Friday, July 3, 2015

The lesson of Zachariah.

The founding fathers did a ton of research when working to create the new nation. They wanted to make sure mistakes of the past were not repeated.  Based on this research they believed it was important, if not essential, for Americans to have an appreciation for God and His Bible.  They therefore must have been aware of the prophet Zachariah.  

Unlike the prophet Jeremiah, who received many chapters in the Bible, Zachariah received only a few pages. Therefore many children have been named after Jeremiah, and only a few after Zachariah.  So, while Jeremiah is a well known prophet, Zachariah is not a well known prophet.

Perhaps it is for this reason that the lessons of the Book of Zachariah often go unheeded, and to the detriment of societies.  Some even suspect that it was by not heeding the lessons of Zachariah might even lead to the fall of the United States of America.  

The Book of Zachariah covers a the span of time between 518-520 B.C. 

Zachariah was a prophet during a time when the Assyrians had taken over Israel, between 518 and 520 B.C.  Assyria at that time extended from the Dead Sea to the Sea of Gibraltar. The area by the Dead Sea was mushy and mostly deserted and not worth much, but the rest of the land, the land in the West, was very fertile and worth a lot. So the Assyrians had good reason to take over this land.

The Assyrians worshiped false gods, such as those of the sun and moon. The morale of the people fell to ruin, and the economy tanked.  Since the economy was in ruin, King Darius of Persia was able to easily come in and wipe out the rulers of Israel and take over the nation.  He turned the Israelites into slaves.

Zachariah was one of the few who noticed what was going on.  He understood why the land of Judah (Israel) was in such disarray. In fact, he described the destruction of the once prosperous Israel as the result of lack of morals and values. Hence, the people of Judah had gotten their priorities in the wrong order.

The Book of Zechariah says: 
The Lord Almighty told Zachariah to say to the people, "I the Lord, was angry with your ancestors, but now I say to you, 'Return to me, and I will return to you.
What he was saying was that the economy of Judah was ruined because the people started worshiping their stuff more than they worshiped Him. 

In that way, this story is similar to the story of the Tower of Babel. There the Land of God turned to ruin because the people started worshiping false gods and stuff more so than God. They put their stuff before other people. They put their stuff before work. They put their stuff before their children.They put their stuff before learning.  They put their stuff before God.  

So instead of valuing and appreciating their wives, some grew bored of them and moved on to other women.  The divorce rate spiked.  Children were now being raised in broken homes, and did not learn the values their parents once learned. Lacking a firm set of values and morals, there was no incentive to not do things for selfish gain.  Crime rose.  The economy collapsed.  This made it easy for the enemies of Islam to take over the nation of Israel. 

Yet God, through Zechariah, was telling the people of Israel that if they wanted their country back, they would have to get their priorities straight:
  1. God
  2. Country
  3. Spouse
  4. Children
  5. Other people
  6. Other things
The idea that Zechariah described is mentioned later in the Bible too, because the writers wanted to prevent the people of Israel from repeating the errors that lead to the decline of Israel. Matthew 5: 1-48  mentions it and so does Paul to the Corinthians (1).  The ultimate goal hear was the Biblical authors did not want people to forget the lessons learned in the Book of Zacharia. 

Zachariah said:
But my people stubbornly refused to listen. They closed their minds and made their hearts as hard as rock. Because they would not listen to the teaching which I sent through the prophets who lived long ago, I became very angry. Because they did not listen when I spoke, I did not answer when they prayed. Like a storm I swept them away to live in foreign countries. This good land was left a desolate place, with no one living in it.
And he said:
These are the things you should do: Speak the truth to one another. In the courts give real justice-- the kind that brings peace. Do not plan ways of harming one another. Do not give false testimony under oath. I hate lying, injustice, and violence. 
Yet as so often occurs, the lessons of the past are often repeated.  And the mistakes of Islam that occurred during the time of Zachariah are occurring once more in the United States, and in Europe.  
"Then the angel said, 'almighty Lord, you have been angry with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah for seventy years now. How much longer will it be before you show them mercy."
With the Lord's help, the people of Judah once again turned to Him.  They once again learned the importance of fearing God and His Bible.  Priorities were once more placed in the right order, with God as the top priority.

Then God said to His poeple: 
"So I have come back to Jerusalem to show mercy to the city. my Temple (values) will be restored, and the city will be rebuilt... The Lord has promised that he himself will be a wall of fire around the city to protect it and that he will live there in all his glory."
To the enemies of Israel, the Lord said through Zachariah:
The Lord himself will fight against you and you will be plundered by the people who were once your servants."
Zachariah said: 
"Long ago I gave these commands to my people: 'You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live among you, or anyone else in need. And do not plan ways of harming one another.'"
So, as the Lord saved Israel during the time of Zachariah, he will save the nation he created that spread freedom through the land.

He said: 
Once again old men and women, so old men and women, so old that they use canes when they walk, will be sitting in the city squares. And the streets will again be full of boys and girls playing. This may seem impossible to those of the nation who are now left, but it's not impossible to me. I will rescue my people from the lands where they have been taken...
Have courage! You are now hearing the same words the prophets." You must never quit trying. You must believe. You who see what is wrong must not stop trying to change it. You must have courage.
So there is hope for returning America to it's former Glory.  There is hope for a return to unbridled American Exceptionalism.

And the idea of freedom will spread.
In those days ten foreigners will come to one Jew and say, 'We want to share in your destiny, because we have heard that God is with you.'
The first step is to return to traditional American values, which include teaching classical liberalism and the Christian Bible.