THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH
Godís Judgment Makes Way for the Messiah
3/20/11 SCC Zechariah 6
You might do this with a recipe. Or you might do it with your education. You could do it with a resumeí or exercise or even planting a garden. In each case you are preparing the way for an outcome. That might be dinner, or a career. It could be a job, health, or the bounty of your garden. It includes gathering ingredients and passing exams. It involves experience, dieting, and sweat. It means tilling soil, getting dirty, and pulling weeds. All with the outcome in mind! Zechariahs last vision of chariots and crowns reveals Godís exertions toward an ultimate outcome for His people and nation. The first part of the vision shows God clearing the way and the second part toward the ultimate outcome he has planned for His nation, and the universe. In essence, we can understand Godís worldview.
GODíS JUDGMENT PRECIPITATES HIS UNIVERSAL DOMINION 1-8
1. Here we have four chariots that come from between the two mountains of bronze v 1. ďComing forthĒ and ďgoing forthĒ are mentioned eight times in this part of the vision related to these chariots (1, 5, 6, 7, and 8). This suggests that whatever these chariots and riders are up to it is expressed by a flurry of activity reaching a climax in vs 8. There we learn that the intense movements in this vision of Godís chariot servants is occasioned by Godís work of renewal and redemption of His people which ends in a peaceful conclusion as His sovereign control is established in Zechariahís day.
2. The four chariots come forth from between two bronze mountains. Within Zechariah are two other references to Mountains. In 4:7 is a mountain used as a metaphor for difficulty related to building the temple that would be leveled to a plain so the building could be completed. Another mountain is spoken of in Zechariah 14:4 referring specifically to the Mt of Olives with God standing on it and it splitting in two with a valley in between creating two large mountains through which Godís people escape a besieged Jerusalem during the Tribulation. Later it serves as a conduit for waters to flow down to the Dead Sea when Christ reigns. These three images convey a common symbolismóGod sends forth His powerful servants to reclaim the earth for His sovereign rule against difficulties and opposition bringing peace to Jerusalem and the entire earth.
3. Four chariots mark Gods dominion countering all resistance. (1) These chariots are pulled by various kinds of colored horses. These are unique colors not matching other prophetic colors in other placesósimilar to the horse vision of Rev 6:1-8. (2) Black horses and white ones go north and the spotted ones south v 6óall of these called Ďstrong onesí in v 7. The geography of Israel necessitates travel north and south and not east and west because of mountain ranges. They are on a mission on Godís behalf v 5 that will end in Godís wrath resting v 8. (3) That mission is to appease Godís wrath in the north v 8. In Zechariahís day this resting of Godís wrath is Babylonís destruction by Persia. God is in charge of the conspiracies and stratagems of nations all throughout history and even today. These chariots could symbolize the Persians whom God used even though they could not realize it to bring peace to the region and salvation to His people. This subjugation of Babylon has been achieved by Persia. Persia and Cyrus the King are spoken of as Godís willing servants (Isa 44:28; 45:1-2; 2 Chron 36:22-23; Ezra 6:6-12, 22; 7:6, 11-26; 9:9; Neh 2:8; 11:23) consistently attesting to the favor of the Persian Kings toward the go Jews. In the future, being apocalyptic literature, this will be a final judgment at Jesus Second Coming that brings the peace of Jerusalem and universal peace to the world while Christ reigns.
Lesson: The reason for judgment is always to appease the wrath of God. For instance, Jesus is the propitiation of our sins and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Jesus appeased Godís wrath against sin when He died on the cross. The Great White Throne judgment will appease Godís wrath toward unbelievers in eternal torment. The character of God is justice so there needs to be a judgment to offset that wrath. Sin is never overlooked. We should be eager for Godís wrath to run its course in light of the outcome it will bring. This is what is going to happen in the Tribulation periodóit is going to be punishment because Godís justice has to. The scales will be balanced. This will be that one final and universal dominion by God over His creation!
JESUS CHRIST ESTABLISHES GODíS FINAL AND UNIVERSAL DOMINION 9-15
1. There is a crown made for Joshua the High Priest v 11. The crown is fashioned with offerings of silver and gold from visitors who came from Babylon v 9-10. Following the peace established in the first part of the vision is now the possibility of a person being placed as a ruler in the quieted realm. In addition, the building of the Temple demands cessation from turmoil, opposition, and hostility for its successful conclusion. Here is a priest being crowned with a royal diadem. This is unusual because priests, though crowned, were not crowned as king. There was a separation between the Levitical priesthood and the kings. The priests were from the tribe of Levi, the family of Aaron. The kings were from the tribe of Judah and the family of David. There is more going on here and being communicated here through this vision. So the crowing of the priest has regal implications for him but also for the remnant and the future of Israel.
2. Zechariahís next word is directly to Joshua in v 12. ĎSay to himí Ďa man whose name is Branch will build the Temple of the Lordí. V 13 repeats this ĎYes it is He who will build the temple of the LordÖí We had reference to this Branch already in Zech 3:8 identified as the servant of the Lordóin line of David, Jesus Christ. But we also know that Zerubbabel is presently handed the responsibility to rebuild the Temple. He has been named the Temple builder 4:7-10. As a direct offspring of the line of David he is well qualified to sit on the royal throne of Judah v 13. It also says he will sprout out from where he is v 12. Zerubbabel will not be this branch but he symbolizes this branch that will rule. It will not happen in his day but when the Branch predicted to come His realm will encompass a throne and priesthood.
2. So in this vision we have two rulers, one a priest, and one a king. They will converge in oneóJesus Christ who will bring both of these offices together v 13. That will happen in the future. Jesus is a priest from the order of Melchizedek not Aaron (Gen 14; Heb 5:6-10; 6:20; 7:1-17) that is called a better priesthood. The Levitical priesthood was in submission to the Melchizedek priesthood because Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek and Levi was the great-grandson of Abraham. The Messiah is also a king form the family of David.
3. The crowning of Zerubbabel and Joshua will serve as a magnet attracting the far-flung exiles back to Jerusalem to participate in the Temple re-construction and kingdom restoration for the people v 14. Subsequent returnees under Ezra and Nehemiah came encouraged with a renewed hope v 15. The entire community would have to confess the fact that Zechariahís declarations made him a true prophet of God. But the fulfillment was not automatic. It would require responsible obedience to ensure its outcome v 15. Joshua and Zerubbabel are signs whose messianic significance is unmistakable. They both point toward something far more remarkable and transcendent than even they could have envisioned. Their historical importance heralds the coming of Christ who will set all things straight renewing, redeeming, and re-establishing his people when he reigns.
Lesson: God Himself will bring about the future of the earth and His kingdom so that He and His Messiah will get the glory for all things. Beginning with David there was anticipation of a merging of the royal and priestly rule in one individual, a descendent of Davidís house. He will be a universal ruler of all the nations (Psa 2:2-8). He would also be a priest from the line of Melchizedek (Ps 110:2-4). This one is identified as Jesus Christ making both Joshua and Zerubabbel messianic forerunners prototypes of that One to come.
A. 1. So what one thinks and believes about Jesus Christ determines their destiny forever. One cannot be cavalier about this. It is not just terribly importantóit is supremely significant.
B. 2. All events today precipitate the prophecy of Zechariah 6. God is converging all regional, national, and global events toward this endóGodís final and universal dominion rule in Jesus Christ. That includes all political, economic, military, and social happenings.
C. 3. As God orchestrates His plan, you can decide to participate with God in it. You can begin by acknowledging Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Then you can follow Christ and participate in that Kingdom living today as His faithful disciple.