Zechariah 4-5

Thursday Evening Bible Study

July 13, 2006


As we mentioned last week, Zechariah was a contemporary of the prophet Haggai.

When King Cyrus issued his decree giving the Jews the ability to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple, a number of them left and began the process of rebuilding.

But difficulties arose and the work got postponed for fifteen years.

(Ezra 5:1-2 NKJV) Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. {2} So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
It was under the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah that the work got stirred up again. And specifically, it was the leaders, the governor Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua, who got stirred up to finish the work.

Last week we saw one of the visions of Zechariah aimed at encouraging Joshua the high priest. In the vision (Zech. 3), Joshua had been standing before Jesus and Satan and Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes. But the Lord rebuked Satan for coming against Joshua and God gave Joshua some clean clothes to go and do his ministry.

Now we get some encouragement for Zerubbabel.

Zechariah 4

:1-14 The Lamp and the Olive Tree

:1 Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep.

:2 And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I said, "I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps.

Some see this as something like a Menorah, seven lamps and each with a pipe coming out of a common bowl. Others see something where there is seven pipes going to each lamp.

The Menorah was a part of the Tabernacle worship, designed by God and given through Moses.

The Menorah was to be put inside the first room of the Tabernacle. It was to be lit every evening by the priests and put out and cleaned every morning by the priests.

The Menorah was a picture of how Israel was to be a light to the world.

In the Temple, there were ten of these lamps in the Holy Place, again as a picture of Israel being the light to the world.

But lamps and light have significance beyond the Tabernacle or the Temple:

Jesus came and said,

(John 8:12 NKJV) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

He told His disciples:

(Mat 5:14-16 NKJV) "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. {15} "Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. {16} "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

In the book of Revelation, John’s first vision was of Jesus walking among lampstands:

(Rev 1:12-13 NKJV) Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, {13} and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
We are told later (Rev. 1:20) that the seven lampstands represent the seven churches.
There is something here for us to learn as well.

:3 "Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left."

The two olive trees are going to be connected to the central bowl with a pipe from each tree. The idea is that the olive oil from the olive trees goes directly into the lamp. Sort of an eternal power source.

:4 So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, "What are these, my lord?"

:5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord."

:6 So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.

mightchayil strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army

powerkoach strength, power, might

This Temple was not going to be built because of an army of people or because of the amount of strength of the workers. It was to be done by the Holy Spirit.

Oil is symbol in the Bible of the Holy Spirit

(1 Sam 16:13 NKJV) Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

The picture of the trees providing their oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit providing strength and light for the lamps.

Zerubbabel’s great task from God was to rebuild the Temple.

That work was not going to be accomplished by might or power, but it was going to be something done by the work of the Holy Spirit.

:7 'Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of "Grace, grace to it!"' "

mountain – the mountain of work it was to complete the Temple. Perhaps it might have even been a reference to the mountain of rubble left from the destruction of Solomon’s Temple.

God is the one who can “melt” the mountains.

(Psa 97:5 NKJV) The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

capstone – the last thing to put in place to finish the Temple.

Grace, grace – The people will realize that it is only through God’s grace that they were able to finish the Temple.


Work by the Spirit

Sometimes when we begin to really grasp what the work is that God has for us, we can get overwhelmed.
How about this for a “to-do” list:
(Mat 28:19-20 NKJV) "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Have you ever thought of just how big this world is? Have you ever stopped to think about how many people there are in the world that still don’t know Jesus? Have you thought about how many people in the United States don’t know Jesus? How about just in Fullerton? There are 136,000 people living in Fullerton, and how many of them do you suppose were in church last Sunday?

How about these:
(Eph 5:22 NKJV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
(Eph 5:25 NKJV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
Or this:
(Eph 6:4 NKJV) And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

At times it seems a bit hard to raise kids in this world we live in.

Or this:
(1 Cor 6:18 NKJV) Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
(Rom 12:18 NKJV) If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
The work ahead can seem overwhelming.
Our God has the grace and power to help us through.

:8 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying:

:9 "The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know That the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.

Zerubbabel was the one who started the Temple. He will also be the one to finish the Temple.

This was going to be a sign to the people that Zechariah was a true prophet.

God wants you to know that He is going to finish His work in you as well:

(Phil 1:6 NKJV) being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

:10 For who has despised the day of small things?


The day of small things

This is how the people saw the new Temple building project.
When the foundation had been laid, some of the people even wept because it seemed to insignificant:
(Ezra 3:12-13 NKJV) But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, {13} so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.
Haggai challenged the people about this attitude:
(Hag 2:3 NKJV) 'Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?
They saw it as something “small”. They despised it.
Frank Capra, who directed It’s a Wonderful Life, was asked years ago about the central message of his classic film. After thinking a few moments, Capra responded, “I believe the real message of It’s a Wonderful Life is this: that under the sun, nothing is insignificant to God.”
Now, when you watch the movie again, you know that everything that happens has intended and unintended consequences. Everything, because it happened, causes something else to happen. Everybody in that story is important, because he or she relates to everyone else. Nothing is insignificant under the sun to God.
Perhaps you need to be reminded, not only that you are important to God, but also everyone around you is significant to him, too.
I know that for some who have been a part of our church for a period of time struggle with the fact that we have a “small church”.
Will our church ever grow to be a big church? Who knows? I’ve heard that some folks think that I don’t want to have a “big church”, as if I purposely keep our church from growing.
I’m not opposed to our church growing. I’d love for our church to grow. I’d love for our church to become a “large church”.
But I think that if God wants our church to be small, I’d rather not fight against God. And while it’s still small, we need to be careful that we don’t “despise the day of small things”.

I believe that God loves our church. And I don’t want to despise something that God loves.

There are some great things about having a small church. If you went to a “big church” Bible Study tonight, would you be able to say that the pastor knows the name of everyone in the room? And you do too?

Small doesn’t mean insignificant.

God can use a small church to reach people for Jesus Christ. God can use a small church to disciple and grow believers and send them out to serve the Lord.

Are there things in your life that you’ve started, but they haven’t quite turned out the way that you expected them to?

Don’t despise the days of small things.

:10 For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth."

these seven – who are these “seven”?

They are identified as “the eyes of the LORD”.

It might refer to the seven lights on the lampstand.

I believe it could be the same “seven” that are mentioned in the previous chapter:

(Zec 3:9 NKJV) For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,' Says the LORD of hosts, 'And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
We talked then about how the stone was a picture of Jesus, the stone that the builders rejected (Ps. 118)

plumb line – a tool used in construction. The “plumb” was a weight on the end of a string. When you hold the end of the string and let the weight hang down, you get a vertical line, a way of seeing if a wall was straight or not.

God is watching Zerubbabel and He is “rejoicing” to see Zerubbabel at work building the Temple.

:11 Then I answered and said to him, "What are these two olive trees; at the right of the lampstand and at its left?"

:12 And I further answered and said to him, "What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?"

:13 Then he answered me and said, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord."

:14 So he said, "These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth."

anointedyitshar fresh oil, shining (pure) oil

The ones who have the oil on them.

The use of oil for “anointing” was done for both kings and priests.

Zerubbabel was a governor, but he was from the line of David, the line of kings.
Joshua the high priest would have been “anointed” with oil.

It seems there is a “double” interpretation, a double fulfillment regarding this picture.

In the days of Zechariah, the two olive trees were a picture of Zerubbabel and Joshua, the governor and the high priest.

They were the “anointed ones”, the ones chosen to build the Temple.
The work of the Spirit through them would cause the Lamp of Israel to shine once more.

There will also be a future fulfillment mentioned in Revelation:

(Rev 11:1-13 NKJV) Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. {2} "But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. {3} "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." {4} These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. {5} And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. {6} These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. {7} When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. {8} And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. {9} Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. {10} And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. {11} Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. {12} And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. {13} In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.
It seems that these “two witnesses” have some interesting similarities to Moses and Elijah.

The miracles that are performed are similar to the miracles of Moses (turning water to blood, plagues) and Elijah (shutting off the rain, calling fire down from heaven)

These two had unique aspects to their deaths –

Moses was apparently buried by the Lord, and no one knew where he was buried (Deut. 34:5-6)

Elijah was taken in a chariot of fire:

(2 Ki 2:11 NKJV) Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

These are the same two that appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus.

(Mat 17:1-3 NKJV) Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; {2} and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. {3} And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.


Witnessing in the Spirit

In a sense, the bigger picture of this chapter is about the “light” that we give off and how the “light” is supplied.
We might call the “shining” of our lights as “witnessing”.
And witnessing ought to be done under the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 1:4-8 NKJV) And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; {5} "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." {6} Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" {7} And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. {8} "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for a reason. They were to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit to fill them.
The result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was that the men would become “witnesses”.
There are some groups that force people into witnessing through guilt or arm-twisting. Others are good at witnessing because they are natural born used-car-salesman.
God’s desire is that we are filled with His power and then we tell others about Jesus.

Zechariah 5

:1-4 Flying Scroll

:1 Then I turned and raised my eyes, and saw there a flying scroll.

:2 And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I answered, "I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits."

The scroll is apparently unrolled since we are told it’s length. It’s flying.

Twenty cubits … ten cubits … - the scroll is thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide.

This was also the size of the “holy place”, the first room of the Tabernacle where the lampstand, table of showbread, and altar of incense were.

:3 Then he said to me, "This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth: 'Every thief shall be expelled,' according to this side of the scroll; and, 'Every perjurer shall be expelled,' according to that side of it."

The scroll had writing on both sides of it.

There are two commandments mentioned – probably equivalent to the eighth and ninth commandments:

(Exo 20:15-16 NKJV) "You shall not steal. {16} "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

It could be that the second side (perjurer) might be a reference to the third commandment:

(Exo 20:7 NKJV) "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

:4 "I will send out the curse," says the LORD of hosts; "It shall enter the house of the thief And the house of the one who swears falsely by My name. It shall remain in the midst of his house And consume it, with its timber and stones."

The curse comes from not obeying the commandments.

It’s a pretty serious thing to not follow God’s commandments.

No one will be able to avoid the judgment of God.


I doubt this is true, but … from San Diego, California...
A Highway Patrolman pulled a car over and told the driver that because he had been wearing his seat belt, he had just won $5,000 in the statewide safety competition. “What are you going to do with the money?” asked the policeman. “Well, I guess I’m going to get a driver’s license,” he answered. “Oh, don’t listen to him,” yelled a woman in the passenger seat. “He’s a real smart-mouth when he’s been drinking.” This woke up the guy in the back seat who took one look at the cop and moaned, “I knew we wouldn’t get far in a stolen car.” At that moment, there was a knock from the trunk and a voice said, in a thick Spanish accent, “Are we over the border yet?”

There’s no avoiding God’s judgment. He sees everything. He knows everything. And because He is righteous and just, every wrong will have to be made right.

There’s only one way for us to avoid God’s judgment and not have to go to hell. Jesus. He paid the price for our judgment.
(John 3:16 NKJV) "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

:5-11 Woman in a basket

:5 Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, "Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth."

:6 So I asked, "What is it?" And he said, "It is a basket that is going forth." He also said, "This is their resemblance throughout the earth:

:7 "Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket";

basket‘eyphah ephah, a dry measure about 3/5 of a bushel. Here it seems better to just look at it as a basket for holding stuff.

lead disc – There’s a lid for the basket

woman – a woman is inside the basket with the lid on.

:8 then he said, "This is Wickedness!" And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth.

:9 Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven.

two women – probably angels. Some see them as evil beings who are transporting and protecting “wickedness” for a future time. Others see them as good angels who are keeping guard on wickedness.

:10 So I said to the angel who talked with me, "Where are they carrying the basket?"

:11 And he said to me, "To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base."

Shinar – the land of Babylon

The woman called “wickedness” is carried to Babylon. The “evil” is taken from Israel and taken to Babylon.

Perhaps this might be somehow connected to the Babylon of the future:

(Rev 17:1-6 NKJV) Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, {2} "with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication." {3} So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. {4} The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. {5} And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. {6} I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

Some feel this “woman” is a form of religion that will be around in the last days. Others connect this to the Catholic church, which reminds me of a story I came across this week …
Hans Grapje was raised in a Catholic school in The Hague and, as a young man, aspired to become a priest, but was drafted into the Army during WWII and spent two years co-piloting B17s until his aircraft was shot down in 1943 and he lost his left arm. Captain Grapje spent the rest of the war as a chaplain, giving spiritual aid to soldiers, both Allied and enemy. After the war, he became a priest, serving as a missionary in Africa, piloting his own plane (in spite of his handicap) to villages across the continent. In 1997, Father Grapje was serving in Zimbabwe when an explosion in a silver mine caused a cave-in. Archbishop Grapje went down into the mine to administer last rights to those too severely injured to move. Another shaft collapsed, and he was buried for three days, suffering multiple injuries, including the loss of his right eye. The high silver content in the mine’s air gave him purpura, a life-long condition characterized by purplish skin blotches. Although Cardinal Grapje devoted his life to the service of God as a scholar, mentor, and holy man, church leaders agree: he will never ascend to the Papacy. No one wants a one-eyed, one-armed, flying purple Papal leader.
oooooooh… sorry.
Seriously, even though this wickedness that is connected to Babylon will be present even in the last days, the good news is that Jesus is coming back and He’s going to take care of it.
He will destroy wickedness.  He will rule and reign.  And we will be with Him.