Zechariah 4 Breakdown
Zechariah 4:1-14 (Fifth Vision: Lamp Stand with Oil)
Summary: These seven lamps refer to God’s ability to rebuild the Temple. God promises that Zerubbabel’s work is empowered by God. Zechariah writes, “It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty” (Zech. 4:6 NLT).
The two anointed ones (4:14) are Zerubbabel (the governor) and Joshua (the priest). These two anointed ones “or messiahs” were each in charge of either the political leadership or the spiritual leadership. Jesus—the perfect and complete anointed one—was both the political leader and the spiritual leader. But, first, he came as a spiritual leader. When he returns, he will be a political leader.
(4:1) Zechariah must have received all of these visions on the same night. The angel woke him up from an ecstatic state to see more visions.
(4:2) The “lampstand” might refer to “the idea of testimony” (Mt. 5:16; Rev. 1:20; 2:5). The “seven spouts” are seven wicks. Since each lamp contains seven wicks, this means that there are 49 wicks.
(4:3) The “two olive trees” represent the political and religious offices in Israel.
(4:4-6) Zechariah doesn’t get an answer until later (vv.11-14). The angel tells him that the main point of the vision is to encourage Joshua and Zerubbabel to finish the rebuilding of the Temple. Later, we discover that the oil naturally fell down from the lamps—without human effort (“Not by might nor by power”). Barker writes, “The work was dependent on God; he would provide the oil or strength of his Spirit. Such enablement was solely needed because of the opposition and apathy hindering the rebuilding (Hag 2:1-9).”
(4:7) By trusting in God’s Spirit (v.6), Zerubbabel could move mountains. This mountain could be figurative for human opposition or apathy from the people.
(4:8-9) Chapter 3 focused on encouraging Joshua—the high priest. This chapter focuses on encouraging Zerubbabel—the governor.
(4:10) Some of the people (either enemies or Israelites) must have been cynical of the rebuilding of the Temple. God is the one who promises to finish the Temple, using Zerubbabel. Since God is omniscient (“seven eyes,” NIV), he knows that this promise will come to fruition.
(4:11-14) Here, we get an answer to the original question (vv.4-5). The “two anointed ones” (v.14) are implicitly Zerubbabel and Joshua. The use of the term “anointed” (maschiach) along with the dual roles of King and Priest seems to point toward Jesus—the ultimate Messiah and King-Priest.
What were 5 points that stood out to you in this chapter? They can be observances, cross-references, questions, etc…
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