Zechariah 1:1-21

 

“Zechariah, whose name means “whom Jehovah remembers,” is identified as the son of Berechiah, which means “Jehovah blesses,” and his father was the son of Iddo, which means “the appointed time.”  Certainly this cluster of names with such rich meanings is suggestive of the encouragement given to the remnant that had returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity---God remembers and blesses at the appointed time…The prophecy was written in 520 B.C.  Zechariah was contemporary with Haggai (see Ezra 5:1; 6:14 and see http://www.unityinchrist.com/ezra/ezra1.html for a total coverage of that historic period of time), although he was probably a younger man (see Zech. 2:4).  This book has the characteristics of an apocalypse.  The visions resemble those in the Books of Daniel and Ezekiel and Revelation.  Daniel and Ezekiel were born in the land of Israel but wrote their books outside of it.  Zechariah was born outside of the land down by the canals of Babylon, but he wrote in the land [of Israel, Judea].  It is interesting that Daniel, Ezekiel and John were outside Israel when they wrote.  Only Zechariah was in that land when he wrote his apocalyptic visions.  In the dark day of discouragement which blanketed the remnant, he saw the glory in all of the rapture and vision of hope.  He has more messianic prophecies than any other of the minor prophets.  This is therefore an important and interesting book…Haggai was down there at the foundation of the temple measuring it.  He really had his feet on the ground.  Zechariah was a man with his head in the air.  Anyone who has ten visions in one night is doing pretty well!  He is entirely visionary, whereas Haggai is entirely practical…They fit together.  We need the practical, pragmatic man to go along with the man who is visionary, because there is a danger in the dreamer.  Too often the dreamers are not practical.  On the other hand, the practical man so often lacks vision.  So when you put these two together, you have a happy combination.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 903, selected portions]  Don’t forget the color code I use for all the prophets, brown, historic; red, end-times through 2nd coming; green, Millennial Kingdom of God.

 

Zechariah 1:1-21

 

A Call to Repentance

 

Zechariah 1:1-6, “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, ‘The LORD has been very angry with your fathers.  Therefore say to them, Thus says the LORD of hosts:  Return to me,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts:  Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.  But they did not hear nor heed me,’ says the LORD.  ‘Your fathers, where are they?  And the prophets, do they live forever?  Yet surely my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers?’  So they returned and said: ‘Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, according to our ways and according to our deeds, so he has dealt with us.’”  This was a call to repentance---merely working in Temple reconstruction wasn’t enough.  God wanted their hearts not just their hands in labor.  As we saw in Haggai, we’re involved in ‘Temple construction’ too, through evangelism and our evangelistic ministries, working on building God’s spiritual Temple.  But God doesn’t want you so caught up in the work and labor of ministry---as a job---and then to forget him in your personal spiritual life.  Verse 4, “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts:  Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.’  But they did not hear nor heed me,’ says the LORD.”  For those returned exiles now working on the Temple reconstruction God’s saying, ‘Your fathers didn’t pay any attention to the prophets I sent them---Hosea, Joel, Amos, and yes Jeremiah---and look what happened, they went into captivity.  Verse 6, “‘Yes surely my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers?’  So they returned and said:  ‘Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, according to our ways and according to our deeds, so he has dealt with us.’”  Verse 6 shows these exiles responded favorably and acknowledged what Zechariah was telling them (from God).  The title most often used for God in Zechariah is LORD of hosts, which in Hebrew is Yhwh Sabaoth, used over 80 times in Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.  The Greek translation of the Old Testament reads it “the Almighty.”  Feinberg’s comment about the name ‘the Almighty’ is “God is LORD of the stars, the powers of heaven, and all the forces of the universe---a most inclusive and comprehensive name for God.”  (p. 275, Feinberg).

 

1st Vision: Vision of the Horses and Their Riders Under the Myrtle Trees---Judah & Jerusalem to Remain Low Until 2nd Coming

 

Verses 7-11, “On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius [Darius the Great, 522-486BC], the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet:  I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses:  red, sorrel, and white.  Then I said, ‘My lord, what are these?’  So the angel who talked with me said to me, ‘I will show you what they are.’  And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, ‘These are the ones whom the LORD has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth.’  So they answered the Angel of the LORD, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, ‘We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly.’”  First, let’s get J. Vernon McGee’s definition of a vision as compared to a dream, for these are ‘visions.’  “‘I saw by night’---he doesn’t say, ‘I dreamed by night.’  You may get the impression that because Zechariah had these visions at night that they were dreams, but he makes it clear that they were visions, not dreams.  He was wide awake, and I don’t think that any tranquilizer or sleeping pill could have put him to sleep on that night!  Many people differ with me in my stand that God does not speak through dreams or by visions in our day.  I don’t try to correct them when they say to me, ‘I saw a vision last night,’  I simply ask them if they saw the vision in a dream.  If they did, I know immediately that God has not given them a message but that the dream was caused by something they ate for dinner the evening before, or it came out of some experience they had.  In sleep the mind is unlatched or released, and it generally wanders back over some experience that produces the dream.  Therefore, I think we can be sure that God does not speak to us in dreams.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p. 907, col.1, par. 4]  Verses 8-11 are describing these other horses “red horses, speckled [sorrel] and white,” three color groups, with their riders, messengers, ordinary angels.  The myrtle, what we call laurel, was common around Jerusalem, it grows in valleys near water sources.  It is a symbol for Israel.  So the main red horse and rider, the LORD, Jesus Christ is down in a valley of myrtle, observing, and Israel is in a valley, low point, not exalted as it will yet be in the Millennium, when it is called a ‘high mountain’ in Isaiah 2.  So this peace, the nations being at peace as the other riders report, is not the peace of the Millennial Kingdom, but a worldly peace.  Verses 12-13, “Then the Angel of the LORD answered and said, ‘O LORD of hosts, how long will you not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which you were angry these seventy years?  And the LORD answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words.”  In verse 12, Yahweh, the pre-Incarnate Christ asks the Almighty (God the Father) how long he will not have mercy on Jerusalem, which had just been lying in rubble these past 70 years while the Jews were being held captive in Babylon.  So this brings the time-set back to just after the Babylonian captivity.  In verse 13 it says words of comfort were spoken on behalf of Jerusalem.  So verses 11-13 place this at the return of the Jews to rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem.  Judah and Jerusalem---the myrtle, laurel---are at a low, humbled point, and will remain so all the way to the end of times, up until the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

 

The vision now looks to the end-times

 

Verses 14-16, “So the angel who spoke with me said to me, ‘Proclaim saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts:  ‘I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal.  I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry, and they helped---but with evil intent.  Therefore thus says the LORD:  ‘I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; my house shall be built in it,’ says the LORD of hosts, and a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.’  Again proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts:  ‘My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; the LORD will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem.”  These verses take us right to the end-times.  A period of peace exists here too, ‘the nations are at ease’ (‘peace, peace, yet there is no peace’), but the Jews and Jerusalem are low.  This ‘peace ‘ could be just before the tribulation, during the first three and a half years of the peace treaty brokered between the Israelis and their Arab neighbors (‘the king of the south’)----and it could also apply as well to the lull in fighting during the Tribulation, just before the LORD starts stepping into world affairs during “the Day of the LORD.”  In verse 15 Yahweh, Jesus, is saying ‘I was a little displeased with Jerusalem (586BC, Babylonian captivity; 70AD & 135AD, Roman destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, scattering of the Jews), but “and they,” those other nations in the world, “helped forward [Jerusalem’s] affliction.”  The whole world---along with, and backing up the Palestinians---is anti-Israeli.  The world right now is starting to take on a very strong anti-Semitic posture (which is badly infecting the “liberal” churches which call themselves “Christian”).  In verse 16, “A line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem” denotes a great building boom.  Since whenever Jerusalem has been rebuilt, it has been reduced in war to rubble (historically), and taking this in context with verse 17, this building boom takes place just after the return of Jesus Christ, when he establishes the Millennial Kingdom of God on earth, which will end up being the Eternal Kingdom of God on earth (cf. Revelation 21).  In summation I quote Charles Feinberg, “The distinctive features of comfort for Israel in this first vision are: (1) the presence of the Angel of [Yhwh] in the midst of degraded and depressed Israel; (2) His loving and yearning intercession for them; (3) the promise of future blessings.  We may say, then, that the import of the vision is this:  although Israel is not yet in her promised position, God is mindful of her, providing the means of His judgment on the persecuting nations, and reserving glory and prosperity for Israel in the benevolent and beneficent reign of the Messiah.  The series of visions carry us though God’s dealings with Israel from the time of their chastisement by God under the Gentile powers until they are restored to their land with their rebuilt city and temple under their Messiah King.  The first vision gives the general theme of the whole series; the others add the details…When the world was busy with its own affairs, God’s eyes and the heart of the Messiah were upon the lowly state of Israel and upon the temple in Jerusalem…All eight visions form a unit, and the first is the key to them all” (Feinberg, The Minor Prophets, 1952, p. 275) [emphasis mine.]

 

2nd Vision:  The Four Horns and Skilled Workmen

 

Verses 18-21, “Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns.  And I said to the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these?’  So he answered me, ‘These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.’  Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen.  And I said, ‘What are these coming to do?’  So he said, ‘These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head; but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.’”  If Charles Feinberg is correct in his view that the first vision is “key” to the proper interpretation of the ones to follow (as Daniel chapter 2 is a vital key for interpreting Daniel 7, 8 & 11), then Zechariah’s second vision would be interpreted as an amplification of God’s wrath on these “nations at ease” (cf. verses 11 & 15).  Horns in Scripture symbolize, represent the power, as seen in Daniel 8, the military power of a nation.  Who are these for horns, military powers?  First, they are described as having scattered (or those that “scatter”---the verb could also be translated in the present tense) Israel and Judah.  So we look to history for a clue.  Assyria scattered Israel, the House of Israel, Babylon scattered Judah, the House of Judah.  So there’s two horns.  Persia did not scatter Judah, nor did Greece.  Rome scattered the Jews, twice (70AD & 135AD).  This makes three horns, Assyria, Babylon and Rome.  The fourth horn will be the end-time Roman-Babylonian-Assyrian power-block, the Beast Empire of Revelation 13, 17 & 18.  The Messiah will come to defeat this 4th horn, which is a composite of the other three horns which came before it.  Psalm 75:10, “The horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.” 

 

The Carpenters

 

The carpenters (also translated “smiths”) “are come to fray them,” i.e. the horns.  In reality, it was the Scythians who “frayed,” put down the Assyrian Empire (the Babylonians helped). The Persian Empire “frayed” and put down the Babylonian “horn.”  The Vandals, Ostrogoths and Heruli “frayed,” put down the old Roman Empire horn.  Jesus Christ is the “Carpenter-smith” who will destroy the final horn.  Notice this strong theme running through all of these visions we’ll look at which Zechariah was given by the LORD in one night.  God is not finished with Israel (all 12 tribes).

 

Zechariah 2:1-13

 

3rd Vision: The Surveyors Line

 

Verses 1-5, “Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand.  So I said, ‘Where are you going?’  And he said to me, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.’  And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, ‘Run, speak to this young man, saying:  Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it.  For I,’ says the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”  The surveyor’s line being stretched over Jerusalem pictures the future reconstruction of Jerusalem and points to its massive expansion.  In Bible symbolism a town without walls means a town without military protection.  What is being pictured here is a huge population boom in Jerusalem and its environs, and all not needing military protection.  Why?  Verse 5, “For I, says the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”  i.e. Jesus Christ will be dwelling in Jerusalem again, “the glory in her midst.”  This pictures Jerusalem after the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  This cross references to Ezekiel 43:1-7, “Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east.  And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east.  His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with his glory.  It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw---like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city.  The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face.  And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east.  The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple.  Then I heard him speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me.  And he said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the my soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever.”  It says, ‘I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever’ in Ezekiel 43.  That’s a long time.  When Jesus Christ returns to earth he’s not going anywhere, forever.  As a matter of fact, when the Millennium is done, through, past, God the Father, who dwells in the New Jerusalem, will come to earth!  That’s right, heaven, God’s heavenly throne, comes to reside on earth!  Read Revelation 21:1-23, read it for yourself. 

 

Warning to the Jews in Babylon, then and now

 

Verses 6-7, “‘Up, up!  Flee from the land of the north,’ says the LORD; ‘for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven,’ says the LORD.  ‘Up Zion!  Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon.’”  There are two applications to this short set of verses.  One was historic.  In Zechariah’s own time this was a prophetic warning for the Jews who decided not to return to Judah and Jerusalem, but remain in Babylon.  This warning proved to be quite true, because in Darius the Great’s days, shortly after, Darius himself had to crush two rebellions in Babylon.  Then Xerxes his son, the powerful Xerxes, sacked Babylon in 482 (three years before he married Esther).  And then again it was conquered in 340BC by Antiochus III Ochus.  These verses most definitely were a warning to the Babylonian Jews of upcoming military destruction.  On the end-time application, this is the Aliyah command of God to the Jews, God speaking to all the Jews of the Babylonian-Roman Diasporas (dispersions), which stretches from Zechariah’s time until today right now.  God is commanding them to come out of the Babylonian society of the world, and return to dwell in Jerusalem and its environs---thus swelling its population just before their Messiah’s return to dwell in the Temple.  For an interesting history of Jewish Aliyah’s, log onto http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliyah.  This Aliyah command to return to their Promised Land before the Messiah’s return, could be for their own safety, judging by how anti-Semitic the world is getting right now in the end-times.  Also, Jesus probably wants a sizable number of people to return to, those who will need his rescue upon his return, as the later prophecies in Zechariah clearly show.

 

Israel, the Apple of God’s Eye

 

Verses 8-13, “For thus says the LORD of hosts:  ‘He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.  For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants.  Then you will know the LORD of hosts has sent Me.  Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion!  For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ says the LORD.  Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people.  And I will dwell in their midst.  Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.  And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem.  Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!”  The King James Version doesn’t usually capitalize the personal pronouns for God, the LORD etc.  The NKJV does.  I tend to follow the KJV in this.  But I have capitalized them here to show the interaction more clearly between what is obviously God the Father (the LORD of hosts) and the pre-incarnate Christ, the LORD (Yahweh, the Great I AM).  The Old Testament only hints at the existence of God the Father, so this passage is interesting in the light of that. (The term “LORD of hosts” does not always refer to God the Father, you have to judge by context.)  Now for it’s meaning.  Verse 8 shows essentially the pre-incarnate Christ has been sent by God the Father (“the LORD of hosts”) to bring judgment against the nations.  He’s saying Israel is “the apple of his eye.”  The word for “apple” in Hebrew here is babah, which means “the pupil” or “the gate” (through which light enters the eye).  Essentially God is saying through Zechariah here that those who harm Israel, that’s like going up to God and poking him in the eye.  What’s God’s response to those nations who “poke God in the eye”?  Verse 9, “For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants.  Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me.”  Those nations (that survive) will become the “servants” of Israel.  The oppressors of Israel will become the servants of Israel.  Verse 10, “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion!  For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ says the LORD.”  Verse 10 again shows the LORD (Yahweh, Christ) will actually dwell in Jerusalem.  Verse 11 is a cross-reference to Isaiah 2:1-4 and Micah 4:1-4, “Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become my people.”  This is just the beginning, where God is spiritually calling and drawing a people to himself.  At this point in time Christ has started to convert the nations.  This is when true evangelism to the whole world will see its greatest success to date.  Verse 12 shows ‘Jesus Christ the Messiah will take possession of Judah as his personal inheritance in the Holy Land.’  This verse in Zechariah 2 is the only place in the whole Bible where Palestine, the Promised Land, is identified and called by the name “the Holy Land.”  Verse 13 is God’s call for the world to keep silent (just before the end) because ‘He is aroused from his habitation!’---i.e. He’s gotten up off his throne and is coming to bring judgment to those who are hurting “the apple of his eye”!

 

Zechariah 3:1-10

 

3rd Vision: Vision of Joshua in Filthy Clothes

 

Verses 1-6, “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.  And the LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!  Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’  Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.  Then he [the Angel of the LORD] answered and spoke to those who stood before him, saying, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’  And to him he said, ‘See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.’  And I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’  So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him.  And the Angel of the LORD stood by.”  In this vision you have a very interesting scene, which resembles a courtroom setup.  Joshua the high priest (the same Joshua who came back from Babylon with Zerubbabel and the first 50,000 Jews to return from Babylon) is seen standing before the Angel of the LORD.  Because this vision shows this Angel of the LORD bestowing forgiveness on Joshua it has to be the pre-incarnate Christ, because only God can forgive sins.  Joshua is covered with filth (lit. excrement), symbolic of the House of Judah’s sins (and maybe his own as well).  Satan stands on Joshua’s right, legally the position of a prosecuting attorney (the “D.A.” in modern terms).  This has legal precedent in Old Testament Israel, Psalm 109:6, “Set a wicked man over him, and let the accuser stand at his right hand.”

 

A Little Bit of History About Satan Here

 

Satan has always been the D.A. or prosecuting attorney coming before God’s throne to accuse God’s people.  First the House of Israel, and always the House of Judah.  Satan knew the Messiah was to come through Judah and the House of David.  The minute Satan realized the Messiah was to come from Judah (probably in Genesis 49, but maybe earlier), he became the unseen source, inspiration and driving force for anti-Semitism.  As revealed in the Book of Esther, Satan through evil Haman tried to kill off the whole entire Jewish race to stop the birth of the Messiah (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/ezra/ezra1.html for the entire history of this period).  Herod killed all the male babies in the district of Bethlehem in his attempt (and Satan’s) to kill the Christ child.  When Israel was growing and multiplying itself into a nation down in Egypt, the evil Pharaoh of the Exodus tried to stop Israel’s population growth by attempting to kill off all the male Israelite babies (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html and read through that first html page).  Satan is the accuser, not just of Joshua but of all believers in Jesus Christ as well (cf. Job chapters 1-2 shows Satan at his job; Revelation 12:10).

 

Joshua’s Filthy Clothing

 

There is a reason for Satan’s accusation, it’s Joshua’s filthy clothing.  The high priest was supposed to, he was required by Torah Law to minister in clean white linen under his priestly outer vestments, which also were to be spotlessly clean.  The Hebrew word for “filthy” used in verse 3 is “soim which Feinberg says is “the strongest expression in the Hebrew language for filth of the most vile and loathsome character,” i.e. excrement.  This filthy clothing symbolized contamination by sin---he was ministering before God in a defiled condition.  But this could also be symbolic---as the high priest represented the whole nation of Israel (House of Judah in this case, the House of Israel was gone)---the House of Judah stood guilty before God.

 

Defense Attorney & Judge

 

Verse 2, “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan!  The LORD rebuke you, Satan!  The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!  Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’”  The Angel of the LORD, the pre-incarnate Christ, now acting as both judge and defense attorney for Joshua (the House of Judah too) rebukes Satan.  You see, Satan’s accusation was actually calling God into question, saying to God, ‘How could you use a defiled person or nation in your service?’  Essentially saying to God that his whole Plan had been a great big flop, failure (not to mention, Satan was the chief source of the defilement!).  Satan is the great tempter (cf. Matthew 4:3; 1st Thessalonians 3:5), the father of lies and sin (cf. John 8:44).  In the end, God intends to reconcile all of mankind and place on Satan’s head the guilt for all of mankind’s sins, which is exactly what is shown in symbolic form during the Day of Atonement (cf. Leviticus 16:3-34; Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10). 

 

Removal of Joshua’s Sin

 

Verses 5-7, “So they put a clean turban on his head and they put the clothes on him.  Then the Angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts:  If you will walk in my ways, and if you will keep my command, then you shall also judge my house, and likewise have charge of my courts; I will give you places to walk among those who stand here.”  “Among those who stand here”?  That’s quite a promise!  Other than Satan, who else was standing there?  God the Father and the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, Yahweh himself!  J. Vernon McGee has this to say about these two verses, “Joshua represented not only the nation of Israel, he represents us today.  In him we see the sin of the believer.  Joshua was a priest before God---God appointed priests in the Old Testament.  In our day every believer is a priest before God, but some of us are standing in dirty garments…You see, the dirty garments, representing sin, must be removed from him, and he must be clothed with clean garments, symbolic of the righteousness of Christ.  This pictures your salvation and mine, which makes this such a precious passage of Scripture.  Let me refer you to the Epistle to the Romans.  In the first three chapters mankind is set before us as a sinner before God.  We all stand dirty before Him.  And our righteousness---even the best that we can do---is filthy rags in God’s sight.  We stand in Joshua’s condition.  What are we going to do about our plight?  Here is God’s answer:  “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe; for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely [without cause] by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:21-24).  Why?  Because Christ died, shed His blood, that it might be possible for you and me to come in our filthy rags to Him.  He will not accept the filthy rags of our own righteousness.  He will take them off and clothe us in the righteousness of Christ.  When we stand clothed in Christ’s righteousness, nobody, no created thing, can bring any charge against us because we are God’s elect.  Notice what Paul writes in Romans 8:  “What shall we then say to these things?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?  It is God that justifieth.  Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8:31-34).  What a Savior, He not only takes from us our sins, removes the dirty garment, but He puts on us the robe of righteousness, and no one can bring any charge against God’s elect.  [Comment:  How do you think we’re able to actually appear before God the Father in prayer, when even at our very best, our own righteousness is seen by God as filthy rags?  It is because we are clothed in the righteous robes of Christ.  Does this mean we’re not to be in the sanctification process, and we can throw all God’s laws out the window?  No, far from it!  But without Christ’s garment on us, we wouldn’t have any access to God the Father in prayer at all.  This gets into Law & Grace, so see http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm for a more in-depth study on this.]  But wait---can God’s child get into sin?  Yes.  Then what is the child of God to do?  Well, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”  (1 John 1:9)  When you and I are out of fellowship with God, we have lost a great deal.  We have lost all joy from our lives.  We have lost all power from our lives.  And it is possible to lose our assurance.  I am of the opinion that many folk lack the assurance of their salvation because of sin in their lives.  Another thing we lose is our privilege of being of service to God.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p. 918, col.2, par. 2-3, p.919, col.1, par. 1-2.]  J. Vernon McGee goes on, “The interpretation of this is quite obvious.  Joshua had been dirty, but God had a redemption which enabled Him to extend His grace and mercy to him.  Now Joshua is saved, but God says, “If you want to be used, you will have to stay clean.  You will have to walk in My ways.  You will have to be obedient to Me.”  Not only is God saying this to Joshua, He is saying it to the nation, and He is saying it to you and me today.  Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  Some folk seem to have the idea that if they are saved by grace, they can do as they please.  My friend, that is inconsistent. If you have really accepted Him and are really trusting Him, you are resting upon Him.  And if you are resting upon Him, you will want to [and thus strive to] be obedient to Him and do as He wants you to do. It can’t be any other way.”  [ibed. p.919, col.2, par. 5-6.]  So God is promising to Joshua, Judah, and by extension all believers that faithfulness to his ways (laws) will result in authority and responsibility within God’s house and courts---both then in Zechariah’s day, but looking forward to the Millennial Kingdom of God for all of Israel---and of course this applies to all believers (cf. Revelation 5:9-10).  The restoration of Joshua was a sign, this restitution of the Levitical priesthood was a public declaration that God intends to continue to fulfill his promises to his people.  This points to the ultimate removal of all Israel’s sins and their ultimate restoration in the Millennial Kingdom of God.

 

The BRANCH

 

Verse 8, “Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, you and your companions who sit before you, for they are a wondrous sign; for behold, I am bringing forth my servant the BRANCH.”  J. Vernon McGee has, “‘My servant the BRANCH’ is a marvelous picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “the BRANCH” is a familiar figure of the Messiah.  Isaiah used that figure to predict His first coming as Savior:  “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and  Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isa. 11:1).  And Jeremiah uses it to speak of Christ’s coming as King to this earth:  “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth” (Jer. 23:5).  “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee.”  God is here addressing Joshua and his fellow priests.  Now what is the message He is giving them?  Leupold’s paraphrase of verse 8 provides the answer:  “I shall not let you, Joshua, and your fellow priests be removed from office, nor your office discontinued, for I have a destiny for you---you are a type of the coming Messiah, who will do My work perfectly (“Servant”), and who will bring the priestly office to undreamed of glory (‘Shoot’) when He springs forth”…”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p. 920, col.1, par. 2-3.]  As we saw Joshua defiled by sin (his own as well as the nation’s, so the Messiah, Jesus Christ (although perfectly sinless himself) would bear and be covered by the sins of the world.  Just as Joshua received the clean undefiled clothing Jesus in his resurrection has been clothed in light and will bring redemption to Israel and the world (he does this for us now and will for all of Israel and the world when he comes again). 

 

The Stone With Seven Eyes

 

Verses 9-10, “For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua:  Upon the stone are seven eyes.  Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.  In that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘everyone will invite his neighbor under his vine and under his fig tree.’”  J. Vernon McGee references this Stone to Daniel 2:34-35, let’s see what he says.  “The “BRANCH” is also the stone, the stone which Daniel saw in the vision of the great image:  “Thou sawest till that stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.  Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them:  and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain [cf. Isaiah 2:1-4], and filled the whole earth.” (Dan. 2:34-35).  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol.III, p.920, col.1, par.5, col.2. par.1.]  This stone has seven eyes.  What are these eyes?  We find a reference to the “seven eyes of the LORD which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth” (Zechariah 4:10).  This could refer to the seven angels who walk “to and fro through the whole earth” and then report back to God (Zechariah 1:1).  Also these “seven eyes” could refer to the “seven lamps” or “lampstands” in Revelation 1:12-16.  Jesus said in Matthew 6:22 and Luke 11:34 that “the lamp of the body is the eye.”  These seven lampstands in Revelation 1 represent the 7 era’s of the Church.  We in the Body of Christ, within these 7 era’s of the Church down through the Church Age are the eyes of the LORD on earth, he sees the world, in a sense, through our eyes.  If the Holy Spirit dwells within a believer God the Father and Jesus Christ directly “see” and “experience” everything we see and go through in this world, on this planet.  Now he doesn’t need to, he’s tapped into every human being through the spirit-in-man, as well as he’s holding every single atom in the whole universe together by the power of his Spirit.  But yes, we are his eyes in a very real sense.  Verse 10, “In that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘everyone will invite his neighbor under his vine and under his fig tree.’”  This directly cross-references to Micah 4:4.  A new element is added to what God said through Micah though.  Not only will everyone own his own personal property, but everyone will be inviting neighbors to join them.  People will be reaching out to share their blessing, just as some of us believers do during disasters, through such Christian Care organizations like Samaritan’s Purse (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/samaritan_purse.htm).  Also this refers to ordinary Christian fellowshipping too.