Four of Eight Visions
Comments for Study 1
Memory Verse: 1:3
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I. Introduction (1:1-6)
>1. When did the word of the Lord first come to Zechariah and who was he?
* Zechariah 1:1 "In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo:"
* "In the eight month" -This is the eight month according to the Hebrew calendar, not the Babylonian calendar nor the modern Gregorian calendar. The Hebrew calendar had twelve months, each starting on the new moon. Every two or three years a thirteenth month was added to keep the Passover in the spring. The first day of the month was called the New Moon Festival. Prophets were sometimes called to speak on this occasion. (2 Kings 4:22-23; Isa. 1:14)
* "of the second year of Darius" -520 B.C. See introduction for a time line.
* "Darius" -Darius I (Darius Hystaspis), successor to Campuses II (529-522 B.C.), son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), became king of the Mede-Persia empire in 522 B.C. (Ezra 4:1-5, 24) After solidifying his power in the Middle East, he set out to reconquer the Scythians and Greeks who had rebelled under his predecessor. He was successful in this venture until the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. From that time the kingdom began a gradual regression until finally conquered by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C. Darius brought a new sense of unity to his empire. He enlarged on the policies of Cyrus the Great in making restoration to those disenfranchised by the Assyrian and Babylonian dominations. The Jews received additional financial aid for finishing the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 6:8-9).
Unlike Cyrus, Darius organized a tightly-knit centralized state and vested himself with absolute power. Twenty satrapies (provinces) were established. Each had a system of checks and balances, with each official watching the actions of his colleagues.
* The year is 520 BC.
The Lord wanted a relationship with his people. His people had left him. He called them back to him. He promised that if they returned to him, then he would return to them. He wanted all of them, not just part of them.
Jesus taught that I am to love him with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength. This is the greatest commandment. Every morning the Lord says to me, "Return to me and I will be with you all day and all night."
If I stray I am to accept my fault, ask for forgiveness, and return to the Lord. No mater how much or how little I stray I know that God always wants a relationship with me. He is the loving Father who waits and watches for me to return to him like the prodigal son that I am.
I know that there is consequences for my actions and words. But the most important thing is that I am one with my loving creator and Father.
* See carving of Babylonian soldiers on horses to the right.
* "the word of the LORD came through" -One of the main function of a prophet was to deliver God's word to the people. Haggai's message concerned the temple project that had been started and the suspended years earlier. The temple was finally finished in the sixth year of King Darius (516 B.C.) and dedicated in 515 B.C. (Ezra 6:15-18)
* "came to the prophet" -2 Peter 1:19-21 states, "And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
* "Zechariah" -See introduction for information.
* "son of Berekiah" -Nothing is known about Zechariah's father.
* "son of Iddo" -Iddo is a common name among the Levites of many generations. This Iddo is the grandfather of Zechariah, the prophet (Zech. 1:1,7 with different Hebrew spellings). Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 put Zechariah as Iddo'’s son, using “son” to mean descendant, as often is done in Hebrew. He is included among the priestly families in the early postexilic community. (Neh. 12:4, 16) (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* Jeremiah 25:11-12 "This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt," declares the LORD, "and will make it desolate forever."
* Jeremiah 29:10 "This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place."
* 2 Chronicles 36:21-23 "The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah. In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: "'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you--may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.'"
* Daniel 9:1-2 "In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom-- in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years."
* Daniel 10:1 "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision."
* Ezra 4:24 "Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia."
* The closing years of the Old Testament were crucial ones in world history. Powerful leaders were emerging in nations around the world, attracting the masses to their own manmade religious and philosophies (a departure from idol and ancestor worship). Among such men were Confucius in China (551-479 B.C.), Buddha in India (563-483 B.C.), Zoroaster in Iran (sixth century), and Thales in Greece (640-546 B.C.). Haggai and Zechariah, two of the Lord's prophets were contemporaries of some of those leaders. (A Self-Study Guide, Irving L. Jensen)
>Why was the Lord angry enough to send his people into exile for 70 years? (2, 4-6a)
* Zechariah 1:2 "The LORD was very angry with your forefathers."
* Zechariah 1:4-6a "Do not be like your forefathers, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.' But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the LORD. Where are your forefathers now? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your forefathers?"
* "Lord Almighty" -Zechariah uses this title for God many times.
* "Lord Almighty" -Lord is YHWH in Hebrew. Almighty is "saba" in Hebrew and translated as "of hosts" in the KJV. 1 Samuel is the first time this title for God is used. "God Almighty" (Shadday el) is used in Genesis 17:1 (see also Exodus 6:3). Ruth 1:21 uses Almighty (Shadday) and LORD (YHWH) separately though in the same sentence. The Lord's hosts comprise of angels (Joshua 5:4), stars (Isaiah 40:26), and men (1 Samuel 17:45). The title/name expresses the infinite resources of power which are at the disposal of the Lord as he works on behalf of his people.
* "very angry" -Anger is a characteristic of the Lord. His anger is not the strongest emotion, love is. The Lord is slow to anger. He does not strike out right away against those who sin against him. He is patient, wooing them back to him. He does not force people into obedience and a right relationship with him for the relationship he seeks is one of mutual love. Yet if a person or a nation continually rejects is wooing to the point of blatant defiance the Lord's anger is aroused. Jesus' human life on this earth is a great example of the Lord's patient love and yet aroused anger. He showed in many ways over three years that he was the promised Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord Jehovah, and the Savior of the world. Yet the religious leaders continually rejected the evidence. Mark 3:5-6 records, "He (Jesus) looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts..."
* "the earlier prophets" -Many of the prophets messages from Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, and the prophets with books to their name gave this message. It was not the only message they gave.
* "they would not listen or pay attention to me" -The Lord was behind the message, but they refused to listen. The sinful nature was at work in them though they were God's chosen people, though he had given them so much, more by far than any other nation.
* "do they live forever" -All the Israelites died in their sins starting from the first generation that was lead from slavery in Egypt to the covenant promise at Mount Sinai. The Lord promised that if they keeped the law they would live. Yet all died. Why? Because they could not keep all the law all the time. Sin was at work in their bodies.
* "But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your forefathers" -The word of the Lord promised from Adam on that if anyone sinned they would die.
* Jesus said, "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins." (John 8:24)
* See drawing of Christian in the book Pilgrim's Progress losing his burden when he came to the cross of Jesus to the right. Artist unknown.
>What did he want this generation to do? (3)
* Zechariah 1:3 "Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Return to me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you,' says the LORD Almighty."
* "Return to me" -Zechariah and his contemporary Haggai said basically the same thing. The people had departed from their Lord in their heart, mind, soul and spirit. The Lord wanted them to come back to him.
* So many people today are just like the Jews in Zechariah's day. They too have turned away from the Lord. Though new converts have sprung up in a few places around the world, many more who at one time were active members in congregations slowly stopped attending services until they no longer attend. These same people turn materialist and seek spur of the moment thrills and excitement. Generations past call this backsliding meaning they slowly slide away from the Lord while pretending to look at and to him.
* "and I will return to you" -The Lord promises forgiveness and union with anyone who has repented from backsliding.
>What can be learned about the Lord's faithfulness and love?
* The Lord Jesus is ready to forgive anyone at anytime in their life in this world. He says, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelation 3:19-22)
>How did they respond? (6b)
* Zechariah 1:6b "Then they repented and said, 'The LORD Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.'"
* "they repented" -Repent means in Hebrew to turn. The concept is to turn away from sin and turn to the Lord. It means to stop the slow slide of feet away from the Lord and start walking to him and then follow him.
* Repent has been defined as a feeling of regret, a changing of the mind, or a turning from sin to God. As a feeling of regret the term can apply even to God. In the days preceding the flood, God was sorry that He had created the human race (Gen. 6:6-7). He later regretted that he had made Saul the king over Israel (1 Sam. 15:11,35). God also repented in the sense of changing His mind (Ex. 32:14). Most occurrences of the term in the Bible, however, do not refer to God but to people. These also do not indicate mere regret or a change of mind; they mean a reorientation of the sinner to God. In this more common sense, then, God does not repent like humans (1 Sam. 15:29). (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "The LORD Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve" -A confession of humility that displays a repentant heart.
* "just as he determined to do" -They were not bitter. They accepted the Lord's will in their life even though it was rebuke and discipline.
* Repentance is a heart attitude of humility, hope, and trust.
II. The Horseman (1:7-17)
* See a drawing of Zechariah's four horses to the right.
>2. What did the second message include? (7-8)
* Zechariah 1:7-8 "On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo. During the night I had a vision--and there before me was a man riding a red horse! He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses."
* "On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat" -Shebat is the Hebrew month.
* "in the second year of Darius" -Haggai's rebukes and the people repentance had come earlier this very year, 520 B.C. (Haggai 1:1, 15, 2:1, 10, 20) Haggai's repentance concerned the temple not being built. They repented and started to build the temple. This is indicated in the previous verses in Zechariah.
* "During the night I had a vision" -Vision is an English word translated from the Hebrew work "hazon". These days vision has many meanings. The use here and in many other places in the Bible has to do with the Lord God's revelation to man. One definition of a vision is, "A prophet's ability to see the revelatory nature in the meaning of a historical event."
* A vision is an experience in the life of a person, whereby a special revelation from God was received. The revelation from God had two purposes. First, a vision was given for immediate direction, as with Abram in Genesis 12:1-3; Lot, Genesis 19:15; Balaam, Numbers 22:22-40; and Peter, Acts 12:7. Second, a vision was given to develop the kingdom of God by revealing the moral and spiritual deficiencies of the people of God in light of God's requirements for maintaining a proper relationship with Him. The vision of prophets such as Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, Micah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and John are representative of this aspect of revelation. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "--and there before me was a man riding a red horse!" -He must have come riding on the horse and then got off the horse and stood among the trees.
* "He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine" -The myrtle (Myrtus communis) grows as either a shrub or a tree and is common in Israel and Lebanon, growing well in stony soil. It is capable of reaching a height of 9 m (30 ft) but is usually found as a shrub 2 to 3 m (7 to 10 ft) high. An evergreen, it is quite bushy in branch structure and has thick, shiny, dark-green leaves; it blossoms with clusters of fragrant white flowers that mature into blue-black berries. Almost the entire plant has a fragrant spicy oil used in perfumes. The berries, though aromatic, are edible. The myrtle is found today particularly in Upper Galilee and the valley of the Jordan, but it also grows in the Jerusalem area. It was especially favored for temporary shelters in the fields at the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:40; Neh. 8:15). A commentary states that the myrtle tree is a symbol of Israel in the Bible; but no verses back this up. Israel is usually symbolized as a fig tree or grape vine and vineyard.
* "Behind him were red, brown and white horses" -These horses are not stated to have riders. Some claim that the horses Zechariah saw had riders, even linking them to the four horses in Revelation. Zechariah gave us no indication of the horses had riders and claiming otherwise is pure speculation and needless to the understanding.
* The horse was the fasted way to travel in ancient times. Only until the mechanized vehicles arrived could man travel faster. The point of these horses was to gain information about the Gentile nations so the angel with Zechariah would get the information quickly.
>What did the four find? (9-11)
* Zechariah 1:9-11 "I asked, "What are these, my lord?" The angel who was talking with me answered, "I will show you what they are." Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, "They are the ones the LORD has sent to go throughout the earth." And they reported to the angel of the LORD, who was standing among the myrtle trees, "We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest and in peace."
* "The angel who was talking with me" -One angel is the main messenger to Zechariah.
* "the LORD has sent to go throughout the earth" -The Lord always knows what is going on in the whole world. These horses were not sent because the Lord didn't know, but rather to tell this angel and Zechariah what was happening in the world. The years before this the world, especially the Persian empire had been in constant war.
* "they reported to the angel of the LORD, who was standing among the myrtle trees" -The horses were sent out to give messages to the angel who would give the message to Zechariah.
* "the whole world at rest and in peace" -When Darius became ruler of the Persian empire he had to engage in a lot of wars to secure his throne. Many of the controlled countries in the empire saw the change of kings as a chance to break free from Persia including Egypt. King Darius fought them all and won. The battles between Persia and Egypt especially affected Judah because the Persian army took most of their crops and livestock. This plundering and poor crops due to drought made life hard for the returned Jews. Of course the Lord was behind all this. Life was hard for the Jews because they had stopped working on the temple. He had brought the wars and drought. When they started work on the temple again, peace entered the region, the armies left, and the drought ended.
>What did the Lord do when the angel with Zechariah asked a question? (12-13)
* Zechariah 1:12-13 "Then the angel of the LORD said, "LORD Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?" So the LORD spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me."
* "how long will you withhold mercy" -Mercy is the Lord blessing people even when they don't deserve it. Mercy was withheld from the Lord's people because of their stubborn continual sin. Zechariah and those who returned wondered why life had been so hard even though they repented and were returned to the promised land. The reason as Haggai stated at this time was because they had not finished the temple.
* "these seventy years" -The captivity in Babylon was seventy years. See introduction for more information.
* "the LORD spoke kind and comforting words to the angel" -The angel was concerned as Zechariah was.
* "who talked with me" -Zechariah overhead the words but did not record them here. However, verses 14-17 could have been these kind words.
>3. Who is the Lord jealous for and what is the difference between them? (14)
* Zechariah 1:14 "Then the angel who was speaking to me said, "Proclaim this word: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion,"
* "I am very jealous" -Exodus 34:14 "Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God."
* "Jerusalem" -Jerusalem is first mentioned in the Bible as "Salem" meaning "peace" in Genesis 14:18 and the home of Melchizedek, the priest of Most High God who blessed Abraham. Jerusalem was originally build on Mt. Zion. Later it extended to include Mt. Moriah where Abraham offered Isaac and where the Temple would eventually be built. In Joshua's time an Amorite king, Adoni-Zedek was king of Jerusalem. (Josh. 10:32) When Adoni-Zedek and four other Amorite kings fought against Israel, Joshua killed him (Josh. 10:36) Joshua 15:8 calls it a Jebusite city that marked the northern border of Judah and Joshua 15:63 says Judah could not capture the city. Joshua 18:28 says it is just within Benjamin's borders. After Joshua died Judah was able to take the city and burned it. (Judges 1:8) Shortly after the Jebusites reentered the city and the Benjamites lived there with them. (Josh. 1:21) Judges 19:10-12 calls it Jebus and non-Israelite town. The next time Scriptures mention Jerusalem is when David brought the head of Goliath through the city. (1 Sam. 17:54) Later David and his men took the city in the name of the Lord and Israel. (2 Sam. 5:6-10) It remained an active town in the hands of Israel until the Egyptians and Assyrians attack Judah. The Babylonians captured it and burn it to the ground in 582 B.C. Now during the lifetime of the prophets Daniel, Zechariah and Haggai the Jews return to Jerusalem and begin to rebuild it and the temple within it.
* "Zion" -Zion is the name of the ancient settlement on Mount Zion. It is often called a stronghold elsewhere in scripture. Zion is the transliteration of the Hebrew and Greek words that originally referred to the fortified hill of pre-Israelite Jerusalem between the Kedron and Tyropean valleys. Scholars disagree as to the root meaning of the term. Zion can also refer to all of Israel and the heavenly Jerusalem and Jesus' second coming.
* The Lord loves the people, not just the city and mountain.
>Why was the Lord angry with the nations? (15)
* Zechariah 1:15 "but I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they added to the calamity.'"
* "I am very angry with the nations that feel secure" -For the nations that fought against Persia the harshness that wars bring was over. However, for Jerusalem life was still hard.
* "I was only a little angry" -He was angry about the wars.
* "they added to the calamity" -The calamity on Judah and Jerusalem was added by the neighboring nations trying to stop the building of the temple.
* When we engage in work for the Lord, others try to stop us by making our life and work hard.
>What did he say about Jerusalem?
* Zechariah 1:16 "Therefore, this is what the LORD says: 'I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,' declares the LORD Almighty."
* See a carving of the Hammarubi code of ethics with a measuring rod and coil to the right.
* "I will return to Jerusalem with mercy" -The angel had asked, "How long?" The Lord says no more.
* "my house will be rebuilt" -When the Lord shows mercy the temple will surely be completed. The Jews will complete it only because the Lord gave them the ability and the strength. This is stated in chapter 4.
* "the measuring line" -Tools used to build large structures included a measuring line (or rod) and a plumb line.
* "stretech out over Jerusalem" -Not just the temple.
>Has the promise in verse 17 been fulfilled yet?
* Zechariah 1:17 "Proclaim further: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.'"
* "Proclaim further" -An addition to the promise follows.
* "will again" -Repeated twice. The Lord rejected the people of Jerusalem twice and left it twice. Once when the Israelites went into captivity for seventy years. And another time in 70 A.D.
* "My towns" -The promised land is his.
* "comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem" -The prophecy in this verse has multiple fulfillment. The Lord would bless Jerusalem in Zechariah's time when the temple was completed. The Lord himself would come to this temple Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Many times in his life Jesus taught in the temple. Yet the religious leaders rejected him. Jesus will return again to the temple once the Israelite leadership accepts Jesus as the Messiah. This will happen during the seven years tribulation. Indeed already more and more Jews are accepting Jesus as the Messiah. Still the leaders of Israel will sign a treaty with the Antichrist which starts the seven year count to the end of this age. Halfway through the seven years the Antichrist will break the agreement between him and Israel. Then even the Jewish leaders will accept that Jesus is the Messiah. Then Jesus will return to them, Jerusalem, and the temple.
III. The Four Horns and Craftsmen (1:18-21)
>4. What were the four horns? (18-19)
* Zechariah 1:18-19 "Then I looked up--and there before me were four horns! I asked the angel who was speaking to me, "What are these?" He answered me, "These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem."
* "four horns" -Horns on animals is a sign of their strength. Horns are used in the Bible to describe a nation's strength and power. (Psalms 18:2, 89:17; Daniel 7:7-8, 8:20-21; Revelation 17:12) Ancient Middle East furniture often used horns as decoration. Some claim that the horns Zechariah saw were on animals. Zechariah gave us no indication of this and claiming the horns are on animals is pure speculation and needless to the understanding.
* "the angel who was speaking to me" -This vision was on the same night as the previous. The same angel is with Zechariah.
* "the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem" -History from my point of view shows four powerful nations scattering God's chosen people. Assyria defeated and scattered Israel, the northern tribes in 722 B.C. Babylon defeated and scattered Judah, the southern tribes in 586 B.C. The Greeks ruled over Judah without a battle and Jerusalem was left intact. Yet many Jews were scattered under Greek rule. Finally, the Romans defeated, destroyed, and scattered Judah and Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Daniel recorded four horned animals and identified them a generation before Zechariah. (Daniel 2:7-8) Still some commentaries state the four horns represent Assyria, Egypt, Babylonia and Medo-Persia. But when did Egypt and Medo-Persia scatter God's people? Other commentaries claim that since we aren't told what country the horns represent we don't need to try to figure it out. Rather they say we can just assume that the horns are a general representation of power scattering God's chosen nation. Similar to this some point out that the number four is used in the Bible to represent the four directions (north, east, south, west) with Jerusalem as the center point. Thus God's people are scattered to the all directions from the promised land.
* "so that no one could raise his head" -They were scattered in shame. (20)
* See a drawing of Zechariah's four horns and craftsmen to the right.
>And the craftsmen? (20-21)
* Zechariah 1:20-21 "Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen. I asked, "What are these coming to do?" He answered, "These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise his head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people."
* "Then the LORD showed me" -Still a vision in the night.
* "four craftsman" -The KJV translates this four carpenters. The Hebrew could mean any skilled craftsman. In Zechariah's time as Jerusalem and the temple were being rebuild the other people groups around them tried to stop their work. This word from the Lord would have been an encouragement to the workers. Yet I believe there is more to this prophecy. As noted above history shows four powerful nations scattering God's people. Since 1948 A.D. many of them have returned to Israel and rebuilt the cities. The Arab counties that surround Israel are terrified of them. Every since the war in 1948 A.D. Arabs in the name of Islam, Muhammad, and Allah have tried to "wipe Israel off the map" only to lose every time. Now Israel is a modern powerful nation and they are made, afraid, and jealous. The Arabs continually try to stop them just as they did in Zechariah's time; to no avail.
* "scattered... against... to scatter" -Past tense and then future tense. Assyria and Babylon had been defeated by Zechariah's time. Persia ruled over Judah in Zechariah's time and was allowing any Jew who wanted to return travel to Judah. The Greeks would defeat Persia in 331 B.C. The Hasmonean family would begin Israel's fight for independence in 166 B.C. The Roman would take full and complete control of Judah in 63 B.C. The Roman's kill or deport many Jews during several revolts until they almost completely purge the land of Jews in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed and burned. Now evil men in the name of a false god claim they will not scatter them, but instead they will kill them. They will fail for the only and only true God still loves Israel and will not let it end.
>Do they have to do with Jesus' second coming?
* "the craftsmen have come to terrify them" -Using craftsmen to terrify someone goes against common thinking. Why not use soldiers? Because there is a point to be made here. The craftsman in the vision are not building anything unless it can be assumed that by building up Israel, Judah and Jerusalem. Through the craftsmen the Lord terrifies the powerful nations that oppose and scattered God's people. Many craftsmen, that is many college educated in Russia and the United States of America now live in Israel. They have built up Israel's technology and military including their nuclear weapons.
* "and throw down these horns of the nations" -All four nations I mention above; Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and Rome were thrown down though all four contain similarities; conquest, violence, sin, greed, oppression, etc.
* Craftsman build and rebuild. They create. Each time when God's people were scattered the land was destroyed. Each time they came back they built up the cities and the temple.
* Satan's people destroy and tear down. God's build build up; this from a spiritual point of view.
* Acts 20:32 "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."
* 1 Corinthians 14:12 "So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church."
* 1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
IV. Measuring Line (2:1-13)
* See a carving of the Ur-Nammu with a measuring rod and coil to the right.
>5. Why might the Lord send an angel to measure Jerusalem? (1-2)
* Zechariah 2:1-2 "Then I looked up--and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand! I asked, "Where are you going?" He answered me, "To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is."
* "I looked up" -The man must have been floating in the air or at least on higher ground.
* "a man" -Verse 3 reveals that this is an angel.
* "measuring line" -See note above in question three.
* "Where are you going?" -All throughout the series of visions Zechariah is interacting with the angels. The angels were real; only Zechariah had changed. He was able to see what is often hidden from us.
* "To measure Jerusalem" -Jerusalem was made important because the Lord chose it to be the place of his temple, that is the place where his people can come to him, worship, sacrifice, pray, and hear his word. The size of any city is based on the amount of people in it.
* The Lord showed Zechariah the spiritual world, the reality of angels working that we normally are kept from seeing. The angels are servants of the Lord, ministering servants. These angels are concerned about the Lord's people and his will for them. They are united in purpose with the Lord Jesus.
The Lord Jesus still sends his angels to work amongst his people. Jesus has a multitude of servants to do his will and they are happy to do that which he orders. They have no selfish motives. I too am the Lord's servant. I am to aligned to his plan and purpose.
>What was different about the Jerusalem the angel was sent to measure? (3-4)
* Zechariah 2:3-4 "Then the angel who was speaking to me left, and another angel came to meet him and said to him: "Run, tell that young man, 'Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it."
* "another angel came to meet him" -The second angel came perhaps because the first angel's answer to Zechariah was not complete.
* "Run, tell that young man" -Zechariah was young when he started his ministry. Haggai, his contemporary prophet was old.
* "Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it" -Jerusalem would overflow its walls though not in Zechariah's lifetime. (Nehemiah 11:1-2) Nor was this prophecy true in Jesus' time though during the three main feasts the city did overflow with pilgrims and there was a few villages outside of Jerusalem's wall. Every build and rebuild of Jerusalem has been encircled by a wall up until modern times. The only wall in Jerusalem since 1948 is one being built right now that separates it from the Palestinian areas east of the city. The modern wall does not enclose Jerusalem. Rather it runs from north to south with abrupt ends and gaps. The modern wall is being built to keep the suicide Islam bombers out of Jerusalem. The reason the Jerusalem that the angel was going to measure was without walls is stated because of its population explosion, both men and livestock.
* See a picture of the wall in Jerusalem separating Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank to the right.
* David's Jerusalem had a wall until the Babylonians tore it down and depopulated the city. When the Jews returned to Jerusalem in Zechariah's time the Jews rebuilt the wall under Ezra's direction. Ezra's wall remained and was expanded until the Roman's breached it and tore it down in 70 A.D. Jerusalem was empty until the Crusaders entered it. Still it was never large enough to be much of a city again (less than 20,000 until 1869) until after World War I when the Jewish population began greatly increasing. Since then Jerusalem has continually been steadily increasing until the metro area as of 2013 A.D. is 652 km2 (252 sq mi.) with a population of over one million.
* Isaiah 49:19-21 "Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away. The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, 'This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.' Then you will say in your heart, 'Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these--where have they come from?'"
* Ezekiel 38:10-12 records Gog (Russia) and its allies wanting to attack an Israel without walls. It states, "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You will say, "I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people--all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land."
>What else will be special about this Jerusalem?
* Zechariah 2:5 "And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,' declares the LORD, 'and I will be its glory within.'"
* "I myself will be a wall of fire around it" -The Lord will protect Jerusalem.
* "I will be its glory within" -The glory of the Lord never came to Zerrubbabel's temple as it did Solomon's temple. Jesus, the Lord did walk in it though. Still as mentioned above that Jerusalem had a wall all around it. There is not a temple in Jerusalem yet and when there will soon be one it will not have the glory of the Lord. Why? Because the Lord is within his people, those who accept him as Savior and Lord. (John 14:20, 15:4-5; Revelation 3:20) Since the earlier 1970s Jews have been accepting Jesus as the Messiah in greater and greater numbers all the time. This is glory to the Lord and perhaps a fulfillment of this prophecy.
See a picture of the Tower of David and the Old City Walls to the right.
>Has there ever been a Jerusalem like this?
* This has not been fulfilled, but is in the process of being fulfilled. Zechariah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel quoted above all point to the same time, the time is now. Russia and its allied Arab countries see modern Israel and Jerusalem as a open (no walls) rich country and city with a large population. They will try to invade it very soon. But the Lord will protect Israel for he is their wall of fire.
* The same will be true of Jerusalem during the one thousand year reign of Jesus on the earth.
* Jesus said this at the end of a parable, "Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full." (Luke 14:23) Some commentaries point to this verse and claim that true Christians in Jerusalem can also be included as fulfillment of this prophecy.
>6. What does the Lord declare in verse 6?
* Zechariah 2:6 "Come! Come! Flee from the land of the north," declares the LORD, "for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven," declares the LORD."
* "Come! Come!" -The Lord calls his people with passion and love. Notice the exclamation points. See below for why an exclamation point can be added here.
* "!" -When ancient Middle East writers wanted to show strong expression they made the letters thick by pressing the writing utensil harder. Two words are used in the Old Testament for writing implements "et" and "heret". The first term is usually rendered pen.” Psalm 45:1 speaks of the “pen of a ready scribe,” and thus it is probably a reference to a reed pen whose end fibers were separated to form a brush. Jeremiah 17:1 and Job 19:24 refer to an iron pen designed to make inscriptions on rock. The second term, "heret", is mentioned as both a graving tool (Exodus 32:4) and as a stylus (Isaiah 8:1; pen,” KJV). Since Isaiah 8:1 mentions a tablet as the writing surface, it is possible that the stylus was used to carve or scratch the inscription into the wood or its covering of wax. br> br>
Ink was made from carbon black and gum resin and could be washed from a writing surface such as papyrus. Papyrus could thus be used more than once. A sheet of papyrus which was used more than once, with the original writing having been rinsed away, is called a palimpsest. Paleographers have often found palimpsests to be valuable because the original writing, incompletely expunged, may be more significant than the later writing. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "Flee" -The Lord does not want them to delay their departure.
* "from the land of the north" -Assyria and Babylon invaded Israel and Judah (respectfully) from the north because of the Syrian Desert between them was an unwise route for an army (or anyone) to travel through. (Jeremiah 3:18, 6:22, 10:22, 16:15, 23:8, 31:8) Nineveh was north east of Israel. Babylon was east of Judah. The route was indirect because of the Syrian Desert. So although this was a call for more Jews to arrive from Assyria, Babylon, and Persia in Zechariah's time (7) the final fulfillment is happening today. Many Jews have been returning from Russia, a land directly north of Israel since 1948 A.D. See below for more.
* "I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven" -The Israelites have been scattered by Assyria, Babylon, Greece and Rome. Now they are returning to Israel.
* See a chart showing the prophetic principle of multiple fulfillment to the right.
>What is the land to the north?
* Zechariah 2:7 "Come, O Zion! Escape, you who live in the Daughter of Babylon!"
* "Zion" -A name for the mountain that Jerusalem is built on.
* "Escape" -Under Babylon rule the Israelites were held against their will and were not allowed to leave. Assyrian law through Cyrus allowed any Jew to return to Judah. The Lord here urges them to return so as to not get comfortably integrated into foreign culture. Also he is going to bring judgement against Persia and if they don't leave they will suffer with the Persians. Forced exile was also true of the Roman exile. Not until 1948 A.D. was Jews allowed to leave the countries they were in to migrate to Israel. Even then the progress was slow.
* "the Daughter of Babylon" -Several places in the Bible "daughter" is a term to refer to people of a city or nation. See below question for more on this.
* Zephaniah 3:10-11 "From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings. On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill."
* Zephaniah 3:19-20 "At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame. At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes," says the LORD."
* Zechariah 8:7-8 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: "I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God."
* Joel 3:1-2 "In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land."
* Matthew 24:30-31 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."
* As stated in the question above this promise is in the process of being fulfilled, ever since Israel has been made a nation again.
* On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed. The Proclamation of the Establishment of the State of Israel stated: "The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and the Ingathering of the exiles; it will foster the development of the country for all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex..."
This was followed in 1950 by the Law of Return, which granted every Jew the automatic right to immigrate to Israel and become a citizen of the state. With the gates wide open after statehood was declared, a wave of mass immigration brought 687,000 Jews to Israel's shores. By 1951, the number of immigrants more than doubled the Jewish population of the country in 1948. The immigrants included survivors of the Holocaust from displaced persons' camps in Germany, Austria and Italy; a majority of the Jewish communities of Bulgaria and Poland, one third of the Jews of Romania, and nearly all of the Jewish communities of Libya, Yemen and Iraq.
Additional mass immigration took place in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when immigrants arrived from the newly independent countries of North Africa, Morocco and Tunisia. A large number of immigrants also arrived during these years from Poland, Hungary and Egypt.
* From 1948 to 1967, the relations between Jews in the Soviet Union and the State of Israel were limited. Following the SixDay War, Jewish consciousness among Soviet Jews was awakened, and increasing numbers sought immigration to Israel. As an atmosphere of defence began to pervade international relations in the early 1970s, the Soviet Union permitted significant number of Jews to immigrate to Israel. At the end of the decade, a quarter of a million Jews had left the Soviet Union; 140,000 immigrated to Israel.
Soviet Jews were permitted to leave the Soviet Union in unprecedented numbers in the late 1980s, with President Gorbachev's bid to liberalize the country. The collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991 facilitated this process. After 190,000 reached Israel in 1990 and 150,000 in 1991, the stabilization of conditions in the former Soviet Union and adjustment difficulties in Israel caused immigration to level off at approximately 70,000 per year. From 1989 to the end of 2003, more than 950,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union had made their home in Israel.
Since 2003 many more Jews have left lands of the former Soviet Union and migrated to Israel, many supported by funds from Christian groups and organizations like John Hagee ministries.
* The above facts on Jews returning to Israel came from: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Immigration/immigration.html
* Immigration of the ancient Jewish community of Ethiopia to Israel has increased. In 1984, some 7,000 Ethiopian Jews walked hundreds of miles to Sudan, where a secret effort known as Operation Moses brought them to Israel. Another 15,000 arrived in a dramatic airlift, Operation Solomon, in May 1991. Within thirty hours, fortyone flights from Addis Ababa carried almost all the remaining community to Israel.
* Since Babylon in the post-exilic period epitomized all the suffering and indignity inflicted on Judah at the fall of Jerusalem and after, the name could stand for all lands of exile, and was not confined to the geographical area known as Babylon. (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Joyce G. Baldwin)
* See a picture of US marines on the Babylon ruins that was restored by Saddam Hussein to the right.
>What did the Lord reveal about Babylon elsewhere in the Bible? (1 Peter 5:13; Rev. 14:8, 17:5-6, 18:2, 21)
* 1 Peter 5:13 "She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark."
* Revelation 14:8 "A second angel followed and said, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."
* Revelation 17:5-6 "This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished."
* Revelation 18:2 "With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird."
* Revelation 18:21 "Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: "With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again."
* The Babylon Empire was conquered by the Mede-Persian armies. The city of Babylon slowly deteriated after that. Alexander defeated the Persians. Under Alexander, Babylon again flourished as a centre of learning and commerce. But following Alexander's death in 323 B.C. in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, his empire was divided amongst his generals, and decades of fighting soon began, with Babylon caught in the middle. The constant turmoil virtually emptied the city of Babylon. A tablet dated 275 B.C. states that the inhabitants of Babylon were transported to Seleucia. Babylon lie in ruins until Saddam Hussein began restoring it. After his fall from power when the United States of America and its allies invaded Iraq, Iraq claims they plan to open the city he restored as a tourist attraction.
* Revelation reveals that Babylon will exist again. But how? Scholars differ on the meaning of Babylon during the seven years of tribulation. Peter referred to Rome as Babylon (Babylon was in ruins in his day) implying perhaps something other than a physical city. Some scholars believe Babylon will again be used as a city and be the world capital. Other say it refers to Iraq which will be the world power against Israel. Perhaps one of these two or both is correct. Many scholars point to Peter's statement that Rome was Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar's statue dream in Daniel 2, and Revelation 17:5-6 and say that the Babylonia (Shinar) in Revelation is the Babylonian social, economic, and religious ideology that was started by Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-12, 11:1-9) and is used to this very day. The last is true whether or not a city of Babylon and/or Iraq will do anything during the seven years of tribulation.
>7. What does it mean to be the apple of God's eye?
* Zechariah 2:8 "For this is what the LORD Almighty says: "After he has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you--for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye--"
* "After he has" -"He" here is God the Father. "After" places this promise fulfillment at a specific time.
* "honored me" -"Me" here is not Zechariah, it is Jesus the Messiah, the King of the Jews. Jesus' resurrection from the dead honored Jesus' life of perfection, faith, and obedience.
* "and has sent me" -"Me" here in again referring to Jesus the Messiah.
* "against the nations that have plundered you" -The Messiah will come again soon in defense of Israel against those who are soon going to attack it. Iran's leader continues to say it is going to invade and wipe Israel off the map. Russia has given Iran nuclear weapons design and building help. Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and other Arab states are joining the cause. Recently Russia has sent anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles to Syria. Also recently Israel had had to bomb Syria because Iran has been trying to ship air to ground and air to air missiles to Lebanon through Syria. What's going to be the outcome of this? The Messiah is going to come and defeat all their plans to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
* "the apple of his eye" -"His" here is the Lord Almighty. The apple of the eye is the pupil (the dark spot in the middle of the eye) that light enters so that we can see. The pupil the the most tender part of the eye and most protected. Whatever the pupil points at is what we are looking at. So here the Lord Almighty is saying that he is tender for and is always looking at the true descendants of Israel. (John 1:12-13; Romans 9:6, 16, 10:16, 11:5) He will protect them if they keep his commands.
>Who will the Lord Almighty send?
* Zechariah 2:9 "I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me."
* "raise my hand against them" -Figuratively stating his power as when we threaten others by shaking our fists at them and then engage in hand to hand combat.
* "their slaves will plunder them" -Empires have used the sweat and tears of slaves to build up the lives of the powerful few including; Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, China, England, and the United States of America (though the last two outlawed slavery after a few hundred years). "Them" refers to the nations that have plundered Israel.
>When will the world know that he sent him?
* "Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me." -"Me" here is not Zechariah. Rather it is the Messiah. When Jesus comes again to fight for Israel all Jews will accept that Jesus is the Messiah as Paul wrote, "And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable." (Romans 11:26-29)
>8. Who is coming? (10)
* Zechariah 2:10 "Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the LORD."
* "I am coming" -The Lord Jesus came in a manger and ascended into heaven some two thousand years ago to save us from sin and the fear of death. He will come again to save us from Satan's rule and the grave.
* "I will live among you" -Jesus was physically a man and walked, talked, and eat some two thousand years ago. He rose from the dead in a resurrection body; both physical and spiritual. He will come again in this same body.
* Jesus' people will celebrate when he comes again. Only a few celebrated when Jesus came the first time.
>How did the preaching of the gospel fulfill verses 11 and 12?
* Zechariah 2:11-12 "Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem."
* "Many nations will be joined with the LORD" -The many nations here are people from many nations coming to believe in Jesus the Messiah. Paul confirms this in Romans 4:16-18. The phrase "many nations" reflects back to the Lord's promise to Abraham and Jacob. "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations." (Genesis 17:4-5) Jacob who became Israel was told, "A nation and a community of nations will come from you". (Genesis 35:11) This promise puzzled him until he saw the half Egyptian sons of Joseph, his favorite son. Then he told Joseph, "Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers." (Genesis 48:5-6) Gentiles who accept and confess Jesus' death and resurrection are the "many nations" and the "community of nations".
* "in that day" -"In the last days" and "in that day" and "in the day of the Lord" all referred to the future from the Old Testament prophets' point of view. They all referred to events concerning Jesus first and second coming. The day of the Lord is the time when God reveals His sovereignty over human powers and human existence.
* The Old Testament prophets often spoke of "The day of the Lord" as the time when God reveals His sovereignty over human powers and human existence. For example "The day of the Lord" is the dominant theme of Joel. Besides Joel six other Old Testament prophets (Isaiah 13:6,9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Malachi 4:5; perhaps Zechariah 14:1 too) uses the term "the day of the Lord". Sometimes the prophets of Israel and Judah abbreviated it to "that day". It was familiar to their audience, a term by which the audience expected light and salvation (Amos 5:18), but the prophets painted it as a day of darkness and judgment (Isaiah 2:10-22; 13:6,9; Joel 1:15; 2:1-11,31; 3:14-15; Amos 5:20; Zephaniah 1:7-8,14-18; Malachi 4:5). The Old Testament language of the day of the Lord is aimed at warning sinners among God’s people of the danger of trusting in traditional religion without commitment to God and to His way of life. It is language that could be aimed at judging Israel or that could be used to promise deliverance from evil enemies (Isaiah 13:6,9; Ezekiel 30:3; Obadiah 15). The day of the Lord is thus a point in time in which God displays His sovereign initiative to reveal His control of history, of time, of His people, and of all people.
* The apostles Peter and Paul also used the term "day of the Lord" (in place of "Lord" they also put "God" and "Lord Jesus"). (Acts 2:20; and 1 Corinthians 1:8, 5:5; and 2 Corinthians 1:14; and 1 Thessalonians 5:2; and 2 Thessalonians 2:2; and 2 Peter 3:10-12)
* The apostles used the terms "last times" and "last days" referring to the whole period introduced by Jesus' first coming. (John 11:24; Jude 1:17-18; Acts 15:16-18; Hebrews 9:36; and 2 Peter 3:3) These days are last in comparison to Old Testament days, which were preliminary and preparatory. (Romans 16:25-26; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26) Also, the Christian era is the time of the beginnings of prophetic fulfillment. (1 Corinthians 10:11) The "days" can be interpreted as "ages" (Matthew 12:39, 13:39-40, 49, 24:3, 28:20; Ephesians 1:21, 2:7; and 1 Timothy 6:19; Titus 2:12; Jude 1:25) (periods of time) that reflect the six days of creation with the seventh day as a day of rest. Indeed the apostles very clearly call the one thousand year reign of Jesus as "the Lord's Sabbath" and "the day of rest". (Hebrews 4:1-11, 6:5; Revelation 14:13) Jesus himself invited us to his day of rest (Matthew 11:19; Luke 18:30, 20:34-36) and to work now and rest in the future (John 9:4). Since this is the time just before the Sabbath rest, then we are in the sixth day, the time when man and woman (Adam and Eve) were created. The Lord God Almighty is called the "King of the ages". (Revelation 15:3)
* Blackstone wrote in his book Jesus is Coming “The division of time into sevens, or weeks, permeates the Scriptures. A fundamental enactment of the Mosaic Law was the keeping of the Sabbath (Ex. 20:8). This was based upon God's great rest day in Genesis 2. Upon this is founded not only the week of days, but also the week of weeks leading to Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-16); the week of months, with the Atonement and seven days feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month (Lev. 23:27-28); the week of years, ending with the Sabbatic year (Lev. 25:4); and the week of weeks of years, ending with the seventh Sabbatic year, and followed by the year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:8-12).” He continues with more and quotes 2 Peter 3:8 then continues, so we also have the great week of Millenniums. Six thousand-year days of labor and then the Millennium, or blessed seventh thousand-year of rest.” He is not the first to see the significance.
* For more on this time period read the manuscript "The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires" found on this site.
* Eschatology is the teaching concerning the last things in world history. The Greek word "eschatos" means “last” or final.” Accordingly, eschatology is the study of the things expected to occur at the end of history. This does not include what will happen after the Lord Jesus creates the new heaven and the new earth as described at the end of Revelation.
* "an will become my people" -The tense is future. It points to the time of preaching the gospel to Gentiles. If anyone accepts the gospel they become God's people.
* "I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you" -repeated.
* "The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem" -Calling Israel the holy land occurs only here in the Bible. When Moses was at the burning bush he was told the land he was standing on was holy too. So the area is not what makes it holy, the presence of the Lord makes it holy. Judah and Jerusalem are only a part of Israel, the holy land. In order for there to be an inheritance someone had to die. In this case it was Jesus the Messiah who also rose from the dead.
>What is promised? (13)
* Zechariah 2:13 "Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling."
* "Be still before the LORD" -Habakkuk 2:20 states, "let all the earth be silent before him" and Zephaniah 1:7 states, "be silent before the Sovereign Lord for the day of the Lord is near." When Jesus comes to judge the nations they will not say anything.
* "all mankind" -All mankind will be judged before Jesus. His people will be judged at the Bema seat to receive or lose rewards. The nations will be judged at his second coming. All individuals will be judged after the Millennium.
* "because he has roused himself" -to judge
* "from his holy dwelling" -Heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father is where Jesus is right now and will remain until the end of the seven years of tribulation. (Luke 22:69; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1)
V. Clean Garments (3:1-10)
>9. What was Satan doing?
* Zechariah 3:1 "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him."
* "Then he showed me" -Zechariah is obviously moved to the temple area where the high priest conducts his service to the Lord.
* "Joshua the high priest" -Joshua here and in Haggai 1:1 is spelled "Jeshua" in Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7 and means "the Lord saves". Was Joshua really Joshua in the flesh? Did he consciously partake in this? Or was this just a vision of him? Did he know that he was before the angel of the Lord and Satan was standing right beside him?
* "standing before the angel of the LORD" -Joshua is facing the angel of the Lord perhaps as he is conducting his duties at the temple. The angel is not the Lord Jesus as when became the son of man, and yet is clearly identified and associated with him. Traditional Christian interpretation has held that this "angel" was a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ as god's Messenger-Servant. It may be, however, that, as the Lord's personal messenger who represented him and bore his credentials, the angel could speak on behalf of (and so be identified with) the One who sent him. Whether this "angel" was the second person of the Trinity remains therefore uncertain. (NIV Study Bible)
* "Satan standing at his right side to accuse him" -Satan is the name of the fallen angel that leads the rebellion against God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Genesis 3:1 is the first appearance of Satan. It says, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" In Hebrew serpent is "nachash." meaning, a snake (from its hiss). Its Hebrew root word is a prime root meaning; "to hiss, i.e. whisper a (magic) spell."
* Other verses about Satan are as follows:
Job 1:6-7 "One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.""
Job 2:1-2 "On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
Zech. 3:1-2 "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?"
Mark 4:15 "Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them."
Luke 13:16 "Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?"
Luke 22:31 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat."
John 8:44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
2 Corinthians 2:11 "in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes."
2 Corinthians 11:14 "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."
Jude 1:6 "And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home--these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day."
2 Peter 2:4 "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;"
Revelation 12:7-9 "And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."
Revelation 20:2 "He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years."
Revelation 20:7 "When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison"
Snakes (wgucg) and serpents look beautiful but can be deadly. The devil's purpose is to separate men and women from God and each other and so destroy their life and God's work. Satan is condemned already. Satan and his kind are spiritual, with authority, and they have a free will just as man does. They choose to rebel against God and all who rebel are his people.
* The year is around 520 BC. DB Devotional is still kind-of in chronological order. I will be going back to Daniel soon. Daniel's last vision/prophecies was given before Zechariah's time. However, Daniel's last prophecies take place after some of Zechariah's prophecies. That does not include today's DB. They are both about Jesus's second coming. Confused? Simply said many prophecies from all prophecies overlap.
The high priest's main job was to be a go between God and his people. In that mission he offered sacrifices for God's people's sins even though he was a sinner too. The most important sacrifices were for the people's sins and his sin, to take them away, so their relationship with God could continue.
Jesus, the Branch as the final high priest offered himself as a sacrifice once and for all people and all sin except blasphemy (continual resisting) of the Holy Spirit. This Jesus did in a single day when he died on the cross. By his blood I am set free. In this prophecy Zechariah foretold that all my sins; past, present, and future are forgiven.
>What is a burning stick snatched from the fire?
* Zechariah 3:2 The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?"
* "who has chosen Jerusalem" -Jerusalem is the place the Lord chose for people to come to him to worship, sacrifice, receive his word and guidance, and present sacrifices.
* "rebuke you!" -Rebuke means to express sharp, stern disapproval of; reprove; reprimand.
* "a burning stick snatched from the fire" -Fire here is a fire of destruction used as refinement of a few. Amos 4:11 states, "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD." And Zechariah 13:8-9 states, "In the whole land," declares the LORD, "two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.'" And Moses said to Israel, "But as for you, the LORD took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are." (Deuteronomy 4:20) See also 1 Kings 8:51; Isaiah 48:10; Jeremiah 11:4, 30:7; Revelation 12:13-16.
>How does Jesus make this possible? (Col. 1:13-14)
* Colossians 1:13-14 "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
* Jesus saves us from the dominion of darkness by grace alone just as Israel was rescued from Egypt by grace alone. The Lord refines us through trials and troubles. Peter wrote, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:6-7)
>10. What does clean clothes symbolize? (3-5)
* Zechariah 3:3-5 "Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you." Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by."
* "filthy clothes" -Representative of sin which is taken away.
* "rich garments" -Clean clothes, the kind given to a prince like Joseph's clock of many colors.
* "clean turbine" -Priests wore turbines and kings wore crowns. Joshua is being reinstated as a priest reversing the curse of his ancestor. (Exodus 28:36, 39:30)
* Revelation 3:4 "Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy."
>After he was cleaned up what did the angel of the Lord say to Joshua? (6-7)
* Zechariah 3:6-7 "The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here."
* "If" -a conditional contract (covenant).
* "walk in my ways" -obey the covenant given at Mount Sinai.
* "among these standing here" -Who is not stated though we do know the angel and Zechariah was there. (4)
>How did Jesus tell us the same thing? (Luke 19:17)
* Luke 19:17 "'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'"
>11. Who is the Branch and how does the priesthood symbolize him? (8; John 15:1-4; Rom. 11:17-18)
* Zechariah 3:8 "'Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch."
* John 15:1-4 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
* Romans 11:17-18 "If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you."
* Luke 13:18-19 "Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches."
* "O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you" -Joshua was the high priest in Zechariah's day. He controlled the other priests actions under him.
* "who are men symbolic of things to come" -The priesthood was only a symbol of what Jesus would do through his life, death, and resurrection. The book of Hebrews explains this in great detail.
* "I am going to bring" -Jesus came from the Father. (John 16:28)
* "my servant, the Branch" -Jesus is the branch. The theme of Isaiah chapters 40-55 is that the Messiah would be God's servant. Isaiah was a prophet two generations before Zechariah.
>What is the stone and how was sin removed in a single day? (Rom. 9:30-33; and 2 Cor. 5:21)
* Zechariah 3:9 "See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day."
* Some translators have drastically changed the order of verses 6-10 because they couldn't figure out the change from the use of a stone, a branch, a vine, and then a fig tree.
* Isaiah 8:13-15 "The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured."
* Romans 9:30-33 "What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
* 2 Corinthians 5:21 "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
* 1 John 3:5 "But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin."
* "the stone" -Jesus is depicted as a stone elsewhere in the Bible. The Hebrew word for stone here could mean any type of stone.
* "seven eyes on that one stone" -See NIV note. The Hebrew word here for "Eyes" is "Ayin" and can also be translated "facets", "Wells", and "fountains".
* "I have set in front of Joshua" -The stone was not given to Joshua. The Lord himself set up before Joshua.
* "I will engrave an inscription on it" -Writing on a stone is sometimes done as a commentary piece used in construction. The Babylonians and Assyrian kings especially like doing this so people would remember their names. The Egypt Pharaohs wrote on the entire walls of their buildings. In the Bible the priest also wore a breastplate that had twelve stones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel. Each of these twelve had one of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The stone that Zechariah saw seemed more like a commendatory stone than a breastplate stone.
* "I will remove the sin of this land in a single day" -Jesus' death on the cross took away our sins in a single day.
* If the stone had seven facets (not eyes) and the Lord turned on the facets then it would make sense that the sins of the world (4:10) would be washed away in a single day (3:9). After all the priests job was to offer sacrifices and these pointed to the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
* The living water that would flow from the stone with seven flows of water would cause the branch to grow until it would become a great tree. Jesus used the growth of a tree to portray the kingdom of God. Vineyards are often portrayed as God's people who are to produce fruit.
* Moses struck a rock in the desert with his staff and water flowed from it. (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:7-11) Here is a branch placed before a stone that the Lord caused water to flow from.
>Having our sin taken away what should we do? (10)
* Zechariah 3:10 "'In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,' declares the LORD Almighty."
* "In that day" -See notes for 2:11-12 above. Some scholars would translate this as "on the same day".
* "each of you will invite his neighbor" -Once a person finds comfort and contentment in Jesus they invite others to join them.
* "to sit under" -Enjoy its fruit and shade. The Bible uses the term often to mean comfort and contentment. (1 Kings 4:25; and 2 Kings 18:31; Micah 4:4)
* "his vine and fig tree" -Jesus is the vine. Jesus is the fig tree. As an extension to these his people are branches. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and mankind's Joy.