340: Zechariah 11:4-5


365 Prophecies: Prophecy 340

When the Messiah comes, He will find false leaders in Israel.

Old Testament Prediction:

Zechariah 11:4-5 Thus says the LORD my God, “Feed the flock for slaughter, 5. whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt; those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the LORD, for I am rich’; and their shepherds do not pity them.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 23:1-10 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.”

Application:

One of the most scathing accusation against the scribes and the Pharisees was the charge by Jesus that they were false teachers, who led the people away from God. On the outside, these men appeared perfect; while on the inside, their hearts served only their own personal agenda. This seems to be a primary point of contention for Jesus regarding the religious leaders in Israel. It appears that above all other issues, those who guide people away from God by false teaching is a very serious matter for the Lord.

Jesus’ entire indictment against the scribes and Pharisee is included in the following text, from Matthew 23:13-39. We should carefully study these verses ourselves and make certain that we never imitate the behavior of these men whom Jesus has such great displeasure. Each verses is listed separately to make the reading of each indictment by Jesus easier to follow.

Matthew 23:13-39
13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 Woe to you, blind guides, who say, “Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.”
17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
18 And, Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.
19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it.
21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it.
22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.
26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
30 and say, “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.”
31 Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.
33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?
34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
38 See! Your house is left to you desolate;
39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!”

Jesus pronounces eight “Woes” upon the religious leaders in Israel.

Verse 13: Preventing people from finding salvation by false teaching.
Verse 14: Taking advantage of helpless people and pretending to be holy.
Verse 15: Leading people into damnation by failing to give them the truth.
Verses 16-22: Misleading by religious ritual instead of simple worship of God.
Verses 23-24: Following the letter of the Law without understanding the purpose of the law: Mercy, Justice, Faith.
Verses 25-26: Appearing righteous externally while having a heart that is evil and corrupt within.
Verses 27 and 28: A second time Appearing good outwardly while inside the heart, they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Verses 29-37: Honoring the prophets of old by monuments while killing them when they brought indictment against the sins of religious leaders.

Verses 38-39: Jesus pronounces His judgment for their many failures.

“Their house will be left to them a desolation.” Within one generation of judgment (40 years), the Temple will be completely destroyed and the city of Jerusalem leveled. Further, because they missed the time of their visitation by the Messiah, they will not see Him again until the end of the seven-year Tribulation when the say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.”

Jesus predicts the encirclement of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple. These events would happen within the generation of those who heard this prophecy.

Luke 19:43-44 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.

Matthew 24:34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

The context of Jesus’ revelation to the disciples, in Luke 19:29-21:24, is directly after Palm Sunday, 32 A.D. Jesus is describing the judgment that will come upon Israel for her rejection of Him as the Messiah. The fulfillment of this prophecy occurred within one 40-year generation, in 70 A.D., as Titus brought his army against Jerusalem, sacked the city, and destroyed the Temple, leaving “not one stone was left upon another,” just as Jesus had predicted.

Matthew Chapter 24 is essentially the same account that Luke records, as Jesus is seen at the Temple with the disciples. He tells those in attendance that “not one stone shall be left upon another….” This took place exactly as Jesus had predicted.

Matthew 24:1-2 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

The blindness of the leaders of Israel, their inability to see Him in light of the prophetic word that God had delivered by His prophets, and their evil desire to put Him to death, greatly grieved Jesus. Although He had known about these men long before He arrived in Jerusalem, it seems by His language that Jesus was deeply affected by their impoverished souls. Finally, when it is clear that these men will fulfill all the words of this 340th prophecy from Zechariah 11:4-5, He can bear their destitute hearts no more, He begins to weep for the eternal loss of their souls.

Luke 19:41-42 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

It was because these men were so maligned and corrupt, that they not only failed to recognize their Messiah when He arrived; but they also killed Him. Jesus’ final indictment against the scribes and the Pharisees was—they always kill the prophets, wise men, and scribes that God sends to them. Jesus is telling these men that it was He who sent them all—the prophets and messengers of God—but they would not listen; instead, they killed all those whom God sent, just as they would also do to Jesus.

Matthew 23:34 “Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, hat on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.”

The entire nation of Israel is going to suffer the judgment of being utterly ruined and disbursed throughout the world for 2,000 years, because their leaders killed the messengers that God sent to them, including the Messiah.

One of the 14 predictions that Jesus made while here on earth was that during the taking of Jerusalem, the Jews will be scattered over the face of the earth.

Luke 21:24 And they (those in Jerusalem and Judea, vs 20-21) will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Jesus prophecy fulfilled—documented by secular writers

The Jewish historian, Josephus, describes the destruction of Jerusalem, the murder of 1.1 million Jews, and 97,000 taken as captives of war. Thousands were sold as slaves, with many more dispersed all over the world. The entire event is recorded by Josephus in the “Book of Wars,” Book 5 Chapter 22 Sections 1-3.[1]

Jesus warned His disciples ahead of time, to flee Jerusalem before the siege began. He told them to watch for this sign:

“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled… There will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24).

The Jews who had believed in Jesus as their Messiah evacuated Jerusalem after its first siege in 66 A.D., ahead of the final Roman siege of 70 A.D. Just as Jesus had predicted, there was a massive slaughter of those who remained in Jerusalem and did not believe His words.

The Roman army general, Titus, who later became the Emperor, stated that he believed that his actions against the Jews in 70 A.D. were an instrument of God’s wrath.[2]

“The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination.

Titus strategy against the city of Jerusalem was simple: cut off the food and water supplies to Jerusalem and starve the people into submission.

Many people died of starvation during this siege of Titus, as the food supplies of the Jews inside the city of Jerusalem were depleted. Some people resorted to eating the flesh of their dead in order to survive. This was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 11:9, “Let those that are left eat each other’s flesh.”

About middle in May, 70 A.D., Titus ordered the construction of a siege wall built around the city of Jerusalem and destroyed the newly built third wall with a battering ram. The Antonia Fortress of Herod was taken just north of the Temple Mount. As fighting ensued inside Jerusalem, the Jews were forced into the Temple, as a second attempt at negotiating a cease fire failed.

The following account of the Temple destruction in 70 A.D. is from the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, “The Wars of the Jews,” Book 6, Chapter 4.[3]

Storming the Temple

“So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. But as for that house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire; and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous, [Ab,] upon which it was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon; although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them; for upon Titus’s retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself.”[4]

A soldier sets fire to the north side of the Temple

“At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered any thing to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it.”[5]

Titus informed of the Temple fire

“And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire; after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed the several legions, in great astonishment; so there was a great clamor and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion of so great an army. Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire.” [6]

Roman soldiers trampled and killed

“But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears already dimmed by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion. But as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasions nor any threatenings could restrain their violence, but each one’s own passion was his commander at this time; and as they were crowding into the temple together, many of them were trampled on by one another, while a great number fell among the ruins of the cloisters, which were still hot and smoking, and were destroyed in the same miserable way with those whom they had conquered…”[7]

Soldiers not hearing Titus command, set fire to the Holy Place

“…and when they were come near the holy house, they made as if they did not so much as hear Caesar’s orders to the contrary; but they encouraged those that were before them to set it on fire. As for the seditious, they were in too great distress already to afford their assistance [towards quenching the fire]; they were every where slain, and every where beaten; and as for a great part of the people, they were weak and without arms, and had their throats cut wherever they were caught. Now round about the altar lay dead bodies heaped one upon another, as at the steps going up to it ran a great quantity of their blood, whither also the dead bodies that were slain above [on the altar] fell down.”[8]

Titus attempts to save the Holy of Holies

“And now, since Caesar was no way able to restrain the enthusiastic fury of the soldiers, and the fire proceeded on more and more, he went into the holy place of the temple, with his commanders, and saw it, with what was in it, which he found to be far superior to what the relations of foreigners contained, and not inferior to what we ourselves boasted of and believed about it. But as the flame had not as yet reached to its inward parts, but was still consuming the rooms that were about the holy house, and Titus supposing what the fact was, that the house itself might yet he saved, he came in haste and endeavored to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire, and gave order to Liberalius the centurion, and one of those spearmen that were about him, to beat the soldiers that were refractory with their staves, and to restrain them; yet were their passions too hard for the regards they had for Caesar, and the dread they had of him who forbade them, as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them, too hard for them also.”[9]

Soldiers seeing the Holy Place full of Gold, come to take plunder

“Moreover, the hope of plunder induced many to go on, as having this opinion, that all the places within were full of money, and as seeing that all round about it was made of gold. And besides, one of those that went into the place prevented Caesar, when he ran so hastily out to restrain the soldiers, and threw the fire upon the hinges of the gate, in the dark; whereby the flame burst out from within the holy house itself immediately, when the commanders retired, and Caesar with them, and when nobody any longer forbade those that were without to set fire to it. And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar’s approbation.”[10]

According to 2 Chronicles, 3:8, the gold that lined the entire inner structure of the Holy of Holies was about 23 tons. At $1,500.00 per ounce, this would place the value of the gold inside the Holy place at 1 Billion, 104 million dollars.[11]

On “Tisha B’Av, August 9th of 70 A.D., the Temple was destroyed. By September 7th, 70 A.D., Jerusalem was completely under control of the Romans. An amazing fact of history is that the first temple was also destroyed by the Babylonians on the same date, August 9th of 586 B.C.

Although this prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. by the Roman siege on Jerusalem and the burning of the temple, there appears to also be a later fulfillment of this same prophecy. During the midway point of the seven-year Tribulation, the antichrist will come against Jerusalem to destroy the Jews, and they will also flee the city for what many believe to be—Petra.

All of these events that Jesus predicted, nearly 40 years before their fulfillment, came about due to this 340th prophecy of Zechariah 11:4-6: “When the Messiah comes, He will find false leaders in Israel.”


[1] Josephus in the “Book of Wars”, Book 5, chapter 22, sections 1-3
[2] Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana 6.29
[3] Flavius Josephus, “The Wars of the Jews,” Book 6, Chapter 4. (2010-10-07). The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus (Kindle Locations 25601-25585). . Kindle Edition.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid
[6] Ibid
[7] Ibid
[8] Ibid
[9] Ibid
[10] Ibid.
[11] According to the New Living Translation by Thomas Nelson, Open Bible Commentary, Page 580.

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