Saturday, December 17, 2016

Book Review: Zechariah

Zechariah. J. Vernon McGee. 1979/1997. Thomas Nelson. 204 pages. [Source: Bought]

I enjoy reading J. Vernon McGee's commentaries. I don't always agree 100% with every single sentence, but, he always gives me something to think about. I find his work to be insightful and engaging. I like the casual approach in terms of writing style. He does not take a casual approach to Scripture, or, to the truth. He does not advocating compromising one's message in order to better "fit" with society.

I chose to read his commentary for two reasons. One, Zechariah is a super-super intimidating Old Testament book. One that I read but have never truly grasped or understood. Two, I needed a "Z" book for my Alphabet Soup challenge. The first reason would have led to me reading the book...eventually. The second reason led me to read it this December!

McGee's approach is to discuss the book of Zechariah passage by passage, chapter by chapter. He doesn't necessarily always break it down to verse-by-verse dissection. He keeps ideas chunked together. Context is crucial absolutely crucial to interpreting the book, McGee argues. One shouldn't read verses from the book and try to understand them apart from what went before and what comes after. Also, one should interpret the prophecies in this book in light of other Scripture.

Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai. Both men lived at the same time and prophesied to the same people. The two men were different from one another. The two men had different messages. God sent them both. Both messages were true and Spirit-sent.

While some of the prophesies in this book concerned things that have come to pass--for example, Alexander the Great, and the first advent of Christ--most of the book concern things still to come. Many--if not most--of the prophesies are about the future, about the tribulation, about the millennium, about the judgment day. It goes hand-in-hand with Revelation.

What are you doing today? What value will it be ten years from today? A hundred years from today? A million years from today? Are you and I actually working in the light of eternity? We should keep that in mind.
But God is going to make good His promises to Israel. He will be faithful to them. If you could persuade me that He is going to be unfaithful to the nation Israel, then I do not know on what basis I could believe that He is going to be faithful to the church. But God is faithful, both to us and to Israel.
Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Revelation are the four apocalyptic books in the Bible. They all look to the future when the Kingdom is to be established here upon earth.
God has a plan and purpose for each one of us. He is working in your life and in my life. He works in our hearts both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Oh, to be in step with Him and to be going in the same direction as He is going!
We ought to digest the Word of God. It might be bitter in our tummies, but in our mouths it should be as sweet as honey—that is, something that we delight in giving out.
My friend, are you blind to the fact that God is moving today in the history of this world? Do you realize that God is judging our own nation?
In talking about salvation, people say, “Commit your life to Him.” If you ask them what they mean, they say, “Yield your life to Him.” Do you really think He wants your life? He says that our righteousness and even our so–called good deeds are filthy rags in His sight. God doesn’t want your dirty laundry, my friend.
If there is no deep yearning for a life that is well pleasing to Him, if there is no stimulating desire to know Him and His Word, church membership is just like a young man falling in love with a furnished apartment and marrying an electric stove, a refrigerator, a vacuum cleaner, a garbage disposal, and a wet mop!
The Lord Jesus came riding on the little animal of peace and came bringing peace at His first coming. He will come riding upon the white horse, the animal of warfare, at His second coming. But He is going to bring peace. How? By putting down all unrighteousness. You see, the world has had over nineteen hundred years to decide what it is going to do with Jesus Christ, and He is pretty much rejected in our day. So God is going to make it very clear that the Son is coming back to reign. He came the first time to die for our redemption, but the next time He will come to reign.
When He rode into Jerusalem, it actually marked a crisis in His life, a life that was filled with crises. It marked a change of tactics. Heretofore He had slipped into the city silently. He had entered unobtrusively. He had sought the shadows. There was no publicity. He was always withdrawing from the crowd, not courting attention. It was foretold that He would not cry or strive or cause His voice to be heard in the street (see Isa. 42:2). He entered by the Sheep Gate and would attempt to come in eluding the mob, evading the crowd. Even after He had performed a miracle, He put a hush–hush on it. Now there is an about–face in His approach. It would seem to us that there is an inconsistency here if we did not recognize this as a crisis point. Now He comes out into the open. He enters publicly. He demands attention. He requires a decision. He forces the issue. For one brief moment the nation must consider Him as their King and their Messiah.
He was not arranging to take up residence in Jerusalem and reign as King. He sent His disciples ahead to arrange for a room to eat the Passover, but He didn’t send them in to rent an apartment. He was not preparing for His reign; He was preparing for His passion, His suffering, His death, and His passing through the portals of death.
Not only is Zechariah the prophet of hope, he is also the prophet of truth. Being a prophet of hope is not enough, because it could be a false hope such as the false prophets were giving the people.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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