Talks for Growing Christians
Prophecies About the Intertestamental Period and End Times
Lesson Number 9
- God did deliver Israel at the time of the Macabees.
- God will deliver Israel at the time of the Millennium.
- Will you sparkle like a jewel in the kingdom?
- Outline the book of Zechariah.
- Why did God give a prophetic burden to Zechariah?
- Which monarch permitted the Jews to leave Babylon to return to their homeland?
- Although all of the Jews were permitted to leave Babylon, how did?
- What was a waterless pit used for in ancient days?
- How was the idea of a waterless pit applied in Zechariah’s day?
- Who were the Macabees?
- Chapters 1-6 – 8 visions
Chapters 7-8 – 4 messages
Chapters 9-14 – 2 burdens
- To encourage the Jews who had returned from the seventy-year captivity in Babylon.
- Cyrus, the Persian Emperor
- About 50,000
- They were used as prisons.
- Joseph was put into a waterless pit, but he was preserved and finally set free. Like Joseph, the Jews were prisoners in Babylon, preserved and then set free.
- During a period of Seleucid (Syrian) domination of Israel, Antiochus IV, a ruthless king, came to the throne. He killed thousands of Jews and desecrated the temple, and he attempted to Hellenize all of Israel. It was at this time that a number of godly Jews rose up in opposition and resistance to this ungodly violence. They were led by a priestly family, one of whom won the name, the hammerer or a macabee. Thus, these godly intertestamental Jews became known as the Macabees. They were able to regain a measure of independence.
- After the death of Alexander the Great, the Greek Empire subdivided into several kingdoms. Two of these kingdoms became very significant in reference to Israel – the Seleucid Kingdom (Syria, to the north of Israel) and the Ptolemaic Kingdom (Egypt, to the south of Israel). During the intertestamental period, there was conflict between these two kingdoms. Because Israel was in the middle she was always under the domination of one of these kingdoms. Read Daniel Chapter 11 for some of the details of the wars and political interactions during this time. At this time the Macabees rose up against the domination of the Seleucids and Antiochus IV, and God delivered Israel. The Jews still celebrate this historic event as a special festival known as Hanukah. The Jews would have known of Daniel’s prophecies and the fact that the Greek Empire would follow the Persian Empire. Thus, Zechariah’s prophecy of Israel’s victory over the coming Greeks would be very encouraging. God loves to encourage people with His word – then and today. Do you know God’s word well enough to receive encouragement for the future?
- The victories of the Macabees over the Greeks foreshadow and anticipate the final conflict, victory, and restoration of Israel to come in the future. In “that day,” the Lord will defend His people and save them to bring them into His Millennial Kingdom. Review the time-line following the Rapture to understand when “that day” will come.
- Read Zechariah 9:16. The godly are promised that they will be like jewels in a crown lifted like a banner over His land. In context, this is a promise to the faithful Jews who have come out of the Tribulation and have entered the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. It can, however, be applied to faithful believers today. Will you be one of the faithful who will sparkle as a jewel in the kingdom of Christ? See 2 Timothy 2:11-13 and Romans 8:17.
- “I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope.” Zechariah 9:11-12
- “I have raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece.” Zechariah 9:13-15
- “The Lord their God will save them in that day. They shall be like the jewels of a crown.” Zechariah 9:16