July 21, 2019 – Zechariah 12 – 13

Lesson Date: July 21, 2019

Focal Scripture Passage: Zechariah 12:1-10; 13:1-9

AIM: To lead students to discover God’s plans for saving and cleansing the Jews in the future, and to either (a) accept Christ’s gift of salvation that will begin the process of sanctification in their lives, or (b) thank God for saving them and ask Him to continue sanctifying them.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Zechariah 12 – 13 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Write the words “Justification,” “Sanctification,” and “Glorification” on the marker board or chalkboard.  Have a few gospel tracts available for any who might want one.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask if any volunteers will tell how long they have been saved or how old they were when they accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.  After a few responses, ask: “How long did it take you to get good enough to be saved?  Did you have to clean up your life before you could be saved?” (these are trick questions – no one can ever be good enough to be saved; we cannot clean up our lives; thankfully, salvation is a free gift of grace).

After clarifying that salvation is an act of God’s grace upon a sinner and not dependent upon our works, direct the class’ attention to the three words written on the board.  Tell them all three of those words relate to salvation.  In fact, they have been called the three “tenses” of salvation.  Explain the following:

  • Justification occurs at the moment a person receives Christ, when Jesus Christ declares us to be innocent and just before God. Justification is instantaneous.
  • Sanctification is the lifelong process through which the Lord cleanses us and makes us more and more like Him.
  • Glorification occurs when we go to heaven and are freed from all effects or reminders of sin.

Tell the class today’s lesson is about how God will preserve and protect the Jews from the Antichrist’s attack at the end of the Tribulation, but it also serves as a picture of the justification and sanctification we experience as Christians.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Tell the students we are nearing the end of our study of the Old Testament book of Zechariah.
    • Remind them that we learned last week that the closing chapters of Zechariah are about the future.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (trusting God for protection).
    • Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (Zech. 9:9).
  2. The Antichrist will Attack Jerusalem.
    • Read Zechariah 12:1-2.
    • Ask: “Who is this message from?” (the Lord who made the heavens, the earth, and man).
    • Briefly explain the setting for the chapters we will study this morning.
      • Near the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation the Antichrist will make a peace treaty with Israel.
      • The Antichrist will appear to be Israel’s greatest friend – the Jews will be allowed to have a new Temple and re-establish their ancient worship practices.
      • At the mid-point of the Tribulation, however, the Antichrist will defile the Jewish Temple. He will go into the Temple and declare himself to be God, demanding the worship of every person on earth (2 Thess. 2:3-4).
      • From then on he will persecute and hurt the Jews. At the end of the Tribulation the Antichrist will gather all his armies to surround and lay siege to Jerusalem.
      • Verse 2 reveals that God will cause Jerusalem’s enemies to stagger like drunks.
    • Summarize: Jerusalem will be surrounded and attacked by the forces of the Antichrist at the end of the Tribulation.
  3. The Lord will Protect and Save the Jews.
    • Ask the class to listen for what God will do to Antichrist’s armies, as a volunteer reads Zechariah 12:3-4.
    • Ask the students to name the things they heard (the attackers will be cut to pieces, their horses will be struck blind and bewildered, and the soldiers will go insane).
    • Tell the class this is a picture of utter confusion and disarray!
    • Read Zechariah 12:5-7.
    • Tell the class Israel’s rulers will recognize God’s hand in these miraculous events. God will preserve the outlying territories as well as Jerusalem (verse 7).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 12:8-9.
    • Ask: “Who will defend Jerusalem against Antichrist’s attack?” (the Lord).
    • Ask: “What will God seek to do?” (destroy all those who come against Jerusalem – this is described in Rev. 19:21).
    • Tell the class you are going to read verse 10. Ask them to listen for the answers to the following three questions:
      • What will God pour out upon the Jews?
      • Who will they see?
      • How will they respond?
    • Read Zechariah 12:10.
    • Ask: “What will God pour out upon the Jews?” (the Spirit of grace and supplications – His Holy Spirit).
    • Ask: “Who will they see?” (Jesus, whom they have pierced).
    • Ask: “How will they respond?” (they will mourn because of their sin and rejection of Him).
    • Explain that many Jews will die during the Tribulation and the Antichrist’s attack (Zech. 13:8); but all those who survive will see Jesus, recognize Him as their true Messiah, and turn to Him for salvation. This is what the New Testament speaks of when it says, “And so all Israel shall be saved” (Rom. 11:26).
    • Tell the students the rest of this chapter describes the mourning of the repentant Jews.
    • Summarize: The Lord will supernaturally defend the Jews from Antichrist’s attack, reveal Himself visibly to them, and then draw them to Himself in salvation.
  4. God will Cleanse and Purify the Jews.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 13:1.
    • Ask: “What will happen next?” (God will open a fountain for the Jews).
    • Ask: “What is the purpose of this fountain?” (to cleanse the Jews of their sin).
    • Read Zechariah 13:2-6.
    • Explain the following from those verses:
      • God will purge all idolatry and sin from Israel (v. 2).
      • The redeemed Jews will so love the Lord and His Word that if their very own children spoke false words of prophecy they would rebuke and kill them (v. 3).
      • False prophets will be ashamed of their visions and try to disguise themselves as farmers (v. 4-5).
      • The false prophets will claim that the ritual cuttings in their hands are accidental injuries, rather than evidence of idol worship (v. 6).
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 13:7.
    • Ask: “Does this verse sound familiar?” (yes).
    • Tell the students this verse is quoted in Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:50. It predicts the disciples abandoning Jesus (“the shepherd”) when He was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Zechariah 13:8-9.
    • Ask: “How many Jews will die when the Antichrist attacks?” (two-thirds of them).
    • Ask: “According to verse 9, what will God do with the remaining third?” (refine and purify them).
    • Tell the class the end result will be that the Lord will be their God and they will be His people.
    • Summarize: God has a plan for His chosen people, the Jews.  When He comes back He will reveal Himself to them, redeem them, and purify them.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Briefly review the events described in this lesson:

  • The Antichrist will lead his armies to surround and lay siege to Jerusalem.
  • They will attack and kill many Jews.
  • The Lord will step in and miraculously defend the Jews.
  • The surviving Jews will see Jesus and accept Him as their Savior.
  • He will then cleanse and purify them.

Tell the students those are prophecies about literal events that will take place at a specific time in the future, but they also illustrate what happens in an individual person’s life.  Explain the following:

  • Satan attacks and besieges the sinner, trying to fill his life with hurt and heartache.
  • Ultimately, Satan would like to kill sinners before they come to Christ, but the Lord steps in to preserve us from destruction.
  • We then “see” Jesus for who He really is and mourn over our sin and foolish rebellion.
  • Christ’s blood is a fountain to cleanse us of sin and continue the cleansing and sanctification process.
  • The Lord claims us as His people and becomes our God. We enjoy a new relationship.

Ask: “Has the Lord saved you from your sins?”

Direct the students’ attention to the word “Justification,” and explain that if they have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior then they have already experienced justification.  God has pronounced them to be justified.  From that time on the Lord begins the process of “Sanctification,” cleansing and refining them.  This process continues the rest of our life here on earth.

Say: “If you’ve been saved and see God working in your life to cleanse and sanctify you, then you should thank Him and ask Him to help you continually yield to His sanctifying work.  If, on the other hand, you have never been saved, you should repent of your sins and ask Jesus to save you and begin the process of sanctification in your life.”  Encourage everyone to do what he or she should as you lead a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Offer gospel tracts to any who might want to read them themselves or give them to someone they know.  Encourage the students to ask God for cleansing and to yield to His work in their lives.

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