Zechariah 6, the Bible reads in verse number 1, "And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses, and in the second chariot black horses, and in the third chariot white horses, and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. And I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, ‘What are these, my Lord?’ And the angel answered and said unto me, ‘These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.’”
Now, in the Book of Zechariah, there’s a lot of symbolism. There are a lot of things that are cryptic when you look at this, but if we use scripture to interpret scripture, they come clear. A lot of people look at the Book of Zechariah and it’s daunting to them. It just seems a little bit too hard to understand, but the answers are all in the Bible if we studied to show ourselves our approved unto God. One of the most important things is that we always get the context of what we’re reading. We need to understand what the Book of Zechariah is about in the first place which if you recall, the children of Israel, namely the Southern Kingdom of Judah had gone away captive into Babylon for 70 years. As a result of them serving other gods and turning away from the Lord, He punished them by causing them to be carried away captive to Babylon.
70 years later, God is bringing them back from Babylon and reinstalled them into the Promised Land. They rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem. They rebuilt the temple, and so on, and so forth. God talks about how He’s going to judge the Babylonians. Even though He used this wicked nation of the Babylonians to judge His people, now, He’s going to turn around and bring judgment upon the Babylonians. There are scriptures in Isaiah 13, for example, Jeremiah 50 and 51 where God talks about how He’s going to punish the Babylonians.
Once you understand that context and then, when you go to Ezra, it talks about how as they’re building the temple, they’re being encouraged by the preaching of Zechariah and the preaching of Haggai. It encourages them in the work that they’re doing. This book is a book that is positive toward the children of Israel because they’ve already gone through punishment and now, they’ve gotten things right with God. They turned away from their idolatry, they’re worshiping the Lord. Now, He’s saying, “Now, I am going to bless you, guys, bring you back into the Promised Land, and it’s Babylon that I’m going to judge. It’s Babylon that I’m going to punish.
In the Book of Zechariah, it’s negative toward Babylon and positive toward the children of Israel. This is why the Book of Zechariah is often a twisted and misused book because they’ll try to take scriptures in Zechariah that are positive toward the children of Israel and try to apply that to today. Here’s the thing, today’s “Israelites,” today’s Israelis are in direct opposition to God, to the Word of God, to the Son of God. They don’t believe on Jesus Christ.
They are anti-Christ, according to the Bible because the Bible says if you deny the Father and the Son, you’re anti-Christ. If you say that there’s a Christ, that there’s a Messiah other than Jesus, then the Bible says it’s the spirit of anti-Christ. He says, if you don’t have the Son, you don’t have the Father, but He did acknowledge that the Son have the Father also. Even though they’re in total disobedience, total rebellion to Jesus Christ, people will say, “Zechariah so and so,” take it out of context, and try to say that they’re still under God’s blessing.
Now, in this passage, let’s start at the very beginning and let’s decrypt this language here because of the fact that this is clearly symbolic. He’s seeing a vision, mountains, horses that are different colors, but a lot of these things are decrypted for us in the Book of Revelation which is a much more clear book than the Book of Zechariah. The New Testament is all clear than the Old Testament.
Look what the Bible says in chapter 6, verse 1. “I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.” Now, first of all, as we study scripture, mountains in the Bible often represent a great kingdom or empire. For example, the Bible talks about in Daniel 2 when that great stone smashes the image of gold, silver, brass, and iron, it talks about how that stone which is Jesus, the cornerstone, when it smashes that image that that stone becomes a mountain that fills the whole earth, and the mountain that fills the whole earth is actually symbolic of Jesus Christ’s kingdom that is going to be worldwide when Jesus Christ rules and reigns on this earth for a thousand years. That’s one example. There are other examples in the Bible where mountains represent kingdoms or empires.
When we understand, these two mountains here are basically representative of the Medes and the Persians because these are the two kingdoms that God is going to use to judge Babylon because remember, Babylon was the great world empire. Nebuchadnezzar is the king. Then, if you remember, he’s followed by, later on, King Belshazzar who is a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar, probably his grandson. Belshazzar, when he’s in the banqueting house, he sees the handwriting on the wall, if you remember, and he says, “Your kingdom is going to be divided and it’s going to be given to the Medes and the Persians.” Then, that same night, Babylon falls to the Medes and the Persians, and Belshazzar is killed.
These two mountains represent Medes and the Persians, those two empires. It says that the mountains are mountains of brass. Brass throughout the Bible is used as a symbol of God’s judgment. Judgment. These two empires are the two empires that God is using to judge the Babylonians. It’s pretty simple when you compare scripture with scripture and understand what things represent.
Now, it talks about how from between these two mountains, the mountains of brass, these two kingdoms that God is using to judge, it says that there went out four chariots. Then, it says in verse 2, “In the first chariot were red horses, and in the second chariot black horses.” Now, let me first of all point out the fact that when it says in the first chariot were red horses, it doesn’t mean like there were horses riding on the back of the chariot. Basically, it means that they’re in the harness of that chariot. It means they’re the ones who are pulling that chariot. It says that there was a chariot. Basically, in the modern vernacular, we would say being pulled by these red horses. Then, we have black horses in the second chariot. Third chariot, white horses. Fourth chariot, grisled and bay horses.
Now, flip over. If you would keep your finger there and flip over to Revelation 6. Revelation 6 because we see the same colors here mentioned with horses in the four horsemen of the apocalypse as they’re often referred to. It says in Revelation 6:1, and this is when the seals are being opened by the lamb in Revelation. It says in Revelation 6:1, “I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, ‘Come and see.’ And I saw, and behold a white horse,” and it says, “That he that sat on him had a bow,” like a bow and arrow, “And a crown was given unto him, and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, ‘Come and see.’ And there went out another horse that was red, and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another, and there was given unto him a great sword. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, ‘Come and see.’ And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, ‘A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.’”
So far, we’ve seen the first three horsemen, and if we notice the colors, the first one is on a white horse, second one is on a red horse, and the third one is on a black horse which are three of the same colors that we saw back in Zechariah, aren’t they? Now, what do they represent? The white horse, there’s a man on it who goes forth conquering, and to conquer. We know that man as the anti-Christ but either way, it’s basically a man who is going forth to conquer.
Throughout history, there had been these great conquerors. If we think of the Babylonians, who was the great conqueror? Nebuchadnezzar. Then, of the Medes and the Persians, we have King Darius and King Cyrus who were these great conquerors. Then, with the Greeks, we have Alexander the Great, conqueror. Julius Caesar, whoever you want to mention throughout history, Genghis Khan later on in history. These conquerors, that’s what that white horse represents. In this case, it’s the anti-Christ going forth to conquer. He’s that final conqueror of this world.
When we see the red horse, we see that peace is taken from the earth, and that they kill one another. That red horse represents warfare. Then, the black horse represents famine because when the black horse comes, it talks about how a measure of wheat is sold for a penny and three measures of barley for a penny. In the Bible, a penny is a day’s wages. You’re paying a day’s wages just for a measure of wheat or a measure of barley. Imagine working all day, making 100 bucks, 150 bucks, 200 bucks, and then that buys you a measure of wheat. That’s pretty expensive when you’re spending 100 bucks or a few hundred bucks on a measure of wheat.
We have those three horses, and we see that they are all bad things that are happening, aren’t they? They’re all negative things. Now, the period that’s described there in Revelation 6 is known as the tribulation period. In that tribulation, Jesus describes in Matthew 24 as being famines, pestilence. He talks about the warfare, and then killing one another, and then death by all these different manner. This is negative.
Let’s look at the fourth horse quickly in Revelation 6. It says in verse 7, “When he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, and behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” This is just death on a mass scale through a variety of means, different ways that people are dying.
Let’s go back to Zechariah 6 with that in mind. God is basically bringing forth judgment upon the Babylonians, upon the Empire of Babylon, and the tool that He’s using is the Medo-Persian Empire. That is the instrument of His wrath. That is who He’s going to use to bring forth judgment. That’s why they were represented by the two mountains. The four horsemen here, in this case it’s chariots pulled by horses of those colors, represent the death, the destruction, the carnage, the warfare, the famine that God is punishing these people with using His human instrument, the Medo-Persian empire. Does everybody understand?
It says here in verse 3 of chapter 6, “And in the third chariot white horses, and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.” The grisled and bay horses would correspond with the pale horses or pale horse, singular, of Revelation 6. “Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, ‘What are these, my Lord?’ And the angel answered and said unto me, ‘These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.’” These four chariots, the Bible tells us, are these four spirits of the heavens that are going to go forth from standing before the God of the earth.
What does this mean? Basically, they are the ones that are going to go and make sure that these bad things happen in those areas. These four spirits are going to go from standing before the Lord, and they’re going to go to these different places, and cause there to be warfare, cause there to be famine, cause there to be death and pestilence. These things are spiritually induced because it’s the judgment of God upon Babylon that’s causing these things.
Now, what’s interesting about that is that when you then think about Revelation 6 and say, “Okay,” what about the horses in chapter 6? The first one represents the anti-Christ, second one is all the warfare that’s going to take place across the world, famine, but if you think about it, it all starts because there’s a book with seven seals that the lamb is opening. “I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, one of the four beasts said, ‘Come and see.’ And I saw, and behold a white horse,” and this and that.
This is where some of these people become confused because they say to themselves, “Is it God doing this or is it men that’s doing it? Is this something that is the will of God? Is God causing these things to happen or is it sinful men and his agenda that causes these things to happen?” but we have to understand that it is God’s will that Babylon be judged, and that’s why God is making sure that they get judged, and He’s using the Medes and the Persians to do it, just like He used the Babylonians to judge the children of Israel even though the Babylonians are wicked. God can sometimes work in the hearts of wicked people and yet, cause them to ultimately carry out His will that His will would be done.
Now, this is a complicated subject. Philosophically, people get confused about this. I don’t really think it’s that confusing once you wrap your mind around it but let’s go back to Genesis 50. Here’s a classic scripture on this subject of bad things happening. Go back, if you would, to Genesis 50. This is, of course, the story of Joseph. If you remember his brethren had sold him into slavery and they lied to their dad about it. They threw him into a pit, roughed him up, lied to dad, sold him into slavery, and he went through all kinds of pain and suffering down at Egypt, but the Lord was with him. In the end, he ends up running the place. He’s the second in command of the kingdom. Eventually, after he plays a trick on his brothers, he’s revealed into them, he helps them.
After dad dies, after Jacob dies, Joseph’s brethren are a little bit worried that maybe it’s going to be payback time. They think maybe Joseph was just nice to us because of the fact that he respected our father, Jacob. Now that Jacob is gone, he might want to take revenge for the fact that we threw him in that pit, sold him into slavery, and ruined many years of his life. They come to him and they make supplication unto him because they don’t want to be punished.
Look what the Bible says in verse 15 of chapter 50 of Genesis, “And when Joseph's brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘Joseph will peradventure hate us.’ Peradventure means maybe. They’re saying, “Joseph might hate us.” “Joseph will peradventure hate us and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, ‘Thy father did command before he died, saying, ‘So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil, and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father.’’ And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.’”
Now, I don’t think dad really said that but they’re like, “By the way, one more thing, dad told us right before he died that you’re supposed to forgive us,” because they’re just worried but he’d already forgiven them. When they say this to him, Joseph starts crying. He’s weeping. Look what he says to them because he had already forgiven them, he already loved them, and then let it go. It says in verse 19, “Joseph said unto them, ‘Fear not. For am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not. I will nourish you, and your little ones’. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”
What we see here is that Joseph’s brethren did something that was sinful. It was wrong. There’s no way to justify what they did. Beating up your brother, throwing him into a pit, lying to your father, selling a man into slavery. In fact, kidnapping someone and selling them, the Bible put the death penalty on that in the mosaic wall. Very serious sin that they committed by doing that. There is no way to say, “What they did was fine. It was right. It was okay.” The Bible says here that they meant it. It says they did it. If you would look down at your Bible there at the famous verse 20, it says, “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.”
God basically had a plan to use Joseph in Egypt in order to save them all alive. They didn’t realize that when they did the wrong. This is where people look at it and say, “Wait a minute. Is it God’s will that people do bad things?” What it is though is that men has evil devices in his heart and God uses those evil devices to bring to pass His will. This is where people become confused because it’s not that God wants people to do bad things. Look, it’s the will of God that we be sanctified, the Bible says. That we do right. It says this is the will of God, even your sanctification that you’ve abstain from fornication. The Bible says God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
We know that it’s God’s will always that we do that which is right, but because God knows that people are sinful, He does know that in their flesh they do wrong things, He will sometimes use the wrong that they do for His glory. He will use bad things that they do for bad reasons, He’ll turn it around and use it for something good, but that does not mean that it was God’s will for us to do wrong. That’s what we need to understand in that distinction.
Let me give you an example from my own personal life. When I was 12 years old, the church that we were going to went bad and we were having trouble finding a good church to go to. My parents ended up having this attitude of we can’t find a good fundamental Baptist Church to go to. Maybe we’re just crazy because it was like we couldn’t find an independent Baptist Church that was old-fashioned, that was preaching right, and so they just threw in the towel and gave up, and they said, “Hey, maybe we’re just crazy. Maybe we’re just too strict. Let’s try to go to the more liberal churches.” They took us to the Baptist Churches that were the more liberal type with the rock band, and the NIV, and all that stuff.
We actually spent five years in those type of churches. From the time I was 12 to when I was 16, I went to these NIV-preaching, dead as a door nail, rock and roll churches, hardly anybody ever got saved, almost no one ever got baptized. I remember one person getting baptized in years of being there, and they made a big deal out of it, like, “Wow, somebody is being baptized,” because there’s just absolutely no soul willing going on in these churches. Churches were awful.
Now, at the end of that of that when I was 16, almost 17, I ended up starting to read my Bible cover to cover just on my own in the King James Bible. I never switched to the NIV. I always knew that that was the voice of the stranger. Something didn’t sound right, even though I didn’t know the doctrine but I just knew there was something wrong with the NIV so I stuck with the King James, but I started reading my Bible cover to cover. Right around that time, God showed me this church, Regency Baptist Church in Sacramento, California to go to.
It was miraculous how it came about because I was out in downtown Roseville, California, and I was just at a used bookstore because I was really interested in reading. I was buying a bunch of books, and I was walking out of a bookstore, and a guy comes up on a bicycle, and he says, “Hey, kid. Do you want to go to church?” He hands me an invitation to church, and it said right on the front of it, “Do you know for sure if you died today that you’d go to heaven?” I looked at it, and I said, “Yes, I do know for sure I am going to heaven. I am saved.” I said, “In fact, I am also a Baptist,” because it said on it, “Regency Baptist Church.” I said, “Yeah, I am Baptist also.”
He said, “Do you guys go out and knock doors, and tell people how to be saved?” I said to him, “No, but we should.” He just said, “Amen,” and just rode away on his bike. It’s weird because I wanted to talk to him. I thought it was a great conversation. You know what’s amazing though is that he said to me the one thing that I needed to hear more than anything else because at that time in my life, I actually had a burning desire to get people saved. In fact, about a year or so before this, I’ve gone to my youth pastor and asked him, “Is there any way we can go out and knock doors, and just tell people how to be saved?” and he wouldn’t take me. He said, “Maybe we’ll just follow up on people who visited the church.” I was like, “That’s not what I am talking about it. I want to do real soul winning but I’ve never been soul winning.”
That was what I was looking for. Do you know what the Bible says? Seek and you shall find. Here I am just a young worldly teenage boy, but you know what, I was reading the Bible for the first time cover to cover, and I had the desire to get people saved. I wanted to be a soul winner. I didn’t really know how to do it. I tried and failed many times but here comes a guy who just comes along, gives me an invitation to a soul winning church and says, “Hey, do you guys go and do soul winning?” I said, “No, but we should.” He just said “Amen,” and just left. I wanted to continue the conversation.
I brought that paper home to my parents, and I said to them, I said, “This is where we should be going to church,” because I read the whole paper and it looked great. I said, “This is where we should be going to church.” My parents said, “Yeah, we’ll try it.” We were all going to go to church while I was sick. I got sick before we could go the first time. The first time, my parents went without me. I wasn’t there. They came home and I said, “How was it?” and they said, “Wow, this was some hard preaching.” They said, “We love it,” but they’re like, “I don’t think you can handle it.”
That’s what they said to me. They said, “I don’t think you can handle this preaching.” They’re like, “This guy preaches hard. I don’t know if you kids are ready for this.” I am like, “Dad, I can handle it. What are you talking about?” I said, “I went to camp one time, and there was this guy, he preached really hard, he was yelling.” My dad is like, “You never heard a preaching like this.” I am like, “Oh man, wow.”
Then, I go the next Sunday, and I get there, and what do you think is the first thing I did when I get there? I tried to look for the guy who invited me. I never saw that guy. To this day, I have no idea who that was because he wasn’t there. It just shows you. God used that guy, whoever he was. Here’s the thing. I believe that one possibility is it could have been just somebody who is passing through maybe like a missionary. A missionary soul winning, yeah, that probably wouldn’t happen, but anyway, it’s probably a guy passing through.
I am trying to be realistic here but anyway, that was a joke. It might have been somebody passing through because I know when I visited churches sometimes, I’ll grab a stack of invites for when I am doing soul winning in the area or whatever. God either just used somebody who was passing through because it wasn’t somebody who went to the church or else, I think it could have just been an angel of the Lord literally that God just sent this guy to me just to give me that invite, and to send me because He knew that I was looking, and I wasn’t finding what I was looking for.
Either way, I believe it’s definitely a divine intervention because without going to that church, there’s no way I’d be preaching and passing everything because that church is what taught me soul winning and really change my life a lot, but the reason I tell that story in the context of this sermon is that I definitely believe my parents were wrong, and I am not faulting them obviously. We all mistakes but I definitely think it’s wrong for us to go to these churches for five years that were just these dead NIV rock and roll churches that were just so lame.
I don’t believe that was God’s will for us to go to those kind of churches but I can tell you this though, it actually worked for good in my life because of the fact that by going there, I sat there for five years with the King James Bible in my hand, listening to the NIV with the King James Bible in my hand. Guess what I learned. Everything that the NIV says and how the King James is different. Then, it allowed me later on when I learned the truth to just know that subject pretty well of what the NIV says. Also, it just exposed me to the whole world of new evangelicalism and the whole world of what it’s like to be in these liberal churches.
When I see fundamental Baptists start to go down these liberal roads, I’m like, “I know where they’re going. I’ve been there. I’ve seen that,” because I’ve been to all the small group Bible studies, and I’ve been to the sell groups, and I’ve been to the NIV churches, and I know how they roll, and I know it like the back of my hand, and I could see it a mile away, and so it actually helps me to guard against that, and I’ve been able to preach a lot of sermons where I exposed that moment, exposed the NIV, exposed these modernistic type churches and these contemporary churches for what they are. That knowledge that I gained by being on the inside for five years allowed me to preach a lot of sermons.
That’s how it takes something that was done wrong but God could use it for good in my life, but we don’t ever want to turn around and say, “God wanted me to do that. God wanted me to throw Joseph in the pit and beat the snot out of him.” That’s not right. Think about this. What about the people who crucified Jesus? Weren’t they carrying out God’s will in a sense because of the fact that it was Jesus’ plan to come, and suffer, and die, but that does make it right when Jesus screamed his blood beyond us and on our children, crucify him? Does that make it right when the centurion was leading his troops to nail him to the cross? They’re still committing sin.
Just because God has foreknowledge and that God will sometimes use sinful men to carry out His will, it does not mean that God is controlling sinful men or that God condones of sinful behavior or that He is the author of that sinful behavior. Does everybody understand the distinction there? It’s important.
Go to Revelation 17. This is another example of this. Revelation 17. Because I’ll say this, anybody who knows anything about warfare knows that it’s horrible. Sometimes Hollywood and video games might glorify warfare but it involves a lot of bloodshed and suffering, and there’s a lot of death, and a lot of people are hurt, and a lot of wives who lose their husband, and children who lose their parents, and innocent people get shot in the crossfire, and people get bombed. It’s horrible. Anybody who thinks that war is wonderful and glorifies it has something wrong with them. We shouldn’t be pro-war. David said, “I am for peace but when I speak, they’re for war.” We should not be one who glories in carnage, and bloodshed, and warfare, but yet God will often use warfare to accomplish His will. He uses sinful men.
Let me take it a step further. God even uses the devil sometimes to fulfill His will. He’ll use him. He knows what the devil is like. He knows what his demons are like, and He will allow them to do their thing. For example, look at the Book of Job. He turns Job over to the devil to wreak havoc in his life but see, God had a plan to turn around and use it for good, didn’t He? Look at Revelation 17. This goes back to the sermon I preached last Wednesday night when I preached Zechariah 5 about Babylon. What does the Bible say in verse 16? “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast,” those are the ten kinds, “these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast,” the beast is the anti-Christ, “until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”
Now, in Revelation 18, we read about the great destruction of Babylon, how in one hour Babylon is going to be destroyed and it’s going to be burned with fire, but the question is, is it God who brings fire from heaven and destroys Babylon in Revelation 18? Because the Bible says that it came into remembrance to God to give onto Babylon the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. God is bringing the fierceness of His wrath on Babylon. He is angry. He is punishing Babylon. He is bringing judgment, but hold on a second, who’s the one who actually does it though? It’s the ten kings because God put in their heart to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their power onto to the beast until the Word of God shall be fulfilled.
Why do the ten kings, why do they hate the whore? Why do they attack Babylon, and burn, and it and destroy it? To fulfill God’s will. See what I’m saying? Therefore, we see that even the anti-Christ being put in power by the ten kings is ultimately a part of God’s plan even though He’s not behind it but he allows it and he uses those events to carry out His will. By giving you several examples here, I’m trying to get you to understand the concept that God uses sinful men often to carry out His will. It does not make Him sinful or the author of sin. Does everybody understand the distinction there? It’s very important.
Let’s go back to Zachariah 6 with that in mind then. We understand then that the Medes and the Persians are going to come through, they’re going to kill, they’re going to slaughter, there’s going to be famine, people are going to be dying, people are going to be suffering. God is using a sinful nation to carry out His will because it was His will that Babylon be judged, and He’s using sinful men to do it. It’s the same thing in Revelation 6. Even though men is the one causing war, men is the one causing famine, men is the one causing death but it’s all part of God’s plan in the end.
It’s like that story where Ahab is going to fall in battle, and God asked the question up in heaven, “How am I going to get Ahab to go into battle?” and basically a lying spirit. This is obviously some devil says, “I’ll be a lying spirit in the mouth of the prophets, the false prophets.” “I’ll be a lying spirit.” He says, “Yeah, you will actually. You will and you will succeed.” Basically, God allows that lying spirit to go forth in the mouth of all these lying preachers. Does that mean it’s God’s will that preacher lie? No, but God allows bad things to happen.
A lot of people they hate God and they get angry to God. Why does God allow bad things to happen? Because He gives people freewill, and He lets people do bad things, and He lets people make their own bed, and then they have to lay in it; whereas, we expect God to fix all the problems when it’s not His responsibility to fix everyone’s problems and to right every wrong in the world.
Sometimes people will say, “Why did God even allow anything bad to happen in the first place?” Because if God were to make everything be all good and sunshine, and rainbows, and unicorns all the time, then there will be no freewill at that point. Then, God would just be creating robots who do what’s right all the time. Anytime you create something and then give it the ability to choose between right and wrong, you’re opening up the possibility of wrong being done, and bad things happening, and sin resulting in death.
By God giving freewill to mankind, He allows a lot of bad things to happen in the world. The only way to prevent bad things happening in the world is if He took away our freewill and made us all do right all the time. He doesn’t do that. He wants us to choose to believe in Him, choose to serve Him, choose to obey Him, and not to be mindless robots. God is sending forth His judgment into these different places. He’s judging the Babylonian Empire. He’s judging all the nations associated with Babylon. Read Isiah, read Jeremiah, He’s bring in judgment on everybody.
He says in verse 7, “Then, the bay went forth.” He’s talking about geographically where the different curses are going to go and take place. He says in verse 7, “The bay went forth and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth, and He said, ‘Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth.’ So they walked to and fro through the earth. Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, ‘Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.’”
Now, the north country this is referring to is Babylon, and he is saying by sending these curses upon Babylon, by sending this destruction by the hands of Medes and Persians, he’s saying they’ve quieted my spirit in the north country. Meaning, okay, now I am placated. Now I can relax. Now, my wrath is appeased because I’ve seen them punished. They’ve quieted my spirit in the north country.
Look at verse 9, “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, ‘Take of them of the captivity,” These are the Israelites, “even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah. Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua, the son of Josedech, the high priest and speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, ‘Behold the man whose name is The Branch, and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.’”
We’re getting back to encouraging God’s people. The first eight verses of this chapter had to do with God’s judgment, God’s wrath upon Babylon, and how He’s using the Medo-Persians, and He’s using war, and violence, and famine to do that, but now, we have the encouragement for God’s people here, and he talks about the fact that the Branch is going to build the temple of the Lord. Now, the branch, if you remember we talked about this a few weeks ago, I’m not going to re-preach that, the Branch is a prophecy of the Son of David. Branch is like a branch of the family. If you look up all the verses about the branch, and they’ll say there’s going to be a branch that comes out of the house of Jessie. The branch is going to be the son of David.
When we have these prophecies about the branch, they have a double meaning, a twofold interpretation. Number one, they’re talking about Zerubbabel because Zerubbabel is the descendant of David that’s going to rule in Jerusalem. Basically, Josiah begat Jeconiah, Jeconiah begat Shealtiel, Shealtiel begat Zerubbabel. This is that son of David in that kingly line of the kings of Judah that’s going to be governor in Israel, that’s going to be governor in Judah.
Then, of course, the double meaning, the real son of David, the real branch is Jesus. A lot of these scriptures about the branch are prophecies of Jesus. This is how a lot of Old Testament prophecy is. There’s an immediate fulfillment that’s a small time fulfillment. Then, the big fulfillment comes later. There’s the branch, Zerubbabel, but then there’s The Branch which is Jesus.
Babylon is judged and Jeremiah in 15:21, but then Babylon is really judged in Revelation 18, much bigger, swifter, more extreme judgment. A lot of things in the Bible like that where there’s an immediate fulfillment and it’s a foreshadowing of something bigger down the road. The Bible talks about how Zerubbabel, the branch, is going to build the temple of the Lord. That’s talking about the physical building. Zerubbabel’s hands started the foundation of it, he said at the other chapter, and his hands are going to finish it, and then you’ll know that the Lord has sent me. He’s predicting and saying, “Look, I am a false prophet if this doesn’t happen. You’ll know that God sent me when you see my words fulfilled that Zerubbabel will finish this house. His hands laid the foundation of it. He’ll finish it.
Now, think about the greater fulfillment in Jesus. What did Jesus say? Upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. When you think about that the Bible says in the New Testament, “That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God.” What was the house of God in Zechariah’s day, in Ezra’s day? The house of God was the temple. What’s the house of God in the New Testament? The Bible says it’s the church because he said, “Upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The Branch said He’ll build the house of God. Zerubbabel built the temple, Jesus is building His church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The Bible says here about the crowns of silver and gold. The crowns are for Joshua and Zerubbabel, for example, other men that are going to rule and lead with them, but Joshua and Zerubbabel are the two central characters in the Book of Zechariah. Joshua being the high priest and Zerubbabel being the governor, the political ruler. We have basically the religious ruler, the high priest, and the political ruler being Zerubbabel.
Look what the Bible says here. The Bible says in verse 12, “Speak unto him, saying, ‘Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, ‘Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall 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 he shall be a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.’”
Now, Jesus actually fulfills both the role of being the king and the high priest. He does both. He’s the son of David, yes, but He’s also a priest, high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. In the Old Testament, there is the separation of powers because you had the high priest who’s the descendant of Aaron, who’s the descendant of the sons of Levi. Then, you have the son of David who is sitting on the throne ruling. They weren’t supposed to cross that line. Remember when Saul made the mistake of offering the sacrifice and he got in big trouble with Samuel because he crossed that line.
Also, later on, King Uzziah takes the censer, goes to the altar, and offered incense. Uzziah, King of Judah, took the role of the priest and was punished by God. He got leprosy, and he was leper as a result of that sin; whereas, Jesus can fulfill both roles of being the king and the high priest in one. The Bible says, “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood and it is yet far more evident for that after the order of Melchizedek.
Here, we have two men that are needed to fulfill this in the immediate term, but then it’s clear that it’s talking about Jesus because it basically talks about one guy fulfilling it, one guy who’s the branch, he’s the governor, and he’s the high priest, both in one; whereas, immediately, it had to be fulfilled by two men, Joshua and Zerubbabel.
The Bible says in verse 13, “He shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne, and he shall be a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both, and the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen, the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.” They’re supposed to manufacture these two crowns and put them in the temple just as a memorial of this prophecy that they would remember. These two crowns, of course, will be fulfilled in Jesus.
Crown him with many crowns. You know how the song goes. The Lamb upon the Throne. He is crowned with many crowns, the Bible says in Revelation 19, because he fulfills all these different roles. In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. The Bible says Christ is all. He fulfills everything. He’s all we need. The Bible says here that they’re going to be a memorial in the temple of the Lord.
Verse 15, “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 this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.” Now, notice this promise is conditional. Does he say here no matter you do, this is going to happen? No. he says if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord, your God, these things will happen. This will come to pass if.
Now, a lot of the promises in the Old Testament have a big if associated with them, and yet people pretend like that if isn’t there. They are, “God just made an unconditional promise of all the land to Abraham, and that land belongs to Israel, and that’s an unconditional promise.” There’s so many conditions on that promise. If it was unconditional, then God has broken His words several times when He took them out of that land or when he gave chunks of that land to foreigners. No, no, no. He did not give them an unconditional promise of that land. There was always a condition placed upon it of obedience that then they would dwell in the land, and if they went after other gods, if they broke His commandments, they will be removed from the land, always conditional.
Now, if we take a spiritual application of this, God promised to build the church, and that’s talking about each and every church. That’s not one certain church. The Bible talks about churches, plural, churches of Galatia, the church at Ephesus, the church of Corin, churches. Listen, God has promised to build the church if we will diligently obey the voice of the Lord, our God. Then, he’ll build that church. He told them, if you diligently obey My voice, this temple will be built. Zerubbabel will succeed. It will get done, but His message unto us in the New Testament is that He will build the church if we diligently obey the voice of the Lord, our God.
Now, people lack faith in the Bible. They lack faith in God. They feel that they have to build the church themselves. They take it into their own hands and they say, “Let’s figure out what the world’s methods are. Let’s figure out the psychology of advertising. Let’s figure out what people want to hear. Let’s figure out the tried and the true methods of the big mega churches of Joel Osteen and TD Jakes, and what Kenneth Copeland is doing, and what Rick Warren. Let’s get Rick Warren’s book.”
People are walking out on certain … No, I am just kidding. Bill Hybels. Let’s figure out what Bill Hybels is doing. Let’s figure out what Rick Warren is doing. Let’s figure out the tried and true methods of how these people are doing in the flesh. Then, we’ll build the church that way. Instead of saying, “Hey, if we will diligently obey the voice of our Lord, our God, then Jesus will build the church.
Now, I remember in the early days of starting this church, and I remember even before I started the church wondering, do I have what it takes? I don’t know if I can do this job. I don’t know if I have what it takes to start a church, to be a pastor, and wondering if I had the ability. I remember just when that sunk in and when I realized, you know what? God builds the church. It’s not my responsibility to build the church. I don’t have to worry about, “How am I going to build this church? What am I going to do to make this happen?” because it was just a very much of a relief when I just realized, you know what, God is going to do it. God’s going to build the church.
I read through a scripture where when King Saul was appointed by God, there went with Saul a band of men whose hearts God had touched, and the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. I look at all that and said, you know what? All I have to do is just obey the Bible. I don’t have to figure out what works and what doesn’t work, and do all that stuff. All I have to do is just stay with the Bible, preach the Bible, knock doors, just do the best I can to obey and serve God, and carry out His will the best I know how, and I have to just rely on Him to do it. I came to the conclusion that without God’s help, I will fail. If He doesn’t build it, then it won’t get built.
Now, here’s the thing. If you’re building a rock concert type church, you don’t need God’s help. You can do that 100% without God’s help. Joel Osteen is proving it. Bill Hybels proves it every week. Rick Warren and TD Jakes, these men are of Satan. They’re not of God. I just saw that idiot TD Jakes. Somebody sent me a video where he’s like, “Homosexuality is a complicated issue.” Hey, it’s not complicated, buddy. The reproductive system in human beings is a two-piece puzzle, buddy, and it’s not that complicated. Maybe for a moron like you, it’s complicated but anybody who has ever worked with tools or anything knows that the nut goes into the bolt, fool. You can’t put two bolts together and you can’t put two nuts together.
“It’s complicated. It’s complicated.” Shut up, you fool and let someone get in the pulpit who understands that one plus one is two. Let someone get in the pulpit that knows that a nut and a bolt go together. If you are too foolish to figure that out, you have no place in the pulpit. He tried to backpedal his comments, “That’s not what I meant.” You know what he said? He said, “Gays, they should go to a church that lines up with their beliefs and that will affirm their lifestyle.” I watched the guy talked. He never one time said that they’re gross, they’re disgusting, it’s wicked, it’s a sin, it’s an abomination, they’re going to burn in hell. No, those type of things didn’t come out of his mouth.
“I talk to gay people all the time and they’re all different, and it’s complicated. Yeah, definitely, absolutely, they can exist in our church. Yeah, it’s great. I don’t support gay marriage but …” Shut up, you fool. There’s nothing complicated about it. It’s sick, it’s violent, it’s disgusting, and AIDS is the judgment of God. What’s complicated about that?
Some of you right now might even be offended by me saying that. You know what? You’re brainwashed. Why don’t you wake up and understand the Bible condemns this filth. The Bible says it’s vile. The Bible says abomination. The Bible says they shall surely be put to death, and I am supposed to sit here, and get up here, and say, “It’s complicated.” These guys are squirming around on TV like they’re a little kid who needs to go to the bathroom. They’re squirming around. They’re like doing a potty dance on TV because they’re afraid to get out to preach the Bible. Just get up and say it. Tell it like it is.
You know why they won’t tell it like it is? They don’t have the guts to tell it like it is. You’re crazy, you’re extreme. No, you’re crazy if you think homosexuality is normal. You’re crazy. I am sick of being on the defense. I am going on the offense. I am not going to go running scared, “Well, you know. I mean, yeah, I guess the Bible does say some stuff about it. Is it getting hot in here? Is it just me?” No, no, no. I am going to take you to it. Hey, I am going to say it’s sick. You’re sick. That’s what we ought to be saying. “It’s complicated.”
You know what? That TD Jakes, he doesn’t have the Holy Spirit inside of him. Do you know what he has in him? Love of money. That’s what he has in his heart, the love of money. Money, money, money. Big bucks, mega church, pastor millionaire so he doesn’t want to condemn the homos because he’s going to lose people because you know what, when you start ripping on the homos, I was kidding earlier, but people do get up and walk out during those sermons, and people persecute you, and they punish you.
You know what? Let the chips fall where they may because somebody’s got to preach the Bible, somebody’s got to preach the truth, but these guys with their big mega church models, they ask TD Jakes, they ask him, they say, “Are Muslims going to hell?” “I don’t know.” “Are Hindus going to hell?” “I live that up to God.” The Bible says, “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” You know what? The Bible says the Muslims are going to hell. I don’t say that because I hate Muslims but the Bible says that if you do not believe in the Son of God, you’re damned. That’s what the Bible says.
They have another Jesus. The Jesus in the Bible is God almighty. Not just a prophet inferior to Mohammad. That’s not the God of the Bible. That’s not Jesus. No, Islam is a false religion and Muslims need to get saved. They need to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, their Savior. That’s the only way they’re going to get to heaven, but TD Jakes doesn’t love Muslims because if he loved Muslims, they’d tell them the truth. “I just leave that up to God. I don’t know. God said He has sheep of other pastors and other folks.” No, no, no. He is talking about the Gentiles. He’s not talking about other religions that are going to get a free pass into heaven.
Not going to happen because Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me, but these guys get on TV and all they’re thinking about is money, money, money, and they lie, and cheat, and steal, and they’re fraud, and they write books about how to start a church, and they write books about how to make your church grow, and how to build the mega church, and then an independent Baptist buys their book, and wants to pattern it after that? You want to pattern it after these people who preach lies for filthy lucre’s sake? No, no, no. I want a pattern after this book.
You know what? I don’t care if it harelips every dog in the county, I don’t care if every single person got up and walked out while I am preaching, I will continue to preach. I will tell my kids, “Come back and sit down. You don’t have the option.” I am not going to sit here and follow. By the way, everything I do, I try to not pattern it after those people. Even just building a church website, just creating an invitation to the church, I always tell whoever works on any graphic design for anything to do with our church, I always say, “Don’t make it look like one of these liberal churches. Don’t use the style of these liberal churches. Don’t make it look like these mega churches, these new evangelical churches. I don’t want nothing to do. I spent five years with those idiots and I am through with it.”
Look, we need to understand that it’s Christ who builds the church. You know what? Pride says, “I am going to build the church because I am so smart and I have such great methods that I’ve learned from TD Jakes and Bill Hybels, and I know what people want, and I am going to give it to them.” That’s pride because you’re trusting in yourself but see the humble preacher says, “You know what? I am not smart enough to decide which parts of the Bible to preach and which ones to leave out. I am just going to preach the whole thing. I am not going to stand in judgment of God and decide which of His words are appropriate and which are not. I am going to preach all of them.”
See, what’s the real humble man of God says. The humble man of God says, “You know what? I am not talented enough to build this church anyway. I am just going to let Jesus do it.” “You’ll never going to build a church preaching sermons like that, Pastor Anderson.” Yeah, you’re right. I know. I am not going to. People say if you preach hard like that, the style of preaching that I do, they say you’ll never go to church like that. They’re right, I never will. Jesus will. He already has.
Why do we have 200 people in our church? Why? Because Jesus built the church. I didn’t do that. Don’t give me the credit. “Pastor Anderson build a church.” No, he didn’t. I didn’t do it. All I did was try to diligently obey the voice of the Lord, and just preached the Word of God, and let the chips fall where they may, and God built the church. I can’t take credit for it because look, it wasn’t through my people skills or what a wonderful person I am. I try to be the best I can but that’s not why it has succeeded. It has succeeded simply because God wanted it to succeed because God agrees with the message that I’m preaching because He’s the one who said it first. I am just redounding it to the glory of God here. I am just saying the same thing.
We need to understand that it’s God who builds the church. We should never get this attitude that a lot of pastors have. “You can’t preach hard like that. You won’t build a church like that.” That kind of preaching is fine in special meetings but you’re not going to build a church on preaching like that. Yeah, but it was very liberating realizing it’s not my job to build a church. As long as I obey the voice of the Lord, God’s going to build the church. I’ll live it up to Him.
You know what? Yeah, a lot of people do leave and get offended when I preach hard against homosexuals. You know why I preach so hard about it? Because nobody else is, because people all week long are getting brainwashed through TV, and magazines, and radio, and newspapers, somebody has to break this to you, and tell you the truth about these things or you’re going to go insane like this insane country we live in that calls good evil and evil good, that calls sweet bitter and bitter sweet, that puts light for darkness and darkness for light. Hey, you need a reality check today. Come to church and get a reality check. That’s why I preach hard.
You know what I preach hard? Because I don’t care whether you leave. I want to have the attitude like Jesus had where people all are leaving by the droves, and it says from that time forward, many people stopped following Him. In John 6:66. You know what He says to the people that have left? Please don’t go. No. You know what He said to them? Hey, you guys want to leave too? That’s what He said. He was preaching hard and He said, “Hey, will you also go away?” Will you? In the Bible, it means do you want to? Hey, you guys want to leave too because what, there’s the door. They said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”
There are always people who want to hear the truth that will stick around, and hear the Bible preach. To the rest, I say, adios, sayonara, das vi danya. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out. Why? Because if God has touched your heart and makes you a part of this church, great. If God adds you to the church, great, but you know what? If you don’t like it, lump it, go find somewhere else. That’s what I say.
See, I don’t beg. Now, listen. I will beg people to be saved. I said this many times. I’ll beg you to get saved but I’ll never beg anybody to come to this church. It’s not that important to me because I leave it in God’s hands. If God wants our church to grow, great. Look, if our church grows to be several hundred people or even grows to be a thousand people, I think that’s great. I would love to see that. I would love to see our church run a thousand. I’d love to see our church run 2000 but honestly, if it doesn’t, it’s not going to break my heart at all because that’s not what I live for. I am just trying to be faithful, and just trying to obey the Lord, and just preach faithfully, and teach the people, and do what’s right.
Honestly, if God sees fit for it to get big, great. If He sees fit for it to stagnate, I don’t even care honestly. Why? Because we can’t be so wrapped up in that or it would lead to compromise. If we just get so wrapped up where it’s all about what’s the attendance, what’s the offerings, can you see how that can lead to compromise if that becomes the measuring stick or the motivator? Now, look, again, we don’t want to get imbalanced in the other direction. We do want to strive to do great things for God and strive for growth, but we got to let it be His growth, the right kind of growth, and we’d need to not just get caught up in that where that’s what we live for. Honestly, we need to just live for being faithful and just live for obeying the Lord, and doing what’s right, and let the results rest with Him where they belong. Let us worry about our job and let Him worry about His job. Let’s bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank You so much for this great story, Lord, in the Bible about Joshua and Zerubbabel, and how You used them to build Your house on this earth, Lord, but you told them that if they would diligently obey the voice of the Lord that the work would be done, the work would get done. Obviously, the implication is that if they don’t obey, it’s not going to happen. Lord, help us in the New Testament to diligently obey your voice, not to just say, “Move over, Jesus. We’ll do it ourselves by Rick and Hybels’ method.” Help us, Lord, rather to leave it with You and let You do the job, Lord, that You have said You would do. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.