Zechariah Chapters 1 to 8 and Malachi 2 verse 17 through 4 verse 6, Part 1 of 8 Parts
by Karl Kemp
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"Scripture Quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1953, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
I am taking these articles from the October, 2007 internet version of my paper titled, "Verse-by-Verse Studies of Zechariah Chapters 1-8 and Malachi 2:17-4:6," which was modified only slightly from the original paper that was published in October, 2004. I had these words on the cover sheet of the paper: These prophetic passages deal, for the most part, with God's plans to save His people and to judge the world at the end of this age. Malachi includes the theme that Christ will send His messenger/Elijah the prophet before He comes to judge. Zechariah chapters 1-8 include the theme that true Israel will reign over the repentant remnant of the peoples of the nations left after His end-time judgments.
The fact that the Angel of the LORD (Angel of Yahweh), God the Son, the preincarnate Christ, plays a major role in both passages makes these passages all the more important and interesting. Zechariah chapters 9-14 are discussed in chapters 13-15 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." These chapters contain some of the most important prophecies contained in the Bible.
I was able to use footnotes, bold, italics, underlining, small caps, etc. in the original paper and the internet edition. In February, 2013 I am splitting this paper into eight parts and putting it in the proper format to put on several Christian article sites. I am making some minor improvements to the paper at this time, including updating cross-references to my other writings.
All quotations from the Bible were taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition, unless otherwise noted. Sometimes I will use double brackets [[ ]] or (( )) to make them more obvious.
I'll include the CONTENTS of the internet version of the paper and the page numbers for your information:
Zechariah Chapter 1..... 1
Zechariah Chapter 2..... 8
Zechariah Chapter 3..... 12
Zechariah Chapter 4..... 18
Zechariah Chapter 5..... 22
Zechariah Chapter 6..... 25
Zechariah Chapter 7..... 31
Zechariah Chapter 8..... 35
Malachi 2:17 and Chapter 3..... 40
Malachi Chapter 4..... 54
Other Verses and Topics Discussed in This Paper:
Isaiah 40:3-5..... 43
Isaiah 66:1-8..... 48
Amos 5:18..... 41
Zechariah 13:8-14:8..... 48
Malachi 1:11..... 40
Matthew 17:11..... 47, 57
Revelation 11:3-13..... 43
Revelation 12:5..... 44
On the Angel of the LORD (Angel of Yahweh), see under Zechariah 1:8-16; 2:1-13; 3:1-10; 4:1-14; 6:11-15; and under Malachi 3:1.
ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 1.
"In the eighth month of the second year of Darius [[Darius I Hystapes reigned over the Medo-Persian world-kingdom from 521-486 BC. The eighth month of his second year was in 520 BC. (Joyce G. Baldwin ("Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi" [Inter-Varsity Press, 1972], page 87) points out that the eighth month of the year 520 BC began October 27.) Two months earlier, "in the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD [Yahweh] came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel...governor of Judah, and to Joshua...the high priest, saying..." (Hag. 1:1). That word dealt with the need for the people of Judah to repent and get busy rebuilding the temple. Ezra 5:1, 2; 6:14 show that the prophets Haggai and Zechariah were both involved with rebuilding the temple.
After Cyrus (the Medo-Persian king) overthrew the Babylonians (539/538 BC), in accordance with the plan of God (2 Chron. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-4; Isa. 44:28-45:1 [this prophecy mentioned Cyrus by name over a hundred years before he was born]; Jer. 25:12, 13; 29:10), he permitted (and helped) the Jews return to Jerusalem (and Judah) to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:1-4). The first group to return, under the leadership of Zerubbabel the governor, Joshua (Jeshua) the high priest, and others, numbered 42,360 (Ezra 2:1, 2, 64).
Not long after they returned, they "built the altar of the God of Israel to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses..." (Ezra 3:2), and the following year (536 BC) they laid the foundation for the temple (see Ezra 2:68-3:13). However, because of opposition (see Ezra chapters 4-6), they did not rebuild the temple, not until God forced the issue through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. They began to rebuild the temple in 520 BC; they finished it in 516 BC.]], the word of the LORD ["Yahweh" in Hebrew; actually, the Hebrew just has the four consonants (YHWH, written from right to left in the Hebrew).] came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo [There is widespread agreement that this is the same Iddo mentioned in Neh. 12:4, 16; Ezra 8:17 (cf. Ezra 5:1; 6:14), which would mean that Zechariah was a priest.] saying, (2) 'The LORD [Yahweh] was very angry with your fathers. (3) Therefore say to them, "Thus says the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts ["hosts" means armies], 'Return to Me,' declares the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, 'that I may return to you,' says the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts. [[Although the Jews had repented to some extent and started to rebuild the temple some two months before these prophetic words came to Zechariah, there was a need for further repentance, which often is the case. Some undoubtedly hadn't repented hardly at all; others needed to repent on a deeper level.]] (4) 'Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, "Thus says the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, 'Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.' " But they did not listen or give heed to Me,' declares the LORD [Yahweh]. (5) 'Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? [Even though the former prophets (like Isaiah and Jeremiah) had already died, God's words always come to pass, including His words regarding judgment - His words do not die!] (6) But did not My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your fathers? Then they repented [The fathers repented (at least some of them repented to some extent) after the Babylonians destroyed the temple and much of Jerusalem and carried Judah into exile.] and said, "As the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so He has dealt with us." ' " ' (7) On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius [[This date is three months after the date mentioned in Zech. 1:1, but the day of the month is not given in Zech 1:1. Now it was 519 BC. Haggai 1:12-15 with Hag. 2:10-23 apparently explain the significance of the "twenty-fourth day" of the month. The "twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king" is mentioned in Hag. 1:15. As Hag. 1:12-15 show, that was the day that the Jews, under the leadership of Zerubbabel the governor of Judah and Joshua the high priest, began to work on the temple. (Haggai 1:1 shows that it was "on the first day of the sixth month" of that same year that the word of the Yahweh came to Haggai regarding the need for the Jews to repent and get busy rebuilding the temple.)
The "twenty-forth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius" is mentioned in Hag. 2:10 (also see Hag. 2:18). On that day the word of Yahweh came to Haggai. That prophetic word included the good news that, now that Judah had repented (at least to some significant extent, which very much included starting to rebuild the temple), from that day onward God would begin to bless Judah.
The same "twenty-fourth day [of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius]" is mentioned in Hag. 2:20. On that day the word of Yahweh came to Haggai a second time. The second word was directed to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, but the message applied mostly to the One of whom Zerubbabel was a type, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Great King. That prophecy included the message that God will shake the heavens and the earth (which refers, at least for the most part, to His end-time judgment of the world [I had a footnote: Although the prophecies of Zechariah deal mostly with the end-times, end-time prophecies were quite relevant and comforting for the people of Zechariah's day. For one thing, they confirmed the biblical theme that those who stay faithful to God will ultimately be exalted.] and that Zerubbabel (as a type for Christ) will become a signet ring for God, which undoubtedly includes Christ's having authority over God's worldwide kingdom.]], the word of the LORD [Yahweh] came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, as follows [[Eight visions follow, continuing through Zech. 6:8. There is widespread agreement that all the visions were given to Zechariah on the same night. The same basic prophetic themes permeate these visions that permeate the other end-time prophecies of the book of Zechariah and many other books of the Bible: After intense chastening judgments, God will fully save, sanctify, exalt, and glorify the elect end-time remnant of Judah/Israel through the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, the Lamb of God, and the Great High Priest; God will judge the nations through the Lord Jesus Christ, but He will also save a multitudinous remnant of the peoples of the nations left after that judgment; He will establish His worldwide kingdom (centered in Jerusalem) headed up by the Lord Jesus Christ, and His people (true Israel) will reign with Him; all opposition will be swept away and the kingdom will be established in God's time through the all-powerful Spirit of God and God's heavenly armies.]]: (8) I saw at night, and behold, a man [[I agree with the widespread viewpoint that this very special "man" is to be equated with the "angel of the LORD" (the "Angel of Yahweh"), who is mentioned in verse 11, who is the preincarnate Christ, the eternal Son of God. ((I had a footnote: The Angel (or Messenger) of Yahweh is also referred to as a "man" in Zech. 2:1; 6:12; Gen. 18:2; Dan. 10:5; 12:6; Josh. 5:13, and other verses. When we read everything that the Old Testament says about the Angel of Yahweh, it is very clear, I believe, that this "man" is much more than a human being, or any other created being. He is God, God the Son. Created angels are sometimes called "man/men" too (cf., e.g., Gen. 18:2, 16, 22 [Gen. 19:1 shows that two of the three "men" were angels; the other one was the Angel of Yahweh]; Dan. 8:15 [This verse is instructive in that is says regarding the angel Gabriel, "one who LOOKED LIKE A MAN [my emphasis]"; also see Dan. 10:16, 18]; Luke 24:4; Acts 1:10; and Heb. 13:2).))
The Angel of Yahweh also plays a very prominent role in Zechariah chapters 2 and 3, where, for one thing, He is called LORD (Yahweh), which would be blasphemous if the Angel were not deity (God) with God the Father (and God the Spirit) - He is! The fact that the Angel of Yahweh has a very prominent place in Zechariah chapters 1-6 makes these chapters all the more important and interesting. (Chapter 5 is the only chapter of the six where He doesn't appear or isn't included in the prophecy. [I had a footnote: It is clear though that the Lord Jesus Christ will be behind the end-time purifying of the land of Judah spoken of throughout chapter 5.])
I discussed the Angel of Yahweh, who appears as the man dressed in linen in Ezekiel chapters 9, 10 and Daniel chapters 10-12, in some detail on pages 165-179 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." Also see my papers, "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son"; "More on the Trinity"; "Who Do We Pray To?; and "Who Do We Worship?" on my internet site and on this Christian article site.]] was riding [It would probably be better to translate "was mounted."] on a red horse [[The color "red," which goes with warfare, the shedding of blood, and judgment, is appropriate for the Angel of Yahweh in the context of the prophecies of Zechariah, with the emphasis on His waging war against His enemies, especially in His end-time judgment of the world (cf., e.g., Zech. 2:8, 9; 14:3-21). Joshua 5:13-6:5 are an important cross-reference for seeing the Angel of Yahweh in His capacity of waging war. In those verses He appeared to Joshua as "the captain of the LORD's [Yahweh's] host" just before Israel was to wage war against the city of Jericho. The words "Angel of the LORD [Yahweh]" aren't used in those verses in Joshua, but there is widespread agreement that He was the one who appeared to Joshua. For one thing, that Person was called "LORD [Yahweh]" in Josh. 6:2. (Yahweh is an appropriate name for God the Son too, but the name is typically used of God the Father in the Old Testament, even as the word "God" is typically used of God the Father in the New Testament). Also see Isa. 63:1-6. "Red" horses are mentioned later in this verse (Zech. 1:8). Zechariah 6:1-8 are an important cross-reference for "red" horses. Also see Rev. 6:4.]], and he [He] was standing [There is widespread agreement that He was mounted on His horse, "standing among the myrtle trees."] among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine [[I agree with the widespread viewpoint that the "myrtle trees" serve as a symbol for Judah/Israel here and that the "ravine" (a low place) symbolizes the low state of the people of Judah at that time (and throughout most of the history of Israel, as they were dominated by the nations/world kingdoms). (Actually, their greater problem was that they were dominated by sin and spiritual death.) These prophecies confirmed that this low state would not continue forever. Eventually the sin/spiritual death/Satan problem will be fully solved, the nations will be judged, and Israel/Judah (true Israel) will be exalted over the nations forever.]], with red, sorrel and white horses behind him. [["Him." Though they are not mentioned, angelic riders were undoubtedly mounted on these horses. The fact that these riders were behind the Angel of Yahweh helps demonstrate, along with the words of Zech. 1:11, that He had authority over them. There is widespread agreement regarding what the colors "red" and "white" symbolize here. We have already discussed the color red. The color "white" symbolizes God's purity and His victory. In this context, as with the white horses in Zech. 6:1-8, the color white undoubtedly includes the reality that God's victory (including His establishing divine order) will be shared with His people after He overthrows His enemies and the enemies of His people.
On white horses, also see Rev. 19:11-19; those verses picture the Lord Jesus Christ and His armies (which include the raptured saints) mounted on white horses. ((I had a footnote: The rider on the white horse in Rev. 6:1, 2 is different in some ways. That rider isn't going forth as a warrior to destroy God's enemies in His end-time judgment of the world; that rider (the Lord Jesus Christ, or a symbol for the Word of the gospel going forth) rides forth throughout this present age conquering the hearts of those who submit to the gospel in faith. Thanks be to God for conquering our hearts!)) The setting (for Rev. 19:11-19) is just after Christ has judged and destroyed Babylon the great harlot and just before He judges and destroys Antichrist and his armies, having gathered them to Armageddon. It's clear that the Lord Jesus Christ can be pictured riding a red horse or a white horse, but it seems that the color "red" would not be appropriate after His end-time warfare has been completed.
There is no agreement regarding the translation or interpretation for the color mentioned between red and white here in verse 8. The NASB has "sorrel," which is a light reddish brown; the NIV has, "brown"; the KJV has "speckled"; and there are several other viewpoints. I prefer the viewpoint that these horses were of mixed color, probably both red and white, which is a common view. ((I had a two-paragraph footnote here: I'll quote several sentences from what David Baron says regarding the colors here ("Visions and Prophecies of Zechariah" [Kregel, 1981 reprint], pages 27, 28). "The red is significant of judgment, blood, vengeance. ... The exact color to be understood by the word "seruqqim," translated in the A.V. [KJV] 'speckled,' or 'bay,' as in the margin, or 'sorrel,' as in the R.V. [Revised Version], cannot be fixed with certainty. [Baron has a footnote, "The word does not occur elsewhere in the Hebrew as an adjective of colour."] I might fill several pages with the guesses and suggestions and disputations on this word by the learned, but it most probably is meant to describe a mixed colour - a combination of the first and last mentioned in the passage [red and white] - and would signify that those mounted on these horses were to be sent forth on a mission of a mixed character [red and white] - namely, of judgment and mercy; while the white is the symbol of victory, triumph and glory...which shall be to God's people after their great champion rides forth 'conquering and to conquer,' and executing vengeance of their enemies."
I'll also quote a few sentences from what Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers say regarding this color ("Haggai, Zechariah 1-8" [Doubleday, 1987], page 113). "What about 'sorrel?' ... As a horse color term, it apparently represents a combination of red and white; cf. Arabic 'aspar,' which designates horses that have a ruddy tinge over white (BDB 977). ...." And I'll quote a sentence from what Paul L. Redditt says here ("Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi" [Eerdmans, 1995], page 52). "The KJV reads 'speckled'; and NEB offers 'dappled' [spotted], based [in part] on the Vulg[ate] and [the Syriac] Peshitta." This is the end of the two-paragraph footnote.)) That mixed color could include the idea that God's judgments against some peoples are less severe than against others: See on the dappled horses of Zech. 6:3, 6.]] (9) Then I said, 'My lord, what are these?' And the angel who was speaking with me [[The angel who was speaking with Zechariah can be called an "interpreting angel"; he is mentioned twelve times during the course of the eight visions of Zech. 1:7-6:8 (Zech. 1:9, 13, 14, 19; 2:3; 4:1, 4, 5; 5:5, 10; 6:4, 5). We also see an interpreting angel in Ezekiel chapters 40-48, starting with 40:3, 4; in Dan. 8:15-19; 9:21-23; and Rev. 1:1; 22:6-16.]] said to me, 'I will show you what these are.' (10) And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees [the Angel of Yahweh] answered and said, 'These are those whom the LORD [Yahweh (referring to God the Father here; see verse 12)] has sent to patrol [[I had a footnote: In a marginal note the NASB says the literal meaning of the Hebrew is to "walk about through." This doesn't mean that the only role these angelic riders ever fulfill is to go about to observe what is happening on the earth. For one thing, the colors of the horses suggest that these angelic riders are sometimes actively involved with what is happening on the earth, and the Bible has much to say about the frequent involvement of God's angels. The same Hebrew verb is used in Job 1:7 of Satan and in Zech. 6:7 of God's angelic chariots going forth across the earth on their assignments.]] the earth.' ["The Persians were well known for their mounted couriers, who traveled daily through the empire maintaining the most efficient communication system known in the ancient world" ("Bible Background Commentary - Old Testament," John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark W. Chavalas [Inter-Varsity Press, 2000], page 799).] (11) So they [the riders on the horses] answered the angel [Angel] of the LORD [Yahweh] who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, 'We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet.' [This wasn't the news that the people of Judah wanted to hear. They knew that the world kingdom/nations must be intensely shaken by God's judgment(s) before Judah/Israel can be exalted (cf., e.g., Hag. 2:4-9, 20-23).] (12) Then the angel of the LORD [[the Angel of Yahweh, who was (and is) with the people of God in their times of trial/trouble, and who interceded in their behalf ((I had a footnote: Compare Rom. 8:34. Although the Son of God was genuinely concerned for the welfare of Israel/Judah (as He is genuinely concerned for the welfare of Christians) and interceded on their behalf, He was even more concerned for the glory of God the Father and for His perfect will to come to pass. Furthermore, it is important to understand that God the Father is as concerned for the welfare of His people (true Israel) as is the Angel of Yahweh. The Father demonstrated this concern in a major way in the Sacrifice of His Son.))]] said [interceding before God the Father], 'O LORD [Yahweh] of hosts [armies], how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?' [[As the context there shows, the "seventy years" of Zech. 7:5 began when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 587/586 BC. The same seventy years are apparently spoken of here. ((I had a footnote: It is possible that the seventy years of Zech. 1:12 equate with the seventy years of Jeremiah 25:11, 12; 29:10; and Dan. 9:2, which started in 605 BC when Nebuchadnezzar first gained control of Jerusalem and Judah and carried some Jews, including Daniel and his three friends, to Babylon (cf. Dan. 1:1-7). Those seventy years (a round number) that began with 605 BC ended when Cyrus overthrew the Babylonians and permitted the Jews return to rebuild the temple in 539/538 BC.))
Now it was 519 BC (Zech. 1:7). Some seventy years had passed. Judah had received permission (from Cyrus) several years before (in 539/538 BC) to return to Judah to rebuild the temple, but the remnant that returned experienced much opposition from the nations/Gentiles (see Ezra chapters 4-6). They did not rebuild the temple, and they experienced more of God's curses than of His blessings (cf. Hag. 1:6-11; 2:16-19; and Zech. 8:9-13). The blessings promised in Hag. 2:18, 19 (after Judah repented and began to rebuild the temple), which had been promised two months earlier than the time of this present revelation (Zech. 1:7), hadn't been all that noticeable yet. Also, as I mentioned, most of the blessings spoken of by Haggai and Zechariah looked to the future, to the end of this age, after Judah/Israel is saved through the Lord Jesus Christ.]] (13) The LORD [Yahweh] answered the angel who was speaking with me [Yahweh answered the intercession spoken by the Angel of Yahweh by speaking to the interpreting angel, "the angel who was speaking with [Zechariah]."] with gracious words, comforting words [cf. Isa. 40:1, 2; Zech. 1:17]. (14) So the angel who was speaking with me [the interpreting angel] said to me, 'Proclaim, saying, "Thus says the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, 'I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion [cf. Zech. 8:2]. (15) But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry [with the people of Judah], they [the nations] furthered the disaster [cf. Isa. 47:6].' (16) "Therefore thus says the LORD [Yahweh], 'I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,' declares the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, 'and a measuring line [Apparently the primary idea here is that this "measuring line" will be used in the building/rebuilding work that will take place in Jerusalem (and Israel/Judah) after God's end-time judgment of the world. These words would also receive a preliminary, partial fulfillment in Zechariah's day with the rebuilding of the temple (God's "house"), which was finished in 516 BC.]] will be stretched over Jerusalem [cf. Zech. 2:1-5 (I had a footnote: The "measuring" of Zech. 2:1-5 is a figurative measuring to determine the status of Jerusalem after it has been glorified. Apparently it is relevant that the Hebrew behind "measuring line" in Zech. 1:16 is different than the Hebrew behind those words in Zech. 2:1.)].' " [[The Angel of Yahweh was with Judah/Israel in Zechariah's day, and the temple was being rebuilt and would be finished in a few years, but the building spoken of here and in Zech. 2:1-5 (and often) will not take place until the end of the age, until after the end-time remnant of Judah/Israel is saved through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. At that time God's work in Jerusalem/Judah will be on a higher dimension than a literal "house/temple" (see on the building of God's house in Zech. 4:6-10 in this paper).
God will fully sanctify His people and glorify them; glorified (true) Israel will be the temple in which God dwells, and He will be the temple in which they worship (cf. Rev. 21:22). ((I had a footnote: New covenant believers, even during this present age, before the Lord Jesus returns to the earth, worship in the Spirit, without having a physical temple. All the members of true Israel, all believers, will be glorified, including having glorified bodies and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ, by the time the millennial kingdom begins. (See under Rev. 20:4 in my paper on Revelation chapters 20-22.) )) I consider it quite possible that Jerusalem will not have a literal temple during the millennial kingdom, and even if there is a temple, I don't believe that animal sacrifices will be offered there. THE LAMB OF GOD HAS BEEN SLAIN ONCE FOR ALL! Revelation 21:22 shows that New Jerusalem of the eternal state (after the millennium) will not have a literal temple.]] (17) 'Again, proclaim, saying, "Thus says the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, 'My cities will again overflow with prosperity [cf. Isa. 44:26; 61:4], and the LORD [Yahweh] will again comfort Zion [cf. Isa. 40:1, 2; 51:3; and Zech. 1:13] and again choose Jerusalem [cf. Zech. 2:12].' " ' (18) [Zechariah 1:18-21 (2:1-4 in the Hebrew Bible) deal with the second vision (of the eight visions of Zech. 1:7-6:8).] Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there were four horns. (19) So I said to the angel who was speaking with me [the interpreting angel], 'What are these?' And he answered me, 'These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.' [[One common view is that these four horns equate with the four world-kingdoms of Daniel chapters 2 and 7 (the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman/revived Roman kingdoms). God used the Babylonians to overthrow the Assyrians; He used the Medo-Persians to overthrow the Babylonians, which opened the door for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and Judah in the days of Zechariah; He used the Greeks to overthrow the Persians; He used the Romans to overthrow the Greeks; and at the end of this age, the Lord Jesus Christ and His people will overthrow Antichrist's (revived Roman) world-kingdom. As I mentioned, it is understood that God's worldwide kingdom cannot be fully established until God has fully dealt with His enemies and the enemies of His people.
That is a reasonable viewpoint, and it could be the viewpoint intended by God, but if "Israel," which is mentioned here in 1:19, refers to the northern kingdom (and it probably does; for one thing, the ultimate salvation of the northern kingdom is included in the book of Zechariah [cf. Zech. 8:13; 9:1; 9:10-10:12 ("Ephraim" in Zech. 9:10, 13 and 10:7 speaks of the northern kingdom)] and in other Old Testament prophetic books [cf., e.g., Ezekiel chapter 37]), then, if we are going to list four specific kingdoms, it would be difficult to exclude the Assyrian world-kingdom, which was the kingdom that overthrew the northern kingdom and exiled the Israelites.
It probably isn't important for us to list four specific kingdoms here. The four horns could represent, for example, all the kingdoms/nations worldwide (from the four corners of the earth/from the four directions, north, south, east, and west) that attack and scatter Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem (and the Christian church, which is part of God's true Israel) from the earliest days until the end of this present age when they will be attacked by kingdoms/nations coming from across the earth, especially the revived Roman Empire headed up by Antichrist. The Old Testament frequently mentions that Judah/Israel will be gathered from a "worldwide" dispersion at the end of this age (see, for example, Zech. 2:7-9; 6:15; 8:8; and 10:6-12). These verses (Zech. 1:18-21) include the message that God will deal with all such kingdoms/nations that have rejected Him and attacked His people. (In these prophecies of Zechariah, all the emphasis is on God's end-time judgment of the world.)]] (20) Then the LORD [Yahweh] showed me four craftsmen. (21) I said, 'What are these coming to do?' And he said, 'These are the horns which have scattered Judah so that no man lifts up his head; but these craftsmen have come to terrify them, to throw down the horns of the nations who have lifted up their horns against the land of Judah in order to scatter it.' " [God always is fully prepared; He has His "FOUR craftsmen" fully prepared and anxious to throw down the FOUR horns at the right time.]
We will continue this verse-by-verse study of Zechariah chapters 1-8 in Part 2, starting with Zech. 2:1.
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