Zechariah chapter 9 beginning in verse number 1, the bible reads, "The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord. And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise. And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire. Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited."
Here, God is pronouncing judgement upon these various different geographical regions, of coures Damascus would be the capital of Syria, and then he's talking about these places like Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron. Those are of the coast of the Philistines, in the Gaza Strip, what we would know it as today, and those are the 5 lords of the Philistines and he's explaining that Israel's enemies are going to be defeated through his power and it says in verse 3, "And Tyrus," this is basically a city state that's just north of Israel right along that coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Tyre and Zidon is that northern border of Israel. It says, "And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets." Verse 4. "Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire."
Now all throughout this chapter, the theme that keeps coming up over and over again is that no matter how strong you are, no matter what kind of armies you have or how much money you have, if God wants to bring about your downfall, it's going to happen. You're going down no matter what you do or whatever you imagine is going to protect you, and then the same thing if you serve the Lord, if you do what's right and if you're in his good graces, he can lift you up, he can protect you, and he can give you rest around about your enemies. That's something that comes up a lot in the Old Testament but especially in this chapter. When it talks about Tyre and Zidon being destroyed, it says in verse 5, "Ashkelon shall see it, and fear," just talking about other enemies will see the destruction of Tyre and Zidon, and they will fear.
It says that they have a strong hold in verse 3, "And heaped up silver as the dust," and so forth. You can't help but think of the United States that we have such a powerful military. We have the most powerful military in the world and no one would even dispute that. We outspend the whole rest of the world on military. We're number 1 in spending on military and number 2 is like half what we spend, way down below, and we have the technology, we have all kinds of money and all kinds of resources, we have all the allies, but yet if God wants to bring us down, he could bring us down. God could destroy whenever he wants. No matter how much money and how much defense we have, we need the lord to defend us if we really want to dwell safely, and the bible says, "The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord."
Instead of spending so much time worrying about our physical defenses and worrying about all the physical enemies, what we need to really be addressing is the rottenness within our country spiritually because that is a greater threat to our security, because when we are rotten spiritually, on the inside, then God is going to lift his hand of defense from us and then we're a sitting duck. "No, but we have the military and the weapons ..." No. If God can't protect us then who can at that point? We have to understand that safety is of the lord and what's way more important than just military strategy and all of men's wisdom is being right with God.
I'd rather live in a really bad neighborhood with a house with really bad locks on the doors but just knowing that I'm right with God than to live in a fancy gated neighborhood with all the alarms and the dog and everything like that because God is the one who ultimately protects us. We do everything we can to fortify our walls and to have the horse prepared against the day of battle but at the end of the day, safety is of the lord, and we as Americans need to understand that our country has a spiritual disease right now and that is way more of a threat than any foreign nation. That's what we need to understand. From this passage, it's clear that God can destroy us no matter how much money we have or whatever the strong hold.
It says in verse 4, "Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire." There have been so many times throughout history when one army goes against another and literally an act of a God is the determining factor on who wins that battle, where a navy is destroyed by a great storm at sea, and there are just these things that maybe the world will look at as chance things but actually, this is just God deciding the outcome before it even happens, so the bible says in verse 5, "Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines."
All of those places that he just mentioned, those are all of the cities of the Philistines. Ashdod, Gaza, Ekron, et cetera, but notice he says in verse 6, "And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod." That kind of goes with what it says at the end of verse 5 when it says, "The king shall perish from Gaza," okay? When it says, " A bastard shall dwell in Ashdod," what's a bastard? A bastard is an illegitimate child. It's basically a child who is not born of parents that are married, okay? Let's say you have a husband and wife and then they have their legitimate children that are the product of that marriage, and then let's say the father commits adultery with another woman or has a concubine or something on the side, well then that child is known as a bastard because it's conceived out of wedlock.
What it's saying here is that instead of the legitimate king being on the throne in Ashdod, because you got to remember, it's very important to these worldly people to have that kingly succession, that hereditary line where the king's son rules and his son ... By the way, that's never been God's plan. God never ordained these dynasties in the nation of Israel. They were supposed to choose men to lead them based on their character, based on their attributes, not based on, "Oh, well you're the son of whoever. You're just automatically the next leader." This whole idea of nobility and royalty and things like that is not God's original plan, and part of why they did away with the system of the judges in the first place was because of the fact that they got this hereditary mentality where they're looking at Samuel, who's the judge which is what God's will was.
God's will was not for them to have an earthly king, it was to have the judges. They looked at the judge Samuel and they told him, "Well, your sons don't follow in your ways so therefore, make us a king so we can be like all the nations." When in reality, what they should have done is that "Your sons aren't following in your ways, let's go find somebody who is following in the lord's ways and let's make him our judge and stick with God's system," but instead of course, they chose the system of having a king and having that hereditary dynasty that's passed from one person to another, et cetera, which was not God's perfect will.
God's perfect will was that of judges that are chosen based on the content of their character, but we see here that part of the punishment on these Philistine city states is that the legitimate son will not sit on that throne, probably because he's going to be killed in the judgement that God brings, so a bastard is going to sit on that throne which is obviously not the perfect scenario in these people's minds.
The bible says in verse 7, "And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite. And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes." Again, this is continuing the same thing and remember, in Psalm 34, the bible says, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him." Notice what he says on verse 8 here. "I," this is God speaking, "And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more."
Again, God just emphasizes that he can protect us. He'll camp around us, his angel will camp around us, and whether that's the nation of Israel or whether it's our church because he says "I'll camp around my house." The bible says and in the New Testament, the house of God is the church of the living god, and I believe that God will still protect the church. He'll still encamp around his house because of the army, because of the enemies that would come in and oppress.
The message in these first 8 verses is that God can protect us and God can defeat our enemies no matter how strong they are, no matter how much power they have, God, at the end of the day, can bring them down and he can exalt us, so we need to just worry about what God thinks of us, not so much what other people think of us because at the end of the day, it's God who holds our ultimate destiny in his hand and he can lift up one and put down another, and it doesn't matter what it looks like as far as who has more strength because at the end of the day, God can do anything in the affairs of men. He can lift up one and put down another and so forth. Then he's talking about getting rid of these Philistines and their abominations and he says, "The ones that are left will even before our God," it says at the end of verse 7.
Many of them will worship the lord as a result of this battle that's going to take place, so let's keep reading here. It says in verse number 9, kind of changes gears. That was the first 8 verses, but then he kind of changes gears here in verse 9, he says, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass," and we know of course, this will fulfill when Jesus Christ rides into Jerusalem upon a colt the foal of an ass, he rides in that donkey on what we know as Palm Sunday and they're laying down the palm branches, they're laying down their coats in the way and saying, "Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the lord."
It says here that when this king is going to come, that he would of course have salvation, he'd be just, "Just" means righteous, but then it also says that he's lowly and riding upon an ass and upon a colt the foal of an ass. A king would not normally make a triumphal entry on an ass. He would normally make it on a great horse, a great steed or stallion, right? Something that would be a more impressive animal that would be more befitting of his station, but notice, he's coming lowly, riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. Now let's get something else from verse 10 and understand here that the bible is telling them what their great messiah will be like, but yet when Jesus came on the scene, they expected something different.
Now look at verse number 10. It says, "And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim." Ephraim is one of the tribes of Israel, of course that's one of Joseph's sons, but often when the bible says Ephraim, it's just referring to the northern kingdom in general, because remember how Israel had been split after Solomon's death into the northern kingdom of Israel, the 10 tribes, and the southern kingdom of Judah? The southern kingdom of Judah also contained the tribe of Benjamin and also a lot of the Levites, so it really was more than Judah yet it's called "Judah" because that was the main tribe of the southern kingdom, that's why that southern kingdom, even though it's made of 2 tribes, is called "Judah." The northern kingdom's called "Israel," made up of the 10 tribes but yet that northern kingdom is often just referred to in the bible as "Ephraim."
Actually, scores of times, the bible will just refer to that northern kingdom as Ephraim because of the fact that Ephraim was the biggest, most powerful tribe of the northern kingdom because Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh became 2 great tribes, and Ephraim was the one that was prophesied would be greater than Manasseh, will be more fruitful. In fact, the word "Ephraim" means fruitful, so often, Ephraim, and in this case, Ephraim is just a reference to the northern kingdom in general. Ephraim and Judah. He'll just refer to both as that to encompass all the children of Israel. It says here, "I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen." Talking about who? The messiah, Jesus. The king.
"He shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river," meaning the river of Egypt, the Nile river, or it could say the Jordan river, but I believe it's the Nile river, "Even to the ends of the earth." Now when we look at the scripture here and he talks about cutting off the chariot and cutting off the horse and cutting off the battle bow, I think this is very similar to something that you see a lot in the book of Isaiah when he talks about beating the swords into plowshares and making the spears in to pruning hooks.
Basically, what he's talking about is not needing weapons anymore, not needing the horses, not need the chariots, and beating the swords into plowshares and the spears into pruning hooks because they will not learn war anymore, the bible says, and of course, this is referring to the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, when Jesus Christ will reign on this earth for 1,000 years, it'll be a time of peace on earth and there will not be any warfare. I believe that that's what this is referring to because it says "He," speaking of Jesus, "Shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth."
Obviously, we can take a symbolic meaning of this and we know that Jesus Christ is the prince of peace and that we have peace with God through our lord Jesus Christ, et cetera, but if we take a literal interpretation, the bible is also teaching that there will be a time of peace where Jesus Christ will bring the whole world into peace and there won't be any need for weapons anymore, and of course there is that literal millennial reign of Christ.
A lot of people will just take only a symbolic view and just throw out the idea of a literal reign of Jesus Christ, but of course we know that in Revelation chapter 20, the bible talks about after all of the vials of God's wrath are poured out and after destruction is brought to Babylon, then you remember that the bible tells us that there's going to be the saints that have been resurrected, saints that were beheaded for Christ and so forth that are going to be resurrected, and it talks about them living and reigning with Christ for 1,000 years, and then when the 1,000 years are finished, Satan is loosed out of his prison and there's going to be that battle of Gog and Magog, which takes place after the millennium, which takes place after that 1,000 years of peace.
There's so much scripture about this millennial reign that to just write it all up as symbolic and be an Amillennialist is ridiculous. It's a whole sermon in and of itself but there's just so much scripture about the battle of Gog and Magog which takes place after the millennium, there's so much scripture about how the wolf is going to lie down with the lamb and little child is going to be playing on the snake's den basically, and people are going to be living to be hundreds and hundreds of years old like the days of the tree, the bible says, is how old they'll be, and when someone dies at 100 years old, they'll basically say that it's a shame that they died so young because this is going to be a literal time period. None of that's been fulfilled.
That's going to happen yet in the future after Christ's second coming and his wrath is poured out and everything like that, then we have that millennium period where this stuff will literally fulfilled, so there are a lot of scriptures in the bible about the messiah coming and they deal with that millennial reign, and then there are other scriptures about the messiah's coming where it talks about his first coming where he's going to come and die for our sins and so forth, like Isaiah 53 for example or Psalm 22 or lots of other places.
Basically, the children of Israel, when Jesus came on the scene, the Jews, they just really focused on the parts about rule the whole world and they just kind of expected him to come in and be this great warrior, this great hero that's going to bring them national salvation and bring them back on the world's scene. He's going to be the next David, he's going to be the next Solomon in the sense that he's going to defeat the Romans and create this great empire that's going to go from the river all the way to the ends of the earth and all that stuff. That's what they're expecting, just only a carnal fulfillment of this and they're missing the spiritual significance.
Now when Jesus came on a colt the foal of an ass, that's not what you'd ride if you're there to conquer. He's there to be humble, he's there not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many. That's why he came lowly, that's why he came humble because he's coming to serve. He's coming to die for the sins of mankind, he's coming not to be crowned king. Remember, they wanted to make him a king right then and there at certain points in his ministry and he had to get out of there because it was not the right time and place for that, and even after Jesus rose from the dead, even his disciples didn't quite grasp this because you remember what they say in Acts chapter 1.
After Jesus has risen and glorified, they say to them, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" They're still kind of expecting that to happen right away and he says to them, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Again, he's trying to get them back on the spiritual mission. "Hey, are we going to have the kingdom for Israel now?" He's telling them, "Hey, you shall receive power, not reignin and ruling physicall at this time, that's in the father's time period but he says, "Your power is going to be witnesses of me to preach the gospel to every creature worldwide."
Basically, there's 2 types of peace that Jesus Christ brings and will bring. First of all, flip over if you would quickly to Romans chapter 5, and this is just one place we could look at but there are many, many places that discuss this, but in Romans chapter 5 verse 1, the bible reads, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Christ in his first coming, he brought us peace with God the father because we're at enmity with him because of our sins. He made peace for us with God, which that's way more important than any peace between nations. He brought us peace with God. He made our peace with God through Jesus. That's the most important thing.
That's the spiritual significance, but did he bring peace with our fellow men? No, because remember, he said, "Think not that I've come to send peace on earth." He said, "I'm coming to bring division." He's coming to bring a sword and he's come "To set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Jesus Christ, when he came to this earth the first time, he did not bring us peace with everyone around us. Now the bible says that we should try as much as is within us to live at peace with all men, but as David said, "I'm for peace but when I speak, they're for war." There are people who are going to be at war with us.
There's a war between good and evil and there are people that are at war with us personally, there are people that are at war with the gospel, the bible says they're the enemies of the cross of Christ, and then there are people that are at war with the nation we live in, no matter what nation we live in. Whether that's the United States or some other nation, there's going to be conflict in this world. There's not going to be world peace in 2016. It's just not going to happen, but the bible does teach that eventually, the messiah would bring peace on earth in a literal sense where the swords will be beaten into plowshares and the spears into pruning hooks and where they'll not learn war anymore. There will be 1,000 years of peace where Jesus Christ is ruling and reigning on this earth and his kingdom will basically encompass the entire globe.
The devil has a counter fit of this where he brings on the Antichrist and has that one world government, that New World Order with the Antichrist as its head, but in reality, the only true world peace is going to be when Jesus Christ comes. You say, "Well how do I know if it's the Antichrist or if it's Jesus Christ?" First of all, if you have the holy spirit living inside of you, the bible says he'd be so slick that he would deceive the elect if it were possible, but since you have the holy spirit inside you, you'll know, number 1, but number 2, if you have to ask, it's not him.
If you have to ask, "Is this the Jesus?" It's not because the bible said that if anybody tells you, "Lo, here's Christ" or "Lo, there," the bible says, "He'll light up the sky from one end of heaven to the other, there will be no question in your mind," but the bible also tells us that we as that we as believers have the holy spirit living inside of us who will lead us and guide us into all truth, okay? The bible also talks about the fact in John chapter 10 that his sheep hear his voice. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me." He said. "A stranger, will they not follow?" He said, "They know not the voice of strangers. They'll flee from a stranger."
When we that are saved Christians hear a strange voice that's not the voice of Jesus, that's not the voice of the shepherd, we flee from that. Something tells us, "That's not right. There's something wrong here." Whereas when we hear the truth, when we hear the word of God being preached and we hear the voice of Jesus, through his word, something just tells us, "Yup, that's true, that's right. That's the holy spirit guiding us into all truth." I remember just in church as a child, sometimes I'd hear something and I just knew that that is not right, and I didn't even know why, I couldn't really point to a scripture, but it just didn't set well. It was just like, "Something's wrong with that," and it's just the holy spirit telling you, "That's not the voice of the shepherd."
I remember being in churches where they use all these modern messed up versions and something always told me that the King James was right. When I heard the King James version, I knew it was the word of God. I knew it had power. The holy spirit will show us things like that, okay? The bible says that we will flee from the voice of strangers. That's why when I hear about somebody who says, "Oh, I used to be a Christian but now I became a Muslim" or "Now I became a Mormon" or "Now I joined ... " That just tells me that that person was never saved in the first place, and the reason that I say that is because of the fact that if that person were saved and had the holy spirit living inside of them, they would be able to see through that fraud for what it is, okay?
Now I want to be real clear on this because a lot of people will sometimes, they'll see somebody go off into sin and they'll say, "Oh, that person was never saved to begin with." Now wait a minute. It's very possible for someone who was saved to go off into sin. It's possible for a saved person to go into drunkenness or to go into drugs or to go into fornication or adultery or all these manner of sins. The bible warns us, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." It's possible for us to become backslidden and to follow that sinful nature and to go back to the ways of the old men because we still have the flesh with us. However, I do not believe that it is possible for a born again child of God to be deceived by a false religion and to basically now start following Islam or following Mormonism.
I recently heard about people who used to go our church here that have joined the Orthodox church. I just preached about it in Sunday morning. I'm telling you right now, those people were not saved. They were never saved in the first place because of the fact that anybody who can think that the Orthodox plan of salvation is the way to get to heaven, they were never saved in the first place. They're following a stranger big time, and you know what? The Orthodox church, with all its idolatry and icons and venerating Mary and venerating the saints and salvation's a process, it sounds nothing like the voice of the shepherd anymore, and people talk about how they walk in the that Orthodox church, "Oh, the singing was so beautiful," but you know what I think is beautiful is the voice of Jesus Christ, the voice of the shepherd.
You know what? Satan's voice sounds beautiful because he is transformed into an angel of light and the bible talked about how Satan had such a beautiful voice when we read about him in Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28, but you know what? As beautiful as it is, it's the voice of a stranger. The bible talks about a strange woman. Her lips might taste like the honeycomb but her end is sharper than wormwood and death, and I'm telling you, walk into that Orthodox church and hear all the ... All these beautiful sound, that's going to lead you straight to hell because it's the voice of a stranger, and you know what? A saved person walks in and knows that it's the voice of a stranger. An unsaved person walks in and says, "Oh, so beautiful, so wonderful."
Now here's the thing. I could see somebody walking in and thinking it's beautiful sort of like when John looked at the great whore of mystery Babylon and he wondered with great admiration, and the angel said, "Wherefore didst thou marvel?" We in the flesh can be impressed sometimes with just buildings and pictures and sounds and so forth, but as soon as you hear the doctrine, any saved person will flee from that garbage. I don't believe that any saved person walks into a Roman Catholic church and says, "Oh wow, this is the true church. This is the gospel. This is the word of God." No, you were never saved in the first place, you clearly lack the holy spirit, okay? You know what? Orthodox is the exact same thing. The Orthodox church is just another name for being Catholic. That's all it is. Roman Catholic, Orthodox Catholic, it's all Catholic, it's all junk, it's all lies.
How many times have you read the New Testament, Christian, and when did you read about anybody venerating Mary? When did you read about icons? When did you read about monks and monasteries? Never. It's all lies, friend. Just like the Roman Catholic church and its lies, it's the exact same thing, but that's what I'm saying about the voice of the shepherd. We know the voice of the shepherd because we're saved. Those who are not saved do not know the voice of the shepherd, but the bible said, back to Zechariah here, we got to move forward in the chapter here, he talks about in verse 10, "I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth."
Jesus is going to come and speak peace to the heathen but there's another impostor that's also going to speak peace, he's going to talk about peace and safety, the bible says, and he's going to be the Antichrist. "How do I know the difference?" If you're saved, you'll know the difference, number 1. Number 2, if you have to ask, it's not him, all right? By the way, I believe that the rapture is a crystal clear biblical doctrine that cannot be denied, and so if you're not caught up in the clouds to be with him in the air, something's missing. It's funny because when you start talking about the pre-tribulation rapture's a fraud, some people just make the mistake of like, "Oh, the rapture's a fraud."
No, the rapture is real. Hello. Read first Thessalonians chapter 4. It's just that the rapture comes after the tribulation but there is a biblical rapture where the trumpet sounds were caught up in the clouds. Look, what did Jesus say? He said, "In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you," he says, "I'll come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there will you be also," so we are going to heaven someday and we are going to be caught up in the clouds to meet the lord in the air to be with him in heaven until we come back to rule on this earth for a thousand years during that millennial reign of Christ.
This isn't really a deep bible prophecy sermon so I'm not going to go any further than that, but it's important that we understand the distinction between the Antichrist and his peace and Jesus Christ who's going to bring real world peace, actually, but we already have this spiritually fulfilled in the sense that we have peace with God through our lord Jesus Christ, but this is talking about peace with the heathen, peace with the other nations and so forth, but it talks about him being humble and so forth which is not really what they expected. Verse number 11, the bible says, "As for thee also," so who's the "Thee also?" Well in verse 9, he's talking to somebody.
He says, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion." That's who this is directed at. Then in verse 10, he speak in peace under the heathen but then he says in verse 11, "As for thee also," so he's back to talking to the daughter of Zion. "As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water." Now of course that "Blood of the covenant" whereby the prisoners are sent forth out of the pit wherein there's no water is obviously referring to the blood of Jesus Christ, the new covenant that's going to cause them to be saved from the pit wherein there's no water which is symbolic of hell, and this term "Prisoners" is often used about salvation for example.
You don't have to turn there but in Luke chapter 4, the bible says in verse 18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord," so here he talks about preaching deliverance to the captives. Well that's actually a quote of Isaiah chapter 61 verse 1 where he says, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."
If we compare these 2 scriptures, we see that the opening of the prison to them that are bound happens through the preaching of the gospel because he says, "I'm here to proclaim glad tidings to the meek." In the New Testament, that's written as "Preach the gospel to the poor." Why? Because proclaim and preach mean the same thing, because glad tidings and the gospel are the same thing. Gospel means good news, right?
The meek and the poor are referring to the same group of people there, so he says that he is there to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, so this is a spiritual bondage, a spiritual captivity. That's why when Jesus talks about, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," and they return to him with, "Well, we were never in bondage to any man," and he says, "He that committed sin is the servant of sin," so the setting free of the captives, the release from the prison, the setting at Liberty actually has to do with being saved because of the fact that we're loosed from the bonds of sin and of death and that captivity. That's what that's actually referring to.
He says in verse 11 there in Zechariah 9, "As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. The Lord of hosts shall defend them," so again, now we're kind of back to what we were talking about a little bit earlier in the chapter verses 1 through 8 and this is the reason why sometimes people get confused by Old Testament bible prophecy.
Whether it's Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel or whether it's the minor prophets is that a lot of times God will just kind of go back and forth where he'll be talking about one thing, he's talking about, "Hey, we're going to defeat the Philistines and Tyre and Zidon are going to be defeated," and then he starts talking about spiritual things. He's talking about Jesus Christ coming, but even when he's talking about Christ coming, he'll be talking about his first coming then he'll start talking about the second coming, then he's back to the nitty gritty of what they're dealing with right now, the physical enemies that are around them. This is why Old Testament bible prophecy is difficult to understand. It is difficult to understand because he'll start talking about the first coming of Christ then he'll just start talking about the second coming of Christ.
He'll be talking about the day of the lord when God's going to defeat their enemies right then and there, then he's talking about the day of the lord when the sun and moon are going to be darkened in the second coming of Christ. He goes back and forth between different subjects. It's like the prophet is seeing things that are close up. He's looking through a glass darkly, the bible says, so he's seeing things that are close up and then it sort of like he changes the focus on the lens and now he's focused on things that are far away, and he turns that focus and now it's stuff that's happening right then and there. Now you say, "Well, how do you know that, Pastor Anderson?" Because of the fact that the New Testament is not difficult to understand.
The New Testament prophecy, the book of Revelation, which is named Revelation for a reason, because it's a revealing of things that have been previously hidden and unknown. It's a revelation, so the New Testament is so much clearer and easier to understand, so what we need to do is make the New Testament the basis of our belief, our foundation of like, "Well, we know this because it's right here in the New Testament," then we use the New Testament to interpret the Old Testament. A lot of these things in the Old Testament prophets, the people back then didn't understand them. A lot of it's going over their head but we in the New Testament have the luxury of a New Testament to interpret the Old Testament. That's why at the end of the book of Daniel, in chapter 12, Daniel says, "Well, I saw all these things but I understood none."
Even Daniel, the guy who's writing the book says, "I didn't understand the stuff," and he wants the angel to explain it to him and the angel basically says to him, "Well, seal up the words of this prophecy, Daniel, because this is not going to be for a really long time." That's the answer that he's given. He's saying, "A lot of this stuff is not really for your generation, Daniel. Seal it up, it's for a really long time," but then at the end of Revelation, it says the exact opposite. He says, "Seal not the sayings of the book of this prophecy for the time is at hand," so what we can learn from this is something really important about bible study. When we read the bible, there's 2 things I want to teach you right now.
First of all, use the New Testament to interpret the old. Let the New Testament be the commentary on the Old Testament because a lot of things that are tough in the Old Testament are explained really clearly in the New Testament, but secondly this. When you're reading the bible, worry about the parts that you do understand and don't get too hung up on the parts that you don't understand. I mean think about it. If you were living in the Old Testament days, you'd really have to be good at that because you'd read certain things that Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel, you go, "Wow, I have no clue what this is talking about," so what do you do? You worry about the part that you do understand, and when you're a new believer or let's say you're only your first, second or third time through the bible, you're going to run in to a lot of stuff that you don't understand.
I've seen a lot of people's bible reading just be derailed because they'll get to something they don't understand and they just stop, like just ... Just stop the whole train ... Then it's like, "Okay, let's figure out what this means," and then they just want to just go real deep and then get on Google and get on YouTube, "What does this mean?" When in reality, what they ought to do is just keep reading. The best advice I could give to anyone about reading the bible is just read it. Read it like you read any other book. Just read it because people will read like 2 verses and then they just get stuck. "I wonder what this means." It's like people who are on a test and the test, they have 90 minutes to complete the test and they get stuck on question number 2, and then it's like, "Woah, the bell rung and I'm on question number 2."
They always tell you, "Skip it. Come back to it," and usually then you get to question 47 and you're like, "Oh, now I know what the answer to number 2 is," and people often tell you, the answer to 1 question is sometimes found in another question. It'll be like, "Hey, what nation did Alexander The Great come from?" The answer is he's of the Macedonians, okay? He's leading the Greeks into battle, but then later, it'll be like, "When Alexander The Great led the Macedonians into greatness ..." Then it's like, "Oh, okay," and sometimes they'll do that. Who's ever been taking a test and the answer to one question will be in a later question? It's like, "Oh, there's the answer right there, boom."
It's the same thing with the bible. If you don't understand something, just keep reading, and then later, it'll make sense, it'll click with you, but we all know what certain things in the bible mean, don't we? We all know what "Believe on Jesus Christ" means. We all know what it means when it says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." We all know what "Thou shall not steal" means. We all know what "Thous shall not commit adultery" means, and if you read the bible everyday and you put in some time, at least 15, 20 minutes of reading, you're going to find something that you understand, that you can learn and grasp and grow on and live by, so instead of being so worried about what we don't understand, let's worry about putting into practice the things we do understand and really grasping and sharing with others the things that we do understand instead of getting too hung up.
What if Daniel would've just got hung up on everything he didn't understand? "Stop, angel. Stop. Let's not go any further until you explain this to me." We never would have gotten to the end of the book, so don't get hung up on things you don't understand. Is Zechariah a hard book? It's hard in the sense that it jumps around. Chapter 9 doesn't really pick up where chapter 8 necessarily left off in a way that we would normally expect it to, but we know that it's all there for a reason, it's in the order it's in for a reason, it makes sense once you have the New Testament to guide you through its waters. You say, "Well, where are you getting these interpretations on Zechariah?" I'm getting them from the New Testament. I understand verse 9 about the foal of an ass because I have Matthew, Mark, and Luke to tell me about it.
I understand the part about Jesus ruling the whole earth because I can get that from Isaiah and I get that from Revelation and other places in the New Testament and so on and so forth, so that's an important thing to understand. We've changed gears again is what I'm trying to say because now we're back to God protecting his people from physical enemies. Verse 12, Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man." Now what does that verse mean? Well when he says "I bent Judah for me," that's kind of explained in the next phrase when it says, "Fill the bow with Ephraim."
A bow is something that you bend, right? Because a bow is a weapon that you shoot arrows with, so basically, when he says "When I have bent Judah for me," Judah is his bow, he's saying. "I'm going to bend Judah like a man would bend a bow. When I bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim," so basically, Ephraim would be like the arrows, "And raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man," so basically, he's saying that the Israelites are going to be the sword in his hand that he's going to use to defeat the enemies, and he's talking about the sons of Zion being raised up against the sons of Greece. Now why does Greece come into the picture here?
If you remember, and we've talked about this in previous weeks as we're studying Zechariah, the time period that Zechariah is written is after the Babylonian empire has fallen to the Medes and the Persians, and now we're in that second of the 4 empires that Daniel prophesied where it talked about how there would be the Babylonian empire and then the Medo-Persian empire, then the Greek empire and then the Roman empire, so where we are chronologically in that is we're at the time of the Medes and the Persians because of the fact that it's Cyrus, king of Persia, who gives the order to build the temple, and we know that Zechariah is preaching around the time that Ezra and Nehemiah are involved in the building of the temple. They're being encouraged by the preaching of Zechariah during that time, so we're in that second phase of Daniel's 4 kingdoms where we're in the Persian empire, okay?
What's coming next is Greece. Well already, obviously, Greece is a military power that's on the scene and it's rising to preeminence where eventually, they're going to defeat the Persians with Alexander The Great leading them. Basically, he's just prophesying of a future time when Greece would come against Israel and how God's able to protect them and how God will cause the sons of Zion to rise up against Greece and defeat them and so forth. That's what he's predicting. Basically, the children of Israel defeating defeating the Greeks at a future time because of the fact that the lord would be on their side. The bible says in verse 14, "The Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south."
He's saying that when they defeat the Greeks, it's not going to be through their might or through their power, but rather it's going to be God just using them as his bow, God just using them as his sword. It's really going to be God that's winning the victory, and that's how it is in our life. We need to just be a tool in the lord's hand. We need to just be a sword or a bow in his hand. We need to be a vessel that he can fill and use, but it's really God who does the work, but he uses man to do that work. We're his instrument. Even in the New Testament in the local church, when it comes to going out soul winning or preaching or starting a church or being a missionary, it's God that actually uses us and it's God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
We're just his instrument, his tool in his hand, we're his weapon in his hand, but if we don't say, "Here am I, lord. Send me," then we won't be that instrument in his hand. We have to yield ourselves unto him. We have to present our body as living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God with our reasonable service, we have to present ourselves before the lord as a willing vessel, as a tool or a weapon that can be used in his hand, so the bible says here in verse 15, "The Lord of hosts shall defend them," referring to Israel, "And they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. And the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land."
This already happened because this whole conflict between Israel and Greece, this is not current events. This already happened, right? Because remember, Daniel talked about the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans. These are all people who basically are going to rule and reign in the short term in the sense that it all happened by the time Christ was born. You're already on that fourth kingdom of the Romans at that point. This is not a scripture that we would apply on to Israel today and say, "Oh, God's going to defend them" because of the fact that number 1, they're not saved because it says right here, "The Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people." If they're not of his sheep, if they're no of his flock, if they're not saved spiritually, "Oh, well, they're not saved spiritually but they'll be saved physically."
You know what? That's not biblical because this scripture is talking about his flock, his people being saved, and the children of Israel today, so called the nation of Israel, is not of his people because they don't believe in Jesus Christ, and the bible says that if you don't have the son, you don't have the father. If you deny the son, you have not the father, and he said to them, "You are not my people and I will not be your God," and it was said unto them that believed in Jesus Christ that unto them of whom it was set in time past that they were not his people, there shall they be called the children of the living god because they believe in Jesus, that's what Romans 9 teaches. He says here in verse 17, "For how great is his goodness," talking about the goodness of God, "And how great is his beauty! Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids."
Corn and wine are pictures in the bible of prosperity because that's talking about them basically eating good food and drinking a good drink. Now what's funny about this verse is that there are so many people today who they want to use the bible to justify social drinking and they start with a really messed up preconceived idea where they say, "Well, every time the bible says wine, it's what we think of as wine which is an alcoholic beverage with somewhere between 13 and 17% alcohol content." If I went to the store right now and said to the clerk, "Would you please sell me a bottle of wine," they will sell me a drink that has from 13 to 17% alcohol content. Whereas when the bible uses the word wine, it is referring to juice, whether fermented or unfermented.
Many times in the bible when we read about wine, it's an alcoholic beverage. Other times, it's not an alcoholic beverage and you have to tell from the context because it only uses one word to describe both. The word "Wine" goes both ways. That's why you don't ever see the word "Juice" in the bible referring to a non fermented, just a basic glass of juice. You'll never find that in the bible, but you'll find over 200 times that the word wine is used because the word wine in the bible refers to both. Now some people will just resist this truth, but it's ridiculous. Honestly, even people who believe that social drinking is okay, if they've done any study will at least acknowledge that yeah, the word "Wine" goes both ways. That's just a fact no matter which side of this issue you're on because it will be ridiculous to say that juice is never mentioned in the bible.
Somebody said, "Well, juice hadn't been invented yet." Yeah, right. Yeah, that's real smart. What about when they squeezed grapes in the pharaoh's cup and handed it to him? Again, I don't want to go into a big long dissertation on that but I do want to point out a really important point about this here because what these people will do is they'll try to create a straw man of when you tell them that wine sometimes in the bible is just referring to juice. In fact, a lot of the time, they'll basically create the straw man of, "Oh, so every time it says wine, it's just juice, huh?"
It's like, "No, you're not listening. Sometimes it's referring to the alcoholic beverage and sometimes it's not. You have to go by the context," and they'll basically say, "Well, I'm just going to trust the King James when it says wine," but that would be as foolish as saying, "Well, I'm just going to trust the King James when it says meat," because the bible use the word "Meat," listen to me, the bible use the word "Meat" and it's not talking always about the meat that we're thinking of because for example, if you study the Old Testament sacrifices, it talks about the meat offering and you know what the meat offering consisted of? Fine flour mingled with oil. Have you ever read Leviticus? Have you read Numbers?
Over and over again, it talks about the meat offering, the meat offering , the meat offering, and it's flour and oil. Why? Because the word "Meat" in the bible does not refer to what we think of as meat, it refers to all food in general, but sometimes it specifically is referring to meat, but usually the bible refers to what we think of as meat as flesh, but sometimes it uses meat to refer to meat, so sometimes meat is just food in general or sometimes meat is what we think of, we only think of the flesh of an animal as meat, that's the only way we use that word. They'll sit there and say, "Well, I'm just going to trust that wine means wine." That'd be just as dumb as saying, "I'm just going to trust that meat's meat. I think that flour was meat." It's stupid, right? You have to just understand that when we define words, we have to get a biblical definition.
What about when it talks about turtles in the Old Testament? That's a turtledove. "I'm just going to trust that it was a turtle. I'm just going to trust that when they made a bird offering unto the lord, they walked in with a couple of turtles, and they rung off the neck of a turtle." No, wrong, because it's a word that has changed in meaning or encompasses more meanings in the bible than it does in our modern vernacular, so you can't just put your head and then say, "Wine means wine." No, it doesn't. Wine means juice and it can either be alcoholic juice or not alcoholic juice or varying shades in between. It could be a totally unfermented beverage, it could be a slightly fermented beverage, it could be a moderately fermented beverage or it could be an extremely fermented beverage because it's just an all encompassing word and you have to go by the context.
That's why it specifically says "Don't look on the wine when it moves itself aright when it's red, when it gives its color on the cup." It talks about certain type of wine is good, another type of wine is bad, but what they'll bring up often, they'll bring up the verse that says "Wine maketh glad the heart of God and man," and they say, "What are you going to try to say, that juice made you glad? How do you guys think juice is making people happy?" Have you heard this? Here's what's so dumb. Look down at your bible in the verse we just read. It says right here, "Corn," halfway through verse 17, "Corn shall make the young men cheerful," so it's funny if corn can make you cheerful but juice can't. There's other scripture we could show where bread is making people glad because there are actually people in this world, believe it or not, that just get excited about a good meal and a good drink.
Did you know that there are people in this world that can actually make merry with their friends and have fun without alcohol being involved? You know what? I've had a lot of fun in my life. I've had a lot of laughs. I've been made merry and cheerful more times than I can count and I've never had a sip of beer in my life. I don't even know what it means to be drunk because I've never experienced it. I don't know what it means to be bust. I've never experienced it, okay? The point is have I had no fun in my life? No cheer, no merriment? No, in reality, corn makes you cheerful when you're used to eating bland, lame food and all of a sudden, you got corn and wine, you're happy about that, and by the way, juice in the big deal today because we're so rich today and because we have machines today that they didn't used to have.
They didn't have Jack LaLanne's juicer on the counter back in the Old Testament. Just throw some fruit into the Jack LaLanne. No. In reality, they had to do it by hand or by foot. They would step on grapes and smash ... Look, have you ever juiced by hand? Even with a machine where you juice it by hand, it's hard work, and even with Jack LaLanne's help, okay? You'll do like a giant bag of oranges and get like a half a glass of juice, right? People who juice all the time, it's expensive. Juice is not cheap and it's kind of wasteful, juicing, because if you juice your own produce, you waste a lot of fiber and stuff because you're just throwing away bags of the refuse and you get, "Oh, we got a little glass of juice here."
We're used to just going to the store and buying that which has been processed by machines, and it's cheap and easy to acquire, but even then, the fresh squeezed stuff is more expensive. If you go to a restaurant that will serve you fresh squeezed, you're going to pay double and triple the price, but what if you're a poor person who can barely afford just the rice and beans? What if you're living down in maybe a poor part of Mexico and you're eating rice and beans and corn tortillas and somebody brings out a big bottle of grape juice, you'd say, "Woah, this is cool. This is good stuff." It'd put you at a good mood, but it's funny how they can't see that corn can make you cheerful.
I know when I was growing up in my house, there was never enough corn on Thanksgiving. Who knows the struggle that I'm talking about where it's like you'd have to get in there and get enough corn, and then later on, my parents start to realize they'd start to buy more corn because everybody in my family loved corn, and I realized that sometimes in the bible, corn isn't always the same corn tha we're thinking of either because it's old world corn not the new world corn, but the bottomline is, though, I'm just talking in a language that we understand here. We found that yellow little pile of corn on our plate to be quite a precious commodity, and when my parents started buying the bigger bag, it made cheerful our hearts and we rejoiced, so notice what it says. "Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids."
Just as much as the dudes are getting excited about the corn, the young ladies are getting excited about the new wine, but that's booze? That's alcohol? No, because what's the context of the passage? "Hey, everybody. I just finished this whole chapter of spiritual enlightenment so you can finish you the chapter by getting drunk." Is that what Zechariah's really all about here? Zechariah 9 is all about how to get drunk, how to get wine in your hand, how to be a wine-o. That's the title of the sermon tonight. "The Zechariah Road to Becoming a Wine-O." No, but see, unto the pure, all things are pure, but under the defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, even their conscience and mind is defiled.
There are people out there who because they've lived a sinful life, and we're all sinners, we've all lived a sinful life in extent, but obviously some people maybe have just gone so into that sin where they just can't see past that anymore. You know what I mean? Because maybe they just drunk alcohol so much that they think like, "Well, that's how you have fun. That's what it means to be merry, that's what it means to be cheered," but it doesn't make any sense. I got to point this out too just in the closing moments here. Go to Luke chapter 5.
The reason that I want to talk about this stuff is because there's always all these bad doctrines that are popping up and we need to know how to defeat them with scripture, and I just did a sermon like a month called "Wine in the bible" where we went through the scripture and we showed how God doesn't want us to drink alcohol and the difference between various types of wine in the bible and we studied the scriptures on it, but this is another proof text that people will bring up, the pro-drinking crowd will bring up, and let me just make a note where I stand.
I don't believe that we should drink any alcoholic beverages at all whatsoever, and you say, "Well, where do you draw the line? What do you define as an alcoholic beverage?" You know what? Our society, and obviously they're not the final authority, but our society, our nation has defined that alcoholic beverage is anything that has more than a half a percent of alcohol in it. That's what our society has decided and I'm not saying that they're God, but you know what? I think that's a pretty good rule of thumb. If you have to show your ID to buy it, there's a reason why they put that cutoff at a half percent alcohol. You're not going to get drunk, you're not going to be inebriated, you're not going to impaired at all. You can't be impaired.
Whereas anything above a half percent, it starts to getting to a point where if you drink enough of it, you're going to be quite impaired, so therefore, why don't we just take the high road as God's people? If God says to stay away from that which is fermented, why don't we just, if they ask for your ID, it's the wrong drink. I don't think it's rocket science, people. You're never going to get drunk drinking stuff that they don't card you for. If you drink the stuff that they do card you for, you can get drunk, and even if you don't get drunk, even if you drink a little bit of it, you're not really sober anymore, you start to get buzz, you start losing some good judgment, et cetera, and it's a whole another sermon, but here's what I think is funny. They'll bring this up, Luke 5:39. This is their big proof text, this parable, because look at the beginning of verse 36.
"He spake also a parable unto them," okay? He's speaking a parable and he says in verse 39, "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better," so they'll point to this and say, "What's he saying? That old juice is better?" Look what it says here. Let's stop and actually ready the parable. "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." Let's have an illustration up here. Brother Dominic, come up here, okay? He's going to be the Wine-O tonight. Brother Dominic, he's going to represent a guy who just finished drinking old wine. Go ahead and drink your old wine. This guy's drinking old wine. This guy is drinking an alcoholic beverage. Everybody got it? Okay, now, think about this guy for a minute. Does he want a glass of Welch's grape juice right now? Just think about it.
Look, did it say we're going to ask God which one's better? Is that what this verse says? Ask God which one's better. "He'll tell you the old is better." No, no, it says, "Ask this guy which one's better." Do you trust this guy to be the authority in your life on what you drink? This guy is drunk, okay? He drinks old wine and it's saying, look, this guy is not going to desire to switch to juice now. He's going to tell you the old's better. Now let's go find any Wine-O, any one of these drinkers and let's ask him, go ahead and have a seat ... He's like, "Yeah, get me out of here." Let's ask any of these Wine-o's which one's better, the old wine or the new wine? What will every Wine-O tell you? What will every wine beaver tell you?
If we went on a tour of Napa County, California and we went to he wine country and the wine tasting and asked them and said, "Hey, drunk, which one's better? The old or the new?" What are they going to tell you?
Audience: The old.
Pastor Anderson: Is this really complicated? It's funny, they'll use it as a proof text, but wait a minute, here's the thing about parables, though. Parables often record people doing wrong things, like for example, in Luke 16, what about the unjust steward who's stealing from his boss and God uses that as a positive illustration? Does that mean stealing is right? No. Parables are intended to teach a certain truth and that truth is hidden in a dark saying or symbolism or parables. What about in Matthew 25 when it talks about the master of the house who wants his money put out to usury and he wants to reap what he hasn't sown? Is that right? Should we as businessmen want to reap what we didn't sow and should we want to charge people usury when God taught us that Usury is a sin?
Should we want to be like that unjust steward in the sense that we go to our job and we cook the books? Like that guy cooked the book and said, "Oh, it's 100? Change it to 80. Change it to 50." In the same token, we can't just take this scripture and say, "Oh, well, that Wine-O said the old's better." Look, that's because we're symbolizing something completely different when he talks about the old garments and the new cloth and the new wine must be put in new bottles, but then they just want to just focus on this and say, "Woah, old wine's better. Meet me at the bar after church and let's find out how good it is," but you know what the bible says? Listen to this. "As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouths of fools." What does the bible say? "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."
That fool, that not wise person who is deceived by wine, they'll have a parable to back up their wine doctrine. Here it is. It's called Luke 5:39. They missed the spiritual significance of the parable and just wanted to talk about old wine's better. You and every drunk agree. I don't agree. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank you so much for the book of Zechariah, lord, and it's a tough book in the sense that it kind of switches topics a few times in this chapter, lord, but help us to ge the message of the chapter which is that you can protect us and that you can defeat our enemies, and if we will just trust in you, lord, we will prevail in our lives, lord, and please, lord, I pray that if there's anybody here who's not saved, I pray that they would have peace with God through our lord Jesus Christ before the evening is over.
It's sad that people can go through our church and they don't get the gospel, it goes over their head or they don't understand or for some reason they don't get that it's by fate alone and that it cannot be lost, lord, because it's eternal, and father, please just help us to trust in you, not just with the salvation of our soul but also for our safety, lord, because you really can't protect us, and in Jesus name, we pray, amen.