Summary: The Lord assured Zerubbabel that the work of rebuilding the Temple would be completed, not by human might and power, but by His Spirit. He is encouraged to look beyond his present distress to the glorious future that God has determined.
God gave His prophet Zechariah 8 visions in one night.
• The 1st vision God assured His people that He still cares. He was angry with the hostile nations for their harsh treatment against Israel.
• In the 2nd vision God revealed that He has judged the powerful empires because they scattered Judah.
• God prophesied in the 3rd vision that He has a glorious future for Jerusalem and through Israel, the world will be blessed with the coming of the Messiah.
We see God directing His focus on the two leaders in the 4th vision (covered last week) and 5th vision (today).
• The visions are more specific, giving reference to the current leaders of the group – Joshua, the high priest, and Zerubbabel, the governor, a descendant of King David.
• They were encouraged to do the work that God has entrusted to them – the rebuilding of the Temple - because God has a great plan for this place.
• At this point in time, they were barely 5 months into the work and facing difficulties.
Remember Haggai’s 2nd message to them, some 4 months ago – Haggai 2:4 (7th mth)
• “But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,' declares the LORD. `Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the LORD, `and work. For I am with you,' declares the LORD Almighty.”
In Zechariah’s 4th vision (11th mth), Joshua was seen standing before the Lord as the high priest, representing the nation, but dressed in filthy clothes and being accused by Satan.
• He was acquitted by God and given clean garments in exchange, not because the accusation was false, but because the Lord says He has chosen Jerusalem.
• It was election by grace, because God has provided redemption.
• God provides the clean garments, not unjustly or unfairly, but in the light of the coming Messiah, who will pay for the “clean garments”, so to speak.
The Lord said the priests “are men symbolic of things to come” (3:8), pointing to the coming of “the great high priest”, the Christ who would offer, not animal sacrifices on behalf of the people, but himself as the atoning sacrifice for sin.
• Through Him, God would ultimately “remove the sin of this land in a single day.” (3:9)
• (Referring to Jesus’ 1st coming and death on the cross, and more likely, His second coming when He returns and establishes the Millennial Kingdom “in this land”.)
Joshua was made clean and re-instated in his priestly role, and so would Israel.
• They have to look beyond the present distress to the future glory of the times of the Messiah, and therefore treasure what they have to do, right now. It has significance!
Having encouraged Joshua, the Lord turned His attention to Zerubbabel.
• The next vision was directed for him. Read Zech 4:1-14.
Zechariah was awakened and directed to see a solid gold lampstand.
• It probably resembles the lampstand that God instructed Moses to make for the tabernacle (Exo 25:31-40) and also the ones in Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 7:49).
• Exo 25:31-32 “Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it. 32Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand - three on one side and three on the other.” Exo 25:40 “See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
What was unique in this vision was the bowl at the top of the lampstand and the seven channels connecting it to the lights.
• And there were two olive trees beside the bowl and lampstand, one on the right, the other on the left.
• From the question Zechariah asked in 4:12, we know he saw two gold pipes linking them to the bowl, pouring out olive oil.
The lampstands in the Tabernacle or Temple provide the only source of light in the holy place. They are to be kept burning continuously.
• According to God’s instruction given to Moses (Exo 27:21), the priests (Aaron and his sons) have to step in every morning and evening, to trim the wicks and refill the lamps with pure olive oil (Exo 30:7-8), to make sure they stay lighted continuously.
• They were kept burning by human efforts but the lampstand Zechariah saw in this vision was different.
• It has a constant supply of oil from the olive trees, flowing out to the two golden pipes and into the bowl, and then from the bowl through the channels to the 7 lights.
• No human effort is necessary. The bowl is right on top. The oil flows down continuously. There is unceasing supply of oil.