Summary: It is not easy to read God’s providence, but faith grasps that even behind what is indiscernible ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love Him’ (Rom 8:28). Though the rulers of the world were not watching out for God’s people, the Lord was.
ZECHARIAH 1: 12-17
[Revelation 1: 12-20]
We left off last time with the angels reporting that all the earth was peaceful and quiet (1:11). In the second year of Darius (489 BC) there prevailed an uncommonly peaceful time. The Medes and the Persians had conquered the Babylonian and the Chaldean empires 40 years earlier and established their unquestioned military supremacy over the world. And so the world was content for law and order were established. Yet, Judea, the home of the nation of God, was for the most part lying in waste, and Jerusalem was still without walls, and exposed in the most defenseless manner to all the insults of the opponents of the Jews.
It is not often easy to read God’s providence, but faith grasps that even behind what is indiscernible ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love Him’ (Rom. 8:28). Though the rulers of the world were not watching out for the people of God, the Angel of the Lord was. That is the truth the vision is designed to emphasize. Here we learn of the Mediator’s intercessory prayer and its answer.
Now, let us continue our message from last week.
[III. THE VISION AND ITS MESSAGE]
I. A MESSAGE OF COMPASSION, 12-13.
II. A MESSAGE OF EXPLANATION, 14-15.
III. A MESSAGE OF HOPE, 16-17.
The next two verses are the focus of the first vision and contain its central message. We pick up again in verse 12 with our great Intercessor’s calling out to the Father on behalf of His repentant people. Then the Angel of the LORD answered and said, "O, LORD of Hosts, how long wilt thou have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?"
The temple of Zion was in desolation and the cities of Judah were in pitiful condition as the Angel of YHWH moves to intercede for them with the Father on behalf of the repentant remnant. For the preincarnate Christ, the red horse rider, is identified with His people in their sufferings, degradation and misery (woe) which is shown by His standing amidst the myrtle trees. He desires the completion of a restoration process in both its physical and spiritual dimensions.
So the Angel of YHWH offers a supplication to the Father on behalf of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah (Heb. 7:25). What a message of comfort to oppressed and depressed Israel, to have their Advocate and Intercessor so revealed to them.
Notice what He intercedes for is mercy and what He complains of is lack of mercy (compassion) (Ps. 85:7; 89:2; Ezra 9:8). Lord, are not the 70 years of punishment over (Dan. 9:2) and yet they are still under the correcting anger of the 70 years of captivity first predicted by Jeremiah (25:11-12, 29:10) for their rebellion. But now because of their repentance the Intercessor can request God to send them a new day.
Today Jehovah-Christ, the great Mediator for His churches in the heavenly tabernacle, continues to intercede with God to show mercy to His people. And still today, two and a half millenniums later we the cry "how long, Lord till you come and stand with us?"
In verse 13 the LORD reminds His people that He stands ready to act on behalf of His repentant people. And the LORD answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words.
Here we find the sovereign Lord answering the Angel of the Lord’s intercessory prayer by informing the interpreting angel so that Zechariah might make known that God has answered His mediator’s plea. Though we do not know what the answer specifically was, we know that in substance it was a message, a promise of good words, even comforting words.
Words which promise good are salvation words (Josh. 23:14, Jer. 29:10). The salvation words mean the removing of their distressful condition and the opportunity to move forward again.
II. A MESSAGE OF EXPLANATION, 14-15.
The remaining verses give greater detail about what the kind and comforting words were. In verse 14 we see the LORD’s reaction to those who are wrongfully threatening His people. 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."
Here the interpreting angel begins the summary of the good and comforting words of salvation. He tells the prophet to proclaim literally--’cry out’ (gera) or to call with energy and spirit, the message of momentous import of the LORD of Hosts.
The name LORD of Hosts is used 53 times in Zechariah alone of its 200 usages in all of the Old Testament. This name emphasizes that God is the controller and ruler over all created agencies. It also represents all those gathered under Him.