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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary
Zechariah 2

 

 

Verses 1-13

The Man and the Measuring Line

Zechariah 2:1-13

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

In the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 40, we have Ezekiel's vision which in some respects parallels the one in Zechariah. Ezekiel in the visions of God was brought into the land of Israel. He saw a man whose appearance was like the appearance of brass. The man had a line of flax in bis hand, and a measuring reed. He was measuring the wall on the outside of the House of God. Then he measured the Temple itself.

In Zechariah's vision, the Temple is not in view, and its measurement; but the city, which houses the Temple.

We cannot get away from this fact that there are two things dear to the heart of God, which stand forth, in prophetic Scriptures. The one is the Temple of the Lord, and the other is the city of God.

1. It was David who wrote, " Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: * * peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee."

The Psalmist said: "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem."

2. We remember also how Daniel prayed three times a day with his face toward Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem shall yet be the joy of the whole earth. Thither will the people go up to worship the Lord even the Lord of Hosts. The Law of the Lord shall go forth from Jerusalem and His statutes from Mount Zion.

All of the Prophets foresaw the time of Jerusalem's glory. Isaiah wrote: "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the Holy City."

3. Isaiah's vision was a larger one. He wrote in the Spirit, "Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem."

He calls Jerusalem the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

4. The Prophet Jeremiah bewails the destruction of Jerusalem and its overthrow. He, however, prophesies the time when God "will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." In that day he says: "Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely."

Thus Jeremiah acclaims the coming glory of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah: "I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. * * And it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth."

He goes on to state that in the places which are now desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, there will be: "The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride." In that day they will break forth with praises to the Lord of Hosts.

5. Ezekiel does not fall behind the other Prophets. He, too, in the Holy Ghost, describes the coming glory of Jerusalem. "I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land." "This land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden." Such is the prophecy of Ezekiel.

With far-flung vision he adds: "I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one King shall be king to them all." "And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob My servant."

We could go on through the minor Prophets. The message is the same. Surely Jerusalem shall be the joy of the whole earth, and the Lord will reign before His ancients gloriously.

I. THE YOUNG MAN'S QUEST (Zechariah 2:1-2 )

Our key verse says: "I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof."

1. This young man stands before us as the representative of those who seek to inquire into the future of God's heritage. He was interested and concerned about Jerusalem. He wanted to know its geographical future, its length, and its breadth.

We should remember that this young man was seeking to know Jerusalem's future, in the hour of her then decay. There was nothing in the days of Zechariah apart from the sure promises of God to even suggest that there was a roseate time ahead of God's people. To every human appearance Jerusalem had been cast off forever. The time of the Gentile supremacy had already begun as Zechariah wrote. From every human viewpoint there was nothing but darkness ahead. History has proved how deep was that darkness, and how dismal were the shadows that overhung Jerusalem.

It is only in the last two decades that the city of God has had any relief from the bondage into which it had fallen in the days of the Prophet. Even now its rennaisance is only partial.

For a young man to seek to know Israel's future, and Jerusalem's destiny in such an hour as 300 B. C., was remarkable.

2. Shall we not join this young man in his quest? Dark clouds are hovering over the world's horizon. Wars and rumors of wars are everywhere. The world is ripening in its sin and shame. Shall we despair, or shall we, with prophetic vision, look beyond the present shadows? Daniel and the Prophets of old searched the Scriptures in anticipation of coming glories. Shall we shut our eyes to the things which illumined their vision? If so, we will become pessimists indeed.

God give us young men and young women with the prophetic eye, which will see beyond the present anguish, the glorious rest which remaineth to the people of God.

II. THE ANGEL'S MESSAGE TO THE YOUNG MAN (Zechariah 2:3-4 )

As the man went forth to measure Jerusalem an angel appeared who cried to another angel, saying, "Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein."

1. God reveals His secrets to those who seek to know Him and His purposes. There were many men in the days of Daniel, but it was unto Daniel that an angel came, saying, "I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding." Why was it that God sent an angel to Daniel? It was because Daniel had set his heart in prayer and confession to know the things of God. It was for this cause that he was called by the Lord a man of desires, and a man greatly beloved.

"Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord." The father who has a son who is interested in his plans and purposes in his behalf, will find a father anxious to reveal unto him his plans.

2. God's plans carry wonderful pledges of coming blessings. To the young man the Lord revealed that Jerusalem should be inhabited as towns without walls. In other words, Jerusalem was to outgrow everything in geographical dimensions she had ever known, because of the multitude of men and cattle therein.

There is, on the part of some, an effort to close the eyes of young people to the prophetic Scriptures. Paul wrote, however, to a young man, saying: "These things speak and exhort"; "let no man despise thee."

The Apostle Peter wrote: "I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance." "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." He also wrote, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed."

John in the Revelation said: " Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy."

III. A WONDERFUL PROPHECY (Zechariah 2:5 )

"For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her."

1. The time of Israel's seeming rejection. During the period of the Gentile supremacy, the Lord has seemingly hid His face from His people. They cry concerning Christ, "His blood be on us, and on our children." They rejected the Lord, and the Lord gave them over to their own ways. They have, accordingly, been driven to the ends of the earth, and scattered among the nations as corn is scattered in a sieve. The Lord plainly told them, "Your house is left unto you desolate."

As Paul wrote, he cried out, "Hath God cast away His people?" Quickly he answered, "God forbid."

As we ponder this question, we lift our eyes to the present condition of God's chosen people, "At this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." Just as Jonah was swallowed but undigested; just as the three Hebrew children were cast by the Gentile king into the burning fiery furnace and preserved, even so, has God kept, and will He keep His people through all the centuries unto the hour of their complete restoration.

2. The time of Israel's security. The Lord will restore His people once more back to their own land. He has sworn saying, "I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God." Thus it is that God will bring again the captivity of His people, "And they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them." What will be their security? To the young man with the measuring line, God told it. He said: "For I, * * will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her."

What is our security as believers? It is thus stated: "They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand." Thus will God Himself protect His people, the holy nation, by a wall of fire round about them.

IV. A MARVELOUS COMMAND (Zechariah 2:6-7 )

Our key verse reads thus: "Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the North, saith the Lord: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon."

1. God knew in Zechariah's day, where the Children of Israel would be in our day. He said through Zechariah, "Come * * from the land of the North." Through Ezekiel the Lord even specified Russia, when He said, "O Zog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal."

Today the great host of the present-day Jews are located in Russia, and in the North parts. Thus the very words of God are being fulfilled before our very eyes.

2. God not only speaks of the north parts, but He saw His people scattered abroad everywhere. He says, "I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven." And so it is. While the larger number of the Jews are in Russia, and the north lands, yet there are Jews to be found everywhere. They are east, and west, and north, and south. Men who travel the world, find the sons of Abraham and Isaac wherever they go.

The Jews are everywhere, and yet they are unamalgamated with the nations where they dwell. What could be more amazing than this? We feel like saying that "the Jew" is an indubitable testimony that God is true.

3. God sends forth the call for His people to deliver themselves. It is as though He were saying, "flee for safety." At this moment there is a great rush from the midst of the nations of the north who have been and are now persecuting Israel.

All things are working out after the manner of God's fore-announced plan. In unbelief, the Jews are fulfilling the words of the Prophets which they read but do not comprehend. They are once more turning their eyes toward the land of their fathers, and are returning to build up the waste places, and enlarge their former inheritances.

V. AN UNERRING PROPHETIC PENDULUM (Zechariah 2:9 )

1. The time setting seen in the words, " After the glory." The Lord says, " After the glory hath He sent Me unto the nations which spoiled you." The days of Israel's greatest sorrow still lie ahead. The wrath of the nations which is now fermenting against the Jews, will culminate in the day of Jacob's trouble, under the reign and rule of the antichrist.

It is not until "After the glory," that Christ will fray the nations, following their final great assault upon His people. He who sitteth in the heavens is watching over Israel. He never slumbers nor sleeps who keepeth Israel. When the nations have spent their venom against the Jews, He will come forth in their behalf.

First of all the Lord will descend at Armageddon's conflict riding on the white horse. First, He will come in power and great glory; come with the angels of God; come with the brightness of His countenance, and with the breath of His lips to slay the antichrist. Then, after the glory He will judge the nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat.

2. The reason for the Lord's judgments. Our key verse thus states the reason: "For he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye." God will yet choose Jerusalem. He will shake His hand on them that have troubled His own, and they shall become a spoil to Israel.

Let the nations know that "he who curseth Israel shall be cursed," and that he "who blesseth Israel shall be blessed." The judgment of the nations in the valley of Jehoshaphat, after the glory, will be based upon the way they have treated His people. Christ will say, "Inasmuch as ye did it, or did it not, unto one of the least of these, My brethren, ye did it, (or did it not) unto Me."

Let us, as Christians, cultivate a love for the chosen nation, and seek to do all that lies within us, to bring them back to God.

VI. A CALL TO ISRAEL TO REJOICE (Zechariah 2:10 )

1. The Second Coming of Christ to the earth is the hope of Israel. Listen to the words of our key text: "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord."

Israel may look in every direction for hope from her bondage. She does not find that hope in the nations, for they have trodden her under foot.

She does not find that hope in the lapse of time for the passing of centuries has brought her no relief. She does not find that hope in her own prowess for all of her money and her energy has utterly failed to save her nationally. Until this hour she is a people not reckoned among the nations.

The only hope of God's people is God. The only one who can save them is the Saviour. The Lord Jesus will come to the earth and as He comes He will say: "Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee." That, and that alone, is the hope of Israel.

2. The Second Coming of Christ in the air is the hope of the Church. In the world we have tribulation. The Church always has been and always will be, so long as she is faithful to her Christ, a suffering minority. The antagonism of the world and of the Prince of the world is against the true people of God.

The Church may endeavor to Christianize the world but it cannot be done. To the Church the Lord says, "Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me."

3. The hope of the physical earth is the Second Coming of Christ to the earth. The whole physical creation is groaning and travailing together until now awaiting for the Lord to come. It is only at His Advent that it will be delivered from its bondage into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

4. The Second Coming of Christ is the hope of the nations. Only when Christ comes will the world give homage unto the Lord and His Christ, Then, and not till then, will there be peace and righteousness upon the earth and good will among men.

VII. THE BENEFICENT RESULTS OF CHRIST'S RETURN (Zechariah 2:11-13 )

There are several things mentioned in this chapter which will be fulfilled when Christ comes back again.

1. Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that Day. There is a verse which says: "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

The great missionaries to the world will be from redeemed Israel. Isaiah puts it this way: "The Gentiles shall come to Thy light, and kings to the brightness of Thy rising." When the Lord returns the nations will give heed unto Him, and "The nation and kingdom that will not serve Thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted."

2. Christ will dwell in the midst of His people. This is the expression found in Zechariah 2:10 . The statement plainly sets forth that the Lord will once more dwell among men. Jerusalem will be the city of His habitation and David's throne the seat of His glory.

In the Book of Zephaniah is this wonderful word: "In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem. Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack, The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing."

It will be a wonderful day for Israel when Jehovah-God, the mighty and the eternal One is in their midst. It will be the day of His own joy and the day of their security and prosperity.

3. "Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord." When Christ returns, He will inherit Judah as His portion in the Holy Land, and He shall choose Jerusalem again. Then, all flesh is commanded to be silent, for God will be raised up out of His holy habitation. He will judge the world in righteousness and His people in equity.

Edenic glory and blessings will be restored to earth once more. The inhabitants of the land will no longer say, "I am sick."

AN ILLUSTRATION

Some may sneer at God's Word but all He has written is true:

"Having the understanding darkened" (Ephesians 4:18 ). Dr. Christie said that a group of globe-trotting tourists from America were "doing" Palestine. In the company was a young fellow very fond of airing his unbelief and throwing discredit on the Bible. When they came over the rim of mountains that encircle the sea of Galilee, and caught their first view of its great water lying placid as a millpond, this young fellow broke into a taunting laugh as he ridiculed the idea of any fisherman who knew anything about a boat ever getting scared in a storm on such a little piece of water. They had scarcely reached the water front when suddenly there swept down from the hills one of our typical Galilee storms. Within fifteen minutes the waves were breaking over two towers there, and that group of travelers were hiding behind one of the buildings a hundred yards from the shore to keep from being drenched by the clouds of spray driven by the gale. The ludicrous position of the young infidel was so apparent that the Bible-loving students needed to do nothing but rub it in. From the Evangelical Christian.

 


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Bibliography Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Zechariah 2:4". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/zechariah-2.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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