Scripture reading – Zechariah 4

We have considered the rich symbolism of Zechariah’s visions in our study of the Book of Zechariah: 1) A horsemen [a pre-incarnate appearance of Jess Christ] riding a red horse, among a grove of myrtle trees (1:7-17); 2) Four horns, that represented four world powers (1:18-21); 3) A surveyor [a pre-incarnate appearance of Jess Christ] measuring Jerusalem (2:1-13); and 4) Joshua, the high priest, changing from “filthy garments,” representing Jerusalem’s spiritual cleansing and restoration (3:3-10). Today’s Scripture reading brings us to the fifth vision.

Zechariah 4 – The Fifth Vision

The angel, whom I believe was Christ incarnate, came to Zechariah and finding the prophet sleeping, awakened him and said, “What seest thou?” (4:2)

Zechariah observed and described “a candlestick all of gold [a golden lampstand], with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes [funneling oil] to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 3And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof [providing oil]” (4:2-3).

Having described the vision, Zechariah wondered at the meaning and asked, “What are these, my lord?” (4:4) Answering a question with a question, the angel asked Zechariah, “Knowest thou not what these be?” (4:5) The prophet was then made to understand the vision was a message he was to convey to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah (4:6-14).

An Interpretation of the Symbols of the Vision (4:2-3, 14)

When it comes to symbols in the Bible, one must interpret scripture with scripture to understand both the meaning and application. We know the lampstand was indicative of light and reminds us of the golden lampstand (menorah) that was in the tabernacle, and the Temple, and I believe was a picture of Christ who is “the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5). The seven bowls of the lampstand were fed by seven pipes (4:2), through which oil passed from two live trees (4:3). I believe the two olive trees (4:3) were symbolic of the offices of the high priest (Joshua) and the political leader of Judah (Zerubbabel). Verse 14 would seem to prove that interpretation for there we read, “These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (4:14).

The Purpose of the Vision (4:6-11)

As he set his heart to build the Temple, Zerubbabel found he was facing opposition from within and without. Should he lean upon his own strength and resources, the building of the Temple was doomed to fail. Facing a “mountain” of discouragement (4:6a), the message from the LORD to Zerubbabel was summed up in this: “This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (4:6b).

The LORD assured Zerubbabel, a “great mountain [would] become a plain” before him (4:7a), and with His blessing, the foundation would be laid, and “His hands shall also finish it” (4:9). After all, “the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth” were upon Zerubbabel (4:10).

Closing thought – Believer, apart from the LORD’s blessing, there is nothing we can do of lasting value when we face “mountains” of opposition. Yet, humbling ourselves before the LORD, we can trust He will not only bless, but will strengthen us. In the words of Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”(Philippians 4:13).

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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