The fortunes of men wax and wane. Religions expand and contract. God is over all, he is in control, he guides history toward the end that he determines. Christians rejoice in his sovereignty. The coming of Jesus is their hope. Their prayer seeks to bring him all the more quickly to usher them into eternal life.
There is only one God. There has ever been only one God. Man has exalted himself and created gods galore. But one day the Lord will be seen to be one and his deity singular in number. This is the messianic prophecy of Zechariah.
And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. Zechariah 14.9 ESV.
The Lord has always been all this in fact. The time has come for him to be this in recognition. Idolatry is to be gone, and the Lord is to be acknowledged as he truly is.
But in so many places even the Church of Christ has gone after idols old and new. She wants respectability among the denominations (compare Israel and the nations). She wants the experience of emotion, rather than the fellowship of faithfulness. She desires the ways of the world and dresses them in religious language and clerical robes. She rests in ritual and basks in the bare minimum.
The one Lord is winnowing his people, that they might be one as well. Time and again has the church gone blind to the one God whose name must be worshiped in spirit and truth. The fearful will be left behind for failing to cry out, while the meek who humbly submit to the Lord’s oneness will rise up and inherit the earth over which the Lord is king.
Zechariah saw the day approaching. In Jesus the day has come. The one name is to be on the lips of all his people, not only superficially, but in true confessional obedience, Matthew 7.21-23. And the Lord continues to show himself to be One, as he raises up congregations in new places and as he snuffs out the light of the loveless, Revelation 2.4-5.
The one Lord requires that his people all speak the same thing, 1 Corinthians 1.10, to have the same mindset, agreeing in the Lord, Philippians 4.2: “complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose” Philippians 2.2. One faith, one truth, one message!
Jesus searches for followers with a greater righteousness than that of the reigning religions around us, Matthew 5.20. The religious experts have all the arguments marshaled against complete obedience, they hang their diplomas and love their titles, their theologies are sprinkled with big words and high-sounding concepts. And the people and the Church of Christ love to have it so.
From the Messiah’s first coming, Zechariah might have been seeing another mountain peak beyond it, the second and final appearing of the Lord in his glory. The prophet saw in Israel a time when there would be “a return from all apostasy and idolatry to the pure worship of Yahweh according to the Law (Deut. 6. 4-5)”/1. Beyond Israel, the Messiah would establish a kingdom people “who will produce its fruit” Matthew 21.43. While people along the timeline of the Kingdom seek to restore acceptable worship, in the final day Jesus will leave heaven and restore all things: “He must be received into heaven until the time comes for the universal restoration” Acts 3.21 REB.
The faithful desire to see the day. “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22.20.
1/ Rex Mason, The Books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Cambridge Bible Commentary on the NEB (Cambridge: University Press, 1977): 129.
The editor wrote the book Choose! for transformation of heart and soul.