Zechariah’s Near and Far Visions, Pt 2

October 11, 2017 at 10:59 AM 2 comments

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.

Immediately, as chapter two begins, we see a man with a measuring line. Zechariah asks the man where he’s going and the man responds that he’s going “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length,” (v. 2b).

Verses four and five of Zechariah 2 tell us the Lord’s plans for Jerusalem.

Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst.

Clearly, the angel’s words (who simply reiterated what the Lord was saying), point to the future when the Lord’s words will find fulfillment. If we look at Israel since the time of Zechariah, there has been no time during which the above texts has found fulfillment. Yes, we can look at Israel today and understand that there are many unwalled villages (kibbutz), where there appear to be communal gardens and vineyards shared by people living in homes nearby. However, if we take the two verses as a while, the full force of the meaning of these verses has not been, nor is in effect. There is a constant danger against the people living in Israel from outside forces who wish to see that nation destroyed.

Moreover, the promise that God will be a “wall of fire” and “the glory in her midst” is not something that is currently occurring. Surely, it can be truthfully stated that God likely has a hedge of protection around that nation, however, its leaders are not aware of it. They do not give God the glory at all. The phrasing of the text brings to mind the Shekinah glory that moved along with Israel as her people moved from Egypt to the Promised Land, where God protected the nation with a cloud during the day (which also protected them from the tremendous heat of the desert), and the pillar of fire by night (which also protected them from the often drastically cold temperatures of the desert at night. God is saying that He will once again, present Himself as Israel’s protector, likely in a visible way as a warning to the world.

In this third vision (ch. 2), He guaranteed the future prosperity and expansion of Israel. Jerusalem has a divine protector. As will become clear, this future blessedness must extend beyond the restoration period to messianic times.[A] This third vision has a counterpart in vision six (5:1-4), in that they both deal with measuring, dimensions, and Jerusalem. This vision stresses the importance of Jerusalem, and vision six pertains to law within Jerusalem. This vision pictures Jerusalem in millennial glory.

[A] See T. T. Perowne, The Books of Haggai and Zechariah, p. 74. [1]

In verses six and following, notice that God takes credit for scattering Jewish people to the four corners of the earth. He did this because of their rebellion, idolatry, and sin in general, but His purposes were clear.

 Up! Up! Flee from the land of the north, declares the Lord. For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, declares the Lord. (v. 6)

Then God warns that these same Jews should flee from wherever they are and return to Zion (Jerusalem/Israel). Why? Because He is getting ready to punish the nations that treated Jews (and Israel) with such disdain (vv. 8-9).

But again, starting in verse 10, God states without equivocation that the good fortunes of Israel are going to come to pass.

Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And the Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. – vv. 10-12 (ESV)

The above text highlights the fact that during the coming Millennial Kingdom over which Jesus Himself will physically rule, “many nations” will be devout followers of Jesus, and will worship together with the final remnant of Israel, who will also recognize Jesus as their Messiah. Because of this never-as-yet-fulfilled situation that will occur during the Millennial Kingdom, God will dwell in Israel’s midst (through God the Son, Jesus). Jesus will be the physical embodiment of God on the earth as He was during His earthly ministry several thousand years ago. The difference of course is that Jesus will be seen in His glorified form, a glimpse of which was given to Peter, James, and John in Matthew 17. In essence, there is coming a time when God will deal favorably with Israel (referenced in the text as “Judah,” the southern kingdom after the split.

Verse 13, the last verse of chapter two warns the earth that “God has roused Himself from His holy dwelling.” Since the entirety of this chapter (as well as others throughout Zechariah), deals with the coming Millennial Kingdom, the use of “tense” in verses like this tends to confuse some. It reads as if it has already happened, but what we need to remember is that Zechariah is seeing a vision of what will be in the future. Because of that, it was presented to him as though happening at that moment, but it has not happened yet and awaits future fulfillment.

We also need to remember that God exists outside of time. Certainly, He can come into our time zone and He can even allow Himself to be affected by our time constraints (as Jesus did when He physically lived among humanity; e.g. He aged, etc.). Though God can come into our time, He can also leave it and observe all things from outside the constraints of time. This tends to make things a bit confusing for us, but it is also why we are told in Scripture that to the Lord, a day is like a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8). In essence, God sees everything at once – the entire timeline of individual events as they have unfolded since the beginning – and though He sees them all at the same time, He has no trouble discerning one event from another event. How could He be God and not be able to do this?

The prophetic discourse as seen in Zechariah 2 should cause all Christians to rejoice in what God is going to do, not simply with Israel, but with the world! There is coming a time when Israel’s prophetic destiny will put them at the head of the line, in front of all other nations. Israel will be the world’s focal point and will finally fulfill its divine purpose in being a true light to all nations, shining forth the glory of God in Christ Jesus.

This is something to celebrate, yet too often we find ourselves preoccupied with the cares of this world and the burdens of life. God wanted us to know His plans for this world so He took the time to use specific people to carry forth His prophetic word and to write down these words as a record for us. God did not have to do that, but He chose to do it, for our benefit and His glory.

Should we not avail ourselves of His Word on a daily basis so that we can better grasp what His plans and purposes are for Christians, for Israel, and for the world itself? He is coming back to physically rule after all the Gentile kingdoms prophesied in Daniel and elsewhere have been given their chance to rule. The Bible is very clear that in spite of these Gentile powers, the only true Kingdom that matters will be the one that comes after all the previous Gentile kingdoms. This coming Kingdom – the Millennial Kingdom where God in Christ physically reigns – will be the end all, the be all. Nothing else will come after His glorious Kingdom and all previous Gentile kingdoms will not only pale in significance, but will be remembered no more (Daniel 2, 7).

Zechariah’s vision in chapter two helps us again remember that God is victorious. Nothing thwarts His plans. Nothing can keep His purposes from coming to fruition. The Gentile powers highlighted in Daniel 2 and all the problems that are associated with them are being used by God to bring His plans to fulfillment. We can be guaranteed of that fact.

There is a great deal of heartache and misery in this world. A good portion of California is on fire, with thousands and thousands losing homes and everything they own. Some have lost loved ones. A few weeks before that, a madman with guns slaughtered over 50 people as he rained down terror on a crowd of 22,000 in Las Vegas. These things are merely the tip of the iceberg as we could easily focus on all the terrible things happening throughout the world.

The truth is that one day, God will set all things right. He will do that in the God-Man Jesus, who will return to this earth in victory and His saints with Him. If you know Him, have His salvation (because you are in relationship with Him), YOU are one of those saints who will be returning to this earth with Him.

We’ll be back with more from Zechariah.

 

[1] Constable’s Notes on Zechariah, p. 20

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, eternity, israel, Judaism, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , .

Do You Want to Know God? Fat, Rich Shepherds

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. rutnerh  |  October 13, 2017 at 8:36 PM

    True, there is much misery in the world today, both in the USA and abroad. Yet, as Christians we can find comfort and peace in Him, whatever the trials, best expressed in the 4 verses of this classic dispensational hymn:
    1.What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.
    4. Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
    Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
    May we ever, Lord, be bringing
    All to Thee in earnest prayer.
    Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
    There will be no need for prayer—
    Rapture, praise, and endless worship
    Will be our sweet portion there.

    Reply
    • 2. modres  |  October 14, 2017 at 6:04 AM

      Amen.

      Reply

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