Communion Presbyterian Church ARP

Burning, Flying, Basket, Horses - Zechariah 4, 5, 6

Zech 4:1 And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep.

à My task is different from the angel’s.  I need to keep you awake!

à Complete 4 visions of 8.  The first visions reiterated the Jewish Eschatological Hope.

-- That days of trouble would occur.  A gathering of all people would take place.  The enemies of God think they are gathering to destroy God’s people in their weakness.  It is actually the gathering of God to make a public spectacle of them, and to triumph over them – the righteous will witness the victory of God, and the meek will inherit the earth.  This constantly proves that the victory of God is never to the strong or the swift – Not by might, nor by power, but by God’s Spirit.  After the gathering, the Messiah will bring about judgment and salvation for the enemies and the elect.  A new kingdom will be brought to the earth full of new life and prosperity and at the end all mankind, both the regenerate Jew and Gentile will dwell in communion with the very God of the Universe forever.

à  The first 3 visions expressed this hope, the next two visions concentrate on two important individuals who are Messianic in scope, and the last 3 visions will again remind the Jewish people that before they can inherit a future land of promise, before they can dwell with their God, they must seek righteousness and devotion toward both God and neighbor.

à (FP) Notice a chiastic structure to the 8 visions beginning with and ending with horses.  The chiastic structure always has as the emphasis of outline is the center – and what is at the center?  A certain High Priest and a certain Governor who have been called by God to motivate the people to rebuild the temple.  They are the crown of the chiasm!

à Let’s now consider the final visions and make a concluding application.


4:2 And he (the apocalyptic accompanying / interpretating angel) said to me, "What do you see?" I said, "I see, and behold, a lampstand (which in the Hebrew is the word Menorah) all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. 3 And there are two olive trees by it, (2 being the apocalyptic # for God’s witnesses) one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left." 4 And I said to the angel who talked with me, "What are these, my lord?" 5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, "Do you not know what these are?" I said, "No, my lord." 6 Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.

7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of 'Grace, grace to it!'"

à Zerubabbel is mentioned by name in this vision of two olive tree feeding a Menorah with mechanical set up that feeds the lamp oil to provide an eternal flame. 

à Zerubabbel is one of the witnesses – Joshua the High Priest, who was isolated in the vision prior, is regarded as the tree of golden oil…

à The fullness of the Light of God will glow as a confirmation of the life and ministry of Joshua and Zerubabbel.

à But no one will need to tend this Menorah as did the lamps of the Old Testament tabernacle and Temple – no priest will be required to supply the oil to make sure the lights do not go out.  The oil will come straight from the tree (not the actual olives…)  SO, no work will be required, no human effort, but only God’s orchestration of the Spirit so that what will be heard SHOUTED from the completed temple?  Grace!

à great evaluation of ministry à are people truly learning about grace?


8 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 9 "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. 10 For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. "These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range through the whole earth." 11 Then I said to him, "What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?" 12 And a second time I answered and said to him, "What are these two branches of the olive trees, which are beside the two golden pipes from which the golden oil is poured out?" 13 He said to me, "Do you not know what these are?" I said, "No, my lord." 14 Then he said, "These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth."

à In the two visions at the center of the chiasm, of the two anointed characters of Joshua and Zerubabbel, we witness the gospel of Christ and the work of the Spirit.  Filthy clothes removed, and robes of righteousness are applied (Isaiah even related this truth and is the very text that Jesus reads as he inaugurates his public ministry).  We also see an untended Menorah whose supply is the “anointed of the Lord.” This is God’s provision. 

à The seven eyes of the Lord, His complete knowledge of the tiny work project on the temple will be the project, when completed, to remind the returning remnant that God has not given up on His promises to revive Israel again, and he will do so through faithful servants, of which, Joshua and Zerubabbel serve as previews to the true Messiah yet to come.


à So now the vision will aim at reminding the remnant of God’s call upon a covenant people…

5:1 Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a flying scroll! 2 And he said to me, "What do you see?" I answered, "I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits, and its width ten cubits." 3 Then he said to me, "This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole land. For everyone who steals shall be cleaned out according to what is on one side, and everyone who swears falsely shall be cleaned out according to what is on the other side. 4 I will send it out, declares the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter the house of the thief, and the house of him who swears falsely by my name. And it shall remain in his house and consume it, both timber and stones."

à This particular scroll, a rather large one, contains the curses for those who violate the covenant values of God’s peculiar people.  We don’t steal and we don’t testify falsely.  When our boss at work asks for THAT report, we do not fudge numbers or attempt to make ourselves more valuable than we really are – we keep the commands of God as people who live before a holy God rather than a paying boss!

à Boiling down the requirement of all of God’s law to two stipulations is a bit Jewish.  Jesus says the law is about two things, loving God and Neighbor.  James says (3:16) For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

à This is God’s way of making his people accountable to all of his Law, and stealing and not being honest is so antithetical to the ethics of the believer, that the Lord is reminding Zechariah that severe judgment is in store for those who do not live according to His revealed will.

à God’s judgment will come to the house of sinners to consume them.  So build God’s house, worship God in His house, and while there, remember how we are supposed to live in our own houses!  With integrity and love of God’s law!


à OK, some flying Jewish repetition… curses on a flying scroll and now a flying basket of wickedness!

5 Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said to me, "Lift your eyes and see what this is that is going out." 6 And I said, "What is it?" He said, "This is the basket that is going out." And he said, "This is their iniquity in all the land." 7 And behold, the leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the basket! 8 And he said, "This is Wickedness." And he thrust her back into the basket, and thrust down the leaden weight on its opening. 9 Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, two women coming forward! The wind was in their wings. They had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven. 10 Then I said to the angel who talked with me, "Where are they taking the basket?" 11 He said to me, "To the land of Shinar, to build a house for it. And when this is prepared, they will set the basket down there on its base." 

à This basket is filled with a symbol of wickedness, a woman!  But two other women come forward to remove the wickedness, and a heavy lid keeps the wickedness in a basket so it can be carried out of the land of Israel – actually back to Babylon.  The tower of Babel was built on the plain of Shinar.

à Again, in apocalyptic literature, God would never judge Israel, Babylon is the city reserved for judgment.  Israel’s sins will be removed and brought to Babylon so the New Jerusalem will be the Holy dwelling of God and His saints.


6:1 Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, four chariots came out from between two mountains. And the mountains were mountains of bronze. 2 The first chariot had red horses, the second black horses, 3 the third white horses, and the fourth chariot dappled horses- all of them strong. 4 Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, "What are these, my lord?" 5 And the angel answered and said to me, "These are going out to the four winds of heaven, after presenting themselves before the LORD of all the earth. 6 The chariot with the black horses goes toward the north country, the white ones go after them, and the dappled ones go toward the south country." 7 When the strong horses came out, they were impatient to go and patrol the earth. And he said, "Go, patrol the earth." So they patrolled the earth. 8 Then he cried to me, "Behold, those who go toward the north country have set my Spirit at rest in the north country."

à so what do these horses have in common with the horses of chapter one?  They’re horses of different colors, They patrol the earth, they have found the land at peace or rest, and they talk.  What is different about them.  The last horses have chariots, they are strong, and they are impatient.

à But the time is not right yet.  They must wait a little longer.  The temple must be rebuilt first, the walls of Jerusalem will follow, the powers of the north, now Persia, is providing a period of peace so that the remnant can complete their project – not simply the rebuilding of a temple – but also the project of living like a holy people.  To take an honest evaluation of their spiritual condition before the Lord so that they might live righteously and in harmony with one another.


The NT has similar language:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us,

1 cor 11:29 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 30 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 31 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 32 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 33 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Read More