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Zechariah 1-3
Zechariah 4-6
Zechariah 7-9
Zechariah 10-14
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Zechariah 4:1-14

 

5th Vision: Vision of the Lampstand (Menorah) and the Two Olive Trees

 

Verses 1-6a, “Now the angel who talked to me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep.  And he said to me, ‘What do you see?’  So I said, ‘I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps.  Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at the left.’  So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, ‘What are these, my lord?’  Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’  And I said, ‘No, my lord.’…”  J. Vernon gets the basic interpretation down, and after that I’ll take it a little further.  He says “And here in Zechariah’s vision the picture is of the nation of Israel, which will in the future become a witness for God in the world.  “With the bowl upon the top of it.”  This is something new which is added that you don’t find in the instructions given to Moses for fashioning the original lampstand.  Here there is a “bowl” which acts as a reservoir or oil tank over the seven lamps…The oil is the all-important factor in the vision.  The lampstand speaks of Christ; the lamps with the oil in them speak of the Holy Spirit.  We have no better picture of the Holy Spirit than the oil of the lampstand.  Hengestenberg is correct in saying that “oil is one of the most clearly defined symbols in the Bible,” and the symbolism is that of the Holy Spirit.  While the oil represents the Holy Spirit, the light which is given out represents Christ because He is the Light of the World.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p.921, col.2, par. 2-4.]  Jesus Christ, as the Living Word of God is also called the “Light of the World” in John 1:1-9, 14 and also in John 8:12 and 9:5.  This world is spiritually dark, a dark place.  A lamp allows people to see in the dark.  We as God’s people are also called lights in this dark world, Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  God’s servants during the end-times, just before Jesus’ 2nd coming are portrayed as 10 virgins carrying lamps.  The five wise virgins made sure they had enough oil in the reservoirs of their lamps.  Matthew 25:1-13, “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  Those who were foolish took lamps and took no oil in their vessels with their lamps.  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight a cry was heard:  ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the wise answered saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.  Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us!’  But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of man is coming.”  It is only through God’s indwelling Holy Spirit that God’s people shine as a light to a very dark world.  Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”

 

God’s Message to Zerubbabel and us, builders of God’s spiritual Temple

 

Verse 6, “So he answered and said to me:  ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:  Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.”  J. Vernon McGee sheds some light on God’s message to Zerubbabel.  “Notice that this is God’s message to Zerubbabel…Zerubbabel’s great work was that of rebuilding the temple, but the work was dogged by danger from the outside and discouragement from within.  God is giving this vision to strengthen the faith of Zerubbabel.  It has real meaning for him, and also it contains a great principle for you and me.  Here is the message:  “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”  The words might and power are quite interesting.  Might is a general word for human resources such as physical strength, human ability or efficiency, or wealth.  Power also denotes mere human strength---physical, material, and mental strength.  Therefore, let me give you my translation of this verse:  “It is not by brawn nor by brain, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”  You can see that this would be a great encouragement to Zerubbabel, the civil ruler [and head of temple construction]…My friend, if the Spirit of God is not in our enterprises today, they will come to naught because God is not carrying [out] His work by our brain or brawn.  We speak of clever preachers who deliver very well-composed sermons and all of that, but God’s work is not carried on that way.  Sometimes a clever preacher is a dangerous man…But God does not carry on His work by human instruments.  It is “not by might nor by power.”; it is not by brain nor by brawn, but it is “by my Spirit, saith the LORD.”  Let me be personal and very frank.  Anything that Vernon McGee does in the flesh, that is by his own effort,  God hates.  He can’t use it.  It will come to nothing because it is nothing in the world but Vernon McGee building a haystack which ultimately is going to be consumed by fire.  God wants to do His work through us, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is important for us to see.  Now looking into the future, this will be especially true during the Millennium.  Again, it will not be by brain or brawn, “but by my Spirit, saith the LORD.”  David Baron has put it like this:  “It is in His light, and by means of the golden oil of His Spirit, which shall then be shed upon them abundantly, that Israel’s candlestick shall yet shine with a sevenfold brilliancy for the illumination of all the nations of the earth.”  That, my friend, is a great statement.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, pp. 923-924, col.2 & col.1, sel. par.]

 

Zerubbabel’s Mountain of Opposition Will Be Leveled

 

Verses 7-9, “Who are you, O great mountain?  Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!  And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’  Moreover the word of the LORD came to me saying:  ‘The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands shall also finish it.  Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.’”  This “mountain” in verse 7 represents obstacles which Zerubbabel was facing in his Temple re-construction project.  For him it amounted to the Samaritan persecution and opposition he was facing daily.  Jesus has instructed us as believers to be about the business of his spiritual Temple construction project.  He told us we’d face mountains of opposition as well, but that through him and his Spirit these “mountains” would be removed, Matthew 17:20, “So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”  Many people mistakenly take this verse to mean the removal of literal, physical mountains.  That’s not its intended meaning.  Jesus meant spiritual mountains of opposition. J. Vernon McGee says, “‘Who art thou, O great mountain?’  The mountain represents opposition.  This vision encourages them to believe that Zerubbabel will be able to remove the mountain of opposition.  The Lord Jesus used “mountain” in that sense.  The Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “…If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”  (Matt. 17:20).  I don’t think our Lord was speaking of removing physical mountains---we don’t know of any physical mountains being moved in that day---but faith that removes mountains is the faith that removes obstacles and opposition to the work of God.  And that is the picture this vision gives.  God’s temple will be rebuilt regardless of the seeming impossibilities [and by that I think he means the spiritual Temple Jesus is building through us right now].  ‘And he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.’  The headstone is the finishing gable stone which marks the completion of a building.  He is saying that the temple will be completed with the shoutings and cheers of the people.  What an encouragement this was to the disheartened remnant!” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p. 924, col.1, par. 6-7]. 

 

‘The Plumb Line’

 

Verse 10, “For who has despised the day of small things?  For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.  They are the eyes of the LORD, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”  A plumb line is a device builders and carpenters use to make sure a wall in perpendicular to the foundation of the building being constructed.  In the spiritual sense Yahweh, the LORD is making sure all are aligned to him.  In a very real sense the Living Word of God, Jesus Christ, is our plumb line.  The Bible is the written version of the Living Word of God.  Honest Bible doctrines, teachings, are part of that plumb line.  That is why believers in Jesus Christ are to be living their lives by the written Word of God (as best they understand it).  “For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel” could be referring back to the seven lamps of this vision (see verse 2) or the seven eyes in Zechariah 3:9.  The seven spirits (angelic messengers) could be the same seven spirits of the Seven Churches (cf. Revelation 1:12, 16, 20).  The plumb line, the Word of God, is meant to make sure all in God’s spiritual Temple are aligned to Christ.  Paul’s letters, even at the time he wrote them, were called the Word of God by the apostle Peter.  Peter recognized the incredible inspiration Paul was receiving from God’s Holy Spirit as he wrote his Epistles.  In 1st Corinthians 5:1-13 is an actual example of the Word of God straightening out some of the “walls” in the Church of God at Corinth.  This “person” who was not properly aligned to Christ was later re-admitted to the Corinthian congregation after his life was properly aligned to the Word of God.  The Epistles of Paul, John and Peter are filled with these proper alignments as they should be applied to the Church and its various members, the spiritual Temple of God.  Paul’s Epistles deal a lot with Christian lifestyle, as well as the white-hot core of Christianity, which is about the agape love we should have and be exercising in our lives (cf. 1st Corinthians 13:4-8.  Log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wwcofgod.html and click on the upper nav bar button titled “Agape.”  John’s Epistles deal a lot with true worship verses heresy.  He was dealing with wolves in sheep’s clothing who were trying to deny that Jesus of Nazareth was fully God, ever-existent with God the Father for eternity (cf. John 1:1-14).  Gnosticism and Arianism deny the Messiahship and ever-existence of Jesus Christ, and thus are powerful heresies.  John was fighting Gnosticism, which was tearing into and breaking up some of his congregations in Asia Minor.  Later on, in the 250s to 300s AD, Arianism was attempting to do the same thing.  Both heresies are still alive and well, attempting to divide the Body of Christ still.  This one verse, verse 10 of Zechariah 4, points to a very important tool the Church is supposed to use for its holy ‘Temple’ construction projects,’ i.e. church-building and church-planting.  An essential part of that “spiritual plumb line” are the Epistles the apostles wrote to the early Churches of God within the Roman Empire.  It’s interesting, but in the Old Testament, the Prophets of God fulfilled a similar “purging and straightening” role for God’s physical people Israel as the apostles did for God’s spiritual children of Abraham in the New Testament Churches of God.  They were a very active part of God’s plumb line for Israel and Judah, just as the apostles were for the New Testament Church, the spiritual “Temple of God.”  Paul even said that each and every believer is a part, like a stone, within that Temple God is constructing, each possessing the Holy Spirit (and thus God the Father and Jesus Christ, cf. John 14) dwelling in them.  1st Corinthians 6:18-19, “Flee sexual immorality.  Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.  Or do you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"

 

Related links:

 

http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm

 

http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/whyorthodoxy.html

 

http://www.unityinchrist.com/epistles.html

 

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/What%20is%20Arianism.htm

 

The Two Olive Trees

 

Verses 11-14, “Then I answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive trees---at the right of the lampstand and at its left?  And I further answered and said to him, ‘What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?  Then he answered me and said, ‘Do you know what these are?’  And I said, ‘No, my lord.’  So he said, ‘These are the two anointed ones, who stand before the LORD of the whole earth.’”  “The two anointed ones” is literally the “sons of fresh oil,” which appear to be nourished with oil from the bowl above the menorah depicted in verses 1-3 of this chapter.  Verse 12 depicts the branches of these two olive trees as dripping with oil.  Dr. Meredith Kline has this to say about these verses, “The misunderstanding of the sons of oil as [simply] anointed ones has led to the common interpretation of the two as the royal and priestly offices, represented in Zechariah’s day by Zerubbabel and Joshua.  But if these trees are the (mediatorial) source of the oil that streams to the menorah, if the sons of oil are not the anointed but the anointers, we must think of prophets, not kings or priests.  The prophets, outstandingly the paradigm prophet Moses, were God’s agents for anointing.  Moreover, in Rev[elation] 11:4 it is the two prophetic witnesses [verse 3] that are explicitly said to be two olive trees.  Further, the description of the sons of oil as ‘standing by the Lord of all the earth,’ that is, as servants, comports with the familiar designation of the prophets as God’s servants (cf. Amos 3:7; Jer. 7:25; 25:4; Rev. 10:7; 11:18).  This description also points to prophetic identification in that it denotes the status of those admitted into the divine council…a special privilege of prophets” (Glory in Our Midst:  A Biblical-Theological Reading of Zechariah’s Night Visions, Dr. Meredith Kline, 2001, pp. 164-165).

 

Zechariah 5:1-11

 

6th Vision: Vision of the Flying Scroll

 

Verses 1-4, “Then I turned and raised my eyes, and saw there a flying scroll.  And he said to me, ‘What do you see?’  So I answered, ‘I see a flying scroll.  Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits.’  Then he said to me, ‘This is the curse that goes out over the face of the earth:  ‘Every thief shall be expelled,’ according to this side of the scroll; and, ‘Every perjurer shall be expelled,’ according to that side of it.’  ‘I will send out the curse,’ says the LORD of hosts; it shall enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by my name.  It shall remain in the midst of his house and consume it, with its timber and stones.’”  J. Vernon McGee has this to say, “In the first two chapters God makes it clear that He intends to put down all the enemies of Israel and that the nation will become the nation of priests which was God’s original desire for them when He brought them out of Egyptian bondage, but because of their sin, only one tribe---the tribe of Levi---was chosen for the priesthood.  Then in the vision of Joshua and Satan we learned that the nation [and we as believers] had to be cleansed.  Then the vision of the branch and the stone with seven eyes looked forward to the kingdom age when God, having cleansed them, would use them, and they would become a light to the world, symbolized by the lampstand being fed oil from the olive trees.  The oil, representing the Holy Spirit, signified that they would witness in the power of the Holy Spirit.  That is all well and good, but it does raise a question.  Does it mean that every member of this nation, every Israelite [i.e. all 12 tribes, not just Judah, the Israelis] will be chosen---even those who live in continual rebellion and sin?  In the visions before us, we will see that the judgment of God will come upon those who do not become obedient unto Him.  He will ferret out those who are rebellious, and He will judge them…What is said of the nation Israel is also true of the Church.  Not every church member is a genuine Christian---that is, a member of the Body of believers which is called the Church.  There will come a day when there will be a separation of believers and unbelievers.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, pp.925-926, selected passages] Dr. Meredith Kline in his Glory in Our Midst:  A Biblical-Theological Reading of Zechariah’s Night Visions introduces chapter 5 this way:  “According to the formulae (cf. 1:7-8; 1:18…2:1…3:1…4:1-2; 5:1; 6:1) there are seven visions in Zechariah 1:7-6:8, not eight, for Zechariah 5 is not to be divided up into two visions but regarded as a unit, the sixth vision.  The introductions to the two triads of visions bracketing the central hinge vision (Zechariah 3) all include the phrase, ‘I saw and behold,’ but that is absent from Zechariah 5:5, where many commentators would begin a separate vision.  The phrase we find instead at v.5 is like one which marks the middle, not beginning, of a vision at Zechariah 2:3.  The unity of the two parts of Zechariah 5  is also indicated by certain interdependencies of grammar and terminology.  Thus, the suffix in ‘their appearance’ (v.6) has as its antecedent the thieves and perjurers of vs.3.  And the phrase ‘in all the land’ (vs.6) resumes ‘all the land’ in vs.3.  [the NKJV has ‘the whole earth’ in both places]  Most compelling, however, are the clear thematic interdependencies of the two parts of the chapter and the remarkable intermeshing of their symbolism.  [If you can wade though Dr. Kline’s technical grammatical language, he now clearly explains his point in the next sentence, emphasis mine]  The sixth vision portrays the judgment curse of exile, distinguishing its two distinct stages:  Destruction of the victims’ holdings in their homeland (vv. 1-4) and deportation with their relocation in a foreign land (vv. 5-11)”  [Glory in Our Midst:  A Biblical-Theological Reading of Zechariah’s Night Visions, p.177] 

 

This Prophecy is for the End-Times

 

What we see as a major theme running through the Book of Zechariah’s visions is the theme of spiritual renewal.  This includes two points: restoration to the repentant, and the separation and discipling of the unrepentant.  With the plumb line, chapter 4 showed us the separation of the repentant and unrepentant.  Chapter 5 now shows us the disciplinary action which is actually taken.  This includes the destruction of the wickeds’ personal property and their expulsion to a foreign land.  This pattern has occurred before, with the expulsion of the Jews to Babylon, which resulted in a very repentant group of Jews being able to be repatriated back into the Promised Land.  But this prophecy is for the end-times, and now it is to include all of Israel, all 12 tribes, who will go through this disciplinary process.  The flying scroll is bearing a curse, and Feinberg says, the fact that it’s flying denotes the swiftness of the coming punishment (Minor Prophets, p. 293). 

 

What Exactly Is The Flying Scroll?

 

The size of the scroll is 10 by 20 cubits. Using the 18-inch cubit that is 15 by 30 feet, like a large billboard, large enough for everyone to see.  This scroll, you might say, is a witness to the sinning and law-breaking of the people of Israel (all 12 tribes).  What law, you might ask?  And could the scroll represent our witness to the world just before the end (Matthew 24:14-16)?  It probably does represent that.  Zechariah 5:3 says this scroll goes out over “all the land,” i.e. the whole earth.  In a sense, the 12 tribes of Israel are nationally distributed around the globe.  But God also shows the Gospel (and a warning) go around the world to all nations.  God loves everybody, and so he warns everybody.  The warning is on the scroll, and is called ‘a curse.’  The ancient covenant agreement for the 10-Commandment Law of God (including its statutes and judgments) included a blessings and cursings document within it.  It is contained in Leviticus 26:1-45 and Deuteronomy 28:1-68. Kline states:  “By identifying the scroll as a ‘curse’ (Zech 5:3), the angel tells us it is a covenant document, the LORD’s treaty given through Moses…a standard section of [ancient lord-vassal] treaties was the sanctions, which…included blessings but were heavily weighted on the curse side [for disloyalty] (see Deut 28:1-68; 29:16-28; cf. 27:11-26; 26:3-39).  It is the execution of this curse sanction of…[God’s covenant relationship with the 12 tribes of Israel] that is portrayed in Zechariah 5.  The expression in Zech. 5:3, ‘on this side…on the other side’ [referring to writing on both sides of the scroll], is possibly a specific allusion to the covenant tablets of Sinai [that is, the stone tables of the Ten Commandments], since it is used in Exod. 32:15 to describe those stone tablets as inscribed on both sides.  But the idea might also be [to signify] that the curse strikes here and there, that is, everywhere throughout ‘the whole land,’ (cf. Deut. 28:16-19)” (ibed. p. 178).  That was Kline.  If the mention of two of the Ten Commandments being broken refers to the 10 Commandments, then lets look at verses 3-4, stealing and swearing falsely by God’s name.  Stealing, verse 3, is the 8th Commandment, found on the back side of the Commandment tablets.  The 2nd sin is not just swearing falsely, the 9th Commandment, but swearing falsely by God’s name, or taking God’s name in vain, which is the 3rd Commandment.  The 3rd Commandment appeared on the front of the 10 Commandment tablet(s).  So in symbolism, the flying scroll represents the two tablets of the 10 Commandments.  The penalty for these ‘covenant breakers’ is expulsion form their land (verse 4).  Tying this into the 2nd part of this vision the expulsion included being carried into a foreign land  (which we’ll look at next).

 

‘The Woman in a Basket’ 

 

Verses 5-11, “…”Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, ‘Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth.’  So I asked ‘What is it?’  And he said, ‘It is a basket that is going forth.’  He also said, ‘This is their resemblance throughout the earth:  Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket’; then he said, ‘This is wickedness!’  And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth.  Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven.  So I said to the angel who talked with me, ‘Where are they carrying the basket?’  And he said to me, ‘To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base.’”  Dr. Kline gives this explanation for the vision, and he ties the two parts of the vision together (the flying scroll and the woman in a basket):  “When calling upon Israel to swear their covenant loyalty Moses forewarned:  ‘It shall come to pass, if you do not obey Yahweh your God,…that all these curses will come upon you…they [i.e. the curses] will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed’ (Deut 28:15)” (p. 178).  By the time of Zechariah’s day, two such judgments, destruction of property (Zech 5:1-4) and deportation to a foreign land (Zech 5:5-11) had already occurred, one for the northern House of Israel (to Assyria, 745-721BC) and the other for the House of Judah to Babylon (586BC).  Kline continues:  “Ultimate among the threatened curses would be the siege and destruction of the dwellings in the Holy Land and banishment to an alien land.  ‘Yahweh will bring a nation against you from afar…swooping down like an eagle.’  (Deut 28:52).  ‘You will be plucked off the land…and Yahweh will scatter you among all the peoples’ (Deut 28:63-64).  By Zechariah’s day such an exile judgment had befallen Israel and Judah, alike and now those recently restored from that Babylonian captivity are warned by Zechariah that again in the future such a curse would descend on the covenant community.  The house of the covenant breakers in the Promised Land would be consumed (Zech 5:1-4) and they would themselves be removed to the land of Shinar (Zech 5:5-11).”  (ibed. p. 178).  The Jews in Judah experienced major destruction of their property and ultimate deportation, in two successive waves of Roman conquest, in 70AD and their ultimate defeat and destruction in 135AD.  But this destruction and deportation are to the land of Shinar, which we know is Babylon.  This points to a future destruction and deportation of Israel, all Israel, the House of Israel, whoever they are, and the House of Judah (the Israelis) to a land called Shinar, Babylon.  The future Beast Empire is called “Babylon the Great” in Revelation chapters 17 and 18.  Kline sees it this way too, as applying to a future event:  “Specification of the wings as those of a stork might be due simply to the suitability of the strong wings of the stork for this assignment, but…the stork’s unclean status must be relevant (cf. Lev 11:19; Deut 14:18).  Unclean agents are used by the Judge of Israel to remove the defilement from his Holy Land to unclean Babylon, the habitation of demons and a hold of every spirit and unclean bird (Rev 18:2)” (Kline, p. 186).  The two women with stork’s wings may represent both Israel’s and Judah’s ancient captors, Assyria and Babylon, now united in the end-time confederacy of nations called in Revelation “the Beast” (cf. Revelation 13 & 17), and “Babylon the Great” (cf. Revelation 18).

 

Central Theme of Zechariah 5

 

The central theme of the vision in Zechariah 5 is that wickedness, breaking of God’s sacred 10 Commandments (the double-sided scroll, verses 1-4) has no place within God’s covenant community, within the lands they’re currently living in.  For the House of Judah, the Jews, the Israelis, that would be in the literal Promised Land, the land of Israel.  This prophecy points to a future end-time invasion, conquest, and deportation of God’s covenant people.  Interestingly, the word “British” when broken down into it’s two parts, “Brit” and “ish” means “Covenant man” in Hebrew.  This points, linguistically of course, to the English-speaking peoples as being part of God’s Covenant people.  This indeed is a scary message for them.  The Axis Power block in World War II was only a tiny foretaste of what’s to come.

 

Zechariah 6:1-15

 

7th Vision: The Two Bronze Mountains

 

Verse 1, “Then I turned and raised my eyes and looked, and behold, four chariots were coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze.”  These two mountains leave commentators stumped---are they literal, figurative, and where are they?  If we look at where the 6th vision has brought us, it’s to the invasion, deportation and captivity of Israel.  As we saw in Hosea 6:1-2 and Revelation chapters 8-9, Israel, all Israel remains in captivity for two years in the Tribulation before God starts to take action.  Then during the next 18 months (year and a half) God softens up the Beast empire through the seven trumpet plagues (including the two Woes).  Then the 7th Trumpet blows, the 1st Resurrection to Immortality takes place.  Then over a period of 4 or 5 months the 7 Last Plagues occur, culminating in the literal return of Jesus Christ, accompanied by the now immortal saints of God.  That in a nutshell sums up the deportation-captivity phase of God’s punishment on ‘modern’ Israel (all 12 tribes, whoever they are), the 6th vision given by God to Zechariah.  Now in this 7th vision (and these visions appear to be sequential), the forces of God would appear to be coming from between these two bronze mountains.  First let’s consider the two mountains of bronze.  There are five different beliefs about what and where they could be, all similar in location, without changing the meaning of the horses and chariots they draw.  The two bronze mountains could be:

 

1. The Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives.

 

2. The Mount of Olives as it becomes two mountains at the literal 2nd coming of Jesus Christ (cf. Zechariah 14:1-15).

 

3. The heavenly and earthly Mount Zions. 

 

4. Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim (where Joshua went out from between the two to conquer the Promised Land).

 

5. The two massive bronze pillars at the entrance of God’s Temple (with God symbolically calling out of his Temple to judge the Gentile nations).

 

No matter which interpretation you choose, they all seem to fit, whether figurative or literal.

 

The chariots coming from between the two mountains of bronze

 

Verses 2-8, “With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, and with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot dappled horses---strong steeds.  Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these, my lord?’  And the angel answered and said to me, ‘These are four spirits of heaven, who go out from their station before the LORD of all the earth.  The one with the black horses is going to the north country, the white are going after them, and the dappled are going toward the south country.’  Then the strong steeds went out, eager to go, that they might walk to and fro throughout the earth.  And he said, ‘Go, walk to and fro throughout the earth.’  So they walked to and fro throughout the earth.  And he called to me, and spoke to me, saying, ‘See, those who go toward the north country have given rest to my Spirit in the north country.’”  The colors of these horses in Zechariah 6, and what they represent probably parallels the meanings for the four colors in Revelation 6 for the horses of the four horsemen, with white representing Jesus Christ on his white horse in Revelation 19.  These horses with their chariots represent the judgment of God, whereas the four horsemen in Revelation 6 represented man at Satan’s inspiration bringing these plagues of warfare, famine and death on the earth.  Kline tells us, “If the chariots in Zechariah’s 7th vision are understood as moving from Zion in just two directions, north and south, the geo-political outlook of Zechariah [chapters] 1-8 is comparable to that in Daniel 11 with its concentration on the Ptolemies to the south and the Seleucids to the north, threatening the covenant people inbetween” (Meredith Kline, Glory in Our Midst: A Biblical-Theological Reading of Zechariah’s Night Visions, p. 218 footnote).  The main enemy in chapter 6, understand, is Babylon.  Throughout these visions, Babylon has been the focus and enemy, Babylon the Great in the end-times.  What it looks like is that this end-time Babylon the Great will go through a time of devastation, which agrees with Revelation 18.  Then the black horses going to Babylon are followed by the white horses, which in all likelihood represent Jesus Christ and his immortal saints going out from Jerusalem to conquer Israel’s enemies. 

 

The Crowning of Joshua, the high priest

 

Verses 9-10, “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:  ‘Receive the gift from the captives---from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have come from Babylon---and go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah.” J. Vernon McGee has this to say, “Here we are given the names of three men who came from Babylon.  They had not come with either of the two groups of the remnant that returned to the land of Israel [Judah, Judea], but they came on their own.  The name Heldai means “robust”; Tobijah means “God’s goodness”; and Jedaiah means “God knows.”  Linking these names together indicates that God knows that through His goodness He intends to put His king upon the throne, and He will do it in a robust and powerful manner.  What will take place here is a symbolic crowning, but it pictures the coming of Christ to this earth to reign, which is, of course, yet future.” [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p.933, col.1, par. 4-5]  Verse 11, “Take the silver and gold, make an elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.”  Again from J. Vernon McGee we learn this about Joshua’s ceremonial crowning :  “This seems like a strange thing to do.  Why did they place the crown on the head of Joshua the high priest rather than on the head of Zerubbabel who was in the line of David?  The reason they were not to crown Zerubbabel is that God was not going to restore the line of David to the [Jewish] throne at that time.  The fact of the matter is that the next one who will wear the crown of David will be the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to this earth to establish His kingdom.  But crowning the high priest was very unusual because God kept the offices of king and priest entirely separate.  The explanation is found in the fact that Joshua, the high priest, in this passage is representative of the Lord Jesus Christ who is our Great High Priest today [cf. Hebrews 4:16].  The Epistle to the Hebrews tells us to consider our Great High Priest.  Christ, after His resurrection, ascended into heaven, and as our Great High Priest He has passed within the veil.  He is now seated at God’s right hand and is waiting for the time when his enemies will be made His footstool.  He will come forth and establish His kingdom here upon this earth.  The chapter before us pictures His coronation.  Notice the sequence that is followed in this little Book of Zechariah.  After the visions that depicted the judgment of God upon His people and upon all the gentile nations of the world, we have this, the coming of Christ and His crowning as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”  [ibed, p.933, col.1, par. 7-8, col.2, par.1-2]

 

The BRANCH

 

Verses 12-13, “Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying:  ‘Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!  From his place he shall branch out, and he shall build the temple of the LORD; yes, he shall build the temple of the LORD.  He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on his throne; so he shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.’”  The BRANCH is Jesus Christ, as defined in the prophecy of Isaiah 53:2, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground.  He has no form or comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”  We already saw in Haggai and Zephaniah the prophetic meaning of Jesus Christ building his Temple, as defined by Paul in his Epistles.  The Church, Body of Christ down through the ages is the spiritual Temple of God.  This again is a clear reference to Jesus Christ building his Temple, the Church.  (See http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/Zephaniah1.htm and scroll a short way to Zephaniah 2:1-3 and read that section, as well as http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophets/Haggai.html to read about the spiritual Temple Jesus is building.)  Also verse 13 refers to Jesus Christ’s role as our High Priest, Hebrews 4:14-16, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Verse 13 also points to Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming.  This crown that was symbolically placed on Joshua’s, the high priest’s head, was a crown denoting the dual rulership of king---line of David kingship---and High Priest, Church and State united under one crown.  Joshua being crowned here was merely a symbolic representation of the coronation ceremony of Jesus Christ, probably to occur just prior to his 2nd coming.  After this symbolic crowning of Joshua (which, by the way, re-instated the Levitical Aaronic Priesthood, which had lagged during the Babylonian captivity), the actual physical crown was then placed in the Temple as a memorial.  Joshua remained the high priest, but never took the reigns as king in the line of David.  It is suspected that Zerubbabel had been ordered back to Persia over fear he (he was in the line of David) would try to assume the role as king of Judah.  So you can imagine Joshua wanted nothing to do with this crown after this ceremony which God commanded to be performed.  Verse 14, “Now the elaborate crown shall be for a memorial in the temple of the LORD for Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah.”  Verse 15 is again another direct reference to us as believers helping to build “the Temple of the LORD.”  (Refer back to those links to Zephaniah and Haggai.)  “Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the LORD.  Then you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.  And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”


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