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SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 131C
August 6, 2003
the Shepherd of the Flock
Since we have been expositing on Zechariah 13:8 to 14:16 in our regular weekend whole numbered Prophecy Updates, I felt it appropriate for an exposition of the verse that leads into it to be included. So 13:7 follows:
Zechariah 13:7 – Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
AWAKE, O SWORD, AGAINST MY SHEPHERD,
Simeon, a very old Jerusalem resident, had been promised by the Spirit of God that he would not die until he saw the Shepherd of Israel, God’s Messiah, with his own eyes. Simeon was led by the Spirit to the Temple area when Mary and Joseph brought the Messiah to be circumcised eight days after his birth, according to the law of Moses. Simeon prophesied what Mary would feel in her heart when the Shepherd of Israel died for our sins at Golgotha, and since his death and resurrection, the thoughts of many hearts have been revealed by profession or non-profession, of the Shepherd as Savior.
Romans 10:9,10 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Luke 2:34,35 – And Simeon blessed them, and said unto MARY his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;  (Yea, a sword shall PIERCE through thy own soul also,) THAT THE THOUGHTS OF MANY HEARTS MAY BE REVEALED.
John 19,25,30,34 – Now there stood by THE CROSS OF JESUS HIS MOTHER, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  But one of the soldiers with a spear PIERCED his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
And Jesus personally identified himself as the good shepherd of God, his Father.
John 10:11,14-16 – I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
AND AGAINST THE MAN THAT IS MY FELLOW, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS.
The Hebrew word used for “fellow” is AMIYTH, and has a root meaning of “companionship,” i.e., a kinsman, in our context the kinship would be as a son. So, in John 10:27-31, when the Jews wanted to stone him for claiming to be God’s Son, this shows him to be the shepherd of Zechariah 13:7. And Philippians 2:6-10 leaves no doubt of this relationship.
John 10:27-31 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  I and my Father are one.  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
Philippians 2:6-10 – Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
SMITE THE SHEPHERD
There can be no question that this smiting of the shepherd is the same one prophesied some 200 years previously in Isaiah’s writings.
Isaiah 53:5-4 – Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
AND THE SHEEP SHALL BE SCATTERED
And, exactly as prophesied, there was an immediate scattering when the Shepherd was arrested, and an eventually scattering of the sheep across the face of the Roman Empire and beyond. The quoting of Zechariah 13:7 by the Shepherd leaves no doubt it refers to what I just stated.
Mark 14:26,28,46,50 – And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.  And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.  But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.  And they laid their hands on him, and took him.  And they all forsook him, and fled.
As the little flocks were eventually scattered across the known world by persecution and missionary work, they were strangers to the places in which they found themselves, but many of these local places soon became the recipients of a local, visible church of little ones in their midst.
I Peter 1:1 – Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the STRANGERS scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
I Peter 2:10,11 – Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.  Dearly beloved, I beseech you as STRANGERS and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
I WILL TURN MINE HAND UPON THE LITTLE ONES.
This is not God using his hand in an unfavorable way to punish the little ones of the flock of Israel. It is God’s hand of favor turned from the main flock of Israel to the very small remnant of “little ones” who were his first church that he organized during his earthly ministry of some 3 and ½ years. Throughout the history of Israel God had consistently held out his hand to Israel, but when they rejected his Shepherd, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and his new flock of little ones was to eventually become many little small flocks of little ones scattered across the earth in individual places, many local, visible, assemblies of those who follow the Shepherd’s New Testament teachings, known today as local, visible churches made not of mortar and stone, but of obedient believers that practice the ordinances of the faith once delivered to the members of the first church, and the New Testament churches that followed it.
Jude 3 – Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
God kept on holding his hand out to his flock of Israel for thousands of years, but they killed his prophets and all those he sent to them.
Isaiah 5:25 – Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
This is when God turned his protective hand covering from over his flock of Israel, and placed it on the little ones of the little flock that followed him. That same hand is still over his small flocks of little ones scattered across the earth.
Matthew 23:37,38 – O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Jesus quoted Zechariah 13:7 to his little flock of little ones just before the first part of it was fulfilled.
Matthew 26:31 – Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
And the kingdom he had preached to Israel, was taken from unbelieving Israel because they that did not believe he was the Messiah, and extended to both Jew and Gentile through the promise he had already made to his first small flock of Israeli little ones, his first New Testament church.
Luke 12:32 – Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
We have been living in the time period between Matthew 23:38 and 39 for almost 2000 years. It is the age of the local church, and many have come out of the first one that Jesus called out and organized during his earthly ministry.
Matthew 23:38 – Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Matthew 23:39 – For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
God has turned his hand favorably upon the little ones of his flock for almost 2000 years. Soon the tribulation that ends this age of many little flocks will begin, and when it ends God will again favorably turn his hand back to the flock of Israel.
Zechariah 13:8,9 – And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.  And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.
Romans 9:25-29 – As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.  And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.  Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:  For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.  And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
Romans 11:24-28 – For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:  For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.