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C. The surveyor ch. 2
In the first vision (Zechariah 1:7-17) God promised comfort to Israel. In the second (Zechariah 1:18-21) He explained that He would bring this comfort by punishing the nations that had afflicted Israel. In this third vision (ch. 2) He guaranteed the future prosperity and expansion of Israel. Jerusalem has a divine protector. As will become clear, this future blessedness must extend beyond the restoration period to messianic times. [Note: See T. T. Perowne, The Books of Haggai and Zechariah, p. 74.] This third vision has a counterpart in vision six (Zechariah 5:1-4) in that they both deal with measuring, dimensions, and Jerusalem. This vision stresses the importance of Jerusalem, and vision six pertains to law within Jerusalem. This vision pictures Jerusalem in millennial glory. [Note: Unger, p. 43.]
In the next scene of his vision, Zechariah saw a man (i.e., an angel who looked like a man) with a measuring line in his hand (cf. Zechariah 1:11; Zechariah 6:12; Ezekiel 40:2-3). When the prophet asked him where he was going, he replied that he was going to measure the dimensions of Jerusalem. This surveying would have been preparation for restoring and rebuilding the city. The restoration of Jerusalem in progress in Zechariah’s day was only a foreview of a much grander future restoration to be described (cf. Jeremiah 32:15; Ezekiel 40:3; Ezekiel 40:5; Revelation 11:1).
1. The vision itself 2:1-5
Another angel, possibly the angel of the Lord (Zechariah 1:11-12), came forward to meet Zechariah’s guiding angel as he was going out toward the "man" with the measuring line. He instructed him to tell "that young man," Zechariah, that Jerusalem would expand beyond its walls because so many people and cattle would live in it (cf. Ezekiel 38:11). Another interpretation is that the young man was the angel with the measuring line. [Note: E.g., Leupold, p. 55.] But it seems more probable that the other angel gave this revelation to Zechariah directly. During the restoration period, the Jews built walls around the city to make it secure, yet few people wanted to live in it (cf. Nehemiah 11:1-2; Nehemiah 7:4). This prophecy must have a future fulfillment, though it doubtless encouraged Zechariah’s contemporaries to rebuild the city in their day. [Note: See Merrill, pp. 116-18, for defense of this "both in Zechariah’s day and in the future" interpretation.]
The Lord promised to be Jerusalem’s defense instead of a physical wall and to be the glory in her in contrast to any human glory. Such a promise would have been a great encouragement to the returnees from captivity. Yahweh Himself (emphatic in the Hebrew text) would provide security by His protection and presence (cf. Zechariah 1:16; Psalms 24:7-10). Though God did protect the returnees, His promise has not yet found fulfillment. The wall of fire that Yahweh would be recalls the pillar of cloud and fire by which God visualized His protecting presence at various times throughout her history (Exodus 13:21-22; Exodus 14:19-20; Exodus 40:34; Isaiah 4:5-6).
"This anticipates the Lord’s personal presence through the Messiah in his kingdom on earth (cf. Zechariah 2:11-12; Zechariah 14:9; Isaiah 60:19; Ezekiel 43:1-5; Ezekiel 48:35). So then the literal kingdom will be very spiritual." [Note: Barker, p. 617. For a defense of the spirituality of the physical, earthly kingdom of Messiah, see Feinberg, God Remembers, p. 45.]
"At a time when others such as Nehemiah were interested in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and excluding from the community those who had divorced their wives and married young foreign girls (Ezra 10:2-3), Zechariah sees a vision of the future Jerusalem as a broad, spreading metropolis with the wall of God’s presence around her and the glory of his presence within her." [Note: Smith, p. 197.]
Both the second and third visions guarantee the future safety of Jerusalem. Since Jerusalem has not been safe for millennia, it seems reasonable to expect a fulfillment in messianic times.
The Lord called His people to flee from the land of the north (cf. Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 16:15; Jeremiah 23:8; Jeremiah 31:8) where He had scattered them as the four winds (cf. Isaiah 43:5-6; Isaiah 49:12). Most of the Israelite exiles had gone into captivity in Assyria, and most of the Judean exiles went into captivity in Babylon. However, there were many other Israelites who had been taken or had fled to Egypt (Jeremiah 43:7), Moab, Ammon, and Edom (Jeremiah 40:11-12), Persia, and many other nations. These were Jews who later constituted the Diaspora, those who did not return to Palestine but remained dispersed throughout the ancient world. The Lord called these people to escape from Babylon among whose daughters they lived. This was a call for the Jews still living in Babylon to return home in Zechariah’s day and help rebuild their nation. But it is also, because of the context and lack of fulfillment, a prophetic call to those living in the end times to abandon the Babylon of their day (cf. Revelation 18:4-8).
"Since Babylon in the post-exilic period epitomized all the suffering and indignity inflicted on Judah at the fall of Jerusalem and after, the name could stand for all lands of exile, and was not confined to the geographical area known as Babylon." [Note: Baldwin, p. 109.]
The destruction of oppressing enemies 2:6-9
2. The oracle about enemy destruction and Israelite blessing 2:6-13
This message brings out the practical implications of the two visions just related. It is a section of poetry in the midst of the prose visions. The prophet now spoke for the Lord, first to the Jews still in exile (Zechariah 2:6-9) and then to the Jews in Jerusalem (Zechariah 2:10-13). The first part deals with the overthrow of enemies and so connects with the second vision. The second part declares Yahweh’s sovereignty in Zion and reinforces the third vision. [Note: Baldwin, pp. 107-8.]
"The future greatness of Zion is too important a subject to be quickly dismissed. Various aspects of it should yet be unfolded; therefore Zechariah 2:6-13 follow, which are very much in place at this point, and for just this reason." [Note: Leupold, p. 57.]
They were to flee because the Lord purposed to send His representative to plunder the nations for afflicting His people, the apple (lit. gate, the pupil, which is the most sensitive part) of His eye (cf. Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalms 17:8; Matthew 25:34-45; Acts 9:1; Acts 9:4-5). This would result in His glory.
"This statement ["after glory"] anticipates the New Testament revelation of the Father sending the Son to glorify Him, both in His first advent (John 17:4, cf. Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:17-19) and in His second advent (Isaiah 61:1-2)." [Note: Unger, p. 49.]
"This will be fulfilled in the judgment of the Gentiles at Messiah’s Second Advent (Matthew 25:31-46)." [Note: F. Duane Lindsey, "Zechariah," in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, p. 1553.]
The person whom the Lord would send as His representative ("Me") could not be Zechariah, in view of what the following verses say He would do. He must be Messiah, the only one with sufficient power and authority to fulfill what God predicted here. He would simply wave His hand over these nations in a menacing gesture and they would become plunder for the Israelites whom they had enslaved (cf. Esther 7:10; Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 14:2; Isaiah 19:16; Galatians 6:7-8). Then God’s people would know that Yahweh of armies had sent this One (cf. Isaiah 61:3; John 17:4). This would be the sovereign Lord’s doing, so the Jews should rejoice, return to the land, and prepare.
The Israelites in Jerusalem and elsewhere were to rejoice because the Lord promised to intervene for them and to dwell among them. His return to Jerusalem would prompt the nations to come there and acknowledge Him as sovereign (cf. Psalms 47:9; Psalms 96:1; Psalms 97:1; Psalms 98:4). Many nations would turn to the Lord in that day (the eschatological day of the Lord, cf. ch. 14; Isaiah 2:12-21; Isaiah 24-27; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:28 to Joel 3:21; Amos 5:18-20; Amos 9:11-15; Zeph.) and become part of his family of believers (Zechariah 8:20-23; Genesis 12:3; Genesis 18:18; Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 60:3). They would resemble Him as well as acknowledge Him (cf. Isaiah 56:6-8; Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 60:21). He would dwell in the midst of His people (cf. Zechariah 8:3; Zechariah 8:20-23; John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Revelation 21:3), and they would know that Yahweh had sent this One. This is clearly a reference to Messiah’s second advent, not His first advent.
"In fulfillment of the great OT covenants, particularly the Abrahamic covenant, this section anticipates full kingdom blessing in the messianic era. . . . This language is ultimately messianic-indirectly or by extension from God in general to the Messiah in particular." [Note: Barker, p. 619.]
Yahweh’s ultimate blessing of Israel 2:10-13
The Lord would at that time possess Judah as His inheritance in the "holy land" and would choose Jerusalem for special blessing (cf. Isaiah 19:24-25). This is the only occurrence of the term "holy land" in the Bible. Canaan would become holy (sacred, not common or ordinary) because it would be the site of the throne and habitation of God, who is holy, dwelling among His covenant people. All the people of the earth should be still because Yahweh would arouse Himself from His heavenly habitation and take action on the earth.
The typical amillennial interpretation, represented by Leupold, sees "’Judah’ and ’Jerusalem’ as a designation of His people wherever they may be found. So also ’the holy land’ is not specifically Palestine but every place where God manifests Himself." [Note: Leupold, p. 61.] McComiskey, another amillennialist, viewed the promise of land in both a territorial (a world conquered by Christ; Romans 4:13) and a spiritual sense (the rest that those in Christ enjoy; Hebrews 3-4). [Note: McComiskey, pp. 1044 and 1096.]
"The first vision introduced the judgment (or curse) and blessing motif (Zechariah 1:15-17). That motif is then developed in the second and third visions in an alternating cycle: judgment for the nations (Zechariah 1:18-21) but blessing and glory for Israel (Zechariah 2:1-5); judgment for the nations (Zechariah 2:6-9) but blessing for Israel-and the nations (Zechariah 2:10-13)." [Note: Barker, p. 621.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Zechariah 2". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/
Eve of Ascension