Zechariah Chapters 1 to 8 and Malachi 2 verse 17 to 4 verse 6, Part 2
by Karl Kemp
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We continue this verse-by-verse study of Zechariah Chapters 1-8 here in Part 2, starting with Zech. 2:1.
ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 2.
"Then I [Zechariah] lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man [[I agree with the view that this "man" was the Angel of Yahweh (as in Zech. 1:8-12; 6:12). The Angel of Yahweh plays a major role here in chapter 2. His appearance in Zechariah chapters 1-6 makes these chapters all the more important and interesting, and we learn a lot about this all-important Person.]] with a measuring line in his [His] hand. [[As the following verses show, this "man" was on His way to measure Jerusalem - "measure" in a figurative sense - that He might reveal important information to Zechariah regarding God's plans for Jerusalem (and for the people of Judah/Israel) AFTER He has removed His enemies (and the enemies of His people) in His end-time judgment of the world and has glorified the city (and the people of Judah/Israel). This glorification will take place about the time the millennial kingdom begins. ((I had a footnote: Compare the "figurative measuring" of Rev. 11:1, 2. John wasn't taking actual measurements with a measuring rod; he was being given information (very important information) regarding the status of the Jews, the temple, the sacrificial altar, and the city of Jerusalem at the time of the first half of Daniel's 70th week. The measuring of Zech. 2:1, 2 is different than the measuring of Zech. 1:16. It seems that the "measuring line" of Zech. 1:16 is to be used in the building (rebuilding) of Jerusalem. It is probably relevant that the Hebrew behind "measuring line" in Zech. 1:16 is different than the Hebrew here in 2:1. Note that Zech. 2:2 doesn't mention the measuring of Jerusalem as part of a building project and that 2:4, 5 go on to show what Jerusalem will be like after it is glorified.))]] (2) So I said, 'Where are you going?' And he [He] said to me, 'To measure Jerusalem, to see how wide it is and how long it is.' (3) And behold, the angel who was speaking with me [the interpreting angel (see Zech. 1:9)] was going out, and another angel was coming out to meet him [[It seems that the interpreting angel was going out toward the Angel of Yahweh to receive from Him the information regarding His "measuring" of Jerusalem. While the interpreting angel was on the way, he was met by another angel, who had apparently been sent by the Angel of Yahweh with the revelation that follows in this chapter. It seems that all the words that follow here in Zechariah chapter 2 came from the Angel of Yahweh (through this other angel).]] (4) and said to him [to the interpreting angel], 'Run, speak to that young man [Zechariah], saying, "Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls [In the margin the NASB says, "Literally like 'unwalled villages'; or like 'open country.' "] because of the multitude of men and cattle within it. (5) For I," declares the LORD [[Yahweh. It would be possible to understand the words "I" and "LORD [Yahweh]" here in verse 5 (and in verse 6) to refer to God the Father, the One who sent the Angel of Yahweh, but it is much more natural in this context (especially because of what follows in verses 8-11) to understand "I" and "LORD [Yahweh]" to refer to the Angel of Yahweh. As I mentioned when discussing the Angel of Yahweh under Zechariah chapter 1, sometimes this Angel (the Angel of Yahweh) is called "LORD [Yahweh]," which would be blasphemous if the Angel were not deity with God the Father (and God the Spirit). The New Testament enables us to better understand this Person, the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, an uncreated Person, the preincarnate Christ. See my papers, "Who Do We Worship?"; "Who Do We Pray To?"; "More on the Trinity"; and "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son." They are available on my internet site and on this Christian article site.]], "will be a wall of fire around her [Jerusalem], and I will be the glory in her midst." ' [[The presence of God/Yahweh (especially in the Person of God the Son, the Angel of Yahweh) in Jerusalem in millennial glory will serve as a protective "wall" for the elect of Judah/Israel (true Israel), and as verse 4 shows, the good news regarding the extremely large numbers of people and cattle dwelling in Jerusalem at that time will make it impractical to have a wall around the city. The glory of God that Ezekiel saw leave the temple (when God left the temple) in Ezekiel chapters 9-11 will return, even as Ezekiel (prophetically) saw it return in Ezek. 43:1-5 - that future glory will very far surpass the glory that was manifested under the old covenant.]] (6) 'Ho there! Flee from the land of the north ["The land of the north" apparently refers to Babylon here. Note that Babylon is mentioned in verse 7. Verses like Jer. 1:14, 15; 25:9 show that the "land of the north" can refer to Babylon.],' declares the LORD [Yahweh], 'for I [Again, the words "LORD [Yahweh]" and "I" of this verse could be understood to refer to God the Father, but in this context they apparently refer to the Angel of Yahweh.] have dispersed [or, scattered (in judgment for sin)] you [the people of Judah/Israel; the people who had Jerusalem as their capital city] as the four winds of the heavens,' declares the LORD [Yahweh]. [[These words (and the words of verse 7) may have had some application for the large number of Jews who still lived in Babylon (who had not returned from the exile to Babylon) at that time (519 BC), but since this prophecy looks mostly to the end of this age (as do most of the prophecies in the book of Zechariah, and a large number of the prophecies throughout the rest of the Bible), I believe we should think of Judah/Israel's having been dispersed "worldwide."
The Old Testament prophets frequently speak of the return of Judah/Israel from a "worldwide" dispersion AFTER God (the triune God), in His end-time judgment of the world, has overthrown the nations who had been reigning over Judah/Israel (cf., e.g., Zech. 2:8, 9; 6:1-8; 8:7, 8; 10:6-12; Isa. 11:11-16; and 27:12, 13). "Babylon" is frequently used in prophetic passages as a symbol for the world (including parts of Isaiah chapters 13, 14 and Jeremiah chapters 50, 51; and in Rev. 14:8; 16:19; and 17:1-19:6). Furthermore, the fact that this verse speaks of Judah/Israel's being dispersed "as the four winds of the heavens" fits a "worldwide" dispersion.]] (7) 'Ho, Zion! ["Zion" here refers to the people of Judah/Israel.] Escape, you who are living with the daughter of Babylon.' (8) For thus says the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts ["hosts" means armies (especially referring to God's angelic armies)], 'After glory He has sent me [["Me." It is important to see that "Me" here refers to the Angel of Yahweh. The NASB has "Me" (with a capital "M") at the end of verse 9 and again toward the end of verse 11 (both referring to the One who has been sent, the Angel of Yahweh); it also has "My," referring to the Angel of Yahweh in verses 9, 11. The NKJV (here in verse 8) has, "He has sent Me after glory." The wording here in verse 8 (and the wording that continues through verse 11) seems to go out of its way to make the point that the Angel of Yahweh (who is distinguished from God the Father, who sent Him) can also be called the "LORD [Yahweh] of hosts [armies]."
As I mentioned the name Yahweh is typically used of God the Father in the Old Testament, but the places where it is used of God the Son (who wasn't clearly revealed in the Old Testament) demonstrates His deity. The Person of God the Son and His full deity, and the Trinity, isn't clearly revealed until we get to the New Testament.
God the Father will be "glorified," as will the Lord Jesus Christ (the Angel of Yahweh), through His end-time judgment of the nations, who have been rejecting Him and oppressing His people (Judah/Israel and the Christians), and the saving/delivering of His people. ((I had a footnote: There is some emphasis here on God's being glorified through saving/delivering Judah/Israel from the oppressive rule of the nations in His end-time judgment of the world, but other passages in Zechariah (see Zech. 3:1-10; 5:1-11; 12:10-13:9; and 14:20, 21) and other passages throughout the Bible speak of the much greater salvation from sin, Satan, and spiritual death that will come to the end-time remnant of Israel/Judah through the Lord Jesus Christ. All true Christians will be raptured, glorified, and begin to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ at the time of His mid-week return.)) But there seems to be some emphasis here on God's (the triune God's) sharing His glory with His people (true Israel) as He dwells in their midst: He will glorify them and the city of Jerusalem (cf., e.g., Zech. 2:5; Isaiah chapter 60).]] against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. [[Compare Deut. 32:10; Psalm 17:8. God's people (all the members of true Israel, which includes all true Christians) are precious to God the Father, and He takes it very personal when they are attacked or mistreated.]] (9) For behold, I [the Angel of Yahweh] will wave My hand over them [over the nations (in judgment); cf. Isa. 19:16] so that they will be plunder for their slaves. [[The sons of Judah/Israel, who are "slaves" of the nations before God's end-time judgment of the world through the Lord Jesus Christ, will end up plundering the nations and will have authority over the remnant of the peoples of the nations (the remnant of the peoples of the nations that God leaves after His end-time judgment of the world). ((I had a footnote: The prophecies of Zechariah (and many other prophecies throughout the Bible) show that God will also judge Judah/Israel in His end-time judgment of the world. It is the remnant of Judah/Israel that God will leave after that end-time shaking that will be saved through the Lord Jesus Christ. Judah/Israel will be judged and reduced to a repentant remnant before the nations are judged and reduced to a repentant remnant.))
A large number of Bible prophecies speak of this GREAT REVERSAL that will take place through God's end-time judgment of the world, as His people (true Israel, which includes all true Christians) are exalted over the nations. This will work for the great good (the salvation) of the remnant of the peoples of the nations. As verse 11 (and other passages in Zechariah and throughout the Bible) shows, the remnant of the peoples of the nations will be saved through submitting to God and His Son (the resurrected Lamb of God) in faith. But, as verse 12 (and many other prophetic passages) shows, true Israel will continue to have a special, privileged relationship with God after the remnant of the peoples of the nations is saved.
True Israel will forever remain distinct from those called the nations. For one thing, true Israel will reign with God, forever. It is clear that true Israel will reign over the nations in the millennial kingdom, and apparently that reign will continue in the eternal state that follows the millennium. It is clear that true Israel will reign with God in the eternal state that follows the millennial kingdom (Rev. 22:5).
The end times are discussed in some detail in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture" and in many of my papers, including "Twenty Four Articles on The Mid-Week Rapture" (which serves as a good introduction for the book) and many other papers on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching.) And many of those papers are available on this Christian article site.]] Then you will know that the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts has sent Me. [God the Father sends God the Son.] (10) Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,' declares the LORD [Yahweh]. (11) 'Many nations [The remnant of the peoples of the nations worldwide will submit to God (cf., e.g., Isa. 2:1-4; 14:1, 2 [These two passages from the book of Isaiah, and many other prophetic passages from Isaiah, are discussed in my paper "Verse-by-Verse Studies of Selected Eschatological Prophecies from the Book of Isaiah," that is on my internet site.]; Zech. 2:9-11; 8:20-23; 9:10; 14:16-21 [Zechariah chapters 9-14 are discussed in some detail in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture."]; and Rev. 15:3, 4 [See my paper on Rev. 14:6-19:21.]; 21:3, 4, 24-27; 22:1-3; cf. Rev. 20:1-3 [see my paper on Revelation chapters 20-22.] will join themselves to the LORD [Yahweh] in that day and will become My people [Note the "My" here. The Angel of Yahweh is speaking]. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts [God the Father] has sent Me to you. (12) The LORD [Yahweh (apparently referring to God the Father)] will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. (13) Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD [Yahweh]; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.' " [The idea here in verse 13 is that God, mostly (at first) through sending the Angel of Yahweh, will come to judge the world at the end of this age. He will make everything right, in accordance with the Word of God.]
ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 3.
"Then he showed me Joshua the high priest [[This Joshua, a descendant of Aaron, was the high priest of Judah at that time, in the days of the prophets Zechariah and Haggai (cf., e.g., Ezra 5:2; Hag. 1:1; and Zech. 6:11). In that role Joshua represented the nation before God; what was said regarding him in verses 1-4 had much direct application for the nation; his being cleansed was the cleansing of the nation (for the repentant believers of the nation). There is some emphasis, however, on Joshua himself, as the high priest, in verses 1-7. Verses 6, 7 deal with a comforting charge the Angel of Yahweh gave Joshua regarding his ministry. Then in verse 8 Joshua the high priest (and the priests) is used as a symbol for the much greater high priest yet to come, who will, for one thing, fully solve the sin problem for the believers of Judah/Israel (for Gentile believers too).]] standing before the angel [Angel] of the LORD [Yahweh. As in Zechariah chapters 1, 2 (and in many other passages in the Old Testament), the Angel of Yahweh was the Son of God, the preincarnate Christ. (I am not saying that this was clear in Old Testament days, far from it.) Here He was acting in His role of Judge.], and Satan [In the margin the NASB has, "Or the 'Adversary' or 'Accuser.' " Compare 1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1:6-2:8; and Rev. 12:10.] standing at his [Joshua's] right hand to accuse him [accuse Joshua]. [[Compare Psalm 109:6, 7. One major problem was the fact that Satan had legitimate accusations to make regarding the sins of Joshua and the priesthood and the people of Judah/Israel. But God had a plan to fully solve the sin problem; He had the plan before the foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1:18-20). The book of Zechariah (see Zech. 12:10; 13:7; cf. 3:9; 11:12, 13), and many other books of the Bible (especially in the New Testament), show that God's plan of salvation centers in the Sacrifice of His sinless Son, the Lamb of God, and the high priesthood ministry of the resurrected, glorified Messiah/Christ that is established on the basis of that One Sacrifice.
What the old-covenant priesthood and sacrifices could not accomplish, His one sacrifice and priesthood accomplishes once for all (for all who submit in faith to God the Father and His Son and His plan of salvation). The sacrificial blood of Christ Jesus has authority and power to bring complete forgiveness and right standing with God along with the even-more-important new birth and freedom from the authority and power of sin, Satan, and spiritual death, which enables believers to be righteous and holy with the very righteousness and holiness of God, not to mention their ultimate glorification.
Even though new-covenant salvation was not available in the days of the Old Testament, believers at that time could (through repentance and faith) receive and walk in the grace that God made available to them. The grace that came to believers in Old Testament days, very much including the grace spoken of in Zech. 3:1-7, came on the basis of the yet-future sacrifice of the Lamb of God. And the grace that opens the door to eternal glory for all believers (including the believers who lived in the days of the Old Testament) also comes through the Lord Jesus Christ, with some emphasis on His sacrificial, atoning death [cf., e.g., Rev. 21:27].)
Zechariah 3:1-7 speak of a major manifestation of the grace of God that was extended to Joshua and the repentant believers of that day. Zechariah 3:8-10 prophesy of a much greater manifestation of God's grace that will come to the end-time remnant of Judah/Israel when they receive new-covenant salvation through submitting (in faith) to the Lord Jesus Christ.]] (2) The LORD [["The LORD [the name Yahweh in Hebrew]" here (as in Zech. 2:5, 6, 8, 10, 11, and in quite a few other verses of the Old Testament) refers to the Angel of Yahweh, who is deity with God the Father and God the Spirit. He is distinguished from God the Father in this verse, as He frequently is, in that the two following uses of "Yahweh" in this verse refer to God the Father.]] said to Satan, 'The LORD [Yahweh (God the Father)] rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD [Yahweh (God the Father)] who [in His grace] has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! [Compare Jude 1:9.] Is this not a brand plucked from the fire ["Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?" NIV]?' [[Joshua the high priest and the nation of Judah (which Joshua represented before God) was like a "brand plucked from the fire" in that, despite their pitiful condition (because of sin and the penalties/consequences for sin [cf. Amos 4:11]), God had determined to save them. ((I had a footnote: For one thing, they had recently been plucked from the fire of the Babylonian captivity, but the books of Haggai and Zechariah (including the first two chapters of Zechariah and Zech. 3:3-5) show that things were still very far from being right for those who had returned from captivity before Judah began to respond (with repentant obedience) to the Word of God through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.)) In verses 3-5, we see the state of Joshua the high priest change, drastically and gloriously change; the people of Judah (the believers) and the city and nation experienced this change along with the high priest, who represented them before God.
The words of Zech. 3:1-7 apply to the days of Joshua the high priest. As we have seen when discussing Zechariah chapters 1, 2, God began to bless Judah/Israel when they repented and began to rebuild the temple, etc. The prophetic words of Zech. 3:8-10, however, apply mostly to the future, to the time when the Lord Jesus Christ will save the end-time remnant of Judah/Israel (after they repent and submit to Him in faith), as pictured, for example, in Zechariah chapters 12-14; Rom. 11:25-27. (Zechariah chapters 12-14 are discussed verse-by-verse in my book "The Mid-Week Rapture." Romans 11:25-27 are discussed in my paper on Romans chapters 9-11 on my internet site and on this Christian article site.)
A very important aspect of understanding the all-important atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ is to see that He, the sinless Lamb of God, bore all our sins/transgressions/iniquities back to Adam, with the guilt and with the penalties (including the major penalties of spiritual death and bondage to sin), so we could be forgiven and be saved from/get out from under those penalties. If the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinless Lamb of God, had not borne the penalties of spiritual death ((I had a footnote: I didn't say that Jesus Christ died spiritually; He didn't, and it's a serious mistake to say that He did. I have discussed this important point in my previous writings. See footnote 87 under Psalm 22 in my paper on eschatological Psalms on my internet site; see endnote 2 on page 12 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin," and see the article on my internet site, "Did Jesus Die Spiritually?")) and bondage to sin and Satan (and his evil angels and demon spirits), we could not have been saved out of that pitiful, sinful state. Mankind came under the authority of spiritual death, sin, and Satan as a result (as a consequence/penalty) of sin, especially the sin of Adam (see Rom. 5:12-21, for example), but the sins of our forefathers and our sins increased the bondage. Our sins are the ones we will have to answer for when we stand before God the Judge. God stripped sin, Satan, and spiritual death of their authority over us in the atoning death of Christ.
The super-important truths mentioned in the last paragraph are discussed in some detail in my book "Holiness and Victory Over Sin: Full Salvation Through the Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ" and in many of my papers. One key point that is discussed in the first three chapters of that book is that the Hebrew words for sin, iniquity, and transgression (unlike our English words) include within their range of meaning the penalties for sin, iniquity, and transgression. ((I had a footnote: The first chapter deals with a Hebrew noun normally translated "transgression." The second chapter deals with a Hebrew noun normally translated "iniquity." And the third chapter deals with a Hebrew noun normally translated "sin." One feature that makes those chapters extra important is that they include detailed discussions of key verses of Isaiah chapter 53, which is one of the most important chapters in the Bible that deals with the all-important atoning death of the Lamb of God.))
We will not be able to adequately understand all that Jesus did for us in His atoning death unless we see that He bore the "penalties" for our sin/iniquity/transgression, so we could get out from under those penalties, especially the penalties of spiritual death and bondage to sin and Satan, but also many other penalties, including the ultimate penalty of hell. I'll say more regarding these all-important truths as we continue.]] (3) Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel [Angel]. [The "filthy garments" represent the sinful state of Joshua, the priests, and the people of Judah.] (4) He spoke and said to those who were standing before him [Him. The Angel of Yahweh undoubtedly spoke to angelic beings (perhaps cherubim/seraphim) who were standing before Him (cf., e.g., Isa. 6:5-7).], saying, 'Remove the filthy garments from him [from Joshua].' Again [And] he said to him [to Joshua], 'See, I have taken your iniquity away from you [[For the Angel of Yahweh to have had the filthy garments removed from the high priest (and from the nation, the believers of the nation) and to take away his iniquity (and that of the believers of the nation), in this old-covenant context, could not incorporate the full, glorious new-covenant dimension of these words. Under the old covenant, the new birth wasn't available and the full sanctifying work of the blood of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. But they could be forgiven then, and they could experience a new beginning with God; furthermore, some sanctifying grace was available in Old Testament days for those who would appropriate it in humble faith. ((I had a footnote: As Heb. 9:13 shows, much of the "cleansing" under the old covenant was an "external" cleansing. There was, however, some "internal" sanctifying/cleansing too (cf., e.g., Lev. 19:1-37; and a large number of other passages could be cited).))
Zechariah 3:8-10 prophesied of the day that the repentant end-time believing remnant of Judah will be cleansed in the full new-covenant dimension: Along with total forgiveness, their bondage to iniquity (and to spiritual death and demons) will be taken away - they will be sanctified (made holy) through the atoning blood of the Lamb of God by/in the HOLY Spirit by grace through faith (cf., e.g., Zech. 5:1-11; 12:10-13:6; 14:20, 21; Isa. 53:1-12, especially verse 11; Ezek. 36:25-27; Rom. 6:1-23; 8:1-14; and 1 Pet. 2:24). ((I had a footnote: Isaiah 53:11 is discussed on pages 25-29 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin: Full Salvation Through the Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ." The verses in Romans are discussed on pages 96-104, 116-123 of the same book, and 1 Pet. 2:24 on pages 22, 23. Quite a large number of other passages are also discussed in that book which show that God has provided the authority and power for the righteousness and holiness of believers through the atoning death (and resurrection) of the Lamb of God.))
I have discovered over the years that most Bible-believing Christians, though they have a solid understanding of the fact that forgiveness is provided through the atoning death (through the blood) of Christ, do not have a solid understanding of the fact that the Bible just as clearly teaches that Christians are called and enabled to walk in the righteousness and holiness of God (by the grace/Spirit of God), with the victory over sin, through the atoning death of the Lamb of God. This means a whole lot more than beginning to gradually reduce the amount of sin through a lifelong sanctifying process, and that we will only be able to stop sinning after we die and are glorified (which is the view most widely held among evangelical Christians in our day).
The Bible has a whole lot to say about holiness (an abiding state of being set apart for God, from sin, Satan, and spiritual death) being provided through the new covenant, which has been established on the atoning death of the Lamb of God. This is the primary topic of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin: Full Salvation Through the Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ." We cannot have a solid faith for holiness and victory over sin until we understand in our hearts, clearly understand, that this is what the Bible teaches. This is good news! God is after transformation to righteous holy living (by grace through faith), not after more condemnation. God's people must love Him (cf. John 14:15).]] and will clothe you with festal robes. [[The KJV has, "with a change of rainment"; the NIV has "rich garments"; and the NKJV has "rich robes." However we translate the Hebrew noun used here, the dominant idea is that "clean" garments are to replace the "filthy." The one foundational problem that man has, the spiritual death and bondage to sin problem (which includes the work of demons), is fully solved through full salvation in Christ Jesus. God even takes believers (after glorification) to a much higher existence than what Adam and Eve had before the fall. What a salvation plan! And what a price God paid (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) so we could have such a salvation (by grace through faith).]] (5) Then I [Zechariah] said, 'Let them put a clean turban on his head.' So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel [Angel] of the LORD [Yahweh] was standing by. [[Apparently the turban was part of the holy garments worn by the high priest (cf. Ex. 28:4, 36-39). I assume that the Angel of Yahweh would have seen to it that a "clean turban" be put on Joshua's head if Zechariah hadn't made this request, but God leaves much room for the input of His people. He didn't create us and save us to be passive (for one thing, faith is active); we are destined to reign (in humility) with God (the triune God).]]
We will continue this verse-by-verse study of Zechariah chapters 1-8 (and Malachi 2:17-4:6) in Part 3, starting with Zech. 3:6.
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