Would the Lord be unfair if He dealt with us according to the way we dealt with Him or each other? Would He be wrong? Would we be wrong if we expected Him to stay out of our business when our business so much effected His? What business is not His? In a sense the Lord has dealt with us according to our dealings. In another He has constantly risen above it with His patience and his reproof and mercy. He has spoken through His prophets when need be. But, who has listened?
The Lord was displeased with Israel/Judah and He used the Gentile nations to correct them. But the gentile nations He used displeased Him as well and He will use them against each other to correct them. We have the sense that He has sent forth watchers to keep close eye on the dealings of these nations. He knows all; it is for the remainder of the heavenly host and for us that these things are being observed.
Two separate identities, the Angel of the Lord and the Lord of Hosts are identified here. The Angel asks a question of time frame, how long. In a sense the mercy has not left, it is there all along. In another sense on the ground the appearance is one of His displeasure; which itself ties back into His mercy. It would not be mercy if He had not had a plan/means of dealing with it.
Idols don't speak, men hear what they want to here from them and over the years they have heard plenty, all of it vanity. The signs are plain for all to see, but, what the diviners take from it is a lie, they see what they want to see, all of it vanity. Men are troubled because there is no shepherd or so they think, they comfort each other in vain. These were the shepherds they thought missing and the Lord's anger was kindled against them. Shepherds must stand for what is true, often a most difficult and sacrificial task. Instead, as a whole they lead the flock away and so the Lord dispersed them. Faithful leaders need to add to their faith virtue (Valor/Excellence), knowledge (revealed), temperance (physical/spiritual), patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (agape) in order to be fruitful in the knowledge of Christ kjv@2Peter:1:5-8 . There are leaders amongst us today that need much of the same. We have one Shepherd but several pastors.
Idle shepherds, shepherds that hear the howling near by, shepherds whose flocks are now possessed by the wolves and they not hold themselves responsible, shepherds who have gain and safety yet pity not the state of their flock, shepherds that leave their flock; is it any wonder that the Lord does not cut them off? Using two staffs Beauty and Bands He cuts them off so that the poor of the flock would know it was from the Lord.
Jerusalem is a cup of trembling to all around it. Seeing what the Lord has done makes it as a burdensome stone. Seeing what the Lord has done makes them fearful in themselves. Those that burden themselves with it are cut in pieces. From this point of world view, imagine how astonished they will be when the Lord puts it all back together, when Judah and Ephraim and the house of David again for no humanly reason becomes His power and might. In the midst of a spirit of grace and supplication there will be a mourning in Jerusalem for the one, the only Son, they had pierced.
The question may come to mind that if the Lord can cut off the names of idols and lying prophets in that coming day why doesn't He just do it now? The answer may lay in the object of a process we are being brought through to be able to identify and desire this ourselves as well. It is one thing for Him to cut off when no one knows what He is doing and why He is doing it and many possibly be angry or taken back by it, it is another to have everyone on board and aware and even participants along with Him in cutting it off. We are told here of parents willingly striking their wicked prophet son through. We are told here of a refining fire. In effect, what good does it do for the Lord to cut something off if it grows right back again? If it means cutting off more people than already need be cut off? If it can serve a better purpose temporarily being allowed?
This passage moves quickly through a series of end day events regarding plagues and judgement and even an apparent geologic reshaping of the Judean landscape. I believe this time immediately after the war on Jerusalem to be millennial because not everyone is yet on board fully, there are still those in rebellion who choose not to attend the yearly re-enactment of the Feast of Tabernacles done on behalf of the seated Holy King with specific reference to a band of non-conformist out of Egypt.
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