Insights With Rabbi Jeff | Zechariah 8:1 – 7
The 8th chapter of Zechariah begins with a declaration of His passion for His people,Israel. It needs to be recognized that God’s Covenant is not merely some Divine whim passing momentarily. When Adonai called Avram in Genesis 12:1-3, Avram was being asked to do something people of that culture and of that era never did-leave their families and strike out on their own. Avram was up in years with a wife also up in years, with a vulnerable family. He needed to have a sense upfront how vested was God in this. To assure Avram and Sarai, the Lord expressed His intent in a verbal form called the cohortative, a verbal form expressing strong desire. When translating this passage in the Tree of Life Bible, we felt we needed to bring this out, so,we translated the appropriate verb thusly: ”My heart’s desire is to…”.
This strong desire is also stated in Zechariah 8.Verse 2- “Thus says Adonai-Tz’vaot,’ I am exceedingly zealous for Zion, I am burning with jealousy for her. ’”The verb “qana” denotes intense passion. God’s stated actions are motivated by this intensity, a fact inconsistent with replacement theology. ”Shavti el Tziyyon v’shacanti b’tokh Y’rushalam”; I will return to Zion and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem… ”These verbs occur in the perfect tense, obviously with a future tint to them. The perfect sees the action of the verb as one point on a timeline, making it extremely decisive. In Exodus, when God is giving Moses directions for the design and construction of the Mishkan, or, Tabernacle, He states that His purpose for that structure is, ”Shacanti b’tokem”, ”I will dwell in their midst”. His use of the same verb in the same person and tense in Zechariah brings the same thought to mind. He is committed to the maintenance of His Presence in the midst of Israel. His goal is then to so cleanse the people from the conditions tragically described in the Prophets that Jerusalem will be known as “Ir Ha-Emet”, the City of Truth; the Mountain of the Lord (Zion or Moriah) will be called “Har HaKodesh”, the Holy Mountain or the Mountain of Holiness.
Old men and women and playing children will once again fill the streets of Jerusalem, a prophetic scene also painted by Joel and Jeremiah. Zechariah is being consistent with what God has been saying throughout Adonai’s Word, even in the Torah where He foretells judgement for sin and follows that up with promises of restoration after repentance (Leviticus 26). Verse 6 says this whole idea may seem, literally, a wonder, in the eyes of the remnant of those days. The verb, ”yippalley”, is the imperfect of the root from which the Messianic title “Pelle Yoetz”, ”Wonderful Counsellor”, derives. It implies something supernatural, even divine. The Lord goes on to ask if there is anything too “wonderful” for Him. Obviously, there is not for “El Shaddai”. He will save His people from the “land of the East and from the land of the West”.
Great things are happening, with a lot more to come!
Rabbi Jeffrey A. Adler
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler is on the Board of HaShomer and also Rabbi of Sha’arey Yeshua in Indianapolis, IN.