Morning Bible Study
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)
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.
Last week we started to look at a series of “night
visions” (1:7) that Zechariah received from God.
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.
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
:1 and wakened me
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.
: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
As the church, we too are now “lamps”.
Jesus said to us,
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
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.
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
When it comes to being “light” in this dark world, we need the work of the
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.
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
: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.
: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.
: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!”
grace – chen
– favor, grace
This is a word typically used in the phrase to “find favor in someone’s
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
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
God wants you to know that He plans on finishing
the work in you as well.
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
It could be that when Zerubbabel finishes the Temple, then the people will
know that God had sent Zechariah to them.
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
: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
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
(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”.
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.
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
Small is okay. Weak
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)
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
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
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
These men are “anointed” with oil, the Holy Spirit.
It seems there is a “double” interpretation, a double fulfillment regarding
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
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.
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
:6 Not by might nor by power
might – chayil – army, might,
It’s a word that most often translated “army” or speaking of fighting men.
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.
Men Men Men
power – koach – strength,
This is a more generic word for “strength”.
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
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
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
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.
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”.
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.
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:
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,
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.