“This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once and entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat Him.” This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”
I love the opportunity afforded to believers to be students of the Word of God. To gather together with other believers and meditate upon the message of the Scriptures is of such great blessing to each of us. To think that we have been given the privilege of reading, reflecting upon, and of growing in understanding of the thoughts of the Living God leads me to stop and praise that God for His great grace which has been poured out upon such creatures as us. It is in fact a wonder that more people do not avail themselves of this great privilege.
These thoughts came to me as I was preparing for the Bible Study I lead each Wednesday Evening at First Baptist Church Brampton. Currently we are focusing upon the eighth chapter of the book of the prophet Zechariah in which good and comforting words of prophesy are spoken by God through the prophet. That these are the words of God and that He repeatedly tells us that this is what He says helps us to see that the Words spoken here are not only of great importance, so that we must listen to them, but that they are a certainty to be fulfilled. When God speaks His Word always comes with His infinite power to fulfill what is promised. This is not wishful thinking, it is reality.
The promise made here is related to the soon to be completed Temple and how it is to be made into a house of prayer for the Nations. Many peoples and powerful nations are going to flow into Jerusalem, coming into the holy city in order to entreat the Lord Almighty. They will find in this place a meeting place with God where they can truly pray and receive the blessing that God has promised to give through His people. In Genesis 12 we are told that God will make Abraham into a blessing for the Nations. This promise is being fulfilled says God through Zechariah.
There is more here however because Zechariah goes on to share God’s plan with us. More than just the Temple is on view here. As God speaks we are given a vision of a Temple that is much bigger than any earthly building. Throughout his prophesy Zechariah has been lifting our eyes up higher to the One who will come as redeemer. In the Words spoken here in chapter eight we again begin to see something greater, a Kingdom and a Temple which are not of this world. Here peoples from all over the world will enter into the blessing that God promised through Abraham. Such blessing would come through the promised seed, the Lord Jesus Christ. Could it be that we see a small hint of this when we read the final verse of the chapter? “In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’” There are hints here that the blessing promised will come to the ten men because they have grasped hold of a Jew who is with God. The number ten, in prophesy, is often used as a symbol for an indefinite number of people. The one Jew could refer to the one who is in fact Emmanuel, God with us.
The blessing promised to the Nations is to come through an individual who will in fact be God with us. He is the one through whom we are reconciled to God. It is in Him that we have access to God in prayer. To make this thought clear I want to quote from two great Christian leaders who seek to define the way in which we draw near to God.
The first is Horatius Bonar writes on page 44 of Light and Truth: or Bible Thoughts and Themes, the Lesser Epistles (London, James Nesbit, 1883).
“The whole Trinity has to do with our return and reception. The Father throws open His presence chamber; the Holy of Holies where He dwells; the Son provides the way for our restoration, by answering in His death all the ends that could have been served by our exclusion; and the Holy Spirit conducts us into the Father’s presence along the new and living way.”
John Bunyan shouts amen to that in his Discourse on Prayer in The Works of That Eminent Servant of Christ, John Bunyan (Philadelphia: Clarke, 1863) 2:81.“Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God hath promised, or according to His Word, for the good of the church, with submission, in faith to the will of God.”