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Bible Commentaries

James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary
Zechariah 4

 

 

Verses 1-23

MORE OF THE PROPHET’S OWN TIME

THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK (Zechariah 4)

The candlestick was a copy of that in the early tabernacle, but with what difference (Zechariah 4:2)? From what source was its oil supplied (Zechariah 4:3)? What did this supply of oil from the trees symbolize (Zechariah 4:6)? The candlestick itself may represent the temple which the Jews were now essaying to build, or the Jewish nation as a whole which was now sought to be re-established and become a light in the world. The difficulties in the way of accomplishing these things seemed insuperable, if the strength of man only should be considered, but God would interpose, and His Spirit do what human agencies could not do. How is this difficulty and its removal figuratively expressed (Zechariah 4:7)? How is the figure explained (Zechariah 4:8-10)? On what point did the prophet desire further light (Zechariah 4:12)? What reply was made to him (Zechariah 4:14)? By these “two anointed ones” is understood Zerubbabel and Joshua, the leaders of Israel at this time on whom, and through whom the Holy Spirit would be poured out for the successful termination of the work.

It is proper to apply this symbol to the church of the present day in its testimony and work; in which case the “two anointed ones” may represent any who, “filled with the Spirit,” execute the Lord’s will in power. At the same time the whole thing applies primarily to Israel, not only in the time of Zechariah, but in the last times when through the blessing of the Spirit, she shall be restored, and become a rejoicing in the earth. It is proper to add that the deeper meaning of Zechariah 4:14 is probably Christ Himself, “The Priest upon His throne,” who will supply Israel as He now supplies the church with His Holy Spirit!

THE FLYING ROLL AND THE EPHAH (Zechariah 5)

The two visions in chapter 5 are mysterious and like the four chariots in chapter 6, seem to express the idea of judgment. That the “flying roll” has that significance would seem plain by a comparison with Ezekiel 2:9-10, and Revelation, chapters 5 and 10, where similar figures have such meaning. We have seen that judgment is coming upon the Gentile nations, and that Israel also is to be purified before she is finally restored, and it may be that to both the present vision applies.

What is now seen (Zechariah 5:6)? An ephah or measure is an emblem of trade of commerce. What was seen sitting in the ephah? What is the woman said to symbolize (Zechariah 5:8)? The whole figure then represents wickedness in commerce. What is done with the ephah and where is it carried to? The land of Shinar suggests Babylon again, of whose revival in the latter days mention has been made. Every one knows that commercialism is prominent in Revelation 18 as the climax of ungodliness. Read that chapter in connection with Habakkuk 2:12 and James 5. Babylon is real, and the woman represents the commercial spirit that will reign there at the end.

The spirit of self that prevailed in the Babylon of Genesis 11, will build up and prevail in the Babylon of Revelation 18. The description of the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar’s day will fit the one to come. It will be the city of “the prince of this world,” the seat of the Antichrist. It is noticeable that certain prophecies concerning Babylon in Isaiah and Jeremiah have not yet been fulfilled, while these prophecies are closely identified with those in

Revelation 17, 18. The drift in our day is in the direction of a commercial center in the East.

The ninth and closing vision, Zechariah 6:1-8, furnishes another spectacle of judgment on the nations and the quieting of the divine Spirit with the result.

CROWNING OF THE HIGH PRIEST (Zechariah 6)

The prophet is now called upon to do something in the nature of an object lesson to symbolize that great future event which will follow the judgments referred to, viz: the manifested reign of Christ over the millennial earth. Who have now come from Babylon on an embassage (Zechariah 6:10)? Whose guests are they (same verse)? What articles do they seem to have brought as gifts for the temple (Zechariah 6:11)? What is the prophet to do with some of this silver and gold? What is he to say in connection with this transaction (Zechariah 6:12-13)? What then shall be done with the crowns, and why (Zechariah 6:14-15)?

That this transaction is symbolic is plain from two or three points of view. In the first place, the royal crown did not belong to the high priest or any son of Levi, but to the tribe of Judah in the line of David. In the second place, there is the expression “Behold the Man whose name is the Branch!” To whom does that name belong? Third, we have the declaration, “He shall build the temple of the Lord.” To whom in the fullest sense can this apply, save Christ? And then, “He shall bear the glory,” and “He shall be a priest upon His throne.” Of none other than Christ has this ever been predicted. He only is the priestly King. Compare Psalms 110, and Hebrews 7. What language in Zechariah 6:15 bears a possible reference to the Gentiles in that day? On what condition is all this to be fulfilled (same verse)?

We pass over particular consideration of the two next chapters, which are in a sense parenthetical, although in accord with the whole book. Men of Babylon sent messengers to Jerusalem to inquire on the subject of ritual or ceremonial fasting. Had their fasting hitherto been acceptable to God and were they to continue it in the new regime? They are shown what a hypocritical thing that service had been hitherto; how it was such formalism and hypocrisy which had brought punishment upon their fathers: how that the fasting Jehovah desired was of a different nature, and finally, that in the blessed time coming feasting will take the place of fasting. These hints will enable the reader to reach a fair understanding of the chapters.

QUESTIONS

1. What may the golden candlestick typify?

2. How might the reference to “the two anointed ones” be applied?

3. What about the flying roll and ephah?

4. What shows the crowning of the high priest to be symbolical?

5. Give briefly the substance of chapters 7 and 8.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Zechariah 4:4". The James Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jgc/zechariah-4.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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