Haggai; Zechariah 1–14 | Dec 5-11 | Come Follow Me Insights – powered by Happy Scribe
And I’m Tyler.
This is the Book of Mormon central. Come, follow me. Insights today, Pagai and Zechariah.
So as we jump into these two books, let’s orient very quickly on the timeline. We’re in the second year of King Darius and Babylon carried Judah captive roughly nearly 70 years before Hagee and Zechariah come along. And so we’re going to get in Hage multiple timestamps, which is it’s really helpful. You’ll notice they’re not using a Gregorian calendar. Just make sure that you understand that. So when he opens chapter one, verse one, by saying in the second year of Darius the king in the 6th month, we’re not talking June, we’re talking the 6th month of their calendar system. So I’ll just put six one in the 6th month. In the first day of the month, modern biblical scholars can go back and do the math on this and figure out that it’s roughly in what we would call today the month of August. But you’ve got the 6th month. Then you have in chapter one, verse 15, you have the 24th day of that same month. So it’s three and a half weeks later. Then you get chapter two, verse one, that opens up on the 20th day of the 7th month. And then verse ten puts you over on the 9th month, the 24th day.
So the reason I’m making a big deal of this is because there’s a lot that’s going to happen within three months and a few weeks. There’s a lot compressed into these two chapters of Hagai as he interacts with Zarubabo, who is the governor of the land, and with Joshua, who is the high priest. Different Joshua, obviously, than the successor to Moses many hundreds of years earlier. So those are kind of the main characters as this story unfolds with Haggai.
This is helpful because a lot of the prophetic writings we have don’t have the specificity of time period, and so we often don’t have the contextual historical clues for why the prophet is speaking about a particular thing. So to build on this a little further, you might remember around the year 587 is when the Babylonians took the Israelites into captivity. And around 538 the Persians conquered the Babylonians and began to release the Jesus and allowed them to return, to come back to Jerusalem. So we would call this like a return. And then Haggai is prophesying in the year 520 BC. Now it’s really important we point out what’s going on in how the world has changed for the Israelites. So for most of the Israelite history, once they got to the Holy Land and got kings, the Israelites were able to have political autonomy, they were able to have kings who fight their battles. But once they went into battle in captivity and the Persians took over around 538. Now, the area of Juda, Jerusalem, is a Persian province, and even though you have Zerubel, who is a descendant of King david. He’s essentially appointed as governor, who has to report the Persian king.
You likely have Persian troops probably not too far away from Jerusalem. And so the political autonomy that the Jews would have known before captivity is essentially gone. Now, they do have some autonomy, but now it’s within the realm of being part of the Persian Empire. This is a big change. We also should point out what Haggai is dealing with. So the people have been back for about 20 years, and Jerusalem had been destroyed. In fact, Joshua, this high priest, his grandfather had been killed by Nebuchadnezzar. His grandfather had been the high priest killed by Nebuchadnezzar when the Babylonians came to conquer Jerusalem. But the temple has been destroyed and people returning. And not only do you have to rebuild homes, you have to get the farmland reproducing, you have to rebuild institutions, and there’s just going to be rubble everywhere. That takes time to clear out. And so part of what Hagai is dealing with is two major things. He’s calling the people to not be like their unfaithful ancestors, and he’s asking them to make sure they take the time to build God’s house and not just their own.
So as we jump into chapter one, by the way, it’s helpful to look at his actual name, Haggai, or hey, guy, you’ll notice the root H-A-G.
I’m glad you brought this up. I forgot to mention it. You have a name in the Book of Mormon, Hagoff. And if you’re a Muslim, this is an important word, hodge. So the word hog or hodge in Semitic means a pilgrimage or to go forth. So you think about the Book of Mormon. Hagoth is the curious man who builds ships, and people go forth. And Haggai, it means a pilgrimage. And it’s interesting that his name means pilgrimage, and you pilgrimage to the temple. For Muslims today, one of the pillars of Islam is a good Muslim, if they have the resources in time, will do a pilgrimage to Mecca to worship God. So all these words are interconnected.
So let’s jump in. We have the groundwork laid here. Now let’s see how this book unfolds. Look at verse two. Thus speak of the Lord of hosts. So you’re going to see this phrase come up, as we’ve talked about in past lessons, where when a prophet is speaking for the Lord, they’ll often invoke this phrase, thus saith the Lord, or speaking for the Lord in some way. Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts saying this, people say the time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house shall be built. So as Taylor had mentioned, the group that has come back to Jerusalem, they’ve been there for 1820 years almost, and they’re saying the time hasn’t come yet to rebuild this temple, the house of the Lord. And now it shifts into this really profound little segment here that, quite frankly, is one of my favorite overlooked passages of all scripture. It is so profound. Look at verse four. Is it time for you, John Dye, to dwell in your sealed houses? And sealed there means framed, finished, beautifully ornated houses, right? Is it time for you to dwell in your sealed houses and this house lie waste?
You’ve been spending all of your energy on building your kingdom, on building your house, but you haven’t paid any attention to the house of the Lord. You’re looking at that rubble heap up on the top of Mount Mariah, that pile of stones and old ashes, and you’re saying, yeah, the time isn’t right. Look at what he does to them in verse five. Now therefore, thus saith the Lord of hosts. There’s the second time we’re invoking the voice of God. I’m not speaking for myself as Hagai here. He’s saying, I’m speaking for God. Consider your ways. You’ll notice those three words. Consider your ways. Look down at verse seven. Thus saith the Lord of hosts. Consider your ways. Here’s, this inclusion or this bookend phrase that he uses twice. And if you look at what’s in between those two, thus saith the Lord. Consider your ways. You see what God is inviting them to stop and ponder about. Think about this and think deeply. What are you actually doing? And what is this communicating to God? And what does it imply about you and your core character, who you are? Look at verse six. Ye have sown much, you cast out all these seeds, but you’re bringing in little.
You eat, but you have not enough. You drink, but ye are not filled with drink. Ye clothe ye, you, but there is none warm. And he that earneth wages, earnest wages, to put it into a bag with holes. The imagery here is beautiful. These people are engaged in all kinds of toil and labor. They’re building, they’re scattering seeds, they’re sewing, they’re making clothing, eating and drinking and working like crazy, and yet they’re not being fulfilled. It’s not leading to a state of contentment and peace. The wheels are spinning, but they’re not going very far, and they’re scratching their head, wondering why their ground isn’t producing and why their work isn’t prospering them. Consider your ways, saith the Lord. I think there are lessons here in verse five, six and seven for us to consider today that are just as relevant to us as they are to this group of people who are spending all that time, energy and effort on building their houses and their farms and their own infrastructure while ignoring their connection with God through the temple. A story that I’ve shared in the past, years ago when my wife and I went to the ceiling of her sister Tamra, and as she was getting married to Greg in the Bountiful Temple, in the very same ceiling room where my wife and I had been sealed a few years previously.
And I’ll never forget that moment when their sealer came in and shared some experiences about he and his wife having just returned from a trip to Israel to the Holy Land. And he looked at this group in the temple assembled here for this wedding, and you could just see the excitement in his eyes of telling some of these little stories of the Galilee and being in Jerusalem. And then he said something I’ll never forget as long as I live. He said, it is a holy thing to walk where Jesus walked, but it is a holier thing to walk where Jesus walks. Welcome to the temple, brothers and sisters. He had my attention, but that room in that temple on that day, something changed. And I realized, oh, we aren’t just going through the motions for yet another wedding. We’re in the house of the Lord, brothers and sisters. God didn’t need a temple for Himself, but these people desperately needed a temple as a connecting point for them with heaven. The idea of feeling like, what a terrible thing that I have to look at my calendar and carve out time to go to the temple or to do temple and family history work to any degree that is so, so twisted in its perspective.
God doesn’t need me to go to the temple for Him to be saved, but by me being allowed to go to the temple and taking time to not worry about framing my house and planting my fields and putting all of my energy into things that, quite frankly, won’t last forever. But if I set aside time and consecrate that time to the Lord and go to his house and walk where he walks, then I start to learn his language. I start to see his perspective on life, on love, on relationships. And it changes me so that now, when I do go back to my own labors, I’m no longer laboring to put my money into a bag with holes. I’m actually laboring for things that really matter. And I’m planting and I’m eating and drinking in ways that actually fills the soul and leaves me feeling more connected with heaven and with greater purpose for who I am and who I’m trying to become.
I love how these verses God revealed to have God to invite people to orient themselves back to Him. I don’t think God has a problem of any of us taking the time to build our own homes and our own families. But it’s all about putting first priorities first. In fact, the word I got this from my friend Greg McEwen that it is impossible to have more than one priority. The word priority means what’s prior or first. And what God is saying here is that the temple should be first. We’ve shared this before, and it’s worth repeating that the word temple means it’s the same word for template. So, as you know, templates are patterns that you can follow that give you an organizing pattern. And God is asking us to organize our lives, to prior our lives around his revealed work. And then as we prioritize our life around his work, our work is then situated properly. What’s fascinating is the Temple Mount Mount Mariah, there’s a little there’s a rock there that for the ancient Jews. They believed that was the first rock to emerge out of creation. Some ancient Jews believe that’s where the Garden of Eden was.
Jews also believed that Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac there. And what’s interesting is this one point on Mount Mariah where the temple was built over, and currently the Muslim Dome of the Rock is built over the same spot. It was an anchor to the heavens. So what you have is you have Earth, one holy spot on Earth that has an anchor up to the heavens. And as the heavens are turning, the Earth has a pivot point right at the temple. And what this symbolizes that if we have oriented ourselves to the heavens, we have connected ourselves like a ladder to heaven, our entire lives can be orbiting God’s purposes. Think about the Salt Lake City temple. If you’ve ever been to the west side of Salt Lake City Temple, there are depictions of constellations and stars. So you have a depiction of the Big Dipper, which has two stars that point right to the North Star, which in the northern hemisphere is a fixed point. And if you spend time at night, all the other stars rotate around it. So even symbolically in our temple today, we have demonstrated on the outside that we are also have this fixed point between Earth and heaven to a polar star that we are rotating around.
This symbolizing that our priorities are evolving around God. So what Haggai is doing in sharing God’s word is pivot around God, orient yourself around God. The temple is the template for life, and once the template has been put in place, everything else can be put into its proper place, its proper order and priorities can be set.
So you’ll notice as he continues on after verse five, six and seven, this consider your ways. Are you oriented appropriately with the temple being at that central point of connecting you with Heaven? Look at verse eight. Go up to the mountain and bring wood and build the house, and I will take pleasure in it and I will be glorified, saith the Lord. Ye looked for much, and lo, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why saith the Lord of hosts? Because of mine house. That is waste. And you run every man unto his own house. So he’s saying, look, you’ve gone and you’ve done all this work, but I haven’t allowed you to prosper in that because you’ve totally ignored my house. As soon as you go and spend some energy and time and effort to build my house, you’re going to find that other aspects of your life are going to now be fruitful. They’re going to be productive for you notice he tells them that he caused a drought. A dearth verse ten and eleven. And then verse twelve you get introduced to again the main characters in this story.
Then Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest with all the remnants of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord. So Zorubobul is kind of the leader in a government sort of way. Joshua, the high priest, leader of the religious aspects of their life and all the people. So notice they obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people did fear before the Lord. So they start working. This is in their 6th month and they’re going this is interesting because if.
You look at the last verse, it says in the fourth and 20th day in the 6th month and the second year of deris the king. So only a few weeks passed when they start getting to work. Now, this is high season for farming and harvest. And to take on building a building like that takes incredible labor, resources, planning and organization. And here they are in the middle of the busiest time of their lives, where you are near the end of farming and getting ready to start harvesting so you can survive the winter. And what are they doing? They’re putting in all their best efforts to build a temple. It reminds me of the early saints with Kirtland and Navu that in their poverty they dedicated their lives and their resources to build God’s temples. Even here, when they got to the they got to the west. The west is a tough place, not a lot of water. Took them a lot of time to build out the irrigation system. But they also took the time in the early saints to build temples, to orient themselves to God, to set a pattern that they could focus themselves into heavens.
By the way, you notice in Salt Lake City, the grid system for the roads are all based on where the temple is. And so even today in Salt Lake City, the city is organized around the symbolic center spot in the city. And that’s what they have done. They’ve decided, you know what, god will bless us if we take our time to serve and build the temple so we can be engaged in his template and his pattern for life.
So you’ll notice based on what Taylor has been sharing here, this idea that of all of the seasons of the year, this is one of maybe two that would be the least convenient time, the time of harvest. The other least convenient would be the time of preparing the soil and the planting in the spring. So here we are in this difficult time to be able to sacrifice your own needs in order to build up the temple. Look at verse 13. Then speak hagai the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message unto the people, saying I am with you, saith the Lord. I love that. I love that reminder from the scriptures that when you are endeavoring to do things to build up the kingdom of God, whatever that may be in your life, you can be assured that you’re not doing it alone. I am with you. Which means to me, it’s very similar to the principle of tithing. When you are willing to sacrifice or consecrate a portion of what God has given you in timing, it would be money in this context, it would be time, it would be energy, it would be other resources, building materials.
If you devote or consecrate a portion of what you have to the Lord, we’re talking about the God of the universe who holds worlds without number in his hands. He can prosper us in ways that we can never do for ourselves or for each other. And so I love this concept of I am with you, saith the Lord. And it’s a simple experiment that anyone can run. We can individually or collectively keep trying to do things that would only benefit us selfishly or for our own houses, so to speak. Or we can try this experiment of giving more of our time, more of our energy, more of our resources to the Lord and to building up of the kingdom of the Lord on the earth. And then watch what he does with us with the remaining time and resources and talents and things that we have that have been given to us by God. Watch how he multiplies the harvest and magnifies our ability to get things done because of the consecrated sacrifices we’ve made to Him. It’s really a simple experiment that anyone can run and I’m pretty confident how that experiment is going to turn out.
And you’ll notice verse 14 it says and the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubal, the son of Shia, Tiel governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua, the son of Josedec, the high Priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their gods. So there you get it again, all three Zerubal, Joshua and all the people. Their spirit has been moved by the prophet. Now, brothers and sisters, I don’t know about you, but when I watch General Conference or when I watch our prophets seers and Revelators speak to us and especially when they emphasize gathering the House of Israel on both sides of the veil through our temple and family history efforts, these messages are being shared in hope filled ways very similar to this. The Lord is with us. You’re seeing this increase of temples across the face of the earth where God is creating not just one connecting point with heaven in the Salt Lake Temple, but throughout the entire face of the earth. They’re dotting the land everywhere, giving us opportunities to go and do our work in the house of the Lord our God, and to connect with Him.
I love this unfolding restoration. As we’re seeing the Lord accelerate his work by building temples. Now, it’s our job to consider our ways, how we’re interacting with those temples. And are we taking the time and carving it out even in the busiest time? Of your year or your month or whatever calendar you may be working on to be able to say, I am going to consecrate some time to try to connect with God and do work in the house of the Lord. I think it’s a very applicable lesson to us today. Related to that, let me share a little experience that my wife and I had back in the early part of the summer this year. We went to the Huntington Beach, California Temple, and because we only had a really short window, we weren’t able to go in and do a session or perform any ordinances in that temple. But we wanted to go to the temple at least and walk around the grounds. And I’m telling you, it was amazing. As we’re walking through the gardens and the walkways around the outside of that temple, every corner you would turn, there was a new explosion of light and color and vibrant life from these gardens.
I was completely overwhelmed by the beauty of it all and the fountains and the flowing water, and I felt like I was in a paradise. And I finally turned to my wife and I said, man, the gardener for this temple deserves a serious raise. This is incredible. And then my sweet wife, she looked at me and she said, yeah, this is amazing. She said, Tyler, this is just a symbol for the real gardener, the beauty that takes place inside the building, not just these flowers and plants on the outside. She said, how often do we just kind of go through the motions without recognizing the hand of the ultimate gardener who has provided these ordinances inside of the temple that will never fade, will never die, will never decay. They will live on forever and ever, worlds without end? She said, that’s the gardener who deserves more than a raise. He deserves our praise. That was a beautiful moment for me to consider how amazing the garden experience god has provided for us in the temples. And yet how often do we approach it as if it’s just work, or as if it’s inconvenient to our time and it’s taking us away from things that we really want to be accomplishing or working on, when in reality, that’s where things get done that will never be undone.
And it’s a beautiful principle to consider next time you go to the temple to look for the hand of the gardener and what’s happening inside the temple and how he’s beautifying you as one of his tender plants that he’s raising and nurturing through those experiences.
That’s a great story, Tyler. And it takes us back to Hagi, where he’s inviting the people be involved in building the temple and maintaining worship of God so that people move in and get the work done. Chapter two opens and there’s some discouragement. This happens to all of us. We can work hard and we wonder, okay, where are all the blessings that I’m expecting? Sometimes it will happen immediately, and even for these people. At the time of Haggai, some of them had remembered what the Temple of Solomon looked like. And when they realized that the temple they built maybe didn’t look quite as grand and opulent as the one from Solomon’s days, some of them felt a bit discouraged. And so Haggai has to remind them that God’s work is an unfolding process. You can take hope that God will give your efforts. Alacrity, he will expand and amplify what you’re doing, and you can have hope that his kingdom is rolling forth. And so even though these people had jumped in to help build the temple, they still needed some ongoing encouragement that God was with them.
And keep in mind, this is only a month later. So they’ve been working on it for a month. They’ve built the foundations, they’ve started building things up. And as Taylor mentioned that comparison. In fact, you see the word comparison there in the last line of verse three. Look at what he says here. Who has left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing you’re saying, nothing we’re doing can compare to what was already done in the past by Solomon? Look at his conclusion, verse four. Yet now be strong, Ozirubil, saith the Lord. And be strong, O Joshua the High Priest, and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work, for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts. You’ll notice this pattern where sometimes it can be applicable to a church calling, sometimes it can be applicable to a family relationship or a career or an educational pursuit or some other thing that you’re pursuing where you get all excited, I’ve got my mission call or I’ve got my marching orders, or I’ve got my new job.
And you start into it. And as you get into those first few weeks, you realize the enormity of the task in front of you that maybe you hadn’t really had fully grasped before. And it can get discouraging and you can start to lose that drive to keep working. I think that’s exactly what’s happening here. And so verse four, if you’re in one of those phases of life, or if you know somebody who’s in one of those phases of life, verse four is a powerful reminder to be strong and to work because the Lord is with us. It’s going to be a process. Rebuilding this temple is not an event, it’s a process. And it’s going to take time. And at first you’re going to be discouraged because you’re going to say, well, it’s not as good as what somebody else has done. That’s okay. Do the very best you can. That’s what the Lord is telling them through Hagai. And notice verse five. According to the word that I coveted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you. Fear ye not. Don’t take counsel from these fears, just keep working.
And that could also apply to your temple and family history efforts, where for some of you, you look at all of the pedigree charts or all of the generation sheets that you’re trying to fill in, and it can feel overwhelming. I think the Lord would just say the same thing to us today. Fear you not. Start working at it, chip away at it, and you’re going to build this with my health over time. And then he goes down to verse six. For thus saith the Lord of Hosts, yet once it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land, and he promises them that he’s going to make things happen differently than what they can force for themselves.
And the shaking is not a negative thing. The shaking is a symbol that he is bringing out his purposes. Imagine shaking a tree to get the right fruit to fall that you can then capture. So shaking here is this is a sign that my spirit is empowered in all these things.
Then we go to the next timestamp in verse ten. So we’re in the fourth and 20th day in the 9th month. So now it’s two months after this most recent interaction and three months after the initial interaction, and the Lord asks Haggai to go and have a conversation with the priests. And at first, as you read this, it might seem a little odd to you. He’s asking them some questions, this little debate. Oliver what is appropriately connected to the law of Moses or not, about being.
Richly pure or impure. In some ways, he’s using a parable to teach a larger lesson about their own souls.
It’s powerful. Look at verse twelve. If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt, do you touch bread or cottage or wine or oil or any meat? Shall it be holy? And the priest answered and said, no. In other words, I have this holy piece of meat in a pocket or in a part of my clothing. And wearing that clothing, I go and touch these food items. Does that then make those food items holy? And the priest david no, you can’t make them holy just because you have some holy piece of meat connected to your clothing. Then in verse 13 you’ll notice the opposite question. Then said hagai, if one that is unclean by a dead body, in other words, I’ve come in contact with somebody or a dead animal, if that person then touch any of these those food items back in verse twelve shall it be unclean? And the priest answered and said, it shall be unclean because you’ve touched this dead animal or this dead body. Now anything you touch is going to be defiled and unclean.
And just for clarity, this is for ritual. It doesn’t mean that the person themselves is spiritually corrupt. It just means that from a ritual standpoint there’s a process of purification that the priest would have to go through.
Now look at his conclusion. Verse 14 then answered Haggai and said so is this people and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord, and so is every work of their hands and that which they offer there is unclean. In other words, his idea that the way I read this or the way it makes sense to me is that if I do wickedness or I become unclean and then I go and do these efforts to build the kingdom of God or build the temple. In this context, he’s saying it’s unclean. Now we’re a couple months down the road into this process and he’s now focusing them not on what they’re doing, but who they’re becoming and who they are. He’s trying to raise the level of spirituality among the Israelites there that he’s preaching to to say again, he’s going to use this word consider. Remember how I used it. Consider your ways back in chapter one. Look at verse 15. And now I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the Lord. Since those days were when one came to a heap of 20 measures, there were but ten.
And when one came to the press VAT for to draw out 50 vessels out of the press, there were about 20. You’re still not producing what you thought you should be producing and yet you’ve been working on the temple. So we’ve made the next step, but you’re still not producing the way that you had anticipated. Why, look at verse 18. Consider there’s that word yet again. Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and 20th day of the month, even from the day of the foundation, the Lord’s temple was laid. Consider it is the seed yet in the barn, ye, as yet the vine and the fig tree and the pomegranate and the olive tree have not brought forth, from this day will I bless you. It’s that idea of cleanse the inner vessel, sanctify your hearts, purify your motives. Turn to God, not just with your hands to finally be coerced into building the temple, but actually give God your heart and do the right things for the right reasons. And then you’re going to start getting more of these promised blessings that are in store. They’re there god’s waiting to give them to you.
But you have to do the right thing for the right reason, not begrudgingly and not with unclean hands and impure heart moving forward.
Yeah, I love this promise. Here at the end of 19, from this day will I bless you. So Hagai has pointed out, the Lord has pointed out and used Hagi as a spokesperson. Yeah. You have not yet encountered all the blessings you want, but starting now, you will see my blessings. And then Hagai concludes with this hope for a kingdom of God. And that’s what the kingdom of God is. It’s a place of temples and of people who have chosen to be aligned to God, to love God and to love their neighbor, and where there is prosperity abounding. So Haggai ends on a note of hope. You might remember that former prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah often had to call the people to repentance because they were turning away from God’s covenant and they were saying, you will be destroyed, your places will be desolate if you don’t repent. And that eventually happened. But the same old ancient prophets, isaiah, Jeremiah and others, also talked about hope. And here in Haggai, you have the beginning of the fulfillment of hope, that the temple has been rebuilt, that people have returned to the land and the kingdom of God is beginning to be established and to be built and to go forth and blessing.
And the promise is still true today that in the past there have been negative things that have happened because people have chosen to walk away from God. And yet God’s kingdom is here now, today it is going forth and we can have hope. That messianic expectation that God’s kingdom will continue to roll forth as we choose to be totally aligned to God and love God and prove that we love Him by how we love those around us and how we serve them as Jesus has served all of us.
So this book of Hage becomes an invitation for us to go on this journey, this pilgrimage with the Lord walking beside us. And it’s going to focus us on the temple and bringing us to those covenants and those connecting points with heaven. And don’t you love the way this book ends? Look at verse 23. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, Ozarububle, my servant, and I will make thee as a signet, for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts. I would hope that you could all insert your own name in verse 23 and hear the sweet promptings of the Holy Ghost reassuring you that the Lord has also chosen you. Now, the question that remains to be asked, or rather to be answered, is will I now choose the Lord? God puts me first in his work and his glory, all of his effort, all of his energy, all of his work seems to be focused on us. Now it’s our turn to focus all of our work and our energy and our effort on Him. And he holds worlds without number in his hand. He’s well able to take care of us and our little part of this earth, this little part of the vineyard with our needs and our pursuits and our other work.
So as we jump into Zechariah, let’s give you a brief overview. Zechariah is a bit of a complex prophetic book and our friends over at the Bible Project will put a link down. At the bottom have done a really beautiful overview, an animated overview of the structure of the Book of Zechariah and actually all the books of the Bible. So if you really love study the Scriptures, the resources in the Bible Project are really useful. And we’re going to borrow their outline. They map out that the first part of chapter one in Zechariah, zechariah is reminded of people don’t be like your ancient ancestors who turned away from the covenant. Be covenantly. Faithful to God. Build the temple and find that covenant of faithfulness expressed in your temple worship and how you love your neighbors and you will see God’s prosperity. And then Zechariah has a whole series of dreams. And these dreams are just full of all sorts of interesting imagery that sometimes can be a little bit confusing. And then he concludes the dreams in chapter seven to eight. And then there’s a number of chapters that deal with a variety of images about what God’s kingdom will be like.
Remember, the Jews have been in captivity for many decades. They’re returning to the Holy Land, they’re rebuilding their temple. And there’s all sorts of messianic expectations or kingly expectations that God’s kingdom is being built on Earth. And they’re all wondering, will God prosper our efforts? Will we have the peace and security and prosperity that we all desire? And will there be a king to lead us? And eventually this is all obviously fulfilled by Jesus Christ. And ultimately in the latter days of the millennium, we will have Jesus ruling on earth in peace and prosperity. We’ve also mentioned the past, how the name is the lesson. So this prophet, his name is Zechariah, the ending of his name is Jehovah. And zakar in Hebrew means to remember. So God remembers. What a beautiful name. These people who have been apparently cast off for decades, god remembers them and brings them back home to their Holy Land, remembers them and invites them to build the temple. And the promises for all of us that God will remember you and his kingdom is an invitation. You are invited in. He remembers to invite you in.
This is a very helpful overview. Now let’s jump into some of the practical applications of this book about God the Lord Jehovah remembering. If you look at a 300 foot view, not at the structure of the book, but maybe some of the themes that flow out of this book. This is a book that is all about people turning to God. God hasn’t forgotten them, but they’ve forgotten Him. And so this is a book of getting people to turn back to the God who hasn’t forsaken them. And as you’re aware, the word turn in the Hebrew is the equivalent of what we would say repent. And it’s ultimately this overlay for the gathering. Now, the gathering of Israel in its big worldwide collective effort is amazing. It’s the greatest work happening according to our prophets, but also this idea of an individual gathering. It’s beautiful how you can see this gathering taking place not just in the whole world with the house of Israel, but with individuals who, as they turn to the Lord and they truly repent, he then gathers them in, he remembers them and forgives them and brings them in. And you’re going to see these themes of turning from evil or from wickedness or from weakness or from the stains and soils of the earth to this heavenly forgiveness through this repentance process throughout the book of Zechariah.
And it’s profound. Now, keep in mind he’s contemporary with Haggai. In fact, your timestamp here in chapter one, verse one, in the 8th month, in the second year of Darius. So he’s going to pick up his book right there in the same exact timeframe, working with the same group of people, zarubabel, Joshua and all these people in Jerusalem at the same time. Notice how he opens this. Verse two. The Lord has been so displeased with your fathers, 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. So this turning isn’t one way, it’s a twoway turn. It’s reestablishing this covenant that your fathers have broken with me. But if you’ll turn to me, I’ll turn back to you. Verse four. Be not as your fathers unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, thus saith the Lord of hosts, turn you now from your evil ways and from your evil doings. But they did not hear nor hearken unto me, saith the Lord. So you get this contrast. Look at verse seven upon the fourth and 20th day of the 11th month.
So now we’re going down the road from the 8th month to the 11th month. So three months later and he starts seeing these visions that Taylor already introduced, multiple dreams. And they’re all very symbolic and they’re all teaching lessons through these Old Testament symbolic means to this prophet in these dreams. Look at verse 17. Cry yet saying, thus saith the Lord of my cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad, and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion and shall yet choose Jerusalem. Can you imagine what those words would have sounded like to the people at their time in the second year of the reign of Darius, as they’ve been working for months now on building the temple back up. And it’s hard work, it’s discouraging. And there’s plenty of opposition in that process, as we had learned back in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah throughout that process of rebuilding Jerusalem. And yet the Lord is promising them that this is work that’s actually going to last. It’s going to prosper. And then you come down into chapter two and he lifted his eyes and he beheld a man with a measuring line in his hand, so what we would call a measuring tape, so to speak, and he asks, what are you doing and where are you going?
And the man answers, to measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof and what is the length thereof. Why? Because there’s a promise of this gathering. And notice that angels come into this vision, this dream. And look at verse four. And they said unto him, this angel run. Speak to this young man, saying, jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein. In other words, you can try to measure Jerusalem, but that measuring line in your hand, it’s not going to do any good because what is God going to perform here? Verse five. For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about and will be the glory in the midst of her. You’re not going to be able to build walls around Jerusalem. It’s going to be huge. We’re going to be bringing people in from all over. And I will be the wall of Jerusalem. I will be around my people to protect them. And then verse six. Some have loved verse six because it’s the Santa Claus verse in Scriptures, right? Ho, come forth and flee the land of the north.
There’s a different way to interpret this other than inserting Santa Claus into the Bible, by the way. This ho, this call for people. Come forth and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord. For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord. So they were scattered up to the north. And now Zechariah two ho, come, come back from the land of the north. Come back home. Return home. And today in our world, we have many people who have been scattered in a variety of ways, some of them literally, some of them symbolic. I love the Scriptures and the message of the prophets. It’s a call to gather back into the Covenant and back into those Covenant lands. It’s the invitation to come home. It’s time. It’s time to come back home and reconnect with God, reconnect with the people and work to build up Zion. It’s a beautiful reminder for us today as much as it was relevant for them back then. Now you turn over to chapter three and the story takes on a new aspect. Here chapter three, verse one. He showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord.
So keep in mind, as the high priest, he has on his breastplate those twelve stones and on his shoulders the two stones with the names of the tribes of Israel engraved on them. He represents the people going into the temple and performing those high priestly functions that only he can perform and only he gets to go in, ultimately, once the temple is going to be completed into the holy of Holies, into the presence of God on the day of Atonement Yomah Kapur. So here’s this high priest standing in front of the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. Fascinating that Satan in this story is resisting him, is an adversary against him, which is what the name Satan means, is to resist. And the amazing thing is, when you embark in doing the work of the Lord, in trying to build up the temple in their context, whatever that looks like in your life, it’s this idea that there will be opposition. You won’t likely get a free pass from the devil. There will be temptations to stop you from moving forward, discouragement and opposition that will mount up.
But notice what happens in verse two. And the Lord said unto the Lord, rebuke thee, O Satan, even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? So God stands up to Satan, rebukes him, pushes him aside. And now our focus goes back to Joshua. Now, Joshua was closed with filthy garments and stood before the angel. He’s not in his beautiful apparel. He’s dressed in a beautifully symbolic way of the house of Israel in tattered, dirty clothes. He doesn’t look good standing in front of the Lord or standing in front of this angel. Notice verse four. He answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying, take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. This to me, is one of the beautiful places in the scriptures to visually depict or picture the process of repentance and forgiveness as we exercise our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and turn to him. What we bring to him in his house is not perfection, it’s not beauty, it’s not great clothing, so to speak.
We come tattered dirty, we need help. And you’ll notice God doesn’t look at Joshua and say, you’re dirty, you don’t belong here. Get out. He says to the angels, take off his dirty clothes and put a fresh change of clothing on him. Give him clean garments to wear. That symbolism from turning away from a world of sin and stain and the soil of our imperfections and coming into the presence of the Lord with humility and faith in Him, and then letting him do his work, letting the angels do their work. And it’s a beautiful conclusion here verse five and I said, let them set a fair miter upon his head the symbolism of a crown. So they set a fair miter upon his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. And then verse seven. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, if thou wilt walk in my ways and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house and shall also keep my courts and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. There’s this beautiful imagery of you’re actually going to be able to change not just what you’re wearing, but how you serve among the people, how you love them, how you teach them, how you interact with them.
And you’ll be able to stand in that holy place with more confidence in the Lord. And I love this section when I consider how desperately I need to be forgiven and made clean and made more holy by the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ and his mercy shed forth to us. So you’ll notice here in chapter three how he finishes and how he concludes this redemptive gathering, cleansing forgiving story for Joshua the High Priest, who represents all of us in the presence of the Lord. Look at verse eight here now, o Joshua the High Priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee, for they are men wondered at. For behold, I will bring forth my servant the branch. The branch, the growth out of that root of Jesse, perhaps tying back to Isaiah’s prophecy, this thing that’s going to go out this branch. And you’ll notice later on in the New Testament when Jesus is walking with his eleven apostles up the Kidron Valley to get to the garden of Gethsemane, he tells them that he is the true vine and we have to abide in him. If you plug in the Lord Jesus Christ as this branch that we have to tap into in order to be fruitful, in order to produce anything, the imagery is beautiful.
And verse ten finishes chapter three by saying, in that day, saith the Lord of hosts shall ye call every man his neighbor, his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree. These illusions, these symbols, yet again to producing fruits and being productive. It’s not about the plants, it’s about you and it’s about me being fruitful unto the Lord. All these other things are simply symbolic placeholders for what God is trying to do with us. God, the ultimate gardener in the soil and the soul of our life moving forward. Now four, five, six, there are a couple of little things to point out here along the way. Chapter four, focusing on this foundation needing to be completed in order to finish the house of Lord, how firm a foundation is laid for our faith. At the end of the day, they’re building a building. But as we’ve mentioned before, god is really building them through this process hourly. And then you come into chapter five. Verse one, incidentally, is quite significant because it says, then I turned and lifted up my eyes and looked and behold a flying roll. The flying roll, this scroll, and it’s huge.
And he sees it flying up in the air. And what it is, is it’s a whole series of curses given to the people. And this flying roll goes over the whole earth to extend those consequences for breaking God’s commandments, breaking his oath. And then in chapter six, you get the coronation of Joshua, the high priest, which you’ll notice in the chapter heading is in Similitude of Christ, the Branch Who Will Come. And it’s beautiful symbolism when you think of it in the context of Zechariah doing this to Joshua. But quite frankly, the real power of that chapter is if you can picture God talking to you, inviting you to come into his temple so that he can crown you as a king or a queen and to endow you with power in his temple. It’s a beautiful gift that he offers to us. And now we jump into chapter seven. You’ll notice as we turn over to chapter seven, verse one, that now we’re in year four in the 9th month, on the fourth day. So two years have passed since everything that’s come in those first six chapters. And in those two years time, they’ve been building up the temple, they’ve been working, and they’ve also been doing other things that they’re supposed to do, like fasting.
And Zechariah picks up this theme of fasting. Look at verse five. The Lord commanded him to speak unto all the people of the land. And to the priest saying, when ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and 7th month, even those 70 years, did ye at all fast unto me? Even to me it’s this question of did you just go hungry or were you actually fasting to me? Were you doing the right thing for the right reason? And then he goes on to say, when you did eat and when you did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? Should ye not hear the words which the Lord has cried by the former prophets? When Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain, he’s saying, look, are you doing these facts to be seen of men? Could be one way to look at this. Or were you doing this to me? Were you going without that food in that water for that day as a sign that you wanted to connect with me, that you wanted more revelation, more strength from heaven?
You’ll notice verse eleven how he describes the people of the past, but they refused to hearken, and they pulled away the shoulder and stopped their ears that they should not hear. They disengaged from the work of God and they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts has sent in his spirit by the former prophets. Therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. He’s giving them this outline of why the exile and the Babylonian captivity happened in the first place. And he’s reminding the people, you’re a new generation. Don’t repeat the same problems that your ancestors did with those prophets with us today as prophets and haggai. They’re pleading with them to put their shoulder to the wheel, unstopp their ears, listen to the words of the Lord and do those things that they’re being told. And then you jump into chapter eight and he says verse three. Thus saith the Lord, I am returned unto Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts. There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. It’s this idea of you’re going to be able to stay here. You’re not going to be conquered and carried off. You’re actually going to be here long enough for the men and women to grow old where they need to lean on their staffs in the city and not just the old people. Verse five the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets. There you’re going to prosper, god’s going to multiply you and give you that peace and prosperity in this city if you’ll just listen to the prophets, build the temple, keep working on connecting with God through fasting and these sacrifices. And then verse six says, thus saith the Lord of Hosts. If it be marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvelous in my eyes, lord of hosts? To me, he’s saying, look, this is really easy for me to do if you’ll just turn to me.
This isn’t going to be a huge marvel for me to accomplish. This is very simple. If you’ll just trust me and turn to me, even though it will be a marvel to you and everybody around you, it’s not a difficult thing for me to pull this off and to bless you and sanctify your efforts.
God continues and he teaches what he can and will do for his people. Verse seven thus say at the Lord of hosts, behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, who encompasses everything. Verse eight and I will bring them and they shall shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and in righteousness. So as time has been pointing out, so much of what Zechariah is, there’s all these imagery and symbolism, but the essence is turning. God turns to us. He invites us to turn to Him. Repenting. I love the Greek meaning of the word repent to change your mind. Sometimes we get to change our mind about things, the way we see the world, or maybe a set of circumstances that we can turn and see God’s hand in our lives and allow Him to gather us in. So as you’ve been reading through Zechariah, you might highlight these verses, the core essence of God’s work for you individually, for all people, obviously, but for you individually, he will gather you in. He wants to be your God in truth and righteousness.
And the totality of the Old Testament is this invitation will we allow God to be our God, and will we choose to be his people united in this covenantal relationship?
And isn’t that amazing, that idea of the Greek usage of the word repent to change, how often you and I want God to change, want God to do things differently, to make it easier for us. God doesn’t need to change. In fact, that’s one of his attributes. He changes not. It’s us who need to change the way we’re perceiving Him and his commandments and what his prophets are teaching us. The command to repent is for us. We are the ones who need to change and learn his language. And it’s so beautifully contained here how willing God is to work with us through that process of changing, because it’s hard. It’s really hard for some people at different times with different struggles to make that change or to make that turn. But he’s promised that he won’t forsake us and leave us alone in that process.
Now, as we jump into chapter nine, there are some beautiful, as Taylor already outlined from the Bible projects. Outline these Messianic Kingdom chapters. You’ll notice there’s one verse in here in particular that the Gospel writer Matthew picks up on at the triumphal entry, and he’s going to emphasize it. It’s chapter nine, verse nine, when it says, rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem. Notice. Hebrew symbolism, hebrew poetry. Symbolic repetition. So you say the same thing a second time, using slightly different words or different symbols. Behold, thy king cometh unto thee. He is just and having salvation. Now, when you stop right there and think, oh, rejoice Jerusalem, daughter of Zion, you can cry aloud because your king is coming to you. You would picture a big parade with a big entourage of these big animals and an army with banners marching in might and majesty and power into the city triumphantly. Well, you’ll notice how this verse enos this prophecy. And Matthew. Like I said, picks up on this very directly in Matthew, chapter 21. Notice it says, when your king comes to you, he’s going to be lowly and writing upon an ass and upon a colt the full of an S.
You’ll notice that it says, writing upon an ass and upon a colt the fall of an S. That ends up being put into the book of Matthew. I don’t think Matthew is confused by Zechariah’s Hebrew symbolism. I think it was probably a copyist later on who then made it sound like Jesus was writing on both animals. The reality is it’s symbolic repetition. It’s the same animal. It’s one animal. And Joseph Smith translation changes it to be only the one animal to then match up with what Mark and Luke right, which is just one animal, the full of a donkey.
That’s what you’ve talked about before. Sometimes from this Greek world view, we want one to one correspondence for everything. And sometimes with this repetition, some writers and commentators over the years have gotten a little confused and said, oh my gosh, Jesus is writing, or the King is writing on two different animals. And it’s just understanding the repetition of an idea where you might say something two or three different ways.
Now, some of you may be thinking to yourself, so what difference does Zechariah nine, verse nine make other than, yeah, he made a prophecy that the triumphal entry would occur with Jesus riding upon the full of a donkey? That’s a really good question, because for you and me, when Jesus makes his triumphal entries into our life or into our family or into our situations, sometimes we expect something different than what we get. Sometimes we expect Him to come riding in on a big white horse with a drawn sword and with a mighty army behind him with trumpets blaring, as will happen at the Second Coming. But His First coming, and often many of his comings into our life will come in unexpected ways. He’ll come in meek and lowly in ways that you didn’t anticipate, to the point where sometimes we’ll actually miss Him. We won’t recognize the hand of God in our life because we’re looking for something too big, too grand and too glorious. And yet it comes in still small, simple, everyday acts of kindness for ministering angels from both sides of the veil blessing our life. And if we plead with the heavens to give us eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that can feel, we’ll probably be a little more receptive to recognizing those triumphal entries that Jesus wants to make.
In our life, preparing us for that ultimate triumphal entry that he’s going to make into the world and into our life when we get to come into his presence again someday down the road.
And the ideas ties in really well to how this chapter ends, verse 16 and 17, and the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people, for they shall be as the stones of a crown lifted up as an enzyme upon his land. For how great is his goodness and how great is his beauty. Corn shall make the young men cheerful and new wine the maids, this beautiful messianic, the building of the Kingdom. Christ is there, god is there. He is saving his people and the kingdom is flourishing.
And then in chapter ten, he shifts gears into this you get the scattering motif again of sowing seeds. And when you sow seeds in antiquity, you scatter them. And he’s talking about Judah and Joseph. Or we often refer to Ephraim specifically in this chapter of being scattered and sown into all these parts of the world, but then at the great harvest of the latter days, that’s when we gather them in and bring them back home into the barn, or we might say back into the temple. Covenant, connection and safety and protection of the Lord there in chapter eleven or chapter ten.
Chapter eleven uses some symbolism of a shepherd. So we know God is the shepherd of Israel. God talks about how he will shepherd his people, and yet then there are other shepherds, the leaders of his people, who end up misleading the people and God. We find this similarly in Ezekiel calls out the shepherds, it is their job to protect and to properly lead. And when anybody’s put into a position of leadership or influence or power, if they mislead people, if they take people away from God, that is on the leader. Good shepherds protect the flock and lead them to God instead of leading them away from God for their own consumption. And that’s the concern that Jesus has here is are the leaders truly protecting the flock? And what I love is we have leaders in the church today who are shepherds. Like the good shepherd, they did not choose these positions for their own power or angrandizement. They do this because they are aligned to God and they want to follow the real shepherd and invite all of us to be shepherd by Jesus.
You’ll notice a beautiful connection in chapter eleven to the story of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. In verse twelve it says and I said unto them, if you think good, give me my price, and if not, forbear so they wait for my price, 30 pieces of silver. And verse 13 says and the Lord said unto me, cast it unto the potter a goodly price that I was priced out of them. And I took the 30 pieces of silver and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. Isn’t it fascinating that Judas Scariat is going to negotiate with the Sanhedrin, the leaders of the Jewish people, to betray Jesus into their hands? And the price that was set was 30 pieces of silver. And at the end Judas is going to take those 30 coins, those 30 pieces of silver and throw them down on the ground in the temple. And the Sanhedrin says we can’t put this into the temple treasury because it’s blood money. And so what did they end up doing? They ended up buying potter’s filth akodama, a burial place for strangers. So you’re seeing these connecting words and amounts as a precursor to what’s going to happen to Jesus being weighed, so to speak, symbolically and found, yeah, only 30 pieces of silver.
And at the end of the day we buy potters filled with those 30 pieces of silver.
Yeah. In the ancient Middle Eastern context, 30 pieces of silver was often proverbially used as a trivial, trifling, useless, worthless amount. And we might think it matters a lot today. 30 sounds like a lot, but the ancient proverb was that’s worthless. And so you’d say that’s like 30 pieces of silver. So chapter twelve speaks messianically of the coming time when Jesus cleanses the earth of wickedness and inaugurates the messianic kingdom. And it can be a bit terrifying to read some of this, and yet we can also have hope that it is not simply about death and destruction. That is not the purpose of God’s work. Even though sometimes he has to clarify, certain things will happen. But for example, you have verse nine, it shall come to pass in that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. Now, it’s not just specifically the borders of Jerusalem, but it’s symbolic about those people who have chosen to gather into God’s kingdom. So Jerusalem is a symbol for God’s kingdom and that gathering is ongoing even with all of us. I might have chosen to be baptized, but do I walk away from God’s kingdom if I choose to not keep my covenants?
If I choose to not treat others well? Just because I’ve been baptized doesn’t mean I retain my membership in the kingdom symbolically of Jerusalem, if I fail to live up to the covenants that we see expressed in Mosaic chapter 18, that the purpose of baptism is to knit our souls and love to God and to one another. So even though chapter twelve has a lot of imagery of death and destruction, we can take heart that for most of God’s plan it’s about peace and prosperity. But there are moments of destruction where God has to reset the order to get the world back into his fold.
And you’ll notice the significance of that. These are events leading up to his second coming. And in order for there to be a millennial reign of peace and righteousness, he has to first overthrow the kingdoms of the devil and the wickedness of the earth, which is going to necessitate some destructive events. And so now chapters 13 and 14 are very focused on this second coming event and a group of people, his covenant people who are being tried and tested. And they’re in a battle for their very life at this point. And they have been pleading with God for the Messiah to come to them for all of this time. And right there at the very end, when it feels like they’re completely abandoned and they’re going to be ultimately destroyed. Chapter 13 and 14 give us this promise that the Lord will come. And notice this little insight in verse six of chapter 13. And one shall say unto him, what are these wounds in thine hens? And then he shall answer, those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. So the Messiah finally came and saved them, and they’re worshiping Him.
And they’re going to say, Wait, what are those wounds? What are those marks in your hands? And his response there, that he was wounded in the house of his friends. Then you jump down to chapter 14 and he says, behold, the day of the Lord cometh and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. It’s a promise. He is coming. The day of the Lord is coming. You can hold on to this set of prophecies that will happen. And when he does come, verse three says he will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fought in the day of battle. You want a God who has power and justice and judgment, who has the capacity to overthrow the kingdoms of the world that are not built up unto him. And then in verse four, this glorious event that’s prophesied here in Zechariah, his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Oliver shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west. And there shall be a very great valley, and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north and half of it toward the south.
If you look at the city of Jerusalem directly east of the temple, if you come down the Kidron Valley and then up towards the Mount of Oliver, you pass through this garden called Gethsemane and you get up to the very top. If you’re standing on the Mount of Oliver, looking back towards the west, you see Jerusalem lead out in front of you. But the Temple Mount is what is sitting front and center in your view. And here’s this group of people who are in a fight for their life, when all of a sudden the Lord will come down, touch his feet on the Mount of ALBs, and it will cleave open, providing safe passage for them away from this battle that they’ve been waging. That’s where they come through and meet their Lord. Beautiful prophecies of the last days. Notice that it doesn’t end there. Verse six. It shall come to pass in that day that the light shall not be clear nor dark but it shall be one day, which shall be known to the Lord not day nor night. But it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light.
Which ties us into the Doctrine of Covenant’s teaching that when Jesus comes, you don’t need light from the sun or the moon or the stars, because Jesus is the light of the world in his glorified resurrected state. And you can see how this could tie in here. Now it goes one step further because the light of the world has now returned. So we don’t call it day and night anymore because we have the light of the world here with us. And then look at verse eight. It shall be in that day that the living waters shall go out from Jerusalem, half of them toward the former sea and half of them toward the Hinder Sea. In summer and winter shall it be. So water is going to flow out both to the Mediterranean and down to the Dead Sea, and it’s going to be living, moving, life giving water to everywhere it flows, which ties us back into the easy keel prophecy and to.
The Garden of Eden. So in some ways, what God is doing is reestablishing paradise on Earth, his parasodic glory, what he created at Creation, where everything’s at peace. And you have right there the Temple Mount, where the Tree of Life symbolically is planted at the top of that hill and the water flows out from the Tree of Life. And so where the Temple was, that’s where the water’s been flowing from. So all the symbolism is there going back as Zechariah is living during this time period around 520 BC. The Jews are trying to rebuild their temple. They’re feeling discouraged because of the destruction that they’d experienced under the Babylonians, 70, 80 years before. And Zechariah is saying, God will establish his kingdom and Jerusalem will be full of light and living water. And you imagine the encouragement it would have been for these ancient Jews living in kind of a backward province of the Persian Empire at the time. They are now reminded God has a work to do and he has not forgotten his people. He will be their shepherd and he will bring them into this covenant. They’ll fold.
And notice verse nine. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth. In that day shall there be one Lord and his name one. It’s all about this unifying and bringing together which is the total opposite of what Satan is trying to do, which is divide and tear us under and to create divisions and wars and contentions. Jesus is going to overthrow all of that with his second coming. And we get that Zion, that oneness. And oh, how that must have been sweet to the ears of the people in Zechariah’s day hearing that Jesus would come to their city and all they had to do was look to the east, to the Mount Of. Olives and picture this huge mountain breaking in half a little bit to the north and a little bit to the south as Jesus touches down on that mountain and realizing he’s going to be king over all the Earth. And it really is centered here in our city of Jerusalem, as these people are hearing this prophecy, how profound it must have been to them. And you’ll notice as we end this chapter, as we end this book, rather verse 20, it says, in that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses holiness unto the Lord.
And the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yet every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts. And all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them and see therein. And in that day there shall be no more the canaanite in the house of the Lord hosts. All the wickedness is going to be purged. It’s all going to be one and it’s all going to be focused on holiness to the Lord. So as we conclude this lesson on Haggai and Zechariah, these two contemporary prophets preaching more than 2000 years ago, I hope you can hear their voice reechoing in your mind and in your heart today the importance of considering our ways of changing and turning to the Lord and changing how we look at his commandments, how we look at his prophets. How we look at his temple. The Gardener of Eden is the gardener of your soul and he invites us into the temple so that he can make us become beautiful, fragrant fruitful, productive in all of our efforts and in all of our ways, in all of our pursuits of life.
Know that he lives and know that his work and his glory is to bring to pass your immortality and eternal life. And the Lord’s very good at what he does if we’ll just let Him do that work as we turn to Him as our prayer. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Know that you’re loved and spread light and goodness.
Come, Follow Me Insights
Taylor and Tyler give us an historical background on Haggai and Zechariah. They then delve into messianic prophecy, and how these two Old Testament books can teach and guide us in the latter days.
Daily Come Follow Me Videos
John Hilton III explains how Haggai pleaded with Jewish leaders to be grateful for what the Lord had given them.
Taylor Halverson points out the pattern of indictment, judgment, instructions, and aftermath in Zechariah 13-14.
Marianna Richardson speaks of the surety of a prophet’s words as a seer and revelator.
Casey Griffiths describes how Zechariah prophesied of Christ’s coming.
Lynne Hilton Wilson details the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, and how Haggai and Zechariah foretell the Savior’s First and Second Comings.