The first four chapters of Zechariah are encouragement to Joshua and Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple and look forward to the restoration of true religion and a united Israel, and the building of Jerusalem and the Ezekiel Temple by Jesus Christ in our day.
Zerubbabel and Joshua were allegorical types of Jesus Christ the resurrected Master Builder who is building a Spiritual Temple today, and will soon come to build the Ezekiel Temple in Jerusalem.
God told the people through Zechariah that he was sore displeased with the sins [Sabbath breaking and idolatry] of their fathers; just as Jesus Christ is sore displeased with our sins [Sabbath breaking and idolatry] today.
Zechariah 1:1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius (521 B.C.), came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,
1:2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers.
A Call to Repentance for them; AND for us today!
1:3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.
Let us not be as the ancients with their idolatry and Sabbath / High Day polluting. Let us STOP cooking, working and buying food and drink or anything else on God’s Sabbath and High Days; and let us observe them on the days that God has commanded, in the way that God has commanded.
Let us STOP idolizing men above the Word and commandments of Almighty God.
1:4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD.
1:5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?
1:6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.
The Horses and the Angel of the Lord
1:7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,
1:8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom [at the bottom of the valley where the water flows]; and behind him were there [an unspecified number of] red horses, speckled, and white.
1:9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.
1:10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they [they are God’s angelic observers] whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.
1:11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We [he and the horses which are angelic spirits] have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.
The man is an angel in charge and the horses are his angelic watchers. The specific time period is the second year of Darius 1 king of the Medes; and all the earth was at peace at that time, but the temple and the city Jerusalem were not being built.
The angel asked when the Jews would be restored.
A prophecy was given to Daniel in the first year of Darius (522 B.C.) of a coming decree to build the city and God confirmed the prophecy through Zechariah in the second year of Darius 450 B.C. that in future the city itself would be built as he had promised Daniel (Dan 9); encouraging the people in the task of building the temple and restoring true religion.
The Building of the Temple
- The people went up to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel to build the temple according to the decree of Cyrus in 536 B.C.
- Cyrus appointed Sheshbazzar the Persian name for Zerubbabel, governor of the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, Ezra 5:16.
- Zerubbabel and Joshua went with the people out of Babylon to Jerusalem under the governor and they build the Altar in time to sacrifice during the Feasts of the seventh month.
- Construction of the temple building began in the second year, Ezra 3.
- Little progress was made due to the opposition of the local people and construction was halted due to complaints from the local people [which came during a period of uprisings in the empire] by Artaxerxes [Darius] in 522 B.C., Ezra 5.
- Then Haggai and Zechariah began to prophesy and encourage the people and they wrote to Darius explaining that Cyrus had ordered the construction of the temple (520 B.C.)
- Darius then ordered the construction to resume in 520 B.C. and the temple was completed in 516 B.C., Ezra 6.
The Building of the City
- Artaxerxes Longimanus put away queen Vashti in his second year (461 B.C.) for her example of rebellion and disobedience.
- He became the husband of Esther in his third year (c 460 B.C.)
- In his seventh year (457 B.C.) king Artaxerxes [Ahasuerus Longimanus, disposed to hold the Jews in favor due to the influence of queen Esther and Mordachi] sent Ezra to rebuild the city Jerusalem.
- Ezra found that many Jews in Jerusalem had apostatized and therefore he concentrated on restoring true religion as a first priority before building the city walls.
- The Palestinians and other peoples greatly resisted and delayed the construction of the city walls.
- In the twelfth year (452 B.C.) of Ahaseurus the Jews were saved from Haman who was incensed by the favours granted to the Jews and conspired to destroy them.
- In 444 B.C. Artaxerxes Longimanus’ 20th year of reign; Nehemiah was sent to aid Ezra in establishing true religion and to help in the rebuilding of the city Jerusalem.
- The city was completed in 408 B.C.
It was during the 49 year period from 457 B.C. when the original decree was given to build the city, that the city was built under extremely trying circumstances, being completed as the angel had foretold to Daniel in 49 years in 408 B.C. After which another 62 weeks (434 years) would pass before the revealing of the Jesus Christ when his ministry began at the age of 30 in autumn 27 A.D.
Brethren, our LORD is coming and we must rise up and be about the task of preparing the bride and making ourselves ready. We must be about the task of building ourselves into a fitting, holy, pure, spiritual temple for the habitation of God, and cleansing and purifying ourselves from all uncleanness and every defect, to become a fitting bride for our exalted LORD!
Today it is almost midnight and the cry is going out: “Behold the bridegroom cometh: Let us make ready!”
1:12 Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? 1:13 And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.
1:14 So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 1:15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.
The correction of Judah was an example of the correction of the tribulation coming on physical AND spiritual Judah and Israel again in this latter day; and today just like in that time, the nations who will correct us will be overzealous in their correction and God will be sore displeased with them.
First restore the temple [analogous to restoring true religion and building the spiritual temple] and then build the city!
1:16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.
This is a dual prophecy for that time and also for our time.
1:17 Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.
A prophecy of the latter day
1:18 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns.
These four horns are not specifically identified, except that they are the Gentile nations which destroyed Israel, Judah and Jerusalem in those days, and by duality they represent destroyers in our days.
1:19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.
1:20 And the LORD shewed me four carpenters;
After The Four Horns [Destroying Powers] corrected Judah; Four Carpenters [builders] would be Sent to Build the Temple, city and the nation.
These four carpenters [unidentified builders possibly Joshua, Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah] were to rebuild that which was destroyed and this was an allegory that the temple and city and nation will be built again in the latter days after the tribulation, by Jesus Christ who will deliver the captives of Israel, build the Ezekiel Temple, fully restore true religion and build Jerusalem.
As the temple, city and land were rebuilt the first time in those days; they shall be rebuilt in the fullness of beauty after the coming of Jesus Christ with his saints!
1:21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns [powers] which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these [carpenters, builders] are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.
The future millennial Israel and Judah will also be gathered back and Jerusalem rebuilt, this time by Messiah; and will prosper for they shall sincerely repent during great tribulation and God will being ALL Israel into a New Covenant with him (Jer 31:31); after which all mankind will be grafted into New Covenant Spiritual Israel (Jer 31, Joel 2:28)
Zechariah 2:1 I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2:2 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.
2:3 And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him,
This is a prophecy of the millennial Jerusalem when Messiah the Christ dwells in the city
2:4 And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: 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.
A prophecy of our time about Judah and Israel returning to Palestine after the coming of Messiah.
2:6 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. 2:7 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter [latter day descendants of] of Babylon.
Messiah is sent to deliver first spiritual and then physical Israel/Judah, which are the apple of God’s eye.
2:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory [Israel the beloved of God; BOTH spiritual and physical] hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
Messiah the Christ will reverse things and the conquerors and masters will be made the servants of his people.
2:9 For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.
2:10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter [the latter day descendants of BOTH physical AND spiritual Israel] of Zion: for, lo, I [Messiah] come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.
We know this is a prophecy about the Latter Days, because of the phrase “daughter of” and also by the statement below, that the surviving nations will be gathered to God as well as Israel; and that Messiah will come to deliver his people.
2:11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I [Messiah the Christ] will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me [Zechariah] unto thee.
2:12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.
Then the mouths of the naysayers and wicked will be stopped at the presence of the Eternal; when he stands up to deliver his people!
2:13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.