Zechariah. The Last Three Visions and Another Prophecy.
Key Notes: Rooting out evil: The Word has power. The goddess is returned to Babylon. A crown for the priest. Christ as king and priest.
In this lesson, we study the last three visions and review the whole set. The first three visions support and encourage the Jews. The two central visions (4 & 5) deal with the personal needs of the priest and the governor. The six and seventh visions are matched and deal with the problem of evil. The eighth, like the first, is a vision of comfort. In addition, we will learn about Joshua the priest prophetically being crowned as if a king and the surprising implications of that prophecy.
Zech. 5:1–4 The sixth vision. A flying scroll 15x30 feet would look like a big billboard. We are not told what is written on it, but what it does. It flies. It will enter the house of a thief or one who swears falsely and ruin the house. The false swearer is breaking the third commandment, which forbids using the Lord’s name in vain, and the ninth against lying. The thief is breaking the eighth commandment which forbids stealing. These commandments represent the two halves of the Ten Commandments.
These sins are prevalent even among Christians.
The curious aspect of the vision is that we rarely see the Word of God perform the work of systematically destroying the houses of sinners. If it were doing this work, we would need much fewer police on duty --and there would be many fewer standing houses. In revivals, we see sinners being cleansed and renewed, with jails and bars emptied, but only for a few years.
I suspect that this vision belongs to the Millennium. We may think of the Golden Age as a time of justice and righteousness, but the reign of Christ will require ongoing judgment, a rod of iron.
“She brought forth a male child, one who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron.” Rev. 12:5
“With righteousness He shall judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth. He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. With righteousness He will judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth.” Isa. 11:4; Psa.2:8–9
“Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come up against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if the family of Egypt does not go up to Jerusalem. to worship the king, the Lord of Hosts, then no rain will fall on them.” Zech. 14:16,‘
“The nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish…..” Isa. 60:12
Although there is not much agreement on the interpretation of this vision, I believe that systematic rooting out of evil belongs to the Age to Come.
5:5–11 The seventh vision is of a woman named "Wickedness". She is kept in a bushel-basket sized jar with a lead cover. She is to be carried by angel-like creatures to Shinar, the ancient territory of Babylon. (Gen. 10:10). There a house will be made for her and the jar will be put on a base.
I suspect that the woman’s other name is Ishtar, ancient goddess of the Babylonians, also known as Ashterte of the Canaanites, Isis of Egypt, Aphrodite of the Greeks and Venus of the Romans. She will be sent away from Israel, back to Babylon to a temple made for her. Why God does not destroy her is a puzzle. However, the prophecy tells us that Israel will no longer worship foreign gods, a lesson well learned by the Exiles and one that Israel never forgot.
6:1–8 The eighth vision is of four chariots coming out from two bronze mountains to patrol the earth. The angel gives Zechariah the message: "God's Spirit is at rest in the North Country."
Brass or bronze is used as a symbol of judgment in the Old Testament. The mountains of bronze / brass suggest God’s judgment.
“And if in spite of this you will not hearken to Me, then I will chastise you again sevenfold for your sins, … I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like brass, and your strength shall be spent in vain….” Lev. 26:19–20
Objects where brass is used include:
•The altar where petitioners brought their sacrifices in front of the tabernacle (Ex. 27:2) and the laver where the priest washed during his working day. Ex. 30:18
•The brass serpent on the pole for the healing of those bitten by vipers. Num. 21:9
•Chains of bronze for a distinguished prisoner. II K. 25:7
The colors of the horses are intriguing but they do not match the colors of the horses in Zech. 1, although patrolling is the assignment in both cases. The horses of Zech. 1:8 are red, red, sorrel and white. These horses are red, black, white and dappled. They have the same colors as the four horses of Revelation (white, red, black and pale). These horses are attached to chariots indicating a warlike situation.
The message is that God's judgment has been carried out.
Linking the eight visions:
•Vsion1 1 ends with the revelation that the nations were at ease after the destruction of Jerusalem, but God was not pleased. Vision 8 concludes that God’s Spirit was at rest in the North Country. This is interpreted to say that God’s Spirit was now at rest because Babylon has been punished.
•Vision 2 & 3 say that God will punish great powers that ravaged Judah and that God will not only restore Judah but will live among His people.
•Visions 4 & 5 describe cleansing of the sin of the priest, Joshua, and strengthening of Zerubbabel the governor to finish the Temple.
•Visions 6 & 7 tell us that God will curb idolatry in Judah and, eventually, sin everywhere.
In summary, God will punish Israel’s enemies and bless His people, strengthen the leaders who are rebuilding the Temple, and put down idols and sinful people.
What is missing from all this is the work of the Coming Messiah. And this brings us to a remarkable prophecy by Zechariah.
6:6:9–15 Zechariah was sent to three exiles who recently returned from Babylon with considerable wealth. He was to collect gold and silver from them, make crowns to put on Joshua the priest, and make a proclamation:
•The Branch is coming.
•He will build the Temple.
•He will sit on the throne.
•There will be a Priest on the throne.
•There will be harmony between them.
•The crown will be kept in the Temple as a reminder.
•Foreigners will come to build the Temple.
•This will validate Zechariah’s prophecy.
That the priest would be wearing a crown / crowns breaks all precedent. The priest cannot be the king. Uzziah the king was severely punished for trying to usurp the priest’s functions. (II Chron. 26:18). The crown and the turban belong on separate heads. The roles are very different.
Here four roles are assigned to one person:
BRANCH + KING + PRIEST + TEMPLE-BUILDER.
I think Zechariah is unique in seeing these four roles together.
From previous Zechariah notes we know that God’s servant, the Branch, is the Messiah.
He will bear the sins of many. Isa. 53
The King’s role is to rule and judge (Psa.110:2), a role also prophesied of Christ. Isa. 9:7; 11:3
The priest’s role is to intercede on behalf of sinners and assure forgiveness. Heb. 5:1–4
The Temple-builder’s role seems to be already decided: it is Zerubbabel.
But the Messiah—Christ—is the ultimate Temple-builder. We think first of His statements about the Third Temple, Herod’s Temple. Jesus cleared out commercial interests from the Temple on two occasions and said His “Father’s House was to be a house of prayer”. (Matt. 21:13). He said that if they destroyed “this Temple” (His body), in three days He would raise it up. Jn. 2:19
“The Temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb.” (Rev. 21:22). But there is more complexity.
“You (Corinthian believers) are the Temple of the living God.” II Cor. 6:16
“…you also are being built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Eph. 2:22
“He is the head of the body, the church….” Col. 1:18
So Christ is the Temple, and He is building it up with us as individual stones.
“…like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house.” I Pet. 2:4,5
Perhaps the most puzzling part of Zechariah’s prophecy is “and there shall be a priest on His throne and peaceful understanding shall be between them both.” Zech. 6:13
Between which ‘both’? Logically between the king and the priest, who will have very separate agendas. The task of the king is to rule and judge. The task of the priest is to mediate and forgive.Note that the Messiah is prophesied to be both king and priest (and Deity) in Psa. 110.
“The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your foes.” Psa. 110:2
"You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." Psa. 110:4
How can one person judge on one hand and forgive on the other? This dilemma is the subject of Romans: How can He be both “just and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:27)? Can the same person hold the sword of justice in one hand and the priestly pardon in the other—and not be conflicted?
The answer is that our King and Judge has lived on earth and has been tempted in all points as we are yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15). He makes His judgments based on personal experience. But God must condemn the guilty nevertheless. Therefore we are “justified by His grace as a gift through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forth as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith.” (Rom. 3:24–25) So the Judge paid the penalty as He, the Branch, "The Lord our Righteousness", died for sins and then went into the Holy of Holies in Heaven to intercede for us as our Priest. (Heb. 9:11–12). Thereafter, He is Temple-building us up into a spiritual house.
The economy of God is strange and wonderful. Who would have thought of such unique arrangements? How complex our Christ is!