These then are the eight visions given to Zechariah for the people of Jerusalem to encourage them in their task of rebuilding the Temple. They follow a simple pattern. The first three visions brought them promises of future blessing, then the next two contained a promise of the restoration and return to a spiritual religious and civil leadership under God’s guidance. The sixth and seventh visions came with promises to remove moral and spiritual disorders once and for all. Finally the eighth vision provided them with the promise that no matter what delays were met through mans poor communications, no matter what difficulties were put in their way by their enemies, God was still in control of the situation and working on their behalf they would simply carry on building to the Glory of God.Read More.
Through Zechariah 6:1-8 we have recorded the vision of the four chariots.
In this the last of the eight visions the prophet first sees four chariots, which symbolise the universality and speed and destructive power of God, from between two mountains of brass symbolic of endurance. These chariots are not the chariots of war but those of a ruler, e.g. Joseph while a ruler in Egypt. This vision was given at the end as a picture of the blessed truth that God is the all powerful one and that he endures forever, not one word of his shall fail. So the lesson to the Israelites in Jerusalem is that God is the supreme ruler, the supreme guardian of his people and he is protecting them. All that remains for them to do is to trust him and carry on with the work of building the Temple, for God is in control.Read More.
Through Zechariah 5:5-11 we have recorded the vision of the woman in the ephah.
This is the second of two visions which deals with the overthrow of evil by God in the land. The first one shows the pronouncement of God’s judgement and this second vision shows him accomplishing his word, when he removes not only the guilt of sin but the sin also.
The first object which meets the prophet’s eye is an ephah; this is a measure holding about three pecks or seven gallons. In the midst of it he saw a woman who represents wickedness, here symbolic of the very embodiment of evil in all its attractive surroundings and seductive manner, truly a full measure of sin. This had a lid made of lead, this being the heaviest metal would indicate the sureness of God dealing with the sin. This is then removed to the land of Shinar, that place where men first conspired to defeat God at the tower of Babel and where they met defeat at God’s hands.
This is a picture to gladden the heart of all true Israelites. God has effectively dealt with sin once and for all and has removed it out of the land never to rear its ugly head again. Having just dealt with the problem of sin it would encourage the people to continue with a renewed vigour their work and worship in building the Temple as a place for God to dwell.Read More.
Through Zechariah 5:1-4 we have recorded the vision of the Flying Scroll.
The first five visions are indeed prophecies of hope and glory, that one day Israel would indeed be great and prosperous again, but first both the land and the people must be cleansed from everything that defiled them. This problem of cleansing is the subject matter of this and the next visions.
The prophet turned and saw a flying scroll. The scroll is symbolic of the solemn pronouncements of God, that is God’s message, and the fact of its flying indicates three different truths. Firstly of its unhindered passage as nothing can stop it, secondly it indicates the swiftness of its accomplishment and thirdly the openness of its intention because all could see it. The message it carried was a curse to all law breakers, the soul that sins shall surely die. These three combined would indicate the swiftness and sureness of God’s wrath on the evil doer. The fact that the size of the scrolls is the same as the as that of the Holy Place in the tabernacle, would indicate that the judgement would be in accordance with the measure of the sanctuary. such a measure was considered to be the ultimate in justness and fairness and it would be with God’s judgement, swift yes, sure yes, but always righteous and just.
This is given to indicate to the people the seriousness of sin in the eyes of God and to teach them the truth about the absolute certainty of the judgement of God on the wicked, with this warning. Encouragement for the people to shun all that is evil.Read More.
Through Zechariah 4:1-14 we have recorded the vision of the Golden Candlestick.
In this vision Zechariah sees a golden candlestick with seven lamps. This takes us back in time to Israel’s early days and to the candlestick found in the Holy place of the tabernacle with its representation of the Holy Spirit of God. Note the reinforcement of Zechariah 4:6 “not by might or by power but by my Spirit says the The Lord of Hosts.” This would of course be an emblem of Israel’s restoration of religious or ecclesiastic position as a lamp of witness to their God among the nations.
The two olive trees – the anointed of the Lord would in this context refer to Zerubbabel and Joshua, the religious and civil leaders of Israel, the instruments of God who help keep the lamps burning. So in this vision God seeks to restore full confidence in the priesthood and Temple worship.
The previous vision showed God dealing with moral evil and once this is dealt with he now shows them that the candlestick is restored to its place. A spiritual religious leader and a just civil leader, aided by God, this would continue as a spiritual blessing to Israel. On a higher plane, the candlestick speaking of the perfect work of the Spirit in his relationship to Christ was achieved in Christ, our high priest and King.Read More.
Through Zechariah 3:1-10 we have recorded the vision of Joshua before the angel of Jehovah
This vision starts with a court room scene with the judge being the Angel of Jehovah and before him stands the accused, Joshua the High Priest. He, Joshua, is of course there as the spiritual head or representative of the nation and he is confronted by Satan. The Lord rebukes Satan and puts him in his place saying I have chosen Jerusalem and the Jewish People. This is sufficient reason to snatch them as a brand from the burning fire however unsightly they may well be. God has chosen them. Joshua stands before the judge in filthy clothes which is indicative of the people’s sin (cf Isaiah 64:6) but God removes the garments and in doing this he removes the sin they represent (Rom 8:33). Joshua is reclothed in garments of righteousness and given a fair mitre; the headdress of princes indicating that the people are now forgiven and the High Priest Office as an effective means of communion with God is restored in his sight.
There is of course God’s usual and perfectly correct instruction for them to be obedient with a promise of blessing if they do obey. There is also contained here the promise of the Messiah who will restore all things; he will completely remove iniquity. The ‘stone laid’ and ‘upon the stone seven eyes’ are again a reference to the Messiah (Isaiah 28:16) and the seven eyes could be referring to his omniscience, or, as a certain Jewish Commentator explains this phrase, the eyes are looking upon the stone and therefore would suggest that all eyes are upon him, admiring his beauty and glory.
The whole portion is to encourage the people of Jerusalem, by demonstrating to them how that God would restore their religious position as a Holy People by removing their sin and imputing to them his own righteousness; this was to be fulfilled [but only in part] in Joshua their representative and thus restore their faith in the Temple Worship. This would, of course, come perfectly through the excellent offices of the Messiah who would be omniscient. He would restore everything to surpass their former glory and under his guidance everyone would prosper and all would show kindness and truly; Israel would be blessed indeed.Read More.
The first three visions are very closely linked together and form a small series. In the first we have Jehovah jealous for his Holy City Jerusalem and his displeasure at the way the nations have treat his people. He gives to the prophet, for the people, a definite promise of his return to bless and to dwell there and that all the people would enjoy his blessing. The second vision is a continuation and sequel to the consoling and encouraging message of the first vision as it describes how God will overthrow the gentile powers who have cruelly oppressed the Jews. The third vision concludes this series with a picture of the gentiles disposed and a wonderful account of the greatness of the prosperity of the Jewish nation, which was once more in the promised land and under the protection and guidance of God. The fourth and fifth visions like the previous three, form a separate little unit and yet are linked with all the others. The first group covered a series of comfortable words, about the defeat of the gentiles and the restoration of Israel as a nation and the promise of a return to the former spiritual relationship. It is difficult to see how these promises could be fulfilled and the target achieved given that the people were immoral, surely their grievous sins had forfeited this glorious future. However these next two visions show how God will restore the spiritual and civil attitude towards himself.Read More.
Through Zechariah 2:1-13 is recorded the vision of the surveyor forbidden to measure Jerusalem.
This third vision which the prophet sees, consists of a young man measuring the city of Jerusalem. The purpose is unclear, it could be that he was measuring to gain an insight into what repair work still needed to be done. An angel appears to have been sent with the purpose of halting him. God had promised prosperity and peace. He had promised that the Temple would be rebuilt and that he would reside there once again. However so great would be the prosperity and peace that there would be no point in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, for the area they enclosed was inadequate for what lay ahead, and there would be no need for walls as the fire of the Lord would surround and protect them: any daring to interfere would be touching the apple of God’s eye. They were so precious to him and in so doing would bring the wrath of God upon themselves and they would become the spoil of their servants. The call goes out to every Jew to return to Jerusalem, for there you shall be blessed and enjoy blessing, for God will make you a blessing to every nation and will dwell in your midst. This vision has still a future application to the Jewish nation, a possible look forward to the millennial reign of Christ.Read More.
Through Zechariah 1:18-21 we have recorded the vision of the four horns and the four craftsmen
In this his second vision, the prophet sees first four horns. Now throughout the whole of scripture the horn is used as a symbol of strength and power 1 Sam 2:1-10, and the number four is the scriptural number to describe completeness and universality. In Revelation 7:1 and Isaiah 11:12 the whole world is described as to the four corners of the earth. The totality of the power of the Jews enemies at this point of time, or so it seemed to the Jews, as they were ravaged and scattered throughout the nations of that period. But then the prophet sees that four craftsmen have arisen with the appointed task of cutting down the horns. The craftsmen and their task is a picture of divine judgement, and as the enemies of the Jews have been described as universal, so is the judgement of God. The lesson here for those in Jerusalem is that although many of their people were still in captivity, as only a few had returned to Jerusalem and they were being threatened by their foes, this vision shows them the absolute folly of being afraid of their enemies. God is still in control of the situation and his sure judgement will fall on her opponents.Read More.
Through Zechariah 1:7-11 we have recorded the vision of the horseman among the myrtles.
In Zechariah 1:8 and comparing with Zechariah 1:11, Zechariah notices a man riding (missing word) reveals that it is MALAKH YEHOVAH, translated ‘The Angel of Jehovah’ or ‘The Angel of His Face’. Whatever the actual translation, it is meant to convey the idea of the visible manifestation of God, the Son (Genesis 18:1-3). He was riding in the Myrtle, not the proud cedar or the spreading oak, these which symbolise world powers, but the myrtle, symbolic of Israel and divine generosity. These (myrtle trees) are hidden away in the ravine, referring to the position of Israel as a being in a world empire almost lost from sight.
The many horsemen depict the many servants of Jehovah, and their different coloured horses relate to the truth, that from all places and nations throughout the whole earth they have come to report to Jehovah.
Here is the graphic picture of the messengers of God, having departed and travelled throughout the whole world and seen the gentile nations at ease and Israel greatly troubled, return and give their report to The Lord who is displeased. So God acts and in this vision he shows that despite being small, in captivity and having problems, that God is still actively interested in their welfare. He is going to visit them and give them prosperity: from his heart shall flow all his divine goodness to them. Therefore those in Jerusalem should put away fear and be comforted by the Lord.Read More.
The visions of Zachariah pose many challenges, not least in establishing an appropriate method of interpretation. We could study profitably these visions giving a spiritual interpretation, relating each of them to the needs and situation of the church, as the body of Christ either universally or locally, throughout the whole of church history or perhaps even just to our own presenttime. We could consider them with our eyes fixed upon our own individual and personal position and need. However, as I intend doing, we should interpret them in their historical context and original setting. Seeing their original meaning as an encouragement to the people of Jerusalem to be a a renewed and sustained effort to complete the rebuilding of the Temple.
The eight visions we are about to examine, came about three months after Zechariah’s first address, which was comprised mainly of a call to repentance, and only five months have past since Zerubbabel and Joshua and all the people had been stirred to the work of rebuilding the Temple.
Through the preaching of Haggai, when he promised them that God would shake the kingdoms and out of which he would increase the glory of their Temple and State, but they were now growing anxious and impatient asking: “Was this really going to happen?”, “Was God’s word going to be fulfilled?” Was the Temple going to be rebuilt and grow in splendour? Was Jerusalem going to prosper? Was it all ‘castles in the air?’ It is to these people, who were unsure and doubting, that these eight visions are sent to reassure them that Jehovah is at work and his word would be fulfilled.Read More.
The fifth verse of this simple Psalm acts out three special thoughts for all believers to accept and put into action.
The first thought is to rejoice in God’s salvation. For too long the world has looked on the Christian as sober killjoys, much like the old puritan in Oliver Cromwell’s era, perhaps we have lost the sense of joy in the wonderful truth that we all have joy as a gift John 15:11. If you think you have lost that sense of joy pray like the Psalmist.
Secondly we forget we are volunteers in the army of Christ. The arm of Christ is in a spiritual war Ephesians 6. The banner in old times denoted whose army you were in. Solomon declares his banner over me is love; we who are Christians are in the army of God and enjoy his bountiful love always.
Lastly we are setting up our banner. It is a public demonstration that we are on the Lord’s side. It is also a bold declaration that we will remain true to Him in all circumstances of life.
‘all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.’ 1 Samuel 17:47Read More Psalm Reflections.