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Zechariah 4

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 21, 2014


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words

The background to Zechariah, like that of Haggai, is found in the book of Ezra.

After having been captive in Babylon for seventy years, the Jews are given permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem.

When the Temple construction is stopped, it was Haggai and Zechariah who began to prophesy and encourage the people to finish the Temple. (Ezra 5:1-2)

After the people began to build, opposition arose from their enemies, and for a period of 15 years, the Temple construction was halted.

It was then that God raised up two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, who began to encourage the people to get back to work and make God’s House a priority.

(Ezra 5:1–2 NKJV) —1 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.
The Temple won’t be complete until March 12, 515 BC (Ezr 6:15-18)

The prophecies of Zechariah are given during the years of 520-618 BC.

One of the key distinctions of the book of Zechariah is the amount of prophecy about the coming Messiah.

Except for the prophet Isaiah, there are more prophecies about the Messiah in this book than any other Old Testament book.
One set of scholars list 41 quotes or allusions to Zechariah in the New Testament.

It seems that Zechariah has dated each of his prophecies, like Haggai did.

The first prophecy is 1:1-6
It was given on 08/??/02
The second prophecy is 1:7 – 6:15
Hag.2:10-19 talks about how “uncleanness” defiles everything it touches.

Haggai’s prophecy was given on 9/24/02

In Zec. 3 God talks about Joshua the high priest being “filthy”, but being cleansed.

Zechariah’s prophecy was given 11/24/02

The third prophecy is 7:1 – 14:21
Some suggest that only 7:1-7 are tied to the last date, and the rest of the book is undated.

Last week we started to look at a series of “night visions” (1:7) that Zechariah received from God.

They all took place on February 15, 519 BC.

There will be eight of these “night visions” that seem to have been given on a single night.  This is now the fifth of eight visions.

We’ve seen a vision of horses and riders. (1:7-17)
We’ve seen a vision of horns and craftsmen (1:18-21)
We’ve seen a vision of the surveyor (ch.2)
We’ve seen the cleansing of the high priest (ch. 3)

4:1-13 Lamps and Trees

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

:1 the angel who talked with me

As we’ve seen through the last couple chapters, Zechariah as a “tour guide” angel assigned to him to help him navigate these “night visions”.

:1 and wakened me

wakened‘uwr – to rouse oneself, awake, awaken, incite; (Hiphil)  to rouse, stir up

This word was used in:
(Zechariah 2:13 NKJV) Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!”

I kind of get the idea that during this long night of “visions” that Zechariah at times drifts off to sleep.  The angel wakes him up.

Yet Zechariah is only halfway through this night of vision.  The angel wakes him back up.

: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.

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

:2 a lampstand of solid gold



The vision Zechariah sees is that of the Temple menorah.
The menorah had seven branches, each with its own oil lamp.
Each morning the priests were responsible for snuffing out the lamps, cleaning them, and refilling them with fresh oil.  Every evening they would relight the lamps and the light would burn all night.

The oil burned in the lamps was olive oil, made by grinding up and pressing olives in an olive press.

It took some work to keep those lamps lit.

The menorah was an important part of the Temple.
It was to be a picture of the nation of Israel being a light in a dark world.
When John describes the seven churches in the book of Revelation, they are described as seven “lamps”.
As the church, we too are now “lamps”.  Jesus said to us,

(Matthew 5:14–16 NKJV) —14 “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.

The menorah was only lit at night, a picture truth that we are “lights” in this dark world that we live in.

We’ll see in verse 12, that in this vision, the two olive trees are dripping oil that replenishes the seven lamps.
It’s a picture of an unending supply of oil for the menorah.

There’s a lot less “work” involved when your oil lamp has its own supply of oil.

In the Bible, oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit.
The anointing of a priest or a king with a special mixture of olive oil and spices was to be a picture of the Holy Spirit being on that person’s life.
You see it come together when young David was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of Israel.

(1 Samuel 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.

With the menorah being supplied with an unending supply of oil, God is drawing a picture of His “lights” being powered by His Holy Spirit.
When it comes to being “light” in this dark world, we need the work of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said to His disciples after He rose from the dead that they should wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit before they do anything else.

(Acts 1:8 NKJV) 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.”

To be the best lights we can be, we need the best oil.  We need the oil of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

: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.”

:5 Do you not know what these are?

When someone asks me something like this I feel like …

Video:  Which Way Did He Go George?

I hate it when someone says to me, “Don’t you know what this means?” and I don’t know the answer.

: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.

: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!” ’ ”

:6 to Zerubbabel

Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah at this time. 

He’s the General Contractor in charge of the building project, the rebuilding of the Temple.

He was the one who led those that came from Babylon to reestablish the nation.

:6 Not by might nor by power

We will come back to this…

:7 Who are you, O great mountain?

The mountain before Zerubbabel is the challenges keeping him from rebuilding the Temple.

God knows how to deal with mountains.

(Psalm 97:5 NKJV) The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
Do you have things that are standing in the way of you doing what God has asked you to do?

:7 he shall bring forth the capstone

The capstone was that final piece of the building.

God is promising that Zerubbabel will indeed finish this building.

:7 With shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”

gracechen – favor, grace

This is a word typically used in the phrase to “find favor in someone’s eyes”

There are a couple of possibilities as to how to understand this:

1) When the people see the finished work, they will cry that it is “good”, that it has found favor in their eyes.
2)  It could be that the people are asking for God’s favor, God’s blessing to be on the Temple.
3)  It could be that they will realize that it’s all been because of God’s favor, God’s grace, that they have been able to finish the Temple.

: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.

:9 His hands shall also finish it

A little more than three years from this prophecy, the Temple will be finished.

The year of this prophecy is 519 BC (Zec 1:7)

(Zechariah 1:7 NKJV) On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet:

Zerubbabel will finish the Temple in 516 BC, a little over three years from now (Ezr 6:15)

(Ezra 6:15 NKJV) Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

God wants you to know that He plans on finishing the work in you as well.

(Philippians 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;

:9 the Lord of hosts has sent Me

We’ve already seen Zechariah use this phrase twice back in chapter two.

(Zechariah 2:9 NKJV) —9 For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me.
(Zechariah 2:11 NKJV) —11 “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.

It could be that when Zerubbabel finishes the Temple, then the people will know that God had sent Zechariah to them.

If you notice that in the NKJV, the “me” is capitalized.

Some have suggested that this is the Angel of the Lord speaking up here and that when the Temple work is finished, the people will know that Yahweh was behind this whole thing.

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

:10 despised the day of small things


Small Things

When the Temple project first started, some of the people were sad because it didn’t seem like it was going to be as great as Solomon’s Temple.
(Ezra 3:12 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…
The prophet Haggai had also pointed out this sense of “disappointment” in the people over the Temple project.
(Haggai 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?
The movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” is the story of George Bailey.  George has lived his whole life sacrificing for others, always trying to do the right thing.  There comes a point in his life through a series of downturns that he begins to wonder if it was all worth it. He resents all the “little” things that have been such a bother in his life. 

He hates the house he lives in.  He hates the job he’s felt stuck in.  He’s bothered by his wife and his kids.  He begins to think that his was such a “small” life and wishes he had never been born.

An angel named Clarence shows up and gives George a glimpse of what the world would have been like without him. George begins to realize that his was truly a “Wonderful Life”.

Video:  It’s a Wonderful Life – George comes home (2:03 – 2:09)

Frank Capra, who directed “It’s a Wonderful Life”, was asked 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.”
Be careful about thinking that yours is a small and insignificant life.
You are of great value to God.
When you give your life to God and choose to follow and honor Him, there is nothing small and insignificant.

Everything is of value, even the things that you think are painful.

Paul had some sort of mysterious physical ailment.

He did what every Christian should do, he asked God to take it away.

(2 Corinthians 12:8–10 NKJV) —8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Small is okay.  Weak is okay.

These are the things that let others see “grace” in our lives.

:10 these seven rejoice

In the last chapter we saw a stone with seven eyes being placed before Joshua the high priest (Zec 3:9)

(Zechariah 3:9 NKJV) For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes.

John describes Jesus in heaven as a lamb with seven horns …

(Revelation 5:6 NKJV) …and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Seven eyes speaks of God’s “omniscience”, the fact that God sees and knows everything.

God will be glad when He sees…

:10 The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel

The plumb line is what builders use to determine if something is vertical.

The eyes of the Lord are watching Zerubbael and his “small” building project.

God is rejoicing to see Zerubbabel at work.

: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.”

:14 These are the two anointed ones

These men are “anointed” with oil, the Holy Spirit.

anointedyitshar – fresh oil, shining (pure) oil

This is not the same as the word for “Messiah”, which also means “anointed one”.
But it carries the same idea – that these individuals have been “anointed” with oil, a picture of the Holy Spirit being on their lives.

The act of “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.
The second fulfillment is yet to happen.
During the Great Tribulation period, there will be two mysterious men show up who will perform miracles just like Moses and Elijah did.  They will be “witnesses” for the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.

Some of us think they might even be Moses and Elijah.

(Revelation 11:3–4 NKJV) —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.

:6 Not by might nor by power

mightchayil – army, might, wealth, strength

It’s a word that most often translated “army” or speaking of fighting men.
(Exodus 14:9 NKJV) So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea…

It’s the epitome of manly men, human strength.

Video:  Men Men Men Men

powerkoach – strength, power, might

This is a more generic word for “strength”.


Human limitations

The nation had fallen and experienced God’s chastisement by being exiled in Babylon for seventy years.
God’s judgment wasn’t meant to destroy them, it was meant to help them grow up and change.
Now they are back in the land and it’s time to rebuild the Temple and worship God like He desires.
God’s word to Zerubbabel is that it is not going to happen by the size of his construction crew, the strength of his army, or just how strong he and his people are.
When God calls you to do a work for Him, it is folly to think that you can do it on your own.
Natural human strength can accomplish great things.
With human strength and ingenuity, you can build a building.
But it takes more than human strength and ingenuity to build a Temple.

There is a spiritual component that is impossible with human strength alone.

As you are growing up in life, you are going to realize that there are things that are going to need to change.
There are things you need to stop doing.

It might be an addiction.  It might be your temper.

There are things you need to start doing.

It might be finding a spouse.  It might be raising your kids.

But the bigger question is, are you just building a building, or are you building a Temple?

Are you just trying to be a “better person”, or are you trying to build a Temple for God?

When you build a Temple, human power alone isn’t enough.  You need Jesus.

:6 but by My Spirit

Spiritruwach – wind, breath, mind, spirit


Spiritual building

To build a spiritual work, you need the work of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we get the mistaken idea that the work of God’s Spirit in our lives is something magical.
We go to sleep one night being a lustful, hard drinking person.  We wake up in the morning without a single thought of lust and no desire to drink.

Though it can at times work like this, I think that for most of us, there’s a missing piece of the puzzle that we need to figure out.

We must learn to cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

God will supply the power, but I must supply the will and the action.

In Episode IV of Star Wars (the first actual episode), Obi-Wan Kenobi introduces Luke to the concept of this thing called the “Force”.
I need to be clear – the “Force” is not the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is NOT an impersonal “thing” that fills the universe.  He is a person.  And we don’t control Him, He is God.

Yet there are some pictures in the movie that are good lessons for us.

Video:  Star Wars IV – Luke training with remote (1:01:30 – 1:03:05)

I think a good lesson to learn is that you can’t always depend on your “eyes”.

Paul wrote,

(2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV) For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Sometimes what you see is misleading.  We need to learn how to listen and follow the leading of the person of the Holy Spirit.

Video:  Star Wars IV – Luke destroys the Death Star (1:56:16 – 1:58:42)

Notice that it wasn’t the “Force” that destroyed the Death Star.  It was Luke flying his X-wing and dropping his bomb at the right time that blew the thing up.

Most of the time in our lives God the Holy Spirit isn’t going to “blow up” the things that cause us trouble.

We need to learn to cooperate with the work that the Holy Spirit wants to do.

He may whisper in my ear.  He may give me courage and strength.  But I need to act and obey God.

Just because God promised the help of His Holy Spirit for Zerubbabel to complete the Temple, Zerubbabel and his men still had to do the work of building it.

Paul prayed for the Ephesians:
(Ephesians 3:16 NKJV) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
God wants to build you as a spiritual person.

Becoming spiritually strong requires spiritual discipline, spiritual training.

What does “spiritual discipline” look like?  Do we close our eyes and start practicing with a light saber?


Reading and studying your Bible is your spiritual food.


We need to learn to take up the real work of prayer – praying for others and praying for ourselves.


We need to have connections with others.  We need others who will encourage us and we need to encourage others.


We need to get down to the nitty-gritty of doing what God asks of us and build this Temple.