Zechariah Bible Study # 2
The Angel of Jehovah Among the Myrtle Trees
Patrol of the Earth
1:7 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 prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, as follows: 8 I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine, with red, sorrel and white horses behind him. 9 Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” And the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.” 10 And the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are those whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth.” 11 So they answered the angel of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees and said, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet.”
12 Then the angel of the Lord said, “O Lord of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” 13 The Lord answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words. 14 So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. 15 But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster.” 16 Therefore thus says the Lord, “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.”’ 17 Again, proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”’” NASB
All of these visions are connected, and are leading to a conclusion. This first vision has a specific purpose, to comfort God’s people. Though it is a vision, it is the word of the Lord. One man summed it up this way, “God’s personal care.”
Verse 7 - The mention of the specific day is significant. Exactly 5 months before under the preaching of Haggai the people had been stirred up to begin the work of rebuilding the temple. Now, as happens, maybe some of the wind had gone out of their sails and they were in need of fresh wind. God cares about specific days, Passover was fulfilled on Passover. (Jesus being crucified) Unleaved Bread and First fruits were fulfilled by Jesus. Pentecost was fulfilled on Pentecost. The Feast of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles are yet to be fulfilled. The Feast of Trumpets will coincide with the ‘confirming of the 7 year treaty’ to start the final 7 years. The feast of Atonement will be one of the final events and the feast of Tabernacles which is spread out over 7 days will end it all, and not accidentally, this feast lasts more than one day, therefore, “no man knows the day or the hour.” Neat, huh?
Numbers 12:6 “ He said,
“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision.
I shall speak with him in a dream.”
God reveals that a very valid way that He communicates His word to people is through visions and dreams. In a vision the mental and spiritual faculties of the prophet were awake and able to ask questions and respond to and interact with the vision.
Verse 8 - The eye of the prophet is drawn to a ‘man’ standing in the midst of myrtle trees. Myrtle = the Hebrew name Hadassah which equals our rendering of Esther. They were fragrant trees that grew in the valley. In Isaiah 55:13 they are what God replaces the thorn bushes with in the New Kingdom. They are a symbol of Israel, a symbol of a people lowly and contrite, growing out of the sight of most. In the deep, symbolizes that the people are still under the control of the great world powers. But the great, ‘nevertheless’, of God is no matter who it seems is in control, no matter what the circumstances of your life the main thing is that “I am with you.”
It is not what we are going through, it is WHO is with us.
Who is this ‘man’ standing among the myrtle trees, verse 11 opens our eyes it is the “Angel of Jehovah”, none other than the pre-incarnate Jesus. Israel, bowing under the weight of the world powers with no national independence was nevertheless, not cast off by God. God is there in their midst. Jeremiah 30:11 “For I am with you,’ declares the Lord, ‘to save you;
For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you,
Only I will not destroy you completely.
But I will chasten you justly
And will by no means leave you unpunished.”
This is also a great comfort to us. We are dealing with this same faithful, covenant-keeping God. His promises are sure. He does not change.
The colors of the horses are significant. Red is judgment, blood, vengeance. The speckled or bay horse, has a mixed character of judgment and mercy. The multitude of the army is symbolic of the power of Jehovah to accomplish what He sets out to do. His Hand is not weak or short.
Verse 9 - The angel that talked “in me” is the interpreting angel addressed as “adoni” my lord. Not Adonai which equals “my Lord” (capital ‘L’). This angel prepares Zechariah’s heart to understand the visions. Zechariah’s questions are an important part of him gaining understanding. God loves it when we ‘dig deeper’ into scripture, searching it out.
Verse 10 - God has sent them on a mission to patrol the earth/land.
Verse 11 - These angels answer to their ‘captain’, that all is peaceful and quiet. This could mean that the gentile world powers that had persecuted the Jewish people were at peace at the moment. It could also be an encouragement to the people to build, because it was a time of peace, not war.
Verse 12 - The 70 years of captivity are over, but the people are still living like things are bad. They are not wholly taken up with the rebuilding, they are discouraged and downcast. There has been a ‘carry-over’ of a defeated spirit. And the cause, and the solution are one in the same - God! So this is seen as Jesus, high-priestly intercession for the people.
Verse 13 - Gracious words, comforting words. WOW, we had better ‘selah’ here - stop and consider and be grateful for a God who has gracious words, comforting words for us. In times of darkness, trouble, discouragement, this is the God with whom we have to do!
Verse 14-17 What kind of words does the Lord consider to be comforting words? It is important to see that the Lord does not give sympathy, He puts their eyes back on HIM. His faithfulness, His jealousy for them, His plan for their future, His absolute control over the nations and kingdoms and times.
First, His jealousy for Jerusalem and Zion. This is a comfort for the present time that Zechariah was speaking and also for us and for the final times. Jerusalem is His choice from which to rule and reign. Zion is both a specific spot in Israel and a mystical reference to the church, the servants of Jehovah, us. There is a certain comfort in righteous jealousy, that has a “my boyfriends back and you’re gonna be in trouble” feel to it. God’s anger flows from His love. God’s chastisement flows from His love. His choice is to keep on loving us.
Second His displeasure with the nations for taking a greater zeal and a deeper hatred in their actions toward the people of God than He had intended. Isaiah 47:6 “I was angry with My people, I profaned My heritage
And gave them into your hand.
You did not show mercy to them,
On the aged you made your yoke very heavy.”
It is especially evil that many atrocities have been committed against the Jews, by people and powers operating in the name of Jesus.
Prophecy is clear that punishment will come upon the Jews when they disobey God.
“Prophecy, is given to us, not that it may be fulfilled, but because the omniscient God, who sees the end from the beginning, knows that it will be fulfilled, and man is left a free and responsible agent; and the nations who know not that the great God is overruling all things, even their wicked actions, to be the fulfillment of His predetermined counsel, are held accountable for their deeds.”
So there is sort of a “loose sovereignty” here. I don’t know how else to explain it because under the direction of Satan who has an everlasting hatred for the Jew and the purpose and covenant of God, the nations go “too far” in their persecution of the Jew. (Christians should never be persecuting Jews, we are to be living in such a way as to cause them to be jealous for ‘their God.’)
Verse 16 - “I am” returned is in the present perfect tense. It is a sure thing. It is never ‘forever’ and it is never unto the death, that Jehovah forsakes His people and the land. They are still the center of the unfolding of His purposes of mercy to all mankind.
Hosea 5:15 I will go away and return to My place
Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. 6:1“Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
6:2 “He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him.
God makes specific promises, so that, the comfort that He is offering in this vision is something the people can count on.
“My house shall be built in it” a visible sign of the restored fellowship between God and His people.
“a line shall be stretched over it” indicates a plan and an arrangement of the city.
“My cities” These are peculiarly HIS, His chosen cities, and they shall overflow with prosperity.
The ultimate promise is that the Lord Himself, will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem. This choosing demonstrates in the sight of all the world the fact and the immutability of His original choice of her.
All of this was partially fulfilled at the time of Zechariah, and partially fulfilled at the time of Jesus. But after Jesus, James quotes an Old Testament scripture, Amos 9:11,12 in Acts chapter 15, to indicate that ultimate fulfillment was yet to come. Jehovah has big plans for His chosen people and His chosen land and they have never been fulfilled and will not be fulfilled by the current political state of Israel. Isaiah 2:2-4 Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
3 And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.
Micah 4:1-3 And it will come about in the last days
That the mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains.
It will be raised above the hills,
And the peoples will stream to it.
2 Many nations will come and say,
“Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord
And to the house of the God of Jacob,
That He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For from Zion will go forth the law,
Even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they train for war.”
We yet await for the true glory to be fulfilled by the hand of God.
We yet await for the ultimate comfort of Zion.
We yet await for the exhaustive fulfillment of the choosing of Jerusalem.