Heaven's Best Gift (Zechariah)
SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #12
"Heaven's Best Gift (Zechariah)"
June 22, 2013
Nestled in the unlikely book of minor prophet Zechariah are prophecies of far-reaching significance.
During the mid 1990's to early 2000's, it was our privilege to host a gospel-focused Monday night Bible study in our home. Of those in attendance from week to week during those years, none were more faithful than Elder Donald and Mrs. Garnet Short, whom we came to know affectionately as Grandpa and Grandma Short. Elder Short was one of the modern day "1888 pioneers" who faithfully wrote, spoke and preached about the most precious message of 1888 which he had come to know and to love. We were blessed to live near the Shorts, and we came to treasure the rich gospel insights of this retired elder-missionary.
Elder Short often quoted the passages found in our lesson study for this week, particularly those beginning in Zechariah 12:10 through Zechariah 13:7.
"And I will pour on the house of David [the leadership of the church] and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem [the church at large] the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn" Zechariah 12:10
"In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness." Zechariah 13:1.
"And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will answer, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." Zechariah 13:6.
The purpose of the 1888 message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted, crucified Savior. These passages foretell the day when the Bride of Christ beholds the suffering which our sins have brought to the heart of God.
In his the Postlogue of his book Then Shall the Sanctuary Be Cleansed, Short writes, "The travail and the distress, the heartbreak and anguish that this generation has caused the Divine Bridegroom, must be understood by the bride before the divine Suitor can be sure she really wants Him and is sincere about getting married. She will have to sense that her insult to the Heavenly Lover is the supreme sin of all time. This will bring to her consciousness the terrible truth that her last sin is greater than her first sin at the cross.
"The repentance of the ages is yet future, awaiting the bride's understanding and conviction. It is this repentance that will make the atonement effective to the sin-plagued heart of humanity.
"It is not enough to flagellate ourselves with the sentiment that it was our personal sins that crucified Jesus. Sorrow emanating from such emotion is at best only typical, only a shadow. Sympathy for His suffering can hide an unconscious inward glee that He was the one to suffer and we escaped.
"Those who understand the promise, 'then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,' will understand its implementation, and forsaking all others accept the Bridegroom for eternity. The despair and anguish of their convictions provide the heat that purifies the gold and seals the betrothal.
"It is then that we overcome even as he also overcame. The cross will have done its work for all eternity."
Our dear Elder Short is now resting in his grave, joining the millions who have gone before who "having a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise." Hebrews 11:39.
The promise remains. The earth will be one day be lightened with the glory of God. "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him [of seeing us saved] endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" Hebrews 12:1,2.