Zechariah 005 – God Keeps a Record

Dr. Andy Woods | Oct 20, 2021 | Zechariah 1:12-17 | Zechariah

God Keeps a Record

Dr. Andy Woods

Good to see you this evening. Yes, Thank you! Let’s open our Bibles to the book of Zechariah chapter 1, and verse 12 (Zech 1:12).

A lot of people that watch us online say: How come you guys don’t pray before you start? and what they don’t see is that Rob already prayed earlier. Amen? I just don’t want people out there to think that we’ve lost our progressive sanctification of something (hahaha) So, we still believe in praying at the beginning, it’s just it happened this time off camera. The Bible doesn’t say you have to pray with the camera on, does it? Okay, not that I’m aware of, and it doesn’t say you can’t pray without the camera on either, so it’s one of those Christian liberty things, amen? Alright.

Well, let’s open our Bibles to the book of Zechariah chapter 1, and verse 12 (Zech 1:12) and as we are kind of working our way verse by verse through the book of Zechariah, I’ve decided to entitle this: “God keeps a record” So we are continuing on with our study in the book of Zechariah. 1:50

Zechariah is a prophet who showed up in a particular time in Israel’s history to convince the crowd that had just come out of the Babylonian captivity to get busy building the Temple. So, Nebuchadnezzar had essentially destroyed the Temple in 586 B.C., and now that they have come out of the captivity, the Temple wasn’t being built. They have started a little bit but got discouraged because of opposition, and so God raises up Zechariah and his primary message is to compel the returnees from Babylon to rebuild the Temple.

So, the book of Zechariah has four parts to it, as we’ve looked at. Number 1, there is an introductory call to repentance, verses 1 through 6 (Zech 1:1-6):

Structure

  1. Introductory call to repentance (Zech 1:1-6)
  2. Eight night visions (Zech 1:7–6:15)
  3. Question and answers about fasting (Zech 7–8)
  4. Two burdens (Zech 9–14)

God uses clean vessels and so when he calls us to do anything, if there’s personal sins in our lives, you know, He typically calls us to repent of those sins. So, that’s what you have going on in chapter 1, verses 1 through 6, and then Zechariah goes to sleep one night and as he’s sleeping he receives eight night visions. I mean, I have a hard time remembering a single dream of mine, let alone eight, and then remembering it so well that I wrote about it. So, Zechariah receives from the Lord eight night visions and these are recorded in chapter 1, verse 7 through roughly the end of chapter 6, and each of the visions is designed to compel, to communicate to the returnees from Babylon to get busy rebuilding the Temple. 4:07

So, the first vision is the rider amongst the myrtle trees, chapter 1 verses 7 through 17:

  1. Eight Night Visions (Zech 1:7‒6:15)
    1. Riders & horses among the myrtle trees (Zech 1:7-17)
    2. Four horns & four craftsmen (Zech 1:18-21)
    3. Man with the measuring line (Zech 2)
    4. Cleansing of the High Priest Joshua (Zech 3)
    5. Lampstand & olive tree (Zech 4)
    6. Flying scroll (Zech 5:1-4)
    7. Woman in the basket (Zech 5:5-11)
    8. Four chariots (Zech 6:1-8)
    9. Conclusion: crowning of Joshua (Zech 6:9-15)

And we just barely, if I remember right, started looking at that one last time, so, as we’re moving through these, I’m going to make reference to this chart here.

This comes from the Bible Knowledge Commentary. I think the author of that section in the Bible Knowledge Commentary is a man named Duane Lindsey, and I like this chart because it gives you the vision, where it’s found, and just a one sentence meaning of the vision, so, when you study material like this, it’s easy to get interested in all the little details, that you forget the central point of the vision, so, I don’t mind looking to all the details but we don’t want to get so busy straining at the veins on the leaves of the trees that we forget what the forest looks like.

So, people are already doing this (fans himself), so, can somebody magically turn the air on? I know we have some kind of ability to do that. Are you guys warm? I run warm too. So I don’t know who has the magic buttons anymore but Casey does, okay? So she can, uhm..We are not allowed to know who has the magic buttons, so, somebody back there is going to be working on it. How ‘s that? 5:53

So, you have the rider amongst the myrtle trees chapter 1, verses 7 through 17, and the basic point of it is God is angry against the nations that are mistreating Israel, and He has every intention of restoring Israel to blessing one day. So, we ventured into that, the rider and horses amongst the myrtle trees, we saw the date, the description, and then from there we moved to an interpretation.

  1. Rider & Horses Among the Myrtle Trees (Zech 1:7-17)
  2. Date (Zech 1:7)
  3. Description (Zech 1:8)
  4. Interpretation (Zech 1:9–11)
  5. Explanation (Zech 1:12-17)

Zechariah asks a question, the interpreting angel gives an answer, an Angel of the Lord gives an answer and you have the rider’s report there in chapter 1, verse 11.

III. Interpretation

  1. Zechariah’s inquiry (1:9a)
  2. Interpreting angel’s answer (1:9b)
  3. Angel of the Lord’s answer (1:10)
  4. Rider’s report (1:11)

Let’s just look at verse 11 so we can remember what this vision is about (Zech 1:11): So they answered the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, “We have patrolled the whole earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet.” So this particular vision is, the rider is reporting that everything on the earth is peaceful and quiet under Persian rule, everything seems to be fine except for Israel, Israel is in a ditch. She has no Temple, which is a big problem because Jesus, 500 years later, according to Bible prophecy, is going to come to a Temple, so it’s hard to do that when no Temple exists. 7:47

So Israel has no Temple, we know from the book of Nehemiah, which would be written later that Israel had no wall around the city, and in the ancient Near East when you were a city without a wall, you were very vulnerable, and the people had sort of gotten started with these projects but opposition and set back, forced them to abandon these projects, at least the Temple project, for at least somewhere between 10 to 15 years. So the point of this vision is everything is going great in the world except for the nation of Israel, and last time we entitled that particular lesson God’s Thoughts because God doesn’t think the way most people think.

Most people would be very happy just looking at the condition of the world under Persian rule, seeing everything humming along and most people would look at that and say everything is great, what do we have to complain about? But God doesn’t think the way men thinks. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s thoughts higher than our thoughts. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so our God’s ways are higher than our ways. So the rest of the world is sort of celebrating how everything is going under Persian rule but God is not looking at life the way the rest of the world does. He is looking specifically at Israel, His elect nation, and He is seeing her problems. 9:35

  1. Rider & Horses Among the Myrtle Trees (Zech 1:7-17)
  2. Date (Zech 1:7)
  3. Description (Zech 1:8)
  4. Interpretation (Zech 1:9–11)
  5. Explanation (Zech 1:12-17)

So, that takes us to an explanation of this particular night vision and this is where we pick it up with fresh material today or this evening, verses 12 to 17:

  1. Explanation (Zech 1:12-17)
  2. God’s jealousy for Jerusalem (Zech 1:12-14)
  3. God’s anger with the nations (Zech 1:15)
  4. Jerusalem to be restored (Zech 1:16a)
  5. The Temple to be restored (Zech 1:16b)
  6. Jerusalem’s prosperity to return (Zech 1:17)

and the explanation has, oh I don’t know… about five parts to it, but the first part of it is God remains jealous for the city of Jerusalem, in spite of all of its problems. So, take a look at Zechariah chapter 1, notice verse 12 (Zech 1:12), it says: Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, which You have been indignant these seventy years?” So the accusation comes against God that, you know, Israel is in a ditch, the rest of the world is doing fine and God, the problem is you don’t really care. Have you ever felt like that about your circumstances? God doesn’t really, you pray to God for an answer, you don’t get an immediate answer over some kind of situation going on in your life and so the quick accusation we raise against God is, Well God, the reason there’s inaction is you don’t care. So, this is sort of the accusation that’s brought against God. You don’t care. The reason why Jerusalem has no wall and has no Temple is you’re unconcerned, and in fact, God you haven’t been concerned for seventy years. What seventy years is he talking about? The seventy years of captivity. 11:35

If you are interested in the seventy years of captivity that they have just emerged from, and where that’s found in the Bible, you could jot down a couple of verses. One is Jeremiah 25, verse 11 (Jer 25:11). Jeremiah prior to the Babylonian captivity, predicted that Israel would go into captivity for exactly seventy years. So they went from the land of Israel about 300 to 350 miles to the east essentially to modern day Iraq and then, they were into captivity for seventy years.

So that number, seventy years that you see there in verse 12, you’ll find it in Jeremiah 25 verse 11, you’ll also find that number predicted by Jeremiah before it happened in Jeremiah 29, verse 10 (Jer 29:10). 12:34

Now most Bible readers understand that they went into captivity for seventy years. Very few people, even though it’s sort of obvious when I’ll explain it, very few people understand why they went into captivity for seventy years. I mean, why not sixty eight years, why not seventy three years, why exactly seventy years? Cause if you look at verse 12 (Zech 1:12), you’ll see the figure ‘seventy years’. God, you haven’t been concerned about us for seventy years. The reason why they went into captivity for seventy years is found in 2nd Chronicles 36, verses 21 and 22 (2 Chron 36:21,22) where it says on the eve of the captivity into Babylon, it says: to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, now I’ve just read to you, or  showed you those two places in Jeremiah’s prophecies where Jeremiah predicted a seventy year captivity… it goes on, in 2nd Chronicles 36 verses 21 and 22 (2 Chron 36:21,22): …until the land enjoyed its Sabbaths… Did you catch that? It says: …All the days of its desolation it kept the Sabbath until the seventy years were completed. 14:07

Now in the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia, in order to fulfill the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, the king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom and also put it in writing. So immediately when the seventy years figure was met, God stirred up Cyrus, the king of Persia, who allowed Israel to return from Babylon back to the land of Israel and this is largely where the book of Zechariah is taking place. So why seventy years? Well, it tells you right there in 2nd Chronicles 36 verse 21 (2 Chron 36:21), until the Sabbaths were completed. Now, this goes back to the Mosaic Law and early on in Leviticus 26, I want to say it’s about verses 1 through 7 (Lev 26:1-7), God told the Jews, you are going to work 6 days and you’re going to rest on the Sabbath. That’s the Israeli work week. You’ll find that in Exodus 20 verses 8 through 11 (Exo 20:8-11), but in Leviticus 26, God says that same principle holds true for the land. You are to work the land for 6 years, and on the 7th year you are to not work the land, and you are to allow the land to have a rest. 15:47

So the nation of Israel, you know, essentially what they did, is they said: God, we are not going to do things your way. We’re going to reject your Sabbath principle. So, I know you told us to work the land 6 years and let it have a rest on the 7th year, but we’re not going to do that, and so, there were seventy Sabbath years in that cycle of disobedience, where the nation of Israel did not do what God said, and because they ignored what God said for seventy Sabbath years, God says Okay! I’m going to actually kick you out of the land for seventy years, and as you’re kicked out of the land for seventy years, we’re going to make up for those seventy Sabbaths that you’ve trampled on.

So, there were apparently in this cycle, seventy years where the nation of Israel basically thumbed its nose at God, they probably somehow thought that they were getting away with something and God says: No! I’m keeping a record, I’m keeping a record of every year you violated my Sabbath principle, and you violated my Sabbath principle for seventy years and so, I’m going to kick you out of the land for seventy years, so that the land can have its rest. 17:16

So that’s where that ‘seventy year’ figure comes from, that’s why they went into captivity for exactly seventy years. One of the things to understand about God is he works in complete numbers. He is very precise. For example, this may interest you. On the very day that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple, in 586 BC, to the exact day, is the exact same day when Titus of Rome in AD 70, over six centuries later, destroyed the Temple on that exact same day. So, God allowed Israel to be disciplined in terms of the destruction of her Temple on a specific day. This happened in 586 BC, it also happened in AD 70, and this was kind of worked into, over the course of time, the Israeli calendar, one of her days where she’s commemorating the destroyed Temple, and anybody that knows anything about Jewish history and Jewish tradition and the Mishna and the Talmud will tell you that there are things in those documents where God dealt with the Temple issue in AD 70 on the exact same day that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple in 586 BC. So you look at that and say, Wow! God’s a God of precision. 18:53

Calculations, math, and things like that are very important to God and so, that’s why they went into captivity for seventy years, and that is why it’s being referenced there in verse 12 (Zech 1:12), and so the accusation has come against God that for these seventy years, Lord! you just haven’t cared. Which is a silly accusation when you think about it, but when you drop down to verse 13 you see the Lords answer: The LORD answered the angel who was speaking with me… and I love this right here …with gracious words and comforting words. 19:39

One of the things to understand about God is God is a God of grace. This is a picture, an artist’s rendition of what John saw on the island of Patmos in AD 95, Revelation chapter 1,

and it looked exactly like that cause I found this on the internet so it must be true, but he describes Jesus coming to him and John was the one, remember, who leaned against Christ’s chest in the upper room about 60 years earlier. You’ll see that in John 13 and verse 23 (John 13:23), and so now, Jesus shows up to John on the island of Patmos in His glorified state in AD 95 and John is scared out of his mind. So what does Jesus do to John who is in a terrified state?

In Revelations chapter 1, verse 17 (Rev 1:17), Jesus says: Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last. It says, He placed His right hand on me, John is writing, saying do not be afraid. Doesn’t that fit with what we are reading here? Gracious and comforting words. 21:12

John is terrified, seeing Jesus in His glorified state, Jesus puts His hand on John and says do not be afraid. That’s the same kind of thing that’s happening here in verse 13 (Zech 1:13). A ridiculous accusation is raised against God, God you haven’t cared for seventy years, and how does God answer? Not with harshness, not with retribution but with gracious and comforting words.

1st Corinthians chapter 14 and verse 3 (1 Cor 14:3) says this: But the one who prophesies speaks to people for edification, exhortation and consolation. Consolation is comfort. God through the gift of prophecy is in the business of comforting his people. So, when you start to study this to understand it, then you begin to understand why there’s so much in the Bible about having our speech seasoned and not being filled with wrath and retribution and accusations and venom, because when God speaks, He speaks with grace, and we need to be people that speak in the same way. Amen?

The book of Ephesians says that we should speak the truth in love. Speaking the truth is easy but doing it in love is a little bit more difficult. Would you agree with me on that? When 1st Peter tells us in 1st Peter 3 verse 15 (1 Pet 3:15), to give a defense for the hope that lies within us, defense is apologia or to be defenders of the faith, it tells us to do it with gentleness and respect. So our goal in defending the faith is not to beat people so far under the ground that they’ll never see the light of day again but it’s to speak with words of grace, and so that’s what’s spoken of here in verse 13 (Zech 1:13). This ridiculous accusation is raised against God, God, you haven’t cared about Jerusalem for seventy years, and God’s response is not venom and harshness in tone but speaking with grace and comforting words. 23:43

Charles Feinberg describes the comforting words that are going to come when he says: The good comforting words, yet before us in verses 14 to 17 are threefold.

Charles L. Feinberg – God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950, p. 34-35)

  1. God still loves Jerusalem.
  2. He is exceedingly angry with the nations that have afflicted Israel.
  3. He has purposes of glory, prosperity and enlargement for Jerusalem.

So with that being said, we dropped down to verse 14 (Zech 1:14) and it says: So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. So God, you haven’t cared about Jerusalem for seventy years and God says, nonsense, I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem. So, just when you think God doesn’t care, He speaks up and He says I do care. I care exceedingly. So God always has His eye on Jerusalem. 25:06

It was David, back in 2nd Samuel chapter 5, over five centuries before it was written, that made the city of Jerusalem, the Jewish capital. God has always cared about Jerusalem. Jerusalem has a very special role in the outworking of God’s purposes. Jerusalem has a future and so this is part of the gracious and comforting words that God is now revealing in the midst of what seems to be a very harsh accusation. God, you haven’t cared about Jerusalem for seventy years. God says, I do care, in fact, I’m not just jealous for it, but if you look at verse 14 (Zech 1:14) it says, I’m exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem. So the rest of the world is running fine but Israel’s in a ditch, no wall, no Temple. Well, God I guess you just don’t care. The first response is God is exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem. God cares even though it appears that He doesn’t care because of inaction.

  1. Explanation (Zech 1:12-17)
  2. God’s jealousy for Jerusalem (Zech 1:12-14)
  3. God’s anger with the nations (Zech 1:15)
  4. Jerusalem to be restored (Zech 1:16a)
  5. The Temple to be restored (Zech 1:16b)
  6. Jerusalem’s prosperity to return (Zech 1:17)

And then you go down to verse 15 where we have a description that God, not only is exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem, but He is actually angry with the nations that are at ease, that have persecuted Jerusalem. So, take a look at verse 15, Zechariah chapter 1 (Zech 1:15): But I was very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster.

So very angry parallels with very jealous. Just as God is very jealous for Jerusalem, He is very angry at the nations these past seventy years that have mistreated Jerusalem, and He is angry at these pagan nations because they are at ease. We know they are at ease because of what it said back in chapter 1 verse 11 (Zech 1:11): We have patrolled the earth and behold all the earth is peaceful and quiet. It seems like Persia is just doing fine, but the problem is God is angry with Persia, just like He was angry with Babylon because they have actually resisted God’s purposes for the city of Jerusalem. 27:39

It’s kind of interesting as you go through the Bible that God is angry with people that are at ease, to the point where they see no need for him in their lives. Amos chapter 4 and verse 1 (Amos 4:1) says this: Hear this word, you cows of Bashan… and He is speaking to women when he says that… Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, and He’s speaking to women when He says that, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who exploit the poor, who oppress the needy, and say to their husbands, “Bring now, that we may drink!” So these were people that became very wealthy by oppressing others, and as they were oppressing others they were saying to their husbands, Oh yeah! Go get me a strawberry daiquiri please. That’s a loose translation of course, and Amos essentially describes them as cows of Bashan. It’s like a giant cow just kind of rolling over somebody. Totally unconcerned with the wellbeing of somebody. The only thing they care about is their own personal prosperity and their own personal wellbeing, and so it’s interesting as you look there at verse 15 (Zech 1:15), God expresses anger at the nations that are at ease. The world is running very, very nicely under Persian control, the nations are at ease, but Israel is suffering and so God is upset with these nations that are at ease while His people are suffering. 29:29

The nations oppressing Israel are described in the book of Daniel as a giant statue.

Head of gold would represent Babylon. Chest and arms of silver would represent the empire that we are looking at here, Medo-Persia. The belly and thighs of bronze would represent Greece, yet future, and the legs of iron would represent Rome. There was an eastern division of Rome and a western division of Rome, that’s probably what’s meant there by the two legs of iron, and then the feet of iron mixed with clay would represent the Antichrist’s empire, and it’s interesting that in Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar is the one that saw that vision and to him, it looked like a beautiful dazzling statue because he was on top, he was the one oppressing, as the leader of Babylon, but when Daniel sees the exact same concept in a vision in Daniel 7 you get the Jewish perspective, where it’s no longer a beautiful dazzling statue but rather it’s four disgusting ferocious beasts, a lion, a bear, a leopard and a terrifying beast.

Lion would correlate with the head of gold, the bear would correlate with the chest and arms of silver, the leopard would correlate with the belly and thighs of bronze, the terrifying and frightening beast would correlate with the legs of iron. 31:13

So, is it a wonderful time? or is it a difficult time? It depends on who you ask. If you get the Gentile perspective, it seems beautiful, Daniel 2. If you get the Jewish perspective, it seems terrible, Daniel chapter 7. So, the very nations that believe that they’re on the top of the world and are oppressing the nation of Israel, what we learn here is God actually used them as disgusting grotesque animals, and God is keeping a record of how they are oppressing His people. So, you look there at Zechariah chapter 1 verse 15 (Zech 1:15) and God says, just as I was exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem, verse 15, He doesn’t just say I was angry, but I was very angry with the nations who are at ease.

So, the goal of preaching is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and that’s what’s happening here with Zechariah. He is comforting God’s people in their endeavor to rebuild the Temple but he is afflicting the comfortable by reminding the nations who think that they are on top of the world, who are oppressing Israel, that God is very angry with them, and then you look down at the second part of the verse 15 (Zech 1:15) and it says: …for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster. So God says, I was a little angry, but these nations furthered the disaster. Meaning what? I like what Charles Ryrie says here,

Charles Ryrie – The Ryrie Study Bible

Zechariah 1:15 (RSB:NASB1995U): 1:15 they furthered the disaster. Lit., they helped for evil. Though the heathen nations were used of God to punish Israel, they went too far in trying to annihilate her.”

In Zechariah chapter 1 verse 15, they furthered the disaster, literally they helped for evil. Though the heathen nations were used to God to punish Israel, they went too far by trying to annihilate her. 33:21

So, God raised up Babylon to bring the nation of Israel into captivity, but then Babylon went too far in oppressing God’s people. They oppressed God’s people beyond God’s original design. So God got angry at Babylon and raised up the Persians to overthrow the Babylonians and now the Persians are in power, and God used the Persians again to bring the nation of Israel out of the exile, and to discipline God’s people but now the Persians have gone too far. So, God is angry with the Persians and later on in history He is going to raise up Greece to overthrow Persia and the same pattern is going to be replicated with Greece. God is going to use Greece to discipline His people but Greece is going to go too far and so God is going to raise up Rome to overthrow Greece, and then, God will use Rome to discipline His people but the Romans are going to go too far, so God will ultimately overthrow Rome, and a revived Rome of the Antichrist, through the coming of his kingdom.

So, I couldn’t find a better explanation of this than God keeps a record. Charles Fienberg says this:

Charles L. Feinberg – God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950, p. 35-36.)

“They helped with evil purpose to exterminate them. God meant a moderate punishment, but the Babylonians and others reveled in the sufferings of Israel with delight in prolonging them. Babylon, like Assyria, was the rod of God‘s wrath, but their own hearts designed evil against Israel (Isa. 10:5, 7). Note it is an unfailing Scriptural principle: God’s relations to Israel are one thing and the relations of the nations to Israel are another. God is never pleased with the meddling of strangers in His relations with Israel (Isa. 47:6).”

“It is as though a father were chastening a child, and a stranger began to punish with an iron rod. Some take refuge in the plea that God has predicted these things before-hand. True, but the prediction of the sufferings of Christ and His betrayal at the hands of His own familiar friend mitigated not one whit the crime of the Romans and Israel or that of Judas Iscariot.”

They helped, that’s the nations, with evil purpose to exterminate them. God meant a moderate punishment, but the Babylonians and others reveled in the sufferings of Israel with delight in prolonging them. Babylon, like Assyria, was the rod of God‘s wrath, but their own hearts  designed evil against Israel. Note it is an unfailing Scriptural principle: God’s relations to Israel are one thing and the relations of the nations to Israel are another. God is never pleased with the meddling of strangers in His relations with Israel. It is as though a father were chastening a child, and a stranger began to punish with an iron rod. Some take refuge in the plea that God has predicted these things before-hand. True, but the prediction of the sufferings of Christ and His betrayal at the hands of His own familiar friend mitigated not one whit the crime of the Romans and Israel or for that matter of Judas Iscariot. 36:19

So, when the nations that God had originally raised up to discipline His people became cruel and went outside the box that God had given them, God kept a record of that, and He marked them for destruction, the moment they went too far in discipline, and so, Charles Fienberg’s point is: Well, you know, this was all predicted in Bible prophecy, but who cares? Judas’s betrayal of Christ is predicted in Bible prophecy but that didn’t lower Judas’s crime according to Fienberg here, one whit. So all this, is the outworking of what we were looking at on Sunday mornings in Genesis 12, where God brought the nation of Israel into existence and He gave Israel certain promises and one of the promises that He gave to Israel is, the one who curses you, I will curse (Gen 12:3). So, even the nations that God raised up to discipline his people, when those nations go too far, God keeps a record of that, and marks those nations for destruction. 37:38

So, you could see how understanding this would be an encouragement to the beleaguered returnees as they were trying to rebuild the Temple but being resisted to some extent by the Persian empire. God is saying, I’m keeping a record of what the Persian empire is doing to you, and I’m going to mark the Persian empire for destruction. They’re going to fall at the hands of the Greeks a few centuries down the road. So, I guess I could put it this way. Let’s say God is disciplining you, God is disciplining me, let’s pretend, and His instrument of discipline is a really cruel, mean manager or boss, and God put you in that circumstance because He wants you to learn a lesson, but then the really mean boss or manager goes too far and actually begins to revel, begins to take glee and how they are mistreating you, and God says, the days of that cruel boss or manager are numbered, because that boss or manager went beyond the disciplinary model that I had originally ordained for them. That’s the kind of thing that’s happening here in the book of Zechariah, and as the beleaguered returnees are struggling, sometimes against the Persian empire itself to rebuild the Temple, God is saying, don’t get too worked up about that because the moment Persia goes too far is the moment I’m going to take a note of that, and the days of Persia will be numbered at that point. 39:37

  1. Explanation (Zech 1:12-17)
  2. God’s jealousy for Jerusalem (Zech 1:12-14)
  3. God’s anger with the nations (Zech 1:15)
  4. Jerusalem to be restored (Zech 1:16a)
  5. The Temple to be restored (Zech 1:16b)
  6. Jerusalem’s prosperity to return (Zech 1:17)

So, God is jealous for Jerusalem verses 12 to 14, God is angry with the nations that are persecuting the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem, verse 15, and then as you move into verses 16 and 17 you start to see that God has every intent to restore Jerusalem to its place of prominence. So, notice if you will, verse 16 (Zech 1:16): Therefore thus says the LORD, “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” declares the LORD of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.” So here is Jerusalem without a Temple and without a wall, they are completely vulnerable, the exiles and the returnees are somewhat beleaguered and their assignment to rebuild the Temple, and you could see how discouragement would set in, and the first thing God says here is: You ought to get busy rebuilding Jerusalem and you ought to get busy rebuilding the Temple because it’s My intention to prosper Jerusalem again. So, don’t you want to be on the front end of that equation? If you obey me here, you’re going to put into motion a process that ultimately down the road is going to lead to the prosperity of the city of Jerusalem, and this is where you start getting prophecies about the Millennial Kingdom. 41:30

Charles L. Feinberg – God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950, p. 37-38.)

“But if God’s words can comfort the then present generation and speak for Messianic times to come, as in multiplied numbers of passages, who shall say this is contrary to God’s practice? We need not limit the Holy One of Israel. This is not to say that we find no fulfillment in that time…But this does not exhaust the prophecy; there awaits a fuller fulfillment…”

Charles Feinberg says: But if God’s words can comfort the then present generation and speak for Messianic times to come, as in multiplied numbers of passages, who shall say this is contrary to His practice? We need not limit the Holy One of Israel. This is not to say that we find no fulfillment in that time, but this does not exhaust the prophecy; there awaits a fuller fulfillment, and this is part of the way, how Zechariah does his ministry. He doesn’t just talk about the time period that the audience was in. He does make reference to that, but he talks about the end game. He talks about God’s big plans, and he is using that as an incentive to get them moving in the right direction. Don’t you want to take a baby step in the right direction? and be the initial part of a plan that will culminate one day in the Millennial Kingdom.

Charles L. Feinberg – God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950, p. 37-38.)

“These prophecies will be completely fulfilled in the return of Israel to her land in Messianic times, a return of which the restoration from the Babylonian captivity was a pledge and a promise. Space would forbid of bringing forth of the many passages concerning the Messianic reign which predict the presence of God‘s mercy in Jerusalem (Ezek. 48:35); the building of His temple in it (Ezek. 40-48); the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Jer. 31: 38–40); the prosperity of Judah’s cities (Isa. 60:4–9; Zech. 9:17); the comfort of Zion (Isa. 14:1). The composite picture is without a doubt Messianic.”

Feinberg goes on and he says: These prophecies will be completely fulfilled in the return of Israel to her land in Messianic times, a return of which the restoration from the Babylonian captivity was only a pledge and a promise. 42:55

See, their return from Babylon was a big deal, but that’s just a down payment on greater things to come. If you put a down payment on something, you are guaranteeing to the seller that further payments are coming. So God did a great work in bringing them back into their land, which was wonderful, and He is saying to them, you ain’t seen nothing yet, because I’m going to keep working and working and working until all of these promises that I’m giving you are going to be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom. 43:34

Feinberg goes on and he says: Space would forbid of bringing forth of the many passages concerning the Messianic reign which predict the presence of God’s mercy in Jerusalem; the building of His Temple in it. See, He is giving here a bunch of millennial prophecies. The rebuilding of Jerusalem; the prosperity of Judah’s cities; the comfort of Zion. The composite picture is without a doubt Messianic. 44:08

So, get busy folks with the Temple and get busy with Jerusalem because I got big plans for it. It’s like you have a kid, you know, and you look at this kid and you say: Man, this kid is never going to go anywhere, and yet, I’m pouring all my effort and energy into this kid, and then all of the sudden, God shows you a vision of that kid becoming president of the United States, and you had no idea that was part of the plan, and you are so overwhelmed by that, that now the process of discipline, the process of homeschooling, if you are involved in that, the process of rearing a child, suddenly you’ve got a brand new incentive to do it because God just showed you the end game, and He says to you: Take some baby steps of obedience now, because you have no idea what I’m going to do in this child’s life. That is sort of the equivalent of what Zechariah is revealing here to these returnees. Big plans God has for the city of Jerusalem. 45:25

In fact, Zechariah 14, which we will eventually get to, indicates that Jesus is going to run the whole world one day from the city of Jerusalem. Isaiah 2 verse 3 says (Isa 2:3): …the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. So if that’s true you ought to be jealous for Jerusalem, and you ought to resist discouragement and you ought to get involved in rebuilding the city, rebuilding the wall, rebuilding the Temple. In fact, when Satan is let out of the abyss at the end of the thousand year kingdom, Revelation 20 verse 9 (Rev 20:9) indicates that Satan will attack the city of Jerusalem, or the beloved city, because Satan himself knows that Jerusalem is going to be the central headquarters of the Millennial Kingdom.

Robert Thomas – Four Views on the Book of Revelation, page 207.

“At the end of the Millennium that city will be Satan’s prime objective with his rebel army, because Israel will be a leader among the nations.”

Robert Thomas says: At the end of the Millennium that city Jerusalem will be Satan’s prime objective with his rebel army, because Israel will be a leader among the nations. God has big plans for Jerusalem, and He has big plans for the Temple, and so resist discouragement and get to work on the city and get to work on the Temple now, is Zechariah’s whole point in bringing up, under the power of the Holy Spirit, all of these millennial prophecies. 47:08

  1. Explanation (Zech 1:12-17)
  2. God’s jealousy for Jerusalem (Zech 1:12-14)
  3. God’s anger with the nations (Zech 1:15)
  4. Jerusalem to be restored (Zech 1:16a)
  5. The Temple to be restored (Zech 1:16b)
  6. Jerusalem’s prosperity to return (Zech 1:17)

So God, you just haven’t cared for seventy years. God says nonsense: I’m exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem, verses 12 to 14 (Zech 1:12-14). I’m also very angry with the nations that have gone too far, and disciplined my people beyond what I ordained, verse 15 (Zech 1:15), and in fact, I’m going to restore Jerusalem fully one day, first part of verse 16 (Zech 1:16), and in the second part of verse 16, is the Temple itself, is going to be restored. This is what they all didn’t want to do because of discouragement. They didn’t want to get busy rebuilding the Temple, and God says: You’d better get busy because there’s got to be a Temple for Jesus to come to, to fulfill Messianic prophecy, number 1, and number 2, there’s going to be a functioning Temple in the Millennial Kingdom. So look at the second part of verse 16 (Zech 1:16): My House… See the word house there? That’s a reference to what? The Temple. My House will be built in it, declares the LORD of hosts, and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem. So when He says My house will be rebuilt, What house is He speaking of? I think He is speaking of there, the Temple number 4 in Israel’s history, the Millennial Temple.48:32

So, Israel in her history has four Temples.

ISRAEL’S FOUR TEMPLES

  1. Solomon’s pre-exilic temple (Kings and Chronicles)
  2. Zerubbabel’s post exilic temple (Ezra 1-6; John 2:20)
  3. Antichrist’s temple (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 11:1-2)
  4.  Millennial temple (Ezek. 40-48)

Temple number 1 was built by Solomon and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. That was the Temple that was dormant for the seventy years of captivity. Temple number 2 is on the precipice of being rebuilt by this crowd, here in the book of Zechariah as they came back from the seventy years of captivity. That would be the Temple that would be functioning in the life of Jesus Christ. All the way through Christ’s ministry, He is interacting with Temple number 2. As a youth, he was taken into the Temple, you remember? I think he was 12, and he was confounding the religious leaders with his wisdom, that’s Temple 2. Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple and said, throw yourself off and the angels will catch you, that’s Temple number 2. That’s got to be up and running or Messianic prophecy can’t be fulfilled. We know that that Temple was destroyed by the Romans forty years after the time of the life of Christ. It was destroyed by the Romans for disciplinary reasons because the nation of Israel rejected the King and their kingdom. There will be, according to Bible prophecy, a third Temple, which will be built through nationalistic pride, that the Antichrist will desecrate midway through the tribulation period. That third Temple, I think is going to be destroyed in the seventh bowl judgment, Revelation 16, which describes the greatest earthquake in human history at the end of the tribulation, and that destroyed Temple will give way to the glorious Millennial Temple that we read about in Ezekiel 40 to 48, where the Shekinah glory of God, that left Temple number 1, prior to the Babylonian captivity will re-enter that millennial Temple, and so, I think what’s happening here is, Ezekiel, excuse me, Zechariah, through the power of the Holy Spirit is giving his audience a vision of Temple 2 and Temple 4 as an incentive to get busy building now, because as you take a baby step of obedience, you get the opportunity of being on the front side of God’s big, big plans.51:23

You know, you shouldn’t be building as Haggai says, who was a contemporary of Zechariah, You shouldn’t be building your own house while the Lord’s house is desolate. That’s what Haggai’s ministry is saying. Why? Because God has big plans for His Temple, and it’s going to lead right into the glorious millennial reign of Jesus Christ. So, when He says there in verse 16 (Zech 1:16): My House will be built in it, declares the Lord of hosts, that’s what He is talking about, and then He says a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem. What’s the measuring line? The measuring line is mentioned in 2nd Kings chapter 21 and verse 13 (2 Kings 21:13), where prior to the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, God said: I will stretch over Jerusalem the line. So the line was representative of destruction that was coming. So when the measuring line is mentioned again, it’s representative not of destruction but of restoration. The same God that allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed is the same God that is going to allow Jerusalem to be rebuilt. 53:03

So, that’s sort of a picture of what that fourth Temple is going to look like, Ezekiel 40 to 48.

It’s going to be much bigger than Herod’s Temple, Temple number 2, it’s going to be even bigger than Solomon’s Temple, it’s going to be much bigger than the Mosaic Tabernacle, and there’s how Temple four squares even in comparison to a modern day football field. You know, you keep in mind that the exiles, what they saw was nothing but rocks thrown everywhere, and the whole assignment just seems so out of proportion to their abilities and they probably had almost no idea of what God was going to do with their little step of obedience. See, when you take a step of obedience to God, you have no idea of what He’s going to do. Remember what Jesus asked the little boy with a few loaves and a few fish, all Jesus asked is to give me your loaves and fish, and the little boy could have said no, I don’t want to do that, but the little boy took a step of obedience, he did exactly what God said, he deposited just the meager loaves and fish in Christ’s hands, and Christ just like that multiplied it and fed five thousand people, and I guarantee you that little boy, when he took that little step of obedience, had absolutely no idea what Jesus was going to do, and so, this is the same kind of thing that is happening here. Take a little step of obedience, get busy rebuilding Temple number 2 and just watch what I’m going to do with your humble efforts. 55:04

  1. Explanation (Zech 1:12-17)
  2. God’s jealousy for Jerusalem (Zech 1:12-14)
  3. God’s anger with the nations (Zech 1:15)
  4. Jerusalem to be restored (Zech 1:16a)
  5. The Temple to be restored (Zech 1:16b)
  6. Jerusalem’s prosperity to return (Zech 1:17)

So, God is jealous for Jerusalem, God is angry with the nations, Jerusalem is going to be restored, the Temple is going to be restored and then finally we end tonight with verse 17 where God is going to cause prosperity to come back to the city of Jerusalem. Look if you will at verse 17 (Zech 1:17). It says: Again, proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD again will comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”’ And Jerusalem was not prospering at all, when this prophecy was given, but God here says, I’ve got big, big plans for the city of Jerusalem, and this is probably another prophecy that’s making predictions about the Millennial Kingdom. Isaiah 65 verse 21 and 22 (Isa 65: 21,22) says: They, in the Millennial Kingdom, will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. God has every intention of taking little Jerusalem and restoring it to prosperity. Amos 9 verse 13 (Amos 9:13) says: Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, When the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills will be dissolved. Can God take Jerusalem and prosper it again? Well He is doing right now in our day and we are not even in the Millennial Kingdom yet. 57:24

When Mark Twain went to that part of the world in 1867 and wrote about it two years later in his book called “The Innocents Abroad”:

Mark Twain – The Innocents Abroad, Complete, 1st ed. (A Public Domain Book, 1869), 267, 285, 302. These quotes can be found in chapters 47, 49, 52.)

“… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds…a silent mournful expanse….a desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action….we never saw a human being on the whole route….there was hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”

He said in 1867, there is nothing over here but a silent mournful expanse. That was 1867, wrote about it in 1869. We never saw a human being on the whole route….there was hardly a tree or shrub anywhere… A desolate country, he says, whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds, and look at Jerusalem today.

She has a gross domestic product that outstrips that of most of her neighbors. I mean, how could that have happened when Mark Twain, in 1869, says there is nothing over here but a barren expanse.

So we have absolutely no excuse for not believing that God can prosper Jerusalem again as Zechariah is predicting 500 years before the time of Christ because we’re watching it happen before our very eyes. Of course God can take this little city and prosper it again. Look at the difference between 1867 and today, 2021. He says there in verse 17 (Zech 1:17): and the LORD will again comfort Zion. This reminds me of Isaiah 40 and verse 1 (Isa 40:1), which says: Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. God is in the comforting business, did you know that? He is called the God of all comfort for a reason, because He is in the comforting business. He comforts us in the midst of our afflictions, in the midst of our discouragements, which is what this little group of returnees was experiencing, when there was nothing around but a city without a wall, that had been broken down and a Temple that had been totally destroyed and they could see nothing but rocks strewn everywhere from what Nebuchadnezzar had done to it seventy years earlier, and then, they’re being resisted by the Persian empire in terms of rebuilding and you can start to see what these prophecies meant to them.

And then he says there in verse 17 (Zech 1:17): And again He will choose Jerusalem. So He will prosper Jerusalem, He will comfort Jerusalem and the Jewish people, and then He says, I’ll choose her again. Now when He says I’ll choose her, He is not saying I divorced you. You were my city, then I divorced you and you are not my city but one day I’ll remarry you. That’s not what He is saying. God cannot divorce Jerusalem from Himself because of which Covenant? It’s at the very top there. The Abrahamic Covenant, which is unconditional. Genesis 15. So what does it mean when He says: I will again choose Jerusalem. He is not saying the city is going to be mine again, it’s always been His. What He is saying is that I’ll choose Jerusalem again for blessing and not adversity. 1:01

Deuteronomy chapter 28. verse 13 (Deut 28:13), and it says: The LORD God will make you… that’s Israel… head and not the tail, you only will be above, and not underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I’m commanding you today, to follow them carefully. So that takes us to the end of the rider and horses amongst the myrtle trees and the key point of that first vision is God is angry at the nations and has every intention of blessing restored Israel, and so, as this vision has unfolded with the explanation we studied tonight we see that God is still jealous for Jerusalem even though she’s not currently in the place of blessing. God is angry with the nations that are oppressing her even though God is the one that allowed those nations to come into existence to begin with for purposes of discipline, but when the nations go too far, God keeps a record of that. Jerusalem is going to be restored verse 16, the Temple itself is going to be restored and Jerusalem is going to flourish again with agricultural prosperity and she is going to be a light to the nations one day.

So that’s like telling a parent with a disobedient kid that you are struggling with, hang in there cause that kid is going to be president of the United States. Wouldn’t that encourage your parenting? I mean, you have no idea what I’m going to do with this kid, so be faithful in your parenting now, and that’s the impact the first vision is supposed to have on this beleaguered community. 1:03

So the next time we are together, which should be next Wednesday, we’ll look at verses 18 through 21, the four horns and the four craftsmen.

So congratulations we made it through our first vision. So if you got to take off and pick up your young ones or you’ve got to keep moving for a better reason, now is the time for that, and if anybody has any questions or comments we can open it up for that as well.