Yet what we are experiencing right now in the United States is nearly identical to the time period of 518-520 B.C. as described in The Book of Zechariah in the Holy Bible. Zezharia is not a well known prophet, and therefore you don't hear that name very often. There are many children born with the name Jeremiah because the prophet Jeremiah gets many chapters in the Bible. Yet Zechariah gets only few.
Yet the point he makes is a good one.
He was a prophet during a time when the Assyrians had taken over Israel, which at that time extended from the Dead Sea to the Sea of Gibraltar. The area by the Dead Sea was mushy and mostly deserted and not worth much, but the rest of the land, the land in the West, was very fertile and worth a lot. So the Assyrians had good reason to take over this land.
The Assyrians worshipped false gods. They made the Israelites slaves. They worshipped the sun and the moon. The economy and morale was in ruin. Since the economy was in ruin, King Darius of Persia was able to easily come in and wipe out the rulers of Israel and take over the nation.
Zecharia was one of the few who noticed what was going on, and why the land of Judah (Israel) was in such dissaray. In fact, he described the destruction of the once prosperous Israel as the result of lack of morals and values. Hence, the people of Judah had goten their priorities in the wrong order.
The Book of Zechariah notes that, "The Lord Almighty told Zecharia to say to the people, "I the Lord, was angry with yoru ancestors, but now I say to you, 'Return to me, and I will return to you."
What he was saying was that the economy of Judah was ruined because the people started worshiping their stuff more than they worshiped him. In that way, this story is similar to the story of the Tower of Babel. There the Land of God became in ruin because the people started worshiping false gods and worshipping their stuff more so than God. They put their stuff before other people. They put their stuff before work. They put their stuff before their children.
So they divorced. So they lost communication with their kids, and their kids made bad decisions. So the economy collapsed. And so the country of Islam was taken over by those who tried for years to destroy Israel.
Yet God, through Zecharia, was telling the people of Israel that if they want their coutry back, they will have to get their priorities striaght. They will have to put God first, their wives second, their children third, other people and other things. They must put God first, family second, their country third, and then their stuff.
The idea that Zecharia describes is mentioned later in the Bible too, because the writers wanted to prevent the people of Israel from repeating the errors that lead to the decline of Israel. Matthew (5)mentions it adn so does Paul to the Corintheans (1).
Yet a similar thing is occuring right now in the U.S. I wrote about it here in my State of the Union 2011. We have put our stuff before our God. We put our stuff before our family. We put our stuff before our country. And the result is we are losing our country. The economy is sputtering out of control. Other nations yearn to destroy us.
To top it off, radical Islam is perhaps making a gallant effort to form a caliphate in the Middle East, and perhaps a world caliphate with the intent on destroying all who don't believe in Allah, and forcing all others to live under the law of Islam (I wrote about this here).
"Then the angel said, 'almighty Lord, you have been angry with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah for seventy years now. How much longer will it be before you show them mercy."
Values were increased. Morals were returned to the people. They learned to get their priorities in place. Then...
"So I have come back to Jerusalem to show mercy to the city. my Temple (values) will be restored, and the city will be rebuilt... The Lord has promised that he himself will be a wall of fire around the city to protect it and that he will live there in all his glory."
Of the enemies of Israel, the Lord said through Zechariah: "The Lord himself will fight against you and you will be plundered by the people who were once yoru servants."
With virtures and priorities, a nation cannot be defeated. And since the virtues of the Israelites were far greater than the Assyrians, the Israelites would win back their nation. In much this same way the American Revolution took place.
If any place on earth has reason to thank God for its existence it is America. Americans should be thanking God every day. We did this for the first 160 years of our existence, and since then progressives in this nation have worked hard to get rid of God in our Country. They have taken God out of schools. They have taken God out of our public buildings. They have created a welfare state that has destroyed the morale of the people and made many feel helpless and trapped.
It is true that Jeruselum fell because of lack of values, and Jeruselum rose again because its values returned. There is a parelel between what The Book of Zecharia describes here and what is going on in the U.S. today.
The Lord gave this message to Zechariah: "Long ago I gave these commands to my people: 'You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live among you, or anyone else in need. And do not plan ways of harming one another.'"
Today we have abortions that are legal, and this has devalued life. This has helped draw our priorities out of order. Many people, especially those in poverty, have learned to place their posessions before the child.
Many who are not in poverty have decided to only have two children because they want more time for fun, more time to work so they can make more money so they can get more stuff, more cars, a bigger house and more and more stuff. They want more time to play with their stuff
What gets lost in all of this, is we spend so much time trying to get stuff, and playing with our stuff, that we forget to pray. We forget about God. We forget to spend time with the people in our lives we should be spending time with, adn then things get all messed up.
But my people stubbornly refused to listen. They closed their minds and made their hearts as hard as rock. Becaue they would not listen to the teaching which I sent through the prophets who lived long ago, I became very angry. Becaue they did not listen when I spoke, I did not answer when they prayed. Like a storm I swept them away to live in foreign countries. This good land was left a desolate place, with no one living in it."
He has a message for those nations outside Israel who are evil and slanderous and worship false gods and have their priorities in the wrong order, such is not unlike progressives, socialists, and Islam of today: "These are the things you should do: Speak the truth to one another. In the courts give real justice-- the kind that brings peace. Do not plan ways of harming one another. Do not give false testimony under oath. I hate lying, injustice, and violence."
Progressives and radical Islam has to hide their ultimate goals of yearning for the new world order and global caliphate respectively. Both yearn to take from the rich and give to the poor, and take away the incentive to work hard. They both want a global welfare state. They both want to incite chaos and violence as a means of achieving their goals Examples include the war on poverty that failed, and the war on drugs that's failing, or Islamic terrorism.
He adds, ""Once again old men and women, so old men and women, so old that they use canes when they walk, will be sitting in the city squares. And the streets will again be full of boys and girls playing. This may seem impossible to those of the nation who are now left, but it's not impossible to me. I will rescue my people from the lands where they have been taken...
"Have courage! You are now hearing the same words the prophets." You must never quit trying. You msut believe. You who see what is wrong must not stop trying to change it. You must have courage.
America will be restored, just like Israel way back in 518-520 B.C. It's another tale from the past reapeated becasue men keep reverting back to materialism, false gods, wrong priorities, and lack of virtues.
And, as George Bush said when he helped to create a democracy in Iraq, democracy spreads. Once the rest of Islam sees what it's like to live in freedom, they too will want it. And that, I believe, is part of the reason for the riots in the streets in the Middle East today. Although their quest may result in those who belive in the Caliphate taking control if we aren't careful.
Yet The Book of Zacharia describes how freedom will spread: "In those days ten foreigners will come to one Jew and say, 'We want to share in your destiny, because we have heard that God is with you.'"