November 2


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Zechariah 1-2

We are in the Exile Stream reading from the Common English Bible.

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“Lord Jesus, you restore and you give hope to all who look to you and call upon your Name. So as the Apostle John says at the end of Revelation, we too say, “Come Lord Jesus.” Amen.”

 

Zechariah and Haggai are contemporary prophets of each other.  They are ministers and prophets that are on the scene in Jerusalem right after the first wave of exiles returned to rebuild the Temple.  It is 538 B.C. as Zechariah commences upon his work.  The 70-year Babylonian captivity was drawing to a close.  He was a young man as he prophesied for about a two-year span of time. The Temple is being rebuilt from 538-534 B.C.  Zechariah (and Haggai) are on hand assisting in the process as well as offering encouragement.  We will be in Zechariah each day of the “Exile Stream” between now and the middle of December.  Together we will enjoy small flashes of light; prophetic words, that shine forward almost 570 years to when a Galilean Prophet rides into Jerusalem as ecstatic people lay their coats and palm branches on the road in front of Him.  
 
Zechariah 1 –   For what it’s worth Zechariah’s opening words happen right before Haggai 2:10.  You can compare those verses and dates (check Haggai 2:1 also).  Zechariah is warning people that they have been gone from here; Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is in a wrecked state because your ancestors didn’t obey God.  So here we are rebuilding the Temple and it is going to require abundant strength in body and soul to get the job done. And in case some of the older people are scoffing – about how the Temple “used to be so nice and shiney…not like today…!” – Zechariah is urging the young workers to eagerly keep at it and be not dismayed. Then the visions of Zechariah begin as delivered by an angel of God.  This is the distinct particularity in Zechariah’s prophecy.  And the visions are symbolic, rarely literal, and filled with parallel meanings.  The four colorful horses means that the Persians are patrolling and controlling the known world at the time. It covers an area that stretches from Egypt to where Afghanistan is today.  The Persians were iron-fisted, powerful, everywhere, and they were favorable to the Hebrew people. The memo in this is:  the Temple work can proceed and they need not fear being attacked by any marauders because Persia won’t have it!  So Jerusalem was headed toward prospering again. The vision of the four horns and four craftsmen is symbolic of the four nations that were and would be a looming over the Hebrew people; Assyrian/[Chaldean]/Babylonian, second -The Mede/Persian, third – The Greco-Macedonian, and fourth The Roman Empire. The verbiage in Daniel 7 is quite similar.  The four craftsmen (this translation said “metalworkers”, others refer to them as carpenters) would then rise and put down each empire in succession – just as history saw happen. And Judah would be exalted.  We see “horns” representing nations also in Revelation. 13 and 17.  If one is inclined to “read between the lines” we can deduce that a fifth empire rising would be one where Christ is king on the throne and a glorious atmosphere of justice prevails and wonders abound.  More about this as we trek through Zechariah this autumn.
Zechariah 2 – This is Zechariah’s vision of Jerusalem expanding and growing, being protected by our God “who is a consuming fire”. The efforts of rebuilding the Temple were five months along. Those who had grown comfortable and were settled in Babylon, who had forgotten they were captives there, ought motivate themselves and return because the safe zone was going to be Jerusalem again – not Babylon as it may have seemed during the Captivity.  The plans to rebuild the Wall of Jerusalem were delayed about 75 years from this time to forward (that is in Nehemiah that we read late Autumn in the Nation Stream). But make no mistake, God was gathering His people and many new peoples to come and worship Him in Jerusalem.  God was on the move to bless His people again and all best listen up for they didn’t want to miss one bit of what God was planning for them. 

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