Paul Harvey, during his daily radio broadcasts, made famous the statement “The Rest of the Story.” He would tell the unfamiliar stories behind the familiar stories of men, feats, events and situations. Did you know the same is true of many “bible stories” found in the Old and New Testament scriptures? The following may not be quite the same as Mr. Harvey’s reviews of history, events and people, but they can be just as stunning, revealing, informative, and mind opening.
This publication will look at dozens of these surprising “aha moments” from scripture. Some will startle, some readers will find them particularly satisfying, and some will realize that history and the Bible are the same thing; a review of what was and remains an actuality. The Bible stories in scripture are space-limited and cannot publish everything surrounding, coinciding, or consequential to these stories. Some Bible time events are well-known and others not quite as well known but none the less found in scripture with a correlating “aha moment”. NOTE: The Bible and history are contemporaneous.
Included in this website are messages from others who serve our God; i.e. studied individuals such as ministers and Bible teachers.
Let’s explore some of these aha moments in scripture and have a ton of fun while doing so!!
– Dr. J
Bible Devotions or Bible Study?
Bible Devotions are like paying the minimum amount due on ones credit card debt. One seldom gains ground. Bible study is like paying the monthly balance in full plus something extra. We gain ground quickly!
The subject matter of chapter 13 is well defined in the first two verse. We are using the ESV this time. It is more inclusive and understandable than are some other translations.
Zechariah 13:1,2“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
“And on that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will cut off the names of the *idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness.
*Idols: hinderances blocking our fellowship and commitment to God alone.
We again read the identifying words of “on that Day”. Our previous chapter article comments have defined the meaning of On That Day as the coming of Christ. At minimum the conclusion of the 7-year tribulation in not only Israel but the world i.e. Daniel’s 70th week as found in Daniel 9. Chapter 9 begins with Daniel praying for Israel, acknowledging the nation’s sins against God, and asking for God’s mercy. As Daniel prayed, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and gave him a vision of Israel’s future. [cf. see our ahabiblemoments commentary on Daniel 9 then continue below]
The future to which Daniel is directed by the angel Gabriel is spelled out in the Book of Zechariah. Verse 1 and 2 are multiple and incredibly significant events.
On that day…not a traditional 24-hour day, but the turning point in God’s plans for his creation. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done” [Matthew 6:9 and Luke 11:2] now begins.
A cleansing fountain is opened (in Israel)
This cleansing includes the mind, memories, bad deeds, wrongful hearts, false intentions of those surviving members of God’s chosen people of Israel. The seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
To whom? The House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
The church of the Gentile age is not even hinted
Do not spiritualize what is not there. The First Church of anything is NOT mentioned including the Papal Roman church and global denominational branches
Cut off the names of idols
This is major. Distractors will no longer be remembered by those being cleansed by the “fountain” in Israel. A totally clean memory of God alone will be on minds.
As we will find out at the end of this chapter, 2/3rds of Israeli life is gone. Only 1/3rd remains. They receive a second chance of salvation entering the Millennial Reign.
This is God speaking through Zechariah about THAT DAY that begins the transition of this world to the Kingdom of God with Jesus on the throne. It is not a traditional 24-hour period but a beginning of a new time, a new age, a new world rule. ”Thy kingdom [IS] come”.
Idol worship will be cut off. The names or memories of any god other than Jehovah-God will no longer be on the minds of Israelites.
Removal of distractors and deception in Jerusalem and Israel.
David Guzik says it well: “Idolatry and false prophecy were the two principle ways Israel was led astray from God. God not only provides a fountain to cleanse, but He also promises to cut off the source of uncleanness – in this case, idolatry and false prophecy.”
This includes any type of substitute or distractor that impeded worship of God by man.
All of this is packed into the first just two verses of Zechariah 13. A study in and of itself.
Verse 3 needs a bit of insight. We read that the sons of some will be “thrust through by their own parents” for continuing to prophecy in this land of Israel. The sons will know (yadda) that they are false prophets seeking recognition in that land by their appearance including the wearing the traditional animal skin clothing. The Hebrew word for through is dâqar. It can mean to be fed no longer, tossed out, starved, reviled [Strong 1856]. We should not automatically think it as thrust with a spear, knife, or sword. We must also allow for it. It will be like a parent disowning a child. ”You are no longer our son” is the interpretation of strongest value.
Zechariah 13:4,5 offer additional consideration to the above dâqar. They must still be among the living to deny their being prophets, claiming to be mere farmers, to be shamed by others including themselves, etc. Verse 6 gives us additional understanding of the corner into which these “sons” have painted themselves. It was a tradition in bible times and in the dark ages of the Catholic Church [and other religious groups] up to today, to validate their honesty and chastity by wounding themselves with whips, knives, or devises to leave bodily wounds visible to others in hopes of being held in awe for their sincerity. These wounds are thought to somehow increase their viewed honesty of intent. This is false pretentiousness. These “sons” who will claim to be farmers, not prophets, would have callused hands, not bleeding hands. They will also lack the dark tans and rough skin of active farmers.
V6: “Wounds from the home of a friend.” When a false prophet wanted to make an example or public statement of his predictions or prophecies, he would wound himself while taking a vow in the name of God for his truthfulness. Recall the prophets of Baal and Elijah [I Kings 16]. Between verse 5 and verse 6 of Zechariah 13 we find this false prophet being caught changing his story. In v5 he claims to be a farmer. In v6 he claims to have provided evidence to a friend of his prophetic sincerity. One should consider that this is the basic meaning of taking the Lord’s name in vain, i.e. to prophecy or make false claims using God’s name as a witness to his prophesying truthfulness by making a vow. He may also be claiming to have had a fallout with a friend and received his wounds from a fight at his friend’s house.
Zechariah 13:7 changes the focus. Now Zechariah isolates his discussion to the false shepherds of the flocks in Israeli towns and villages. That is, the people (flocks) over whom s/he has authority but do not have their interests at heart. Commentaries are divided over this verse. Some see it as the cross and crucifixion of Jesus some 600 years later. Some see it as the continued scattering of the Tribes of Israel to the four corners of the earth with or without provocation. But Zechariah is talking to those who returned from Babylonian captivity. This is long after the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were scattered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. The Babylonian remnant to whom Zechariah is prophesying will later be dispersed by Alexander the Great (Greek) and the Romans. However, Zechariah is discussing a time 2,000 or so years later “On the Day” at the end of the Tribulation yet to come.
Zechariah 13:8 is another controversial verse or prophecy. It is best to take this verse just how it is presented. Two-thirds of those living in Israel (Jerusalem) will die at the hands of their enemy. One third will survive. The answer to this dilemma is in a question itself. What will it take for the stubborn Israelites to accept the Messiah who their descendants will crucify? It will demand that they be put into an impossible situation of which there is no escape. Any intervention will need to be from God. They will know it and no longer deny him. This is the summation and the beginning of every verse that says “in or on that day” statement throughout the entire Book of Zechariah. His prophesies mark the end of the way it was and the beginning of the way it will be during the Millennial Reign. The Messiah Jesus will finally be recognized and accepted as their King on the Throne of David. Jesus is in the DNA line of David, a Judean from the Tribe of Judah.
This slaughter of 2/3rds of Israelis in Israel will be at the hands of all nations aligned against then. Those who have since the establishment of Israel have been the thorn-in-the-side of the world, particularly against *Satan since King David made Jerusalem his home and capital city of Israel. This takes us back to Zechariah 12:3 keeping us within the context of who is being discussed and prophesied about by Zechariah. The church of believers was no longer on earth. They had been raptured but return with Christ in the clouds to rule and judge alongside of him.
*This issue between man and Satan goes back to Genesis 3:15. “And I will put enmity between thee [Satan] and the woman [Israel; God’s chosen], and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” [KJV]
What a day that will be, When my Jesus I shall see, And I look upon His face, The One who saved me by His grace; When He takes me by the hand, And leads me through the Promised Land, What a day, glorious day that will be.
Chapter 9 is about the final judgement of the enemies of Israel. Chapter 10 is about the promised restoration of Israel, not as two separate kingdoms. Chapter 11 is about the doomed within the flock of Israel and leadership. Chapter 12- When all is lost, God steps in.
Why has God not been thanked by us as individuals or corporately for the many times he has stepped in to make things right? We have discussed this topic before in ahabiblemoments articles. Here is another reason this chapter is an exclusive covenant to Israel. They failed and continue to fail through the ages, up to the writing of this article, to recognize God’s hand. We assume the good we experience is simply providential. Give me help until I see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I will make it the rest of the way on my own. This is still the deluded but basic belief of Israelis. It was true in their wilderness wandering and remains true today.
Chapter 12 speaks to this. Pay attention. This is exclusive to Israelis feeling this way, that is, this End Time discussion at this “in that day” moment in Zechariah. Believers (the real church) are raptured. They no longer are on earth at this prophetic point in Zechariah.
We seldom recommend the CEV (Contemporary English Version) as a primary Bible text, but it does make for simplified reading, often at the expense of full disclosure, the wrong wording or exclusions. Here is how the CEV opens Zechariah 12:1. It is good and simple and well worded for them.
“This is a message from the LORD about Israel: I am the LORD! I stretched out the heavens; I put the earth on its foundations and gave breath to humans” [CEV].
Simply put AND factual as a direct message from God to Israel (No church of Bible believers involved in this passage). Christians be they Gentile or Jew are raptured by then. It leaves no doubt as to whom the target market is in Zechariah chapter 12:1. Do not spiritualize this passage in an unscriptural attempt to try and include the Church. This passage is to Israel, specifically Jerusalem. This passage is the definitive meaning of Romans 8:31b. “If God be for us, who can be against us”.
Zechariah 12:2“to make Jerusalem a cup of trembling.” We have many life examples of paranoia; absolute fear of one thing or another. Zechariah 12 tells of a global fear of Jerusalem. God is now in the driver’s seat. Other nations who have aligned themselves against her are catatonic. They are frozen in place and shaking. We do not have a good English word for this but in Hebrew it is called ra‛al. This means one is not looking from a distance but is standing right in front of their reason for “shaking in their boots” [absolute paranoia].
Zechariah 12:3 “and all the nations of the world will be gathered against it” [Brenton Bible Version]. There are many times we try to spiritualize scripture to make it sound better, to be less threatening, just thought but not an actuality, to be more positive, perhaps analogous or meaning something else safer or less fatal by spiritualizing. The people of Jerusalem are strong because the LORD Almighty is their God. This is the essence of verses 1-5. Zechariah 12:3 is even more troubling.
How can the USA align itself against Israel? It seems impossible. How can the 6 or 7 million Jews in New York alone not speak up to defend their native promised homeland of Israel and Jerusalem. This time in scripture and Zechariah prophesy will be the mother of all deceptions.
Verse 3, last line is not a metaphor. It says ALL NATIONS. The most recent 2020 USA national elections highly suggest that the USA is or already has produced a seismic shift away from Biblical standards. All nations cannot be redefined as meaning most nations. Not according to Zechariah 12:3. ALL NATIONS! Either America no longer exists or is aligned against Israel as part of ALL NATIONS. It should be genuinely concerning to believers. However, if believers are already raptured, this question is put to rest. Christians no longer occupy the earth as a body of believers.
But “God” we shout in today’s failure to take God at His word…there are many believers in America. God may respond…believers perhaps but are they absolute followers? Even the demons of Hell believe there is a Father God, Son Jesus Christ, and a real Holy Spirit. Yet they show no evidence of following in Christ’s footsteps. Aha-bible-moments suggests this is not an issue since the church of true believers is raptured before then.
Zechariah 12:4 [5, 6, &7] “In that day…” We continue to read these three words in Zechariah. Verse 4 begins with in that day as does verse 6. One should ask: what is THAT DAY? It is a day yet to be revealed. Not a 24-hour traditional day but a specific beginning to an end time series of events. No one will be guessing when THAT DAY reveals itself like the sun in the eastern horizon. All will see it, but few will have the Bible knowledge of what is happening in the sequence of historical events…End Time!
Verse 6 tells us that surrounding nations will be destroyed by God through the hands of “the captains of many” in Judah Israel. The Lord will save the tabernacles, tents, houses of Judah (Israel). The word used to describe these places is ‘ôhel. It can be translated places of worship, tents, homes, or people. To keep it within context since this is the Lord speaking in chapter 12, it means no one in Judah will think him or herself other than God is saving them. Not their missile defense, jets, rockets, powerful bombs, troops, or air force. Nothing with or of themselves will be their salvation at that moment of In ThatDay (V7).
Zechariah 12:8 & 9 is one statement. God will shelter those left in Jerusalem and will shâmad (annihilate) their enemies [cf. Zechariah 13:8]. The KJV says “to seek (bâqash) out and destroy.” It by no means suggests some aligned against Israel will somehow survive or hide from God’s wrath.
Here is insight for believers. The Hebrew word bâqash (seek) is analogous to how a believer is to worship God and pray!!!!! Do we get this? It is prayer and worship with fervor. Not a “Now I lay me down to sleep” type of praying or repetitious recital of the Lord’s Prayer. It is bâqash. Absolute commitment to worship and prayer. Is this missing in churches today? YES! Is it missing in Christians as individuals? Hmmm? Can bâqash be assigned a place in a bulletin?
The remainder of Zechariah is prophetic about the Christ (messiah) yet to come in Israel’s and humanity’s history. This is the New Testament being revealed in Old Testament scripture. Remember well. The original church after the death and resurrection of Jesus did not have a New Testament. They relied heavily upon scripture like Zechariah and Isaiah. This is an unconditional promise from God to Israel. He did send their [and our] Messiah but they crucified him. Gentiles crucify Him daily by not accepting Him as Lord, Savior, and living a life of prayer and worship. Too busy living “their” lives. One may also consider that many claiming believers also crucify him via their lack of a bâqash commiment.
In conclusion of Zechariah 12 we look at the only exception to covenants between God and mankind that is not conditioned with “if you____, the I (God)___”. It is Jeremiah 31:31. The NIV writes… “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.” This is a one-way covenant and precisely what Zechariah is conveying. The only unconditional covenant this writer can find in scripture. Israelis will no longer need to first do this so God can do this or that. It is not a bargain or conditional covenant-promise. We know this from other passages of absolute support for this one and only unconditional covenant; one that is NOT conditioned upon us doing something first. Are there those who are Christian in name only? [cf. Romans 10:9]
JIV NOTE: For the bâqash Bible student inquiry, read Jeremiah 30 before delving into this verse in Jeremiah 31.
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince forever. [Not a conditional covenant but one that will be fulfilled by God]
And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: they will fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither will the be lacking in anything says the Lord God. [Not a conditional covenant but one that will be fulfilled by God]
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” After that time? This is when the “if you__, then I will covenant types” are no longer conditional. God himself is setting the table. It is the Millennial Reign. God is supreme and there are no more prerequisites for him or Jeremiah 31:31.
There are several other supporting verses. Do not simply take our word for it. Look them up and learn.
“Open thy doors oh Lebanon so the fire may devour your Cedars (trees).” Zechariah 11:1 in multiple commentaries present all types of meaningful and some meaningless guess work. We take the high road. Lebanon is well known for its fabulous Cedars. It must mean in end time the great Cedars of Lebanon will be destroyed by fire. Perhaps “in that day” of final judgement.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare”. [NIV; II Peter 3:10] PS: as go the great Cedars of Lebanon are destroyed by fire. [cf. Zechariah 3:8; 2 Peter 3:11,12; Jeremiah 7:20…My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched.
God means precisely what HE writes through Zechariah 11 and noted by Peter in the New Testament. The elements of earth will be destroyed by fire including the great Cedars of Lebanon. A second commentary suggests this is possibly the destruction of the enemies of Israel coming from the north. What we do know is God will reunite the separated Tribes of Israel. They will become the center of the world and Christ will rule within it greatly expanded boarders. A third “guess”? It is the destroyed Temple itself by Romans in 70 A.D. That Temple was mostly built of Cedar from Lebanon [Ezra 3:11] by the remnant of those who returned from Babylonian captivity. One with Zerubbabel, a second return with Ezra and a third return with Nehemiah. (c.f. cut and paste http://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2013/03-05a.html) Three waves of exile and three waves of release and return to rebuild the Temple.
Zechariah 11:2 gives insight into verse 1. “Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled…” The mighty [‘addı̂yr meaning the powerful] are spoiled [shâdad meaning those who destroy or ravage]. This gives credence to the second possibility in the previous paragraph. Enemies or mighty armies from the north who descend upon Israel (Jerusalem) to destroy it. The first frontal attack is destroyed i.e. the great Cedars (soldiers) of the north. The weaker firs (lessor forces attacking from the east) are warned that the greater forces (represented by the Great Cedars) from the north have already been destroyed.
Zechariah 11:3 & 4 go together. Those within Israel “in that day” will howl for a way out, avoidance of pending destruction as they watch others being destroyed by none other than God. It is historically true that Israel as-a-whole does not heed God until they are in a situation where there is no other escape option available. As noted throughout the Old Testament God says: “Then they will know I am their God.” Verse 4 regarding “feed the flock” means to give instruction to them. Feed them the covenants and promises from God that are exclusive to Israelis. Give them an opportunity to again repent. Back in Zechariah’s time they did NOT return to God. “In that day” of inevitability, they will completely heed the voice of God as a nation.
Zechariah 11:5 takes us back to the lack of a shepherd over those, the flock who remain in Judah (Israel). The leadership is fake and without the guidance of God. They profit off their own people (flock) and proclaim it is a blessing from God. Oh, the penalty of this sin is going to be great. It was back then and “in that day” yet to come, it will be even more severe. They sold their own into slavery, became wealthy and committed the unforgivable by publicly thanking or giving credit to God who did not bless them this way. Their real purpose for so doing was to divert their sinful actions by claiming amongst themselves that the proceeds were rewards for “following G-d’s will”. This is so unforgivable. These false shepherds of Judah/Israel give credit to a god, not God. But, in their deceptive use of these claims and words hoped the listener is thinking God, not god. An abomination! [cf. Galatians 6:3; Acts 5:4]
Zechariah 11:6 This writer had a brother who when lectured or instructed by our mutual earth-father to do something, would listen with muted ears, then go out and do precisely as he originally planned. Essentially, this is the core meanings of verse 6. Though my brother was fed the reality of many wrong and dangerous situations if he proceeded, he continued to pursue his original plans. Even the poor of Zechariah’s audience were guilty of not listening. Eventually, just as with my brother, God gave up even trying to get their ear. They were made aware and knowledgeable of pending doom but did not [want to] believe it.
Zechariah 11:7 is well explained by James Montgomery Boice per the two [shepherd] staves; one named Beauty (grace or favor) and the other named Bands (unity, union, or measuring line; see verse 14).
“Favor symbolizes the favored status of Israel as the chosen people of God. Union symbolizes the internal harmony of the people that was lost at the time of the siege of Jerusalem.” (Boice)
The two staves were broken by Zechariah thus demonstrating these conditions or covenants between God and Israelites no longer existed…until “in the day” of the Millennial Reign. This is emphasized in Zechariah 11:7-*11. There would no longer be any favor from God to his chosen until the end. Now they are dispersed to the four corners of the earth many losing their identity as the chosen people of God. Did the reader catch this? No longer any favors or preferential treatment orchestrated by God on their behalf until “in that day.” If one has followed just a few of the holocaust-type of events in Hebrew history since this time of Zechariah, we can easily see they no longer have his special blessing…until In That Day.
*Take note of verse 11. [Even] the poor of them “in that day” were forced to recognize the chord and bond with their God was no longer a covenant; the staves were cut in two. Did they understand and ultimately convince themselves to change? NO! History shows us the fulfillment of this prophetic demonstration by Zechariah. Zechariah was not making friends, but he certainly was influencing people’s attitude about his nay-saying.
Zechariah 11:12 accentuates the previous paragraph per verse 11. Zechariah is telling his own people, if they believe him give him his due allowance, heed his words, but if not, continue in their evil ways (JIV). They opted for the latter by adding insult to injury. They gave Zechariah the insulting “allowance” (or pay) of 30 pieces of silver, the price for a minimally valued slave. This is also the price descendants of the same people (their leadership) 500 years later paid Judas for selling-out Jesus. In both Zechariah and time of Jesus, it is a demonstration of absolute contempt by the Jews for Zechariah, God’s covenants, and their Messiah Jesus.
Forget the political correctness of accusation. We KNOW (yadda) that the Jews crucified Jesus using the Roman judges as executioners, so the blood of Jesus was not [supposedly] on their hands. Today they cry…the Romans did it! We are innocent.
JIV NOTE: The Hinnom Valley is also known as the Valley of Gehenna i.e. Hell. King Manasseh ruled for fifty-five years—the longest reign of all the Hebrew kings (2 Chronicles 33:1-2). Even though Manasseh had one of the godliest fathers in their history, Manasseh was Judah’s worst king. He lived just like the godless nations God destroyed by bringing Israel into their land. Hinnom is southwest of Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives is in the northeast of Jerusalem.
Zechariah 11:14-17 points to another shepherd over Israel. One thought is this may be the antichrist of the Tribulation. The false prophet with a signed promise of 7 years of peace. He arrives on a white horse with bow in hand…NO ARROWS…but a crown is given to him. “He will not care for those who are cut off” (V16).
A second reasonable thought of this “foolish shepherd” is not the antichrist but a shepherd or leader in Israel who will sell out Israel “in that day”. The bible constant is that this foolish shepherd will be present during the time of the 7-year tribulation in this world. Israel is directly involved. David Guzik in his bible commentary states:
[Revelation 13:3 and 12-14] tell us the Antichrist will suffer a severe wound yet survive. This confirms that the worthless shepherd is ultimately fulfilled in the Antichrist.
The availability of God’s strength means there are opportunities for us to use it. “The Lord does not say, ‘I will take you away from your labors,’ but ‘I will strengthen you, so that you will be able to perform, them.’ ” (Spurgeon)
Zechariah chapter 10 is a continuation of chapter 9 but more intense. It is the restoration of Judah and Israel meaning the Tribes of *Jacob (Israel) once again identifying as one nation, under G-d. This is not yet true . The majority of the population in Israel today are the descendants of the remnant who returned from Babylonian captivity. Multiple millions of sons of Jacob are still missing. Many are still missing their true DNA of being an Israelite. We identify them by other names today. Whatever it is that keeps them from returning to their true Promised Land is ignorance or deliberate denial.
*We add this Asterix because some translations use the term Joseph to reference the regathering of the ten northern Tribes of Jacob.
Zechariah 10:1 specifically inserts the call for rain in a prayer is God’s alone to answer. The call for rain is a metaphor for prayer itself. Ask and it will be given unto you [Matthew 7:7 & Luke 11:9]. So why do some of our prayers seem to be unanswered. Read this website’s previous chapter commentaries on Zechariah [cf. chapter 9]. We ask (pray) for the wrong reasons. We celebrate certain traditions and call it worship. We make God to be what we want him to be instead of us making ourselves what God wants us to be. The prayer may ask for something that is NOT God’s will for us. NO is an answer as much as is a YES. There are no MAYBES in scripture. Doesn’t Matthew 6:33 instruct us to “seek first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness?” Zechariah infers a question when he asks if or when his people gather to worship G-d. Is it a tradition as in some form of “doing church”?
Proverbs 16:2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.
Zechariah 10:3 as does 11:3 has debatable answers as to who are the shepherds. We do NOT KNOW who the shepherds Zechariah identifies as outside Gods will. Some suggest it is the Jewish priests who are the shepherds of the Judaism flock. Some identify these shepherds as political leaders. Others say these shepherds are the false prophets of the “in that day” in Israel. Whomever Zechariah identifies as the shepherds in 10:3 we can safely conclude God’s anger is kindled against them. Perhaps the answer is found in the word “goats.” Goats are not sheep. In the final judgement after the Millennial Reign of Christ, as we read in Matthew 25:32, God the Father will distinguish between the flock of sheep and the goats mixed in with the flock of sheep.
Zechariah 10:4 “…out of him…” Adam Clarke Commentary identifies this “him” as meaning the Tribe of Judah. When we take verse 3 in context and add verse 4 in sequence, this makes sense. “out of him the battle bow.” Back up a to Zechariah 9:13. “I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim.” Here we find a grouping of Judah and the missing ten Tribes of Israel once again working together. It would not be heresy to consider that Zechariah is talking about the rejoined Tribes of Israel, not just Judah.
JIV NOTE: Most of Israel today (2020) is the former lands of Judah and Benjamin. This may be why Zechariah identifies this land as Judah. Bend Judah to make space for other returning Israelis. Just as is a bow with an arrow being stretched to fire, this land will be stretched to capacity.
This chapter is all about the reunification of all Israelis. The New American Standard Bible translates Zechariah 9:13: “For I will bend Judah as My bow, I will fill the bow with Ephraim.” Recall the white horse and horseman of the apocalypse has a rider without any arrows [Revelation 6:1 & 2]. This apocalyptic horseman was no arrows. He can only use persuasion. This is not what Zechariah is saying in 10:4. In Zechariah TRUTH is in his quiver of arrows evidenced by the sudden return of millions of Israelis to Jerusalem and Israel. Perhaps [and this is JIV] the white apocalypse horse and horseman with the empty bow indicates that at his arrival Israelis have not fully returned to their Promised Lands. He makes peace with Israel “AS-IT-IS” today. 3 ½ years later he turns on them and their rebuilt temple.
Zechariah 10:5 uses the term “they.” This is plural so we have bow and arrows now working together. Is verse 4 and 5 a sequence of events? Insert Revelation 6:1, 2 between Zechariah 10: 4 and 5 and it makes sense. It is difficult to connect the dots until one knows where to find the dots.
Zechariah 10:6 gives us insight per God’s plans for a reunited Israel; His chosen people. “I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring *them back…” We see they are identified as ONE. *the ten lost tribes of Israel. This adds logic to the sequence of events stated in our previous paragraph regarding verses 4 and 5.
When scripture uses the term Joseph, Ephraim, or Israel it often means the ten northern Tribes of Israel, distinct from Judah. In Zechariah 10:7 the name Ephraim is grouping the ten northern tribes. Ephraim was one son of Joseph. Ephraim was often the leader with the most influence in the Kingdom of Israel to the north. [cf. I Chronicles 5:2]
Zechariah 10:8 is the only time we can find in scripture where the sound of a hiss or a whistling is mentioned get the attention of someone else. It is the same thing as one might read “pssst” in a book prior to a conversation. It is not a shout, a proclamation, an order, or a routing together. God gets the attention of the scattered Israelis just as God spoke to Moses in the burning bush. This attention-getting pssst, whistle, or hiss is focused to only God’s chosen people. They have not had God’s attention for 2,000 to 3,000 years, then suddenly comes that from behind or over the shoulder pssst. “I hist for them, and I gather them, For I have redeemed them…” [YLT; Young’s LITERAL Translation].
The YLT is a literal translation making it sometimes difficult to read. The YLT even translates in the framework of the original language. Part of verse 9 states: “they remember me.” From this we can better understand that the huge multitude of DNA Israelis have forgotten their heritage but will now remember him. Yes, DNA tests of modern science will take us back to a home land or country but often fail to identify from where did those come when DNA traces our origination back to say Germany, Scotland, Sweden, India or the like. God scattered his chosen people to the four corners of the earth. Many have forgotten their true DNA.
Zechariah 10:10 is fascinating. The use of identifying out of Egypt and out of Assyria means out of the south and out of the north God will call his chosen. It is the last seven words in the KJV that is so interesting. “And place [space] shall not be found for them.” This takes us back the Zechariah 2 and his third vision. We find the man with a measuring tape in Jerusalem. He discovers the original lands are not large enough to hold the of mass returning of Tribes of Israel.
The closing verses in Zechariah 10 [v11 & 12] use the word “seas.” This is not a reference to water-lands. It is a reference to the sea of obstacles that have historically been in the way of Israelis to reunite; the people, politics, the UN, Arabs, culture, their blindness to the true Messiah, and waves of oppression that will no longer stand in their way.
“In that day”. We sometimes fail to grasp this can be a past or future tense statement. Bible study demands one keeps content and context together in scripture studies. It is not unusual for God through his prophets to make a statement “in that day”. We have all heard of someone speaking of the good ol’ days or in short, back in that day we did such-and-such. Have you ever heard of someone saying, “go ahead and make my day”? This too is an example of something yet to happen “in that day”. One must examine the before and after in scripture to capture the essence of past or future tense. At times this is buried within the pre or post paragraphs, sentence(s), or verses i.e. the context of subject. Zechariah has many examples of “in that day”. He is usually talking about two different futures. Israel’s soon-to-be future and a future Israel yet unfulfilled. This is chapter 9:1 through 14:21…mostly future tense; in that day, one yet to come.
Included in this passage is a curse upon or a pending judgment in that day against enemies of Israel. This is the real meaning of the first three verses in Zechariah 9.
Zechariah 9:1 explodes with future tense. “The eyes of man, as of all [kole] the tribes of Israel, [shall be] toward the Lord”. All (?), if any of the tribes of Israel possibly had their eyes set upon the Lord at this time in Zechariah’s life is a baseless deduction. The eyes of man [aw-dawm’] means all humans created by God through and since Adam. The Hebrew word aw-dawm’ in this translation means the same as it does in the name given to Adam in Genesis father of mankind: red dirt. We should mention the word “burden” as in the burden of the word of the Lord. This burden means an ultimate judging of sinners. Jesus came into this world so that all [Kole in Hebrew, Pas in Greek] may be saved. Since all will not be believers, it is a burden of responsibility regarding pending judgement. God does not wish this burden, but it is coming. [The Hebrew kole and the Greek pas for “all” means without exeption]
“The eyes of man … shall be toward the Lord”: These Phoenician cities mentioned in this chapter on the Mediterranean coast were known for their skill and wisdom (Ezekiel. 28:12-15), and Satanic influence (Ezekiel. 28:11-19) [bible-studies.org].
JIV NOTE: 2020 DNA research have determined most Lebanese DNA is like the former occupants of the lands of Canaan. Tyrus and Zidon (Sidon) were in the land of Phoenicia. Phoenicia today is within Lebanon. During the military conquests of Alexander the Great these two cities were demolished and have not been truly rebuilt as of 2020. This same area was renamed Phoenicia by the Greeks who believed they originated from Canaan.
Zechariah 9:3 is another issue in and of itself. This verse mentions Tyre. These people had piled up for themselves significant amounts of wealth. They were located to the west [cf. Joshua 19:29] of the lands settled by the Tribe of Asher (Israelites). The city itself consisted of an island and mainland territory. Verse 3 states “they heaped [gold] up like dust of the land”. Their wealth came from making the rare and royal *purple dye.” No wonder Alexander the Great determined to conquer it. Plus they were a major trade route. *Tyrian purple is made by boling snails in lead pots for seveal days.
Zechariah 9:4 is prophetic [in that day] at the time of Zechariah’s prophecies 520 B.C. to around 480 B.C. Some of what he prophesied was fulfilledwhen Alexander the Great [in that day; 332 B.C.] invaded the eastern Mediterranean Sea area; 200 years or so after Zechariah.
JIV MOMENT: Might the reader recall King Ahab and Jezebel of the northern Kingdom Israel (Book of 1 Kings 17; 1 Kings 18:17) and prophet Elijah? Jezebel was the daughter of a king of Sidon [Zidon]. Do not confuse Zidon, Phoenicia with Zion, Israel in history.
Additional insight: Daniel died only a few years before Zechariah began prophesying.
Zechariah 9:5-9 continues to list the pending travesties of anti-Israel nations and powers, in that day. Each nation has its own story. It is a wonderful thing to read secular archeological discoveries that underscore the happenings in the prophecies found in Zechariah 9 alone.
Zechariah 9:10 returns us to the history and prophecies of Israel. This is God’s scripture defining his Millennial Kingdom. We read about the chariots [translated cavalry] of *Ephraim [a surname used for Israel] and the horses of Jerusalem.
*Ephraim was the dominant tribe of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. JIV: This is the tribe that had difficulty pronouncing the “sh” sound. They pronounced shibboleth ‘sibboleth’ [cf. Judges 12:6]. Ephraim and Manasseh were the two sons of Joseph in Egypt.
And his rule is [in that day; future] from sea unto sea, And from the river unto the ends of earth (Zechariah 9:10c). The pronoun “his” in verse 10 is Jesus. His rule will be to the ends of the earth. The words “cutting off” in v9:10a means no more wars…in that day of the Millennial Reign.
Zechariah 9:13 is controversial in its meaning or implication. To bend Judah as the bow and make Ephraim the arrow is not simple to understanding. To begin grasping this meaning re-read verse 12.
“(Re)Turn to the stronghold, O prisoners of hope! Even [in this day] today I declare I will return double to you.” Israel has had an eternal hope for their Messiah. They are prisoners of that belief. They do not believe in the second advent of Christ since they are holding out for the first advent of their messiah. Muslims believe the same thing per their 12th Imam. They both are prisoners of the hope mentioned in this verse. They falter not in their wait for this day to come. It will come but that moment will be the second coming (advent) of Christ to earth with the setting up of his millennial kingdom in Jerusalem.
“I will return double to you”. Amazingly some commentaries skip past this part of 9:12b. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown declare in their commentary state, Great as has been thy adversity, thy prosperity shall be doublygreater. They reference Isaiah 61:7 which is good theology. Let us not forget the entirety of the Promised Lands to Israel were never secured and occupied under their kingships. This doubling could just as easily identify their Millennial land mass, the New Jerusalem. We already studied earlier in Zechariah 2 that the man with the measuring rod showed Jerusalem was not large enough to hold all the people who will occupy it. The New Jerusalem will be 12,000 by 12,000 Strada; 1,500 miles square [cf. Revelation 21:16].
JIV: This is the distance between upper Michigan and mid-Florida. Let this covenant with Israel settle in one’s mind. Now look at any map of the Middle East. Israel today is less than 80 miles wide and only 20 miles at its narrowest point.
Zechariah 9:13 is one of those controversial verses in multiple commentaries. God said through Zechariah that “he will bend the bow of Judah and fill it with Ephraim”. Judah will be filled with Israelites from all Tribes of Israel. Bending the bow increases the space within it. All Israelis will be gathered from the four corners of the earth. The world in their carnal minds will gaze in wonder asking, how can this be?
The Greece mentioned in this verse is not the Greeks as in that country. Very often the non-Israelite is identified in scripture as a Greek i.e. a Gentile, not a Hebrew Israeli. The bow is bent and is *filled with returning Israelis from the four corners of the earth. A very expanded New Jerusalem. Again, see the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21:16. This means ALL, not some.
*Israelis from Jacob/Israel is God’s quiver of arrows.
The confederated armies of the world will line up against Israel, but the sons of Zion will revolt against the attacking Gentile nations. God’s spoken word and tongue will destroy these invaders without the help or military might of Israel.
How do we know this is an understanding of this passage in Zechariah? The rest of this chapter is a double underscore. NOTE: A double underscore is an accounting term meaning a conclusion on a balance sheet or an accounting worksheet.
Zechariah 9:14 is the ultimate result of this entire chapter and the basis for the rest of Zechariah through chapter 14. In a very real way, this is the definitive verse for Zechariah’s writing.
Using the NKJV for verse 14: Then the LORD will be seen over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord GOD will blow the trumpet and go with whirlwinds from the south. Does verse 14 require additional explanation or amplification? This is God’s battle. Not the battle of men. Evil will be defeated. Satan and his minions will fall. The world will recognize how wrong it has been but by this time it is too late for them. Please note once again. This is Israel in the balance, not the modern-day body of believers. They are already Raptured.
We know this is God’s battle since verse 15 to the rest of this chapter states that fact. [NKJV] “The Lord their hosts will defend and save them.” Romans 12:19 “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
P.S. While Christians look for Jesus’ 2nd coming, the Jews await the Messiah and Muslims await the 12th Imam. Only one is correct…in that day.
JIV NOTE: Before we explore chapter 8 of Zechariah for understanding, for those who need the reminder, Zion is a synonym for Jerusalem. However, it can also be used in different contexts. As we venture through the remainder of Zechariah, and depending upon the translation one uses, the names Zion and Jerusalem refer to the same.
This chapter as is the bulk of Zechariah is Messianic. This means it is about Christ and Israel. Yes, an Old Testament book about Christ as Messiah. Chapter 8 is a dividing chapter within the content of Zechariah; chapters 1-8, then chapters 9-14.
Zechariah 8:1 & 2 Here is where the casual reader may go astray due mostly to the use of the word “jealous”. Let us offer some insight. Is God jealous of his chosen, for his chosen, the enemies of the chosen people, or the city itself? A careful look at this passage could hint any of the options just mentioned. God authorized some enemies of Israel to capture or rule over them from time to time, but each oppressor over did their allowance by God. Here is where translations can be part of the problem. The original KJV states *“jealous” where as the NKJV uses *“zealous”. What an initial understanding issue this presents to the reader.
*There is no hard “J” sound in Hebrew. The “J” usually has a U or Ya sound when pronouncing names like Jesus, Jerusalem, Judah. There is a transliterated letter for the English “Z” sound but not the hard “J”. Transliteration is more an art than a science, and opinions on the correct way to transliterate words vary widely. Therefore, Zealous is more correct than is Jealous.
Since the New King James Version and the Young’s Literal Translation are very literal, the correct word should be “zealous”. This is the translated word they use in this passage.
Zechariah 8:3 states that at the time of Christ’s return and God restoring Zion (Jerusalem), it will become the global center for truth. This will not be mankind’s truth, but the truth of God himself. In society today with the cultural norms and political correctness, some can no longer distinguish between what is spoken or their understanding of the perceived truth and the actual truth. This is one’s reality in conflict with actuality. Remember that the Bible itself addresses this in Acts 5:3. We deceive one another at the same time as we lie to the Holy Spirit. We want what we saw to be perceived as the truth.
Zechariah 8:4,5 is why we know this passage is Millennial Age prophecy. Joy in the streets with children playing without fear and old people enjoying long life, that is old age and still enjoying it. This is not true today so it must be a future yet to be seen. The YLT states “abundant days”. The NKJV states “great age”. We do not know as to what amounts abundant days or great age, but we understand what it means. This same passage also says “staff in hand” so this time is not without some human factors.
What might this have meant to a small group of returned exiles? Zechariah was preaching at a time the Temple was not yet rebuilt, the walls of Jerusalem did not exist, and the city was still in rubbles from the Babylonian’s utter destruction in 587 B.C. It is probably beyond comprehension. Even today a message like this is difficult to imagine…total peace with prosperity? [Sars2 Covid 19?] Verse 6 of Zechariah 8 emphasizes this point. It is asking, just because men think this impossible should it also be so with God?
Zechariah 8:7 does not come without denominational commentary differences. Who precisely are “His people”? We cannot understand verse 7 without including verse 8. In the NKJV it reads:
Verse 7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west
Verse 8I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people And I will be their God, In truth and righteousness.’”
The often-discussed question is who are “My People” in this passage. Up to and after these two verses the Zechariah passages are about Israel. Consider verse 8. “Bring them back” to where? Jerusalem. This is Israelis who were dispersed from Israel by their own migrations and forced exiles by Assyria, Babylon, and Rome. One cannot be brought back to a place they have not been. Many children were born in exile. Jerusalem was not even a personal memory to them. God said in Zechariah 2:6, 7:14, and 10:9 that he will scatter them, my people Israel, to all nations. This verse is the gathering in of the scattered chosen people of Israel. These are the ones in verse 2 for which God says I am zealous.
Zechariah 8:9 is a change of subject directions. He says the people, as few as they were at this time in His-story, should put their shoulder to the plow for good times are coming. The wording should help us understand this is a future tense. Zechariah identifies the words as from the old prophets i.e. a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. Zechariah is saying become focused on the end and goal, not the present and the past. This passage too is not without *denominational differences.
*This is one major reason this website commentary believes denominations divide believers. It does not unite them.
“in the day the house of Jehovah of Hosts is founded, the temple is to be built” [Zechariah 8:9b]
Some see this as identifying the yet to be completed Temple of that time. Not as the Temple of built during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. The verse itself indicates it was not yet that time. Others take this as a reference to the house of Jehovah meaning the End Time and Millennial Temple. This latter thought is based upon verses 10 and 11.
Zechariah 8:10 For before these days There were no wages for man nor any hire for beast; There was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in; For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor.
Zechariah 8:11 But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the LORD of hosts [NKJV].
Note the end of verse 10. “For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor.Everyone was not then and is not now set against his neighbor. That is End Time prophecy meaning the time of the Tribulation [Luke 12:53]. Also note verse 11; “But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days”. He identifies this people as His People in the future adding descendants. These future descendants of who Zechariah is addressing will not be treated as in the former days of persecuted Israel. Israel is persecuted even at the writing of this article in 2020. The U.N. majority is not their allies. But everyone has not yet turned on their neighbors.
The evidence of this conclusion continues in the next verse; Zechariah 8:12. This verse proclaims the prosperity of the people and the land; a prosperity to this very day that is not yet evident in Israel. God’s prosperity is not survival, but a prosperity of overabundance. Philippians 4:19 talks about prosperity according to God’s abundance. Surely that is not man’s idea of abundance. No eye has seen, nor ear has heard and neither has mind conceived what God has in store for his people [1 Corinthians 2:9 paraphrased].
Zechariah 8:12 is also emphatic. For the seed shall be prosperous – Ye shall be a holy and peaceable people; and God will pour down his blessing on yourselves, your fields, and your vineyards [paraphrased].
Zechariah 8:13 adds to this future prophecy by reverting to verse 9. Let your hands be strong. Why? The house of Judah and the house of Israel are both included in verse 13. Neither existed at this time in Zechariah’s time. The House of Israel has not been around since 722 B.C. almost 200 years earlier. The House of Israel is still mostly missing in 2020.
Zechariah 8:14-17 list conditions for their prosperity. Zechariah explains precisely what God’s chosen must do or, in fact, will do upon the Kingdom of God being on earth.
At verse 18 we get a time change. The verse begins with the word “then” meaning a sequence or a future event. A moment in time. It is emphatic to verse 19. Up to the End Time, fasting festivals of Judaism were little more than memories of misery and rooted in self-pitying fasts. The fast of the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 10th month are over past bad times in Israelite history, all based around Jerusalem events.
Fast on the 4th month was for the taking of Jerusalem as noted in Jeremiah 52:7
Fast on the 5th month was in memory of the loss of the Temple per Jeremiah 52:13
Fast on the 7th month was Judeans fleeing from Jerusalem after the assassination of Gedaliah who was hated by the Judean Jews. He was appointed governor over Judah by Nebuchadnezzar II. This is not the Nebuchadnezzar of Daniel’s time.
Fast on the 10th month commemorated the siege of Jerusalem by their soon-to-be captor Nebuchadnezzar of Daniel’s time.
These self-pity fasts had nothing to do with the God of Israel. They all evolved out of the 70-year captivity in Babylon of the Judeans of Judah. During the Millennial reign of Christ, God will make these fasts times of celebration and festivities. They will be times of joy and not sorrow.
The balance of Zechariah 8 shows the dynamics of these celebrations. There will be so much joy coming out of Jerusalem. People from all nations will try to find a way to get passage to join in. How do we KNOW it is global? The final verse in Zechariah 8 says “men out of all languages and nations” will beg to join the greatness in Israel [Jerusalem].This has yet to happen so it solidifies this chapter being a reference to the Millennial Reign.
Zechariah gives great hope and encouragement about the coming Messiah Jesus Christ, who will set up His throne and rule as the mighty Branch, the High Priest, who will offer up the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. “Then say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD. “Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices” (Zechariah 6:12-13). Bible Hub.com/
By now the studious of Bible students should realize that Zechariah is mostly about the return of Jesus as king of kings and High Priest in End Time. As Bible Hub.com puts it, Zechariah gives great hope and encouragement. Now Zechariah gets very, very personal. We begin with a modern-day question: Why do you go to church? What is the real purpose? Does one’s action support his or her claim as to why? What does fellowship really mean? Where does God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit fit into the actions and activities of church services, fellowship, dinners, church gatherings, sing-spirations, even prayer, communion…? Does the Holy Spirit need to be a line item in the church bulletin? Is church little more than a tradition or upbringing is has one made following Christ a way of his or her life?
This is precisely what Zechariah is told by God to ask his people who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, few as they may have been, for what reason do you celebrate tradition? Up to chapter 7 we hear messages to Zechariah as from the Angel or an angel of the Lord or something similar. Now we read, “THE WORD OF THE LORD or something similar depending on the translation version. This is only a slight change in wording. Does it have significance?
Verse 11 of chapter 7 is a critical turning point, even so in today’s church settings. Here is an example of what we are about to learn in Zechariah 7.
One Sunday a preacher was condemning dishonesty, drinking of liquor, carousing, lack of child control in the church sanctuary, and on and on. After each stated sin, a lady in the front row shouted “AMEN”. Then the preacher said, one of the great sins in this church is the backbiting and gossip. At this point the same woman shouted out, “You have gone too far preacher. Now you are getting personal.”
JIV NOTE: To a point, this message was to all Israelis, not just those of Judah (Jews). It even goes back to those who the Assyrians dispersed after conquering the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C.
When one reads in scripture the ‘whatever month’ or the ‘on whatever day’ such and such happened, few take the time to translate this to our Gregorian Calendar of January – December. Zechariah is specific about this date and time. Yes, it is history with which we can cross reference other historical events as taught in schools and colleges minus their emphasis or even mentioning its relationship to HIS-(s)tory. Here is a chart to reference when this date thing happens in one’s studies in scripture.
Nissan 30 days……………………………………. Iyar 29 days……………………………………. Sivan 30 days……………………………………. Tammuz 29 days……………………………………. Av 30 days……………………………………. Elul 29 days……………………………………. Tishri 30 days……………………………………. Heshvan sometimes 29, sometimes 30….. Kislev same as Heshvan…………………….. Tevet 29 days……………………………………. Shevat 30 days……………………………………. Adar sometimes 29, sometimes 30….. Adar2 29 days…………………………………….
March – April April-May May-June June-July July-August August-September September-October October-November November-December December-January January-February February-March March-April
Due to the variation in days within each month of both calendars, the overlap of the Hebrew with the Gregorian calendar months is unavoidable. Even the total days of the Hebrew year and Gregorian year vary but this is a good guide for those who are curious. This oddity includes differing New Year dates.
The date of Zechariah 7:1, 4th day of the 9th month of Chislev (Kislev) is December 4, 518 B.C. A fast day was soon to come so this delegation sought guidance. The occasion to weep and cry would be on the 7th day of their 5th month [our July]. The reason to send Sharezer and Regem-melech to the few priests who returned from Babylon with the other exiles was to ask about this Judaism tradition. The asked “do we cry out or weep again over the loss of the Temple 70 some years prior”? Odd as this may sound, these returning exiles were supposed to be rebuilding the very Temple over which this question is poised. In today’s cultures we call it crying over spilt milk. The container of milk is still within reach. The milk has already been spilled. Today the wise one would say, “clean up the mess and refill the cup”. In this time of Zechariah, it would mean, clean up the rubble and rebuild the Temple as you were originally instructed. The returning Judeans were not intrigued with this hard labor. They soon fell away.
Zechariah 7:3 “…saying to the priests of the house of the LORD of hosts and the prophets, “Should I weep and abstain in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?” How do we know today that this was nothing more than a tradition? The final eight words in verse 3 are specific. This has been done for many years. What happened to them to give cause for this traditional “weeping”? Answer: This was the time of the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians according to II Kings 25:8-9.
The BIG modern-day question comes in Zechariah 7:4, 5.
Zec 7:4Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me:
Zec 7:5“Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted?
This dilemma continues as Zechariah points out in verse 6 as a word or question from God… “And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?”
JIV: 2020 translation of verses 4 & 5. When we go to church is it to worship or to be fashionable; to meet those you have not seen since last week, same time, same channel? Is it simply something you have always done? Is it out of obligation, routine, or commitment to God?
This is precisely what Zechariah is asking his fellow countrymen. The ‘proof in their pudding’ is their long delay in rebuilding the Temple. This is a very serious question we all must personally consider.
Zechariah 7:7 in short is saying, [paraphrased] “aren’t you a little late”? The Temple is no longer, and you are supposed to be rebuilding it.” Zechariah takes full advantage of this opportunity to, as Dale Carnegie put it in his books, Win Friends and Influence People. But just the opposite reaction happened. Zechariah was setting the stage for his eventual death by his own people. More on this later.
Instead of giving a direct answer to their question of weeping for the loss of their Temple 70 plus years earlier, Zechariah turns their attention to practical matters.
Give true and honest judgements
Practice kindness and pity (a pity including tangible help)
Do not oppress the widows (and the underprivileged)
Do not oppress or take advantage of the fatherless, visitor, poor
Do not devise evil in one’s heart
Now we are back to our opening statement per Zechariah 7:11. [LITV] But they refused to listen, and gave a stubborn shoulder, and they made their ears heavy from hearing. This alone points out their oppressive and untruthful worship attitudes. Everything was based upon “this is the way we have always done it”. It is so true of the churches today where the Lord’s Prayer is a ritual, a tradition, not an honest prayer or people trying to delude themselves into thinking this is some type of God-sanctioned prayer and the same people’s primary prayer life is quoting it in. We ignore the fact that in the very same Lord’s Prayer chapters of Luke 11 AND Matthew 6, it states one is to first go into their prayer closet (alone), shut the door, do not be distracted and pray alone with God. Only after this does Jesus explain a pattern for praying…alone in one’s prayer closet. So why is it done in a public setting when scripture tells us otherwise? Well, this is the way we have always done it. It is an ancient tradition, just like the Jews of Zechariah’s time. There is nothing honest about taking scripture out of its context. To those who react with a hardened heart toward the first few verses in Luke 11, it parallels the attitude of the returned Judeans. They hardened their hearts and would not listen; stopped up their ears.
The so-called parishioners of tradition end up hating the one who told the truth from the pulpit, Bible study, board meeting, in a conversation. How dare one change our traditions. These Judeans ended up hating their messenger…Zechariah. “When you pray, do not be like those who only pretend to be holy. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners” [Matthew 6:5].
Study the word of God within its contents so one can find the true context.
The New King James Version [NKJV] subtitles chapter six under two categories.
A Vision of Four Chariots (6:1-8)
The Crown and the Temple (6:9-15)
The first vision finds Zechariah “…behold[ing], four chariots coming from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze” [NKJV]; four chariots, two mountains, mountains of brass/bronze. The chariots are described well by the color of the horses drawing the chariots. Earlier in Zechariah we found horsemen and horses (chapter 1:1-17) under the Myrtle Trees. They roamed to-and-fro evaluating the world then filed a moment-in-time report with God. These four chariots out of the four corners of the earth are judgment. It is easy to consider that this is God seeking and considering reclaiming earth as HIS kingdom (to come) and pur Jesus on the throne in Jerusalem.
Before a military mission even when preplanned we would send out scouts in advance. Consider these charioteers as God preliminary scouts.
Some commentaries want to identify the four horse drawn chariots with the four empires of Daniel’s visions. If this is so it is only their judgment that is being revealed. Since the Assyrian and Babylonian empires expired by the time of Zechariah, plus, the Persian empire is the current world power of this time. These chariots would be coming to take the vengeance God promised in Romans 12:19 and Deuteronomy 32:35. This vengeance here is End Time judgement. One would be studious to understand that the horse drawn chariots in Zechariah 6 come AFTER the report is filed in heaven by the horsemen in Zechariah 1.
JIV NOTE: The color of the horses does not seem as significant in this passage as it was in Daniel’s and John’s visions. Why? There are conflicting translations of horse colors in multiple translations and commentaries. The End Time translations of horse colors is definite.
Particularly intriguing is Zechariah 6:5 [YLT] “…`These are four spirits of the heavens coming forth from presenting themselves before the Lord of the whole earth.” The four chariots and riders have presented themselves to the Lord prior to being assigned their mission on earth. This takes us to another curiosity; the two mountains mentioned in Zechariah 6:1. One would think that something sent from the Lord of Heaven would come out of heaven. Instead they are seen by Zechariah as coming from between two mountains…mountains that are not mentioned by name. To try and give definition to the two mountains other than they are described as “mountains of brass” is speculation. However, it would be a safer venture to figure these mountains are Israeli mountains to the east. Vengeance coming from God’s Holy City, Jerusalem. We might suggest a leaning toward the valley mentioned in Joel 3:2, 12.
I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land. [NLT]
The nations are roused and brought to the Valley of Jehosephat with a mountain on both sides. This is location is where the mountains split at the coming of Jesus. We explore this in greater detail in Zechariah 14.
“In the usual Scriptural symbolism red speaks of war, black of famine and death, white of victory, and grizzled of pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Revelation 6:18).” [Daniel Luck]
JIV NOTE: Rather than get hung up or distracted by the color of the horses, what we do know is this is End Time and preparation for final judgment. Refer to Revelation 7:1-3 for a refresher study of the four angels standing on the four corners of the earth readying for final judgment.
JIV INSIGHT? Revelation 7:1 states there will be four angels holding back the winds from the four corners of the earth. Common sense says this means just as before tornados or a huge storm strike, the winds go silent. Perhaps this is a clue or a sign when God will return to reclaim his kingdom earth. All winds will cease over the entire globe.
Since these four chariots are described in Zechariah 6:5 as “the four spirits of heaven” the symbolism includes the presence of four angels either on the chariots or described as chariots. These are the angels or spirits who have been “standing before the Lord of all the earth.” These are powerful beings/spirits and commissioned by the Lord himself.
Do not automatically assign a nation such as Russia or another northern country as the one being referred to as “the north.” The Hebrew uses the word tsâphôn. It means (Strong H6828) a dark and gloomy unknown place, hidden. The word south [verse 6] is têmân in Hebrew. Again, it is not a location as much as it is a direction. Strong’s 8486 defines têmân as meaning “to the right hand of a person facing east.”
The fact that Zechariah 6:8 states that God’s Spirit is at rest is a bit of an oddity…unless we understand that God’s Spirit will not rest until judgment has been completed. This probably means it is a post-element of this vision. God’s Spirit is at rest because evil has been judged in the north, dark, unseen hidden place. It could also mean that the decision has finally been made to judge the earth (go back to verse 5 where it states it is now “the Lord’s earth” so no more waiting. God’s Spirit is at rest because there is no turning back. The call has been made. God’s End Time plan is now in full swing. End Time as we know it is no longer. It will be NOW TIME. This is not the new heaven and the new earth, but Satan has be boxed up for 1,000 years.
The Crown and the Temple (Zechariah 6:9-15)
First, let us understand who the “captives” are who are mentioned in 6:9. These are those who returned from Babylon; Judeans. It is obvious if one reads the verse closely. What jumps out when studied is the mentioning of only three names, Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah. The meaning of these three names taken in the order they are listed means “robust is God’s goodness; God knows”. Is this another bible code? We do not know but once again people of old had meanings attached to their names. Today names are given without much consideration of meaning. In our studies persons, places, and things often have definite meaning. Mentioning these three men, Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, by name does reflect the basic meaning of this passage and the actions of the God of Israel. “robust is God’s goodness; God knows”.
Once again, carefully read any passage of scripture. The goal should never be to get from point “A” to point “B” in one’s reading of scripture without grasping what is written between these two points. Some translations use the plural crowns. The Young’s Literal Translation, as does the New King James Version, both very literal in translation, say “crown”. No need for theological debate as to crown or crowns. It is singular as in crown. The unusual per this passage is that the crown is placed upon the head of a priest. Not just a priest but the HIGH Priest. Priests and kings are two distinct positions. In this passage of Zechariah, we again see into post End-Time.
There is but one who will be king and High Priest after the return of Jesus Christ; that is Jesus himself. He will be crowned with many crowns. He is of the line of Melchizekdek in Genesis 14:18. Abraham also gave tithes to him when they met. Jesus is assigned that crown by saying in Genesis 14 that Melchizekdek is both king and high priest. Jesus is of this line as explained in Hebrews 7. He will wear the crown of the King and the mantel of High Priest, the ultimate authority.
Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, in Zechariah 6:11 is symbolic of Jesus Christ when he sets his throne in Jerusalem to rule the world for 1,000 years. We see this symbolism in the following verses [6:12, 13]. When the crown is placed upon the head of Joshua son of Josedech Zechariah pronounces the coming “branch” that will be the one wearing the crown of crowns. Verse 13 is more definitive. It states that there will be no question as to High Priest and King of Kings wearing the same crown. It reads in the YLT “…And he hath sat and ruled on His throne, And hath been a priest on His throne, And a counsel of peace is between both.”
This chapter is about a flying roll then, a woman in a basket. For those who are familiar with the restaurant called Lambert’s the first four verses are not about Lambert’s “flying rolls”; the ones being tossed to customers from across the restaurant. The word roll in the very first verse is megillâh meaning a volume; a scroll. Now that we have had a moment of fun, here is Zechariah 5 and the flying [sc]roll.
Even though this chapter does not state it in the words of God: “Draw close to me so I can draw close to you” Zechariah 5 focuses on this. We will give a couple examples but well over 30 times in the Bible such a declaration is made to mankind. Examples include James 4:8; Hebrews 10:1-10; Zephaniah 3:2; Malachi 3:7.
An interesting and memorable way to grasp the focus of chapter 5 is a story told about President Calvin Coolidge. He was not known to be a man of many words. As the story or legend goes…He attended church one Sunday. His wife remained at home. When he returned home his wife asked him what the message was about. Coolidge replied: “SIN”. Wanting to know more about the message she asked, “What did the preacher have to say about sin”. Coolidge replied, “He is against it”. Essentially this is Zechariah 5, God is against it…SIN.
Zechariah 5:2 This passage gives us the dimensions of the scroll Zechariah sees. In previous articles we have mentioned that “if a person, place or thing is mentioned in a verse, it has some sort of significance.” We are told in verse 2 that it is 20 cubits by 10 cubits; about 30 feet by 15 feet. I Kings 6:20 gives very similar dimension regarding the Holy place within the sanctuary of the Temple. This Bible researcher has not discovered the purpose for giving the dimensions of the scroll in Zechariah 5:2, but perhaps a reader of this article has run across something of added value. One reader reminded us that this is also the dimensions of Solomon’s Porch in II Chronicles 3. Again, why the dimensions are given is unclear but there is a purpose when anything is included in a passage of scripture. Every word is ordained of God. Translation issues are a different discussion.
Zechariah 5:3 & 4 The concept here is sometimes difficult to grasp. We have been taught, instructed in, or heard about the 10 Commandments. These two verses condense the sins of Israel to just two sins of Israel; “…over the face of the whole land”. One is swearing an oath in the name of God and then not living up to every letter of the oath. The other is [most interpretations] the verb “stealing”. This is when a good commentary or lexicon helps one’s understanding. The word translated steal or in some Bible versions it Is identified by the pronoun “thief”. So which is it? Actually both yet it is also neither. The Hebrew gânab means deception, to get by stealth. This Zechariah passage should remind us of 2 Thessalonians 2:11…to deceive one another means lying to the Holy Spirit. We call it lying to each other. The Bible calls it an attempt to deceive. Think about it per Zechariah 5:3&4. All of the commandment sins can fit into one of these two sins. Israel is guilty and will be punished since they were supposed to be the Flag-ship of God’s elect. These sins are listed one on each side of the flying scroll. One can mentally picture one of those airplanes flying overhead with a message-banner in tow.
The Vision of the Woman in a Basket
Zechariah 5:5 is often another enigma to those who just-scan read hoping understanding will leap upon them from the pages; even to those who take the time to do some research on this section of Zechariah. Some commentaries attempt to limit the scope of Zechariah’s visions to his time-period. However, there is much in his writing that is pre and post End Time. Caution and understanding only come after gaining knowledge. In this specific situation we defer to Scofield’s explanation. It makes better applicable sense.
“The Babylon phase of the apostate church is symbolized by an unchaste woman, sodden with the greed and luxury of commercialism… Prophetically, the application to the Babylon of the Revelation is obvious.” [Scofield]
JIV NOTE: The land of Shinar [Zechariah 5:11] is the territory of Babylon in the Mesopotamia Valley [Genesis 11:2]. The large majority of commentaries agree with this deduction: Babylon and Shinar are the same. Keep in mind, historically this is the same territory of Nimrod; one who was very anti-God with a heart to Do It His Way.
It gets even betterJ. This woman is in a basket, can’t get out, a lid put on the basket, is taken away by two other women with wings, and confined to Shinar. To what do all of these actions hint? To or teach about End Time? VERY PROBABLE!
Let’s summarize Zechariah 5:5 to the end of this chapter (5:11) and vision number seven in a simplified approach. You can read the Bible text on your own but here is the explanation.
The ephah, similar to a bushel basket, is a form of measure. God will “measure out his judgements”. There is nothing random about his plan for End Time. Satan has ruled and ruined the world God created. Now God provides a measured response and a return to order.
During the 7 year Tribulation there is the beast, anti-Christ, and false prophet…Satan’s “trinity.” These three have differing identities by differing commentaries or preachers but all consist of a leader, spokesperson, and establishment.
JIV NOTE: We will not get into the Revelation description of seven heads, ten horns, ten crowns (diadems), a smaller horn growing up, three leaders or nations being subdued, etc. These are discussed in the Revelation study in this website.
The woman in vision #7 is tucked in a basket from which she tries to escape but can’t. When Jesus returns after the Tribulation, he will 1) confine Satan, 2) deliver him to a place he is bound and cannot escape, 3) do the same with his false establishment/system and his evil minions; fallen angels. The Millennial period will begin and all will be as Jesus demands it. It will now be His earth and Kingdom (to come)…as stated in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew and Luke.
In verse 7 and 8, this woman is trying to escape just as will Satan when he is bound for a thousand years. This place [Babylon/Shinar] to which the woman is taken becomes her habitat for a thousand years. So is the basket and its contents. We know there is a lid on this basket because verse #7 tells us it is lifted up so Zechariah can see its contents. He is told by the messenger to LOOK INSIDE.
The two women, symbolic of those who usher one from place to place, take the lidded ephah (basket) to a place of total isolation with restraints. According to verse #8, there is nothing gentle about the woman who is pushed into the basket, covered, and ushered away against her will. Bear in mind this is symbolic of End Time events following the 7-year Tribulation; Jesus’ 2nd advent.
Some have wondered about the gender tense used in verses 8 and 9. Verse 8 refers to a “he”. Verse 9 identifies two women. Follow the sequence. Satan (the wicked woman) is pushed into the basket with a heavy lid put over it. The next verse identifies the couriers who usher the basket and its contents far away to a place reserved just for it. The women “angels” (?) perhaps carry it all away. The “HE” identified is the power that forces and binds the evil or wickedness putting it all in isolation. Revelation calls it the abyss.
Revelation 20:1-3 uses other terms…[John] saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him [like a lid on a basket], so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed;
Zec 5:10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?
Zec 5:11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.
Lampstand, candle holders, Olive trees, feeding tubes called “pipes”, bowls, the seven eyes of God…it is no wonder many have difficulty understanding this chapter with a simple reading. We trust today as you read this article (commentary) on Zechariah 4, things will become clearer and you will have an increased comfort level with its content and context.
There are several interpretations of the symbols used in this chapter. The real problem is these interpretations come from just as many, if not differing translations of the Hebrew. We will stay as close as possible to the intent of this chapter by using Strong’s, Young’s Literal Translation (YLT), and the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (LITV). We will quote or note, then explain. No need to pronounce the Hebrew this article may include but you will know the options for the use of certain Hebrew words in Zechariah 4. No, this commentary will not be exhaustive but it will be inclusive.
Zechariah 4:1 initially reads as if Zechariah is awakened from sleep. [YLT] “And the messenger (mal’âk; a deputy or assistant) who is speaking with me doth turn back, and stir me up as one who is stirred up out of his sleep…” In short this opening means a “messenger” had to get the attention of Zechariah, similar to one who may call out in a parking lot or perhaps in a church foyer to get the attention of someone. YLT uses “messenger” while the KJV uses “angel”.
These returning Judeans and other Israeli tribal stragglers or cling-on Israelis from the former Kingdom of Judah and a few from the Kingdom of Israel are coming to a Jerusalem that is anything but a lampstand or golden light radiating to the world. Yet, this vision shows a lampstand of seven lights. The wealth of “gold” in the vision also does not reflect the conditions of the returning Judeans or the wealth of the land to which they are returning. Rather it is almost a stark contrast with actuality. This is our first clue that this 5th vision involves things to come, not the present state-of-being upon their return to Jerusalem.
In our attempt to find a visual illustration of this vision or drawing of the concept of verses 3 and 4 to depict it was next to impossible to keep someone else’s theological twist out of their drawing or illustration. The best approach is to take this scripture literally. Zechariah saw a golden candle stick fueled by purified olive oil filling a supply bowl from two Olive trees; one tree to the left and one tree to the right of the gold candle holder. There is a collection bowl on the top that acts as a reservoir of the olive oil fuel. Oil is piped to the seven burning candle fuel bowls.
Hmmmm? 7 points of light? A light onto the world? Has America like Israel lost its purpose? I see seven statue crown points like the seven points of the menorah.
It is amazing that there are so many attempts to make something out of what is pictured here instead of using other scripture to validate each element Zachariah is seeing. He does not understand its meaning per verse 5. The messenger explains…this is a picture of Israel’s destiny, not its present state of being. It is a covenant reminder of God’s relationship with Israel. The YLT writes: “And he answered and spoke unto me, saying: `This is a word of Jehovah unto Zerubbabel, saying: Not by a force, nor by power, But–by My Spirit, said Jehovah of Hosts”.Okay…a literal look: “a word of Jehovah” is an official identity of God in Hebrew, “speaking specifically to Zerubbabel”. First, Zerubbabel is of the Tribe of Judah, just as was David and Jesus himself in the New Testament. There is nothing hinted in the Hebrew that this includes the future New Testament church meaning people other than Israelis, and Jerusalem’s Temple.
Zechariah 4:7 [LITV] “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain”. Where can we find anything similar within scripture…a great mountain made a plain; an obstacle removed. Ezekiel 38:20 is one good reference: Using the full verse… [LITV]
And the fish of the sea, and the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men on the face of the earth, shall quake at My face. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. [Cf. Revelation 16:20}
Let’s add to this…the previous verse (6) says it is not by might or power but by my Spirit that verse 7 will result. This has to be the End Time return of Christ to earth with God’s Spirit filling the sons and daughters of Israel [Cf. Joel 2:20]. Recall that upon Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion, Jesus stated that had not the people shouted out in praise the rocks along the road side would have shouted out [Luke 19:40].
Zechariah 4:7 tells us of the headstone (KJV) or cornerstone (LITV). Cornerstone of what one should ask? It is the Millennial New Jerusalem and throne of Jesus symbolized by the work of Zerubbabel on the Temple foundation including its eventual completion. Simply put, it is a defining moment of the eventual supremacy of Jerusalem over all nations and the Temple that will be in Jerusalem. This is when Jerusalem will actually become the light on the hillside to the world. We will go into greater detail and explanation in Zechariah 5 (cf. Matthew 5:14).
Zechariah 4:10 actually helps explain Zechariah 3:9, the seven eyes on the stone in front of the High Priest Joshua. [LITV] For they shall rejoice and shall see the plummet stone in the hand of Zerubbabel. These seven are the eyes of Jehovah; they run to and fro through all the earth.One could add to this the horses under the Myrtle we discussed in Zechariah 1:1-17. These horsemen were the eyes of God roaming and reporting the condition(s) of the world. Scripture does not tell us of the number of other horsemen behind the one who spoke and rode the red horse. JIV: There may be may be 7 riders since the eyes on the stone were 7, the eyes on the stone of the Lord, the 7 pipes from the Olive tree to the main olive fuel bowl container, and 7 is the perfect number of COMPLETION. “For on the seventh day, God said all is good and he rested from his creation labors.” Just as the horsemen under the Myrtle Tree roamed the earth to see what it was like, verse 10 tells us the same per the eyes on the plummet-line stone. The eyes of Jehovah “run to and fro through all the earth” [LITV]. Very likely discussing the same activity of God keeping eyes upon earth and for certain, Satan and his minions.
Zechariah shifts gears in 4:11. This verse uses the word “question” but it means aw-naw’ as in to pay attention; take heed; to respond.
*JIV: A very interesting side per the Myrtle tree is how Jewish sages say that “the myrtle has great fragrance but [has] no taste.” Essentially meaning one can look good in the eyes of man or other believers but s/he has no taste for a spiritual life and study of the Word of God. They look good but have no taste for God’s Word.
In Zechariah’s time the above JIV can be understood as one who builds appearance but has no taste for the inside and personal works of God in his or her life.
Zechariah 4:12 is another example of confusion. Many translations identify the Olive dripping oil as coming from branches. The Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) says “two branches of the olive tree.” Does it matter if it is two trees or branches? Yes and it depends much on how one understands. A tree full of branches may in this case mean Israel as a tree and parts of it serving God. It may infer the church and only parts of it serving God. It may mean, as we do, two servants of God in End Time keeping the fire burning. These two could very likely be the two witnesses of the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.
We Teach – You Decide
Verses 11 and 12 are self-addressing. They topically return to the opening 2 verses of chapter 4. We read in verses 11 and 12 according to the YLT: V11“And I answer [aw-naw’] and say unto him, `What are these two olive-trees, on the right of the candlestick, and on its left?’V12And I answer [aw-naw’] a second time, and say unto him, `What are the two branches of the olive trees that, by means of the two golden pipes, are emptying out of themselves the oil?’”
The two branches could be a present tense or a future tense in its interpretation. It could be Zerubbabel and (high Priest) Joshua or it could be future tense meaning the End Time Two Witnesses…a continual supply of anointing oil from God; 3 ½ years as God’s only remaining witnesses other than the 144,000 as mentioned in Revelation 7 and 14.
Reader Note:JIV use means Jim’s Introspective View.