Zechariah 2 – preached on 31 Jul 2011
In the first sermon I preached on Zechariah, I provided a brief introduction to old testament prophesies.
I pointed out 3 passages in the new testament that laid the foundation of how we should interpret old testament prophesies.
And these 3 passages were; 1 pet 10:10-12, Gal 4:24-25, Heb 12:22.
These passages tell us that the Prophets in the old testament were writing about Christ.
They were writing about Christians, the Church and about our salvation.
In fact, our Lord Jesus Himself had this to say in John 5:46 –
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.”
Let me tell you will not be able to find Jesus’ name mentioned at all in the first 5 books of the bible, which were written by Moses.
Yet Jesus said that Moses wrote about Him.
So obviously Jesus was referring to the fact that there were types and symbols which pointed to Him.
And I trust we have seen these during our fellowship bible studies on the book of Exodus.
Hence, when you read about physical descriptions pertaining to Jerusalem in the old testament, you must think about the spiritual representation it bears for the Christian Church.
This morning, our meditation on Zechariah 2 shall be divided in 3 parts as follows:
Part 1: verses 1-5, which I have entitled “the glory of the new Jerusalem”
Part 2: verses 6-9, which I have labelled as “God’s people are the “apple of His eye””.
Part 3: verses 10-13, which I have labelled as “The Lord is coming amongst His people”
Let’s quickly look at part 1: the Glory of the new Jerusalem
As Zechariah raised his eyes towards heaven, he saw the angel who was speaking to him.
And this angel was holding a measuring line in his hand.
Sometimes, when you move around Singapore, you may see something like this:
One person will be holding a vertical stick.
Another person will be looking through a scope called a “dumpy level” at this stick some distance away.
They are measuring the ground.
They are trying to see if there is any dangerous tilt in the surrounding area.
Or they could be trying to take readings for some construction that will take place there.
So you know that someone has plans for that place.
That place will not remain like it is for long.
So here we see the angel telling Zechariah that he was going to measure Jerusalem.
God certainly has wonderful plans for Jerusalem.
Now, the Jerusalem at that time of Zechariah was torn and tattered.
And the angel tells Zechariah in verse 4 that “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it”.
Was the angel referring to some kind of new modern township?
No walls, open concept, with lots of people, greenery and animals running around?
What kind of country would embrace that kind of concept?
No. Remember what the Apostles Peter and Paul tells us concerning old testament prophesies?
The prophets were prophesying about the Christian Church.
The Christian Church of the old testament almost existed entirely in the community of Israel.
But God is telling us in this prophesy that He has wonderful plans of how this is going to change.
When you repent of your sins and place your faith in Jesus Christ, you become part of this Jerusalem.
You may be part of one of the local Churches who submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in this world.
But you are then part of this universal Church of God, the spiritual Jerusalem.
And this spiritual Jerusalem will exist without walls.
It is measureless in that sense.
It cannot be located on a map.
You won’t know how many people there actually are in the universal Church of God.
“Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it”.
And verse 5 tells us that “the Lord will be a ring of fire all around her…”
You don’t need the physical walls that protected the city of Jerusalem as in the past.
In any case, those walls were destroyed by the Assyrians who rampaged the city.
But the spiritual Jerusalem which has no walls shall have the divine protection of the Lord Himself.
Let this be a reminder and encouragement for every one of us whatever challenges we may face together as a church.
The Lord Himself will be a ring of fire around us, protecting us.
What a privilege to be part of this spiritual Jerusalem – to have the Creator as our Protector!
No one will be able to destroy the Church because it is the LORD who watches over her.
The Lord will dwell in the midst of His people in the Church – verse 5.
The verse says “….The Lord will be the glory in her midst…”.
The glory of the Church must rest in nothing other than the presence of the LORD!
Sometimes, we may be tempted to think “Oh, how good it would be if we were housed in a nice majestic Church building – how glorious it will look…”
Perhaps the world would take notice of us a little more.
How nice if we could have a choir dressed in angelic-looking ropes.
How nice it would be if we could have some high-powered people as our Church leaders.
Then we could perhaps command a little more respect from the world.
But we are reminded in Zech 2:5 that the glory of the Church must not be on external things.
God would be the glory of the Church.
So if there is no evidence of Christ in the Church, then glory of the Church is lost.
Jesus says “..by this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”-Jn 13:35
When God’s people in His spiritual Jerusalem humbly submit to His rule, rejecting sin, united as a people of God, loving and submitting to one another & living in unity – this is the evidence of Christ in the Church.
And the LORD shall be the glory in her midst…
For God’s glory to be manifested, self must stand out of the way.
“He must increase and I decrease” – John 3:30 says John the Baptist.
Otherwise, there will be no room for God to be exalted.
This is the reason why God sometimes allows difficulties and challenges to come into our lives.
For these will make us conscious of our own folly and weakness.
If one’s life is a smooth path, there will be little opportunities for you to realise that you are no better than the person beside you when it comes to entering the kingdom of heaven.
But when you encounter bereavement, poverty, temptation, reproach and severe losses, then you appreciate God’s greatness and loving kindness.
Oh, may God be the glory in our midst just as it is said in verse 5, that He will be the glory in the midst of the Church.
Part 2: verses 6-9 – God’s people are the “apple of his eye”
When this prophesy came to Zechariah, the nation of Israel was still scattered all over.
Some have come back to Jerusalem to re-construct the temple and the city.
Others were still slaves in the surrounding nations.
But the call is made in verse 6 “Up! Flee from the land of the north”.
Verse 7 “Up Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon.”
It was the LORD who scattered them into these nations.
It is the LORD who is calling them back.
God scattered them to teach them a lesson for the sins they committed.
But God preserved them while they were scattered.
Interestingly, it was the other nations who subsequently disappeared.
Why is that the case?
Because God’s people are the “apple of his eye”.
What does this mean?
Supposing I come to you now and tap you on your shoulder.
You will probably won’t feel much about it.
But if I were to come to you and touch you in your eye, there will certainly be a reaction from you.
Supposing we were all soldiers fighting in world war 2.
And you were given a choice between losing your legs or losing your eyes.
It is quite natural that most of us will choose to lose our legs rather than our eyes.
Because we know how precious our eyes are.
And God’s people are called the “apple of His eye”.
God’s people are as precious to Him as His eyes.
And God says in verse 9 “I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants.”
God will not let our enemies overcome us.
Any apparent victory by them is but temporal.
And the apparent victory of our enemies will not happen a minute beyond what God allows.
Because His people are precious to Him.
And He will preserve them.
Sometimes, Satan may attempt to inject disunity within the Church through miscommunications.
Sometimes, he may stir discontent in our hearts because of jealousy or wrong expectations.
God, in His infinite wisdom and sovereignty may allow this to happen for a season.
But He will not allow Satan to overcome His people because they are the “apple of His eye”.
Now, as you are hearing this and you are aware that Satan is instigating something in your heart that may sow disunity in the Church, I urge you to immediately forsake those thoughts or actions.
Submit to God who dwells in the midst of His Church.
Let God be exalted and glorified.
Do not give any avenue for Satan or our sinful self to dominate.
The LORD calls back to Himself those He had scattered for His own purpose and reason.
If you have back-slided in your faith;
If you have sinned against the LORD;
If you have heard the truth but have for whatever reason delayed putting your faith in Jesus;
The call is issued to you here;
Flee from the land of the north!
Flee from then land of Babylon!
It is the LORD of Host who calls you back to Himself.
Return now, because He is coming to judge the evil whom you have been associated with.
They will be destroyed.
Do not perish together with them.
There is security only in Him who saves.
So return to Him, dear people who are “the apple of his eye”
Part 3: verses 10-13 – The Lord is coming amongst His people
We see 2 key promises here in verses 10-13.
The first promise is that Jesus will come amongst His people.
Jehovah God (the LORD) says in verse 10 “I am coming and I will dwell in your midst”.
Now, just who is it who is coming to dwell in the midst of His people?
If you cross reference this to Zech 9:9, you will read that it is the King of Jerusalem who is coming.
Zech 9:9 says He will come “lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey”.
And we know that this prophesy was fulfilled when Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem in Mark 11:1-11.
So we know that it is Jesus who is coming to dwell amongst His people.
Yet, in verse 10 Jehovah God says “I am coming and I will dwell in your midst”.
So here we see the mystery of our Triune God.
God Jehovah – the LORD, sends God the Son Jesus.
Yet God Jehovah – the LORD is going to dwell amongst His people.
God Jehovah – the LORD is not God the Son Jesus, yet they are one.
And in other passages of the scripture, we read mention of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
And we are told that “where the Father is, there Son is and likewise the Holy Spirit”.
We cannot comprehend this mystery, yet the bible tells us this is the case.
So we believe in the doctrine of our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The 3 are distinct Persons; yet the 3 are One.
We will never understand it.
But this is a glorious truth that we read in the scriptures.
We can only praise our God for He is the LORD almighty.
We must believe our God is triune because it is written in the word of God.
The second promise is found in verse 11.
“Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people”.
What happens with the coming of Jesus Christ is the dawn of a new era in history.
Jerusalem will not just be a city of Jews alone.
Jerusalem will be a spiritual city of Jews and Gentiles who are joined to God through Jesus Christ.
When you put your faith in Jesus, you become a people of God.
The Holy Spirit dwells in you.
And the Lord takes ownership of you as His people.
My friends, can you see from all these that the history of the world is orchestrated from heaven?
Can you see that everything is happening with the good of the Church in mind?
Can you see that God is in absolute control of everything that is going to happen in this world?
And God is in absolute control of everything that can or will happen to you.
Oh how comforting this is for those of us who believe in Him.
Sometimes we get all kinds of discouragements with our life here on earth.
While I believe that the discouragements are real, I want to suggest to you that most of the time this is because we are too short-sighted.
We make judgements based on what we see currently and not on the horizon of eternity.
In Luke 16, there was a rich man and there was Lazarus.
The rich man had all he wanted and he led a luxurious life.
Lazarus was a poor beggar, sick with sores.
Obviously Lazarus suffered and was probably discouraged.
On the temporal timescale, we conclude that Lazarus was a poor performer.
But on the eternal timescale, Lazarus was in heaven and the rich man was in hell.
So who was the poor performer and who was the high achiever?
You can’t measure it like that because both attainment were bestowed upon them by God.
Some of you may react to this and say “since God decides everything; there’s nothing we can do. Just let it happen”
That’s fatalism which we must absolutely reject.
Let me tell you that the true citizens of Zion sing and rejoice over their salvation rather sigh and scorn at God’s sovereignty.
The true citizens of Zion will sing with gratitude because God has called them back to Himself.
Verse 13 – “Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!”
Let us rejoice that our God had come and He will be coming again for us soon.
So let us all make haste and be prepared for the 2nd coming the Lord!
Let us sing in closing – the hymn “Glorious Things of Thee are spoken, Zion City of our God”.