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The Story of Sin: Part IX…The Joy Embedded in Zacharias’ Prophecy

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© 2014
Fellowship at Cross Creek
The Story of Sin…
Part IX…Why the Heavy Payment for Israel’s Sins, and thus the Joy and Expectation Embedded in Zacharias’ Prophecy?  
By Joseph M. Cross

Eventually Israel would divide and fall. 
After four hundred years of a very up and down loose-knit confederation of tribes, led at times by various righteous savior-leaders, such as Gideon, Samson and Deborah, will God rise up to rescue Israel from her enemies. Then, around 1000 B.C., Israel would finally ask for a king of her own. The irony of their request was that Israel had the greatest monarch any nation could ask for–God himself was her protector and Sovereign. But just as other nations had a real live flesh and blood king, Israel wanted one too–a flesh and blood representative of God to keep her in line.Reluctantly, and knowing that not even a real, live flesh and blood king would keep her faithful to her treaty obligations, God did give Israel a king—Saul. But when Saul disobeyed God, God had the prophet Samuel anoint a new king-in waiting, a man that, despite his many flaws, Scripture describes as being a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:4). After David’s son, the great King Solomon passes on, tragically Israel divides into two nations (around 900 B.C.). The ten northern tribes retain the name Israel, while the two southern tribes take the name of the larger tribe, Judah.In over two hundred years as a nation, Israel will not crown one righteous king…zero for twenty. Finally, in the late eighth century, God unleashes his curses and a great and fierce super-power from the region of the northeastern Fertile Crescent, Assyria, besieged and conquered Israel. Her inhabitants are carried off and mixed with other conquered peoples, and Israel is no more.

At the same time, as described in Isaiah 37-38, in one night, God miraculously delivers King Hezekiah and Judah from the massive Assyrian army. In fact, Assyria never recovers from her massive, mortal wounds suffered in her blind attempt to besiege God’s city, people and king. A century later, Assyria will be conquered by the next Middle Eastern super-power, the Babylonians. But it was during these days of both God’s divine judgment and deliverance (700+ B.C.) that Isaiah, as well as, other Old Covenant or Testament prophets, inspired by God, were uttering their now famous prophecies concerning not only both Israel and Judah’s future demise, but their future forgiveness and restoration.

Ultimately, unlike her sister nation, Israel, which crowned not one righteous king even over two hundred years of existence, Judah, on the other hand will crown more righteous kings than unrighteous kings. However, she will have both, and the unrighteous will truly be unrighteous, leading Judah into incredible depths of sin, including the acceptance of the sacrificing of her children to foreign gods (See Lev. 20:2-5; 18:21; Deut. 12:31; 18:10; 2 Kings 3:27; 16:3; 17:17; 21:6; 23:10; Ps. 106:35ff; Is. 57:5; Jer. 7:31; 19:4-5; 32:35; Ezk. 16:20ff; 20:26, 31; Hos. 13:2), as well as, engaging in male-shrine prostitution in order to please her many gods (Lev. 18:22; Deut. 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46). And although she will outlast her sister nation Israel, by more than a century, she too, a Spiritual, legal and moral failure, will be besieged and conquered by the mighty Babylonians (@600 B.C).

Not all, but many of her most prominent families, including prophets Daniel and Ezekiel, will be carried off to Babylon as exiles. And for seventy years, a righteous and just God will take back what had been legally stolen from him. According to the Mosaic Law, every seven years, Israel was to rest her Land and thus allow God to provide for her in that year. These were to be called Sabbath years, or years of rest. For almost five hundred years, Israel and Judah had failed to honor the Sabbath year, thus seventy unobserved Sabbath years had accumulated on God’s divine books. In the end, God took back every one of them. Continue reading