Scripture reading – Zechariah 2; Zechariah 3

Our study of the Book of Zechariah continues in what is admittedly a challenging passage of Scripture. It has been observed by many that Zechariah is apocalyptic, and is to the Old Testament, what the Book of Revelation is to the New Testament. The visions of the prophet embraced both an imminent implication, and a far-reaching application, thus giving us a glimpse of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

So far, we have considered the first (1:7-17) and second (1:18-21) of the eight visions of Zechariah. Today’s study will focus upon the third (2:1-13) and fourth visions (3:1-10). As you will see, the visions abound in symbols, whose interpretations have given cause for much debate through the centuries.

Zechariah 2 – The Third Vision: The Surveyor (2:1-13)

Zechariah’s third vision was of “a man with a measuring line in his hand” (2:1). Seeing the man, the prophet asked, “Whither goest thou?” (2:2a) The man answered, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof” (2:2).

Who was the man with the measuring line? Zechariah identified him in verse 3 as “the angel that talked with me” (2:3). I believe he (2:1) was a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. A second angel then appeared in the vision, and the first angel commanded him, saying, “Run, speak to this young man” (whom I believe was Zechariah, 2:4). The second angel was the bearer of good news for Zechariah, and foretold, “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein” (2:4).

Though the city was desolate at the time, and the Jews were exiles in Babylon, the angel foretold a future day when Jerusalem would be a bustling city, “without walls” (dwelling in peace), and its population overflowing its boundaries (2:4b). The reference to Jerusalem in this passage is still future, for that city is today surrounded by nations that would destroy the Jewish State. Yet, there is coming a day when Jerusalem will have no need of walls, for the LORD promised He will be to that city “a wall of fire round about” (literally, a ring of fire, 2:5).

A Warning to the Jews Dwelling in Babylon (2:6-9)

There is some debate as to the timing of the vision, and some suggest it predated the Jew’s return from exile. Nevertheless, the warning is for any who would presume to live in safety in Babylon. So, the Lord warned them to get out saying, “7Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon” (2:7). The Gentile nations who had oppressed and spoiled Judah and Jerusalem, would be judged, and learn that God’s people are “the apple of His eye” (2:8), and precious in His sight (Psalm 103:13; 116:15).

The Second Coming and the Millennial Kingdom (2:10-13)

Zechariah’s third vision concluded with the LORD calling the people of Jerusalem to “Sing and rejoice,” for He promised to “come…and dwell in the midst” (2:10). In that day, not only the Jews, but “many nations” will celebrate Christ dwelling “in the midst,” and all would know the God of heaven, “the Lord of hosts hath sent” Him to reign on the earth (2:11).

Zechariah 3 – The Fourth Vision: The Cleansing and Restoration of Jerusalem

Two individuals appeared before the LORD in Zechariah’s fourth vision: “Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD [preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ], and Satan standing at his [Joshua’s] right hand to resist him [Joshua]” (3:1). The high priest, being Israel’s representative before the LORD, was the symbol of the nation, while Satan, who was the fallen angel Lucifer, was (and is) the personification of pride, rebellion, and wickedness.

Reminiscent of Satan appearing before the LORD to accuse Job (Job 1), that wicked one was present to accuse Joshua, and to resist the LORD who promised to restore His people to Jerusalem (3:2). The LORD rebuked Satan, and declared He had “chosen Jerusalem,” and boasted, “Is not this a brand [Jerusalem] plucked out of the fire?” (3:2b). The LORD had employed the heathen to punish His people for their sins, and though Judah and Jerusalem had passed through the fire, God promised He would pluck them out (3:2b).

Joshua’s Appearance (3:3-5)

The Joshua of Zechariah 3 was not the servant to Moses, who led Israel to conquer the Promised Land; but rather, this Joshua before us was the high priest who served as the spiritual leader of the post-exilic Jews (Haggai 1:2, 12; 2:4). As high priest, Joshua’s “filthy garments” personified Israel’s spiritual condition in captivity (3:3).

Because the LORD is intolerant of anything that is not pure and holy, He commanded, “Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him [Joshua] he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment” (3:4). Commanding a “fair mitre” (an unsoiled headdress) be placed upon Joshua’s head (3:5), his garments were changed, symbolic of God’s people repenting of their sins, being cleansed and restored to the LORD (3:4-5). Knowing Joshua served before the LORD as the representative of Israel, he was charged to obey the LORD, and keep the charge of the courts of God’s Temple (3:6-7).

Notice three symbols of the Messiah were given: Priests (for the LORD is the believer’s High Priest, 3:8a); the “BRANCH” (3:8b; 6:12; Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5-6);  and a Stone, with “seven eyes” (seven being the number of completeness, and speaking of the LORD’s omniscience, 3:9).

Our devotional concludes with a blessed promise of peace and blessings, for when Christ reigns, “every man [shall call for] his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree” (3:10).

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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