The Book of Zechariah
ZECHARIAH’S THIRD VISION
1. In the book of Zechariah, there is a series of eight visions, all given in one night. That must have been some night!
2. They were all given in one night but they span the centuries right up until the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His millennial kingdom.
3. The visions brought consolation and encouragement at a difficult time. They were directed to the remnant returning from the Babylonian exile, but they were not fulfilled in that day and will not be fulfilled until the second coming of Christ.
4. These visions took place five months after the work on the temple had been resumed (cf. Haggai 1:14, 15; 2:18).
5. The first vision is recorded in chapter 1 – the rider on the red horse (1:8). He is referred to in 1:11 as “the angel of the LORD.” Therefore most expositors identify him as the pre-incarnate Christ.
6. The second vision is also recorded in chapter 1 – the four horns and the four carpenters (1:18-21). Some expositors, such as C.I. Scofield, treat this vision as two separate visions. Furthermore, Scofield adds the Messianic prophecy in 3:8-10, for a total of ten visions
7. But most Bible teachers say there were eight, and that is the way we will teach it. Tonight we will look at the third vision (2:1-12).
8. We saw last week that the man (a surveyor) with the measuring line in 2:1 could very well be the pre-incarnate Christ. The prophet Ezekiel had a similar vision of the Lord as a surveyor measuring the millennial temple (Ezek. 40:3).
I. THE PROMISES PROCEEDING FROM THE VISION (2:4-11)
1. “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein” (2:4b). This promise signifies great expansion (“for the multitude of men and cattle therein”), and peace – walls are for protection. There will be true peace in that day because the Prince of Peace will be on His throne in Jerusalem.
2. The second promise is that the Lord Himself “will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her” (2:5). This will provide better protection than mere walls! Back in those days, shepherds would light campfires to keep the wolves away from the sheep. The songwriter wrote:
“He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
While I live by faith and do His blessed will;
A wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear,
With His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.”
· F.B. Meyer said, “Some put circumstances between them and God; it is far wiser to put God between oneself and circumstances.”
· In addition to being “a wall of fire round about” the city, the Lord “will be the glory in the midst of her.” This refers to the Shekinah glory which Ezekiel saw depart from the Jerusalem (Ezek. 9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:23). It will not return again until Christ comes back to set up His kingdom (Ezek. 43:1-5).
3. The third promise was that Israel would be restored after the dispersion. They were warned to “flee from the land of the north,” i.e., from Babylon (2:6). Babylon was to the east (a bit northeast) of Israel. Syria was to the north (and still is). This can easily be seen by looking at a map (cf. Scofield plate 6). However, it is referred to as “the land of the north” because armies and trading caravans from Babylon entered Palestine from the north due to the vast Arabian desert to the east (cf. Jer. 1:13-15). Travelers came by way of the “fertile crescent.”
· Babylon was judged and invaded but the fulfillment of this vision will take place at the end of the coming tribulation period when both religious and commercial Babylon will be destroyed (Rev. 17, 18).
· Both in the Old and the New Testaments, God’s people are commanded to come out of Babylon (Isa. 48:20; 52:11; Jer. 51:6; Rev. 18:4, 5).
· Notice that it is God who has scattered the Jews all over the world into “the four winds of heaven” (2:6b). As we have noted before, God scattered them in judgment (Lev. 26:32, 33; Ezek. 5:10), but He used the heathen nations to do it (Zech. 1:19-21).
4. The fourth promise was that the nations which had oppressed Israel would be judged and punished (2:8). Notice both God the Father (“He sent me…”) and God the Son (“He sent me…”).
5. The Holy Spirit is seen in Zech. 4:6 and other verses.
6. “The glory” refers to the second coming of Christ (Matt. 24:30; 25:31).
· The “apple of His eye” (2:8) refers to the pupil, the most sensitive and tender part of the eye. The idea is that the apple of the eye feels most acutely the slightest injury. This eloquently expresses the Lord’s attitude toward the mistreatment of His chosen people.
· I know what is like to have a speck of dirt or dust get into the pupil or apple of the eye – we can only imagine how mistreatment of the Jewish people must bother God.
· Charles Feinberg wrote, “This is a most fitting symbol for Israel, because, just as the light comes through the pupil, so the light of salvation has come through the Jews.” Our Lord said in John 4:22, “Salvation is of the Jews” (Feinberg, God Remembers).
· Israel is also called the apple of His eye in Deut. 32:10. It is interesting as I read a few commentaries before preparing this message. H.A. Ironside wrote of “angry mutterings of anti-Semitism in many parts of Europe, which are destined to start a conflagration of unequaled fierceness.” He wrote that in 1909. David Baron, himself a converted Jew, wrote that “German commentators…have no place at all in their theological and exegetical schemes for any future for Israel” (written in 1918).
· God will judge Israel’s enemies severely: He will shake them upside down so that there will be a complete reversal of fortune – those who were oppressing Israel will now be “their servants” (2:9). Notice again the references to God the Father sending God the Son (2:9, 11).
7. The fifth promise was that the earth will be prepared for its full millennial kingdom blessing. I will elaborate on this preparation in a few minutes. Notice the contrast between the wicked “daughter of Babylon” (2:7) and the “daughter of Zion” (2:10), who is to sing and rejoice (cf. Zeph. 3:14, 15). Note that in Zeph. 3:17 it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the songleader.
II. THE PREPARATION FOR THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM (2:10-13)
1. The first and most important step in preparation for the millennial kingdom will be the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, who “will dwell in the midst” of Jerusalem (Zech. 2:10; cf. Joel 3:17). As I have stated several times since starting this series on Zechariah, Jerusalem will be the capital city of the earth during the millennium (cf. Isa. 2:2, 3).
2. Secondly, the world will be prepared for the millennial kingdom by the proclamation of the gospel to the nations, resulting in “many nations” being “joined to the Lord in that day” (Zech. 2:11; cf. Matt. 24:14; Rev. 14:6). Notice that “and I will dwell in the midst of thee” is repeated for emphasis (2:10, 11).
3. Thirdly, Israel will finally realize that the Lord of hosts hath sent the Lord Jesus Christ to them (2:11b). It will be when Israel repents and accepts Jesus as their Messiah, that the Messianic kingdom is established (cf. Zech. 8:20-23; 12:10; Rev. 1:7).
4. Then after Israel accepts Jesus as their Messiah, “the Lord shall inherit Judah His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again” (2:12). This declaration is to show that even though the Lord will save “many nations” (2:11), He has in no sense abrogated His original election of the nation Israel (cf. Deut. 4:20; 7:6-8).
· The expression “holy land” only appears here in the Bible. Strictly speaking, it will not be the holy land until the millennial kingdom – it is not particularly holy today. The Lord “will remove the iniquity of that land in one day” (Zech. 3:9b). Israel will then be cleansed from her sin, reinstated and restored. Then she truly will be holy (cf. Isa. 62:12).
· God “shall choose Jerusalem again” (2:12b; cf. 1:17b; Ps. 132:13, 14).
5. The fifth and final phase of the preparation for the millennial kingdom will be the judgments upon the nations (2:13). This verse encompasses all the events and judgments described for us in great detail by Daniel the prophet, John in the book of Revelation, the apostle Paul in I & II Thessalonians, and the Lord Himself in His Olivet Discourse.
· Right now the heathen are raging (Ps. 2:1-3).
· But soon the Lord will be “raised up out of His holy habitation” (2:13). Then the heathen must “be silent” and “all flesh” must quietly submit to the judgment of God. “Flesh” signifies the weakness and frailty of mankind before our omnipotent and sovereign God (cf. Isa. 40:6-8). Rebellious, stiff-necked, God-defying man will be burned up like dry grass before a fire in the scorching heat of God’s anger and wrath.
1. The doctrine of the Trinity is clearly taught in the NT, but it is also intimated throughout the OT.
2. There is no other explanation for Zech. 2:8, 9.