[June 21]—Name Brand

Zech 14

            OK, I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to get that much into my interpretation of the “End Times.” To go into much detail on this was really beyond the purview of a devotional. But I can’t really finish up the book of Zechariah without at least touching on the subject, and giving some reasons for what I’m saying.
            Again, I have to make this disclaimer: How you interpret the eschatological passages of the Bible is by no means the most important aspect of Scripture. As one of my favorite pastors Alastair Begg put it, “The main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things.” I have whole branches of Christian thought that disagree with me on this, people who are a lot smarter than me, people for whom I have a ton of respect. On the other hand, there are lots of people who are a lot smarter than me who agree with what I’m about to say.
            Here’s my basic philosophy: I tend to interpret eschatological passages in the plainest way possible. I use Occam’s razor a lot here: All other things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the best. Using that principle, I take passages like today's as literally as I can. I don’t think it’s spiritually referring to the Church.
As noted before, there are people who disagree. They think this is mostly talking about the Church in this age. They tend to interpret passages like this symbolically. The Lord Jesus “landed” on the earth in the Incarnation and split open the earth so that God’s people could escape the deadly danger they were in. After his deliverance of his people, the nations of the world bring their treasures into the Kingdom (meaning the Church); otherwise, they’ll be judged.
To be brutally frank, to try to interpret vss. 12-21 as somehow being spiritually fulfilled right now. . . just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I’ve only heard a few people who think it’s talking about the Church try to explain how they do it, and I’ve found their arguments less than convincing. And—again, I have to be quite frank here—most people who disagree with me on it tend to avoid talking too much about passages like this. Because—again—Occam’s razor seems to be on my side here.
            Now, having said all that (and probably losing most of my audience), we can tackle what this is talking about. Instead of focusing on the details about today’s passage any further, I’d like to look at the last few verses.
            This is an ideal society. The Lord is in charge, openly and publicly given the praise, honor, and worship he deserves. His enemies are in complete subjugation before him and his people are safe. But what really strikes me is what we see in the last two verses.
            Does the phrase “Holy To The Lord” sound familiar at all? It should: It was what was engraved on the gold plate worn on the high priest's turban. Have you ever heard the phrase “tattooed on his forehead”? That’s the idea here. That phrase on his forehead symbolized and epitomized everything the priesthood represented, everything the priest was and did. Remember, “Holy” means “set apart.” The priest was set apart for the Lord’s service. That priest belonged to the God of Israel, and everyone who saw it--and could read--knew it.
The Law was all about separation. There were clean and unclean foods, houses, animals, and people. There was also “holy” which belonged to the Lord, and “common” things which ordinary people used in their daily lives. But that will all change when things become what they should be. When things are what they should be, everything is branded with his mark of ownership. The most mundane and everyday items: The bells of the horses, the pots that people cook in. That’s the point of the last two verses.
            That’s a great lesson for us, because that’s actually the way it should be now. Today. Whatever validity it ever had, the dividing line between “sacred” and “secular” became totally obsolete when Christ came into the world. When the Incarnate Son of God (divine and human in the same body) ate a piece of bread, that bread was made holy by his presence. When he slept on a mat, that mat was made holy. Nothing he ever did or touched was not holy.
            And that’s how it’s supposed to be with us. Let’s say I enjoy activity X. For example, I like a good hockey game. If I couldn’t do X with Jesus standing next to me, I shouldn’t be doing X.  This doesn’t mean that I should only be doing “church” stuff, or that doing non-“church” stuff is wrong. Quite the contrary. The Holy Spirit lives inside me, and his presence envelopes everything I do and everywhere I go. For a believer in Jesus, there’s no such thing as “secular.” There’s “sin” (and by that I mean things which are explicitly forbidden by his word), and there’s “sacred” (even non-“church” stuff like sports or hobbies or eating with friends or intimate times with my wife).
            Make sense?

Lord Jesus, I long for the day in which the bells on horses have your name brand on them. I look forward to seeing it in the future, and I want to see that more and more in my life, right here and now. 

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