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!
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.
Following is a quote from the Matthew Henry Commentary regarding Zechariah chapter 3.
[If] God will build Jerusalem for the people and their comfort they must inhabit it for him and his glory. The promises and privileges with which God’s people are blessed, should engage us to join them, whatever it costs us. When Zion is enlarged to make room for all God’s Israel, it is the greatest madness for any of them to stay in Babylon. The captivity of a sinful state is by no means to be continued in, though a man may be easy in worldly matters. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
One must first inhabit; promises and privileges; Zion enlarged; insane to remain in a Babylonian state of mind; a captivity of a sinful state? All of this, plus, is addressed in our Zechariah studies or elsewhere in ahabiblemoments.com
50,000+ Judean Israelis returned from Babylon upon being released by Cyrus I. Hundreds of thousands if not over a million remained there. Amazingly one who did not return was Daniel himself. We can identify four groups of Israelites (Judeans from the Tribe of Judah) who did or did not return to their Promised lands of Jerusalem, Judah.
Those who returned under the guidance of Zerubbabel (538 B.C.), Ezra, then Nehemiah
Those who opted to migrate to other lands, mostly barren or minimally populated
Those who remained in the Mesopotamia Valley eventually losing their Israeli identities.
Those who remained faithful to God but remained until death in Babylon after the Medo-Persians conquered this land.
We know there were large numbers still in Babylon by following the history of Queen Esther and Mordechai. [Book of Esther]
JIV aha historical timeline of historical events in and around this land of Israel: Israeli’s take the Canaanite lands as their Promised Land – Israel ruled by judges then by kings Saul, David, and Solomon – Israeli as a nation splits into two kingdoms; Judah and Northern Kingdom of Israel – 10 northern Tribes of Israel conquered and totally dispersed by the Assyrians – Assyrians conquered by Babylonians – Judah falls to the Babylonians – 70 year captivity of Judeans and those stranglers from other tribes of Israel – small group of Babylonian captives return to Jerusalem – Temple rebuilt – Greek Alexander the Great conquers the known and occupied world of that time – Alexander’s huge empire is divided by his generals after Alexander’s untimely youthful death – the Ptolemy’s of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria and Asia Minor battle over possession of Judah, Jerusalem -Romans defeat the Macedonian Greeks in the Battle of Pydna – Judah, still ruled by the Greek Seleucid dynasty get – a brief 50 to 70 year reprieve from Seleucid oppression by the rebelling Jewish Maccabees – Greek remains the primary spoken and business language – Rome becomes the primary military power of the known world – New Testament Jerusalem falls under Roman rule but governed by the Herod Dynasty of four different but related Herod kings – Rome totally destroys the Jewish State (70 A>D.) – Rome diminished in power and divides into two parts (Rome and Byzantine Rome) – Muslims conquer much of the Mediterranean Sea areas – enter the Christian Crusades and the power of the Popes in Rome – Ottoman Empire (Muslims) – Dark ages of the Middle East – Current era.
One can ask what has the above to do with Zechariah 3; specifically the High Priest Joshua? Zechariah 3 explains the glory of Jerusalem upon God’s initiation of the Millennial Reign of Jesus. It also might clarify the role of the church prior to the return of Jesus Christ. That is, the church being the individual members who are on the right path of righteousness as a group of believers.
Zechariah 3 explains this with the example of Joshua the high priest exemplifying the Israelites and possible hints of the modern day role of the Church.
Using the YLT [Young’s Literal Translation] bible we read in verse 1 “he sheweth me Joshua the high priest standing before the messenger of Jehovah, and the Adversary standing at his right hand, to be an adversary to him.” Two things to note: Joshua (not the Joshua of the return out of Egypt and Moses’ replacement as leader) stands before two others; an angelic messenger of God AND angel called Satan, the adversary. This allows us insight into a specific and identifiable scenario. There is a good guy and the bad guy confronting Joshua. This is as it even is today. Satan is alive accusing God’s followers of wrong doings. Revelation 12:10 has yet to happen; “who [Satan] has accused[believers] before God both day and night [finally] hasbeen cast down” [KJV; emphasis mine]. Joshua embodies this Zechariah scenario.
This is a vision Zechariah sees, not yet an actual occurrence. Zechariah 3 expounds on the previous chapter in Zechariah; i.e. Zechariah 2:12 [ASV] “…and Jehovah shall inherit Judah…and choose Jerusalem.” Is it any wonder that the historical and current fight over Jerusalem covering three thousand years still exists to this very day? It is a profound actuality. Satan still remains here on earth. Historically this area was the basis of each Christian Crusade, but in actuality the Roman Catholic Pope ordained and sanctioned the Crusades of 1,000 years ago. Everyone wants to occupy it…Christians, Catholic Church, Muslims, Palestinians, etc. This includes back in the 700’s C.E. when Mohammed captured Jerusalem which in turn brought on the Crusades 400 years later.
Zechariah 3:2“…a brand plucked out of the fire.” This statement has great meaning. We should know about the Lake of Fire following the Great White Throne Judgment. It is identified today as HELL. The word “brand” is similar to a fire poker; something that is used to stir-up or pull items from the fire. The implication should be obvious. Jehovah pulls from the fire (Joshua in this example) those who are to be cleansed and robed in pure white. Keep mindful that in this passage we have Satan the accuser, angel of the Lord (possibly Old Testament Jesus), and symbolic Joshua. Some will be pulled from the fire but not all.
Now this High Priest is clothed in dirty rags; an example of us as believers. Our good deeds are as filthy rags [Isaiah 64:6]. What about the priesthood of this example in Zechariah 3? 1 Peter 2:5 identifies every believer as a priest of God. Zechariah combines all believers into the example of the High Priest Joshua; filthy dirty but destined to be cleansed and clothed in white robes.
Zechariah 3:5 depending on the translation one is using, has a word many do not grasp its meaning. S/he reads right through it. The KJV and ASV identify this word as a mitre; the ESV identifies it as a turban; the YLT [Young’s Literal Translation] says “diadem.” Essentially, they all mean a type of crown…crowns of righteousness [II Timothy 4:7-11].
Zechariah 3:6 uses the term ‘protested.’ “…and the angel of the Lord PROTESTED onto Joshua.” Being mindful that Joshua exemplifies those who follow God/Jesus as believers (Jew and Gentile), the word protested is ‛ûd [Strong’s H5947]. It means to exhort, encourage, challenge, to be a witness. Protest in this sense is not a negative or something against us, but an identified challenge as it is explained in the closing verses of chapter 3.
Verse 8 brings up the topic of a ‘branch’ of the Lord of Hosts. This is an Old Testament reference to the coming messiah; a branch of Judah in the line of King David, Jesus himself. This ‘branch’ will remove the iniquity of the land (Jerusalem and the world) “… removed in a single day.” This does not give universal carte’ blanche forgiveness. It means the sins of the world will be upon this branch at the cross of Calvary. One must still call upon the name of the Lord to be rescued/redeemed. Like one stuck in muck might call for a branch to grasp to be pulled out, but it is conditional. First a branch must be sought. Second, the one in the muck must have faith in it by grasping it to be pulled out. No longer will there be a need for animal sacrifice. This practice of Old Testament Israel did not forgive sin but was symbolic of the need and plea for forgiveness. THE BRANCH (Jesus) is a once for all sacrifice. It rescues those who believe AND grasp onto it.
Verse 10 simply states that in that day of the calling there will be true peace and plenty in the land. Satan is bound, evil spirits are no longer free to roam, and Christ is in Jerusalem. Chapter 14 give greater detail but that is several articles away. Be patient and continue following this chapter by chapter commentary of Zechariah.
Chapter 1 has a basic question of running to or running from as regards those who returned to Judah after being released from Babylon ; primarily to Jerusalem. 50,000 Judeans had just returned from 70 years at the hands and mercy of Chaldean Babylonians; 50,000 out of hundreds of thousands. Only a few returned meaning a very large population of the no longer captives remained in, around, or migrated from Babylon to places other than to their native land of Israel. After 70 years of living in Babylon, most who remained alive were probably born while in Babylon, not Judah. Upon release by Cyrus I, a bible history student (disciple/learner) should note that it is just as likely some, if not thousands moved from Babylon but in any direction other than Jerusalem. Historical migrations records show this to be true.
Zechariah states, just as Jesus states in the New Testament, “return to me then I will return to you.” This is a major discussion in and of itself, but not at this time. It is a simple condition. God/Lord/Jesus made a point. If one does not feel as close to God as s/he once did, guess who moved! Want to reconnect that closeness? Then MOVE CLOSER. God wanted His chosen people to occupy Israel/Jerusalem. God wanted the Judeans to return to him and their home. They did not do so other than a trickle.
Looking back at chapter 1 beginning with verse 7, Zechariah sees horsemen near or under *Myrtle trees. Queen Esther’s name means “myrtle”. Recall our comment in our introduction and chapter 1 of Zechariah that *the name myrtle and the name of Esther have a connection. If there is a connection between Queen Esther and what Zechariah saw under the Myrtle trees, we have not discovered, but it may be there. Pray about it now that you know. Zechariah of the returning band of Judeans and Queen Esther of Persia may have known each other; most likely contemporaries…old Zechariah and a young Esther.
Verse 1:15 could use a bit of illumination. God was a bit angry (with his chosen people in Judah, from which we get the name Jew), but other nations made it worse (for captive Israelis). Who are these other nations? We find that answer a few verses later in the vision of horns and craftsmen. The horns that prodded Israelites from their Promised Lands were Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans. Some commentaries wish to make Medo-Persia one of the horns. This creates a problem. The Medo-Persians were the ones who eventually released those who were formerly under the thumb of Babylon until Cyrus I released them. The Medo-Persians conquered Babylon. Cyrus I of Persia released those who were already captured and scattered. It was an option to return home. Most did not go home. Some migrated east, and south settling some of the barren lands of that time.
One may wonder about the Greek role in this scattering. This is Alexander the Great. Although he did not attack and conquer Jerusalem, he did attack some of the cities within Judah. One historical fact: when Alexander built Alexandria along the Mediterranean Sea coast in northern Egypt, he moved over 2,000,000 Jews to this city. In a sense it was a reward to these people to live there, but in God’s world, this scattered them even further. Rome also scattered these defeated Judeans to Aleppo (northern Syria and Turkey) and to the (E)Iberian Peninsula of Spain. Since this is not the context of Zechariah, we will discuss it again in later blogs and articles.
A measuring line to measure for something that is already there or will sometime and somehow be rebuilt differently? Here we are with Zechariah having another vision; a vision that follows men riding horses standing under the Myrtle Trees, the four horns (enemies of exiled Kingdom of Israel) and four carpenters.
Red, white, brownish orange and spotted horse. JIV NOTE: Not one horse is black as in the Book of Revelation and the Apocalypse horsemen. No black horse distinguishes between the two prophetic events of time yet not seen.
Four horns and four carpenters.
NOW…a measuring line
“Where are you going”, asks Zechariah (v2). Bluntly…this is End Time prophecy. (ESV) Zechariah 2:4 tells us a couple of things. First one angel says to the one with the measuring line, “Run to that young man.” Since it is Zechariah asking the question in verse 2, it is Zechariah who is the YOUNG MAN. The angel is told to “RUN!” He is told to tell Zechariah that Jerusalem will [someday] have a very large population of people and animals that will overflow the former walls of this infamous city. To us at ahabiblemoments.com this suggests along with other things, that when Israelis from the four corners of the earth return to God, God will return to them with abundance. If we in modern time (C.E.) and as a church body return to Christ as described in the Book of Acts, God will return to us filling our cup to the brim and over the top. There is more but suffice it for this right now. Bottom line: this is the restoration of future Israel when Judah and Israel will once again become one nation. This is symbolic of the man with the measuring line.
Zechariah 2:7 can be taken as symbolical and actuality. “Deliver thyself oh Zion out of Babylon” (those who live amongst the ‘daughters of Babylon’). We already know that MOST of the Jewish Babylonian captives did not return to Judah or Jerusalem when Cyrus I signed a decree for them to be released. Their millions of descendants remain in and around that territory to this very day. Some migrated elsewhere to places God did not wish for them to be. We know per news as of fall 2020, a large number of India Israelis, Bnei Menashe (means “family or sons of Manasseh) are being returned after 2,700 years as a part of one Lost Tribe of Israel.
AHAMOMENT: The practice of an ancient Judaism in India by descendants of the Tribe of Manasseh did NOT KNOW about Purim; time of Esther. Why not? Purim came out of the history of Esther and the survival of the Jews who remained in Babylon after their captivity. Purim is a celebration of Queen Esther saving them from annihilation. The Tribes of Israel dispersed by the Assyrians 200 years before the Babylonian history of King Ahasuerus and Esther did not experience or know of this event…Purim. This 2020 return of “sons of Manasseh will amount to over 10,000 people of Israeli descent returning to Israel from northwestern India. http://thejewishlink.com/722-descendants-of-manasseh-in-india-to-return-to-israel/
Zechariah 2:7 – 9: The “apple of my eye.” Again, this is NOT the church in end times. It is all about God’s covenants with Israel through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Basically God is relaying through Zechariah… those who mess (past and future tense) with my people will be judged most harshly. (V9; ESV) “I will shake my hand [of judgment] over them”
V10 “I will dwell in the midst of them…” [KJV] The word dwell is not only a spiritual dwelling but also meaning an indwelling. The Hebrew word shâkan is used for dwell. It means according to Strong H7931; to lodge with or amongst; have habitation with them or inhabit. Zechariah 8:22-23 elaborates upon this next verse in 2:11. We will get there, eventually.
Zec 2:13Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.
To all and perspective students of Aha Bible Moments Studies
The following is a sneak preview of our Zechariah study. Fascinating and futuristic; i.e. End Time prophecies. We blog this to students so each, if desired and willing, can begin looking into the book seeing just how well it compares to New Testament references. Please feel free to share it with others who want a better understanding of the bible outside of the “stories” so easily recalled but lacking spiritual application, historical depth, insight and depth perception.
The book of Zechariah is considered complex. It has three major sections. He is contemporary with Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zerubbabel, and probably Ezekiel. Even though he was born in Babylon he joined the original group of Judean Jews that returned to Jerusalem; a place Zechariah had never seen before the release of the Judeans by King Cyrus. Zechariah was born in Babylon.
There is suggestions that his latter day prophecies, chapters 9-14, were simultaneous with the Book of Esther; she in Babylon and Zechariah in Jerusalem. These two books make the Book of Esther more significant once we compare the prophetic application of Zechariah and the historical facts of Esther as queen of Persia. Esther is resultant of the hundreds of thousands of Judean Jews who DID NOT return from Babylon after King Cyrus released them to go home.
The below is a handout and reference as we discuss commentary per Zechariah.
Old Testament Zechariah quoted or found in the New Testament
Zechariah’s name means “The Lord Remembers.” The meaning of this name is even more significant in that the promises and insights given to Zechariah require that the Lord Remembers his covenants with Israel via Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with HIS son’s and eventually new covenants with the New Testament church of believers.
Zechariah, the 11th of the 12 Minor Prophets was a servant of God at a young age. He initially returned to a flattened Jerusalem and basically barren Judah with his grandfather Iddo the priest. This suggests his father Barachiah was no around or alive.
The book of Zechariah is fairly straight forward. He is contemporary with Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zerubbabel, probably Ezekiel and perhaps for a short time a very old Daniel. Even though he was born in Babylon he joined the small group of Judean Jews that returned to Jerusalem; a place Zechariah had never seen before the release of the Judeans by King Cyrus.
The possible latter half of Zechariah makes the Book of Esther more significant once we compare the prophetic application of Zechariah and the historical facts of Esther as Queen of Persia. Important to keep in mind that millions of Judeans we call Jews did NOT RETURN to Jerusalem when released by King Cyrus in 539 B.C. They remained in the Babylonian, Persian, Median, and Iraqi lands of old.
Although we have not independently verified the preciseness of the following dates (graph by alacin.blogspot.com) they broadly represent the sequence of events discussed in Ezra. Keep in mind that Ezra and Nehemiah were initially considered on book
Ahamoment: Queen Esther is also suggested by ancient regards to be entombed alongside or near where Daniel was buried. This is debatable but a true curiosity. They existed within a generation or two of each other in Persia. Daniel is one of a multitude of Judeans who did not return to Jerusalem even though it was he who petitioned King Cyrus I for the release of the Jews in Babylon. PS: There are over 26 Zechariah’s mentioned in the Bible. This is one major reason why sequencing and dates are important. PSS: Zechariah is also revered in Islam as a prophet.
JIV CAUTION: There have been and always will be biblical history revisionists. Wikipedia is often guilty of such even when it appears to only be a suggestion to question the accuracy or inerrancy of the Bible. Revisionists attempt to confuse the ignorant by suggesting the Zechariah slain between the Temple and the Alter was the father Zechariah of John the Baptist. Matthew 23:25 is clear. It is the Zechariah the son of Barachiah.
Caution #2: Wikipedia says: “Although there is an indication in Targum Lamentations that “Zechariah son of Iddo” was killed in the Temple,  scholars generally understand this as a reference to the death of a much earlier figure, Zechariah ben Jehoiada. ” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zechariah_(Hebrew_prophet))
Again…Read Matthew 23:25! Deception comes with their above statement: “scholars generally understand”. We ask, WHAT SCHOLARS? [Matthew 23:25]
The ending of Amos part 9a (verses 1-10) and the beginning of Amos part 9b (verses 11 and 15) are separated by over 2500 years. Amos 9a is Israel’s demise in 722 B.C. Amos 9b is the reemerging of Israelis as a people under God. Chapter 9 part ‘a’ and ‘b’ are exacting.
It states that NONE can escape God’s judgment be it flying in the skies, under the great seas, in the caves of mountains, and even in their graves. Amos states that there will be a final return of Israel beyond April 1947.
“On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old…”[NKJV]
The use of the word tabernacle may be misleading. Many understand that King David did not build the Tabernacle of Judaism worship. His son Solomon did as found in 1Kings5:1—9:91; Chronicles 28:1 – 29:82; Chronicles 2:1 – 7:22. So what does it mean to say “the tabernacle of David?” Revelation 21:3 infers the tabernacle of God to be His only begotten; Jesus. The tabernacle of David, sûkkâh, means (Strong H5520: a hut or lair: – booth, cottage, covert, pavilion, tabernacle, tent. Given this translation, Amos 9:11 is not restricted to the word ‘tabernacle’ as only a place of worship. The effectual tabernacle of Israel and Solomon in the Hebrew is ‘ôhel [Strong H168]; House of the Lord.
At this time in his-story, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had rejected the DNA lineage of King David when they split in northern (Israel) and southern (Judah) kingdoms. It would be safe to conclude Amos is referring to the House of David being his lineage, that God is going to restore to Israel…all 12 tribes under ONE ROOF [nation]. Jesus is from the house of David; Judah.
That they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,” declares the Lord who does this [NASB].
We have a conundrum or challenge per the use of the word Edom. Some scholars see this word as “Adam” not Edom. This is easy to see. They are pronounced the same way and at a glance, their spelling is almost identical. Edom spelled in Hebrew is אֱדֹם. The Hebrew spelling for Adam is אָדָם. The only differences are the notations UNDER the Hebrew characters. Over time these notations could fade, be deleted, or not noted by the translator. Whatever it is, Amos is once again stating that all will be judged one way or another; believer or nonbeliever. The ancient writers of Septuagint used Adam instead of Edom; i.e. mankind.
Another note to the studying bible student: Some translations Amos 9:12, such as the KJV, use the word ‘heathens’; ASV; Darby; MKJV use ‘nations’ while others state ‘unbelievers’ The NKJV uses the word ‘Gentiles’. Gentile is preferred since the rest of this verse addresses “all the heathen.”
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, the treader of grapes him [overtakes him) who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, And all the hills shall flow with it” [NKJV]
The ploughman [khaw-rash’] means the one furrowing the ground for planting.
One might easily skip this verse due to its supposed overlapping of events. Understanding it forces a pause for a deeper underestanding. We will try to distinguish between the comparisons; statement by statement.
The reaper [kaw-tsar’] has a wide interpretation but make note of the similarities in the Hebrew spellings between ploughman and reaper.
To harvest grass or grain
To cut down; be discouraged
To grieve, lothe, or mourn
In short, one is plowing the land while another is still reaping the previous harvest. It could mean that the ploughman, one who is getting ready to plant a new crop, overtakes those who are still harvesting the old crop; i.e. the new is trying to replace the old. See Revelation 21:5. God is making (a process) all things new. It could also indicate the overabundance of product or life in God’s new world order (millennial reign). The rest of this verse seems to support the overabundance consideration.
The treader of grapes is one who in a sense is producing a new wine. It is the second half of this verse that adds light; him that sows. The word “sows” [maw-shak’] means to delay, prolong, try to develop, draw out, defer or extend. It would be odd that the one treading grapes somehow interferes with or overtakes one planting seed. Might this mean that the ones treading the grapes have completed their job while those responsible of seeding new crop have delayed or prolonged their responsibilities? Amos commentary by David Allen Hubbard puts it this way:
“When God releases blessing and restoration, fruit comes quickly. “Ploughman and reaper labored separately . . . but here they bump into each other, so abundant are the crops and so eager is the land to grow more.” (David A. Hubbard of Tyndale Publishing)
We Teach – You Decide
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine is an odd correlation between growing grapes and its rich harvest. Mountains [har] are not usually good places to grow grapes. Warm lands and valleys are more conducive to this. This embodies the abundance of the Old Testament promise to Israel of a land flowing in milk and honey. This first comes to our attention when the 12 Israelite spies sent by Moses to spy out the lands of Canaan to visually see a land of milk and honey; also a reference to the abundance of reward to God’s New Testament faithful. The spies return to report that the lands over flow with milk and honey [Exodus 3:8, 17].
All the hills will melt: ghib-aw’ (hills) does not mean the mountains. It means little hills. They will melt down. Recall that Jesus said upon his donkey ride into Jerusalem that had not the people not cried out in celebration, the rocks would have [Luke 19:40]. This is the hills melting [mûg] or flowing (to bow) down in the presence of their creator.
Amos 9:14 I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel [KJV]. First note this is about “my people Israel”, not the New Testament Church [believer]. The word captivity suggests that once again Israel goes into captivity as in Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Spanish Inquisition, Hitler’s Germany… This is not its meaning. It is all Israel being returned to the Promised Lands; to once again be united together; Judah and Israel. “My people Israel” is not exclusive to a few or lacking any of the tribes of Jacob. They will be swept out of the four corners of the earth to return to God’s Israel.
JIV opinion: Lands and nations will pave the way to rid themselves of Israelites; not just the Jews of the Tribe of Judah but all Israelite descendants. This is a very in depth study and conclusion. One not readily or easily deduced or conjured.
They shall build the wasted cities, inhabit them, plant crops of abundant produce, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. This needs little discussion. Take it precisely for what it says. Again, this is not the church but Israel; God’s chosen.
Amos 9:15 is self-evident. They will NO LONGER be removed from the Promised Lands by anyone or enemy…says the lord God!
We conclude Amos with chapter 9 being divided into two segments. It is a short chapter but two very distinct topics. One is a conclusion of Northern Israel’s existence and the second half is the beginning of God’s promise to the Throne of David to be the Millennial center of the world as the headquarters (kingdom) of Jesus Christ.
Amos 9:1 Amos sees the Lord in a vision standing on, next to, or over the altar (possibly a reference to the evil altars in Bethel and Dan) even though this is 700 years before Christ is sacrificed on the altar of the Cross of Calvary. Odd as this seems; Christ standing next to or beside the altar of sacrifices in Bethel, Dan or perhaps *Jerusalem, there is a secondary reason other than 700 years later he would be the altar-sacrifice for our sins. He is preventing other Temple alter sacrifices during the Millennial Reign. Blood sacrifices on that altar did not forgive sins. Only the sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary did that. Chapter 9 is Amos’ fifth of the five visions. They begin in Amos 7:1.
*We have little conclusiveness as to which alter(s) it is Amos sees the Lord next to or upon.
We borrowed this graphic illustration from preceptaustin.org. It is fairly accurate including something we have ignored up to this point in our Amos Commentary. One can see that Micah and Isaiah follow right on the heels of Jonah, Hosea, and Amos.
Timeline help the serious Bible student to keep perspective.
The door posts are to be struck to help collapse the temple building. Structurally this would include the header above the doorway. It would create a sagging point in any structure. Amos adds in verse one that those who are not destroyed within the structure will not be able to hide for the Lord’s sword. It can be the depths of the deepest seas or the top of a mountain, HIS sword of judgment will not be avoided. Job 14:13 states…“O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!”
(JIV 9:1 NOTE) Strike the doorposts (Lintel [KJV]; top of the columns [ERV]; mercy-seat [Brenton]; capitols [ASV]) has a familiar Bible reflection. The Israeli escape from captivity in Egyptian in the last of the ten plagues also uses the doorposts. The blood of a lamb had to be sprinkled on doorposts in [Exodus 12:13] to escape death judgment. This is not all that is implicated. “I stand at the door and knock…” (Revelation 3:20)
If one thinks that the Hitler Holocaust was horrific, what might one make of one make of Amos 9:1b? “Not one of them (Israelites of the North) shall escape.” Taken out of context, one can wrongfully deduce this Amos prophesied holocaust. Understanding it within the context of this chapter 9 means that there is no place one can hide to escape final judgment? Keep it in mind that ever since this time of Amos’ book Israeli’s (Jews) have been sought after to harass, destroy, exile, and be removed to other lands…the world lining up against Jerusalem.
Amos 9:2, 3 (ESV) “If they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; if they climb up to *heaven, from there I will bring them down. If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search them out and take them; and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.”
*Heaven here means shâmeh, the heavens we can see from earth with or without telescopic vision.
Amos 9:5 makes it clear that the world is also being judged at the time of the Lord’s judgment upon Israel. The little three letter Hebrew word for ALL in verse 5 is used; i.e. Kole. It literally means ‘no one excluded’ or ‘all included’. This pending judgment verse is not exclusive to Israel.
Amos 9:7 has a historical insight for those who have wondered if Israel’s eternal nemesis, the Philistines, were always “the bad guys next door” in the Gaza area. This insight comes from the latter part of verse 7. Amos is reminding the northern Kingdom of Israel of their archenemies. … “land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?”Philistines from where? CAPHATOR! Caphator aka Crete, is an island in the eastern Mediterranean. It is from where the Philistines originate moving to Gaza. We discussed this in a previous study, Which Way Did They Go. We explained the Egyptian trade routes and trading posts the Tribe of Dan established as Egypt’s merchant marines. This island was only one of multiple trading posts established by the Tribe of Dan(e)s during Israeli 400+ years of captivity in Egypt; well over 1,000 years earlier than Amos.
Amos 9:8 is straight up. God will destroy the Northern Kingdom of Israel from the face of the earth, but not all its people. They will be scattered to the four corners of the earth. This is precisely the situation we have today. Assyrians scattered them across this planet then replaced Israelis (not just the Jews of Judah) with a foreign-to-this-land people. Migrations and other exiles pushed them into the corners of the earth. The problem is not finding Israeli descendants as much as it is most of them have lost their identities with the 12 Tribes. Many even in the Middle East today claim a DNA connection to Israel but do not claim the God of Israel. Examples include many of the independent and territorial tribes of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Persia (Iran), Kurdistan, etc.
We find scriptural support for the above historical statements in the next verse; i.e. Amos 9:9
“For, behold, I will command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations, as one shakes with a sieve; yet not a grain shall fall to the ground.”
I will shake or scatter the house of Israel among ALL (kole) the nations.
Amos 9:10 concludes part “A” of our Amos 9 commentary. This verse has a mixed understanding: All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, those who say, The evil shall not draw near or confront us. Hold on reader. Can you take in all this short verse states? MY PEOPLE makes it not the Christian church but the people of Israel. The church didn’t even exist for another 750 years. SHALL (all) DIE BY THE SWORD? This is a sword of judgment, not the metal sword though this will be the instrument of destruction to many of the Israelis of the Northern Kingdom and later to their cousins in Judah.
What makes them sinners beyond what Hosea and Amos have already been preaching? It is their doubt any of this could happen to them. Sound familiar? Perhaps a co-worker, family member, neighbor or one’s self? Things are going great for an upper class of people. They believed Great Prosperity protected them! It is possible it was as much about not believing as it was, not wanting to change their ways. Denial does not change actualities. Desired perceptions are often not actualities.