Zechariah 004 – God’s Thoughts

Zechariah 004 – God’s Thoughts
Zechariah 1:4-11 • Dr. Andy Woods • October 13, 2021 • Zechariah


God’s Thoughts

By Dr. Andy Woods

Let’s take our Bibles if you could this evening and open them up to Zechariah chapter 1, and verse 4 (Zech 1:4).

I want to thank Pastor Jim for filling in last week. I am sure you all enjoyed him very much. Did you guys give Jim a thumbs up? Well see that. Alright! Jim, you brought your fan club with you today.

So, Zechariah chapter 1 and verse 4 (Zech 1:4). As you know we’ve started a verse-by-verse teaching through the book of Zechariah. We spent two lessons on the introduction and basically, Zechariah is a book written in a specific historical context during a time period where the nation was struggling as they came back from the captivity. Going through a lot of struggles concerning building the temple again and it was a project that lay dormant for over a decade just because of discouragement and opposition.

So, the Lord raised up Zechariah to encourage the returnees to rebuild this temple, and Zechariah’s method is different than Haggai, his contemporary. Haggai is more of an, in your face, you know, get it done kind of guy. Zechariah is more doing it as the Lord leads him through painting a picture of the future that God has for the temple and sort of reminding his audience that they can participate in God’s eternal purposes.

So, the book of Zechariah, as we’ve talked about, has four sections to it, and we’ve started with obviously, section number one, chapter 1, verses 1 through 6, which is an introductory call to repentance:


  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)

So that’s quite a way to open a book, he tells his audience to repent, and we saw the date, verse 1, the author, verse 1 and then the call to repentance, verses 2 through 6, and let’s just go ahead and pick it up there with verse 4, having already covered verses 1 through 3 a couple weeks ago.

Zech 1:4

So, part of this introductory call, to get the community motivated again to rebuild the temple is, he says, verse 4: Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.”’ But they, that’s their fathers, did not listen or give heed to Me,” declares the LORD.

So, he holds up that generation that went into captivity, the generation that preceded this generation, that he is addressing here, and he holds them up as a negative example. Now the Bible does that a lot. You know, someone has said the Bible must be from God because it sure doesn’t paint humanity in a very good light. I mean, the Bible will reveal everything there is to reveal about somebody, even a man or woman of God, warts and all. In fact, the only three characters I can think of, where nothing negative is said of them in the Bible are, obviously Jesus who had no sin nature, Daniel and Joseph. Other than that, there’s all these negative examples, and these negative examples are there for us to learn from. So, he holds up their fathers as a negative example, and the Bible does this an awful lot.

Over in First Corinthians 10, verse 11 (1 Cor 10:11), it talks about Israel’s negative history, and it says: Now these things happened to them as an example, they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 5:04

So, you can learn a lot by not following the bad example of some people. That’s true in life and it’s true with the Bible also. So that’s what’s happening here in verse 4. Now you’ll also notice there in verse 4, it says: Do not be like your fathers to whom the former prophets proclaimed… and that raises a kind of an interesting question. We have seventeen books in our Old Testament called the Prophets. So, what in the world is a prophet? I mean, we would probably need a good working definition of a prophet since prophets are very dominant in the Bible.

Well, we have to have prophets the moment the office of king came into existence. All the way back in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 17, verses 16 and 17 (Deut 17:16-17), it was announced that the day would come when Israel would have kings. In the south, once the kingdom divided, there were twenty kings total, in the south. Only eight of those kings were good, and then in the North, there were nineteen kings and not a single one of them was good. So, why is it that some kings are good and some kings are bad? I mean, does it have to do with the economy being up or down. Does it have to do with whether they controlled inflation? No, kings are always evaluated by the Mosaic Law. If the king honors the Mosaic Law, he is good. If the King disobeys the Mosaic Law, he is evil, and most of the kings in Israel’s history were wicked. They had no concern for the Mosaic Law. 7:09

So, all the way back in Deuteronomy 17 (Deut 17:15) it says this: You shall set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses. And then it says in Deuteronomy 17, verse 16 (Deut 17:16): He shall not multiply horses for himself. Deuteronomy 17, verse 17 (Deut 17:17) says: He shall not multiply wives for himself, and it says: nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.

In other words, the king in a position of power is going to be tempted to use God’s nation for his own personal gain, and he is going to put himself over the law instead of under the law. So, this is a very advanced legal principle. It’s called the Lex Rex Principle, which means The Law and The Prince, if I remember right and it’s this idea that the king is not over the law, the king is under the law. The king has to obey the Law of God just like everybody else in the nation is to obey the law. The problem is most kings wouldn’t listen to the law and they just did what they wanted. Kind of like what David did, remember? When he committed adultery and murder and lying and then spent a whole year trying to cover it up. God, because of the office of King, had to raise up a prophet named Nathan to confront the King, and called the King back to the Mosaic Law. So that’s what Nathan is doing with David, in 2nd Samuel 12 (2 Sam 12). And if we can understand that, that’s how the prophets functioned. They showed up during times of national disobedience, and they filed what it is called a Covenant Lawsuit. There is a Hebrew word that’s used in the writings of the prophets called a “Rib” or “Riv” and it’s like a lawsuit today where the prophet files a metaphorical lawsuit against the king and states out the case against the King as to why the king is violating God’s law. 9:43

So, you’ll see this kind of thing very clearly in Micah talks about this, also in Hosea it says: Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, for the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land. So, the King is violating the law, the nation following the king, they’re violating God’s law. That should not be because Deuteronomy 17 puts the king under the law, not over the law. And that is what, this is the message that was rejected by their fathers that Zechariah is speaking of here. (Zech 1:4) He says: Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds. But they did not listen or give heed to Me,” declares the LORD.

So, the prophets showed up, just like they always do. When the southern kingdom in this case was in total rebellion against God, they filed their lawsuit, they called the King and the nation back to the Lord and that generation just didn’t listen. They actually maligned the prophets. So, Zechariah says don’t be like that generation that preceded you. Listen to the voice of the prophets, don’t ignore the voice of the prophets. So, who were the former prophets that gave this warning? You’ll see verse 4, a reference to the former prophets, it would be names like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and essentially what you have given at Mount Sinai is the Mosaic Law, and part of the Mosaic Law, Deuteronomy 28 are blessings and curses.

Six Parts of a Suzerain-Vassal Treaty in Deuteronomy

  • Preamble (Deut 1:1-5)
  • Prologue (Deut 1:6–4:40)
  • Covenant obligations (Deut 5–26)
  • Storage and reading instructions (Deut 27:2-3; 31:9, 24, 26)
  • Witnesses (Deut 32:1)
  • Blessings and curses (Deut 28)

It’s all built in Israel’s Mosaic Covenant System. The prophet would say: “Okay, do you like the fact that everything is falling apart because God promised curses on the nation through disobedience?” By the way, you’ll see all of those curses delineated in tremendous detail in Deuteronomy 28 verses 15 through 68 (Deut 28:15-68), which many call the spine of the Old Testament. 12:22

So, all the prophets are doing is showing the king through their lawsuit, why they’re violating God’s law and saying to them: The nation is falling apart, do you like what’s going on? If you keep up what you’re doing, things are going to keep falling apart. In fact, it’s going to get so bad that a foreign power is going to actually remove you from your own land. These curses would kind of roll up like a snowball and they would culminate in Israel actually being deported out of their own land. You’ll see that in Deuteronomy 28 verses 49 through 50 (Deut 28:49-50). And this happened multiple times in Israel’s history.

Israel’s Judgments

  • Division of the kingdom in 931 B.C. (1 Kgs. 12)
  • Assyrian judgment in 722 B.C. (2 Kgs. 17)
  • Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. (2 Kgs. 25)
  • Roman invasion in AD 70 (Luke 19:41-44)

Solomon’s disobedience divided the kingdom. The northern kingdom was swept away by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. Even in the time of Christ, 40 years after the time of Christ, the nation was uprooted by its enemy, Rome and pushed into worldwide dispersion and the one that Zechariah is focusing on here is the third one down, the third one from the top is the Babylonian captivity. The prophets all showed up, they did their job, they filed the lawsuit, they called the king and the nation back to the Mosaic Law and they said: You will go into captivity if you keep this up. 14:01

And, of course that generation like most generations just would not give heed to the prophets and so the fathers that Zechariah is addressing here were taken into that Babylonian captivity for 70 years.

And how did they treat the prophets on the eve of the Babylonian captivity? Well, there is a record of it in 2nd Chronicles 36, verses 15 through 17 (2 Chron 36:15-17), it says: The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually.. Continually did what? …mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy. Therefore, He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, the Babylonians in other words, …who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or infirm; He gave them all into his hand. And exactly what the prophets predicted would happen, happened. And the nation went into captivity. And you know they are going the wrong direction, when the guys filing the covenant lawsuit, the “Riv”, are just totally maligned. You know, the king wanted to do what he wanted to do. He didn’t want to be under the law, he wanted to be over the law, and he didn’t like the voice of the prophets because the prophets were always reminding him of God’s law. 16:02

So, the king who has the political power, you know, controls the army and that kind of thing, typically would have the prophets put to death. So, if you are a prophet in the land of Israel, you pretty much had a short career (haha!) because the same pattern was going to repeat itself over and over again. In fact, Jesus at the end of Matthew 23 made reference to, he makes kind of a summary statement of the prophets, and he says in Matthew 23 verses 34 through 36 (Matt 23:34-36): Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city so that upon you may fall the guilt of all of the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah… that is not our Zechariah, it is a different Zechariah …the son of Berechiah… I am pretty sure it’s a different guy, but anyway it might be the same, I have to double check that …the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all of these things will come upon this generation.” 17.29

So, when Jesus says from Abel to Zachariah, the very first book in Hebrew Bible is Genesis, where we find the story of Abel, the very last book in Hebrew Bible, which is organized very differently than our Protestant Old Testament, is Chronicles. They don’t even divide up 1st Chronicles and 2nd Chronicles, it’s just one book in Hebrew Bible, Chronicles. And that’s where the story of Zechariah is recorded. So, when Jesus says from Abel to Zechariah what he is saying is from the beginning of Hebrew Bible to the end. It’s like us saying from A to Z or we might use the expression from Genesis to Revelation. When he says from Abel to Zechariah, it’s a Jewish idiom for saying this is the pattern of everything in God’s revelation. And the pattern is an abuse and a mistreatment of the prophets, because the prophets simply called the king back to the law, the king wanted to live above the law not under the law, the king had the political power and so he persecuted the prophets. 18.46

We believe that the prophet Isaiah was, you know, this is kind of grotesque but he was sawed like a carpenter, he was sawed, if that’s the word, he was sawed in half according to extra-biblical non-canonical writings that we think are historical. And virtually every single prophet was treated that way.

So, Zechariah’s generation, they treated the prophets the exact same way. Not Zechariah’s generation but the father’s generation. The fathers just laughed at the prophets, scoffed at the prophets, didn’t take seriously the warnings of the Babylonian captivity and sure enough, the same pattern happened. They killed the prophets, the Babylonian captivity happened and so in this introductory call to repentance, Zechariah is basically saying, you should get ready to rebuild the temple, don’t be like your fathers, who maligned the prophets. Listen to me says Zechariah, because I also am an authentic, true prophet of God. 20:04

And you move from there down to verses 5 and 6 where he continues this call to repentance. He says something very interesting, he says (Zech 1:5-6): Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your fathers?…” The prophets are dead but their message continues. Why is that? Because they spoke God’s Word. Zechariah 1 verses 5 and 6, Charles Ryrie comments on it and he says there: The idea is this, pay attention to the Word of God because, though the prophets die, it endures, and the proof that it endures, is that its warnings come true and eventually overtake.

Charles Ryrie – The Ryrie Study Bible

Zechariah 1:5–6 (RSB:NASB1995U): 1:5–6 The idea is this: Pay attention to the Word of God because, though prophets die, it endures, and the proof that it endures is that its warnings come true (overtake).”

Charles Feinberg in his commentary on the book on Zechariah says this: God’s Word is more lasting than any messenger of His who bears it and gives utterance.

Charles L. Feinberg – God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950, p. 20)

“God’s Word is more lasting than any messenger of His who bears it and gives utterance.”

So, you malign the prophets and most of them you killed, but isn’t it interesting how their words all came to pass, even though they are dead, even though they died, because that’s the nature of God’s Word. God’s word is living and active. Its veracity and its truth does not hinge upon the person who is doing the proclaiming. They’re just a human instrument. Now, you can reject them, you can kill them, they could be long dead and God’s Word is still going to happen. 22:04

And that’s what happened to that generation, the Word of God overtook them. I guess they thought, well, we’ll kill the prophets and that destroys the message. Not so. If you kill the prophet, all you are doing is getting rid of a human instrument. What is coming out of the prophet’s mouth is the Word of God, which is living and active. Deuteronomy 28, verse 15 (Deut 28:15) says: …all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. Just like it says, overtake there in verse 6 (Zech 1:6). Deuteronomy 28, verse 45 (Deut 28:45) says: All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you… So all the way back in the Mosaic Law it was predicted and the curses would overtake the people, and that’s exactly what happened, because the articulation of the curses came from a prophet speaking the Word of God and although they mocked the prophet, maligned the prophet, killed the prophet, the Word of God still came true because God’s Word is true, no matter who proclaims it. 23:18

You know, it’s kind of interesting, we did a study here on the book of Daniel. I can’t remember when we did that, maybe I don’t know 5 years ago, something like that, and there’s some passages in there about abuse of governmental authority, and when it’s right for citizens to disobey the government, and I’ve had several people this year listen to that sermon series and they say: When did you give that? Did you give that last week? Last month? No, we actually did it five years ago, before all of this government tyranny type of stuff that we’re seeing around the world started. And they go, it’s just unbelievable, it’s almost as if you are describing exactly what’s happening right now. Even though you made your comments five years ago, at least. Now, why is that? Is it because I am such a brilliant forecaster of world events? It has nothing to do with it? It has to do with the fact that we’re teaching the word of God, and the Word of God, regardless of myself, and any shortcomings I have, which are many, the word of God proclaimed is powerful, independently of the proclaimer, and that’s what Zechariah is saying. Your fathers are dead, the prophets are dead, but isn’t it interesting how everything those prophets said happened to your fathers. So don’t be like that former generation. 25:02

Isaiah chapter 40, verse 8 (Isa 40:8) says: The grass withers and the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. Isaiah 55, verses 10 and 11 (Isa 55:10,11) says: So, will My word which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return empty, without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Jesus said in Matthew 24, verse 35 (Matt 24:35): …My words will not pass away. Hebrews 4, and verse 12 says (Heb 4:12): The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

It is amazing the impact your ministry takes on when you make the word of God the focus, and we get away of giving our own opinions about things, as if our world really needs another opinion. What we really need is God’s opinion. And when you teach and preach the Word of God, when you proclaim God’s word, you have to understand that it is living and active, independent of the preacher, and that’s the very thing that Zechariah is bringing up here. You drop down to the very end of verse 6 as we wrap up this introductory call to repentance, and it talks about that generation, and then it says this (Zech 1:6): Then they repented. In other words, they didn’t repent until they started suffering the consequences. They didn’t repent until they went into the captivity. Then they kind of figured out, Wow! The Word of God was true, and what the prophet said came to pass. 27:12

Middle of verse 6 (Zech 1:6): …Then they repented and said, ‘As the LORD of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so He has dealt with us’. So, when the Words of the prophets happened to that former generation and they went into the captivity, then, all of a sudden, they repented. The problem is, it’s too little, too late. I mean, if you’re going to repent, I mean it’s good you repented, but if you’re going to repent, why not do it in the front end of things? While you can still change your behavior and stop consequences? What happens to a lot of people is they repent, but they repent after they experience the consequences. So, they’re sorry that they’re experiencing the consequences and they’re acknowledging God’s Word is true which is a step in the right direction but, you know, things would be a lot easier on you, and all of us if you repented on the front end, see? and so that’s what Zechariah is chiding them for, that prior generation. Too little, too late, in other words. You’d be better off, had they paid attention initially to the prophets, when something could have been done to thwart the disaster, which was the seventy year captivity. 28:44

You know the book of Lamentations? Why is it called the book of Lamentations? Because they were lamenting. Why were they lamenting? Because God’s Word came true and the temple was torn apart. Lamentations chapter 2, verse 17 (Lam 2:17) says: The LORD has done what He purposed… This is the community within Israel. The LORD has done what He purposed; He has accomplished His word Which He commanded from days of old. He has thrown down without sparing, And He has caused the enemy to rejoice over you; He has exalted the might of your adversaries. So, they are lamenting, they are very sorry. They are recognizing that everything the prophet said was true. It just would have been nice if they had come to that realization when they could have stopped the temple from being destroyed. And that’s the mistake of that prior generation that Zechariah is speaking to, and the generation he is talking to, is he’s saying learn from your fathers, learn from what the prior generation did wrong. So, not the easiest way to start a book but that is the opening call to repentance. 30:11

Charles Lee Feinberg, I hate to tell you this, I’m absolutely in love with this commentary. There’s not a lot of really good commentaries out there on Zechariah that are written at a high level of scholarship, but at the same time, don’t bore you to death. This is what I would call a living commentary because it’s obvious when you read this guy, not only was he a Hebrew scholar but he clearly had a walk with the Lord, and page after page after page that he comments on God’s Word, it is just amazing, this is something that Anne’s uncle gave to me when we visited them over two decades ago. It was a commentary called “God remembers” by Charles Lee Feinberg on the book of Zechariah, and it’s very old.  I’ve tried finding it on Kindle, I don’t think they have it. I’ve tried find it on Logos, I don’t think they have it and so I’ve got this really old and decrepit dusty commentary and it’s been sitting on my shelf all of these years and finally I pulled it off the shelf and started to read through it in preparation for this series, and oh my goodness I am glad I did. So, I have a lot of quotes in this series from that particular commentary. 31:47

He was a Hebrew who got saved and was what we would call a Hebrew Christian and he became an Old Testament scholar. In fact, when you go to Talbot seminary today, they have a whole building named after him “Feinberg Hall”. He was a teacher at Talbot Seminary for many years, other than seeing his name on a building I really had no idea much about his stature, but if you can find this commentary it will really be worth your while. So, Feinberg commenting all of this says: The fulfillment of the threatenings were so patent that Israel, this is 1950, you know it’s just amazing that I’ve got to go back to 1950 to find something of this caliber. The fulfilment of the threatenings were so patent, let me remind you of what I am saying here. I’m not elevating this to the Bible. This guy’s a teacher, in written form, but there are some teachers that when you get under their influence, it’s obvious that they are walking with the Lord, and that’s a very clear impression you get by reading his work.

Charles L. Feinberg – God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950, p. 21.)

“The fulfillment of the threatenings were so patent that Israel had to admit after consideration that God’s Word was true, even though it was to their own discomfiture. Proof that the fathers recognized the Lord’s hand and their judgment can be found in Lamentations 2:17… Daniel 9:4ff; Ezra 9:6ff.”

He says: The fulfilment of the threatenings, as he is commenting on verse  6 (Zech 1:6) here, were so patent that Israel had to admit after consideration that God’s Word was true, even though it was to their own discomfiture, and I love these old guys because they use words that not even spell check recognizes, haha. I had to make sure that was a word “discomfiture” . Do you use that word a lot? I think it means uncomfortable. Amen. 33:41

Proof that the fathers recognize that the Lord’s hand and their judgement can be found in Lamentations 2:17, just read that to you. They have a great repentance session, Israel does in Daniel 9 and Ezra 9 but it was after they began experiencing the consequences. Zechariah’s point for that prior generation was boy, it sure would have been neat if they had repented on the front end rather than when it was too late. So that is the end of the introductory call to repentance and now we move into sections 2 of the book which is the eight night-visions and these are going to go from Zechariah chapter 1, verse 7 all the way through chapter 6, and verse 15.


  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)

We call these the 8 night-visions because we believe that Zechariah received all 8 visions in a single night. And you think you have trouble sleeping. I mean think of this. And a lot of people look at this as sort of a, the reason they all happened in a single night is they see in it, kind of a cursory overview of Israel’s history. 35:02

So, there’s eight night-visions total and as we go through these, here’s a chart I’m going to make reference to:

This is a chart by a man names Dwane Lindsay. You can find this in the Bible Knowledge Commentary and I like the chart because it gives you the vision in the left column, where it shows up in the text and the middle column, and then it gives you just one sentence description of the vision. So that’s always helpful because it’s easy to get lost in the details without remembering the central point.

So, vision number 1 that we are looking down here is the red-horse rider amongst the myrtles, or the myrtle trees. Chapter 1, verses 7 through 17 (Zech 1:7-17) and the meaning of it is God is angry with the nations that are abusing Israel. And he makes a tremendous promise here that Israel is going to be fully restored one day. So, you can see how that would minister to the post-exilic community.

They’re struggling with rebuilding the temple, the people of the land are pushing back against them, and it seems like they are being oppressed but it’s a reminder that God is angry with their oppressors, and keep fighting on, because God has a great plan in store for the temple that you are struggling to rebuild. In other words, you guys get to be on the front side of a glorious process, the end of which will be the Millennial Temple, and you are the ones that get to lay the cornerstone and the foundation stone, you know, for this. 36:53

So here we go, the rider and horse amongst the myrtle trees, Chapter 1 verses 7 through 17 (Zech 1:7-17):

  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)

Here is our outline. We have a date, a description, an interpretation, and an explanation:

  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, we start off with the date. Notice Zechariah Chapter 1, verse 7 (Zech 1:7): On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius… and that would take us to about 519 B.C. …the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, as follows: So, here is our date, very clearly given. It’s our second date given in this book. The book only gives dates three times. We saw a date in Chapter one verse 1 and now we have a second date.

So, this particular vision took place three months after the call to repentance. So, the call to repentance is given in verses 2 through 6 (Zech 1:2-6), three months pass, this takes us to… in our calendar, February 15th, 519 B.C., and it’s on that particular night that Zechariah receives these eight night-visions, the first of which we are looking at here. So that’s the date, and here is the description of what Zechariah saw.

  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)

Notice what he says, verse 8 (Zech 1:8): I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees which are in the ravine, with red, sorrel and white horses beside him. So, notice the verb of perception, I saw, and when we were introducing the book of Zechariah and I was showing you the outline of the book, I basically tried to make the point that when you get to this section here, the eight night-visions, you have to pay attention to the verb of perception. Whenever he says “I saw” or something along those lines, typically what’s happening is he is just describing for us a new vision. So, what did he see exactly? He saw a rider amongst the myrtle trees. The commentators like Feinberg say myrtle trees were common in the Empire of Persia, which was the empire in place when these events took place. The ravine is interesting because that’s a place of depth. It’s like being in a ditch, and a lot of people think that’s sort of a hint of what’s coming because Israel is in a ditch. 40:01

The rest of the world is doing great. In fact, in chapter 1, verse 11 (Zech 1:11) there’s a reference to that. Everything in Persia is just humming right along. But not Israel. She is in a ditch, she has no temple, which is a big deal in Judaism. She has no wall around her city, she is being oppressed by the people of the land and so life seems to be going great for everybody except God’s people. Do you ever feel about yourself? Gosh, the rest of the world is doing fine. Lord, what about me? You know, and that’s kind of the circumstances that God’s people were in here. You’ll notice also in verse 8 (Zech 1:8), it talks about this happened at night, so this is the first of the eight night-visions that are probably connected as I said before because when you put all eight together, they are kind of a panorama of Israel’s history. 41:04

So, we move away from the description and now we move into the interpretation and that begins in verse 9 (Zech 1:9):

  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)

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)

Then I said, “My lord, what are these things?” And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.” So, Zechariah sees this at night. He doesn’t ask who, that’s kind of interesting, he asks what? You know, he doesn’t want a lecture on every little detail of what he is looking at. What he wants to know is what in the world does this mean? What I saw in verse 8 (Zech 1:8), what does that mean? And you have in this interpretation, Zechariah’s inquiry verse 9 (Zech 1:9) and then you have an interpreting angel speaking up, also in verse 9, and this is very common in the style of, I would call it apocalyptic, prophetic apocalyptic, the book of Ezekiel is a lot like this, the book of Daniel is a lot like this, the book of Revelation is like this, where you have the presence of an interpreting angel.

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)

So, an angel speaks up. Zechariah says, verse 9 (Zech 1:9): Then I said, “My lord, what are these things? And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are”. Now that’s actually there, an argument for literal interpretation because the angel is answering exactly what Zechariah is asking. 43:42

At the Council of Dispensational Hermeneutics we had a guy give a paper and he went through every single question and answer in the book of Revelation. John says, what does this mean? and the angel says, I’ll tell you. John wants to know the meaning of X and the angel says, let me explain X. Tell me what Y means and the angel explains Y. Tell me what Z means and the angel explains Z. There is never a case where John asks for X, what does X mean and the angel says I’m not going to answer your question, let me tell you about Z instead. The angels never do that and so this guy, this young man that gave this paper was using that sort of as a way of defending literal interpretation. You know, what’s asked is answered. They don’t go off onto some unrelated subject and so that’s a kind of pattern that you see here in verse 9 (Zech 1:9). 42:49

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)

So, Zechariah’s inquiry, the interpreting angel answers and someone else speaks up called the Angel of the Lord. Now, Charles Feinberg and, I was looking at Charlie Dyer, Dr. Dyer’s stuff on this. They believe the Angel of the Lord here, is a pre-incarnate reference to Jesus Christ. Jesus before the manger. Didn’t Jesus say where is it? John 8? Abraham saw my day and was glad, even though that was two thousand years before Jesus ever showed up. You have to watch the Angel of the Lord very carefully in the Old Testament because many times it is a reference to Jesus, the eternally existent second member of the Godhead before the virgin conception, and there are examples that are no doubt in my mind when an Angel of the Lord shows up, and there is no doubt it’s Jesus. 44:55

The reason I know that is because an Angel of the Lord shows up in Joshua, all the way back in the book of Joshua, Chapter 5, verses 13 through 16 (Josh 5:13-16). And the people worship the Angel of the Lord, and the Angel of the Lord doesn’t say knock it off. Because you remember at the end of the book of John, not the book of John, the book of Revelation, John is so overwhelmed at the revelation that he has received from an Angel, who’s just a messenger from God, that not once but twice, John tries to worship the Angel, and the Angel rebukes John twice, which to me is sort of funny because John, how does he conclude his little epistle of John? He says: “Little children keep yourself from idols” haha, I think you’ll find that in 1 John 5:21. It’s the last thing he says. He didn’t keep his own advice, because in the book of Revelation he sees the revelation given by an angel from God, an angel to John and he worships the angel and the angel two times has to correct him. 46:17

The angel says “I am a fellow servant”. See, an angel would never receive worship. But in Joshua 5, the Angel doesn’t rebuke the people worshiping him. So therefore, I would conclude that that Angel of the Lord is not a run of the mill angel. That is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. If you want to go deeper on this, I recommend the book by Dr. Ron Rhodes, I think it’s called “Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries” It’s very thorough but it is very readable, it is written for lay people and the title of it is “Christ Before the Manger”. He’ll give you all of these examples where what’s going on here is a little bit more than just an angel, this is actually Jesus Christ.

So, the great Charles Lee Feinberg and some of my professors Charles Dyer and others lay out a lot of different evidence why they think this Angel of the Lord is not just an angel. You know, this very well could be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. But the Angel of the Lord answers and you’ll see his answer in verse 10 (Zech 1:10). It says: And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are those whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth”. So, back in verse 8 (Zech 1:8), we saw a rider amongst the myrtle trees and we saw different horses and Zechariah says: What is this? And the answer is given by the Angel of the Lord who could be a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, by the way we call that a Christophany, that’s the name for it, a Theophany or Christophany, and he says well, these raiders have gone out and they are patrolling the earth. 48:20

So, if the riders are also angels, it contributes a lot to our angelology, our doctrine of angels because angels are created beings, now here I’m not talking about the Angel of the Lord, I’m just talking about other angels or just typical angels. They are not created beings so, they are not omniscient, they’re not omnipotent, they’re not omnipresent. So, they have to move around. If you are omnipresent, you are everywhere at once. God is like that but not created beings. So just like we had to come into this room to participate in this Bible study, had to travel to church, angels are the same way.

In fact, Satan who is, was originally a high-ranking angel before he was prideful and evicted from heaven, in Job 1 verse 7 (Job 1:7) it was asked of Satan: Where do you come from? And he said: From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it. Showing that he is not omnipresent. Job 2 verse 2 (Job 2:2): Satan, where have you come from?. Then Satan answered the LORD and said: From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it. So, this is the kind of thing that is going on here. These raiders, who probably are angels, are sent out and they are patrolling all over the earth. 49:50

And what is their report?

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)

Verse 11 (Zech 1:11) is their report: So, they answered the Angel of the LORD who was standing, in other words, the writer seems to be answering the Theophany or the Christophany: So they answered the Angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all of the earth is peaceful and quiet.” Everything is just fine on planet earth. They were at this time, under the reign of Persia, Cyrus was the Persian king predicted by name 200 years in advance by the way.

At the end of Isaiah 44 and the beginning of Isaiah 45, whom God would raise up to allow the exiles to leave the area of Babylon and go back into their own land. That happened under three waves and all three waves were accomplished under Persian reign:

Persia was in power, Persia had deposed Babylon and under Persian reign these returns transpired. 51:19

And what does it say here (Zech 1:11)? We have patrolled the earth and behold all of the earth is peaceful and quiet. The verb here for peaceful and quiet is shacat, which means peaceful and quiet, hahaha. It means tranquil. It’s the word that’s used over and over again in the book of Judges, where there’s a seven fold cycle:

Israel serves the Lord, Israel falls into idolatry, Israel is enslaved, because that’s what the Mosaic Law said would happen, Israel cries out to the Lord for a deliverer, God raises up a judge, Israel is delivered, Israel enjoys a time of peace and quiet and guess what? The whole thing starts over again. They fall into sin, they are enslaved, they cry out for a deliverer, God raises up a judge, Israel is delivered, then there’s a time of peace and quiet, that’s shacat and the whole thing happens again. This happens seven times. Kind of sounds like us a little bit, doesn’t it? 52:40

So, when it says the earth is peaceful and quiet, you’ll find that verb in Judges 3:11: Then the land was at rest for 40 years. You’ll find it in Judges 3:30: And the land was at rest for 80 years. You’ll find it in Judges 5, verse 31 (Jud 5:31): The land was at rest for 40 years. You’ll find it in Judges 8:28: The land was undisturbed for 40 years in the days of Gideon. You’ll also find it in the infamous yet future Gog, Magog invasion where Israel will be invaded by a conglomeration of nations, spearheaded primarily from the north:

And it’s going to happen during the time when Israel is living securely, that’s the verb batach (Eze 38:8) but also verse 11 of Ezekiel 38, (Eze 38:11), when Israel is at rest, that’s shacat and the only time that could happen in my estimation is after the antichrist comes forward and guarantees Israel’s survival. 54:03

But anyway, that’s just a little bit of background. The angels have gone out, and they’ve patrolled the earth, and everything is peaceful and quiet. It is undisturbed. Everything is humming along great except for who? Except for Israel, because she’s got no temple, she’s got no wall. And folks, this is the ancient Near East where if you don’t have a wall, you are totally defenseless, and if you don’t have a temple you have absolutely no religious community. So, everything is just great for the rest of the world but it’s not great for Israel. So, Charles Feinberg puts it this way:

Charles L. Feinberg – God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950, p. 33-34, 38.)

“Let her full plight come before us; the rest promised upon return from Babylon yet unfulfilled: Israel under the yoke of the Gentile powers; hindrances in building the temple; the holy city without walls; the desolation of Jerusalem…The contrast between Israel and the nations of the earth is the occasion for the intercession now before us…Truly, God’s thoughts are not ours. When the world was busy with its own affairs, God’s eyes and the heart of the Messiah were upon the lowly estate of Israel and upon the temple in Jerusalem.”

Let her full plight come before us; the rest promised upon return from Babylon yet unfulfilled: Israel under yoke of the Gentile powers; hindrances in building the temple; the holy city without walls; the desolation of Jerusalem. The contrast between Israel and the nations of the earth is the occasion for the intercession now before us. Watch this next line: Truly, God’s thoughts are not ours. Did you catch that? Truly, God’s thoughts are not ours. That’s why I entitled this “God’s thoughts”, because God doesn’t think like everybody else thinks. If God thought like everybody else thought, then He would be happy too, because the riders are gone out and everything in Persia is just hunky-dory. I mean, everybody is employed, the holiday season was coming up and people are getting ready to spend money and people were taking vacations, they are going on cruises and they had peace and prosperity as far as the eye could see, and if God thought like everybody else thought, He would be happy, but God isn’t happy because He doesn’t think like everybody else. 56:26

That’s probably the most important lesson you could probably ever learn as a Christian. God does not think like everyone else thinks. That’s why there’s so much warning in the Bible about worldliness. Don’t let the world press you into its mold, because if the world presses you into its mold, you’re going to think just like the world thinks. And if you think just like the world thinks, you can’t have fellowship with God, because God doesn’t think like everybody else.

So, Feinberg says, Truly, God’s thoughts are not ours. When the world was busy with its own affairs, God’s eyes and the heart of the Messiah were on the lowly estate of Israel and upon the temple in Jerusalem. What is bothering God, doesn’t bother anybody else. But it bothers him. Here is this tiny nation without a temple and without walls around the city. And you could see as Zechariah is receiving this vision and he’s relaying it, the impact this would have on a discouraged community to get busy building something that God cares about. Why should I get busy building something that God cares about when no one else seems to care about it? 58:03

Why shall I do that? And that’s going to get me ridiculed by my friends and neighbours if I do that. Because it’s important to God. If it’s important to God, it ought to be important to who? It ought to be important to us, but you can’t even figure out what should be important to us because it’s important to God, until you understand how God thinks. There’s only one place to go folks, to understand how  God thinks and that’s this book. The more quality time you are spending in this book, the more you’re going to think the way God does. The less time that you spend in this book as a Christian, probably what will happen, is there’s a greater percentage of you becoming worldly. All of us becoming worldly. That’s why soaking in biblical truth is so essential because if you are not doing that, the world would just quickly squeeze you into its way of doing things. 59:04

So, what follows here is the explanation verses 12 to 17,

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


  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)

where (haha) an angel, if I have this right, actually accuses God of not caring. In fact, let’s just look at verse 12, as we look at this explanation (Zech 1:12): 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, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?”. So, the accusation is almost like God, you don’t seem to care. Now, if the Angel of the Lord is Jesus, I don’t know how to interpret that. It’s almost like one member of the Trinity bringing to another member of the Trinity something to his attention. Look here, everything you care about is in desolation. There’s no temple, there’s no wall around the city. You know, that could be interpreted as you’re unconcerned. 1:00

So, God speaks up here, verses 13 to 17 (Zech 1:13-17) and He says: I care. But Lord, you haven’t done anything for 70 years. You’ll notice verse 12 (Zech 1:12), it mentions the 70 years. Well, this is the 70 years of captivity. People date those from 605 to 536 B.C. 605 when Daniel was taken into captivity. 536 when Cyrus issued the decree to return from the captivity or others date it from 586 when Nebuchadnezzar finally destroyed the temple, to 515 when the temple was finally rebuilt. Remember our date here 519. We’re 4 years away from the temple being rebuilt. Nobody wants to rebuild it. So, the 70 years would go from 605 to 536. If you don’t like that formula then it will go from 586 to 515 but that’s the time period when Israel was in desolation, and it looked as if the inaction of God, so God obviously doesn’t care. I mean, why would you invest yourself in a project that God doesn’t care about. But how do you know God doesn’t care? Well, nothing’s happened for 70 years. So, what begins to be explained in verses 13 to 17 (Zech 1:13-17) is God does care.

Number 1: He is angry with the nations that have gone too far and abused His people, verse 15 (Zech 1:15).

Number 2: verse 16 (Zech 1:16), Jerusalem is going to be restored one day, and there’s where you start to get a tremendous picture of millennial Jerusalem. Populated again and prospering again.

Number 3: verse 16 (Zech 1:16), the Temple is going to come back to life in the millennium.

So, if God cares that much about the Temple, maybe you guys that have come back from exile, ought to care about it too. That’s how Zechariah is motivating his audience. And then, the last point verse 17 (Zech 1:17) is Jerusalem’s prosperity is going to return. 1:03

So, it’s a tremendous picture of the future that God has in store for the things he is being accused of not caring about. Because 70 years have passed and nothing has happened, and if you don’t think that God cares, why participate in the rebuilding process? But what you learn here is God does care and these beleaguered exiles, these returnees are going to read this and hear this and say: Wow! We’d better get busy with the things of God. We better start thinking our thoughts after God’s thoughts and not the world’s thoughts.

So, I’m out of time and we’ll see that, we’ll pick it up there, verses 12 to 17 next time and then after that we’ll get into the final four verses, that looks like 18 to 21 which is the prophecy of the four horns and the four craftsmen, and so you might want to just read through, in preparation for next time, verses 12 to the end of the chapter. All right, thank you for letting me go a couple minutes over tonight and this would be a good time for people to take off if they need to pick up their young ones.