Zechariah 1:12 - 2:13

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

            A.  The Vision of the Horses and Riders, 1:7-17

 

This vision established the general theme of hope for dispersed and downtrodden Israel. Gentile oppression was offset by comforting promises of divine blessing (BKC).

 

The rider on the red horse is the Angel of the Lord (i.e. the Lord Jesus Christ in a pre-incarnate appearance). The myrtle trees represent Israel. The fact that they are in the bottom suggests the low estate of the nation of Israel following their return from the Babylonian captivity. The message conveyed is that the Lord is displeased with the nations and that He will yet choose Jerusalem and have His house built there.

 

Zechariah 1:7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

 

1:7 – (RSB) eleventh month. Three months after the call to repentance of 1:1-6 and after Hag. 2:10-23 had been spoken, the people had repented.

 

Sebat (Shebat) was the Babylonian name of the 11th month, adopted by the Jews after the Exile. This date was five months after the building of the temple was resumed . . ., three months after Zechariah’s first prophecy . . ., and two months after Haggai’s last prophecy (. . . a prophecy regarding the destruction of world powers before the millennial rule of the Messiah. . .) (BKC).

 

1:8-17 – (RSB) The meaning of the vision is this: Though Israel is oppressed, God is still greatly concerned for His people and will restore them.

 

A description of what Zechariah saw - verse 8

 

Zechariah 1:8 I saw by night, and behold a man [i.e. the angel of the Lord] riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom [i.e. in the ravine, in the low valley]; and behind him were there red horses, speckled [i.e. sorrel, reddish brown], and white [Their riders were apparently other angels.].

 

1:8 – (RSB) Zechariah saw all eight visions (to 6:8) during one night. Unlike a dream, in a vision the person is awake.

 

(RSB) The man was “the angel of the LORD” (v. 11 . . .), different from the angel who interpreted the vision (v. 9).

 

(RSB) myrtle trees. Evergreens that grow about 30 feet high.

 

An explanation of what Zechariah saw - verses 9-11

 

Zechariah 1:9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be [i.e. what they are].

 

The angel that talked with me is not the same as the Angel of the Lord in verse 12.

 

Zechariah 1:10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees [i.e. the Angel of the Lord] answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth [i.e. These are the ones whom the LORD has sent to walk up and down (or back and forth) throughout the earth].

 

Zechariah 1:11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest [i.e. all the earth is resting quietly, all the earth is peaceful and quiet = all the earth is not at war].

 

1:11 – (RSB) God’s patrols report that the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. i.e., the heathen nations still flourished and were self-confidently secure, while Israel was downtrodden.

 

Intercession by the Angel of the Lord - verse 12

 

Zechariah 1:12 Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts [Christ, the Angel of the LORD is addressing God the Father], how long wilt thou not have mercy on [i.e. compassion for] Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years [i.e. against which You have been angry (or indignant) these seventy years]?

 

1:12 – (RSB) these threescore and ten years. The 70 years the Temple lay in ruins (586-516 B.C.).

 

Zechariah 1:13 And the LORD [i.e. the Angel of the LORD] answered the angel that talked with me [i.e. who was speaking with me] with good words and comfortable words [i.e. with good and comforting words].

 

Zechariah 1:14 So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.

 

Zechariah 1:15 And I am very sore displeased [i.e. very angry] with the heathen [i.e. with the nations] that are at ease [i.e. that feel secure]: for I was but a little displeased, and they [i.e. the heathen, the nations] helped forward the affliction [i.e. they helped forward the situation, but the nations inflicted harm on them far beyond My intentions, they went too far with the punishment].

 

1:15 – (RSB) they helped forward the affliction. Lit., they helped for evil. Though the heathen nations were used by God to punish Israel, they went too far in trying to annihilate her.

 

1:16-17 – Because of . . . God’s love for Israel and His anger toward the Gentiles, He now promised six blessings for Israel: (a) the presence of God in Jerusalem (I will return . . . with mercy; cf. Ezekiel 43:5 ; 48:35) in contrast with the departure of the divine glory from the preexilic temple (Ezek. 10:18-19; 11:22-23); (b) the rebuilding of the temple (My house will be rebuilt; Ezek. 40-48); (c) the rebuilding of the city (the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem; cf. Jer. 31:38-40); (d) Israel will be enriched (towns will again overflow with the wealth of divine blessings which the city walls will be unable to contain; cf. Isa. 60:4-9); (e) the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zion) will be comforted by the fulfillment of God’s gracious promises (Deuteronomy 13:17 ; 30:3; Isa. 14:1; 49:15); and (f) they will be chosen (cf. Zech. 2:12; 3:2), referring to God’s focusing His sovereign love on them and perhaps also referring to God’s inaugurating the New Covenant with Israel (Jer. 31:31-40; cf. Rom. 11:26-27) (BKC).

 

The complete fulfillment of these blessings from a New Testament perspective relates to the Second Advent of Christ, the millennial temple, and the blessings of the millennial kingdom, as suggested in the parallel Scripture passages mentioned above. Though the restoration temple was completed about four years after this prophecy (Ezra 6:15 ) and a partial rebuilding of the city about 80 years later (Neh. 6:15), the passages noted from Ezekiel indicate that the divine glory will be absent from the temple until millennial times. Nevertheless the Jews of Zechariah’s day may have felt that those promised blessings were imminent, and this probably encouraged them in rebuilding the temple (BKC).

 

Zechariah 1:16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned [i.e. I am returning] to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line [i.e. a surveyor’s line] shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.

 

1:16 – (RSB) The Temple (my house) was finished in 516 B.C. (cf. Ezra 6:15 ). A line was used to measure before destruction or construction (in this case, it was construction).

 

Zechariah 1:17 Cry yet [i.e. proclaim], saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad [i.e. shall yet be spread out]; and the LORD shall yet [i.e. will again] comfort Zion, and shall yet [i.e. will again] choose Jerusalem.

       

 

            B.  The Vision of the Four Horns and Four Carpenters, 1:18-21

 

1:18-21 – (RSB) four horns. The power of Gentile nations . . . that afflicted and scattered Israel. [These nations are not specifically identified by Zechariah; so, attempts to identify them are guesses and subject to error. It is all right to guess; but we must recognize that when we guess, we may be guessing incorrectly – Dr. Q.]

 

(RSB) carpenters. Those peoples and nations whom God used to overthrow the enemies of Israel.

 

(RSB) fray. Terrify. The vision reinforces the warning and promise of Gen. 12:3.

 

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

 

The four horns are the four world empires that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. Many would identify these with Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Ryrie suggests that they are perhaps Assyria, Egypt, Babylonia, and Medo-Persia specifically. [However, the identity of these four horns is not clear – Dr. Q.] The four artisans [i.e. “carpenters” in King James Bible] (i.e. skilled workers in metal, stone, or wood) denote four judgments upon these four horns. Perhaps each empire is judged by the succeeding empire with the last judged by Christ at His second coming (cf. Dan. 2:34-35, 44-45). This suggests that Babylon was judged by Medo-Persia, Medo-Persia was judged by Greece, Greece was judged by Rome, and Rome will be judged by Christ at His second coming. [However, just as the identity of the four horns is not clear, the identity of the four carpenters or artisans is not clear – Dr. Q.]

 

Zechariah 1:18 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns [i.e. and there were four horns].

 

Zechariah 1:19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.

 

A horn when used symbolically indicates invincible strength (cf. Micah 4:13 ) or often a Gentile king who represents his kingdom (Dan. 7:24; Rev. 17:12). Here the four horns symbolize proud Gentile powers . . . that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem (an all-inclusive designation to denote God’s people in Exile) (BKC).

 

Zechariah 1:20 And the LORD shewed me four carpenters [i.e. craftsmen, metal workers, artisans].

 

The Hebrew word for craftsmen . . . indicates workmen skilled in wood, stone, or metal (BKC).

 

Zechariah 1:21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head [i.e. so that no one could lift up his head]: but these are come to fray them [i.e. the craftsmen are coming to terrify them], to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.

 

Why could no one lift up his head? Is it because they were dead or humbled by their captors?

 

1:21 – (RSB) horns were symbols of strength.

 

The identity of the craftsmen depends on the identity of the horns. If the horns are the succeeding kingdoms in Daniel’s visions (Dan. 2, 7), then the craftsmen are Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the messianic kingdom. Otherwise they were probably nations, including Persia, which God used to overthrow Israel’s past oppressors. . . . In any case, the vision shows that God raises up instruments of judgment to deliver His people Israel from all her enemies (BKC).

Zechariah 2

 

  II.     The Visions of Zechariah (continued), 1:7 - 6:15

            C.  The Vision of the Surveyor, 2:1-13

 

2:1-13 – (RSB) This vision signifies the assured restoration and blessing of Israel and Jerusalem. In the future Jerusalem will expand beyond its walls (v. 4), yet the inhabitants will live in it safely because of the personal presence of the Lord (v. 5) during the Millennium. Those who had not yet returned from Babylon (the land of the north, Jer. 1:14) are called on to return (vv. 6-7; only about 50,000 had returned under Cyrus’s decree in 538 B.C.). . . .

 

The man with the tape measure suggests the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem and the temple during the Millennium.

 

The content of the vision (2:1-2) (BKC)

 

Zechariah 2:1 I [i.e. Zechariah] lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.

 

The expression, Then I looked up . . . reflects not only the translation to a new vision [i.e. the movement toward a new vision – Dr. Q.], but also its continuity with the preceding one. The divine judgment on the Gentile nations will be followed by God’s enlarging and protecting Jerusalem. This basic message of the vision is clear, but the details are less certain because of ambiguity in answering three key interpretive questions: Who are the persons mentioned in the vision? What is the position and movement of each person? Who is speaking in 2:4-13? (BKC)

 

The man’s occupation as a surveyor is identified by the measuring line in his hand. There is no necessary reason to regard this man as more than an unidentifiable man in the vision. . . (BKC).

 

The identity of the surveyor is not given in the passage, but there is merit to the view which identifies him with the Angel of the Lord. . . . Comparing this vision with Zechariah’s first vision . . . supports this view that the surveyor is the divine Angel of the Lord who is conveying divine revelation to Zechariah. At any rate the words in 2:4-13 are a message (or series of messages) from the Lord Himself, addressed first to the young man (vv. 4-5), then to Israel (vv. 6-12), and finally to “all mankind” (v. 13) (BKC).

 

Zechariah 2:2 Then said I [i.e. Zechariah], Whither goest thou? [i.e. Where are you going?] And he [i.e. the man with the measuring line in his hand] said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof [i.e. to see how wide and how long it is].

 

The surveyor’s purpose, as indicated in his response to Zechariah’s question, was to mark out the boundaries of Jerusalem, probably to indicate the present boundaries of the city from which the future overflowing would progress (BKC).

 

Zechariah 2:3 And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth [i.e. was going out], and another angel went out [i.e. was coming out] to meet him,

 

Zechariah 2:4 And said unto him [i.e. the other angel who was coming out to meet the angel talking with Zechariah told the angel talking with Zechariah], Run, speak to this young man [i.e. speak to Zechariah], saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for [i.e. because of] the multitude of men and cattle therein [i.e. and livestock in it]:

 

That Jerusalem will be a city without walls indicates that the city will overflow its boundaries because of divine blessing. It will need no fortification or protection because of God’s presence (BKC).

 

Zechariah 2:5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her [i.e. unto Jerusalem] a wall of fire round about [i.e. around her], and will be the glory in the midst of her [i.e. in her midst].

 

The LORD will be Jerusalem’s protection without and glory within. . . . This promise looks forward to the Lord’s personal presence through the Messiah in the millennial kingdom on earth. Ezekiel envisioned the future return of the divine glory to the temple (Ezek. 43:2-5) but Zechariah was granted a vision of the glory extending to the entire city . . . and to the whole land . . . (BKC).

 

Zechariah 2:6 Ho, ho, come forth, and flee [i.e. you there, flee] from the land of the north [i.e. flee from Babylon], saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad [i.e. I have dispersed you, I have scattered you] as [i.e. to] the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.

 

Zechariah 2:7 Deliver thyself [i.e. Escape], O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon [i.e. with the people of Babylon].

 

Zion refers to Jews who are still in Babylon, urging them to return to Jerusalem (BKC).

 

2:8-9 – These verses refer to the Messiah, who was sent to show God’s glory in judging the nations that plundered Israel (cf. Matt. 25:31-46).

 

Zechariah 2:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he [i.e. has God the Father] sent me [i.e. the Messiah] unto the nations which spoiled you [i.e. after glory He sent Me to the nations which plundered you]: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple [i.e. pupil] of his eye.

 

The idea seems to be that God will send the Messiah who will judge the nations that . . . plundered Israel and will display His glory. This will be fulfilled in the judgment of the Gentiles at Messiah’s Second Advent (Matt. 25:31-46) (BKC).

 

The apple of His eye . . . probably referring to the pupil of the eye, that part of the eye most easily injured, the most-demanding of protection. Here it symbolizes Israel under God’s protective care (BKC).

 

Matthew 25:31-4631 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Back to Zechariah 2:9

Zechariah 2:9 For, behold, I [i.e. Christ, the Messiah] will shake mine hand upon them [i.e. against the nations that spoiled you Israelites], and they shall be a spoil to their servants [i.e. the nations that plundered you will be plunder for their slaves]: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts [i.e. God the Father] hath sent me [i.e. Christ, the Messiah].

 

(RSB) Verses 10-13 describe millennial blessings for the nations, Israel, and Jerusalem.

 

Zechariah 2:10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come [i.e. for, behold, I (Christ) am coming], and I will dwell in the midst of thee [i.e. I (Christ) will dwell in your midst], saith the LORD.

 

Zechariah 2:11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people [i.e. and they shall become my people]: and I will dwell in the midst of thee [i.e. I (Christ) will dwell in your midst], and thou shalt know [i.e. you will know] that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee [i.e. that God the Father has sent me (Christ) to you (Israel)].

 

2:11 – many nations will worship the Lord in that day – the future Day of the Lord, the Millennium (cf. 14:16; Isa. 2:3).

 

Zechariah 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

 

Isaiah 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Back to Zechariah 2:12

Zechariah 2:12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion [i.e. as His portion] in the holy land [i.e. in Palestine], and shall choose Jerusalem again.

 

Zechariah 2:13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation [i.e. for He (the LORD) is aroused from His holy habitation].

 

2:13. The entire human race is to bow in silence and awe before the Almighty God (BKC).