ZECHARIAH 1:1 – 4:14 and REVELATION 19:1–10
Zechariah is the 2nd of the post exilic prophets that we will now consider. The name Zechariah means the “Lord Remembers”. He was actually a prophet who bore a message of “remembrance” to Israel as the work of Restoration began. The Lord remembered the promises that He earlier spoke through the pre-exile prophets and his message served as an encouragement and blessing to the people. Zechariah was of a priestly descent; he was the grandson of Iddo, who worked alongside Joshua and Zerubbabel. His prophetic ministry commenced two months after Haggai began his. His prophetic ministry was to be an encouragement to Zerubbabel who was tasked with the rebuilding of the temple. He also encouraged Joshua the priest who was experiencing opposition from the sons of Esarhaddon (Ezra 4-5).
The Book of Zechariah can be broken down into 6 parts.
1) A Call to Repentance (1:2-6)
2) The 8 Visions (1:7-6:8)
3) Crowning of Joshua (6:9-15)
4) A Call to Fasting (7:1-14)
5) Restoration of Israel (8:1-11:17)
6) The 2nd Coming (12:1-14:21)
The Lord speaks through Zechariah that if the people would turn from their ways unto God, He would then turn unto them. This is very similar to James 4:8 that speaks about drawing nigh unto God resulting in his drawing nigh unto us. In our walk with God there is the part that God employs and then there is the required response of man. God is the one who initiates but it is up to man to choose whether he will respond. At the end of the day we are judged by the choices we make in life. We are a product of what is in our heart. There are times when God will bring a measure of sorrow for the purpose of getting our attention so that we turn back to Him.
The Lord serves a reminder that the refusal of walking in His ways will cause Israel to end up as Israel of old. They had the Law, the commandment, promises and warnings yet they chose to disobey. The work of restoration is now in its early stages and it is vital that the people get on a good foundation before they revert back to old ways. The Lord allowed Israel to be scattered due to their disobedience but he continues to give the promise of Restoration. There will be a day of Restoration for Israel.
We now will look at a series of 8 visions that were all given in the same night on the 24th day of the 11th month in 520 BC. It is marvellous to be able to have one vision, let alone 8 in the same evening. The first vision is known as the “The Horsemen’s report that the whole earth is at Rest” (1:7-11). These visions took place in the 2nd year of King Darius of Persia. This vision coincided with how the kingdom of Darius functioned. He would employ inspectors who would ride on horseback for the purpose of being the eyes and ears of the kingdom. They would then furnish a report to the king. The Lord is essentially saying the same thing in verses 9-10. He has the 4 living creatures that surround the throne who are the eyes and ears of the kingdom of God.
2Ch 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
At the time that these visions were given the land was at Rest under the rule of Darius; It was the spiritual condition of the people that was of concern to the Lord. The angel asks the Lord how long He would have indignation against Israel seeing that they have been captive to the Babylonians for 70 years (vs 12). In verses 13-15, the Lord responds in stating the jealousy He has for His people while speaking of the displeasure he had for the heathen who lived a life of ease. The Lord took exception to the cruelty exacted upon Israel when the Assyrians and Babylonians held sway. The Lord was going to extend a measuring line of protection upon Jerusalem. The work of the rebuilding of the temple had ceased for several years but God was now going to resurrect the work through the encouraging words and stirrings of His prophets (vs 16).
In verses 18-21 there is the vision of the 4 horns and the 4 carpenters. There is the promise of prosperity that will go forth out of Zion, Jerusalem and the outer most portions of the earth. This certainly came to pass at the time of the early church (Acts 2). It will happen in far greater measure in the last days as the church spiritually enters into the Feast of Tabernacles. The 4 horns in verses 18-19 speak of 4 powers that were responsible for scattering Israel. These 4 horns, though not named, would be Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Persia. It was during the reign of the Persians when Zechariah was being given this revelation. One can check the Book of Esther to discover that Israel was scattered throughout 127 kingdoms (Est 8:9).
In verses 20-21, the Lord shows the 4 carpenters that would destroy the 4 horns. It was Alexander the Great who would later destroy the Persians. The 4 generals under Alexander would be responsible for the destruction of these other nations. These men are referred to in Daniel 8.
Zechariah is now being shown a vision of a man with a measuring line in his hand. His purpose is to measure Jerusalem by length and breadth in much the same way the man John was given a measuring line to measure the earthly temple in Revelation 11. He is then showed the future prosperity that would again come to the city which had a partial fulfilment at the time of Nehemiah and a greater one to come in the millennium. This fulfilment is captured by Ezekiel (38:11) and John in Revelation (Rev 20:8-9).
When Israel went into captivity there were three different deportations during the reigns of the last 3 kings of Judah. In like manner there were three different returns from captivity. They are as follows:
1) 536 BC under Zerubbabel
2) 458 BC under Ezra
3) 444 BC under Nehemiah
In the early decrees to return to Jerusalem the majority of Jews opted to stay in Babylon. They became comfortable within the known system of their day. The Lord was calling them to come out in much the same way He will call His own to come out of the Babylonian system of the last days. We need to be careful about becoming comfortable in our bondage. The Lord affirms His commitment to Israel by citing them as the apple of his eye (vs 8). Those who touch Israel are in effect touching God. In verses 10-13 we have clear references to the millennium. It is a picture of the Lord dwelling in the midst of His people with many nations being joined to them. The latter portion of these verses makes clear that there will be a time of tribulation and purging that will take place before this happens. The thought of “being silent” is also brought out in Revelation before the judgments are released.
This is a beautiful chapter regarding the cleansing of the high priest Joshua. It helps for us to appreciate the role of the priest in the last days and the process involved in coming into the positon of a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9). It is interesting to note that Joshua is being contended over by both Satan and God. Why would Joshua be drawing such attention? What are the lessons for us? There are other occasions where there are similar contentions. Job was cited by Satan as was the Lord, Peter and others. It is clear that Satan is drawn towards those who represent the greatest threat to his domain. He put into the heart of Pharaoh to destroy Moses at the time of his birth (Exo 1:16). The enemy was able to put into the heart of wicked Athaliah to destroy all the royal seed (2 Kings 11). If she were successful how then could the lion of the tribe of Judah come forth? He sought to destroy the man-child as it came forth from the woman (Rev 12:3). The high priest Joshua was an obvious threat to Satan so he contended over his life. The Lord rebuked Satan on the basis of Joshua being one who had been tried in the fire (vs 3). He had been proven and had paid a price. It is also interesting to note that he was clothed with filthy garments. Is it possible that a righteous high priest would have issues or struggles that would hinder his walk? The Lord gave the Word to take away the garments while declaring that his iniquity has now been passed from him. There is something about being tried in the fire. Do you remember the verse that Isaiah spoke concerning this?
Isa 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
It is in the fire where iniquity and hidden latent sins can be brought to the surface. It was in the light of God’s glory and revelation where Isaiah was able to see himself as being undone (Isa 6:5). It was here where he acknowledged his sin resulting in the Lord giving the command to cleanse his lips. Do we allow the Lord to lead us into our respective furnaces? The Lord rebuked Satan, gave the command to remove the filthy garments while placing upon Joshua a whole new change of raiment.
There is a precious charge given to Joshua that if he were to walk in the ways of God and keep his commandments he would cause him to be able to judge the people and keep his courts. It is a high calling that comes with great responsibility. The charge being given to Joshua was essentially the same charge that God gave to Moses and the children of Israel as they were about to enter the land as seen in the Book of Deuteronomy. The high priest Joshua is being given the privilege of being an expression of Christ as seen in the BRANCH (vs 8). This is one of the primary functions of a true priest. Joshua is an example of the royal priesthood that will be functioning in the millennium. One of the other attributes of the last day priest is that of being empowered by the 7 spirit anointing of God as seen in verse 9. It is a holy place anointing and one that is not available to just any priest. As we saw earlier in verse 1 there is a contending and battle in progressing on with God. Our life as a believer is one of a journey that will require seasons of overcoming. The high priest Joshua serves as a perfect example in how we can prepare for our role priestly roles in the days to come. His life also helps to provide a proper perspective in how we can prepare for the last days.
This chapter is filled with many end time prophecies and truths. It represents the 5th vision that Zechariah has and it contains the candlestick, the 7 lamps, the two olive trees and two anointed ones. In verses 1-2 there is mention of the lamp stand which is a reference to the 7 Spirits of the Lord. In verses 3-5 there are two olive trees that are mentioned which is interpreted later in verses 11-14.
The challenge before the workers was to be able to complete the work of the temple. The foundation stone or cornerstone had been laid but there was opposition by way of the Persian Empire in the completing of the task (vs 4-6). Judah had no king to guide them and they were confronting a formidable force in trying to get the rebuilding work completed. Do you have such mountains before you? There are times when the enormity of a task can overwhelm resulting in doubts and discouragement. This is why the prophets Zechariah and Haggai were so needed. The work of Zerubbabel was being challenged and it was the prophets who brought needed encouragement and strength to the work. It is times like this when we see our strength is not sufficient but it allows for a fresh appreciation for what the grace of God can accomplish. It also helps to give a true definition of what grace is. It is God’s enabling power that we lack to accomplish a task. It comes at a time when we see our inability to either do a task or live up to a standard. It requires an ability to acknowledge our shortcomings while being vulnerable and reliant upon His strength. When the shouting of “grace grace unto it” comes forth there is nothing that can stand in the way of God’s purpose and agenda. These are gifts that are being made available for the church of the last days. As we will see these gifts and anointing’s need to be qualified for. The Lord turned back the decree of the king resulting in the temple to be completed in a matter of 4 years (520-516 BC). The restorers were in the plan of God and they prayed through so that the work could be completed.
In verse 10 we are reminded to not despise the day of small things. The parable of the mustard seed helps to bring this truth to life. The smallest of seeds produces a very large plant. The potential of mustard seed faith should never be minimised. In fact, the Lord takes pleasure in building upon rather insignificant beginnings. It is to His glory and we must always be aware of this truth. There is the added truth of the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel. This indicates that the temple and church of the last days must measure in accordance to His standards. We should not be surprised if the Lord takes time in making sure our lives measure up. Are we willing to allow God’s plumbline to be applied to our life? How do we respond to Truth? These are all indicators as to whether the Lord can use us as restorers of the last days in His church.
In verses 11-14, we come back to the two olive trees where their identities are revealed. The two who stand before the Lord of the whole earth would be Elijah and Moses as seen at the time of the Lord’s transfiguration (Luke 9:28-31). They are also identified in the Book of Revelation (Rev 11:4, 6). The descriptions of their respective ministries are given which leave no doubt as to their identity. There is further confirmation given in Mal 4:4-6. These two men will come again to the earth before the return of the Lord and will have a ministry of about 3 ½ years. They will be killed by the antichrist (beast) and resurrect to life and go to heaven after 3 ½ days (Rev 11:3, 7, 12). We need to closely mark their ministries while they serve on earth because it will serve as the foundation of the type of ministries that we will need to prepare for.
As this chapter begins we see the climax of the judgement that will come upon the great whore as seen in chapter 17 (vs 1-5). The two forms of Babylon have now come to know the fullness of God’s wrath. It is a time where God avenges Mystery Babylon for all the blood that has been shed. There are the sounds in heaven by those who surround the throne that declares that God is righteous and true in His judgements. He is a holy God and there comes a time when God must answer for the iniquity that has been committed. He is a God of long-suffering and patience and has sought to give man every opportunity to repent and not be a partaker of the judgements being released. These judgements are not temporary remedies but rather eternal as the smoke of torment rises up for ever and ever. The sins of Babylon that actually have its root in Satan are now being judged once and for all. The Bible has stated on many occasions that God limits a day. That day has come as seen in Revelation 17-19. That day is soon coming as we read about these accounts in the day and hour in which we are now living.
The Bible now is going to look at another type of woman. Throughout scripture you often see two different types of women that are portrayed. There is the virtuous type woman who espouses Christ like attributes contrasted with the strange woman who leaves the paths of righteousness. We just related the culmination of the strange woman in the judgements that have been pronounced upon the great whore. Another woman is characterized from verse 6 onwards. This is the fullness of the virtuous woman as seen in Proverbs 31. This is the woman (the bride) who has been called to become the bride of Christ. This means that she has prepared and made herself ready. She is one who is filled with the virtues of her heavenly bridegroom and one whose heart has been guarded with all diligence (Pro 4:23). The bride is very much like the bridegroom. We see a beautiful picture of this in the love relationship between the king and Shulamite woman in the Song of Songs.
In verse 8 we see the bride arrayed in fine linen which speaks of the righteousness of Christ. This speaks of an inward work of righteousness that she has allowed the Spirit of the Lord to produce. It would involve much preparation and testings. It comes from learning to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7). Walking in the light requires a choosing to walk in the light. How do we respond to truth? Do we allow the Word to wash us? If we embrace Truth and the Living Word we then are well positioned to have that inward work perfected within us. This is what helps our understanding in becoming part of the bride of Christ.
In verse 9 there is the blessing of those who are called to the marriage supper of the lamb. This is another privileged group of believers that are distinguished from the common people. At the same time they are not the bride. The proper understanding of what is being shared here can be understood by the rituals of a Jewish wedding. We learn from Matthew 22:11-14 that there are special garments required in order to be a guest at the wedding. Throughout our summaries we have often spoken of coverings and garments (spiritual) that cover us. Paul speaks of several garments that we are to put on in order to progress into the ways of holiness (Col 3:12-15). We also have seen from Moses Tabernacle that in order to go from the Outer Court into the Holy Place and Holy of Holies there had to be the putting on of garments. These were priestly garments which seem to indicate some of the qualifications required in being both the bride and a guest at the wedding. We need to remember that the Lord is calling for kings and priests that are made unto the most high God (Rev 1:6, 5:10). It is here where we also need to need to remember that many are called but few are chosen. In other words not all believers will be a part of the wedding dinner. I feel that as we pursue God with all our hearts in the days before us more light and revelation will be given regarding the specifics of these events.