Vision

Day 23 » Zechariah 4-6

Today's guest blog was written by Jenny Herald. Jenny is a graduate of Virginia Tech and wrote this blog all the way in Germany where she works for Wunderlist. The best to-do list app ever. She also does many other impressive things, but if they were all written down there wouldn't be enough room in this blog to contain them. 

Today's guest blog was written by Jenny Herald. Jenny is a graduate of Virginia Tech and wrote this blog all the way in Germany where she works for Wunderlist. The best to-do list app ever. She also does many other impressive things, but if they were all written down there wouldn't be enough room in this blog to contain them. 

No doubt, interpreting scriptural passages concerning prophecies can get tricky. Thankfully, Zechariah has some help in Chapters 4-6. We find him talking to an angel. As I read through this passage the first time, I thought to myself, how frightening yet amazing would it be to a) see a vision b) have the word of the Lord come to me and c) get to discuss all of this with an angel?

While in conversation with an angel, Zechariah is shown a “…solid gold lamp stand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” (Zechariah 4:3) Naturally, as most of us would if in Zechariah’s position, Zechariah asks the angel, “What are these, my lord?”

The angel then answers with a question. “Do you not know what these are?” (Zechariah 4:4)

Zechariah doesn’t lie. He says he doesn’t know. (Zechariah 4:5)

So the angel explains—“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)

Zechariah’s vision was the word of the Lord (in a symbolic form)! God’s word provides guidance for Israel (and continues to do so for us). Now, you might ask, what about the rest of verse 6? The angel imparts upon our prophet an important concept. **God is able to bring about his holy design without the aid of things we humans seem to rely upon—power and might.**

“Then the word of the Lord came to _Zechariah_: The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.” (Zechariah 4:8-9) Zechariah received the word of the Lord. Not only would the foundation of God’s holy temple be laid by Zerubbabel, it would be completed under his rule as well.

Zechariah then harkens back to the original vision. “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?” he asks. The angel replies, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.” These ‘two’, if we go back to the previous interpretation of the vision symbolizing the Bible refers to the Old and New testaments—ultimately the Law and Christ.

In Chapter 5 of Zechariah we find two more visions. Zechariah sees a flying scroll. It measured “twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide” or 30 feet long and 15 feet wide (or about 9 meters long and 4.5 meters wide). 

Again, the angel explains what Zechariah is seeing. The angel says, “This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished. The Lord Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.’” (Zechariah 5:3-4) The message is crystal clear: God will punish violators of His sacred law.

The remaining verses in Chapter 5 describe the other vision—The Woman in a Basket. The angel lifts the “cover of lead” and there sat a woman. (Zechariah 5:7) The angel then says, “This is wickedness.” (Zechariah 5:8) Then the angel closes the lid. Afterwards two women with “wings of a Stork” carry the basket away. (Zechariah 5:9) They carry the basket to Babylonia. (Zechariah 5:11) It is interesting that Wickedness is removed from the land of God’s people to Babylon, where they were previously captives.  What does that mean for us? **We, as God’s people, should avoid (or if necessary leave) environments that are destructive to our faith. Furthermore, we should reject idolatry (which is something Babylon was known for).**

Chapter 6 provides the last vision (in a series of eight) followed by another a word of the Lord. Zechariah sees four chariots of God. The angel tells Zechariah, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.” (Zechariah 6:5-6) These chariots symbolize God’s power being universal. **God is Lord over all.**

After this final vision, God told Zechariah to “Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak. Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’ The crown will be given to Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the Lord.” (Zechariah 6:11-14)

The crowning of Joshua is merely symbolic. After a brief coronation, the crown was given as a memorial in the temple of the Lord. Why? Because as seen in the final passage of Chapter 6, the scriptures reveal a foreshadowing of Jesus. Zechariah prophesied of the coming Messiah. The action of placing a crown on Joshua’s (the priest’s) head connects the dots for God’s people. The Jews would understand the word ‘Branch’ referred to the promised Messiah (see Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5 and Jeremiah 33:15). Jesus, alone, was given authority to sit and rule on his throne over all of heaven and earth (see Matthew 28:18) Only He combines both priesthood and kingship in perfect harmony. Praise be to God!

Day 22 » Zechariah 1-3

This blog post was written by Karen Keyser. Karen is the Director of Chi Alpha International at Georgetown University.

This blog post was written by Karen Keyser. Karen is the Director of Chi Alpha International at Georgetown University.

Zechariah was both a priest and a prophet who ministered during the same time as Haggai. His name, Zechariah, means “Yahweh remembers.” Because God remembers, there is hope for the people of Israel. God will remember His covenant and will keep His promises.

Zechariah was written to comfort and encourage the returned remnant to repent of their evil ways, to return to the Lord and to rebuild the temple. His message also proclaims that God would send the Messiah to establish His Kingdom.

The book opens with a call to remembrance. The Israelites are to reflect on the discipline that came to their ancestors who ignored the prophets in the past. The Israelites are to repent, recognizing that what God had done in discipline was what was deserved.

Then the book records a series of visions which portray God’s plans for Israel’s future. First a report of horse riders reveals that God is angry with the nations that are at ease, or self-satisfied, because, although He wanted these nations to discipline Israel, they went too far. In response, God is going to choose by grace to restore the prosperity of Israel and place his temple in Jerusalem.

Zechariah then sees four horns and four craftsman. The horns are the foreign nations used to discipline Israel and to bring humility. These Gentile nations (the horns) used in discipline are followed by other nations (craftsmen) who come along to discipline these Gentile nations who became arrogant in their domination.

Zechariah then sees a man on his way to measure Jerusalem to ensure that there will be enough space for all the people who will dwell there in the coming prosperity. But an angel says Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle and God’s glory in her midst. This is a comforting and encouraging message to the people that Yahweh will come to dwell in the midst of Israel (probably a reference to the millenium).  

Joshua the priest is then accused by Satan. Joshua seems to represent the nation of Israel. Satan is pointing out Israel’s unfaithfulness as being unworthy of God’s favor. But God’s answer is that God has chosen Israel and Israel will be saved. The Lord is going to put clean clothes on Joshua symbolic of purifying the nation. “In that day,” Israel will sit under the shade of their own tree and invite their neighbor to sit under the tree with them. In other words, they will fulfill their God given task of being a witness and blessing to the nations.

From these chapters I am reminded that not only is God gracious to discipline his people to humble them, but He is faithful to encourage them about the sure hope for the future. No matter how difficult our present struggles may be, the Messiah has come, has purified us, and has brought a future hope that is sure.

Ideas adapted from Hampton Keithley IV, bible.org, “Zechariah”, June 18 2004.