Sunday, May 24, 2015

Journal Through the Bible: Week 99 Wednesday

The Lion of Babylon statue
Dockery, David S. et al.
Holman Bible Handbook. Nashville, TN:
Holman Bible Publishers, 1992. Print.
(Faithlife: Logos Bible Software)
Zechariah 4:1-5:11

We read of three more visions in these two chapters. Evidently all of these visions occurred in quick succession.

The first vision we read about today is of an interesting golden candlestick that is directly fed fresh oil by 2 olive trees. The next vision is of a large flying scroll.

The last is of an ephah and a couple of women. The first woman was forced into a basket but she divided into two who became strong enough to force the lid off the basket. As they arose it was seen that the women had wings and were carrying the ephah to Shinar, which was in Babylon, to build it a house. The purposes of this house were in direct opposition to those of the house that God was commanding Zerubbabel and Joshua to build Him in Jerusalem.

Does God issue any commands?
  • It isn't directly stated but it is implied that Zechariah was to tell Zerubbabel the messages that God was giving concerning the work at Jerusalem. Zechariah was probably supposed to tell Zerubbabel that he was to rebuild not through might, not by power, but by God's spirit. (See verse 4:6)

Does God make any promises?
  • God promised Zerubbabel that the work would be completed by the spirit of the LORD of hosts. The opposition would be leveled before Zerubbabel.
  • God promised that just as Zerubbabel had begun the work of the temple rebuilding by laying the foundation stone many years previously so would he complete the work by placing the capstone upon it. (4:7-9)
  • The flying scroll represented the law which brings a curse upon all that break it (that would be everyone; Romans 3:23). But the law of the LORD is perfect converting the soul. (See Psalm 19:7-11) Those who repent of their sins are righteous altogether. Those that reject so great a salvation are forever cursed as mentioned by this passage. In other words, the scripture will utterly condemn the wicked and will totally consume them as pictured by the analogy in 5:1-4.

Does this passage teach anything about Jesus?
  • The angel that talked with Zechariah in 4:1 is the same man who has been part of his visions since the beginning of the book. This angel, or messenger, is Jesus.
  • Jesus, the Prophet, Priest, and King is represented by the offices of Zerubbabel and Joshua together. Joshua was both a prophet and a priest. Zerubbabel was a prince and was the next in line to the throne had the monarchy been restored when the captives returned to their homeland. Jesus is the next in line to the throne of David and the Monarchy will rule again once the remnant, all of us redeemed sinners, are restored.
  • Jesus is the LORD of hosts.

Does this passage teach anything about yet-future events?
  • The two olive trees next to the golden candlestick were seen also seen by John in Revelation 11:3-12. The olive trees represent 2 people who are God's witnesses. In the time of the Revelation they are represented by 2 Old Testament saints who will prophecy in Jerusalem during the Tribulation. (I believe them to be Enoch and Elijah, 2 men who did not live out their lives but were translated alive and seem to be reserved to die at a later time.) In Zechariah the 2 olive trees are said by Jesus to be the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel. This would be consistent with the analogy of being God's appointed messengers to Jerusalem at God's appointed time. In this book it would seem that Zerubbabel and Joshua were the 2 messengers anointed by God to witness in Jerusalem by rebuilding the Temple.
  • The last vision of the ephah (which appears to be a basket) depicts the wickedness of Babylon (which is where Shinar was located). The book of Revelation makes reference to the celebrations that occur among the angels and the saints once Babylon the great falls (see first Revelation 14:8 then 16:17-18:24). This could be an allegory of the political, financial, and religious systems that are so anti-Christ and anti-Christian. This "house" being built for the wickedness in the basket certainly was the antithesis of the "house" that Zerubbabel and Joshua were told to build!

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalms 19:14 (KJV)