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The Book of Zechariah
Apocalyptic visions: of riders under myrtle trees; of four horns; of four smiths
The first six chapters are Messianic and millennial. In this section is the record of ten visions, and Zechariah was given all ten of those visions in one night. The first verse serves as an introduction to the Book of Zechariah.
Introduction And Message of Warning, Zechariah 1:1-6
Zechariah 1:1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, (KJV)
In the eighth month . . . the month Marchesvan (Cheshvan), also called the month "Bul" (1 Ki.6:38). This month is part of our October, and part of November. This was just two months after the first prophecy of Haggai (Hag.1:1), and just a few days after his second one (Hag.2:1). The prophecies of these two prophets were almost together. I wonder if this being so, that the Lord was very unhappy about the situation of His House "lie waste" (Hag.1:4).
Jewish calendar: http://www.jewfaq.org/calendar.htm
In the second year of Darius . . . Darius, the king of Persia's second year of reign. This was not Darius the Mede (Dan.5:31), but Darius king of Persia from 521 to 485 B.C.; son of Hystaspes.
Came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah . . . meaning that the prophecy (the words) came from the Lord, they were NOT Zechariah's words. The "Word of the Lord" came to the prophets in several ways: in a dream, in a vision, by the assistance or insistence of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4; 8:29,39; 16:7), or an angel (Gen.22:11; Acts 7:53; 8:26).
Prophets received God’s message through words, visions, dreams, parables and angels: (Num.12:6-8; Deut.18:18; 1 Kings 13:20; 2 Chron.26:5; Jer.1:9; Hos.12:10; Am.3:7-8; Zec.1:9,13-14; 7:12; Rev.1:1; 10:9-11; 22:6).
The Word of the Lord: (Hag.1:1,3; 2:10,20; Zec.1:1,7; 4:6,8; 7:1,4,8; 8:1;18; 9:1)
The son of Iddo the prophet . . . Zechariah is called "the son of Iddo" (Ezra 5:1; 6:14), but he really is Iddo's grandson (Zec.1:1,7). "The son of Iddo the prophet" . . . Iddo is called a "seer" in the Bible (2 Chron. 9:29; 12:15); and also a "prophet" (2 Chron.13:22), although I can find nothing else. Iddo was also a "priest" (Neh.12:4,16). Let us be concerned that the "prophet" here is Zechariah; even though his grandfather Iddo might have been a prophet too.
Saying; as follows:
Zechariah 1:2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. (KJV)
The Lord hath been sore displeased with your fathers . . . meaning those who lived before and at the time of the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and which was clearly shown by the Lord allowing their captivity. Israel revolted time and time again against the Lord! Their punishment was 70 years being captive, because of their sin. BUT . . . do NOT be too swift to judge them my friend. We ALL are sinners (Rom.3:10,23), and you shall be judged as YOU judge others (Mat.7:2-3; Rom.2:1; 14:13).
Israel provoked the Lord to great displeasure against them, but we must consider how WE are living, because we ALL shall stand before the Great Judge one day! BEWARE!!!
See our articles: http://www.judgmentcoming.org/j_c_israel_captivity.htm
Zechariah 1:3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
Therefore say thou unto them . . . this really is an order, a command from the Lord to Zechariah. The Lord tells the prophet to tell the people "What I am saying is from God! You had better pay attention." That goes for us too!
Thus saith the Lord of hosts . . . the Lord is master of ALL the hosts; above and below, of angels and men, of Heaven and Earth, and ALL that is in them! (Ex.20:11; Ps.50:10-11; Acts 4:24). I believe this was said so that the people would give greater regard to the prophet's words. "Thus saith the LORD" . . . is repeated 18 times in this Book. When anything is repeated in the Bible, it is IMPORTANT! The "Words" came from God!
Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts . . . a command, from God! They must acknowledge their former sins, and repent! "Turn ye unto me" also means a reformation for the future, by attending to the worship and service of God, and seeking to glorify Him. This is a motive and encouragement to do as the Lord desires.
And I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts . . . what a tremendous Promise this is! He would dwell among them, manifest Himself unto them and protect them. Three times, "the Lord of hosts", is used in this one verse. Could it be with respect to the three Persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? For it is these Who manifest themselves unto us, in different ways, and take up their residence with those who love the Lord, and keep His commandments (Jn.14:20-21).
The Lord had hidden His Face to them (Mic.3:4) because of their sin. He would NOT hear them (1 Sam.8:18; Ps.66:18; Isa.1:15; 30:9; 59:2; Jer.7:16; 11:11,14; 13:17; 22:21; Am.5:23; Zec.7:13). They will call, but He will not answer (2 Sam.22:42; Ps.18:41). They shall seek Him, but will not find Him (Pro.1:28). What a dreadful situation!
Zechariah 1:4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Be ye not as your fathers . . . another command, and a warning! These were NOT to be disobedient as those who lived before the captivity, and misused the prophets and messengers of the Lord (Heb.11:37-38). They despised His Word, and fell into gross idolatry. These were evil examples of parents and ancestors were NOT to be followed.
See the following for how some prophets died: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lives_of_the_Prophets
Unto whom the former prophets have cried . . . such prophets as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others cried out to the people in vain. What about us? The Lord repeatedly tries to reach people. But when they keep turning away from His goodness and love, He will eventually lower the boom. His Spirit will NOT always strive with them (Gen.6:3).
Saying, thus saith the Lord of hosts, Turn now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings . . . by their "evil ways" may be meant their idolatrous worship; and by their "evil doings" their immoralities; or both. They were warned repeatedly by former prophets, but they did NOT change. Turn ye from your evil ways: (2 Ki.17:13; Isa.1:16-20; 55:7; Jer.18:11; 25:5; 26:3).
But they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the Lord . . . God spoke by His prophets, who were sent by Him, and came and spoke in His Name; but the people did NOT hear them . . . so they were NOT hearing Him (Almighty God) Who sent them, and Whom they represented.
Zechariah 1:5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? (KJV)
Your fathers, where are they?. . . a question that they could answer! They perished by the sword of the Chaldeans, or they died in captivity. "Your fathers, where are they?" . . . they are buried in Babylon, NOT where an Israelite would want to be buried, because he wants to be buried in his own land. Jacob died in the land of Egypt, but made Joseph take an oath that he would not bury him there in Egypt (Gen.49:29-30; 50:5,12-13).
And the prophets, do they live for ever? . . . neither the false prophets, such as Hananiah (Jer.28:17), or the true prophets of the Lord live forever. The voices of the former prophets were no longer speaking. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea, Joel and Amos are all dead; their voices silent. "And the prophets, do they live for ever?" . . . the answer is, yes, they died; BUT their words will live on for ever, and have accomplished what was desired by the Lord. Questions 1-3. Next one, Zec.1:9.
Zechariah 1:6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us. (KJV)
But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets . . . meaning the predictions that the Lord ordered His prophets to declare in His Name . . . that their fathers would die by the sword, famine, pestilence or be carried captive, which He threatened them with. God CANNOT lie (Tit.1:2).
Did they not take hold of your fathers? . . . meaning the judgment that the Lord promised for the sins that overtook them. The predictions that the Lord said would happen, happened! Not one thing failed, not one thing fell short of being fulfilled; ALL that was decided by the Lord, was done (Isa.14:24).
And they returned and said, Like as the Lord of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us . . . they were finally willing to admit that the judgment that had come to them was just and right on the part of God, because He had warned them, but they did NOT listen to Him.
The next section deals with the visions which Zechariah had.
#1. Vision of the Horses
Zechariah 1:7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, (KJV)
Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat . . . Sebat is also called Sabat and Shebat (1 Mac.16:14). It is part of our January, and part of February. This is the only time that the name of this month is mentioned by any of the prophets.
Five months before this vision to Zechariah, the Lord had appeared to Haggai (Hag.1:15) and had given him a message to challenge the remnant to resume the rebuilding of the Temple. And the work of building the temple was begun. Then two months before Zechariah's vision, the prophet Haggai had delivered a very sharp message to the priests because they were "unclean" and were still expecting God to bless them (Hag.2:10,18,20). Haggai's message had also been directed to the people because of their delay in building and their hesitation in moving forward with it. It was at this time that Haggai also had told them about the coming destruction of Gentile world power before God would establish His Kingdom here upon the earth. He had told them that the One who would rule would be the Messiah and that He was coming from the line of Zerubbabel (Lk.3:27), who was the civil ruler of Jerusalem at this time and was in the royal line of King David.
It was during this time, while the temple was being rebuilt, that Zechariah was given the ten visions by the Lord.
Zechariah 1:8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. (KJV)
I saw by night . . . meaning the night of the twenty fourth of Sebat; this may also mean the dimness of the vision, as it was in some respects to the prophet. I think Zechariah was wide awake. By night: (Gen.20:3; 1 Ki.3:5; Job 4:13; Dan.2:19; Dan.7:2,13).
And behold . . . meaning how amazing and wonderful it was. Behold: (Zec.13:7; Josh.5:13; Ps.45:3-4; Isa.63:1-4).
A man riding upon a red horse . . . NOT just any "Man." Who is this Man? He is the Lord Jesus Christ before His incarnation. How do I know that? Because He is identified as the "Angel of the Lord" in verses 11 and 12. In the Old Testament the Angel of the Lord is designated as God. The Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament. He is Almighty God Himself, the Messiah.
The man is riding "a red horse." What is the importance of the color red? Red speaks of blood and bloodshed; in the book of Revelation it speaks of bloodshed in war. But for this One who is riding the red horse, it speaks of His own Blood that was to be shed. He is watching over this Earth because He would die and shed His precious Blood for the sinners on this Earth. "Red horse" (Rev.6:4). In the Book of Revelation, the "rider" on the "red horse" was the Antichrist, who would be responsible for much bloodshed. He came out riding a "white horse" (Rev.6:2), as to say "I bring peace," but it is not long he rides the "red horse" (Dan.9:27). The Lord Jesus Christ and the horrid, satanic Antichrist, both ride red and white horses. The Lord Jesus: (Zec.1:8; Rev.19:11), and the Antichrist: (Rev.6:2; 6:4).
And he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom . . . "the myrtle trees that were in the bottom" means the trees were down in a valley. The myrtle trees in the valley may represent Israel, for she was certainly down low at this time.
And behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white . . . it does not say that there were riders on the horses, but I feel that there were riders, and they are angels under Christ's command. Doesn't it seem possible that it could be their business to watch over this Earth and report to Him? Horses: (Zec.6:6-7; Rev.6:1-8)
Zechariah 1:9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. (KJV)
Then said I, O my Lord . . . the prophet Zechariah is speaking to the angel that showed him this vision. This is an ordinary "angel," as the next verse makes it clear.
What are these? . . . Zechariah wants to know: "What is the meaning of this vision?" He especially wants to know about the horses, red, speckled, and white, and those upon them (Rev.7:13). What are these: (Zec.1:19; 4:4,11; 6:4; 7:16; 8:15; Rev.7:13-14). Question 4. Next one, Zec.1:12.
And the angel that talked with me . . . as I said, this is NOT the Angel of the Lord (Christ Jesus), the Man among the myrtle trees. This was an ordinary angel, one of the ministering spirits (Rev.17:1). The angel: (Zec.2:3; 4:5; 5:5; 6:5; Gen.31:11; Dan.8:16; 9:22-23; 10:11-14; Rev.17:1-7; 19:9-10; 22:8-16).
Said unto me, I will show thee what these be . . . the angel tells him that he will interpret the vision.
Zechariah 1:10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. (KJV)
And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said . . . the angel did NOT have to tell about the vision, because "the Man that stood among the myrtle trees," Who was much more capable of it, would do the prophet this great honor.
These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth . . . the Lord told the prophet that they who "walk to and fro through the earth" are ministering spirits sent forth by God to keep watch throughout the Earth; do no mischief, as Satan does; but to do good to kingdoms, nations, and men in general, and to the heirs of salvation in particular; for which they are commissioned and empowered of God (Heb.1:14).
Zechariah sees the pre-incarnated Christ, watching over this world. Satan is called "the prince of this world" (Jn.12:31; Eph.2:2), meaning this world system. All immorality of this world today is under Satan's control, BUT God has NOT given up this Earth to Satan. The Lord Jesus Christ keeps a sharp watch over His own. Here in Zechariah's vision, it is the nation of Israel in particular over which Christ is watching. What a comfort it is to know that the God of the Universe is watching over His own. What a message this vision has for us. Zechariah will give many messages of comfort, and this is certainly one of them.
Zechariah 1:11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. (KJV)
And they answered the Angel of the Lord, that stood among the myrtle trees, and said . . . the ministering angels, symbolized by the red horses, speckled, and white, replied to what the Angel of the Lord had said about them; or rather agreeing with and confirming His account of them.
We have walked to and fro through the earth . . . the angels did as they were told. They obeyed, as we all should do! Angels keeping watch: (Ps.91:11; Dan.3:28; 4:13; 6:22; Mat.4:11; Acts 5:19; 27:23; Heb.1:14).
And, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest . . . at that time, it was free from wars, as it was during the reign of Darius; although the Jews had many enemies, giving them trouble, and hindering the rebuilding of the temple.
Zechariah 1:12 Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? (KJV)
Then the Angel of the Lord answered and said . . . the angels were the ones among the myrtle trees in the bottom (vs.8).
O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Judah . . . which were fallen to ruin, and had lain in waste for many years. These words express the intercession of Christ on behalf of the Jews, His people (Jn.1:11), both with respect to their temporal and spiritual good.
Against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years . . . the 70 year time of the Babylon captivity, was a token of the God's great displeasure with them; but to be considered, not from Jeconiah's captivity, to the deliverance from it by Cyrus, as it is considered (Jer.25:1; Dan.9:2), but from the taking of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the temple under Zedekiah, to the rebuilding of the temple under Darius Hystaspis, in whose second year Zechariah now prophesied (Zec.1:7). Question 5. Next one, Zec.1:19.
Zechariah 1:13 And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. (KJV)
And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me . . . (Zec.1:9) what was the effect of Christ's intercession for the Jews, was communicated to a ministering angel, and by him to the Prophet Zechariah.
With good words, and comfortable words . . . such as would be for the good and comfort of God's people (Isa.40:1).
Zechariah 1:14 So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. (KJV)
So the angel that communed with me . . . this angel having an order from the Angel of the Lord, or the Lord of hosts, Christ Jesus.
Said unto me, Cry thou . . . proclaim, publish, speak out in the hearing of the people, for their comfort and encouragement.
Saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I am jealous for Jerusalem, and for Zion, with a great jealousy . . . which is expressive of His loving affection for His church and His people, His zeal for their good, and His righteous anger at their enemies, and of the vengeance He would execute upon them. Divine jealousy: (Ex.20:5; 22:20; 23:13; 34:14; Lev.26:1; Num.25:11; Deut.4:24; 5:9; 6:15; 29:20; 32:21; Josh.24:19; 1 Ki.14:22; Ps.78:58; 79:5; Isa.42:8; 48:11; Eze.8:3; 16:42; 23:25; 36:5; 38:19; 39:25; Hos.13:4; Nah.1:2; Zep.1:18; 3:8; Zec.8:2).
Zechariah 1:15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. (KJV)
And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease . . . God's chastisement (Heb.12:5-8; Rev.3:19) was intended for a brief period, but the nations of the world wanted Israel annihilated. It seems that it has always been so with the Jewish people, and it is NOT about to stop; NOT until the Lord Jesus comes back and puts an end to it. Zechariah 12:2-3 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (KJV)
For I was but a little displeased . . . with His people the Jews (Jn.1:11), for their disobedience, ingratitude, idolatry and immorality. He showed His displeasure by carrying them into captivity (Isa.54:8). The Lord was "a little displeased" with His own people, in comparison with the great anger He felt against the heathen (Ps.137:1-9).
And they helped forward the affliction . . . they, the heathen, Babylonians, helped forward; attempted to destroy whom the Lord would just correct (Isa.10:1-34; 14:1-32). The heathens added to their affliction by their oppression of them, more than they should have done, and more than was agreeable to the will of God and right in His sight. Babylon insulted the Jews in their misery, then rejoiced over them. They abounded in bringing evil upon the Jews; multiplying their afflictions and distresses.
Zechariah 1:16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. (KJV)
Therefore thus saith the Lord, I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies . . . having returned the people of the Jews from their captivity to Jerusalem, in which he had shown abundant mercy to them; mercies, tender, abundant and promised mercies with which they shall be comforted.
I will dwell: (Zec.2:10-11; 8:3; Isa.12:1; 54:8-10; Jer.31:22-25; 33:10-12; Eze.37:24-28; 39:25-29; 48:35).
Rich in mercy: (Ex.33:19; 34:6-7; Neh.9:17; Ps.51:1; 86:5,15; 103:8-11; 145:8-9; Isa.55:6-8; Dan.9:9; Mic.7:18-20; Lk.1:78-79; Rom.2:4; 5:20-21; 9:23; 10:12-13; Eph.1:7; 2:4,7; 3:8; 4:2; 1 Tim.1:14; 1 Pet.1:3).
My house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts . . . meaning the Temple where He dwelt and was worshipped, would be built in Jerusalem. "Shall be built in it" . . . shall be finished, with all the barriers and hindrances being removed, and the glory the Lord promised (Hag.2:9) would take place!
The foundation had been laid two months before this prophecy was delivered (Hag.2:18) and the rest would be raised up and finished no matter the opposition of the enemy, and the discouragement of the people. My house: (Zec.4:9; Ezra 6:14-15; Isa.44:26-28; Hag.1:14).
And a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem . . . a "line," the builder's measuring line, shall be stretched out, to mark out walls, gates, palaces, streets, and houses in Jerusalem, that they may be built again in beauty and strength, with skill and art; and shall be once more the glory of the earth, and joy of Israel. It seems that the meaning is . . . that not only the temple should be built, but also the city, with great exactness and symmetry (Zec.2:1-2). A line: (Zec.2:1-2; Job 38:5; Isa.34:11; Jer.31:39-40; Eze.40-42; 45:6; 47:3; 48:15-17,30-35; Rev.11:1-2; 21:15-17).
Israel had just returned from the 70 year captivity, and God is turning to His people again, turning to those who have returned to Him. What a wonderful God we have! Any time we return to God, He again turns to us. We all go astray! We all turn our backs on God! And when we do this, there is a void between us and God. He NEVER moves! Any time you feel this void, it is YOU who has moved, NOT God! And when you turn back to God, He is there with open arms!
All people, all nations of the Earth must understand that there will NEVER be peace on Earth until there is peace in Jerusalem. That is the key to peace on this Earth. Modern Israel has NOT returned to God, even though there is a great building boom over there today. They have returned back to the land and have begun rebuilding the cities, and Zionism is very much a reality, BUT they are actually still scattered throughout the world in disbelief. They still suffer persecution. The peace of Jerusalem is the key to world peace. If you do not believe this, just check out past history. Jerusalem is vital in the prophecies of the future! Psalms 132:13-14 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. 14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. (KJV) . . . Even though the judgment of God is upon Jerusalem even in this day, God still loves it and His people (Ex.19:5; Deut.14:2; 26:18; Ps.135:4; Tit.2:14; 1 Pet.2:9).
Zechariah 1:17 Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. (KJV)
Cry yet, saying . . . meaning "prophesy again," declare it openly before all.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts, My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad . . . or, my cities shall flow with good things; with all temporal prosperity and happiness; which was fulfilled in the times of Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, and the Maccabees; and especially in the times of the Messiah, when spiritually, they were filled with good, because He IS Goodness itself. ALL the blessings of grace are in Him! ALL the good news and glad tidings of the everlasting Gospel was preached by Him and His apostles. "My cities" . . . Jerusalem and the cities of Judah are the Lord's. He will build, beautify, enrich, fortify, defend and enlarge them.
And the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem . . . for His habitation, where He shall dwell! Building again the city of Jerusalem and Temple in it. Although the temple was finished in the sixth year of Darius (Ezra 6:15), the rebuilding of Jerusalem was not until 70 years later, when Nehemiah was sent to rebuild it (Neh.2:1); for Darius reigned 36 years; Xerxes, who succeeded him, reigned 20 years; and in the twentieth of Artaxerxes the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt by Nehemiah. My cities: (Neh.11:3,20; Ps.69:35; Isa.44:26; 61:4-6; Jer.31:23-24; 32:43-44; 33:13; Eze.36:10-11,33-35; Am.9:14; Ob.1:20). Jerusalem chosen: (Zec.2:12; 3:2; 2 Chron.6:6; Ps.132:13-14; Isa.14:1; 41:8-9).
Zechariah 1:18 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. (KJV)
Then I lifted up mine eyes . . . to see another vision. Lifted up mine eyes: (Gen.31:10; Josh.5:13; Eze.8:5; Dan.4:34; 8:3; 10:5; Zec.1:18; 2:1; 5:1,9; 6:1).
And saw, and behold four horns . . . "saw" clearly and distinctly. "Behold four horns" symbols of the Jew's enemies. "Horns" is often used as a symbol of strength, fierceness, power and pride.
Consider: iron ones, such as Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made to push the Syrians with (1 Ki.22:11), or the horns of beasts, as the horns of unicorns, to which the horns of Joseph are compared (Deut.33:17), and mean kingdoms or kings, very powerful and mighty, and ten horns (Dan.7:24). Horns: (Dan.7:7-24; 8:3-9,20. Am.6:13; Mic.4:13; Hab.3:4; Zec.1:18-21; Rev.5:6; 12:3; 13:1,11-12; 17:3-16).
Zechariah 1:19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. (KJV)
And I said unto the angel that talked with me . . . (Zec.1:9-10). The prophet wants information from the Angel, from Christ, who knows all things! Christ Jesus is all-knowing (omniscient). Jesus' Omniscience: (Eze.11:5; Mat.12:25; 22:18; 27:18; Mk.2:8; 5:30; 11:2; Luke 5:4-6; 8:46; 19:30; 22:10; John 6:6; 13:3; 16:30; 19:28; 21:17; Acts 1:24; Rev.3:1,8).
What be these . . . the prophet wants to know what the horns mean; and what or whom do they represent? What is the meaning of these horns, that I see, and know to be horns, and four in number? Question 6. Next one, Zec.1:21.
And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem . . . the horns are powers and kingdoms, which have from all sides pushed in, broken and sorely bruised and destroyed the Jews. Who are they? The four Gentile powers that scattered Israel are: Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome (Dan.2 &7).
1st Beast (7:4) . . . Babylonian Empire . . . 606–539 B.C.
2nd Beast (7:5) . . . Medo-Persian Empire . . . 539–331 B.C.
3rd Beast (7:6) . . . Grecian Empire . . . 331–169 B.C.
4th Beast (7:7) . . . Roman Empire . . . 169 B.C.–476 A.D.
What is interesting is, in the next vision God makes it very clear that these "four horns" shall be dealt with.
I think the vision of the four horns is one vision, and the vision of the four carpenters is another vision, but many commentators put the two together and consider them one vision. I cannot see it that way.
The four horns (Gentile rulers) that Zechariah sees are the powers that scattered Jerusalem and Judah, both the northern and the southern kingdoms.
Zechariah 1:20 And the LORD shewed me four carpenters. (KJV)
And the Lord showed me four carpenters . . . to saw and cut in pieces the four horns. Four Carpenters . . . the idea here is that in the restoration of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem, under the Messiah, the powers that scattered them will be defeated by the carpenters, and full restoration will be accomplished. They shall undo all the evil that the four horns of the Gentiles have done. These "carpenters" will "fray," terrify; make afraid; discomfit; drive away the Gentile horns . . . the world powers who scattered Israel (Zec.1:21).
Zechariah 1:21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it. (KJV)
Then said I, What come these to do? . . . Zechariah asks: what did these four carpenters (artificers or workmen), come to do? (1Ki 7:13-50; Isa.44:12-13). Question 7. Next one, Zec.2:2.
And he spake, saying . . . meaning the Angel that talked with him, and interpreted the visions for him. The Lord Jesus Christ informed the prophet.
These are the horns which have scattered Judah . . . the carpenters were NOT the horns. The "horns" that scattered Judah (Zec.1:19) are distinct from, and opposite to, the carpenters. The "horns" destroyed Judah, and the "carpenters" destroyed the "horns."
So that no man did lift up his head . . . so depressed were they with a heavy weight of oppression, sorrow and misery (Job 10:15). They had to bow, stoop and hang their heads in shame. None had either the strength or courage to lift up their head, thus these proud horns cruelly destroyed God's people.
But these are come to fray them . . . break, pound and reduce them to powder. These carpenters are come to bring terror to the horns, to put dreadful fear into those kings and kingdoms.
To cast out the horns of the Gentiles . . . to destroy their kingdoms, and take away their power from them.
Which lifted up their horns over the land of Judah to scatter it . . . the "horns" had raised their power, their arms and strength against the land of Judah, God's people, to scatter it, and drive them out of God's inheritance (Zec.1:19).
Who are the four carpenters (smiths)? There have been many guesses. The carpenters, smiths or artisans are workmen which build up something. Since the four horns are symbolic of four successive world empires spanning "...the times of the Gentiles..." (Luke 21:24), the four smiths must also represent four successive powers used by God to terrify and to cast down the enemies of God's people Israel. Some have suggested that these "four" are the 4 judgments of God (Eze.14:21; Rev.6:1-8).So many guesses, some of them good ones. One day when we are in Heaven, sitting at Jesus' Feet, as He teaches us, we will get RIGHT answers.
Following is a quote by Dr. Unger from Unger's Bible Commentary: Zechariah (p. 40):
In line with Daniel's great prophecies concerning "the times of the Gentiles" (Dan. 2:31-45; Dan. 7:2-13) three of the horns in turn and under the punitive hand of God become smiths, while the fourth and last horn is cast down by the world-wide kingdom set up by the returning Christ, coming to dash to pieces His enemies who are at the same time His peoples' enemies (Ps. 2:1-12). Thus the first horn (Babylon) is cast down by Medo-Persia, the second horn. The second horn (Medo-Persia), accordingly, in turn becomes the first smith. The second horn (Medo-Persia) is cast down by the third horn, and thus becomes the second smith. The third horn (Macedonian Greece), is in turn cast down by the fourth horn (Rome), which thus becomes the third smith. The fourth horn (Rome), the most dreadful of all, does not become a smith but in its revived ten-kingdom form of the last days is destroyed by the fourth smith, the millennial kingdom set up by the returning "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16).
If you study the history of Rome, you will see that Rome was NOT destroyed by an outside power. In fact, according to prophecy, the Roman Empire will come back together again. It never did die, it simply fell apart because of internal corruption . . . and here I must say, this may well happen to the United States! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire
Steps Downward to Rome's Fall
There are three Biblical steps that take place the downfall of any nation: #1. religious apostasy; #2. immorality, and #3. political anarchy. Rome is the classic example.
The historian Gibbon gives five reasons for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire: #1. undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, #2. higher and higher taxes, the spending of public money for free bread and circuses for the populace. #3. The mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more exciting, more brutal, more immoral. #4. The building of great armaments when the great enemy is within . . . the decay of individual responsibility. And #5. the decay of religion, fading into mere form, losing touch with life, losing power to guide the people. These were the downward steps that Rome took, Greece took, and which all the great nations of the past have taken.
If God should call America into court today and specify His charges against us, where would He begin?
Political Anarchy: Are we guilty? Today in America we have great political chaos and disorder. We are in tremendous danger as a nation.
Moral Awfulness, Immorality! Are we guilty? It is quite clear that there is a moral breakdown in America that is unmatched in our history. Americans have spent 65 billion dollars on alcohol in one year. 60% of young people under age 25 have tried some illegal drug. Eight billion dollars a year are spent on pornography. Homosexuals have banded together to form one of the most powerful, intimidating forces in politics. One and a half million babies are aborted every year in this country.
Religious Apostasy: Are we guilty? This is where our Lord gets furious! He really came down hard on the Pharisees (Mat.23), who supposedly were the fundamentalists of their day. They represented the best in religion. But their hearts were far from God (Mat.15:9; Mk.7:6; Rom.2:3-6), for they crucified Him.
There is great spiritual apostasy in this land of ours! Every TRUE Christian is aware that liberalism and humanism have taken over most of the great denominations of America today. The vast majority of "Christians" today are hypocrites, compromising what they do and how they live in this world.
There is one who shall soon come, the Antichrist, who will restore the Roman Empire. He will be aa evil world dictator, under the control of Satan. Who is going to put him down? Christ will put him down when He returns to the Earth. Therefore, I think that Christ is represented by the fourth carpenter or smith. He is the One who will put down the Roman Empire when He comes at the end of the Great Tribulation period. The Antichrist: (Dan.7:8,11,20,25; 8:24-25; 9:26-27; 11:36-39; 2 Thes.2:3-12; 1 John 2:18; Rev.11:7-8; 12:12,17; chapter 13; 14:11; 15:2; 17:3; 19:19-20; 20:10)
When the Lord Jesus came to Earth the first time, He was called: "the Carpenter." He is coming again someday, again as a Carpenter to put down this world dictator and establish His Kingdom here upon this Earth with Jerusalem as its center. Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. (KJV) Also Mat.13:55.
I do hope and pray that you see how important it is to study the entire Word of God, because "no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Pet.1:20-21) . . . meaning do NOT take one verse out of context and think you have it all down pat. You do NOT! One verse will NOT interpret itself. It must be fitted into God's magnificent program that reaches far on out into eternity. And remember, the Bible is its own best commentary. When I write, I take great pains to include other Scriptures that will help you better understand the verse being discussed.
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