The Visions at Night Zechariah 1:7-6:15, cont’d.
Zechariah 4:1-The angel returns and “arouses” Zechariah…gains his attention…in a similar manner, as you would wake someone up who has been asleep.
Zechariah 4:2-14-Vision 5: The Golden Lampstand
Zechariah sees a lampstand with seven lamps...with seven pipes leading to each lamp...and, two olive trees, one to the left and one to the right. The olive trees provide the oil for the lamp. This is symbolic of the Holy Spirit's power. Zechariah will not be able to accomplish all that God has given him to do on his own. But, God assures him that He will supply all that is necessary. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.
- Might focuses on collective strength, the resources of a group or army. Power focuses on individual strength. God says, "not by the resources of many or one, but by My Spirit. It will not be by your cleverness, your ability, or your physical strength that the temple will be rebuilt, but by the Spirit of God."
- The necessary resource for God's work is the Holy Spirit and God promises Zerubbabel a rich resource in the Spirit of God to accomplish His work. When we trust in our own resources - whether they be small or great in the eyes of man - then we don't enjoy the full supply of the Spirit. "Oh! May God send us poverty; may God send us lack of means, and take away our power of speech if it must be, and help us only to stammer, if we may only thus get the blessing. Oh! I rave to be useful to souls, and all the rest may go where it will." (Spurgeon)
iii. This was the Spirit - the breath - the ruah of the LORD which worked in creation (Genesis 1:2), at the Red Sea, to open and close it (Exodus 15:8, 10) and that gave life to dead bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
- Looking back to the vision earlier in the chapter, we see that God wanted Zerubbabel to know that the Holy Spirit would continually supply his need, just as the oil trees in the vision continually supplied oil to the lamps on the lampstand. God wants His supply and our reliance on the Holy Spirit to be continual…
- By My Spirit: Why oil is a good representation of the Holy Spirit:
- Oil lubricates when used for that purpose - there is little friction and wear among those who are lubricated by the Spirit of God
- Oil heals and was used as a medicinal treatment in Biblical times (Luke 10:34) - the Spirit of God brings healing and restoration
- Oil lights when it is burned in a lamp - where the Spirit of God is there is light
- Oil warms when it is used as fuel for a flame - where the Spirit of God is there is warmth and comfort
- Oil invigorates when used to massage - the Holy Spirit invigorates us for His service
- Oil adorns when applied as a perfume - the Holy Spirit adorns us and makes us more pleasant to be around
- Oil polishes when used to shine metal - the Holy Spirit wipes away our grime and smoothes out our rough edgeshttps://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Zec/Zec_4.cfm?a=915014
- David Guzik :: Study Guide for Zechariah 4,
The angel directs Zechariah to take a message of encouragement to Zerubbabel (the governor). He is to tell him that…
- the Temple would be completed not by the power of men, but by the power of God (:6)…so he does not have to worry about it.
- No “mountain” (obstacle) can stop the power of God (:7).
- When they put the last stone of the Temple in place the people will shout for joy (:7).
- He (Zerubbabel) will be there to see the project through to its finish (:9).
- Don’t worry about what men think about the size of the Temple. God is pleased and that is what is important (:10).
4:6-7 Just as Joshua, the religious leader, was cleansed in the preceding vision, now Zerubbabel, the civil leader, is encouraged by this vision. The Temple would be finished by the power of the Holy Spirit; every mountain (obstacle) would be removed. When the top stone was put in place, the people would beseech God for grace on the Temple.
The Ryrie Study Bible, Charles Ryrie, footnote on Zechariah 4:12, p. 1418
The angel then explains to Zechariah the meaning of the two “olive trees”. God is working through the two principle leaders of Israel to accomplish His purpose. There is also a future time in the Millennium when two witnesses will be used by God (:12-14).
4:12 two olive branches. Better, clusters. On each olive tree (v. 11) was a bunch or cluster of olives. Also, on the sides of the golden bowl on top of the lampstand (v. 2) were two golden pipes (v. 12) turned upward, into which the two clusters of olives poured their oil (a symbol of the Holy Spirit’s power, v. 6), which then flowed into the bowls and through the 49 pipes to the seven lamps.
The Ryrie Study Bible, Charles Ryrie, footnote on Zechariah 4:12, p. 1418
- These are the two anointed ones: In Zechariah's day, the two anointed ones were Zerubbabel and Joshua. It seems that they were not the entire trees, but two olive branches from the trees, probably one branch from each tree. The trees themselves may represent the kingly and priestly offices in Israel.
- God had a special work for these two anointed ones. They would be uniquely anointed to work together and to accomplish the work of God. God often calls two men to work together:
- Moses and Aaron
- Joshua and Caleb
- Elijah and Elisha
- Peter and John
- Paul and Barnabas…
- ii. God promises to raise up two more witnesses, anointed ones to preach the gospel to the world immediately before Jesus' return (Revelation 11:3-13). Revelation 11:4 specifically says of these witnesses: These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Zechariah 4,
Zechariah 5:1-4-Vision 6: The Flying Scroll
He now sees a vision of a large flying scroll with writing on both sides. The writing was the accusations of the sins of the people. On one side are the names and sins of people who made false oaths (“swears falsely”) in God’s name and on the other side are the names and sins of people who stole from other people (:3-4). These two sins are basically a generalization of all the sins that the people had committed. As a result of their sins…the whole land is “cursed” (suffering judgment). The scroll is open…symbolizing that the sins would not remain private, but would become public knowledge when God judges them.
Zechariah 5:5-11-Vision 7: The Woman in Ephah
In this vision he sees a woman (who represents wicked Judah) being thrown into an “ephah” (a barrel…larger than a bushel). A "lead" (too heavy for her to lift) covering is placed over the top so that she cannot escape. She is then taken by two women with “wings of a stork” to "Shinar" (Babylon) where she will be judged for her sin. This vision is a picture of God judging Judah for her sins. He is using Babylon as His instrument of judgment. Babylon will carry Judah off into bondage and she will not be able to escape.
- Where are they carrying the basket? God will cause this evil, materialistic spirit to be returned to its starting-place: Babylon. There it will eventually be destroyed.
- When it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base: The word for base has the thought of a pedestal for an idol. The storks set the idol of materialism where it belongs.
- Two women … they had wings like the wings of a stork: This means that the women in Zechariah's vision had big wings, strong enough to take this basket back to Babylon. Some regard these women as agents of evil because storks were unclean animals, but here they seem to do the work of God in sending the wicked woman back to Babylon.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Zechariah 5,
- He sees the ephah, with the woman thus pressed to death in it, carried away into some far country.
- The instruments employed to do it were two women, who had wings like those of a stork, large and strong, and, to make them fly the more swiftly, they had the wind in their wings, denoting the great violence and expedition with which the Romans destroyed the Jewish nation. God has not only winged messengers in heaven, but he can, when he pleases, give wings to those also whom he employs in this lower world; and, when he does so, he forwards them with the wind in their wings; his providence carries them on with a favourable gale.
- They bore it up in the air, denoting the terrors which pursued the wicked Jews, and their being a public example of God's vengeance to the world. They lifted it up between the earth and the heaven, as unworthy of either and abandoned by both; for the Jews, when this was fulfilled, pleased not God and were contrary to all men, 1 Th. 2:15. This is wickedness, and this comes of it; heaven thrust out wicked angels, and earth spewed out wicked Canaanites.
- When the prophet enquired whither they carried their prisoner whom they had now in execution (v. 10) he was told that they designed to build it a house in the land of Shinar. This intimates that the punishment of the Jews should be a final dispersion; they should be hurried out of their own country, as the chaff which the wind drives away, and should be forced to dwell in far countries, particularly in the country of Babylon, whither many of the scattered Jews went after the destruction of their country by the Romans, as they did also to other countries, especially in the Levant parts, not to sojourn, as in their former captivity, for seventy years, but to be nailed down for perpetuity. There the ephah shall be established, and set upon her own base. This intimates,
(1.) That their calamity shall continue from generation to generation, and that they shall be so dispersed that they shall never unite or incorporate again; they shall settle in a perpetual unsettlement, and Cain's doom shall be theirs, to dwell in the land of shaking.
(2.) That their iniquity shall continue too, and their hearts shall be hardened in it. Blindness has happened unto Israel, and they are settled upon the lees of their own unbelief; their wickedness is established upon its own basis. God has given them a spirit of slumber (Rom. 11:8), lest at any time they should convert, and be healed.
Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Zechariah 5,
Zechariah 6:1-8-Vision 8: The Four Chariots
He now sees a vision in which there are four chariots. They represent God's agents of judgment going out into all of the world.
For a detailed explanation of the Four Chariots see:
Zechariah 6:9-15-Vision 9: The Crowning of Joshua
This vision is a command from God to make a crown and place it on the head of Joshua (the High Priest). This symbolized…
- the union of the offices of Priest and King by the Messiah in the Millennium;
- that even as Joshua finished the building of the Temple, the Messiah will build a Temple during the Millennium.
- Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! We already saw this Branch in Zechariah 3:8, and it is a familiar title for the Messiah (Isaiah 4:2 and 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15). The BRANCH is associated with fruitfulness and life. Jesus used the same image when He said that He was the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5).
- Behold, the Man: "In the Hebrew text the prophecy begins 'Behold the Man,' the very words Pilate used to present the beaten Christ to the people of Jerusalem: 'Ecce homo!' " (Boice) But in Zechariah's vision it isn't the humiliated Jesus we are asked to behold, it is the triumphant Jesus.
- From His place He shall branch out: This speaks of the fruitfulness and outreaching life of the Messiah. "He will come where there is little promise of new life, unexpectedly, like the root out of a dry ground." (Baldwin)
- And He shall build the temple of the LORD: The Branch will rebuild the temple - not the same temple Zerubbabel worked on, but the temple of His people (Ephesians 2:19-22, 1 Peter 2:5).
- So He shall be a priest on His throne: This was an unthinkable concept previously in Israel because priests did not sit on thrones and kings did not serve as priests. Nevertheless, the Branch is different; He rules as both a King and Priest.
David Guzik :: Study Guide on Zechariah 6,
III. The provision that was made to preserve the remembrance of this. The crowns that were used in this solemnity were not given to Joshua, but must be kept for a memorial in the temple of the Lord, v. 14. Either they were laid up in the temple treasury or (as the Jews' tradition is) they were hung up in the windows of the temple, in the view of all, in perpetuam rei memoriam-for a perpetual memorial, for a traditional evidence of the promise of the Messiah and this typical transaction used for the confirmation of that promise. The crowns were delivered to those who found the materials (and some think their names were engraven on the crowns), to be preserved as a public testimony of their pious liberality and an encouragement to others in like manner to bring presents to the house of God. Note, Various means were used for the support of the faith of the Old-Testament saints, who waited for the consolation of Israel, till the time, the set time, for it came.
Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Zechariah 6,
Zechariah 6:15-It is interesting and important to know that four times Zechariah says that he has been instructed to write these things so that when they come about the people will know that God has sent him (2:9,11; 4:9; 6:15). He was not saying this so that we would be impressed with him…but rather, that we would be amazed by God! God gives us this information ahead of time so that when it happens it will serve of proof of His eternal presence and complete knowledge.
Prayer: Father, as I read these chapters I am reminded over and over, that You are in control. There is nothing, ab-so-lute-ly nothing…that is more powerful than You. You control the Heavens. You control the earth. You control time. You control everything. There are times in my life when I need to remember this. Hard times. Uncertain times. Holy Spirit, when those times come…please bring these verses to mind.