VISIONS OF HOPE (ZECHARIAH) Lesson 11 for June 15, 2013
FIRST ZECHARIAH’SVISIONS Zechariah (“Yahweh remembers”) descended from a priestly family (Neh. 12:16). He was called to the prophetic ministry some months after Haggai and with the same mission: encouraging the people of Judah to rebuild the Temple (Ezra 6:14) The promises of blessing in Zechariah were clearly conditional: “And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Zec. 6:15). Those promises didn’t come true because of Judah’s unfaithfulness, but they came partially true for the Christian Church. • Past history: Punished for their sins (Zec. 1:1-6) • The favorable time to build the Temple: • The horseman among the myrtle trees: The quiet nations (Zec. 1:7-17) • The horns and the craftsmen: Hindrances are taken away (Zec. 1:18-21) • The man with the measuring line: Promises of prosperity (Zec. 2) • The anointed for the work: • The high priest Joshua: Purified for ministry (Zec. 3) • The governor Zerubbabel: Strengthen by the Spirit (Zec. 4) • Remember the past history to avoid making the same mistakes again (Zec. 7)
“RETURN TO ME” (ZEC. 1:1-6) “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts’” (Zechariah 1:3) The purpose of that vision was to give the people confidence in God’s purpose of restoring His people. God had repeatedly used the prophets to warn Israel about the consequences of their disobedience. The words of the prophets were fulfilled and Israel was taken captive for 70 years. If the people wanted to be prosperous after captivity, they needed to return to God. The message of God through the prophets is still valid nowadays. If we want to live a glorious future, we must return to God and to turn away from sin.
THE HORSEMAN AMONG THE MYRTLE TREES(ZEC. 1:7-17) “Then the Angel of the Lord answered and said, “O Lord of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?” And the Lord answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words” (Zechariah 1:12-13) Several horsemen are sent to walk throughout the world. When they come back, they report that it is quiet and restful. The nations are in peace and there is no war. That indicated that it was a proper time to rebuild the Temple. After hearing the report, the angel cries the people’s cry: How long will God still be angry with His people? The answer from God is written in Zechariah 1:14-17. It is full of good and comforting words.
THE HORNS AND THE CRAFTSMEN(ZEC. 1:18-21) Zechariah saw four horns that represented the oppressive power that scattered Israel throughout the four corners of the Earth. The craftsmen are sent to fight the horns, “representing the agencies used by the Lord in restoring His people and the house of His worship”(E.G.W., Prophets and Kings, cp. 46, pg. 581)
THE MAN WITH THE MEASURING LINE (ZEC. 2) ““Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord” (Zechariah 2:10) The man who was sent to measure Jerusalem could not finish his work because the city would be full of inhabitants. It would not need a wall because God would be a fire shield around it. All then nations were invited to inhabit Jerusalem. God protects His people (“the apple of His eye”) and invites all the inhabitants of the Earth to be saved. If Israel had joined that praise invitation and had accepted Jesus, that prophecy would have been literally fulfilled. The whole world is accepting that invitation to join God’s joyful people thanks to the Church and to the ministry of Paul (Romans 15:9-18; Ephesians 3:1-8)
PURIFIED FOR MINISTRY (ZEC. 3) “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘If you will walk in My ways, and if you will keep My command, then you shall also judge My house, and likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk among these who stand here’” (Zechariah 3:7) The new Temple would need a new high priest. But Satan accused Joshua (and each one of us) of being a sinner unworthy of that post. There was no excuse for Joshua’s sins (or for ours) but the reprimand of the Angel: “Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zec. 3:2) The divine provision for atoning sin is shown in that vision: “I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH [Jesus]… And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day” (Zec. 3:8-9)
STRENGTHEN BY THE SPIRIT (ZEC. 4) “So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts”” (Zechariah 4:6) The golden lampstand with seven lamps and the oil poured down on the leaves of the two olive trees represent the way how the Temple was going to be built. The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the olive trees (or anointed) represent the two leaders: Zerubbabel (civil power) and Joshua (religious power) The previous vision was meant to encourage Joshua. This vision was given to encourage Zerubbabel. His success in the work (like ours) depended on his dependence on God.
REMEMBER PAST HISTORY (ZEC. 7) “Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?’” (Zechariah 7:5) The people of Israel had fasted four times a year during the 70 years of captivity (Zec. 8:19):
REMEMBER PAST HISTORY (ZEC. 7) There are two main lessons to be learnt from that vision. God does not take pleasure in hunger (external fasting) but in his children returning to Him. He rejoices at them dying to the self and being merciful to their neighbors. We must remember the past history to avoid making the same mistakes again (compare this to the message in Zechariah 1:1-6) “In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am filled with astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history” E.G.W. (Counsels for the Church, cp. 66, pg. 359)