Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? Zechariah 1:12
Zechariah was a prophet in the time of the restoration of Israel, being one of the meager company of Jews who came back into the land after the seventy year Babylonian Captivity had ended.He began prophesying about the year 520 BC.
It is interesting to note that currently we are approaching another 70 anniversary for Israel, for in our day, the nation which was reborn in May 1948, in fulfillment of so many prophecies, is very near 70 years old.
The Prophet gives a preliminary address to the nation, before he reveals the eight visions which were given him, in one night,concerning Israel and Jerusalem.
I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of the Lord that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? (Zechariah 1:8-12)
In Zechariah’s first vision he saw horsemen. The most prominent one, stood among the Myrtle trees which were situated in a low, wet place. This man standing among those low trees, is none less than the Angel of the LORD, the Messiah, who is also called “The Messenger of the Covenant”.
I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.(Zechariah 2)
The next vision Zechariah the prophet received, involved a heavenly surveyor, sent to measure the city of Jerusalem for expansion. At the time of the prophecy, Jerusalem was in a ruin, she had been destroyed by enemies,abandoned by God, her temple razed and the walls broken down leaving her totally vulnerable to any and every wandering brigand.
The first three visions of Zechariah must have comforted the remnant of the nation of Israel, as they picked through the ruined walls of Jerusalem, once known as, “the city of the Great King”. Jerusalem was in ruins, in appearance she was far from being “the Joy of the Whole earth” , “the city of our God”, rather she was like a shattered and ruined widow, sitting in the ashes of her mourning.
How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary! She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.(Lamentations 1:1-2)
But the “good and comfortable” words of Zechariah’s visions promised better things for the ruined city. The Prophet saw that all of the Gentile powers which have scattered her will be thrown down, those who have humbled and persecuted her to the point where a Jew could hardly lift his head, will be humbled themselves, frayed,i.e. terrorized, by craftsmen sent from God.
Furthermore, the city will not only survive, Jerusalem will expand, swelling with life and wealth, and she will live in security such as never before. God himself will be her protection, a wall of fire without, and an indwelling Sanctifying presence within. She will yet be the Holy city, the destination of pilgrims from among many peoples who will come to Jerusalem to “join themselves to the Lord”.
This fourth vision addresses the question, what shall be done about Jerusalem’s sin? How could a Holy God chose such a sinful city, as the place where “His own name dwells”? BY what means can the deep stains of Jerusalem be removed? This is the city privileged above all others, who has denied the LORD more than any other.*
And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.
For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth. Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?
And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.(Zechariah 4)
In the last 4 visions, the prophet Zechariah saw the future Glory of Jerusalem. The city of the great King had been razed, the walls shattered, the temple violated, and the people of Israel had come under the harsh roe of Gentile “horns”, powers, which would humble, scatter and degrade them.
Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it. I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof. Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth.
And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.
Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.(Zechariah 5)
In the previous vision, Israel is represented as a Candlestick which illuminates the whole world, and is continuously supplied with oil of anointing, that her light might shine. The vision revealed two Olive trees, connected to the Candlestick, constantly replenishing the oil.
The Olive trees represent on the immediate level, the offices of High Priest, and the office of Governor(King). The High Priest is named Joshua, and Zerubabbel is the Governor, a direct descendent of King David, but through the line of the accursed Jeconiah. These two “anointed ones” standing before the God of the whole earth, have been entrusted with a daunting task; to rebuild the temple of the LORD , the visible sign of the restored fellowship of God with His people.
Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.(Zechariah 5:5-11)
The Prophet Zechariah has been given visions of the restoration and consolation of Judea,Israel and of Jerusalem. Like a fragrant Haddaseh tree,(Myrtle), The lowly nation sits in a ravine, in water,isolated and despised among then nations. But the Angel of the LORD stands among them,and speaks comfortable Words to her.
Jerusalem will grow and expand, the gentile nations that scattered her over the centuries will be “frayed”, and the People of Israel shall once again shine out as God’s candle-stick, constantly being anointed by God’s King and Priest. A Priest named Joshua (Jeshua) will bear the iniquity and reproach of the nation until the wrath of God is satisfied, as a result of this, the iniquity of the nation will be removed in one day.
But first a time of universal Judgment must come, a flying Scroll embodying the breakage of two of the ten commandments “goes forth” into all of the earth, entering every household bringing judgment to all. The two commandments , one from each of the two tables of the Law, represent the breaking of all of the commandments of God by the entire world.
And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.
The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.(Zechariah 6:1-8)
In Zechariah’s final vision of the eight, He saw four chariots, (lit. Merkava in the Hebrew language). The first vision saw four horsemen, an angelic patrol going throughout the earth, but in this vision, the prophet sees chariots, indicating mechanized war. Red horses, indicate the color of war, Black the color of death, White horses for victory, and grizzled, (dappled) horses, possibly represent famine and disease.
The Chariots flow out from between two mountains of Brass. Brass is a holy metal, that is, it was used in the temple. The outer court area of sacrifice utilized Brass, for it represents Divine Judgment. Universal Judgement begins from between the two “brass Mountains”.
One possibility is that this is Zechariah’s version of what Joel saw in His final vision,
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.(Joel 3:1-3)
And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord. And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.(Zechariah 6:9-15)
The previous eight visions, given to Zechariah in sequence in one night, reveal the ultimate purpose of the God of Israel, Judah and Jerusalem. God has a purpose which will not be thwarted by Israel’s sin and apostasy.He will bring Israel back into the Land, destroy those Gentile powers which have scattered her, and He will restore the city of Jerusalem, and glorify it by dwelling once again in the midst of it.
Furthermore in spite of the judgment which she has endured and of the hatred and persecution from her enemies, Israel will fulfill her ultimate ministry as the Lord’s Candlestick, shining in a darkened world, and revealing the glory of God to all nations.
The sins of Jerusalem and Judah would be born by a High Priest Jeshua, until the wrath of the Holy God is satisfied, and the adversary is rebuked.
Even the meaning of the name of the Prophet proclaims this, for Zechariah means “Jahweh has remembered”.God has not forgotten his people or the city where He put his name, indeed they are the very “Apple of His eye”.
Judgment begins in the house of God, but ultimately the flying scroll which proclaims a commandment from each of the two tables of the Law of Moses enters into the house of the entire world, bringing complete judgment upon all of the houses of the ungodly. The sin which corrupted Israel, will in the end be removed, carried away to Babylon and the welcoming house the Kings of the earth have prepared for it.These events ultimately lead to Armeggedon, the final battle.
Now that these visions have been discussed, Zechariah is led, to call for three prominent Jews who had come from Babylon bearing gifts of silver and gold for the temple which Zerubabbel was building. They were to take those offerings to a craftsman, who would fashion silver and gold crowns to set them on the head of the current high Priest, Joshua.
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