ZECHARIAH 5:1 – 8:23 and REVELATION 19:11–21
Zechariah now has a vision of a flying roll that is accompanied by a series of measurements with the numbers 20 by 10. It speaks of a judgement based on verse 2 where it is described as a curse that goes over the face of the earth. It helps to give insight as to how and when God releases His judgements. The number 20 speaks of maturity. The number 10 is a reference to the Law of God. There is a maturing of iniquity or a fullness of sin that must come to the full before God pours forth the curse. It is the breaking and violating of God’s Law that brings judgement however there is a timetable that must be observed. Oftentimes God does not immediately judge the breaking of the Law. Perhaps it is due to giving man the opportunity to repent. What must be noted is that there is a day and time when the cup of iniquity comes to fullness. This seems to be what the Lord is indicating in this particular vision that God is giving Zechariah. This also should serve as a warning to those who become comfortable in their sin. The prophet Zephaniah referred to a people who became comfortable in their sin; saying things like tomorrow will be like today etc (Zeph 1:12-14). We need to watch this casual indifference that can creep into our lives. Just because God does not judge immediately does not mean he condones sin or a transgression. This flying roll makes quite clear the message that was being given to Zechariah. It was symbolizing judgement at a time when iniquity becomes mature and ripe.
In verses 5-11, Zechariah is shown a vision of two women and an ephah that symbolized wickedness. These two women fly this ephah of wickedness to the land of Shinar to establish a base. (As an interesting side note the fable of the stork delivering babies is taken from this text) So what meaning can be given to these passages? A woman in the Word of God speaks of a church. There are typically two women that flow throughout the Word of God. It can be seen in the virtuous woman that is portrayed in Proverbs 31 and the strange woman who represents Mystery Babylon. The land of Shinar speaks of Babylon as seen in Daniel 1:2 and Genesis 10:10. One of the two women is going to be put into a spiritual house in Babylon because she will one day rise again. We need to bear in mind that this prophesy is given to Zechariah approximately 19 years after the fall of Babylon to the Persians. It speaks of a resurrection of this woman whom will be identified as Mystery Babylon in Revelation 17. As stated on numerous occasions the theme of Babylon is threaded throughout the Word of God. The primary thrust of the vision is to make clear that Babylon will arise again and figure prominently in the last days. The Persians were now in power and Babylon had been destroyed. It is a beautiful means of conveying future truth through a designated prophet. There is a flow and consistency to the revelations and visions that Zechariah has been given. The flying roll was an indicator that the fullness of iniquity was not yet realized; even after its destruction in 536 BC. The full maturity of iniquity was for yet another day. This false church will be contrasted with the true church, the bride that will come to maturity at the time of the 2nd coming.
In this next vision Zechariah is seeing 4 chariots coming forth between two mountains; both of which were constructed of brass. This indicates another revelation of judgement. Brass in the Word of God speaks of judgement (Rev 1:15). In verses 2-5 the 4 horses are of different colours; they are identified in verses 2-5. There is a red horse, a white horse a black horse and a grisled and bay horse. These horses are represented by the 4 spirits of heaven. The prophet Daniel speaks of these 4 spirits as those who strive upon the sea for the purpose of drawing the ancient empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. In other words these empires need to rise up again in prominent ways for the last days. We have seen the re-emergence of Babylon (Iraq) and Persia (Iran) in recent time. There needs to be a re-emergence of both Rome and Greece in these coming days as well. In the 1980’s it was Iraq that seemed to have the pre-eminence in its war with Iran. In recent years it is Persia (Iran) that has gained the ascendancy. It is amazing to see how history has an ability to repeat itself. In fact, the Euphrates will be dried up in the last days to prepare the kings of the east to approach towards Armageddon. This is exactly how ancient Babylon fell to the Persians (Rev 16:12, Isa 44:26-28).
We once again turn our attention to Joshua the high priest whom we considered earlier in chapter 3. The crowning of Joshua helps us to appreciate the king/priest attributes of the Lord. We can also see him as a type after the order of Melchizedec. He typifies what God is looking for in the lead up to the 2nd coming. Joshua was indeed a truly great priest. He was crowned as a king but did not actually reign as one. He is however figurative of the king/priest nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is given the privilege of bringing forth the BRANCH which speaks of Christ (Isa 11:1-5). This is repeated from chapter 3:8. Now that Joshua is presented as a portrayal of Christ the truth of the Lord building His temple in the millennium is given in vivid terms. It will be a work that establishes his peace and righteousness. Joshua here is providing us an insight and glimpse as to what the Lord’s reign in the millennium will be like.
The subject of fasting will be covered in verses 1-14. This period is dated as being in the 4th year of Darius which would make it around 518 BC. The question from the people was whether they should keep the appointed times of fasting that they did over the course of their 70 years of captivity. The Lord challenged them by asking if they truly fasted over that time or was it more of a ritual. Were you doing it for the Lord seeking his mind or fasting with other motives in mind? The Lord answers for them in saying that they were doing it for themselves.
The Lord now presents to them what he looks for in a time of true fasting. The same would apply for us today, God is after a pure heart and He looks for those who execute true judgement. The Lord delights in people who exhibit mercy and compassion upon others. He also looks favourably upon those who show look after the affairs of the fatherless and widows. The prophet Micah echoes many of the same sentiments in Micah 6:8.
Mic 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
The Lord rehearses the history of Israel in how they responded to His laws and ways (vs 11-14). They willingly closed their ears to any message concerning the Law while allowing their hearts to become hardened. The result of their disobedience was their being scattered amongst the nations. The children of Israel had little problem observing the ceremonial related laws but failed in the area of the10 commandments which addressed the matters of the heart. This is also true today; many can keep certain ceremonial laws which puts emphasis on outward observances while neglecting the matters of the heart. As time has gone we have done an even better job of shielding or covering up heart related matters. This only adds to the deceit and lie of our true condition. The moral law which is represented by the 10 commandments is what has the means and ways of getting to the heart where the issues of life evolve (Pro 4:23). May the Lord help us from being deceived by the outward appearances alone. A religious spirit comes about when one maintains an outward appearance of righteousness while disobeying the laws of the heart. The reminder of what constitutes the New Covenant again comes to mind which is the writing of the Laws of God upon the fleshly table of our heart.
Zechariah will now be shown visions concerning the restoration of Israel. Though there are partial fulfilments through the Maccabean period the ultimate fulfilment will be seen at the time of the millennial reign of Christ. The prerequisite for dwelling in the millennium will be having a love for truth. Jerusalem and Zion shall have the name of being a city of Truth (vs 1-3). There is a beautiful thought conveyed in verses 4-5 where you will have young and old enjoying the fruits of the city. It is a picture of a family where there is prosperity and fruitfulness. The thought continues on in verses 6-8 where you see the fullness of Restoration. These verses help for us to see how enlarged the heart of God is towards Restoration. We should spend time meditating on these verses and capture the essence of Restoration. It will help for faith to arise in areas that pertain to our own life. What a wonderful God we serve who goes to every length to restore that which is lost and wayward. There are the judgements of God seen in these verses for their (Israel’s) sins of disobedience but there is also the hope and promise of their being reconciled to God. Though we are getting closer to the days of fulfilment of that which the prophet is speaking there are sobering events that must first take place. The city of Jerusalem is not yet a place of righteousness. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of the day when Israel would return for the great tribulation. It will be after this event when they shall look upon the one whose hands they pierced. It is important that we understand end time Biblical prophecy concerning events in Jerusalem. In the middle of the last 7 year period the antichrist will offer an abomination in the temple. This is right after Moses and Elijah are murdered and resurrected and around the time when Satan is cast down to the earth (Rev 12). Jesus said when you see these things flee out of Jerusalem.
The Lord returns the message to Zechariah’s time in verse 9 where He exhorts the workers (Zerubbabel) to rebuild the temple. The Lord’s sovereignty is seen in verse 10. It is He who allows for neighbour to be turned against neighbour. The prophet Isaiah also spoke in this regard in Isa 45:6-7. In America and other parts of the world you are seeing anarchy in the streets. This is the fruit of lawlessness when man becomes a law unto Himself. God is removed from every sphere of life in lieu of elitist humanism. When righteousness is in the land there is peace, joy and prosperity. This is what the millennial reign of Christ will be like. A picture of what Israel will be like in the millennium is expressed in verses 11-13. This is what God had intended for Israel from the beginning. It was to serve as an example to other nations. In the millennium other nations will be blessed by Israel. If Israel would have adhered to the laws of God and kept them rather than seeking to be like the other nations things would have worked out differently. This is why God did not want to give them a king prematurely. Their aim was to be like the other nations as opposed to being an example of God’s righteousness and ways to others.
This is the danger in today’s church that goes about mimicking much of what is in the world. It is the church that puts a premium on the priesthood that will reign with Christ. There were brief moments in the Old Testament when Israel functioned in a true king/priest function. It was seen during the reign of David. This is the reason why he will serve as prince under the Lord in the millennium. There are further qualifications given in verse 16 to being among those who will be part of the first resurrection in the millennium. This verse is very similar to what the prophet Malachi will later speak in Mal 3:10. Yes, these promises are precious but there is a qualifying required. We must allow the Word of God to apprehend us. The final verses of this chapter is a reflection of what Isaiah and Micah wrote concerning people and nations that will gather before the mountain of the Lord to hear of His Law, His ways and His Word (Isa 2:2-4). This is the fulfilment of what God had intended for Israel from the beginning. Though this promise is yet for the future regarding Israel the church has the opportunity to experience it today. In fact the church should be the standard bearer and revealer of Truth. The church should be the head and not the tail. It is an opportunity that the Lord presents to us today.
The attention of John is now drawn to the 2nd Coming of Christ. He sees a picture of a white horse with a man sitting upon it with the name “Faithful and True”. This is a title of Christ and it is referenced by Isaiah (Isa 11:5). One who is faithful has the quality of being stable, reliable with the capacity to be entrusted to finish a task one has been given. Jesus certainly fits this description in fulfilling His role as the faithful son of God. To be true means to be filled with Truth with no taint or hint of mixture. Once again the Lord Jesus Christ serves as an embodiment to this definition. He is now embarking on a war against the enemies of truth and justice. His righteousness is the basis by which He will war against these foes.
In verse 12 there is the description of his eyes as being like flames of fire; an all seeing capability that can penetrate the motives and intents of men. These same eyes are mentioned in chapter 1. The crowns upon his head speak of HIs many victories that were gained as the Son of man when He stripped Satan of His authority at the Cross. This is illustrated further in verse 13 where it speaks of His garments being dipped in blood which is a reference to His victory at the Cross. John has a revelation of the Lord as the Incarnate Word of God. John depicted Jesus in this manner in His Gospel. He also added the description of Jesus being full of Grace and Truth. The very attributes that are describing Christ are in stark contrast to the forces He is coming to make war against. It is the ultimate Good versus Evil showdown. You have iniquity at its fullness on one side. This would be the antichrist who is fully energized by Satan and those who are aligned with them coming against the personification of Truth, the Word and Grace and those who paid the price to be aligned with Christ. There are no undercards or sideshows; this is the epic battle for all time.
There is a picture of those who will be accompanying the Lord in verse 14. They too are upon white horses and are clothed in fine linen which is the righteousness of God. It is a similar description which was spoken of the bride of Christ earlier (vs 8). These are not just any saints but those who are adorned in purity, who have allowed the Word to wash and cleanse their inner being. One of the most profound statements that Jesus was able to make of Himself during His earthly ministry is the following:
Joh 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
When Jesus comes to make war with the antichrist and his forces there will be nothing in Him that Satan can lay hold of and exploit. The same will be said for those who will be accompanying the Lord. This is only accomplished by a thorough inward cleansing of the Word of God. This is a revelation that David came to know when He spoke of the Lord’s desire for Truth on the Inward parts (Psa 51:6). It is to those who love Truth and Purity who may well have the privilege of riding alongside the Lord in His triumphant return.
In verse 15 the Lord will have a sharp sword in His mouth which will be used to smite the nations. He will also have a rod of iron which will depict His rule during the millennium. There will be no deviation from the Laws of God in the Millennium such as seen in today’s weakened church. The vesture King of Kings and Lord of Lords will be upon Him when He comes in triumph. There will be no mistaking of His identity and there will be no ability to deny Him or remove Him from the scene as is seen in today’s world. The very one that the world curses and removes from society is the very one who is coming to claim His kingdom. It seems so easy to deny Him room and entry into our lives today but think what it will be like at the time of His return. It will all be so different.
The slaughter will be complete as the remains will be found throughout the mountains of Israel mostly to the east of Jerusalem. A similar re-enactment of what took place at Babel under Nimrod is what is seen here albeit on a much larger scale. According to Isa 63 there will be remains upon the mountains of Edom as well. The Beast and False prophet will be cast alive into the lake of fire while Satan will be bound for about 1000 years during the millennium reign. God will have use for him once again for a season at the end of the millennium. Those who aligned with the Beast and received the mark will also be destined for the lake of fire. The sad reality of an eternity in torment, removed from God will take hold of the people who still remain. Is it really possible that this event can take place in our lifetime, within this or the next generation? All indicators seem to suggest that indeed this is the case. The stage is clearly being set right before our eyes. Now is the time to press into God with all that we have.