Zechariah Bible Study #4
The Man With the Measuring Line
God’s Favor to Zion
2:1 Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 So I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see how wide it is and how long it is.” 3 And behold, the angel who was speaking with me was going out, and another angel was coming out to meet him, 4 and said to him, “Run, speak to that young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it. 5 For I,’ declares the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”
6 “Ho there! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the Lord, “for I have dispersed you as the four winds of the heavens,” declares the Lord. 7 “Ho, Zion! Escape, you who are living with the daughter of Babylon.” 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. 9 For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me. 10 Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord. 11 “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. 12 The Lord will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.
13 “Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.” NASB
Remember these visions are connected, they are “good words, comforting words.” The measuring line speaks of a space being marked out to occupy in the condition of the restoration that God brings. A plan is being made, arrangements are in the works. The Master Builder is making preparations.
The vision starts with a man on a mission. He has a measuring line in his hand. If this is the same ‘man’ who was standing among the myrtle trees then it is a pre-appearance of Jesus. He is set about on the symbolic act of measuring the city, come to find out, it is not nearly big enough for what God has planned. Now the communication starts happening so fast it is hard to keep up with. The message is so joyful, so marvelous, that the messenger is told to ‘run’ with it. Jerusalem which is just starting to be re-populated and re-built will one day burst at the seams.
When God has His way, it is bigger than we could measure. When God has His way the walls are over run. The security the walls provided is now handled personally by God.
Sadly there is an imitation of this time, that is man-made. A 'peace’ that has the appearance of providing safety, when in actuality it is the ultimate set-up for destruction. Ezekiel 38:11“and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of un-walled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates,” We have to be so aware of not wanting some “thing” so badly that we by-pass God and His ways to get it. That is one of the great temptations/deceptions of the end times.
God sees the coming time of false safety and peace, the destruction that follows, and HIS time of true peace and safety. Isaiah 49:19,20 ““For your waste and desolate places and your destroyed land—
Surely now you will be too cramped for the inhabitants,
And those who swallowed you will be far away.
20 “The children of whom you were bereaved will yet say in your ears,
‘The place is too cramped for me;
Make room for me that I may live here.’”
Verse 4 - The addition of “and cattle" means that we cannot spiritualize this verse and say that it is not talking about a literal Jerusalem restored for the glory of God. As a wall of fire, He is a perfect defense for those within and a sure destruction for those without. Jesus makes clear that this applies in the New Testament too, when He says, in Matthew 5:35 not to swear by “the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King." In fact God guarantee’s that one day the name of Jerusalem will be changed to “The Lord is There" = Jehovah Shammah, Ezekiel 48:35.
Need to quote a paragraph from Baron. “But has the purpose of God been frustrated by Israel’s unbelief, and will the exceeding great and precious promises in reference to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom on this earth, with Jerusalem as its center, fail for evermore because the Jewish people has not kept the covenant committed to them? Oh no; man’s unbelief and disobedience may, in accord with the foreknowledge and infinite wisdom of God, cause the delay and postponement of God’s predetermined counsel, which in this particular instance has been the occasion of salvation and blessing to untold million of Gentiles (Romans 11:11-15), but it can never frustrate it.”
Jesus came to confirm the promises made to the fathers (Romans 15:8)"For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers,.” He did not come to annul or transfer the promises. We have a taste of that outward protection and inward illumination in our walk with God presently, but there is ‘more to come’ in God’s ultimate fulfillment of the promise.
The vision of these promises prompts the prophet to speak strongly to the people who chose not to return to Jerusalem when given the opportunity. Baron makes a good point here that although Babylon was physically to the east, they attacked from the North, so they are depicted as being called to return from the north, using the great caravan route. The reason for the call is two-fold, 1) Look how amazing Jerusalem is going to be, and 2) look at the destruction that God is planning to bring to the nations. This again is a call that was only partially answered, one day the promise is, God will gather those he has scattered.
Verses 8-12 give a picture of Messiah’s character and purpose, with regard to the nations and Israel.
A careful reading of these verses reveals a mystery, Jehovah is sent by Jehovah. It is one thing to say, “The Lord our God is one God.” It is quite another to humbly admit, that that one Lord, could have a ‘unity’ that is beyond our ability to comprehend. The trinity, defies explanation by our finite minds, but it is truth revealed by God.
The best rendering of “after glory hath He sent Me” is “to vindicate and to display the glory of God.” Glory is displayed in the judgments that are inflicted on the nations who have oppressed Israel, and glory is displayed in the mercy and grace shown to Israel in delivering them. Lastly glory is displayed in the blessing that comes through Israel to the Gentile nations after Israel is restored and Mount Zion becomes the center of Messiah’s governmental rule of the nations.
God’s care for Israel as the apple of His eye has been spoken of since Deut. 32. Even when they feel forsaken, and are under the rule of others, God continues to watch over them and to make note of the conduct of the nations toward them.
“And in this tender love and faithfulness of Jehovah to His unworthy Israel, you may see a picture of His unchangeable love and faithfulness to you also.” David Baron
“Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” This is not only our prayer, but our sure hope, in God.
This next verse speaks of the second coming of Jesus. The mystery of the two comings, was not at all clear in the Hebrew scriptures. When Jesus came and began to do miracles and be proclaimed as the Messiah, even John, who pointed Him out was caused to stumble because Jesus was not a conquering King raising Israel to great heights and subjecting their enemies.
The ancient Rabbis seeing the two apparently contradictory, descriptions of the Messiah, as a suffering servant and a conquering king, formulated a belief in two Messiahs. Messiah ben Joseph, who should suffer and die; and a Messiah ben David, who should conquer and reign. This dilemma is solved by one Messiah with two comings.
Verse 10 This coming, the second coming of Jesus, will bring great rejoicing to those who are looking for His appearing, but at the same time great fear and wailing from those who do not. One event bringing two very different reactions. This one event is our “blessed hope." Some say it can not be a blessed hope, if such destruction and tribulation accompany it, but indeed it can.
Glory comes to God both in the defeat of His enemies and in the salvation of His people.
Verse 11 speaks of the double blessing, as many nations come to God, and Israel has God dwelling in their midst.
Verse 12 is the only time in the Bible where we see the words “holy land.” Again it emphasizes that this is not some ‘spiritual’ promise, but is dealing with an actual people in an actual land. A people who have an actual promise from God that He will fulfill.
Verse 13 “Be silent.” When God breaks into this world, flesh bows and is silent.
Revelation 22:20 “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
I can’t say I fully understand it or could articulate it, but it is becoming more clear to me that our call as Christians is to individuals, and that the call of Israel during the 1,000 year reign of Christ, is to nations. Of course our gentile call to the individual will affect the nation that we are in and the call of Israel to the nation will affect the individual