Zechariah’s Near and Far Visions, Pt 1

October 3, 2017 at 9:20 AM 1 comment

Zechariah is a fascinating book. Like many Old Testament books, this prophet is often overlooked except for a few favorite and often used verses here and there. Because he’s so routinely ignored, the tremendous revelations that God has shown us through the prophet offer no direct spiritual benefit to us. In short, we must avail ourselves of the riches of Zechariah in order to understand aspects of God’s restoration of Israel, specifics regarding the end times (including the Tribulation and Second Coming), and the nuanced way God will bring these things about. We ignore Zechariah at our own spiritual peril.

There are 14 chapters to this book and the time frame starts during the reign of Darius. Zechariah also lived during the ministry of Haggai, another post-exilic prophet. What we see in the book of Zechariah is a much more broad view of the world and how God is specifically going to deal with Gentile nations as they connect with the future of Israel to the end of this age, which climaxes with the physical return of Jesus to this earth. Once He returns, He will set up His Kingdom where He will reign for 1,000 uninterrupted victorious years.

In the first six chapters of Zechariah, we are introduced to a series of night visions, which are all given in the same night, during the second year of the reign of Darius. It is interesting to note that Zechariah presents a message of anger and woe to his Jewish brethren. He makes this very clear from the start, but as God repeatedly states throughout His Word, His anger with Israel is temporary and will ultimately result in a renewed, purified nation of Israelites who will come to depend solely on God and will have no interest in idols or even trying to work with other nations in an attempt to secure their own peace and safety. This will be a thing of the past. The renewed Israel made up of the final remnant culled from the purifying fires of the Tribulation will be completely sold out to God.

Zechariah 1:
God vents His anger through the prophet. He reminds Israel of all the times they ignored their promise to obey the Lord and to observe His statutes and commandments. Therefore, Zechariah is to preach repentance to God’s wayward people. Overall, in spite of the dire warnings of events sure to come to pass, the book of Zechariah is one of hope for Israel and all those who come to repentance before God, but especially Israel.

Zechariah sees a vision of a man on a red horse among myrtle trees (v. 8).

I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.

“‘Myrtle trees’ were evergreens, used in the Feast of Tabernacles to picture future endless messianic blessings that would come to Israel (Neh. 8:15; Isa. 41:19; 55:13). [1]

Of course his curiosity is aroused as anyone’s would be. He asked the angel who was near him what the man and the horses meant. The riders and horses represent those who walk the earth. These are God’s agents who represent the Gentiles and at that point, the whole earth was at peace under Gentile rule. It should be noted again that this was during Darius’ rule of the Medo-Persian Empire, which was very gracious to Israel, allowing captives (taken during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem), to return to Israel and Jerusalem.

During this vision, God promises to return to Jerusalem. In Zechariah 1:14-15, God states how “jealous” (concerned) He was for Jerusalem and He is unhappy with the way the heathen (Gentiles), were living at ease because God’s people – the Israelites – were despised throughout the world by so many, which is even true to this day, if we’re honest with ourselves. This leads to God’s promise to return to Jerusalem (v. 16), which looks ahead to the Millennial Kingdom.

Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.

This verse describes the time during the coming Millennial Kingdom, which will begin shortly after the return of the Lord to this earth. The phrase “a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem” is also noted in Ezekiel 40-47, which goes into great detail regarding the upcoming Temple to be built during the Millennium.

Starting in verse 18, Zechariah tells us that he sees four horns and asks for clarity and receives it in verse 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.

In the Bible, a “horn” is normally understood to mean “power,” whether from an individual, a group of people, or an empire. Commentators of course disagree on the exact meaning, with some believing the “four horns” represents all Gentile powers (v. 21), to the four corners of the earth, while others believe these horns are representative of Babylon, Medes-Persians, Greece, and Rome (from Daniel 2, 7). Regardless of the exact meaning, it likely refers to Gentile powers that God used to scatter the Israelites from their Land after continued rebellion. However, as is always the case, God holds these “horns” responsible for the way they treated His peculiar people.

The last three verses of Zechariah 1 introduce the four carpenters (or smiths), who represent a greater power than the previous four horn. Note the verbiage in the text.

but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it. (v 21b; KJV)

And these have come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter it. (v 21b; ESV)

If the carpenters are able to “fray” or “terrify” the horns, they are obviously greater in power and might.

These smiths evidently carried hammers with which they threatened to smash the horns. Probably the kingdoms of Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and Messiah are in view. Each of these kingdoms would destroy the preceding one, as Medo-Persia, the first one, had already defeated Babylonia (cf. Dan. 2:34-35, 44-45). [2]

Constable goes onto note that in the end, the return and physical Millennial Kingdom of Jesus will destroy the Revised Roman Empire that will exist during the time of the Tribulation period and will be headed by Antichrist, the ultimate and final man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2).

We’ll be back with chapter 2 of Zechariah next time!

 

[1] Constable’s Notes on Zechariah, p. 15

[2] Ibid, p. 19

 

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, israel, Judaism, Politics, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming, temple mount. Tags: , , , , , , .

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1 Comment

  • […] In our last article on Zechariah, though we introduced the first six chapters, we dealt mainly with aspects of Zechariah chapter one. We’re going to move onto chapter two and beyond in this installment. […]


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