Zechariah 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,
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; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.
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.
10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.
11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.
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?
13 And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In verse 7 God again gave us His time frame upon which this prophecy came. Three months have passed since the beginning of this prophecy. God again reminded the Jews of Zechariah’s credentials. Whose son was he? What was his authority for giving this message? God wants the hearers to know the truth. He is not a fly-by-night operator. He does not choose snake oil salesmen. He has authentic men chosen by Him for the specific task at hand. These men are trained by Him and serve Him in humility and with boldness. Their confidence is not in themselves. Their confidence is in the LORD. They seek wisdom from the LORD and when they know the truth, they do not waiver.
In verse 8 Zechariah stated that this vision was given him in the night. It was not a “nightmare”. It was the Word of the LORD. In this vision He saw a man riding on a red horse. He also saw myrtle trees and other horses as well. In verse 9 we see that Zechariah did not know what this vision was about. We also learn that an angel was speaking with him. The angel promised to give Zechariah the information he needed about this vision. It is important to let God give the interpretation of what He says. Sometimes He uses symbolism. We can come up with different interpretations depending on how vivid our imagination is. We need to be careful to let the context show us what is being said.
In verse 10 Zechariah was told by the man among the myrtle trees that the others were sent to inspect the earth. They walked to and fro suggesting that they did a thorough inspection of the earth. The word earth can have two different meanings. It can refer to the entire earth, or it can refer to the land of Israel. Israel still uses the same Hebrew word translated as “earth” here to refer to their land.
In verse 11 we see that these that did the assessment found the earth at peace. At the time of this writing Israel was not at peace. They were facing opposition from their Gentile neighbours. We see this in Ezra 4&5. Haggai and Ezra are contemporaries of Zechariah. The description given by this man between the myrtle trees is that of the scene that will exist at the time of the Millennium. As mentioned there was not peace at the time of this writing and there is not peace today in Israel, nor on the entire earth. True peace can only reign when the Prince of Peace rules. He needs to be ruling in the hearts of the saved. That is why the saved do not need to run for a cigarette or a bottle of booze or other illicit drugs. They do not need rock music or any other of the many vices that the devil likes to promote. God’s peace is unique. It is a peace the world cannot understand, nor can they receive it. A person needs to be born again in order to know this peace.
We see in verse 12 that Jerusalem is not at peace at this time. The angel spoke and asked how long before Jerusalem would know the mercy of the LORD. The reality is that the LORD was continuously merciful to Jerusalem. If it were not for His mercy, they would be destroyed, never to inhabit that land again.
The Psalms have many references to the mercy of the LORD. He is merciful all the time. In verse 13 the LORD not only demonstrated His mercy but also His longsuffering. He was willing to answer the angel with good words and comfortable words. God’s Words are good and they are comfortable to those who walk humbly with Him. The ungodly will not find comfort in God’s Word, because they do not understand true comfort, nor do they understand the way of having comfort. The world looks at material things as the means of comfort. The child of God seeks truth and needs to be taught that comfort comes through truth and through submission to the truth. Comfort of heart is essential. Without that, the “comforts of the world” are very temporal. Those who seek comfort from the LORD will find that it is of greater substance than material things.
In verse 14 the LORD further declares His attitude toward Jerusalem. He loves Jerusalem. It is the city He chose to put His name in. He is jealous for Jerusalem. His desire is for Jerusalem to be the city of God. His desire is that all peoples and nations would come to Jerusalem and witness the blessings of the true God. That was not the case in Zechariah’s day and it is not the case today.
Some years back when I had the privilege of going to Israel, we were warned not to go into certain parts of Jerusalem in the evening. Jerusalem is a cup of trembling at present. However, that will change when the Lord Jesus Christ rules there.
In verse 15 the LORD states that He is sore displeased with the ease with which the heathen live. God had called upon the heathen, Babylon in particular, to afflict and capture the land of Judah. The LORD was a little displeased with Jerusalem and the Jews. He brought the Babylonians in to punish them. The Babylonians had taken pleasure in their task and had not humbled themselves and learned to fear the true God. Now He would judge them for their wrong attitude in the judgment He wanted meted out.
In verse 16 the LORD stated that He returned to Jerusalem with mercies. That is why the people had come back. That is why the walls could be rebuilt and the Temple could be rebuilt. It was not because the Jews had repented while in captivity. It was because of the LORD’s mercy. According to previous warnings, they had spent seventy years in exile. They had suffered due to their sin of idolatry and the offshoots of that sin. They had been given a very real warning of the danger of rejecting God. Now they could go back and if they would be wise they would believe God and follow Him.
As we noted yesterday, the phrase: “LORD of hosts” is often found in these verses. He is the eternal God of the entire world.
God’s judgments upon His people are always measured. They are always just and they are always for the purpose of seeing His people turn to Him. God chastens those whom He loves. He does that for the Jews and He does that for the saved. We see in the Bible that God’s judgments are quite severe upon the ungodly who refuse to turn to Him, whether they be Jew or Gentile.
In verse 17 the angel is told to cry yet. God’s message needs to be heard. It needs to be proclaimed with conviction and with boldness. Notice that the LORD speaks of “my cities.” The people needed to understand that the cities needed to be governed by the LORD. As we see in the Bible, during the Millennium, the cities will be governed by the LORD. Notice that when the LORD rules there will be prosperity. In the days of king Solomon, Jerusalem and Israel experienced great material prosperity. God blessed them with peace so that they could build the Temple which was to be the central point for the nation and for the world. Solomon spoiled that with his lust for women. He allowed his women to draw his heart away from the LORD. The kingdom was divided after his death. It remained a divided nation until both parts were taken into captivity. The north was taken by the Assyrians, and the south by Babylon. Today Israel is a very secular nation and it will remain so until they repent and recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah. That day will come. The Bible says so.
The promise of verse 17 is true. Zion will be comforted and Jerusalem will be known as the capital city of the LORD. It will be quite different at that time than it was in Zechariah’s day and than it is today.
The point is that peace and blessing come from knowing the LORD. Whether Jew or Gentile, God’s peace is available for all those who will humble themselves and trust in Him for His salvation and His peace.
Today is another Lord’s Day. Some of those who receive these devotionals have a habit of going to a good church. Some do not know what a good church is and others have no church to attend. God’s design for this age is to make Himself known through the ministry of the true local church. Israel is still the people of God. God is still working in that land and will perfect His work in that land among His people. Israel is not an obedient servant today. Jesus Christ came to establish His church for this age. That church began in Jerusalem and then multiplied into many true local churches. True local churches are designed by God to proclaim His Word and to teach the saved how to walk in the way which glorifies God. True local churches do not teach replacement theology. They teach true doctrine.
God is merciful. He is giving each one the opportunity to know Him and when that is in its rightful place, the rest will find its place as well. God always makes a way for His children to glorify Him. He is a good God. Trust Him and follow Him today.