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Zechariah 1-5

by Chuck Smith

Shall we tonight now get into our study in the book of Zechariah beginning with chapter 1.

Now if you remember when we studied the book of Haggai last week, Haggai was dating his prophesies in the second year of Darius the king. His first prophecy was in, I think, the sixth month of the second year. He had another prophecy in the seventh month, and his last prophecy was in the ninth month.

Now Zechariah also dates his prophesies in the reign of Darius, the Medo-Persian king. So between…and at the same time that Haggai was prophesying, you remember he prophesied in the seventh month, in the ninth month.

In the eighth month, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, the eighth month, and the second year of Darius (1:1).

So Zechariah and Haggai were contemporaries. They were both prophets of the post-exilic period. The children of Israel had returned, that is a portion of them, 50,000 of them from their exile in Babylon. Seventy years of Babylonian captivity had more or less weaned them from their idolatry. For it was because of their idolatry that they went into captivity. But the Jews learned something in Babylon of commercialism. It seems that the Jewish people are very adaptable, and whatever they do, they learn to do it well. Babylon was the commercial center of the world. When the Jews were taken captive to Babylon, they began to go from the agrarian culture to a more commercial, and they began to excel in the commercial field. So much so, that by the time the seventy years of captivity was over, many of them had no desire to return to the land at all. They were now wealthy merchants. They controlled the commerce of Babylon. They had learned well the lessons of commerce, and they have not forgotten them and still are very successful many times in the commercial field.

It is interesting that when the nation Israel was reborn and the people went back to the land, that these people who had excelled so much in the commercial field, wherever they went in the world, they were always involved in commerce. But when they returned back to the land, many of them returned to the soil, and some of the most advanced agricultural techniques in the world are now being practiced in Israel, and they teach the world the art of agriculture.

Now here were a bunch of bankers, and businessmen, and store owners, and all, they go back to Israel, and they go back to the farm, and it isn’t long before they’ve developed the drip system of irrigation. They’ve developed the sprinkling system of irrigation, and they’ve begun to farm the desert, and they have become extremely profitable now in their farming interests. And they actually fill Europe with fresh fruit and vegetables all year round. So they’re a fascinating people. They were so successful, as I said, in their commercial ventures that many of them did not return. This will be brought out in some of the prophecies here in Zechariah.

But those that did return were not really prepared for what they found. You know, it is interesting when you leave a place, so often in your mind you have memories of that place, and usually it was when you were a child. You grew up in a particular locality. There always seems to be within the heart of a person a yearning to return to the place of your childhood. “Oh, it was this, and it was that,” and you build it up in your mind over the years of absence. But sometimes one of the most disillusioning and disappointing thing can be to go back to the place of your childhood. Especially in these days, and especially if your childhood was in Orange County. You find the whole place has changed; it’s not at all as you remember it. Where you used to go hunting for cottontail and all, now there are busy shopping centers, and the whole thing has changed.

Those who returned came back to a desolation like they never dreamed. The destruction of Jerusalem was so thorough by Nebuchadnezzar that there wasn’t any rebuilding, really, of the city. All they could do was cover the rubble and the waste of the past and start building anew on top of it. They started the rebuilding of the temple, but they soon became discouraged.

When Solomon built the temple, he had hired 150,000 men with 3,000 superintendents and an unlimited supply of money. He was able to build a beautiful, glorious temple unto the Lord, which was one of the sites of the ancient world. The queen of Sheba, when she came and saw it, she said, “Oh, I heard of the glory, but the half was not told to me!” He used great stones, cedars from Lebanon, covered everything with gold. But, of course, the gold was taken by Nebuchadnezzar. The huge brass pillars were broken up and taken to Babylon. All that was left were the huge stones that they could hardly move around.

After a time of attempting to build the temple, there were a lot of people that were there in the land that were harassing them. They finally just gave up. They thought, “Oh, it can’t be done. We’re just not strong enough. There’s not enough of us.” They just gave up the attempts to build the temple.

That’s when Haggai started them. “Hey, you people look around, check things out. Your crops have been bad; you’re planting a lot of seeds, harvesting a little. Does it seem like your purses have holes in the bottom? Your money is just disappearing? The reason why is that you are dwelling comfortably now in your ceiled houses, while the house of God lies desolate.” Haggai was encouraging them to get back to the building of the temple. Promising them that when they would, that God would begin to bless them. “Mark this date, put it on your calendar, and see if from this time God doesn’t begin to bless you as you return to the work of building His house.”

At that same time, Zechariah came on the scene. Zechariah was probably a young man at the time that he prophesied. Zechariah of the minor prophets has the clearest insight concerning the coming of Jesus Christ than any of the other minor prophets, and writes more concerning Jesus Christ than all of the rest of the minor prophets combined. As we get into Zechariah, you’ll be amazed at his prophecies concerning Jesus Christ, both the first and the second coming. Zechariah makes amazing predictions that we will be getting in our third study and final study of the book. Predictions that are coming to pass right now. Predictions that have come to pass in the last few years. And as we read them, you’ll see how clearly God gave him an insight into the history of the nation of Israel at the present time.

So let’s get into Zechariah. “The eighth month, the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah,”

the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. 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 (1:1-3).

This basically is God’s message to the people through the ages. “If you’ll turn to Me, I will turn to you.” When the king Asa had come back from great victory over the Ethiopians and the Nubians, the prophet of God came out to meet him and he said, “The Lord is with you while you are with Him, and if you seek Him, He will be found of you. But if you forsake Him, He will forsake you” (II Chronicles 15:2). Through the ages this is always the case. God is always waiting for man to come. And if you will come to God, you can have fellowship with God, and the Lord will be with you. But the Lord does not force Himself on people. God does not force you to love Him. God does not force you to come to Him. He does not force you to serve Him. He just tells you of His love for you. And because of His love for you, this is what He will do for you if you’re walking in fellowship with Him. But when it comes right down to it, you are the one that has to make the decision. God has done all that He will do to save you. He has provided all that you need. But you must initiate now. God has already done all the initiating He will in providing the way. Now He waits for you to come, and He invites you to come, but you have to do it.

So, “Turn to Me, saith the Lord, and I will turn to you. Your fathers, they forsook Me. I was displeased with your fathers. But now if you’ll just turn to Me, I’ll turn to you.”

Don’t be as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets cried, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings (1:4):

That’s what they were crying to their fathers, but their fathers did not turn.

they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD. And your fathers, where are they? (1:4-5)

Learn the lesson. Your fathers perished because they did not turn to Me; your fathers were carried away to Babylon because they would not turn to Me.

But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, they did not take hold of your fathers? [Your fathers wouldn’t listen.] and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do to us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us (1:6).

So that which the prophets had warned them would happen, did happen. They were defeated; they were carried away captive.

Now the first of the ten visions that Zechariah received. A vision is similar to a dream with the exception that you are awake and conscious, that you are awake when you have a vision. But it is much like a dream in that you have a picture in your mind of things like you do in a dream. But as a dream is so often disjointed, and seemingly unrelated, so with visions. In God communicating to men through dreams, there needed to be the interpretation of the dream, because the dream was in symbols, and thus, needed interpretation. So with visions, so often they are in symbolic form, and a vision must be interpreted.

Now with Zechariah, the Lord gave him the visions, and in many places gave him also the interpretation. The Lord said, “You understand that Zechariah?” He said, “No, I don’t. What’s it mean?” “You don’t know what it means?” “Nope, tell me.” So the Lord would have to interpret for Zechariah the visions that he saw. Wherever God interpreted, then we understand the visions. Where God did not interpret, we can only guess. However, with parables, allegories, dreams, and visions, there is what is known as expositional constancy. Now that is a word of hermeneutics that I don’t expect you to remember. But what it means is that in an allegory in a parable in a vision, in a dream, where you have symbolic language, if for instance in parables where the Lord is explaining the parable of the field and the types of seed that were planted in it. He said, “Now the seed is the Word of God, and the field is the world. The bird is the enemy who comes and plucks up the seed.” So in parables, allegories, visions, and dreams, wherever you find the field, the field represents the world. Wherever you find birds, they are always in a bad sense. Wherever you find the seed being planted, that is the Word of God. Thus, oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, as the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. There are those what are called expositional constancies. That is, wherever they’re used in an allegorical form, it remains through the whole Bible, so that if you are trying to understand a parable, or an allegory, or a vision, and you are dealing with a oil, you are dealing with the subject of the Holy Spirit. If you’re dealing with birds, you are dealing with the enemy to the true child of God. Where you are dealing with the field, you’re dealing with the world. So expositional constancy.

Now on the twenty fourth day of the eleventh month, the second year of Darius, there came the word of the Lord to Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, I saw at night, and behold there was a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him there were there red horses, speckled, and white horses (1:7-8).

So different horses behind him. So here is a man riding a red horse and horses behind him, and he’s standing there under the myrtle tree.

Then said I, [And I would’ve said the same thing] O my lord, what is this? (1:9)

Just from the outset you see a vision of a guy sitting on a horse, and these other horses behind him under the myrtle trees, and what can you make of that? Now there is a type of sermonizing which I do not follow, nor do I advocate, and that is the spiritualizing of a text in order to interpret it. Where a person will take a parable, for instance, and he will make every part of that parable symbolic. “And this is like,” and he preaches this sermon using the parable as the basis for the sermon. Just, “This represents, and this represents, and this represents,” and you’re spiritualizing the whole thing. The Bible doesn’t say that it represents those things, but you can actually get good sermons out of the parables if you’ll spiritualize them, because you can make them say anything you want them to say. But you really don’t have real solid teaching of the Word of God. But there are many who do follow that practice of just spiritualizing things. But really, if you do that you can also, if you run out of parables, use The Three Little Pigs, and preach a tremendous sermon from The Three Little Pigs, and the importance of building a strong house, one that will stand because the devil will huff and puff and blow your house down if you haven’t really built a strong house. So you need to build a house of faith, mingled with the Word of God, the bricks, and the mortar. I mean you can go on and on with these things, and you can spiritualize almost anything, and read into it whatever you want.

As I say, I do not practice that kind of preaching. Because if I did not have the interpretation of this rider on a red horse with a speckled and white and red horses behind him, I’m sure that I never would’ve come to what it is. So Zechariah, when he saw the thing, very wisely said, “What in the world is this?” The angel that talked with me, said unto me, “I will show you what this is.”

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. 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 (1:10-11).

Now the children of Israel at this time had been dispersed through the whole earth. So these who were sent more or less to oversee, and to see the conditions of the earth, and they came back and reported, “Everything is at rest, and peaceful throughout the earth.”

Now, here were God’s people scattered, dispersed, and the world was resting and happy with that fact, and so God was displeased with the treatment of His people that they were receiving through the world.

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 you have had indignation these seventy years? And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words (1:12-13).

So the angel said to Him, “Lord, how long until You have mercy on Jerusalem and on Judah? How long, O Lord, are the people going to be dispersed and scattered?” The Lord talked with him, and I love this, with good words, and with comfortable words. It seems whenever we’re distressed and we come to the Lord, He is so patient with us. I’ve always found that He talks with me with good words, and with comfortable words. Oh, what comfort!

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. And I am very displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was just a little displeased, and they helped to forward the affliction (1:14-15).

In other words, God was using the nations as an instrument of judgment against Israel. But they, in their destruction, went beyond.

And 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 (1:16).

So the Lord promises that the house will be built. Now, they who had been working on it were convinced at this time that it wouldn’t be built, “Too much, can’t do it. The job is too big; it’s too great.” But the Lord is here declaring, “The house will be built.”

Now, there is yet another temple to be built, and this prophecy not only dealt with the times then, but has a double fulfillment. Because, again, the Lord has declared that His house will be built in Jerusalem, and there will be definitely a temple built again in Jerusalem. In the eleventh chapter of the book of Revelation, John has given a ruler, and he is told to measure the temple and the courts. Now this is during the period of the Great Tribulation. So I expect work to start most any time on the new temple in Jerusalem.

“The house of the Lord will be built in Jerusalem,” He promised. He said,

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 (1:17).

Though at this time Jerusalem was such a rubble, such a wasted ruin, yet the Lord promises the rebuilding.

Now the second of his visions:

Then I lifted up my eyes, and I saw, and behold there were four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem (1:18-19).

Now the four horns represent four kingdoms, for the horns symbolically are representing kings, or powers. They are equivalent to the four metals in the great image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, or the four beasts of Daniel’s dream. The four kingdoms by which Israel was dispersed into the world beginning with the Babylonian Kingdom, and then the Medo-Persian Empire, and then the Grecian Empire, and finally the Roman Empire. These nations under which God’s people suffered.

And then the LORD showed me four carpenters (1:20).

Now his visions are flipping from one to another. First the red horse with the rider on it, and the other horses under the myrtle tree. Then the next thing all he saw were these four horns. Now what can you make out of four horns? So the Lord told him, or the angel told him what it was. Now the third vision, “The Lord showed me four carpenters,” or literally, hewers, or carvers.

Then I said, What come these to do? (1:21)

What are these guys coming to do, Lord?

and he spake unto me saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man could lift up his head: but these are coming to fray them [to carve them up], to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it (1:21).

So those carvers that are coming to fray the kingdoms that scattered God’s people.

Chapter 2

Chapter 2, the next vision, the fourth in the series of ten.

I lifted up my eyes again, and I looked, and behold there was a man with a measuring line in his hand [He had a ruler]. I said, Where are you going? And he said to me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, And he said unto him, Run and speak to this young man (2:1-4),

Calling Zechariah a young man, and that is why I said he was probably a young man when he prophesied. He said, “Run and speak to this young man,”

saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein (2:4):

In other words, Jerusalem is going to grow far beyond the boundaries of the walls. Now, if you go to Jerusalem today, you’ll find that this prophecy is fulfilled. It wasn’t really fulfilled until more recent years. Until really the last century. But Jerusalem has expanded tremendously. In fact, there are new settlements in Jerusalem way out towards the city of Jericho. Probably eight miles out of the center of Jerusalem. New settlements, huge settlements. Jerusalem has new settlements almost to Bethlehem. They have settlements almost to Ramalah. Jerusalem has expanded her borders tremendously. So this prophecy of Zechariah was not really fulfilled until our day, and you can go over now and see how it is being fulfilled even now.

For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about (2:5),

In other words, they will expand from the walls. And the walled city of Jerusalem is now just a small little portion there in the center, and it comprises just a little area of about one square mile, where I would imagine that the city limits of Jerusalem proper now are probably now somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 to 200 square miles, as it has expanded so large. So the Lord said, “I will be a wall of fire around them. They won’t have to build a wall around it, for I will be the wall of fire round about.”

and I will be the glory in the midst of her (2:5)

Of course, that has not yet taken place, will not take place until Jesus comes again, that is His being the glory in the midst of her.

O 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 (2:5-6).

So He speaks of their dispersion; He had spread them abroad as the four winds.

Now in the New Testament, Matthew, chapter 24, when the disciples asked Jesus “What will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age?” Jesus began to tell them the various signs to look for. Incidentally, it just so happens that one of the signs that Jesus spoke about took up a full-page ad in today’s L.A. Times. For one of the signs Jesus said, “There will be false christs who will be coming.” In the L.A. Times today there was a full-page ad, and in the major newspapers around the world, these full-page ads were run, proclaiming that the new Christ is now here, and will be revealing himself to the world in two months in a worldwide telecast, to be broadcast simultaneously throughout the entire world by satellite, and he is going to bring in the new era of peace and prosperity for all mankind. That everybody around the world will understand his speech by mental telepathy, so that it doesn’t matter what language you speak, you will understand him as he is speaking. Because through mental telepathy his speech will be translated into your language, and you will think that he is speaking English, because you will understand him as though he were. So far this group has spent about twenty million dollars in advertising the Messiah, or they call him the Christ, who will be revealing himself in two months to the world.

Now Jesus said, “There will be false christs, and they will say, ‘Lo he is here, or Lo he is there. Or, he is in a secret place.” Of course, right now the paper said he is at this moment in a secret place and nobody knows who he is except the few chosen people that he has decided to reveal himself to. But he is already a world leader. He already has spoken out on national issues, and the world has been listening to him, but he will reveal his true identity in two months to the whole world. Now that’s one of the things Jesus said in Matthew 24 was going to happen. So in the L.A. Times today, you got a full-page ad showing that the Lord is coming soon. Not the guy that’s going to be appearing in two months.

Now, as Jesus went on in Matthew 24, He told of the Great Tribulation that was going to come, such as the world has never seen before or will ever see again. He begins to tell them some of the things that are going to happen in the Great Tribulation. The moon will be turned to blood, and the sun into darkness before the day of the Lord come. The stars are going to fall from heaven like a fig tree casts forth her untimely figs. Jesus said, “And immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall they see the Son of man coming with clouds and great glory.” That is the glorious second coming of Jesus Christ; it’s going to come right after the Great Tribulation period. Then Jesus said, “And then shall they gather together His elect from the four corners of the earth.”

Now those people who declare that the rapture of the church will take place after the Great Tribulation use this as one of their key proof text. That the Lord gathers together His elect from the four corners of the earth, after He returns in power and great glory.

But here in Zechariah we find that those elect that God will be gathering together from the four winds of the earth are actually the nation Israel, not the church. That is also confirmed by parallel prophesies in Isaiah.

So the Lord is saying, “Come forth!” Now there are thousands of Jews in Russia today wanting to immigrate to Israel. But, of course, at the present time Russia has a very restrictive quota against them, and it’s been holding them back. But God says, “Oh, let them go. And they will flee from the land of the north,” as God has spread them to the four winds of the heavens.

Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon (2:7).

That is, deliver yourself out of that commercialism into which you have fallen.

Now in the book of Revelation, God expresses His anger against commercialism as we know it that has been guilty of enslaving the souls of men. Those who have been taking advantage of other people and taking more profit than is necessary from their products. God speaks of the destruction of that commercial Babylonian system in Revelation, chapter 18. Chapter 17 is the destruction of the religious Babylonian system, chapter 18 the destruction of the commercial Babylonian system.

Now in Revelation, when He speaks of the commercial, He said, “Come out of her My people.” That is the same thing that He is saying here. Calling His people to come out from that Babylon commercial system.

For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that touches you touches the apple of his eye (2:8).

Now God is saying that concerning the Jewish people. And I don’t know what your particular opinion of the Jews may be, but if you touch them you are touching the apple of God’s eye.

Now, because I have taken a supportive position towards the Jews and towards Israel, because I come from a biblical base, you would be amazed at the mail that I get and how many ministers even write to me, and castigate me for my pro-Israel stance. I get hate mail all the time because of my support for the Jews and the nation of Israel. But I do believe that God said, “He will bless those that bless them, and curse those that curse them.” The Lord said, “If you touch them, you are touching the apple of My eye.”

Yes, I know that they have turned their backs upon God; yes I know that they have been guilty of corrupting the morals of the world. I know that they’ve controlled Hollywood, and I know that they’ve controlled a lot of things that have brought corruption into the world. And yet, I know that God has chosen them, and you just better not touch them. Now, a lot of people have become extremely angry because of the dealings that they’ve had where they’ve been taken. There are a lot of people who just have a bitterness towards the Jewish people. But don’t touch them, for the Lord said you’re touching the apple of His eye.

For behold, I will shake my hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me. [Turning to Israel he said,] Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD (2:9-10).

A glorious prophecy of the second coming of Jesus Christ, and they’re exhorted to sing and rejoice because the Lord is going to come and dwell in the midst of them.

And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know the LORD of hosts has sent me unto thee. And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation (2:11-13).

So according to the Scriptures, Jesus is going to come again and He’s going to dwell upon the earth for a thousand years. He’s going to reign over the earth during this time, and He will set His throne in Jerusalem. Judah, the area of Judah will be His portion. And it says the kings of the earth will come annually and present their gifts unto Him. And He will be the Lord over the earth at that time, and the peoples of the world will worship Him.

Now in that glorious Kingdom Age, we will be here to live and reign with Christ for a thousand years. In fact, in the book of Revelation it says, “Unto Him who loved us and washed us with His blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God” (Revelation 1:5-6). Then in the fifth chapter of Revelation, when we are singing praises unto the Lamb for His worthiness to take the scroll and loose the seal because He was slain and has redeemed us by His blood, and the song goes on to say, “And we shall reign with Him and has made us kings and priests unto our God, and we shall reign with Him upon the earth.”

So when you read of the kings of the earth coming and presenting their gifts unto the Lord in the Kingdom Age, that’s you that it’s talking about. Annually we’ll have a great tour to Jerusalem as we gather together from all over the world. I’ll come from Hawaii. Tell the Lord, “Well, things are going pretty well there on Maui, Lord, got things under control. Great worship services, keep the surf up.” But the kings of the earth gathering, and how glorious that’s going to be when the Lord reigns over the earth, and righteousness covers the earth, as the waters cover the sea.

You know, if you miss that, you miss the whole reason for living! You miss the whole purpose of life. The purpose of your being here is that you might come to know Jesus Christ now as your Lord and as your King, in order that loving Him, living for Him, and serving Him now, you might continue loving Him, living for Him, and serving Him forever. That’s why you’re here. If you miss knowing the Lord now, you’ve missed the whole purpose of life, and your life is in vain. It’s empty. It’s worthless. So many people have wasted their lives because they’ve lived for the present pleasures, for the present glories, for the present age, and they haven’t taken eternity into view at all.

Chapter 3

Now the fifth vision, the Lord showed him Joshua. Now Joshua was the high priest who along with Zerrubbel, a priest who was in charge of the rebuilding of the temple. Stood side by side with Zerrubbel.

He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan was standing at his right hand to resist him (3:1).

Satan is seeking to resist you from whatever work you may desire to do for the Lord, or be called to do for the Lord.

And the Lord said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke you (3:2):

Now, I do feel that in the Scriptures we do have a pattern when we are dealing with Satan. That is, of not directly dealing with him. I’ve heard people say, “I rebuke you, Satan.” And every time I hear them say that, I shudder. Because I am certain that he is saying, “Paul I know, Jesus I know, who are you?”

It is interesting in the book of Jude we are told that when Michael, who is one of the chief angels of heaven, when he was disputing with Satan over the body of Moses, Satan was probably wanting to desecrate the body of Moses, and Michael was standing there, and they were disputing over the body, they were fighting over the body of Moses, that Michael did not bring any railing accusations against Satan. He didn’t rail on him. But Michael this archangel said, “The Lord rebuke thee.” Michael didn’t say, “I rebuke you,” but he said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Here when he saw Satan standing at the right hand of Joshua the high priest seeking to resist him, and Joshua was standing before the angel of the Lord, that the Lord said unto Satan, “The Lord rebuke you.” So I think that if you’re going to be rebuking Satan, that is the way you should do it. That rather than saying, “I rebuke you, Satan,” or even, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus,” I think that you would be better off to just say, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan, in the name of Jesus.” I always like to keep the Lord between me and Satan. I feel so much safer when I do. “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee:”

is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? (3:2)

Referring to Satan, he’s like a brand, a coal, a live coal that’s been plucked out of the fire. Now the Bible uses this phrase in the New Testament as far as our winning some of the lost. That we, in winning the lost, are plucking coals right out of the fire, and there are people that are almost in hell. By our bringing the glorious news of Jesus Christ, and their reception of it, they are like brands plucked out of the fire.

Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments (3:3),

Now here’s the high priest clothed with filthy garments as he stood before the angel. Now in the Scripture, garments are representative of a person’s righteousness. Filthy garments represent a person’s self-righteousness. Or that righteousness that you have created for yourself by your own good works. Paul speaks about his endeavors under the law in Philippians, chapter 3. In speaking of all of his adherence to the law, he said, “Those things which were gain to me I counted loss for the righteousness of Jesus Christ, for whom I’ve suffered the loss of all things, and can’t count them as refuse that I may know Him, and be found in Him. Not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but the righteousness which is of Christ, through faith.”

So here was Joshua standing there before the Lord in filthy garments. Jeremiah said, “Our righteousness is as filthy rags in the eyes of the Lord.” How crass can we be trying to present ourselves to God in our own righteousness? “Well Lord, here I am. Let me tell You what I’ve done for You this week. Sit down Lord, let me brag a bit.” And I’m trying to present myself to God in my righteousness, and they’re as filthy rags in His sight. In the book of Revelation, John sees the saints of God clothed in fine linen, pure and clean. The fine linen, the white linen is the righteousness of the saints. But what is the righteousness of the saints? It is that which God has imputed to you because you have believed in His Son Jesus Christ.

Now if I can be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, then it’s sheer stupidity to try to come before God in my righteousness and in my goodness. That just doesn’t make sense. When God is willing to accept me in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, it’s absolute folly for me to try to present to God my own righteousness.

So he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, [This is the angel of the Lord] Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe you with a change of raiment (3:4).

Oh, what a glorious day that was when God did that for me. Standing before the Lord said, “Take off his filthy garments.” Then He said, “Behold I’m going to clothe you with new raiment.” The righteousness of Christ in which I’m clothed tonight, through my faith in Jesus Christ. Oh, I’ll tell you this was the most glorious experience in my whole Christian walk. It came to me right out of Romans. We’re in that book right now on Thursday nights. So if you want to get rid of your old rags, I invite you to come out to Thursday night studies.

And I said, Let them set a fair mitre [or crown] upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and they clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If you will walk in my ways, and if you will keep my charge, then you shall also judge my house, and shall also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that are standing by (3:5-7).

So walk in My ways, do My charge, do My work, and you can dwell in My courts and judge there.

Now the sixth vision.

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you, and all of your fellows that sit before you: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH (3:8).

Here we have now the prophecy of Jesus Christ. In Jeremiah and in Isaiah, Jesus is referred to as the Branch, the righteous Branch that shall come out of the root of Jesse, Jesus Christ. “I am going to bring forth My Servant, the Branch.”

For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the engraving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of the land in one day. And in that day saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree (3:9-10).

Looking on into the glorious Kingdom Age when Jesus comes again, the Branch, and establishes His kingdom and the iniquity will be purged in a day, and the Lord will reign. Every man neath his vine and fig tree shall live in peace, and be not afraid. “They will beat their swords into plowshears, and their spears into pruning hooks.”


Chapter 4

Now the angel that talked with me came again, and he waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and he said unto me, What do you see? And I said, I have looked, and behold there’s a candlestick of gold, and there’s a bowl on the top of it, and there are seven lamps, and the seven pipes are leading to the seven lamps, which are upon the top of it: And there are two olive trees by it, the one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? And the angel that talked with me said, Don’t you know what these are? And I said, No, my lord. And he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? for before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof shouting, Grace, grace unto it (4:1-7).

So this next vision is like a Rube Goldberg contraption. One of the jobs of the priests was to daily fill the cups of the menorah, the lampstand, the golden lampstand in the tabernacle with oil. Because God commanded that the light should never go out. The golden lampstand within the tabernacle was a symbol that Israel was to be the light of the world, or that God would through them shine forth His light to the world. Even as Jesus said to the church, “Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid, neither do men light a candle to put under a bushel, but on a candlestick that it might give light to all that are in the house. So let your light so shine before men, that when they see your good works, they’ll glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). God’s people He has always intended to be a light in this dark world. That is why God said, “Don’t ever let the light go out.” So every day the priests had to pour the oil into these cups, and any task that you do everyday can get monotonous. Dishes, diapers, whatever. You do it everyday, it becomes tedious. So man is always using his inventive mind to get out of work. We are always figuring out contraptions by which we can make our work a little easier. Isn’t that true? You’re working on some kind of a job, and you say, “Well, now, if I did this, and fastened this here, you know I could make this...” and always make it a little easier.

So Zechariah being a priest was struck with this brilliant idea, “If there were just plumbing, pipes connected to the olive trees, it would go right into the bowls, then the oil could flow right out through these pipes and keep the bowls full. There would be a constant supply of oil. So when Zechariah saw this contraption with the pipes coming from the olive trees into the bowls, he said, “What in the world is this? Constant supply of oil, never running out of oil?” He said, “Don’t you know what this is?” “No.” “This is the word of the Lord by Zerubbabel saying, ‘It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord.’”

Now in allegories, parables, dreams, visions, oil is always symbolic of the Holy Spirit, that is why the Lord said, “It’s by My Spirit saith the Lord.” That is, there is a constant source available, power for you through the Spirit.

The work of God, for the filling of the oil and so forth was the work of the Lord assigned to the priest, but the work of God is not to be accomplished by might, or by power, but the work of God can only be accomplished by the Spirit of the Lord. Therefore, it is extremely important before we engage in any work for God, that we seek to discover the leading of the Spirit. The secret to any successful work for Jesus Christ is discover how the Spirit is moving and move with the Spirit. For it is not by might, nor by power.

The word might is the assembling of armies, the organizing of forces, or committees to organize forces. The word power is the word force itself. Now, we see so many people trying to force the work of God, trying to force the gospel on their friends, trying to force the issues. I’ve often said to people who’ve asked me, concerning how can you know the leading of the Lord, and how can you know what God wants to do? I’ve said, “God so often leads us through open doors, and if God opens the door, go through it. But if He closes it, don’t break it down.” That’s where we make our mistake. So often we think, “Oh, God wants me to do this.” And a door will close, and we say, “All right, I’ll bash that one down, and I’m going to push it through. I’m going to make it go.” More energy, and effort, and money has been spent in trying to make a dead program go.

I spoke a few years ago in Lubbock, Texas at a Southern Baptist church. Pastor Jones back there, and he said, “You know, I came to the place in my ministry when I was so tired of pushing a program, we decided that we weren’t going to give artificial support to any more programs in the church. If it didn’t run on it’s own initiative, we were going to let it die a decent death.” And he said, “You’d be amazed at how many things died around here! Just not going to push programs anymore. We’re just going to let the Spirit operate and govern in the church that which He wants. If it doesn’t run on it’s own initiative, we’re just going to let it die with dignity.” Their Sunday school even died. I said, “Well, what about that?” He said, “Great, we love it.” They’d gone to junior churches and all. But it’s, I think, legitimate. I think that the church has made a terrible mistake in trying to push programs, trying to force a program to work. Trying to organize, and mobilize the forces to get the work of God done. “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

When we had built a little chapel a block away, and things were going great. Into triple services, had enlarged the sanctuary putting 500 chairs out on the patio, and the place was just jammed all three services on Sunday morning. We were faced with a dilemma. Winter was coming, “What are we going to do?” Fellow in the church said, “I would put the syndicate, we bought ten acres over on Fairview, and we’ve just lost it.” He said, “We’ve been trying to make deals on it for years, nothing works.” He said, “I believe that God wants that for the church. I think that’s why the Lord had me go with the syndicate to just hold the thing four years ago so that the church could have it.” He said, “I would be very glad to just accept my losses if the church got that ten acres.” He said, “We just couldn’t keep up with the payments anymore.” In fact, they took a four-year note from the lady who owned it, and in four years he just didn’t have the money to go on.

They had purchased it four years earlier for $456,000 dollars. I said, “Well, we don’t have that kind of money. There’s no way we can afford ten acres.” Then I got to thinking, “Well, let’s see, if we sold off five acres, we could probably get our money back if we could buy it for a decent price. If we could, say, move into what their position was, even to buy it for $456,000, maybe we could sell off half of it, and all we need is five, that’s five acres more than we’d ever need for the church.” I had tremendous faith. One of the fellows in the church said, “Oh, that’s just too much money. We just don’t have it. We can’t do it. We just, you know, you can’t borrow. Churches have a difficult time borrowing money.”

So a fellow in the church came to me and he said, “I believe that the woman who owns that property would sell it for $300,000 cash.” He said, “You see, her taxes have lapsed, and she’s been living off of the money, the interest that these guys have been paying her, and now that she doesn’t have the money coming in. She’s in bad shape, and actually the taxes are due, and she can’t pay them. I think she’d take $300,000 cash just to get out of it, and that will last her well for the rest of her life, because she’s in her late seventies.” I thought, “Oh, she’d never take $300,000 cash, she just foreclosed on a $456,000 dollar note, and they bought it four years ago. The price has gone way up since then.” He said, “Would you give me permission to offer $300,000 cash in the name of the church?” I said, “Sure, of course, why not. Foolish man!” He called me up on the phone all excited, and he said, “She accepted it!” I said, “Great, what do we do now?” “Where do we get $300,000 cash?” He said, “Well,” he said, “I have a note that I think she’ll take. It’s a first trust deed on some apartments, and it’s for $90,000 and I’ll be glad to loan that to the church for one year interest free.” The church had $60,000 in the bank, and he said, “I think the savings and loan, because it’s such a good buy, will loan you half of it on a property loan for two years.” So we went down to the savings and loan and it was such a good buy they said yes they would loan us $150,000 for two years and 11% interest.” So we bought it.

Now, this was obligating us pretty heavy, because this was just bare farmland at that time. We knew that we had to put a parking lot; we had to put street improvements on Sunflower Boulevard, sidewalks over there. We had to put, you know, we had to put the buildings in and everything, and we knew it was going to run a parcel of money. So I would drive home from church coming up Sunflower Ave. here, and I’d park at the left turn signal, to go on down Fairview. I would look over at this bare ten acres, and I’d start getting heart palpitations. I’d say, “Chuck, what are you doing obligating those people for that property? And the purchase of the property is just the beginning. What are you getting yourself into?” I’d begin to think, “I wonder if we can back out of it. I wonder if there’s something we can do to get out of it. What am I doing? What am I doing?” I just would start getting frantic thinking about the money that was going to be needed for all of this. And as I was sitting there, my palms began to sweat. I thought, “Oh, please light, turn green. I can’t stand this! I can’t stand looking at that property over there! Wiping me out!”

The Lord would speak to me, and He’d say, “Whose church is it?” I said, “It’s Yours, Lord.” He said, “Then what are you worried about? If it’s My church, what does it matter to you if it goes broke? What difference does that make to you if it’s My church?” I said, “Well, I really don’t know, Lord. I guess it doesn’t make any difference. Your church? Fine. You created the problem, take care of it!” By the time I hit the San Diego freeway, I had such glorious victory just praising the Lord for His church!

I was driving up the street, parked at the corner, looking over here, and the first payment was coming due on the uh…we were paying interest only on the $150,000 that we borrowed from the savings and loan, and it was $1,100 a month, which wasn’t bad at all.  It was well within our budget; we could handle it. But I said, “Lord, it’s Your church, huh? Do You think that’s a wise way to spend Your money? What are You getting from that? That’s just interest, Lord. That’s just going right into their coffer and You’re not going to see that again. Do You think that’s a wise way to spend Your money, Lord? As long as it’s Your church, why don’t You pay off the $150,000? You ought to be able to do that.”

I got home, and my wife said, “Honey, Ed Riddle called. He wants you to call him back.” Ed Riddle was the realtor who was in the syndicate that bought the property and lost it, told us about it. So I called Ed. He said, “Chuck, I just got a call from Shell Oil Company.” He said, “They looked on the records and they thought our syndicates still owned the property, and they want to buy the corner for $150,000.” He said, “Do you suppose the church would be interested in selling off the corner for $150,000?” You notice the Shell station on the corner.

I’ll tell ya, after that I didn’t worry again. His church, and He’s been doing a fantastic job taking care of it. It makes it so easy for me, because I can just kick back and watch the Lord develop His church. Because it’s not by might, not by our organized efforts, it’s not by our forcing issues, driving and forcing it, but it’s just the glorious power of the Holy Spirit. “By My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

“And the mountains, they’ll become a plain before Zerubbabel, those mountains will disappear, those mountains will just level right out before him.”

You know, it’s glorious the way the Lord can level the mountains before you. It’s interesting that so much of our worry is about things that are yet in the future. “Yes, I’ve got enough for today, but oh, I don’t know what I’m going to do next week! You know, God’s taken care of me up till now, I’m here. God’s taken care of me up till now, but it’s not right now I’m worried about. I’m worried about next week, next month!” But it’s interesting that so often those things that we spend so much time worrying about, by the time we arrive there, the mountain has already been removed and it’s just a plain; it’s flat land. How God can remove the mountains before us, it’s glorious when the Spirit of God is working in your life.

Now with Zerubbabel, the word of the Lord, it was a word of encouragement. He had been discouraged in the building of the temple. He had given up; they had quit. “Can’t be done.” They had organized the men. They had organized the efforts. They had men that were in charge of cleaning up debris, men that were in charge of carrying rocks, and they had organized the whole efforts. They were pushing and forcing the men. They weren’t doing anything. They weren’t getting the job done; they gave up. It was just too much. And the word of the Lord came and said, “Hey, it isn’t by your organized efforts. It isn’t by your force, but it’s by My Spirit saith the Lord.”

The women who were on their way to the tomb said, “Who is going to remove the stone?” They were worried as they talked among themselves, “Who’s going to roll away the stone on the door of the sepulchre?” All worried about it. When they got there, what did they find? The stone was already rolled away. So typical of so many of our worries. “What are we going to do when we get there?” We find that when we get there, the Lord’s been there already and took care, has taken care of everything for us. The mountains turn into plains before the Lord.

Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall finish it (4:8-9);

Zerubbabel had given up; he had quit working, but the Lord said, “Look, he started it, and he’s going to finish it.”

and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? (4:9-10)

Now this, of course, was one of the discouraging things. As they laid the foundations, the old men started wailing, “Oh, terrible,” because they remembered the glorious Solomon’s temple. Now these people are building this little dinky thing. All the young guys that had never seen Solomon’s temple, they were so excited, “Oh, look the foundation!” They were all excited, but the old men were there wailing and weeping. Quite a scene. But those who were wailing and weeping discouraged those that were building. “Oh, such a little thing. It’s nothing.” “And who hath despised the days of small things?”

Now there are many times we are wanting to get ahead of the work of God in our lives. God brings us in our spiritual growth along in a very important pace. But there are many times we’re not satisfied with the pace that God has set. We want to get ahead of it. So often we despise the days of small things in our own lives.

A person comes up to me and says, “You know, I really feel like I want to serve the Lord, and I’d like to serve the Lord here at Calvary Chapel.” I usually will say to them, “Wonderful, go over and talk to Mike in our Sunday school. We’re in need of Sunday school teachers, and there’s an excellent opportunity for you to serve the Lord.” “Oh, well, uh, that’s not what I had in mind. I was thinking if Romaine maybe wanted to quit, or if you wanted to resign, I could pastor Calvary Chapel.” They despise the days of small things. They want to do a big work for God. There are a lot of people sitting around not willing to do the little things. Waiting for the big door to open, waiting for Billy Graham to call and say, “I’m ready to step out, and I want you to come and take over, and preach at these great meetings.” “All right, I’ve been waiting for that!” Yes, but you’re not prepared for that, you see. God starts us out in the little things. I started out teaching Sunday school classes. Then I was advanced to teaching and leading a youth group. Started out in small things. Too many people despise the small things. But if you’re not faithful in the small things, God’ll never be able to raise you up to the bigger things. Don’t despise the days of small things. Whatever it is that God has called you to do, get in and do it for the glory of God. And if you are faithful in the little things, then God will make you ruler over the bigger things.

So there were those who despised the days of the small things, and that’s true today. That’s always sad, because you’ll always be restricted and limited. You’ll never grow. You’ll never develop until you’re willing to get in and to be satisfied with the least thing that God has called you to do and be faithful to those least things to which the Lord has called you. “For who hath despised the day of small things?”

they shall rejoice, and see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; and these are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro throughout the whole earth (4:10).

These seven eyes are the seven spirits which stand before the throne of God in Revelation, chapter 5.

 Then I answered, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What are these two olive branches, which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out by themselves? And he answered me and said, Don’t you know what these are? And I said, No, my lord. Then he said, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth (4:11-14).

The two anointed ones; these are the two witnesses of the book of Revelation. Read it in chapter 11. These are the two olive trees, the branches that stand before the Lord of the earth there in Revelation. God’s two witnesses in the last days, and we pointed out that Malachi tells us that Elijah will be one of the two witnesses, and it is possible that Zerubbabel himself will be one of the other two witnesses according to the prophecies of Haggai. It would appear that perhaps Zerubbabel will be one of the other two witnesses in the last verse of Haggai, chapter 2, verse 23. “In that day saith the Lord of hosts, I will take thee O Zerubbabel, My servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and I will make thee as a signet, for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.” He’s speaking of the last days, and the overthrow of the kingdoms of the world.


Chapter 5

So then I turned, and I lifted up my eyes, and I beheld a flying roll (5:1).

Now this must have been a weird looking sight, a flying saucer kind of a thing.

And he said unto me, What do you see? And I answered, and said, I see a flying roll; and it’s about thirty feet long, and it’s about fifteen feet wide. Then he said unto me, This is the curse that goes forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that steals shall be cut off on this side according to it; and every one that swears shall be cut off as on that side according to it. And I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of the house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof (5:1-4).

So there is judgment associated with this scroll, or the flying roll. Now beyond that I don’t know, because the Scripture doesn’t tell us anything beyond that.

The last, or the ninth of the tenth visions.

Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now your eyes, and see what is going forth. And I said, What it is? And he said, This is an ephah (5:5-6)

Which is actually a bushel, equivalent to about a bushel and three pints.

that goes forth. And he said moreover, This is their resemblance through the whole earth. And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is the woman that sits in the midst of ephah. And he said, This is wickedness (5:6-8).

Now we are dealing, actually, with ephah and the talents with commercialism, and God’s view of it is, it’s wickedness.

And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of the lead upon the mouth thereof. Then I lifted up my eyes, and I looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and heaven. Then I said to the angel that talked with me, Where are they carrying the ephah? And he said unto me, To build it a house in the land of [Babylon] Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base (5:8-11).

So God’s rebuke against the commercial system that would be headquartered in Babylon, that was headquartered in those days in Babylon, and does speak of the modern day commercial system that will be destroyed in Revelation, chapter 18.

When Zechariah gets out of these visions, and we have just one more, then you’ll find the reading a lot more clear, and your understanding will be a lot clearer once we get out of these visions. I have a little hard time with these visions. They’re sort of weird, some of them, and they do take explaining. And I’m glad that the Lord did explain them or else we would really be lost. May the Lord bless you and keep you steadfast in the love of Jesus Christ our Lord. May you experience each day more of His love, more of His Spirit working in your life, as you yield yourself to God. May you know that power through the Holy Spirit, and may God thus enable you to do His work. May your life be blessed as you serve the Lord in the opportunities that He gives to you this week. Maybe they seem like very small things, but God help you to be faithful in the little things, and not to despise the days of small things. For if you are faithful in the little things, then God will place more responsibility upon you. But don’t force it, just flow with the Spirit, and have a beautiful week. In Jesus.

Chuck Smith

Pastor Chuck Smith began his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in 1965, with just twenty-five people.