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The Prophecy of Zechariah – Part 3, The House of God
Having presented the first three chapters of Zechariah, we hope to have established the fact that there are two perspectives to fully interpreting the words of the prophet and realizing the fulfillment of his prophecy. These we have termed the near vision, which is the immediate application of his prophecy to the rebuilding of the second temple and the initiation of the 70-weeks Kingdom, and the far vision, or the transcendental fulfillment of the prophecy to the birth and ministry of the Christ and the building of His House, which is both His temporal body and the body of His collective people Israel. We would also assert that the entire purpose of the 70-weeks Kingdom was to realize the fulfillment of the far vision, as the Word of God establishes for us both here and in Daniel chapter 9.
Now in Zechariah chapter 4, Zerubbabel, the governor of Jerusalem during the building of the second temple and the high priesthood of Joshua, is only mentioned several times. His name means sown in Babel, or Babylon, and that is important in relation to what we hope to demonstrate is the meaning of this chapter. Especially since the Hebrew word babel also means confusion, and more specifically confusion by mixing. This in itself is a prophecy of ancient Judaea, the birth of Christ and the modern understanding of the origins of both the Gospel and the people of Christ. So the redemption of the children of Israel was sown in confusion.
On a personal note, while Zerubbabel was the rightful heir to the throne of David, he could never himself sit as a king, because of the curse of Jeconiah found in Jeremiah chapter 32 where it says “Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” Zerubbabel was also an ancestor of Christ according to both genealogies, however Christ is not affected by the curse of Jeconiah since He inherits the throne of David as an adopted son of Joseph of Nazareth, who was apparently the last living heir to the throne. The wicked king Jeconiah was the grandfather of this Zerubbabel.
Where in Zechariah chapter 3 the historical Joshua the high priest was a type for Christ as He who would make a propitiation for His people, here in Zechariah chapter 4 the historical Zerubbabel is a type for Yahshua Christ as the rightful judge of His people, in a small degree, but to a larger degree as a type for Christ as the builder of His House, which is the body of Christ found in the children of Israel being reconciled to Yahweh their God. Comparing Christ to Moses, Paul called Christ “he who hath builded the house” in Hebrews chapter 3. We will see that while the near vision concerns the building of the house in the form of the second temple in Jerusalem, the far vision concerns the building of the house in the form of the body of Christ in the captivity.
That being said, here we shall present Zechariah chapter 4:
1 And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,
The prophet uses the illustration to express the dismay of someone who is awoken abruptly. This description also assures us that this vision is distinct from that which the prophet was given in the earlier portions of his writing.
2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:
The description fits that of the traditional candelabra which was part of the implements of the temple of Solomon, the branched candlestick holding seven candles which is described in Exodus chapter 25. In the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, it is the Ancient of Days, Yahshua Christ Himself, who holds seven stars in His right hand, and has the seven candlesticks, or lampstands, which are equated with the seven churches for whom He had seven messages. In Revelation chapter 1 we read of “20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”
The pipes here are not musical pipes. Rather, they only seem to be tubes which hold the wicks that feed the oil which keep the candles burning, and Brenton’s version of the Septuagint calls them funnels.
The candlesticks representing these particular Christian assemblies, stars also convey light through the night sky, from heaven to earth, and therefore the Truth of God is portrayed as a light from Heaven to the Christian world. The messages of Christ to the assemblies were light to the Christian world. So long as Christian assemblies keep the truth of God, they burn like candles. So Christ is recorded as having said in Luke chapter 11: “33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.” And of course He was speaking of Himself.
The vision continues:
3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?
The two olive trees are mentioned again in Revelation chapter 11, of the two witnesses “standing before the Lord of the whole earth.” These two witnesses seem to be Israel and Judah, collectively. However where Zechariah asks “what are these” here, it is not yet in relation to the two olive trees. That question comes in verse 11.
Therefore Zechariah’s question here must be in relation to the candlestick with the seven lamps. The ultimate answer seems to lie in the rhetorical question, “Who art thou, O great mountain?” The mountain seems to describe Zion, the people of God, as we shall hopefully elucidate.
5 Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6 Then 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.
The work of Zerubbabel was not completed under force of arms or the might of men, but by the favor and will of God. This also reflects the spirit of the Revelation, where seven times, with each message to each of seven churches, we read “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches...” Where these symbols described by Zechariah here were repeated in the words of Christ and from a Christian perspective, then we see that Zechariah was a Christian prophet – as all the prophets were Christians. One aspect of the marvel of the prophets is this: in many ways it is evident that the prophets themselves had no concept of the meanings of the words which they recorded, however once the images they present in their words have been manifested in history, they can be understood.
But the answer to Zechariah’s question in verse 4 has not yet been answered in verses five and six, so it must follow here in verse 7:
7 Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
In the immediate context this is a prophecy that Zerubbabel will prevail in his immediate task, which is the rebuilding of the temple and the establishment of the 70-weeks kingdom at Jerusalem. So the mountain represents the apparent obstacles to the completion of his task, and it is made smooth, meaning that Zerubbabel will complete the building of the house of God without difficulty, by the power of the Spirit of Yahweh.
This is one hope in Christ that Christians often overlook, which is expressed in the words of John the Baptist recorded in Luke chapter 3: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” When the undertakings of men are in agreement with the Word of God, the obstacles are removed. When the obstacles are many and insurmountable, our failure is the way by which God ultimately leads us in the direction that He wants us to go.
But here there is also a transcendental fulfillment, which is of even greater import. The mountain represents the candlestick with the seven lamps, as this is the answer to the question in verse 4, where the prophet had asked “what are these, my lord?”
The question is answered rhetorically here, but the final answer must lie in the Revelation of Christ, which explains what these symbols mean, and that the seven lamps are the seven churches, or assemblies, of God’s people which were used as examples in the Revelation. The great mountain is Zion, which is the seven lamps, which are the people of Christ, and before Christ the mountain shall be leveled smooth, as it says in Luke, which in turn was a citation of Isaiah chapter 40. The mountain being made smooth means that it would be made humble, clearing the way for Christ Himself. The headstone thereof is Christ Himself, He being the chief cornerstone. So, as we shall continue to see, Zerubbabel is a type for Christ building His Own House in the 70-weeks Kingdom, the purpose of which was the ultimate reconciliation of Israel.
That is why when the headstone is brought forth, an announcement of grace is made, grace for Israel being the vehicle through which the reconciliation of Israel in Christ is made possible. As it says in Jeremiah chapter 30: “2 Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.” Here we shall see that same thing, that Israel is going to receive their grace in the place of their captivity.
The Septuagint reads the verse quite differently, where Brenton’s English is “Who art thou, the great mountain before Zorobabel, that thou shouldest prosper? whereas I will bring out the stone of the inheritance, the grace of it the equal of my grace.” And if we had to interpret this, we would still imagine the mountain to be Zion, referring to the people of God, but perhaps the stone should be a reference to the “stone cut out of the mountain without hands”, which describes the remnant portion of Israel chosen by Yahweh to become a great mountain that would fill the whole earth (Daniel 2:35).
The vision is supplemented in verse 8:
8 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.
And this also has both a near and a far fulfillment. Zerubbabel shall finish the building of the second temple, and by that Zechariah will know that the visions which are given to him by the angel are indeed from Yahweh his God. However, not only was Zerubbabel commissioned with the building of the second temple. He was also an ancestor of Christ Himself according to the genealogies of both Matthew and Luke (where in the King James Version he is called Zorobabel).
So Zerubbabel is not only laying the foundations of the second temple building. His presence in Jerusalem is also laying the foundations for the advent of Christ in the flesh: who is of the seed and the house of David, and who is both the Root and the Branch of Jesse. Christ is the Branch mentioned in the chapter 3 vision related to Joshua the high priest, and that Branch will be mentioned again at the end of this series of visions, which is in Zechariah chapter 6. Christ manifest in the flesh is the true House of Yahweh made without hands.
Moreover, Zerubbabel means sown in Babel, or Babylon, and we shall see that the house being built is also going to be built in Babylon, at least allegorically, and here in that sense Babylon represents the captivity of Israel, where Israel is to be judged. In that very sense, the prophecy continues:
10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
The Septuagint has only “small days”, and “… these are the seven eyes that look upon all the earth.” The resulting meaning is not much different once the description of the seven eyes is compared to a similar term which appears in Revelation chapter 5, and as it was also used in Zechariah chapter 3 of the stone laid before Joshua the high priest. The seven eyes “are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”
The plummet is a leveling tool which represents the judgment of Yahweh, as it does in Isaiah chapter 18 where Yahweh had said: “17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.” So while in the near vision it is a tool necessary for building, so that Zerubbabel may complete the task he is given, in the transcendental fulfillment it represents the righteous judgement of Yahweh upon His people Israel.
Where it asks “For who hath despised the day of small things?”, we seem to have a reference to those who would understand the present period of the punishment of the children of Israel, and esteem it as nothing in the overall plan of God. THIS FULFILLMENT 70-YEAR RUBBLE So the “day of small things” seems to be an allegory for the period of Israel’s chastisement, and those who trust in Yahweh shall patiently await the great things to come. It is for this same reason Paul had said in 2 Corinthians chapter 4: “17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.
The reference to “those seven” is a reference to the foundation stone of the House of God, which is Yahshua Christ Himself. He was the Branch of Zechariah chapter 3, and the Stone laid before Joshua the high priest, where it says: “9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.”
Jeshua, the high priest in the days of Zerubbabel, could not remove iniquity in a day. Paul contrasted the propitiation of the Levitical high priests to the propitiation in Christ in Hebrews chapter 9: “25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
So the stone with seven eyes must be a reference to Christ Himself, in both Zechariah chapter 3 and here in Zechariah chapter 4. The seven eyes must be a description of the same seven spirits of God mentioned in relation to Christ in Revelation chapter 5: “6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” And the Plummet represents the judgement of Christ upon the House of Israel.
Finally, Zechariah asks of the two olive trees in the vision of the candlestick:
11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? 12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
The one answer describes both the olive trees, and the branches of those trees which feed their oil into the lamps, and in turn which would keep the lamps burning. Here the description of the pipes supports our interpretation of the pipes for each of the seven lamps mentioned earlier, that they feed oil to the lamps through their wicks. Here, the imagery is a little clearer in the Septuagint. The two branches belong to each of the olive trees, and the oil from the olive trees actually feeds the seven lamps and keeps them burning.
The anointed ones must represent the House of Israel and the House of Judah, as the apostle John speaks to his readers of “the anointing which you have received of him” in reference to Christ, at 1 John 2:27. This anointing is also mentioned in Isaiah chapter 10, where there is a promise to the children of Israel that the yoke of the Assyrian upon the neck of Israel “shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” Collectively, the children of Israel and Judah are the anointed of God. Thus Paul also speaks in 2 Corinthians chapter 1: “21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God”.
The two olive trees being Israel and Judah, and the seven lamps being interpreted as the future seven churches of the Revelation, we see a symbol of the substance of the seven churches addressed by Christ, the Christian assemblies, which must also be of Israel and Judah. In other words, the olive trees being Israel and Judah, the oil from them feeds the lamps which represent the seven assemblies of God in the Revelation. So the olive trees represent Israel and Judah collectively, and the assemblies of God are derived from them.
In our commentary on the Revelation of Yahshua Christ for chapter 11, we had explained that the two witnesses which lay dead in the streets for forty two months were representative of events which took place during the Reformation, determining whether the children of Israel would be able to break free of the tyranny of the papacy, the second beast of the Revelation. So it says in verse 4 of that chapter that “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.”
With this we shall commence with Zechariah chapter 5:
5:1 Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.
Here and in verse 2 the Septuagint has a sickle, or pruning hook, rather than a roll, or scroll. We will not elaborate on a possible alternate interpretation. This portion of the text is wanting in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but the context directs us in one way towards the reading of the Masoretic Text, and in another way towards that which is found in the Septuagint. Either way, the ultimate interpretation would not be much different. In the Revelation, a pruning hook or sickle is also a device by which judgment is executed.
We dislike even having to address it here, but we feel that we must. Too many childish assertions have circulated claiming that this is some sort of prophecy of missiles or some other actual flying objects. [Perhaps a flying bagel would be more appropriate.] This verse is a signal example of how easily certain people are fascinated by ideas which are refuted once a larger portion of the scripture is examined. All too frequently, they instead become captivated by the lies which are created when a verse is lifted from Scripture and interpreted apart from its own context. In that manner a verse can be imagined to support some fable which is actually far removed from the original intent of the writer. Here, Zechariah does not intend to describe a missile.
The word for roll is megilah (Strong’s # 4039) and it refers to a scroll, the roll of a book, and it appears a dozen times in Jeremiah chapter 36 alone, both by itself, as a scroll of writing, and in the phrase “roll of a book”. In the very next verse the flying roll, or scroll, is described as “the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth”, and therefore it must be an allegory for the curses of disobedience written in the law, which Yahweh had promised would come upon the children of Israel if they did not keep His law. Now in the time of Zechariah those same Israelites have been scattered “over the face of the whole earth” where we are told that the curse would be sent.
2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.
Quite interestingly, or even profoundly, the breadth and length of the scroll [or sickle, in the reading of the Septuagint] are of the same dimensions as the porch of Solomon’s temple, which was before the altar where the propitiations for sin were made for the children of Israel (1 Kings 6:3; 2 Chronicles 8:12). So by this we may indeed perceive that the scroll is related to the judgement of God against the sins of Israel.
3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.
On the surface here the Septuagint reading of sickle may seem to make more sense, as a blade passes through the stalks and they fall off on one side or the other. But alternately, the reference to each side of the object may be a reference to parts of the law written on each side of a scroll.
The curses of disobedience are written into the law in two places: Deuteronomy chapter 28 and Leviticus chapter 26. Even with the promised mercy of Christ, the children of Israel cannot escape the prophesied period of punishment during which they were to suffer for their sins. They would experience this punishment in captivity, when they were to be spread out over “the face of the whole earth”, where we see this curse being sent here in Zechariah. For instance, in Jeremiah chapter 46 the Word of Yahweh says: “28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.” And likewise, in Amos chapter 3 it says “2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
But the reference to stealing cannot be limited in scope to the mere commandment which says “thou shalt not steal”, which seems to be the least of the sins of the children of Israel. Rather, there is a greater theft in the disobedience of Israel, for which the Israelites are also described as being cursed, as it is recorded in Malachi chapter 3: “6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. 7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.”
So the children of Israel have stolen from their God, and they swear by the name of their God in vain. Among other places, this is described in Isaiah chapter 52, where it speaks rhetorically of the children of Israel in captivity and it says “4 For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.” Similarly, it says in Isaiah chapter 48: “1 Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness.”
So Yahweh promises judgment for these great sins, of stealing from and blaspheming Him:
4 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 his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.
The flying roll must represent the curses written in the law. And therefore the judgement of Yahweh will rest upon sinners until their houses are destroyed, or until they repent. It speaks in the same manner of the children of the captivity in Ezekiel chapter 18: “20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. 21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”
Zechariah then describes yet another vision:
5 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. 6 And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.
An ephah is a unit of measure approximately the size of a bushel, or about 9 gallons, or 35 liters. Here the word ephah refers to the device for measuring the unit, which could be a basket, since the ephah was generally a dry measure often used of grain. The reading for ephah in the Septuagint is simply measure throughout the passage.
Where the angel says “this is their resemblance”, he seems to be indicating further that the visions which preceded do indeed describe the children of Israel in captivity for their sins, and here he is about to describe them again. Rather than resemblance however, here the Septuagint has iniquity.
7 And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.
The ephah representing a measure, the woman must represent the children of Israel, the Bride of Christ, the nation of Israel depicted as the unfaithful wife of Yahweh, and caught up in the balance of judgement.
8 And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.
The weight of the lead, which is very dense and heavy, seems to represent what wickedness describes, and therefore represents the heaviness, or gravity of the iniquity for which the woman is being judged.
9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and 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 the heaven. 10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? 11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.
In yet another allegory, the two women may be imagined to represent the two sisters, Israel and Judah, taking their mother – which is the nation of Israel as a people – to be judged in the “land of Shinar”. This is also where the woman’s house would be built, and the woman being the Bride of Christ, this house must be the Body of Christ.
The interpretation is not fanciful. In fact, the same analogy is found in Hosea chapter 2, where Israel and Judah are depicted as fornicating sisters: “1 Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah. 2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; 3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. 4 And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms. 5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.”
The analogy appears in Jeremiah, written over a hundred years later than Hosea, where among other similar statements it says in Jeremiah chapter 3: “8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.”
So the woman represents the nation of the children of Israel in judgment, but what is of the utmost importance here is that the house of the woman being judged is built in the “land of Shinar”, which is an archaic name for the land of Babylon. This is evident in Daniel chapter 1 where it says “2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.”
Here we have a further prophetic allegory which corroborates the interpretation of what we have seen in Zechariah chapter 2 where it says “7 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.” Shinar here, and the phrase “daughter of Babylon” in the earlier chapter, represents the captivity and the condition of the children of Israel in their time of punishment. The House of God would be built of the children of Israel while they were in captivity.
This agrees with a similar prophetic allegory found in the Revelation. In Revelation chapter 12 we see a woman with twelve stars, which are the twelve tribes of Israel, who bears the Christ child, and who was taken into the wilderness for a time, as a refuge from the dragon who would persecute her. There it is described that the dragon pursues the woman into the wilderness (which is the diaspora of the Jews). Then in Revelation chapter 17, John is taken back into the wilderness and sees the woman in a quite different state than he may have expected, where we read in part: “1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters… 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness [where the woman representing Israel was left in Revelation chapter 12]: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
This mystery Babylon is where the woman, Israel, the Bride of Christ, would be judged. This is an analogy which is also being made here, of the woman in the ephah taken to the land of Shinar, which is Babylon. So Zion, which is also representative of the people of Israel, was commanded in Zechariah chapter 2 to “Deliver thyself” for reason that they “dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.”
And this is where the house of the woman in the ephah would be built, which are the seven churches of Christ and the true Israel of God: not in Jerusalem, but in the captivity. The second temple in Jerusalem was built only so that Christ could build His Own body, both by reason of His birth, and of the Body of Christ that he would build when He reconciled His people Israel who were in captivity through His gospel message.
Now we shall commence with Zechariah chapter 6:
1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
We saw a similar vision in Zechariah chapter 1, where an angel with horses was standing in a valley. There the horses were speckled, red and white, and we interpreted the vision to mean that the wrath of God to come upon the nations surrounding Jerusalem would transpire in the imminent war between the Persians and the Greeks, two great nations represented by the mountains. Here the mountains are of brass, and the horses are described a little differently:
2 In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; 3 And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. 4 Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?
Brass sometimes represents something heavy and difficult to bear. For instance, in the promise of seven times punishment found in Leviticus chapter 26 the Word of Yahweh says “18 And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass”. Likewise, the stump of Babylon which was also to endure for seven times, prophesied in the Book of Daniel, was bound with a band of iron and a band of brass.
As for the two mountains, since the horses depict Israelites caught between them, perhaps they represent the difficult time which the children of Israel are in both at the beginning, and then at the end of their captivity. In the beginning, they are taken off to the land of Shinar, Babylon and Assyria, and at the end, they are caught up in Mystery Babylon. Not having an explanation from the angel, this is our best conjecture....
Here black horses appear with the red and the white, and rather than speckled horses we see both grisled and bay horses. The Septuagint has piebald and ash-colored here. The Hebrew words evidently mean spotted and dappled, and it is difficult to distinguish a precise difference between the two. However they are yoked together to one chariot, and separately yoked are each of the red, black and white horses with their own chariots.
Concerning the mountains, there is no interpretation supplied. But we cannot comment on the horses until we see the angel himself answer Zechariah’s question in reference to the horses:
5 And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.
We may imagine that these four spirits are used to represent the children of Israel who were in the presence of God, and who departed from Him, and that the four types of horses represent their fate. But it seems more likely that the word for spirit simply be interpreted as wind here, as it was in both the Greek and English of the Septuagint. The four winds represent the directions where the children of Israel had been scattered, and the nature of the horses may nevertheless represent their fate.
6 The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled [piebald in the LXX, which is spotted or dappled] go forth toward the south country. 7 And the bay [or ash-colored in the LXX] went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth.
The reading of verse 7 in the Septuagint is less ominous, and seems to be more reasonable, where it says “7 And the ash-coloured went out, and looked to go and compass the earth: and he said, Go, and compass the earth. And they compassed the earth.”
8 Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.
There is nothing said of the red horses. Red seems to represent anger or wrath. We can conjecture that the horses of the south are grisled, or spotted, and the lands of the south throughout the ancient world of the children of Israel in their captivity may be viewed accordingly. However the bay horses, or dappled horses, seem to have free rein to go where they choose.
The black and white horses going towards the north have quieted, caused to rest or perhaps soothed, the spirit of the angel. The Septuagint has anger rather than spirit. Perhaps the anger being quieted, the red horses are no longer mentioned. These black and white horses seem to represent both the sin and the mercy for the children of Israel who were sent to the north country in their captivity. Because of the way they are described, where first the black horses go north and then the white horses go after them, they may further stand for first the migrations of the sinful Israelites cast off in punishment, and then for the apostles who pursued them with the Gospel of Christ, bearing Mercy in His Name, and the cleansing of sin that the white color of the horses represents.
9 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 10 Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;
The name Heldai means worldly, Tobijah means Yahweh is good, and Jedaiah Yahweh has known. However the Septuagint reading does not have the names of these men, as Brenton’s translation reads: “10 Take the things of the captivity from the chief men, and from the useful men of it, and from them that have understood it; and thou shalt enter in that day into the house of Josias the son of Sophonias that came out of Babylon.” Once again, the passage is wanting in the Dead Sea Scrolls, however the difference is really one of interpretation, so the Dead Sea Scrolls probably would not have an effect if the passage were present.
This Zephaniah who is mentioned here is most likely not the prophet Zephaniah of our Bibles, as he had prophesied at least 90 years before this time, and perhaps as many as a hundred and twenty, in the days of the good king Josiah of Judah.
11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;
Zephaniah means What Yahweh has treasured. The name of his son, Josiah, means Whom Yahweh heals. So symbolically, Yahweh heals the offspring of what He has treasured. It is therefore he whom Yahweh heals, or perhaps allegorically those whom Yahweh heals, who anoints the high priest and sets the crown upon Him.
Josedech means Yahweh is righteous, and Joshua the priest is a type for Yahshua Christ who is the Son, or Sun, of Righteousness. Joshua being a type for Yahshua Christ, then this may be symbolic of the spread of the Gospel, that the children of Israel who accept the Gospel of Christ recognize that He is their legitimate King and high priest.
12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
Once again, Joshua the high priest is a type for Yahshua Christ, the Branch grown out of the root of Jesse (Isaiah 1:11).
13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
Just as we witnessed at the end of Zechariah chapter 3, here we have another prophecy which can only apply to Yahshua Christ, and once again the dual nature of Zechariah’s visions is absolutely manifest. We have already seen here in chapter 4, that the angel assured the prophet that Zerubbabel himself would finish the building of the second temple, where it says “9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.” So the temple of Yahweh described here cannot be the second temple which Zerubbabel is about to complete in four short years.
The temple of the Lord spoken of here may seem to be the one which Zerubbabel is building, but it is actually the Body of Christ, which is the collective body of the children of Israel. The building of that temple began with the spread of the Gospel of Christ into Europe and the north country, by which the spirit of the angel was quieted. The second temple is a temporary temple, and fulfills the prophecy in its immediate application, or near vision. The building of the Body of Christ begins in Jerusalem, but the woman’s house is built in Babylon, or captivity.
14 And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.
Helem (Strong’s # 2494) means dream, but that definition is only an interpretation by Strong from a figurative use of the corresponding verb, halam (Strong’s # 2492), which is to bind firmly. Hen means grace or favor. We may conjecture concerning the names, and why they differ from the list given in verse 10. However here and in verse 10 we lean towards the reading in the Septuagint as being the appropriate reading. The King James translators often mistook descriptive terms for proper names, and proper names for descriptive terms. In many places, the Septuagint did that same thing, where the King James reading is the correct one.
For example, in 1 Chronicles 4:23 it says of the sons of Shelah, the bastard son of Judah, that “23 These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.” Now, it is not probable that these people actually dwelt among “plants and hedges”, but the words, Netaim and Gederah, were actually the names of certain towns, and that is how the passage should have been read.
The Septuagint has Zechariah 6:14 to read: “And the crown shall be to them that wait patiently, and to the useful men of the captivity, and to them that have known it, and for the favour of the son of Sophonias, and for a psalm in the house of the Lord.”
In the Septuagint reading, we see the meanings of the names, but without the references to Yahweh which are found in this passage in the Masoretic Text. So “wait patiently” is evidently from a translation of helem into Greek, in the sense of binding, “useful” is from the stem of tobijah, which is good, “have known” is from the stem of jedaiah, which is to know, and favor is from hen. Similar differences in the interpretation of the original passage, which is not necessarily represented by the Masoretic Text, also account for the differences between the Septuagint and the King James at verse 10 of this chapter, and in many other passages throughout each of these versions of the Bible. Here we also see that the Hebrew word for memorial differs from the Septuagint where it has psalm in its place.
The grammar differences in this passage between the King James and the Septuagint are even more complex than what we have described here. But our present intent is only to illustrate the fact that, because most Hebrew names are taken from words which have a common meaning, translators may sometimes errantly interpret as a name a word which was used in its common meaning. But likewise, many terms used as names are enriched by an understanding of the common meaning.
Zechariah’s vision concludes in verse 15:
15 And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.
The second temple of the 70 weeks Kingdom was built in four years by the list of people who had already returned with Zerubbabel, as it is explained by Nehemiah and Ezra. However while that may be interpreted in the immediate fulfillment of the prophecy, we have already seen language which clearly indicates the necessity for a transcendental, or far-reaching interpretation. The fulfillment of this prophecy in the far vision is found when scattered Israel became reconciled in one body to Christ. Doing so, they came to Christ, allegorically, and by that they built the temple of Yahweh.
This same interpretation was offered by the apostle Peter, in chapter 2 of his first epistle where he said: “3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”
So the scattered children of Israel who are found in Yahshua Christ are the true House of Yahweh God, and that House is the true subject of this prophecy in Zechariah. The second temple was merely the manner in which Yahweh had chosen to gather the materials for its foundation.