Zechariah 4 | The Light of God’s People

Zechariah 4 | The Light of God’s People

1Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. 2He asked me, “What do you see?”
I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. 3Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”

  • The lampstand as was in the temple, representing how God’s people were meant to be a ‘light unto the nations’
  • Revelation describes the seven churches as seven lampstands, people who were meant to emit God’s light and truth to the world (Revelation 1:20).

4I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”
5He answered, “Do you not know what these are?”
“No, my lord,” I replied.
6So 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 Almighty.

  • God is going to restore God’s people as a light and beacon in the world, as a light to the nations that is exalted and honoured by God. But how is God going to do this, especially as His people have rejected him and are now in exile. How is God going to reinstate his people to once more to be a light to the nations?
  • ‘Not by might, not by power but by my spirit’ – God’s kingdom will not be one of flesh and blood, might and power but of spirit. The Messiah did not come with might and power but came and left his spirit to dwell in his followers
  • This is a change from how God’s people had previously conquered by might and power

7“What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’ ”

  • The mountain could initially represent the resistance to the building of the temple – as it would become level ground before Zerubbabel who would be involved in the rebuilding of the temple
  • The bigger picture of the mountain is the resistance of evil against God’s people and his church. “On this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”
  • Just as Zerubbabel would lay the capstone for the temple, God is going to be reveal his capstone for all of humanity and his eternal Kingdom, and it/he will be praised when revealed

8Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.

  • Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah at the time, alongside Joshua the high priest (Haggai 1:1). The rebuilding of the physical temple was a sign and symbol of a greater one to be built through Jesus Christ.

10“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the plumbline in the hand of Zerubbabel?”

  • Small beginnings – just as God’s people would slowly start to reform after the exile and build back into a society of their own, so God’s Kingdom would start small.
  • ‘The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, one of the smallest seeds but grows to be a big plant’
  • So God’s people will rejoice when the building starts, when they see the plumbline in the hand of their leader – the heavens and earth will rejoice when God’s kingdom starts
  • God is searching throughout the world for hearts that will commit themselves to Him
  • 2 Chronicles 16:9 “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him”

11Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?” 12Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?”
13He replied, “Do you not know what these are?”
“No, my lord,” I said.
14So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.”

  • ‘Two who are anointed’ would refer to the offices of Priest and King – or the areas of priesthood and governance
  • In the immediate context they could refer to Joshua (the High Priest, who we have already met in Ch 3) and Zerubbabel (governor). Haggai describes these two leading God’s people in the rebuilding of the temple
  • But in the larger context we see that these two anointed roles provide an everlasting supply of oil to the lamp, therefore this can only be Christ. Christ fulfils both roles of High Priest and Saviour King, and through his priestly and kingly role he will enable God’s people to be a light to the world once and forevermore

Summary

God always intended his people to be a light and example to the nations, for what he was doing with his people was an example of what he would do with humanity. In their sin and rebellion, the people of Israel lost that light, but God promises to restore and establish it forever, supplying the oil himself.