Contemplating the People of God

I'll be wrapping up my Sunday evening sermons on Zechariah in the next couple of weeks, which for some reason has put me in a bit of a retrospective mood. Looking back on the great themes of Zechariah we've seen calls to return to the Lord after so many years of sin and exile; we've seen the pre-incarnate Christ appear in power, ready to bring judgment to the nations and comfort for God's people; we've seen reassuring signs of God's sovereignty as his angels patrol the earth; we've heard the great promise that God will reestablish his holy city, a city that he himself will protect as a wall of fire around her; we've seen the powerful grace of God, transforming the filthy garments (and indeed the filthy man) of Joshua into pure vestments, and God taking away his iniquity; we've seen an eventual union between the priest and king over God's people, pointing of course to Christ himself; we've seen a great lament for "him whom they have pierced," again pointing to Christ and his atonement; and in the closing weeks of this study we hear prophecy of that great day when "the Lord will be king over all the earth," and "Jerusalem shall dwell in security."

As great as these promises are, they would mean little to us today if they weren't for us. Some Christians see a great distinction between "Israel" and "The Church," and therefore when they read the great promises of God recorded by the OT prophets, they assume there is little direct application for the Christian today. I've read a number of sermons on Zechariah by men who, believing that these promises are not directly for us today, prefer to speak in terms of "principles" of how God deals with his people.

It is good to know that we don't have to think this way. When we read Zechariah, or any of the other prophets, we're not merely reading universal principles or timeless truths about how God deals with his people. We're reading God's very promises given to us - and these are very great promises indeed!

God has only one people. God has only one plan of salvation. And God has only one end for all his people. As Zechariah makes plain, "many nations shall join themselves to the Lord... and shall be my people" (2:11). Today, when people come to the Lord in faith they become the very people of God, that same people God speaks of in the OT.

This means, of course, that when we see Jerusalem reestablished in the book of Zechariah as a great eternal city with God himself in its midst - that's our future home just as much as it is Zechariah's. And as Zechariah undoubtedly rejoiced in what he saw, we rejoice in the exact same way.

Revelation 21:2-3 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

Read What the Bible Says About the People of God: A Categorized Scripture List, by Nathan Pitchford.

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