Zechariah the Prophet

February 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Zechariah | Leave a comment
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The first Biblical words of Zechariah the prophet were plain-spoken words and they were a call to repentance. Later he began to pronounce his dreams and visions and prophecies of mercy. We need this kind of preaching in the Church today. People are enamored of the supernatural and of the idea that God would charm people with special words of prophecy about the future – especially if these prophecies foretell the mercy of God. But God’s mercy means little to its recipients without a realistic understanding of how God is “sore displeased” (Zechariah 1:2) with our sin.

Here are the previous lessons on the Book of Zechariah:

Where Are They Now?
Night Visions Part 1
Night Visions Part 2
Beware the Feminine Force
Night Visions Part 3 (*)
The Possessiveness of God
Listening with One Ear (Zechariah 7)
Order in the Church
Jesus the Great
The True Shepherd Vs. The Evil Shepherd
The Cleansing Fountain

* most popular post in category

The Cleansing Fountain

May 13, 2010 at 11:43 am | Posted in Zechariah | 3 Comments
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In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

Zechariah 13:1

Zechariah prophesied about a fountain that would cleanse God’s people from their sins.

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

William Cowper

Unlike earthly water, this blood cleanses the heart, and it will cleanse the people from their desire to worship false idols and follow false prophets.

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

Zechariah 12:2-3

Here we see the nations preparing to drink the cup of Jerusalem, but the contents make them sick and drunk. This describes the campaign of Armageddon.

For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Zechariah 14:2

The nations will invade and find an immovable rock that will cut them to pieces. This is the result:

And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

Zechariah 14:9

The geography will change and the land will be healed.

All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

Zechariah 14:10-11

The Lord will be worshiped at Jerusalem.

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Zechariah 14:16

Safety will be the order of the day.

And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

Zechariah 14:11

There will be true justice.

And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Zechariah 14:18

Holiness will be the norm.

In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

Zechariah 14:20-21

Zechariah, following the great comforting pattern of Bible prophecy, gives us wondrous promises to keep us looking to God.

The True Shepherd Vs. The Evil Shepherd

May 3, 2010 at 10:27 am | Posted in Zechariah | 11 Comments
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In Chapter 10 Zechariah revealed the image of the flock and the evil shepherd.

For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.

Zechariah 10:2-3

In Chapter 11 he preached an “action sermon” about the true Shepherd.

Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

Zechariah 11:8

He got rid of three unfaithful shepherds. Shepherds carry a crook (for guiding) and a rod (for protecting).

And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD. And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

Zechariah 11:10-13

When Zechariah quit, they only paid him 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave. He got disgusted and gave it to a potter in the temple. This reminds us of Judas who sold out the Great and True Shepherd for the same price, and wound up buried in a potter’s field.

Matthew attributes this prophecy to Jeremiah.

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;

Matthew 27:9

The reason may be that Jeremiah is the major prophet and Zechariah was a minor prophet, or it may be that Zechariah referred to Jeremiah’s prophecy when he did what he did.

A foolish shepherd does not feed his flock.

And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces.

Zechariah 11:15-16

Instead he feeds himself with the flock, which is a mark of the Antichrist.

Contrast the true Shepherd:

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

Zechariah 13:7

This prophecy is fulfilled when Jesus is referred to as equal with God.

Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Matthew 26:31

But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Matthew 26:56

This also refers to the scattering of the Jews after A.D. 70 when Rome destroyed the temple.

Jesus the Great

April 20, 2010 at 10:03 am | Posted in Biblical Greats, Zechariah | 2 Comments
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Lord, help us to be focused, to keep our mind on You. Help us not to separate what we learn from what we do. Help us to remember Your ways and Your Person. Help us to remember Your people, Your church, and the lost. Help us to remember that our afflictions are light considering our blessings, and definitely light compared to what You suffered for us.

Zechariah 9:1-8 describes the conquests of Alexander the Great.

Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.

Zechariah 9:5

And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.

Zechariah 9:8

Alexander the Great paved the way for Greek civilization and the Roman empire, which in turn brought about a united language, the spread of roads and information, and some stability in government. Due in part to the achievements of Alexander the Great, Christ Jesus was not crucified in private.

Zechariah prophesied that Jerusalem would be spared – and it was. The high priest had a dream, and the priests and the people dressed in white, and opened the city gates. Alexander was impressed, and he even offered sacrifices to God in the temple.

Notice these contrasts between Alexander and Christ:

a. Alexander wept because there were no more lands to conquer. (He couldn’t conquer any more people.) Christ wept because the people rejected Him. (He couldn’t set them free.)

b. Alexander rode a mighty steed. Christ rode a donkey.

c. Alexander received great fanfare. Christ’s chief moment of public acclaim involved peasants, children singing, and palm branches.

d. Alexander brought judgment. Christ brought grace and forgiveness.

e. Alexander threatened death if a city wouldn’t surrender. Christ died for the people who wouldn’t surrender.

In Zechariah Chapter 10 we see images of the flock which is victimized by an evil shepherd.

For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.

Zechariah 10:2-3

Order in the Church

April 13, 2010 at 10:41 am | Posted in I Corinthians, Zechariah | 13 Comments
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One day Jesus Christ will rule and reign over this earth in a very visible way. He will be physically present in Jerusalem as King. This reign will last for 1000 years, and is sometimes called the “millennial kingdom.” People from all the nations of the earth will travel to Jerusalem to worship the King.

Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.

Zechariah 8:22

This will be a fulfillment of the one of the Lord’s great purposes for the Jewish people: to be a witness of God’s glory to the gentiles. This does not mean that today the Jewish people hold a privileged position over everyone else. Under the New Covenant everyone becomes a child of God the same way: by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. There is “no difference” between Jews and gentiles when it comes to salvation (Romans 10:12).

When Jesus Christ went to the temple in ancient Israel, He was angry about what the Jews had done to the “Court of the Gentiles.” This was supposed to be a place where gentiles learned to worship the One True God, but instead it had become a way for the temple priests and leaders to make a profit (Matthew 21:12-13).

It is clear from the Bible that those who know God are to share that knowledge with those who do not know God. Under the Old Covenant, the Jews were supposed to be good examples to gentiles, and to share their faith with unbelievers. Under the New Covenant, Christians are supposed to do likewise toward those who are without Christ. This is a sharp rebuke to those who would gear their church services toward either profit or entertainment. Certainly people who trust in Christ have every reason to be joyful – especially when we congregate together. But we must be very careful of the external appearance of our worship.

If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

I Corinthians 14:23

The proclamation of the Word of God and prayer – not exuberant confusion – should be given the most time, the most attention, and the most emphasis whenever there is the possibility of an unbeliever coming in among an assembly of believers.

But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

I Corinthians 14:24-25

The Possessiveness of God

April 6, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Posted in Zechariah | 6 Comments
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Lord, please make those of us who have received Christ to be a people that do not love the world. Help us to crucify our love for material things. Help us to use the gifts You’ve given us not as toys to play with, nor as weapons to fight each other with, nor as trophies to admire – but as tools to build with for Your glory. In the Name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

Zechariah Chapter 7 tells us that, once the walls and the Temple had been rebuilt, the people wanted to know from Zechariah if they needed to continue celebrating the fast that commemorated the burning of the Temple.

Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying, Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?

Zechariah 7:4-6

Traditions are often good, even though traditionalism is bad. We have about 2000 years of Christian tradition, documented history, and writings. Even more important than that, we have the immutable Word of God. No Scripture is of private interpretation. If my interpretation disagrees with 1900 of the 2000 years of Christian scholarship, it does not automatically mean my interpretation is wrong, but it certainly means that we should scrutinize my interpretation very carefully in light of the Bible. For the people in Zechariah’s time, God did not want to address the issue of the fasts that commemorated tragedies right away. First He wanted them to know that it’s more important to repent of the sins that caused the tragedies.

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.

Zechariah 7:9-10

In Zechariah 8 God begins to speak through Zechariah, not as if this was a starting-over of His covenants, but as if this was a renewing of His covenants.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.

Zechariah 8:2-3

It is as if God is saying, “You’ve been away from Me, and I had to chasten You. But I am a jealous God. I am jealous of my people, and I am coming back.” It was a great blessing for the Lord’s presence to dwell among His people, for it meant that they were safe. But He is not speaking euphemistically when He says “My” people. These people were His favorites. They belonged to Him – He owned them. He considered them to be married to Him.

It is a terrible thing to cheat on an earthly spouse, but people do it and take their chances. To cheat on a jealous God Who rules the universe is another matter – far more serious. This doctrine of “I will be your God, and you will be My people” runs all through Scripture.

And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.

Zechariah 8:8

This is the love of God. He loves His people. He doesn’t plead with them to know that He is God – He wants to be their God. And He does not need to change so the people will like Him better. He must give His people a new heart because sinful hearts are not just indifferent about God. They are God-hating and God-mocking.

As Christians, we live on promises, not explanations. When I am sick, I go to the doctor and I want him to give me medicine, not a medical book. The love of God is beyond our ability to explain. But we must receive it by faith. Looking in the mirror of God’s Word and seeing my sin, and believing by faith that God loves me, is a great miracle. We will be His people and He will be our God.

The Lord answers the questions about the fasts in Zechariah 8:19: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.” His answer is that fasting will turn into feasting.

Night Visions Part 3

March 25, 2010 at 9:51 am | Posted in Zechariah | 4 Comments
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Zechariah Chapter 5 contains the vision that I like to call “The Legend of the Flying Scroll.” The other vision in Chapter 5 is the woman in the bushel basket. She wants to get out, but a talent of lead is placed on her, and she is carried to Babylon by two angels. She originally represents the idolatry of female gods. The Hebrew word for “wickedness” is a feminine-form word.

The years in Babylon had seemed to cure Israel of idolatry. What remained was the commercialism bred by the practice of idolatry. This is one reason why Babylon is referenced in the New Testament as the world system. The world cares little if you worship false gods – its motivation is to make a profit. Money, material wealth, toys, and the false security of finances are the new gods of the modern world. The love of money is the root of all evil.

Zechariah Chapter 6 gives us the last of Zechariah’s night visions – the vision of the four chariots and horses. These horses delivered judgment to the Gentile nations. This will occur during the “Day of the Lord” (the Tribulation).

Then the Lord tells Zechariah that three wealthy men are coming from Babylon to bring the funds to finish the temple.

Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;

Zechariah 6:10-11

So Zechariah obeys the Lord and takes their silver and gold and makes a (multi-tiered) crown, and he crowns Joshua king. This is the first time in the Bible we see a priest being crowned king. When this happens it is symbolic of Christ, and it reminds us of Melchizedek, encountered by Abram in Genesis 14. He was also a priest and king combined in one, and a foreshadowing of Christ, Who is the True Great High Priest and the One True King over all kings.

Zechariah’s crowning of Joshua is also noteworthy because God judged Uzziah for trying to combine the priesthood with the kingship.

And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.

Zechariah 6:14

Zechariah’s visions occurred on February 15, 519, or 517 B.C. Sebat (Shevat) is the 11th month. It begins in January-February of the common calendar year, so the 24th day would be what most of us call February 15.

Night Visions Part 2

March 18, 2010 at 11:32 am | Posted in Zechariah | 7 Comments
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In the previous lesson on Zechariah we started looking at the prophet’s visions which came in the night.

1. The first was a vision of a Man on a red horse, the Angel of the Lord (Christ) leading an army of men on brown and white horses.

2. The second vision was a vision of horns and carpenters – dealing with the Gentile nations who had chastened Judah.

3. The third vision was a vision of measuring and reclaiming ownership, and of the Lord preparing again to dwell with His people.

4. In the fourth vision, there was a courtroom trial.

And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

Zechariah 3:1

That vision concluded with a picture of the priestly ministry of Christ as the Branch – the Messiah Who would save His people, and be their One True High Priest. That vision also gave us a picture of Christ as the Stone.

5. The fifth vision was the vision of the candlestick and the olive trees. The candlestick, or lampstand, represented Christ (the Light of the World.)

Remember, Zechariah started off with a harsh message of repentance: Where are your fathers? Where are the prophets? Zechariah was having a rough night, but he was also getting to deliver some good messages of comfort… When suddenly everything screeches to a halt in Chapter 5!

Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.

Zechariah 5:1-3

The “flying roll” that Zechariah saw was not the kind of delicious bread that we used to call a “roll” in north Louisiana. And it was not the kind of “roll” you find at Lambert’s, “the Home of the Throwed Rolls,” although those rolls sure do fly! And even though “The Legend of the Flying Scroll” sounds more like a Kung Fu movie than a prophetic vision, that’s what this “roll” was: a scroll.

It was huge scroll, too: 20 cubits by 10 cubits. I believe these measurements were meant by the Holy Spirit to point us to the porch of Solomon’s temple and the holy place before the Holy of Holies, which, I think, was also 10 X 20 cubits.

When you read Deuteronomy Chapter 27 you see the people on Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, and they are “amen-ing” the terms of the covenant, and agreeing to keep the Law:

Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Deuteronomy 27:26

Zechariah 5:3 tells us that the roll has a curse “for every one that stealeth,” which is the 8th Commandment, and a curse for “every one that sweareth,” which is the 3rd Commandment. If Zechariah saw this scroll opened like a book, then the 3rd and 8th Commandments would be the “middle” of the first and second of each half of the 10 Commandments (five on each side). Therefore, I believe the flying scroll represents the Law of God, which had to be dealt with on the way to the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple, and which brought curses upon God’s people (in accordance with their own prior agreement) when broken.

I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.

Zechariah 5:4

When the people shouted all those “amens” in Deuteronomy 27 they really did themselves in, agreeing to keep the Law. However, the Law was not wicked. God had a purpose and a plan with the Law.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Galatians 3:10-13

If I open my Bible in the middle and lay the spine on my palm, face-up, it looks like the open flying scroll. Imagine a giant Bible flying through the air – a living Word – identifying and seeking those who have broken God’s law. Imagine it coming into your home – into the midst of your home – and remaining there. The roll of God’s law brings conviction. Conviction leads to a crisis (a crossroads). You don’t know which road to take, but you must choose one or the other. Christ is one Road: follow this Road, and you will be a new creature. Remaining under the curse is the other road: that road leads to condemnation. Christ became the curse for us, so that the flying roll would not have to enter our house and destroy it, and us with it.

The next post in the series – Night Visions Part 3 – finishes up in Zechariah Chapters 5 and 6.

Night Visions Part 1

March 8, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Posted in Zechariah | 5 Comments
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On February 15, 519 B.C., Zechariah had a series of eight night visions. The first was a vision of a Man on a red horse, the Angel of the Lord (Christ) leading an army of men on red and speckled and white horses.

Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.

Zechariah 1:7-8

An interpreting angel explained to Zechariah that Christ was interceding on behalf of the Jewish people with the Gentile nations.

The second vision was a vision of horns and carpenters, again dealing with the Gentile nations which had chastened Judah. These nations had built upon each other, but the Lord will one day restore Jerusalem.

The third vision was a vision of measuring and reclaiming ownership, and of the Lord preparing again to dwell with His people.

I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.

Zechariah 2:1

For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.

Zechariah 2:5

Zechariah 2:8 contains one of our modern common expressions: “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” The apple is the pupil: pupilla, or “little doll.” But it is also the part of the eye which reflects. A teacher sees a reflection of himself in the eye of a student, and students sometimes bring their teachers apples.

Zerubbabel was the governor and Joshua was the high priest. In the fourth vision, there was a courtroom trial.

And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

Zechariah 3:1

Joshua was on trial. Satan was the prosecutor. Jesus was the defense attorney, and God was the judge. We know the outcome: Joshua’s attorney stood before His client to take the punishment on Himself.

And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.

Zechariah 3:4

The vision concludes with two pictures: one of the priestly ministry of Christ as the Branch – the Messiah Who would save His people and be their One True High Priest; the other of Christ as the Stone. A stone can be a stumblingblock or a building material. It can be smitten or used to smite. It can be rejected or received. Christ the Stone is like a diamond. A diamond with facets can be turned toward the light to show its multiple beauties, and there is beauty from every angle. But eventually a flaw will appear in even the most perfect diamond. That is where the analogy ends, for Christ has no flaws, and God’s will has no flaws. If a rock formed in the ground can possess seemingly limitless beauty, how much more beautiful and eternal is the glory of God!

And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,

Zechariah 4:1

Either Zechariah was having a really rough night, or these visions were just plain exhausting! I suspect the latter. Seeing visions from God and understanding their meaning wore Daniel out. We should be suspicious of those who claim prophetic visions with a flippant attitude.

The next vision was the vision of the candlestick and the olive trees. The candlestick, or lampstand, represented Christ (the Light of the World). It also represented God’s people, the nation of Israel. The two olive trees represented Joshua the priest and Zerubbabel the governor. From this vision we get the oft-quoted Bible verse:

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

Zechariah 4:6

Solomon had might (military) and power (wealth). Zerubbabel had neither – but he had God’s Spirit. He would not be known (like Solomon) for the “wisdom of Zerubbabel” or the “wealth of Zerubbabel.” He would be known as the one who God’s Spirit worked through to bring glory to God. We can try to do the work of the Lord three ways:

1. In our own strength (our own wisdom, our own way)

2. By borrowing the world’s resources

Both of these may look successful at the outset, but they are doomed to fail. Or,

3. By depending upon the power of God

This third way guarantees success.

Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

Zechariah 4:7

When God’s Spirit takes over, it may look like we moved the mountain, but God gets the glory. The only thing “great” about “great men and women of God” are the grace-gifts bestowed upon them by God. The smaller, the weaker, the more broken the thing He uses, the more glory He gets.

Where Are They Now?

March 3, 2010 at 10:21 am | Posted in Biblical Remembering, Zechariah | 4 Comments
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The name Zechariah meant “the Lord remembers.” This is not just referring to the omniscience of God. It also refers to His faithfulness. He never forgets His promises or His people in their times of trouble. Zechariah was a prophet and a priest. Other notable Bible heroes who held both offices include Ezekiel, John the Baptist, and Habakkuk. Zechariah’s prophecies are alluded to at least 41 times in the New Testament. His book emphasizes the need for repentance in drawing near to God – so that God will draw near to us.

Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.

Zechariah 1:3

This idea of drawing near to God, and Him drawing near to us in return is found several times in the Bible.

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

James 4:8, emphasis added

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Hebrews 7:19, emphasis added

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:22, emphasis added

Our drawing near to God must contain the element of repentance. Zechariah asks the people two very pointed questions:

Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?

Zechariah 1:5

The answer to the first question – “Where are your fathers?” – was that their fathers were dead or in exile as a result of chastening for their disobedience. The answer to the second question – “What about the prophets?” – was that they had slain the prophets. The words of the prophets were the Words of God. His prophets can be slain, but His Word cannot be slain.

But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.

Zechariah 1:6, emphasis added

“Take hold of” in this verse means to overtake after a chase. God’s Word (especially the Old Covenant commandments) was accepted by the people because they wanted God’s blessings. However, they also agreed to be bound by God’s curses if they disobeyed.

Lord, help us to turn away from our idols, and to turn toward You. Help us to turn our face and our feet and our minds, and most of all our hearts, to You. Lord, turn Your face toward us. Draw near to us, Lord. We dare to make such a request only because of the precious blood of Jesus, for Your presence will destroy the unholy and the vain – the empty – the foolish things which stand in places where only Your glory should stand. Lord, You are holy, so we ask You to draw near to us with great trust in Your mercy. In the precious Name of Christ the Lord we pray. Amen.

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