We continue this verse-by-verse study of Zechariah chapters 1-8 (and Malachi 2:17-4:6) here in Part 3, starting with Zech. 3:6.
(6) And the angel [Angel] of the LORD [Yahweh] admonished Joshua, saying, (7) 'Thus says the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts [[The "LORD of hosts" apparently refers to God the Father here (I had a footnote: Note the words at the end of verse 8, "behold, I [God the Father] am going to bring in My servant [Servant] the Branch [Christ Jesus]."); His words (spoken by the Angel of Yahweh) continue through verse 10.]], "If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern [The NKJV has "you shall also judge My house."] My house and also have charge of My courts [God's "house" here refers to the temple, even as the "courts" refer to the courts in the temple.], and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here [[Those who were standing there were angelic, heavenly beings; note "those who were standing before [the Angel of Yahweh]" in verse 4. ((I had a footnote: Although these words were intended for Joshua the high priest, the principle that if we walk in God's ways and are faithful to do the things we have been commissioned to do (by His grace) He will give us access to the heavenly dimension and anoint us by His Spirit applies to all believers, especially new-covenant believers, who have a much better covenant with God.))]]. (8) Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you - indeed they are men who are a symbol [[The NIV has, "who are symbolic of things to come." The Hebrew isn't all that clear here, but "Joshua" is certainly to be included as one of the "men who are a symbol." In fact he, being the "high priest," was the primary one intended as a symbol here. Joshua's "friends" (or we could translate "companions" with the NKJV or "associates" with the NIV) apparently referred to priests. ((I had a footnote: It seems that God could have easily skipped mentioning the priests here, but (apparently) He wanted to demonstrate that that He hadn't forgotten the priests and that their work was important in His plans. God doesn't forget any of His people, and He has important plans for all of them, for this age, and more so for the age to come.)) The high priest (and priesthood) served as a symbol (he foreshadowed) the much greater high priest yet to come (the Lord Jesus Christ) ((I had a two-paragraph footnote: Zechariah 6:11-13 show that Joshua the high priest was a type of (foreshadowed) the Lord Jesus Christ, the great high priest to come. Actually, Zech. 6:11 mentions that He will be a "priest" on His throne. It doesn't mention "high priest," but the Bible makes it very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Great High Priest (cf. Heb. 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-16; 5:10; 6:20; 7:26, 28; 8:1, 3; 9:11; and 10:21). Some other verses that refer to Him as a "priest" are Psalm 110:5 and Heb. 5:5; the high priest was, of course, a priest too.
It seems that the intention here was to speak of Joshua the high priest (and the priests) as foreshadowing the coming of the Great High Priest, and that is the way these words are typically interpreted, but it is also true that the "cleansing" of Joshua (and the priests and the believers of the nation) at that time foreshadowed the much greater cleansing that will come to the end-time remnant of Judah/Israel at the end of this age. Actually, there is nothing about the word "friends (companions, associates)" that requires us to limit this word to the priests. (This is the end of the footnote.) )), who would fully solve the sin problem and fully sanctify/cleanse the people of Judah/Israel through His one Sacrifice and ministry. See Zech. 12:10-13:6. ((I had a footnote: Born-again Christians are called and enabled to walk in full salvation throughout this age, but the Bible shows that Judah/Israel, as a nation (more specifically, the end-time remnant of the nation), will not submit to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved through Him until the end of this age (e.g., Rom. 11:25-27).)) This same complete, new-covenant, sanctifying cleansing is also pictured in Zech. 5:1-11.]], for behold, I [God the Father] am going to bring in My servant [Servant (cf., e.g., Isa. 42:1-9; 49:1-7; and 52:12-53:12)] the Branch. [[Several Old Testament prophecies refer to the Messiah (Christ Jesus) as the Branch (cf. Isa. 4:2; 11:1; 53:2; Jer. 23:5, 6; 33:15; and Zech. 6:12). Christ Jesus is the only One able to fully cleanse/sanctify/save Judah/Israel (or Gentiles).]] (9) For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua [[The "stone" represents Christ Jesus (cf. Psalm 118:22; Isa. 8:14; 26:18; Dan. 2:34, 35, 44, 45; Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11; and 1 Pet. 2:6, 7). It isn't clear what Zechariah saw in this night vision regarding "the stone that [God] set before Joshua," but we don't really need further information to understand the meaning of these words.]]; on one stone [which is the same very special stone just mentioned] are seven eyes. [[These "seven eyes" are apparently explained by Zech. 4:10, "...these seven...these are the eyes of the LORD [Yahweh] which range to and fro throughout the earth" (cf. Rev. 5:6). The seven eyes (with seven being a number of divine perfection and completeness) were not located on the stone; they were directed to (looking at) this stone, this VERY SPECIAL stone.]] Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it," declares the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, "and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day." [[The "inscription" that is "engraved" on the stone apparently deals with, or at least includes, the all-important atoning death of the Lamb of God and His resultant high-priestly ministry that will ultimately "remove the iniquity" (fully sanctify) the end-time remnant of Judah/Israel "in one day" (as pictured, for example, in Zech. 12:10-13:6; 5:1-11; Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:25-27; and Rom. 11:25-27).]] (10) "In that day," declares the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, "every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree." ' " [After Judah/Israel has been saved and sanctified by the Lord Jesus Christ, they will begin a never-ending state of peace and blessedness, which will start about the time the millennial kingdom begins.]
ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 4.
[Zechariah chapter 4 contains the "fifth" vision of the eight visions contained in Zech. 1:7-6:8.] "Then the angel who was speaking with me [The interpreting angel was speaking with Zechariah.] returned and roused me, as a man who is awakened from his sleep. [Apparently Zechariah had not literally fallen asleep, but he had already received quite a bit of heavy-duty revelation that night.] (2) He said to me, 'What do you see?' And I said, 'I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it [[In the tabernacle there was a golden lampstand with seven lamps that was built according to God's instructions (cf. Ex. 25:31-40). There was no bowl on the top of that lamp to disperse oil to the individual lamps, but each of the seven lamps held olive oil (cf. Ex. 27:20, 21) and gave light by burning the oil with a wick.]]; (3) also two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side.' [The two olive trees, which play a very important role in this vision, are explained in verses 11-14.] (4) Then I [Zechariah] said to the angel who was speaking with me [the interpreting angel] saying, 'What are these, my lord?' (5) So the angel who was speaking with me answered and said to me, 'Do you not know what these are?' And I said, 'No, my lord.' (6) Then he said to me, 'This is the word of the LORD [Yahweh] to Zerubbabel [[Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah at that time (Hag. 1:1). He was the grandson of King Jeconiah (who was called Jehoiachin in 2 Kings 24:10-16); Zerubbabel and Jeconiah are both listed in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ (according to the flesh) in Matt. 1:11, 12. The prophetic words that follow (here in Zechariah chapter 4) had an important application for Zerubbabel (and for the nation he governed), who was involved with rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem at that time, but these words have a much greater application for the building project of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf., e.g., Zech. 1:16, 17; 2:1-12; 6:12-15; and 14:9-11, 16-21), of whom Zerubbabel was a type.]] saying, "Not by might nor by power [[The temple would be completed (516 BC) and so would the building project of the Lord Jesus Christ, but not by the "might" or "power" of man, or for the glory of man. The "house/temple" built by the Lord Jesus Christ is the kingdom of God, which in its ultimate form includes new Jerusalem (see Revelation chapters 21, 22); this house/temple embraces all God's elect people of all the ages. God (the triune God) is the true builder of both projects; they are both accomplished by His grace and for His glory, and for the great good of His people; God's people play important roles in the building projects (by His grace/Spirit through faith).]], but by My Spirit," says the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts. (7) "What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain [Compare Isa. 40:4; Jer. 51:25.]; and he [Zerubbabel, but especially the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Zerubbabel was a type] will bring forth the top stone with shouts of 'Grace, grace to it!' " ' [[The "great mountain" represents the formidable opposition of Satan and his kingdom of evil, including the opposition of those people who are aligned with his kingdom, against both building projects. (Mountains sometimes serve as a symbol for kingdoms; that could be the idea here.) This verse proclaimed the good news that both building projects will be completed. The shouts of "grace, grace" upon the completion of the building projects acknowledge that the projects were accomplished by the "grace" of God and for His glory. (The word "it" in the words "Grace, grace to it!" refers to the "top stone" of the temple/house/kingdom, but it is clear that the cause for rejoicing is that the bringing forth of the top stone indicates the completion of the building project.)]] (8) Also the word of the LORD [Yahweh] came to me [Zechariah], saying, (9) 'The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house [Regarding Zerubbabel's rebuilding of the temple, see Hag. 1:12-15; Ezra 3:8-13.], and his hands will finish it. Then you will know that the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts has sent me [Me] to you. [["You" is plural in the Hebrew. Since the words of the last sentence here in verse 9 are the equivalent of the words at the end of Zech. 2: 9 and 11, it seems clear that the Angel of Yahweh was speaking here; He was speaking to the people of Judah/Israel (all the believers). The Angel of Yahweh had been sent by God the Father. He has been sent to, and for, the elect of God, not just to, and for, the elect of Zerubabbel's day, but to, and for, all the elect, who will have a place in God's glorified new Jerusalem.]] (10) For who has despised the day of small things? [[The "small things" referred, for one thing, to the rebuilding of the temple in Zerubbabel's day. That temple (and the work of God in the people of Judah and in behalf of those people in that day) seemed rather insignificant; the rebuilt temple was far less glorious than the temple that Solomon had built some four hundred years earlier (see Hag. 2:3; Ezra 3:10-13). But we must not despise (think little of) seemingly small things that God does.
Small things add up and God's seemingly small beginnings in the days of Zerubbabel were destined to have a super glorious ending through the saving, building work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must trust God and walk by faith, faith in God, which includes having faith in what He has said, and obeying His commandments and instructions. As the apostle Paul, a servant of God who faced many trials, said, "We walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7).]] But these seven [[We are informed later in this verse that "these seven" refer to "the eyes of the LORD [Yahweh] which range to and fro throughout the earth." I believe these "seven eyes" are the same seven eyes that were mentioned in Zech. 3:9. "Seven" is a symbolic number for perfection and completeness. God knows and watches what is happening everywhere at all times. Revelation 5:6 pictures the Lord Jesus Christ having "seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth." The "seven Spirits" refer in a symbolic way to the Holy Spirit (cf. Rev. 1:4; 3:1; and 4:5). Based on Rev. 5:6, "these seven/the eyes of the LORD [Yahweh]" can be understood to refer to the omnipresent Holy Spirit.]] will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel [[The "plumb line" is to be used for building, for the building of the temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel and for the much-more-important building of the temple/house/kingdom of God throughout this age and especially at the end of this age by the Lord Jesus Christ (of whom Zerubbabel was a type). We have already been informed of these building projects through the prophecies already given by Zechariah (and many other prophetic passages in the Bible speak of the building project(s) of the Lord Jesus Christ).]] - these are the eyes of the LORD [Yahweh] which range to and fro throughout the earth [cf. 2 Chron. 16:9; Prov. 15:3; and Jer. 16:17].' [[The eyes of the LORD [Yahweh] - Yahweh Himself - "will be glad" when He sees His plans coming to pass step by step until the building projects are completed and we have arrived at the state of eternal glory pictured in Revelation chapters 21, 22. It isn't that God the Father passively watches what others, like Zerubbabel and the Lord Jesus Christ are doing/building; the Bible makes it very clear that He is actively and totally involved with the age-long projects of creating, saving, building, judging, etc.]] (11) Then I said to him [to the interpreting angel], 'What are these two olive trees on the right of the lampstand and on its left?' (12) And I answered the second time and said to him, 'What are the two olive branches ["or clusters"] which are beside the two golden pipes, which empty the golden oil from themselves [into the bowl on top of the lampstand, which in turn distributes the olive oil to the seven lamps]?' (13) So he answered me, saying, 'Do you not know what these are?' And I said, 'No, my lord.' (14) Then he said, 'These are the two anointed ones ["Lit 'sons of fresh oil"] who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth.' " [[This prophetic picture is highly symbolic. It is designed to show the importance of the ministries of Zerubbabel (who plays a major role in the book of Haggai and here in Zechariah chapter 4), and of Joshua the high priest (who plays a major role in the book of Haggai and in Zechariah chapter 3), but especially the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom both Zerubbabel and Joshua were types. The two olive trees supply olive oil to the lamps of the lampstand. There is widespread agreement that the two olive trees represent Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor. They were anointed by God to give light and to accomplish their ministries (cf., e.g., Ex. 29:7; 1 Sam. 16:1, 12, 13; and Isa. 61:1-3).
The significant future ministry of the two prophets/witnesses of Rev. 11:3-11 builds on Zechariah chapter 4 (see Rev. 11:4), and it helps us understand Zechariah chapter 4. (Revelation chapter 11, which is a prophetic chapter of key importance, is discussed verse-by-verse in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture."
The primary fact that makes this prophetic picture so important is that Joshua (as high priest) and Zerubbabel (as the civil authority in the lineage of King David, and listed in the genealogy of Christ Jesus) both serve as types of the Lord Jesus Christ. Zechariah 6:11-13 show that the Lord Jesus Christ "will be a priest on His throne" - He will fill the office of high priest (but not in the lineage of Aaron, the first high priest [cf. Psalm 110:4; Heb. 5:1-10; and 7:1-28]), and He will rule on His throne. And Zech. 6:12, 13 show that He is the One who will build the temple (house/kingdom, ultimately the new heaven and new earth with new Jerusalem of Revelation chapters 21, 22) of the Lord. Also, the names "Messiah" (from the Hebrew) and "Christ" (from the Greek) mean "Anointed One." Obviously the Angel of Yahweh (the Son of God, who is deity with God the Father and God the Spirit, and through whom all things that were created were created) didn't need to be anointed, but in that the Lord Jesus Christ was the God-MAN, He did need to be anointed by the Spirit of God.
We can probably say that the golden lampstand represents the people of God; the people of God in that day were associated with Judah/Israel. The Christian churches of different cities are called "lampstands" in Revelation chapters 2, 3. The people of God were/are called to show forth the light (which includes God's truth and righteousness) and glory of God before the nations. The fact that Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor were pictured as olive trees pouring oil into the lampstand showed that much of the flow of the Spirit of God to Judah in that day came through their ministries.
God does the work, and He must receive all the glory, but He chooses to use people in important assignments. All the ministries that God sets in the body of Christ are important to the proper functioning of the body. The contribution of each individual Christian, as they fulfill their measure assigned by God (by His enabling grace/Spirit), is important to the proper functioning of the body. Any life that is lived for God in accordance with His will and plan is significant; it is a serious mistake (even sinful) to "despise" any such life.]]
ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 5.
Zechariah chapter 5 contains the "sixth" and "seventh" prophetic visions of the eight visions that are recorded in Zech. 1:7-6:8. The seventh vision, which starts with verse 5, is closely related to the sixth vision; it seems to build on the sixth vision. (C. F. Keil only sees one vision here in chapter 5.) These visions deal with God's end-time judgments of Judah/Israel that will, for one thing, be part of His sanctifying/cleansing the nation: All (unrepentant) sinners and wickedness will be removed from the land.
We can speak of two stages of God's work of sanctifying/cleansing Judah/Israel in the last days. The first stage will begin about the time of Antichrist's abomination of desolation. ((As I have discussed in some detail in my eschatological writings (I had a footnote: see my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture"; my paper, "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture" that is available on my internet site serves as a good introduction for the book; those twenty-four articles are available individually on this Christian article site), I believe the abomination of desolation will be initiated by Antichrist about a month before Christ's mid-week return and the rapture.)) Judah/Israel will be reduced to a repentant remnant during the one-month period of intense shaking that will begin with the abomination. Some two thirds of the people of Judah/Israel will be cut off by death or by exile during that period (see Zech. 13:8-14:2; Zechariah chapters 12-14 are discussed in chapter 15 of "The Mid-Week Rapture"). The one third that will be left will constitute the repentant end-time elect remnant of Judah/Israel.
The end-time remnant of Judah/Israel will be ready to receive the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes, as pictured, for example, in Zech. 12:10 (cf. Matt. 23:39; Rev. 11:13). They will be sanctified/cleansed by Him when they submit to Him in faith (see Zech. 12:10-13:6; 3:9; 14:20, 21). ((I had a footnote: As I have discussed in some detail in my eschatological writings, I believe the repentant end-time remnant of Judah/Israel will submit to the Lord Jesus Christ in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, about the time He comes to the Mount of Olives, right after the mid-week rapture (not in time to be taken in the rapture).)) This sanctifying/cleansing can be considered a second stage of God's end-time sanctifying/cleansing of Judah/Israel.
I'll quote Zech. 13:1-3, " 'In that day [after the remnant of Judah/Israel has repented and submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ] a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. (2) It will come about in that day,' declares the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, 'that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets [speaking of false prophets, as the next verse shows] and the unclean spirit from the land. (3) And if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, "You shall not live, for you have spoken falsely in the name of the LORD [Yahweh]"; and his father and mother who gave birth to him will pierce him through when he prophesies.' "
Zechariah chapter 5 speaks of God's removal of (unrepentant) sinners and of wickedness from the land of Judah/Israel; this is part of His end-time sanctifying/cleansing of Judah/Israel.
"Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll. (2) And he [the interpreting angel] said to me [Zechariah the prophet], 'What do you see?' And I answered, 'I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits.' [[The "flying scroll" is explained by verses 3, 4. The most important thing about this scroll is that it has curses written on it, and when it goes forth across the land of Judah/Israel it will completely purge away all the (unrepentant) sinners from the land, along with everything that has been defiled by sin, in accordance with the writing on the scroll. This unrolled scroll is quite large, some thirty feet by fifteen feet. No one will be able to ignore this scroll when it goes forth. The fact that the scroll flies fits the idea of swift judgment.
There is some similarity between this scroll and the scroll mentioned in Ezek. 2:8-3:11. Written on that scroll, on the front and on the back, were lamentations, mourning, and woe (Ezek. 2:10). God told Ezekiel to eat the scroll and then to go proclaim its contents to the people of Judah in the sinful, largely unrepentant days in the early years of the Babylonian captivity before the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed in 587/586 BC. God gave Ezekiel these instructions as part of his commission to be a prophet in 593/592 BC (Ezek. 1:1-3:27); he ministered among the exiles in Babylon, having been carried into exile in 597 BC (cf. 2 Kings 24:10-16). Also compare the scroll(s) of Rev. 5:1 and 10:2-11.]] (3) Then he said to me, 'This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land [[In the margin the NASB points out that the Hebrew could also be translated "earth," instead of "land"; I believe the "land" of Judah/Israel is intended here. The NIV has "land"; the KJV and NKJV have "earth." ((I had a footnote: Compare Isa. 24:6. Isaiah chapters 24-27 are important prophetic chapters (some refer to this passage as Isaiah's Apocalypse) that deal with God's end-time judgment of the world. Isaiah chapters 24-27 are discussed in some detail in my paper on selected eschatological prophecies from the book of Isaiah on my internet site.]]; surely everyone who steals will be purged away according to the writing on one side, and everyone who swears will be purged away according to the writing on the other side. (4) I will make it go forth,' declares the LORD [Yahweh] of hosts, 'and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name; and it will spend the night within that house and consume it with its timber and stones.' [[I'm confident that the two sins spelled out in these two verses, stealing and swearing falsely, are representative of all sins and that the end result of this scroll's going forth will be the removal of all (unrepentant) sinners and all sin (everything that is unclean and defiling will be purged from Judah/Israel at the end of this age; cf., e.g., Zech. 3:9; 5:5-11; 12:10-13:6; 14:20, 21; and Mal. 3:5). The Mosaic Law, which was the foundation for the old covenant, spoke often of the "curses" that would come to Israelites who were unfaithful to God and His Law. The two sins specifically mentioned here in verses 3, 4 are, of course, forbidden by the Mosaic Law, including in the ten commandments (cf. Ex. 20:7 [with Lev. 19:12; Matt. 5:33], 15).]] (5) Then the angel [the interpreting angel] who was speaking with me went out and said to me [Zechariah the prophet], 'Lift up now your eyes and see what this is going forth.' (6) I said, 'What is it?' And he said, 'This is the ephah going forth.' [[An "ephah" was a dry measure equal to one tenth of a homer, about two thirds of a bushel. The "ephah" here was as a container; it was covered, as the next verse shows, with a lead cover. This container with its heavy cover was clearly designed to be escape proof.]] Again he said, 'This is their appearance in all the land [[There is some doubt about how to translate these last words and about the meaning of these words, but the overall meaning is clear enough: All (unrepentant) sinners and all wickedness will be removed from Judah/Israel. The NIV (following Greek and Syriac manuscripts) translates, "This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land." ((I had a footnote: Since we don't have the original Hebrew manuscripts, it happens on occasion that the Greek (or sometimes another language) manuscripts will preserve the original (correct) reading where the Hebrew manuscripts that we possess have a corrupted reading.)) (In the margin the NIV has, "or appearance," which probably is the most common way the Hebrew is translated here.)
With the translation of the NASB, the word "their" probably refers to the (unrepentant) sinners of the land (along with their defiling sin). "Their appearance" is that by God's judgment they have been placed in the ephah, which is to be removed from the land of Judah/Israel; wickedness of every form will be totally removed from "all the land" of Judah/Israel forever.]] (7) (and behold, a lead cover was lifted up); and this is a woman [The woman here was a symbol for "wickedness" (verse 8).] sitting inside the ephah.' (8) Then he said, 'This is Wickedness!' And he threw her down into the middle of the ephah and cast the lead weight on its opening. (9) Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and there two women were coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork [strong wings], and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens. (10) I said to the angel who was speaking with me, 'Where are they taking the ephah?' (11) Then he said to me, 'To build a temple [Lit. "house"] for her [a temple for the wickedness removed from Judah/Israel] in the land of Shinar; and when it is prepared, she will be set there on her own pedestal.' " [["The land of Shinar" is Babylon (cf., e.g., Dan. 1:2). Babylon is frequently used in the Bible as a symbol for the godless, sinful world, the world of which Satan is god, and that is the apparent meaning here. The "wickedness," which is totally inappropriate for God's kingdom, is totally removed from Judah/Israel and taken to Babylon (a kingdom characterized by wickedness). Although it isn't mentioned here, it is understood that Babylon will be judged and totally removed in God's end-time judgment of the world (cf., e.g., Rev. 14:8; and 16:17-19:3).]]
We will continue this verse-by-verse study of Zechariah chapters 1-8 in Part 4, starting with Zechariah chapter 6.