“The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.” Zechariah 9:16 NIV
[Thought questions for Heaven’s Best Gift June 19,2013]
1. Welcome to the celebration. Have you ever felt awe over the way the Bible weaves the past, the future, and the present into one tapestry? Of the minor prophets we have studied so far this quarter, did any of them deliver a message that applied only to people living nearby at that time? Or, as a diligent student of Scripture, have you ever found a passage that has nothing to do with you? In the second half of Zechariah, what story does the prophet tell in advance? Is it too early in the scheme of things to rejoice over the Second Coming of Jesus while it is still future?
2. Plan versus reality. Do you think that the Jewish people reading or hearing the words of Zechariah 8 took them seriously? Did they really believe that Jerusalem would one day be the center of the known world? Were they sure that people would come to Jerusalem from far away to worship the God of heaven? What about today? Do we read Zechariah 8 and place its fulfillment at some time in the future? Are we already celebrating the blessing of God to the whole world? Should we be?
3. The Good Shepherd is struck. Is there anything you find especially disturbing in the message of Zechariah describing how the shepherd breaks his two staffs and turns from the rescue of his flock? What is the spiritual condition of these shepherds who ignore the needs of God’s own children? Do you think we have shepherds like this among us today? Or do you and I too often disregard God’s message of love and fail to share the good news with others?
4. King of the World. What do our Jewish friends today believe is the final destiny of Jerusalem? How does that belief differ from that of Seventh-day Adventists? Why didn’t Zechariah spell out differences between the coming of Christ in human form and His final triumphal descent at the end of time as we know it? Wouldn’t it have been easier on the Jewish people for hundreds of years if he had done so? Does your heart long for the Jerusalem on earth to be revived? Why or why not? Are you longing to see the New Jerusalem?
5. The world gets worse and worse. Is it a core belief of Adventism that the world must be getting worse and worse? Is that a necessary condition before we can accept the promises of God? Are outright sins such as sexual crimes or murder of various kinds more prominent today than ever? If it could be proved that violent crimes are less a threat today than in the past, would you still have plenty of evidence that the world is getting worse and worse? What would it be?