Judah is a bow, Ephraim is arrows, Greece the Target!

This is a text reader for the article below:
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
Judah Ephraim Zechariah

Wednesday 08/09/23 

Message Video Player

Message Audio Player:

Share this:

Twitter  Google Podacst

Judah is a bow, Ephraim is arrows, Greece the Target!

This week we begin with a prophecy by Zechariah regarding the upcoming conqueror Alexander the Great.

Zechariah 9:1-8, 

“(1) An Oracle The word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrach, and Damascus is its resting place–for the eyes of men are on the LORD–against all the tribes of Israel  (2)  and also against Hamath, which borders it, as well as Tyre and Sidon, though they are very shrewd.  

(3)  Tyre has built herself a fortress; she has heaped up silver like dust and gold like the dirt of the streets.  

(4)  Listen! The Lord will impoverish her and cast her wealth into the sea; she herself will be consumed by fire.” 

You may remember that Ezekiel begins his prophetic ministry with a pronouncement against Tyre in Ezekiel 1:2. This was during the reign of King Zedekiah in the fifth year of King Johoiachin’s captivity in Babylon approximately 77 years before this prophecy of Zechariah. Then later, in Ezekiel 27-28 God declares destruction on Tyre and her King which was 11 years later and 66 years before THIS prophecy of Zechariah.

[See Ezekiel goes silent on Judah]

The actual city of Tyre had been there since 2700B.C. an impressive 2,200 years.

By the Spirit of the Lord, Ezekiel accurately predicted that Nebuchadnezzar would attack the city, but that subsequent to that MANY nations would come against it. This prediction of Zechariah was simply throwing prophetic logs onto a fire that had been rising in temperature for some time. By this time the city had been in a protracted period of depression and had already been assimilated into the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great around 538 B.C. By the time of Alexander the Great besieged Tyre and crushed it.

Concerning Tyre, Wallace B. Fleming wrote in his 1872 work entitled, “The history of TyreIt seemed ever the fate of the Phoenician cities to be between an upper and a nether millstone”

Zechariah 9…

“(5)  Ashkelon will see it and be afraid; Gaza too, and will writhe in great pain, as will Ekron, for her hope will fail. There will cease to be a king in Gaza, and Ashkelon will become uninhabited.  (6)  A mongrel people will live in Ashdod, and I will destroy the pride of the Philistines.  (7)  I will remove the blood from their mouths and the detestable things from between their teeth. Then they too will become a remnant for our God; they will become like a clan in Judah and Ekron like the Jebusites.  (8)  I will set up camp at My house against an army, against those who march back and forth, and no oppressor will march against them again, for now I have seen with My own eyes.”

All that we have read is in future reference to the conquests of Alexander the Great. As such Albert Barnes notes that,

“The foreground of this prophecy is the course of the Victories of Alexander, which circled round the holy land without hurting it, and ended in the overthrow of the Persian empire. The surrender of Damascus followed first, immediately on his great victory at the Issus; then Sidon yielded itself and received its ruler from the conqueror, Tyre he utterly destroyed; Gaza, we know, perished; he passed harmless by Jerusalem. Samaria, on his return from Egypt, he chastised.

It is now certain that there was a city called Hadrach in the neighborhood of Damascus and Hamath, although its exact site is not known. “It was first found upon the geographical tablets among the Assyrian inscriptions.” 

King Jesus is coming!

This passage presents a large conglomerate of imagery representing a good number of people, places, nations and things and of course, key and primary among them is JESUS!

This passage serves the dual purpose of predicting the natural deliverance of all of Israel from future Grecian rule as well as their spiritual deliverance through their Messiah Jesus.

Zechariah 9:9-17, 

“(9) Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter JerusalemSee, your King is coming to you

He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  

This is of course recorded as fulfilled by Jesus in Matthew 21:1-11.

“(1) When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of OlivesJesus then sent two disciples,  (2)  telling them, 

“Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me. (3)  If anyone says anything to you, you should say that the Lord needs them, and immediately he will send them.”

(4)  This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:  

(5)  Tell Daughter Zion, “See, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

Zechariah 9…

“(10)  I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem. The bow of war will be removed, and He will proclaim peace to the nations. 

His dominion will extend from sea to sea, from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.  

(11)  As for you, because of the blood of your covenant, I will release your prisoners from the waterless cistern.  

(12)  Return to a stronghold, you prisoners who have hope; today I declare that I will restore double to you.  

(13)  For I will bend Judah as My bow; I will fill that bow with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, Zion, against your sons, Greece

I will make you like a warrior’s sword.  

(14)  Then the LORD will appear over them, and His arrow will fly like lightning. The Lord GOD will sound the trumpet and advance with the southern storms.  (15)  The LORD of Hosts will defend them. 

They will consume and conquer with slingstones; they will drink and be rowdy as if with wine. They will be as full as the sprinkling basin, like those at the corners of the altar.  

(16)  The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of His people; for they are like jewels in a crown, sparkling over His land.  (17)  How lovely and beautiful they will be! Grain will make the young men flourish, and new wine, the young women.”

Now I cannot be 100% certain but I believe this is in reference to the time of the Maccabean uprising nearly 380 years in the future. This victorious revolt against Grecian rule is the cause of the celebration of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. During the Maccabean Revolt which occurred around 167-160 B.C. the Jewish rebel Judas Maccabeus overthrew the evil Greek emperor Antiochus and rededicated the Temple.

The reference here of Judah and Ephraim is not pointing to these individual tribes, but is a useful way in which to refer to all of Israel. As I have told you before, all of the northern kingdom is often called in Ephraim, even as all of the southern kingdom was called in Judah.

Now by far, the smaller portion of Israel is Judah yet it is from Jerusalem in Judah that God’s name and presence dwelt. There was the temple and the priesthood and therefore Israel’s connection with God.

So it makes sense that Judah, though smaller, would be the bow and Ephraim be the arrow it sends.

Taking this analogy a step further, even as the northern kingdom was seen in Ephraim and the southern in Judah, ALL of Israel was seen in Levi, for form Levi came the priesthood who stood on behalf of Israel before God.

We saw an example of this when we covered Leviticus 10 back in June of 2018 [See – The Holy & the Profane] , we saw how Nadab and Abihu dishonored God in their role as priests and God judged them for it. Then God warned the priests by saying,

Leviticus 10:3-7,

…‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’ ” 

So Aaron held his peace. (4) Then Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said to them, 

“Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.” 

(5) So they went near and carried them by their tunics out of the camp, as Moses had said. (6) And Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons, “Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, lest you die, and wrath come upon all the people. But let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD has kindled. (7) You shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses.” 

You can see how the actions of the priests here would have immediate consequences for all of Israel. So they set the example by honoring God before the people and the people of Israel mourned the loss of Nadab and Abihu FOR the priests.

Even so, the leader of the Maccabean war on Greece against Antiochus was led by Judas Maccabeus who was a Levite. I taught you last year in Daniel 10 & 11 that Antiochus Epiphanes was a type and foreshadowing of the antichrist and it was due to his actions that the Maccabean revolt climaxed.

David Guzik reports that…Antiochus Epiphanes set up an image of Zeus at the temple altar. He demanded sacrifice to this image, and later desecrated the temple by sacrificing a pig on it.”

Wood says,  “It was in truth an abomination, which brought a desolate condition to the Temple, for now no one would come to worship at all.” 

Even as Antiochus Epiphanes was a type and foreshadowing of the antichrist, so Judas Maccabeus a Levite was a type and foreshadowing of Christ.

If you remember Daniel introduced us to the future of middle eastern rulers until the time of Rome.

They were the Babylonians, the Persians, the Grecians and then Rome.

By the time of Zechariah the Babylonians had already been replaced by the Persians and they would continue to reign until about 334B.C. which was another 200 years in the future relative to Zechariah. At that point Grecian rule would be absolute until they were replaced by Rome in 31B.C..

Zechariah 10:1-12, 

God again predicts the time of Messiah AND the time when Israel will finally surrender to Him as their King and deliverer.

As such this passage refers to the more immediate arrival of Christ as Messiah and Savior and the later regathering of the Jews to Israel during His millennial reign.

“(1) Ask the LORD for rain in the season of spring rain. 

The LORD makes the rain clouds, and He will give them showers of rain and crops in the field for everyone.  

(2)  For the idols speak falsehood, and the diviners see illusions; they relate empty dreams and offer empty comfort. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they suffer affliction because there is no shepherd.  

(3)  My anger burns against the shepherds, so I will punish the leaders. For the LORD of Hosts has tended His flock, the house of Judah; He will make them like His majestic steed in battle.”  

This is speaking of the ungodly leadership of Israel in the days to come.

Following the Maccabean revolt, Israel’s leadership became corrupt.

In 152 B.C. the nephew of Judas Maccabeus established a new priestly monarchy called the Hasmonean dynasty. This established priests as political as well as religious authorities among the Jews. Most of these priests were of the Jewish sect called the Sadducceas.

Another sect were the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a religious/political movement which formed during this corruption of the Hasmonean dynasty.

According to Josephus, the Pharisees appeared before Pompey, a general and statesman of the Roman republic, and requested his intervention in order to restore the old priesthood by abolishing the rule of the Hasmoneans.

The Pharisees are said to have literally opened Jerusalem’s gates to the Romans, and actively supported them against the Sadducean faction.

When the Romans broke through the entrance to the Temple, they killed the priests who were officiating the Temple services. Thus the Pharisees saw Pompey’s desecration of the Temple as a God’s judgment against Sadducean misrule.

That may also help you understand the sordid relationship the Pharisees of Jesus’ day had with Rome.

I will do a more complete coverage of this intertestamental time period before we move on to the New Testament. This will help bridge the gap and introduce all these new players on the field which we see in the life and ministry of Jesus.

Picking back up in verse 3 which we just read…

“(3)  My anger burns against the shepherds, so I will punish the leaders. For the LORD of Hosts has tended His flock, the house of Judah; He will make them like His majestic steed in battle.”  

(4)  From them will come the cornerstone, from them the tent peg, from them the battle bow, from them every ruler

Together  (5)  they will be like warriors in battle trampling down the mud of the streets. 

They will fight because the LORD is with them, and they will put horsemen to shame.  

(6)  I will strengthen the house of Judah and deliver the house of Joseph. I will restore them because I have compassion on them, and they will be as though I had never rejected them. For I am the LORD their God, and I will answer them.  

(7)  Ephraim will be like a warrior, and their hearts will be glad as if with wine. Their children will see it and be glad; their hearts will rejoice in the LORD.  

(8)  I will whistle and gather them because I have redeemed them; they will be as numerous as they once were.  

(9)  Though I sow them among the nations, they will remember Me in the distant lands; they and their children will live and return.  

(10)  I will bring them back from the land of Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon, but it will not be enough for them.  

(11)  He will pass through the sea of distress and strike the waves of the sea; all the depths of the Nile will dry up. The pride of Assyria will be brought down, and the scepter of Egypt will come to an end.  (12)  I will strengthen them in the LORD, and they will march in His name–this is Yahweh’s declaration.”

According to Adam Clarke,

“Out of the land of Egypt – I will bring them out of all the countries where they have been dispersed, and bring them back to their own land; and they shall be so numerous that they shall scarcely find there, in all its length and breadth, a sufficiency of room. If all the Jews that are now scattered over the face of the earth were gathered together, they would make a mighty nation. And God will gather them together. As a wonderful providence has preserved them in every place, so a wondrous providence will collect them from every place of their dispersion. When the great call comes, no one soul of them shall be left behind.”


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!