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Spoke 16Spoke 16

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Spoke 16 - Ayin

Nehemiah, Zechariah, 1 Peter


Hearts of Stone

But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.

Zechariah 7:11f (Spoke 16, Cycle 2)

Obstinate Refusal to Hear

The Gospel promises that though we have hearts of stone, God's grace through faith in Christ Jesus will transform us, making us living stones in the everlasting Temple of God. As is typical of most Spoke Themes, both the positive and negative aspects of this theme manifest on the Spoke. Thus we find Zechariah speaks not only of Christ as the everlasting Stone and the Chief Cornerstone, but he also rebukes the reticent unbelievers declaring their hearts to be as dead and hard as adamant stone. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of the Lord" (Romans 10.17). This means that people who refuse to hear the Word of the Lord are in the gravest danger, for there is no other path to salvation! The theme of closing of the ears and refusing to hear links Nehemiah and Zechariah. Compare the following words from Nehemiah with those above from Zechariah - the common theme is unmistakable. In fact, it should cause anyone with eyes to see to tremble at the power of the Lord displayed here - we are witnessing a standing miracle, eternally ablaze before our very eyes!

Here are there parallel passages, side-by-side, with the common elements highlighted. The size of the correlated passages demonstrates thematic unity of the message the Spirit spoke through these two prophets. Note also that the purpose of the prophets was to turn the people to the Lord, for which they were killed! This theme of unrepentant rebellion also manifests strongly in Revelation 16.

Nehemiah 9:28ff Zechariah 7:7ff
Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations. Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies. But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies; And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear. Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain? And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts: But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.

Now this is really over the top! There are at least half a dozen KeyLinks between these passages! Here is a list of elements in common between Nehemiah 9 and Zechariah 7:

  • Refusal to hearken
  • Rejecting the Law
  • Pulling away the shoulder
  • The Spirit of the Prophets
  • So they were given into the hands of the nations/people of the land.

Here are five of the primary KeyLink sets:

  • (Law, Prophets, near Cried)
  • (Spirit, Prophets, Ear/Hear) [Verify]
  • (Spirit, Prophets, near Law, Hear*)
  • (Spirit, Prophets, near Land*)
  • (Shoulder, Hear) [Verify]
  • (Shoulder, Hearken*) [Verify]

It often helps to look at smaller fragments to get a clearer view of what is going on. Here is Nehemiah 9.30 and Zechariah 7.12 side-by-side:

Nehemiah 9.30 Zechariah 7.12
Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.

Both Nehemiah and Zechariah record the same sequence where the people refused to hear, resisting the Spirit who spoke through prophets, therefore God gave them over to the people of the land.

God gets the Cold Shoulder

Another KeyLink is based on the pulling away of the shoulder:

Nehemiah 9.30 Zechariah 7.12
And testifiedst against them, that thou mightest bring them again unto thy law: yet they dealt proudly, and hearkened not unto thy commandments, but sinned against thy judgments, (which if a man do, he shall live in them;) and withdrew the shoulder, and hardened their neck, and would not hear. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.

This link is particularly astounding because the underlying Hebrew phrase is unique to Spoke 16. The words translated as "and withdrew the shoulder" in Nehemiah and as "and pulled away the shoulder" in Zechariah are both translations of the phrase:

cold shoulder

The root סרר (sarar, S# H5637) is usually translated as rebellious or stubborn, though it also carries the connotation of backsliding or withdrawing, hence the idea of "pulling away the shoulder." This seems to be equivalent to the modern idiom of giving someone the "cold shoulder." We have, therefore, another KeyLink, this time based on the unique underlying Hebrew phrase:

keyKeyLink: God gets the Cold Shoulder
NehemiahchainZechariah

The Spirit of the Prophets Testifieth!

Yet the wonders do not cease here! We also have a keylink between Nehemiah 9.29 and I Peter 1.12f:

Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

The thematic correspondence is astounding. We have a KeyLink based on the set (Spirit, Prophets, near Testifi*):

keyKeyLink: The Spirit of the Prophets Testifieth!
NehemiahchainI Peter

There are many more KeyLinks amongst the elements of Spoke 16, which, if I live to ten thousand years, I may begin to document. Praise God for His marvelous light!





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