Zechariah Chapter 2: Measuring Jerusalem, Israel after Jacob’s Trouble

Dec 19th, 2009 | By | Category: Psalm 83 and Gog & Magog, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name), Zechariah

Zechariah Chapter 2: Measuring Jerusalem, Israel after Jacob’s Trouble

Zech. 2:1 I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.

This was the third vision Zechariah had on the same night, for he stated, “I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked.” The series of God-given messages, or visions, was the focal point, the nucleus, of Zechariah’s ministry. While his ministry, as far as we know, occupied only two years, with just two dates being given, he could have prophesied for 20 or more years (Zech. 7:1). During his ministry of whatever length, he recited the visions he beheld and explained their significance. He had plenty of information for witnessing to his own people. Similarly with us, once we learn the plan of God, we are furnished with a sufficiency of information to tell others about His purposes in the future. In the 14 chapters that comprise the book bearing his name, Zechariah was given an intense experience.

Zechariah saw “a man with a measuring line in his hand.” A measuring line is used to measure longer distances than a measuring rod. Verse 1 reminds us of Ezekiel’s experience with regard to the yet future Temple. As the prophet was brought thither, he observed, “Behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate” (Ezek. 40:3). With a measuring “reed,” or rod, and a cord in his hand, the brass man (probably a human agency) instructed Ezekiel about the measurements of the future Third Temple. In other words, a human conducted Ezekiel on the tour. In the present vision, Zechariah lifted up his eyes and saw a man walking—a man with a measuring line in his hand.

The messages of Haggai and Zechariah were constructive and comforting. When the Jews went back to the homeland, everything was in disarray. They had started to build the Temple but then stopped to work on their own houses—that is, until these two prophets came along and reminded the people to concentrate on finishing the Temple.

Zech. 2:2 Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.

Zechariah did not remain silent but asked the man with a measuring line in his hand, “Where are you going?” In the vision, the man was walking past Zechariah, who was in a still position, not moving—whether he was lying in bed, sitting in a chair, or standing. (It helps to understand the mechanics of the vision.)

The man replied that he was going to measure Jerusalem, for he wanted to see what the length and the breadth of the city were. An inquisitive viewpoint was helpful to the prophet, and it is also helpful for the Christian. We, too, should ask questions, at least mentally, and hunger to know the Lord and His ways and principles.

Zech. 2:3 And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him,

In verse 3 and subsequent verses, we must be careful to distinguish each of the three personalities who were involved in this third vision. “And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth.” This “angel” was the Logos, the same man, or angel, who was seated on the red horse in the first vision (Zech. 1:8,9). While on the horse, he came to a stop—he was at a standstill—and, in compliance with Jehovah’s instruction, began to explain the significance of the horses in the background. Then the angel (the Logos) continued to speak, and Jehovah answered him “with good words and comfortable words” (Zech. 1:12,13). In other words, God instructed the Logos to explain the significance of the vision to Zechariah.

Now we return to chapter 2. Here, in verse 3, the man with the measuring line walked by Zechariah and continued to walk off into the distance. Meanwhile, Zechariah was at a standstill, just witnessing the activity. (It would be like sitting in a movie theater and looking at the action occurring on the screen.) As the man with the string went by, Zechariah asked, “Where are you going?” The man answered and then continued on without further discussion.

Next the angel who had been talking with Zechariah from the first vision (Zech. 1:9) started to leave. As Zechariah looked at the vision, he saw this angel walking, let us say, 150 feet in the distance. By now, the man with the cord was gone—he was out of the picture. The distinction is that the angel who had been talking with Zechariah and had walked past was now almost fading out of the picture; that is, he was still visible but was off in the distance. Before he disappeared, however, another angel came out of nowhere. In other words, in looking at the vision, Zechariah saw three different individuals: (1) the man with the measuring line, (2) the angel who had been doing the explaining, and (3) another (or second) angel, who talked with the first angel, the one who had been speaking with Zechariah.

Now the question is, What did one angel say to the other angel? That information is provided in verse 4. Not only could Zechariah see what was happening, but also he could hear the two angels talking to each other in the distance.

Zech. 2:4 And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:

Who gave the order “Run, speak to this young man”? Was it the angel who appeared out of nowhere to meet the man (the angel, the Logos), who had been explaining the vision to Zechariah? No, the Logos gave the order. If we did not know the setup when reading verse 4, we would say from the grammar and wording that the second angel was doing the speaking. However, the angel who had been the mainstay, the man on the red horse, was speaking, and he continued to speak in subsequent visions.

The Logos gave the order to the angel who met him, saying in effect, “Run back [for they were both at a distance] and tell the young man [Zechariah] that Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein.”

This message was helpful, for it indicated that Jerusalem would be built again. First, Zechariah saw a man with a measuring line in his hand who said, “I am going to measure the length and breadth of Jerusalem.” What a miraculous experience to show there would be activity! Then the man passed by and disappeared from sight. Next the angel who had appeared out of nowhere ran back to Zechariah with good news: “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle.” When we see the scene from this standpoint and understand which of the actors was speaking, the vision takes on vitality.

For 16 years, not much progress had been made on the Temple, so God employed Zechariah and Haggai to stir up the Israelites to get back to the original plan to restore the Temple and to rebuild the city. Now Zechariah was given an encouraging message. Not only would Jerusalem be rebuilt, but the city would be so large that it would not be practical to build walls around it. Subsequently, the account suggests the walls would not be needed because no enemy would be able to harm the people. Actually, in the final picture, this information begins to shed light on the end-time experience yet future.

Zech. 2:5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.

The angel who ran back to Zechariah continued to speak. As instructed by the Logos, he carried the message that God would be unto Jerusalem “a wall of fire round about” and “the glory in the midst” of the city.

The question is, When will this prophecy be fulfilled? Verse 5 refers to the deliverance of the Holy Remnant out of Jacob’s Trouble and the inauguration of the Kingdom. At the time of Jacob’s Trouble, God’s fury will rise up into His face, and He will make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations (Ezek. 38:18; Isa. 52:10). “God speaketh once, yea twice,” and the third time He thundereth from on high (Job 33:14). Pertaining to the inauguration of the Kingdom, He said, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psa. 46:10). The angry waves will be stilled. From other pictures, we see that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will be the central agent, but the Church will be with him. Eventually, so many Jews will be going back to Israel that there will not be enough room, and the people will burst over into the land of Gilead (Zech. 10:10; Obadiah 19).

The Third Temple will not be built right away when the Kingdom is inaugurated, for when the forces of Gog and Magog come to Jerusalem, there will be so many dead bodies that it will take seven months to bury the dead (Ezek. 39:11-16). All able-bodied young men will be employed full-time to rid the ground of rotting corpses lest they spread disease. Even after the seventh month, a crew will be established to go throughout the land looking for bones not previously found and bring them back to the designated cemetery for burial. Therefore, in the final analysis, clearing the land of corpses will require more than seven months. This message  of verse 5, an end-time picture yet to be fulfilled, was good news, for it was saying that God will defend His people at an unknown date in the future. God will be a wall of protection to Israel.

The “wall of fire round about” reminds us of the cloud over the Israelites in connection with the Exodus. It is also a reminder of the two angels God set at the entrance of the Garden of Eden after Adam’s disobedience and expulsion. Two angels were stationed on the east side to prevent anyone from violating the garden by entering it. Those angels were a fire to consume anybody who dared to penetrate the preserved Garden of Eden. In the future, not only will Jerusalem be miraculously saved during Jacob’s Trouble from the forces of Gog and  Magog, but also no one will be able to harm Israel, for God will be the nation’s defense.

This enthusiastic message was to be given to the Jewish exiles who had returned from Babylonian captivity in Zechariah’s day. When the prophet relayed this information, the people did not recognize it as a prophecy that would be fulfilled way down here at the end of the age.

Instead they applied the words to their own work in rebuilding Jerusalem and restoring the Temple. While Cyrus had given a very favorable decree in 536 BC, the returned Jewish exiles did not finish the work. After they laid the foundation of the Temple and built the altar, they went back to building their own homes because of continual harassment from surrounding neighbors. Then, years later, in the second year of the reign of Darius Hystaspes, permission was given for Ezra to go back to Israel to complete the Temple. Zerubbabel and Joshua, who were in the first return from Babylon, were still alive when Ezra appeared on the scene.

Q: Please explain again the relationship of the man with the measuring line and the two angels.

A: In verses 1 and 2, Zechariah spoke to the man with the measuring line, who said he was going to measure the city of Jerusalem. Then the man walked by and continued on, disappearing completely from the picture. The “angel” of verse 3 who talked with Zechariah is the same “man” (the Logos) who appears in the first, second, third, etc., visions. The Logos then talked to a second angel, who “went out to meet him.” Thus the two angels in verse 3 are separate from the man with the measuring line. In verse 4, the angel (the Logos) who had been explaining the vision instructed the second angel, “Go back quickly and tell Zechariah that Jerusalem will be inhabited.”

When Zechariah saw the man with the measuring line, heard his answer, and then watched him go off the scene, it was natural for the prophet to desire more information. Zechariah’s interest was aroused: “The man is going to measure Jerusalem. What is going on here?” Then Zechariah saw the “man” (the angel, the Logos) who had been talking with him all along. In addition, a second angel appeared. The Logos told the second angel to run back to Zechariah and explain the measuring line and the measuring of the city. The second angel said in effect, “The man you first saw has gone to measure Jerusalem. Not only will the city be built, but there will be so many people that they will burgeon forth into the suburbs. The city will not be able to contain the multitude of men.” The second angel was describing conditions in Jerusalem way down the stream of time, that is, after God delivers the Holy Remnant by manifesting His Kingdom rule through miracles. That is the time frame for the rebuilding and the population explosion of Jerusalem.

In summary, verses 1-5 are a  message of encouragement. Zechariah, a young man, was now a ball of fire with something significant to say. Shortly before, the Prophet Haggai, an old man, had similarly encouraged the Jews to finish the Temple. Evidently, he died and passed off the scene, and young Zechariah had a mission to expound to the nation of Israel. The message he was commissioned to give begins in verse 6. As a result of the message, Zechariah and the Israelites were very encouraged, and they went forth with enthusiasm to complete the work.

These visions are a much larger picture than the localized setting back there in the prophet’s day. The Lord has used this method with prophecy all down through history. He does not disclose too much information until the due time lest the people become discouraged.

Q: Will the “wall of fire” be for security?

A: Yes. Just as two cherubim guarded the Garden of Eden, so a protective wall of fire will surround the entire city, or enclave, that was being measured. Moreover, God will be “the glory in the midst of her.” We are reminded of the pillar that came down from the main body cloud over the Tabernacle and produced the Shekinah light in the Most Holy. As we continue in the Book of Zechariah and sum up the visions, their purpose will become clearer.

Zech. 2:6 Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.

Zechariah was given the details of what to do. Just as Ezekiel faced the north and talked about Gog and Magog coming down at the end of the age, so Zechariah was given a similar commission. Each day he went out and witnessed to the returned captives from Babylon. He positioned himself in a favorable spot to talk to a lot of people and then dramatized this encouraging message. Facing the north, he would cup his hands on his mouth and shout, “Ho, ho!” However, the invisible host to the north was different from the invisible foe of Gog and Magog to the north that the Prophet Ezekiel addressed. Likewise the Prophet Jeremiah spoke of an enemy that was coming down from the north to spoil Jerusalem. Here, instead, Zechariah was telling the Jews to come down: “Flee from the land of the north … : for I have [previously] spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.” During the period of the Diaspora, as a result of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 69-70, the Jews were dispersed into all nations by Titus.

Zechariah was not referring to what we are witnessing today with Jews coming from the north, for we see them returning to Israel before Jacob’s Trouble. Several Scriptures show that there will be another return of Jews to Israel after the Kingdom has been inaugurated—a second regathering of Jewish exiles from Gentile nations. It is estimated that 2 millions Jews in Russia alone have not returned to Israel, and certainly there are at least 5 million Jews in the United States. Therefore, after the Kingdom is established, all Jews who survive the great Time of Trouble will go back to Israel in a second regathering. This is the scene here in verse 6 where Zechariah cupped his hands and told those who had previously been spread abroad as the “four winds of the heaven” to come down and reinhabit the Promised Land. The message continues in verse 7.

Zech. 2:7 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.

The time setting in Zechariah’s day was 520 BC, so literal Babylon had already been destroyed.

Therefore, as with verse 6, there is a spiritual connotation pertaining to Christendom in our day, that is, at the end of the Gospel Age. From this standpoint, verses 6 and 7 are a call to the Jews to come out of the so-called Christian nations, a call to flee Christendom. They will come from “the four winds,” meaning from all directions including Europe. As shown in many little prophecies, the Jews are to go back to Israel from Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Russia, etc., after the Time of Trouble. These verses in Zechariah are packed with information; they are like an acorn that grows into a great tree.

Comment: Isaiah 11:11,12 applies to the same time frame. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Comment: Another pertinent Scripture is Zechariah 8:23, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations,  even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew [who is on his way back to Jerusalem in thesecond regathering], saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”

Reply: Yes. The term “ten men” signifies “from Gentile nations,” i.e., primarily from Europe but embracing other nations as well. “Ten” is a symbol of earthly completeness. In addition to the Holy Remnant in Israel, a Holy Remnant of Jews will be dispersed throughout other nations, and the names of both are written in the book of life for survival (Isa. 4:3; Dan. 12:1).

Zech. 2:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

Verse 8 verifies that Zechariah was referring to the second regathering, or coming back, of surviving Jews who will be in other nations: “After the glory [of the deliverance from Jacob’s Trouble] hath he [God] sent me [Zechariah] unto the nations which [previously] spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” Zechariah was not referring to Jews who go back to Israel today, for this is strong language. No one will dare to touch the redeemed and contrite Holy Remnant, who are written in the book of life to be spared, because God’s presence will be with them in a very manifest way. In contrast, the first, or current, regathering has been accomplished by hunters and fishers and in a more general way (Jer. 16:16). The second regathering will be much more particular and powerful in manifesting God’s presence with His people as individuals.

A clear lesson is that both natural and spiritual Israel are to separate themselves from the nations that spoiled them. God regards both with such interest and concern that any harm done to them is like having a speck go into the eye, a very sensitive part of the body.

Zech. 2:9 For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.

The Revised Standard Version reads, “Behold, I will shake my hand over them [the Gentiles, the enemies], and they shall become plunder for those [the persecuted Jews] who served them. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me.” The roles will be reversed, and the captives will become superior to the Gentiles who formerly had them in captivity. Instead of Israel’s being a subject nation, the time is coming in the near future when God will shake up the whole arrangement, and Israel will take the leadership role. In other words, those who previously subjected Israel will become subservient to Israel.

“Ye [the Holy Remnant] shall [then] know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me [Zechariah].”

The prophet will be recognized by the Jews as a signet when the Kingdom is inaugurated. They will then realize that his prophecies were true. In fact, verse 9 indicates that one of the most illuminating prophetic writings to open the eyes of the Jews will be the Book of Zechariah. Just as the Great Pyramid will be a witness to all peoples, so the Book of Zechariah will be a witness to the Jews because it contains so much information. As the study proceeds, we will see this to be a true statement in a very powerful way. We are only in the second chapter, and already a tremendous amount of information has been furnished.

Q: How do we know that the pronoun “me” refers to Zechariah?

A: The second angel ran back and told Zechariah that Jerusalem would be rebuilt as towns without walls and that God would be the glory in the midst of the city (verses 4 and 5). Even the translators understood that Zechariah, being instructed about this glorious future, would enthusiastically give this message to his people. He demonstrated and dramatized his message by using his hands and feet and varied voice inflections.

Zech. 2:10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of  Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midstof thee, saith the LORD.

Zech. 2:11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.

Zech. 2:12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

Zech. 2:13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.

The emphasis of verses 6-9 is as follows: “Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north…. Deliver thyself, O Zion…. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations…. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil.” These verses are an end-time picture pertaining to the close of the Gospel Age.

Verses 10-13 are still part of the encouraging message. Preceding verses told how God will miraculously manifest that the natural Jew has returned to full favor with Him and that anyone who touches the natural Jew at this still future time in history will be punished immediately. The effect of such an action against the Jew would be like a speck of dust getting in God’s eye; such interference will not be tolerated.

No wonder the prophet was to “sing and rejoice.” Young Zechariah now had wonderful information to tell the Jewish people. We can be sure that just as a fire burned in Jeremiah’s bones, so a fire was now burning in Zechariah’s bones. Not only did he have the information, but also he had the vitality and the enthusiasm that go with youth to preach the message effectively. His energetic preaching was contagious to God’s people back there. Haggai, the old prophet, appealed to the older element, whereas Zechariah appealed to the younger ones, who were the bulk of the population. Now the people would finish the work on the Temple. Those who listened to Zechariah’s message interpreted it as having a fulfillment only a few years hence, and God intended the message to be an encouragement to them, even though the real fulfillment is yet future. Stated another way, Zechariah is the prophet of the future. His prophecy is one of the elements that will open the blind eyes of the Jews (Rom. 11:25).

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for … I will dwell in the midst of thee [Israel], saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people.”

In Zechariah’s day, there were only about ten nations, so he would have emphasized that in the future, “many nations” (the Gentiles) would be joined to God and be His people. God’s presence, power, and glory will be center stage in Jerusalem. The Law will go forth from Zion, and the word of that Law will go forth from Jerusalem (Isa. 2:3). “And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.”

Verse 13 is a summation of the whole vision: “Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.” God will lift up His mighty hand and show His muscle when He manifests His deliverance of the Holy Remnant. God will make plain that He is the God of Israel. The Gentiles will have to become proselyte Jews in order to get the blessings of the New Covenant and become “my [Jehovah’s] people” (verse 11).

Ezekiel 39:22 reads, “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.” And speaking of Gog, the account states, “Thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen [the nations] may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes” (Ezek. 38:16). God’s fury will rise up into His face, and He will make the nations to know that He is the God of all the earth (Ezek. 38:18). In the very short time period of Gog and Magog, God will manifest MIGHTY judgments.

Verses 6-13 in this second chapter of the Book of Zechariah help to acquaint us with the sort of thinking that encouraged the Israelites back there, but the primary fulfillment is yet future. We are being alerted to the significance of end-time events, which will become very particularized later on in the book. Thus far we are only being introduced to end-time thinking. Incidentally, verse 12 is the only place in the Scriptures where Israel is called “the holy land.”

Q: Is verse 13 the result of Michael’s standing up (Dan. 12:1)?

A: Yes, at that time, Michael will stand up for Israel as the representative of Jehovah. Other Scriptures show that Jehovah will stand up as well. For example, God’s feet will stand on the Mount of Olives when it splits at the time of the deliverance of the Holy Remnant: “And his [God’s] feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zech. 14:4). A visual representation of Jehovah’s feet will be seen. God has been silent for thousands of years, relatively speaking, as far as the world is concerned. The people, being the children of their father the devil, have not recognized Him, but conditions will be reversed in the near future (John 8:44). The Kingdom will be manifested in GREAT power and GREAT glory (Matt. 24:30; Mark 13:26).

Review

Haggai and Zechariah had extremely short ministries. Haggai began his ministry on the first day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius Hystaspes, and it ended on the twentyfourth day of the ninth month of that same year—a total of less than four months. An old man, he passed off the scene quickly, but he served God’s purpose, nevertheless. The ministry of Zechariah, a young man and a contemporary of Haggai, started on the first day of the eighth month of the same second year of Darius and continued until the fourth day of the ninth

month of the fourth year of Darius. Thus the total ministry of Zechariah was 25 months and four days—also a short ministry. Both Haggai, the old man, and Zechariah, the young man, appeared on the scene like meteors.

Ministry of Haggai…………………………………………..……… Ministry of Zechariah

Began: 2nd year of Darius, 6th month, 1st day………………………… Began: 2nd year of Darius, 8th month, 1st day

Ended: 2nd year of Darius, 9th month, 24th day……………………… Ended: 4th year of Darius, 9th month, 4th day

Total: Less than 4 months ……………………………………………………..Total: 25 months plus 4 days

The Lord told Haggai to speak to (1) Zerubbabel, the administrator in charge of civic affairs; (2) Joshua, the high priest; and (3) the people. The content of Haggai’s message, on behalf of the Lord God, to the Jews who returned from Babylonian exile can be summarized as follows.

“You came back from Babylonian captivity to build my house. You started well, but then you stopped to build houses for yourselves, plastering and garnishing them. You left my house alone. In the meantime, you planted much seed in your gardens but reaped very little produce.

Didn’t I previously blow upon the land, causing it to lie waste, because of the neglect of my house? Therefore, the heavens did not bring down dew, nor did the earth yield its fruit.

Moreover, those of you who earned wages put the money in a bag with a hole in it. Don’t you get the lesson?” God also inferred through Zechariah that when the Jews stopped building the Temple, these were the results.

Then Haggai instructed the people what to do. They were to go up into the mountain to get wood so that they could finish the house of the Lord. “Then God will take pleasure in you and will glorify the work. You have His blessing now—just do as He says.”

Three weeks later the Jews commenced work on the Temple. Then Haggai said, “Do you see the result of your building? For those of you who saw the first house [Solomon’s Temple] and its glory, doesn’t this current house seem like nothing in your eyes in comparison?”

The Lord continued, “Be strong, for I am with you. I will shake all nations and fill this house with glory. In fact, the glory of this latter house [Ezekiel’s Temple] will supersede that of the former [Solomon’s Temple]. Also, I will give peace when this takes place.” Although Zerubbabel’s Temple was being built at the time, this reference was to the future literal Third Temple, which will be built in the beginning of the Kingdom Age.

Just before the end of Haggai’s ministry, along came the young man Zechariah, who said to the returned Jews, “God told me to tell you, ‘Turn unto me, and I will turn unto you.’” After this very short message, Zechariah disappeared off the scene for a moment. Next Haggai gave his last words from the Lord: “Remember and consider that before a stone was laid upon a stone of the Temple, the land did not bring forth, and when the altar was built, I considered your offerings unclean because of your neglect with regard to my house. However, from this day forward [the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of the second year of Darius], I will bless you.” Then Haggai disappeared off the scene.

Zechariah began his ministry that same year. In the first vision were three kinds of horses (doctrines): red, speckled (black-maned), and white. The Logos was in front as the “man,” or rider, of the red horse, and he and the horses with him were in a valley of blessing (called a valley of “myrtle trees”). Myrtle trees have shiny green leaves (the color green being a healthful sign) and unusual delicate white flowers with a small purple border. The flowers exude a fragrance that was likened by some commentators in those days to an exquisite perfume. Thus the trees had verdure with a healthy look and a pleasing fragrance. In addition, the trees were tinged with a sort of reddish hue, and the seeds were used as a spice, yet they also had a tonic, or medicinal, effect. The Logos, who was sitting on the red horse in this environment, spoke good and comfortable words. We can see, then, that the message was encouraging, especially when we remember that the horses themselves came from Jehovah. In fact, the messages of both Haggai and Zechariah were encouraging. Both prophets said repeatedly, “Thus saith the LORD,” but Zechariah was more pragmatic in the sense of being a visionary; that is, he described the visions he received from the Lord.

The second vision was of four horns and four carpenters. The four horns tended to frustrate and hinder the progress of the prosperity of both the Temple and the people of Judah.

Therefore, the four horns had a negative effect, but the four carpenters built up and thus offset the horns. Each horn was followed by a carpenter. There are two applications for the horns and the carpenters; one is the localized application, and the other is the larger prophetic picture. The Book of Ezra mentions four individuals who were like horns, two from one time period back there and two from another time period. The four corresponding constructive individuals, or carpenters, were Zerubbabel, Joshua, Haggai, and Zechariah.

The second application, which was the real intent of the four horns and the four carpenters, gives a brief summarization of the long period of time before the Lord’s glory would be manifested to all peoples in the Temple that will be erected in the Kingdom Age. The first horn that was of a damaging nature to the children of Judah was King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who laid waste Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon. Then along came a carpenter in 536 BC, Cyrus of Persia, the power that God used to issue a decree to the Israelites so that those who desired could go back to the homeland and rebuild the Temple and its surrounding courtyard.

The second horn in history was Cambyses of Persia. The Persian records indicate that Cyrus, the first king, reigned nine years, but he actually reigned only seven years because he was the general of Darius the Mede for the first two years. Upon his ascension to the throne in 536 BC, he conveniently erased the name of Darius the Mede from the records and included those two years in his own reign. Cambyses, who came along seven years after the death of Cyrus, frustrated Judah in the homeland by issuing a decree that halted the Temple work. The Bible uses the title Ahasuerus rather than the name Cambyses. “And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem…. Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem” (Ezra 4:6,24). Following the second horn came a second carpenter, Darius Hystaspes, who issued a comforting decree. A builder-up, he was mentioned by both Haggai and Zechariah, and during his reign, Zerubbabel and Joshua prospered. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah had short, meteoric ministries, whereas Zerubbabel and Joshua had long periods of service.

During the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes, who was the third horn, the people of the land told the king that the Israelites were building the city, not just the Temple. When the records were searched, Artaxerxes saw that the original decree of Cyrus the Persian allowed the Jews to return to the homeland to build the Temple. Thus the work ceased for a while. However, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, the third carpenter, Nehemiah was privileged to go back to Israel and rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem. This condition lasted until the next horn.

The fourth  horn occurred under the Roman Empire, which destroyed the Temple and the cityof Jerusalem in AD 69. Both Titus and Vespasian were involved in the destruction, but particularly Titus. The fourth carpenter, coming on the scene many years later, was General Allenby in the English army, who broke the yoke of the Ottoman Empire in 1917. As a result of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire’s hold on Palestine, the rebuilding began to take place, and Jews started to return. Also, the first Jewish prime minister of England was on the scene at the same time, plus a Jewish scientist, who was recognized for the work he had done.

In summary, not only empires or nations but also individuals of those powers were represented by the four horns and the four carpenters. Stated another way, a carpenter power opposed or negated the influence of each horn and allowed Israel to prosper in these four stages of redevelopment.

In the third vision, a man appeared with a measuring line in his hand. When Zechariah asked him where he was going, the man replied, “To measure the city of Jerusalem,” etc. Now we come to the fourth vision.

(2000 and 2003)

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