree they were fighting one another made the tragedy.

All the greater.

They were unable to negotiate with the Romans because nobody was willing to negotiate or they couldn't agree on the terms with which they should negotiate and finally the situation got so bad in the city that people were resorting to cannibalism was full-scale murder among the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all this while the Roman armies tightened their grip on the city wall after wall fell defense after defense.

Tell the defenders finally retreated to the Temple Mount. There 17 July in the summer of 8070 sacrifices the daily sacrifices ceased because there weren't enough men to perform. Shortly after that Temple Mount was overrun the gates of the temple were burnt and then finally it seems by accident, Titus, and intended seems by an accident.

The temple was itself destroyed and defenders were crucified by the thousands were a few cities that held out longer. Three of them thought it was the best known eventually in the last fortified cities of the land fell and Judaism ceased to exist politically and many Jews were scattered throughout the world would seem that this is what's described, and if so, we have here a great judgment, tragic judgment in the history of the Jewish people of the second section has to do with the symbolic acts that Zachariah was given the perform as I read it and read it in the sequence. It seems to me that the logic of the sequences that this is the reason for the destruction was mentioned in the first part of the chapter recall when we are talking about chapter 9 that I pointed out, if we were dealing with this chronologically or something out of order first portion of chapter 9 talks about the conquests of Alexander the great and is a section that speaks of the coming of Zions King Messiah, Jesus Christ, and then in the latter part of the chapter is the description of the wars in the Maccabees now actually the second part referring to the coming of Christ came after the wars of the Maccabees by sitting here looking at that historically the orders wrong because the answer is that Zachariah is not dealing with the chronologically is dealing with a theologically so having described the coming of the great Greek king. He now describes the coming of Israel's king, Jesus, and then he goes on to describe the events that led up to that coming, you have the same sort of thing here theological reason your Zachariah in the 11th chapter is not giving a chronological sequence of events because this is the proper interpretation.

Christ came as the shepherd and was rejected before the judgment that came through the invasion of the Roman armies in the great war described by Josephus, but it's theological not chronological what Zachariah is saying here is that it is because of the rejection of the good Shepherd that the judgment came.

Now this is a difficult section and almost impossible.

I think to interpret it properly.

If it weren't for the fact that Jesus had, and we know from the details of his life. How these things fell out the words we look at the coming of Christ and in that in the events associated with it. We see the fulfillment of what is described. Some times in somewhat difficult language, hereby Zachariah. But anyway, here's the way it's described, God spoke to Zachariah and told him what to do. He said, in effect, Zachariah.

I want you to perform a symbolic act pastor the flock marked for slaughter buyer slaughter them go and punish those who seldom say praise the Lord I'm rich their own shepherds do not spare them east to do the symbolic act and then anticipating the rejection of his efforts, which are prophecy of the rejection of the true shepherd Jesus Christ God explains what's going to happen. In other words, he says to Zachariah at the beginning that the outcome of the shepherd work is not going to be good because he said I will no longer have pity on the people of the land and I hand them over to their neighbor and his king will oppress the land.

In other words reference to what he said in the opening verses, I will not rescue them from their hands. So this is what Zachariah was given to Billy begins to do it. He describes it in verse seven says so that's what I did. I pastored the flock marked for slaughter. He knew in advance that it was going to turn out well particularly impressed of the flock tells how he took two staffs shepherds crooks. Perhaps what you gave symbolic names that one was given the name favor. The other was given the name union.

He doesn't explain why he gave them those names really doesn't need to, it's perfectly obvious name favor speaks of the favor of God the favor of God upon the people they were the chosen people of God, through whom all blessings and Comintern. The apostle Paul for an explanation of that he says was there any advantage to be a Jew and he says all he has many advantages. They had the law and the prophets. They had the sacrifices and the patriarchs and finally it was through them according to the flesh Christ came all those advantages favor.

The second was union that speaks of the unity of mind and purpose among the people I had that one time Zachariah is going to show us. He tells his experience with the flock, but in time he broke the staff labeled favor because the time would come when God will no longer deal with the Jews in a particularly favored way and he also broke the staff marked union because that union which had existed at one time was going to disappear and it was perfectly evident how it disappeared.

If no other time during the siege of Jerusalem and the Roman armies were camped outside the walls is what he did. Verse eight is interesting.

He says in one month. I got rid of the three shepherds I really is puzzling is he mean when he says he got rid of the three shepherds one explanation would be. He's referring to something that we just don't know about three individuals three shepherds three people is calling shepherds and somehow we got rid of and because he only alludes to adherence and historical reference disappears today.

We simply don't know what he's talking about putting us on a very good explanation is at least one explanation I was reading in the commentaries to see how this verse is handled in one of them points out that there have been at least 40 different interpretations of this verse. I think probably the best of the interpretations is the oldest is the interpretation that was developed among the early church fathers, people like Chrysostom and Theodora someone they said when Zachariah refers to the three shepherds is referring to three individuals, but rather the three classes of individuals when he has in mind here presumably are the three classes of leadership in Israel. The prophets one kind of leader shepherds to the people in their own role in with the priests they were leaders of the people shepherds in their particular function. And then there were the kings who were often explicitly called shepherds of the people, the prophets, priests and the kings all of which by this time it proved inadequate and certainly going to prove increasingly inadequate in the times to come upon the people.

That's the case then when Zachariah, who now in a symbolic way is acting out with the Lord Jesus Christ was to do when Zachariah says I got rid of the three shepherds he speaking as Christ to say my accident in my works. I've abolished those three great leadership roles in Israel, whether that's what verse refers to or not.

It certainly what happened because Jesus Christ is the prophet Jesus Christ is the priest Jesus Christ is the King. He said you know that John the Baptist was the last of the prophets. After John there was none save Jesus Christ when Jesus was rejected in the temple was destroyed in the priesthood, was abolished because the priest had to offer sacrifices in the temple and without a temple there couldn't be a priesthood. It's also a fact of history that from the time of Jesus Christ. Onward, no king is overruled over the state of Israel as a state today of the presidents and so forth, but never king the king in the line of David to see Jesus Christ embodies all these things in himself.

Zachariah goes on to explain what happens. He says the flock detested me there you have the rejection of the shepherd that is not going to be there shepherd any longer. He goes on, let the dying dying the perishing parish. But those were left eat one another/that may very well describe what happened in Jerusalem at the time of the Roman siege, the dying guy, that is, those were wounded in battle, perishing parish, that is, those were dying because of pestilence and such things. Finally, this matter of starvation and cannibalism took place at the time and maybe that's what he's referring to in any way to this point and and then to some, but a way Zachariah takes his first staff, the one called favor and he breaks it because he wants to show that at this point. Historically the special relationship the nation is that God is broken, God is going to deal historically in a different way with people establishing his church calling into a Jew and Gentile, but not working in a special way within the nation. He says it was revoked on that day. One interesting little phrase here that may have an historical fulfillment that we know about. I say maybe because it's less than certain that I may say what it may be that same verse, verse 11, and so the afflicted of the flock who were watching me knew it was the word of the Lord is obviously referring to something. It's hard to know what it is what maybe is this string that siege of Jerusalem and tightness of the city all bottled up was a period of several days when quite unaccountably.

Titus raise the siege of Jerusalem.

He simply pulled his soldiers back and allowed anybody wanted to escape to escape. Most people didn't.

But within the city at that time were Christians. Church had been established. People knew the words of Jesus Christ remembered Jesus and set on one occasion where the end of his life and what we call the all of the discourse when you see Jerusalem circle about why armies flee to the hills because the destruction of the city is why they remembered that during that unaccountable raising of the siege by tightness. The Christians left the city and went to Pella and then the siege was reestablished and was never raised again. Eventually the city fell in the defenders were massacred or crucified, as we know it may be the Christians at that point actually fulfill this prophecy and by obeying the word of the Lord demonstrated the prophecy became through Zachariah was true. Verse 12 we begin to have the story of the rejection of the shepherd and the details that are picked up in the New Testament is had to do with the price that was paid for the Messiah for 30 pieces of silver, the price of betrayal paid by Judas in the disposal of that amount of money after the trail 30 pieces of silver was the price that you had to pay. If your box Gordon, a slave of the slaves killed us price given in the book of Exodus, the price of a slave. So when Zachariah says here give me what I'm worth.

Give me my wages in a given 30 pieces of silver. That's as much as to say we have very little value on your labors slacker. I you are no more to us worth no more DOS than a common slave we could replace you for 30 pieces of silver by simply buying a slave somewhere.

It was meant to be insulting.

That's why he says in verse 13.

The handsome price at which they price means being ironic take actually thought I was worth 30 pieces of silver. We know that that's the way they treated Christ Judas's friend the one who broke bread with him and traveled with them during the days of his ministry betrayed his master for the price of a slave that we say how could that happen. How could it be that when in the fullness of time, God sent forth the one who had been prophesied throughout all the Old Testament. His own son, the Messiah, the good Shepherd to be there when God did that he would be so scorned by his own people that he be betrayed for the price of a common slave.

We have no answer to that except that that's the way sin operates. That's the way they treated and then.

And that's the way we would treat them today why today we be trampled even less betrayed him for the opinion of somebody whose opinion doesn't matter at all. That's way regard spiritual things I think is hard to take this passage from Zachariah referring to the betrayal of the good Shepherd without thinking of how the Lord Jesus Christ handle that same theme in his day and on the 10th chapter of John's Gospel we have a whole section which Jesus Christ builds upon this image Jesus so far as I can tell from John 10 was not quoting Zachariah explicitly nor was he quoting the 23rd Psalm, nor any of those other passages in Ezekiel and Jeremiah are any of the other prophets that build on the shepherd imagery, but certainly he knew all this was in his mind and use the image and what we would call humanly a most creative way you said you know I'm good Shepherd.

I'm the one about whom all those past prophets were speaking and as the good Shepherd. I come to do a Shepherd work with my sheep. First thing I want you to know Jesus said is that I know my sheep. I know them by name. I know who they are. They don't even know themselves and certainly the world doesn't know them but I know who they are and the second thing I want you to know is that since I know my sheep. I call my sheep and I called them by name. The doctrine of election, the Jesus speaks of their he says all the sheep I know which ones are mine.

I called Mike I name them John Paul Mary Susan all of them one by one. He says I called and then having called them by name. He says I leave them out and lead them in the my own flock I want to say, well out of anything that would keep us from the amount of the flux we belong to a lot of the secular morass in which we find ourselves. Jesus calls us one by one by one. Then he says having called my flock.

I preserve them because I'm their defense and not one of those who are mine will ever perish is an interesting that he handles the imagery that way. Here is Zachariah talking about it. Zachariah is talking almost entirely of the rejection of the shepherd the matter that he was paid 30 pieces of silver. That was the price of his betrayal.

That's what's in Zachariah's mind that Jesus is ignorant of this, Jesus knew perfectly well that he was going to be betrayed.

He prophesied himself. He said this 1 to 8 bread with me is going to lift up his heel against me. He told Judas go do what you have, do it quickly, he said the good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep. He knew he was going to die.

That was something he emphasize what Jesus emphasized was his sovereignty in the matter of the shape how we called them and how we kept them from OCP was going to build his church. That way you see the coming of Jesus takes that which is tragic in the Old Testament makes it a monument to the grace of God. When we come to the last section, verses 15 through 17.

Here Zachariah is given a second symbolic act of Palau. He has played the role of the good Shepherd.

Now he's to play the role of the worthless Shepherd Lord said to me, take again the equipment of the foolish Shepherd for I'm going to raise up a Shepherd over the land will not care for the lost her seat beyond her heal the injured or fuel feed.

The healthy but will eat the meat of the choice sheep tearing off their hoods to see the work of the small Shepherd is described first negatively and then positively all the things he won't do is not going to care for the lost her seat beyond her heal the injured or field healthy and then having talked about what he won't till he describes what he is going to do to eat the meat of the choice she presented tear off their hooves and otherwise is to treat the flock for his own benefit is to use them quite a lot like the Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for his people's great deal discussion as to what these verses refer to what this worthless Shepherd is the Jewish commentators generally refer to Herod. There are Christian commentators who deal with in a very broad way, just false leaders of the people, something like that somehow related to the Roman Empire because it certainly fits the Roman empire.

They didn't have the care of the people under their care. Certainly not the Jews used didn't do well during that. It may be. Perhaps this is even a reference to the cult of the Emperor.

I think however that this is referring that character is described in the Old Testament and also in the new is the antichrist, one who is going to appear at the end time is a false Shepherd of the people taking to himself, political power and religious power in fulfilling the kind of role that the good Shepherd actually didn't fulfill but doing it for evil and selfish ends by the description of this character in the book of Daniel seven chapter verses eight through 12 all kinds of imagery there is described as a little horn, the displaces other horns of horn is an image in language of this particular kind of prophecy of the kingdom, power and this described one king is been displace other kings 90s and rule over 10. Find the same thing with the same imagery in the 13th chapter of Revelation, obviously referring back to Daniel here.

Other powers are given to them. You find them in second Thessalonians.

The second chapter, and so on the political and religious figure is going to come at the end of time and was going to say I'm the good Shepherd. I'm the one who can lead follow. Maybe I'll give you political freedom, and I'll give you all the desires that you have spiritually speaking, but is actually going to neglect the loss on the on the injured and healthy and use people for his own ends. Judgment is stated in verse 17 woe to the worthless Shepherd who deserts the flock by the sword strike his arm in his right eye's arm be completely whether that is the symbol of his power is right. I totally blinded symbol of his wisdom. What we would call his vision neither number of lessons in this chapter. It's worth stating briefly as we close the first one is this no one will escape God's judgment comes always tend to think we can escape. But here in this chapter, you have a judgment that includes the land.

The people in the antichrist. Everyone is encompassed in the judgments of Almighty God, the judge of all the universe does do right.

That's the first lesson. The second is this unbelief always leads to judgment. This is the problem with the people, good Shepherd came he offered to do the shepherds work, they wouldn't have and they turn from him. They preferred their own way of what they did with Jesus Christ.

I said we will not have this man to rule over us. We do not believe that he is the Messiah of Israel.

We do not believe that he is a good Shepherd and yet he was that unbelief fled historically to the terrible judgment of the Roman war and leads inevitably to the much greater judgment of God to come at the end of time. The final lesson is this God's favor, about which Zachariah speaks is to be found only in the care of the good Shepherd, who is Jesus Christ.

Where do we find the favor of God we don't find it ourselves because were under his disfavor because of our sin because of our unbelief because of our rejection. If we define God's favor. It must be. What a load it can be found that is in Christ, or the way is open to the presence of favor of Almighty God, see if we are to understand this chapter in learn from it. We have to do this, we have to reject our rejection. We have to turn from our sin and come to him who is indeed not only the good Shepherd of Israel, but are good Shepherd as well.

Let us pray. Her father blessed this chapter in these prophecies to us. We confess as we read them. Peter said of Paul's writings with her are in them things are hard to understand. We acknowledge that we would pray not for the fullness of understanding we may never have in this life, but for the grace to obey that which we do understand. So to grow by obedience, which is your way with your people are father we thank you for Jesus Christ and his work with thank you that he's our good Shepherd. We would pray that by your grace, you would cause us not only to trust him, but that you would cause those who do not even know him yet to be there. Good Shepherd to turn from their sin and to find favor as a sheep in his flock to Christ's be all glory now and throughout all the endless ages you have been listening to the Bible study our production of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals the alliance of confessing Evangelicals exist to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of Reformation theologians from decades, even centuries gone by.

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