Not by force, and not by power, b
ut by my Spirit,' says Adonai-Tzva'ot.
King Cyrus the Great decreed a release for captive Israelites to be given permission to return to their land in Israel. The people of Jerusalem returned to an uninhabitable rubble without walls or defenses. They want to build the Temple, but is it expedient to start that project without walls to protect the work? HaShem has a say in it. He promises:
'Yerushalayim will be inhabited without walls because there will be so many people and animals; "for," says Adonai, "I will be for her a wall of fire surrounding her; and I will be the glory within her.
THE MESSIANIC AGE
The prophet Zechariah encourages the people to take heart and apply themselves. He tells them the Words of God that encourages the people to do the work in view of His soon return, the return of the indwelling presence, the return of the Shechinah השכינה. God Himself will return and rule from Jerusalem.
"Sing, daughter of Tziyon; rejoice! For, here, I am coming; and I will live among you," says Adonai. (Zec 2:10)
The prophet gives the people a sign that will herald HaShem's arrival among His people. He says,
When that time comes, many nations will join themselves to Adonai. "They will be my people, and I will live among you." Then you will know that it was Adonai-Tzva'ot who sent me to you. Adonai will take possession of Y'hudah as his portion in the holy land, and he will again make Yerushalayim his choice. (Zec 2:11-12)
The sign is the inclusion of the nations in the covenant of Israel, with the Messiah among the Israelite nation, ruling from Jerusalem. This Gentile inclusion was fulfilled when just before He ascended to His Father, Yeshua commanded the disciples to proclaim the Good News to all creation as they went throughout all the world. (Mark 16:15.) Ten days later, at the time of Shavuot in Jerusalem, the Shechinah came and rests on the disciples giving them the ability to speak in several languages they
At that time, the persecutor of Israel will be silenced:
(2:17) Be silent, all humanity, before Adonai; for he has been roused from his holy dwelling.' " (Zec 2:13)
THE ACCUSER OF THE SAINTS
Joshua the high priest represented the renewed priesthood. As such, he represented the nation before HaShem. Joshua was very concerned about rebuilding the Temple, but the enemy was against it and objected to it. HaSatan, the adversary of HaShem and of everything that is godly, had to find some reason to stand against Joshua. He had to find something that he could throw at him in the court of divine justice.
He showed me Y'hoshua the cohen hagadol standing before the angel* of Adonai, with the Accuser [Hebrew: Satan] standing at his right to accuse him. (Zec 3:1)
*Angel: In the Haftarah last week, we talked about how whenever the Torah mentions the Angel of the Lord, it is most likely a reference to a messianic theophany. The same idea is presented here. The angelic being in this passage is not a created angel but Messiah, as we will see in the next passage.
As the priestly representative of Israel, Joshua represents the nation. As such, HaSatan throws at him all the sins--past, present, and future--of the nation. This is the role of the priest. The priest represents HaShem to the nation, but he also represents the nation to HaShem and HaSatan knows it.
HaSatan knows that our sins separate us from HaShem's presence. He knows that our disobediences plug His ears to our pleas and prayers. The reality of it is that he is right. The sad reality of it is that he does not even need to produce lies against us. We give the devil plenty of ammunition to accuse us just by telling the truth about us and by the way we lead our lives. Each of us could certainly appropriate what King Daivd said:
For I know my crimes, my sin confronts me all the time. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil from your perspective; so that you are right in accusing me and justified in passing sentence.
MESSIAH'S DEFENSE OF JOSHUA
Adonai said to the Accuser, "May Adonai rebuke you, Accuser! Indeed, may Adonai, who has made Yerushalayim his choice, rebuke you! Isn't this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?" (Zec 3:2)
The Angel of the Lord in Yeshua the Messiah rebukes the devil. He has the power to do so, as well as to bring an atonement defense to the Judge of the universe for Joshua because He has already paid for the sins from before the foundation of the earth
Everyone living on earth will worship it except those whose names are written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb slaughtered before the world was founded. (Rev 13:8)
Then, just as He did when He challenged the Torah-teachers of Israel when they questioned Him about forgiving sin with the question:
"Tell me, which is easier to say -- 'Your sins are forgiven' or 'Get up and walk'? But look! I will prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." He then said to the paralyzed man, "Get up, pick up your mattress, and go home!" (Mat 9:5-6)
He looks at Joshua's garments, soiled with the sins of Israel and of its priesthood, and commands a change of garments. He clothes Joshua with the garments of messianic redemption.
Y'hoshua was clothed in garments covered with dung; and he was standing before the angel, who said to those standing in front of him, "Take those filthy garments off of him." Then to him he said, "See, I am taking your guilt away. I will clothe you in fine robes." I said, "They should put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and gave him fine robes to wear, while the angel of Adonai stood by. (Zec 3:3-5)
As He would also tell the woman caught in adultery, "Now go, and don't sin any more" (Joh 8:11), He also gives a warning to Joshua:
Then the angel of Adonai gave Y'hoshua this warning: "Adonai-Tzva'ot says this: 'If you will walk in my ways, obey my commission, judge my house and guard my courtyards; then I will give you free access among these who are standing here. (Zec 3:6-7)
In all this, the Spirit of God in the prophet Zechariah was giving a message of messianic encouragement to Israel. It was telling them about a future Joshua, who would be called Yeshua as a latter Aramaic version of the name Joshua, who would stand up and defend Israel in front of the devil. The prophetic vision of the prophet was about a latter High Priest who took upon himself the filth of Israel's sin (Ps 110:4; eb 5:6) and received absolution from HaShem because of His own virtue.
PROMISE OF THE MESSIANIC ERA
Those returnees from Babylon expected the Messianic era to start with their return. They were extremely disappointed when reality smacked them in the face. Thus, it often is when we listen to false prophets with erroneous doctrines peddling good news that the Lord has not spoken.
The Angel of the Lord rectifies the situation by explaining to Joshua and his colleagues that while their time was not the time of the great redemption, it serves as a sign; a type and foretelling shadow of the future great redemption brought on by the "Branch", who is our Messiah, Yeshua; a time described in the messianic age description with the words, "you will all invite each other to join you under your vines and fig trees.
The Angel speaks of a stone. Medieval commentator Rashi explains that this stone is the "foundation stone of the Temple that was laid immediately after Cyrus permitted the reconstruction of the Temple." Seven eyes watch over the stone from above. Zachariah will later describe them as, "The eyes of Adonai that range about over all the earth." (Zec 4:10; Rev 5:6)
Listen, cohen gadol Y'hoshua, both you and your colleagues seated here before you, because these men are a sign that I am going to bring my servant Tzemach [Sprout]. For look at the stone I have put in front of Y'hoshua: on one stone are seven eyes; I will engrave what is to be written on it,' says Adonai-Tzva'ot; 'and I will remove the guilt of this land in one day. When that time comes,' says Adonai-Tzva'ot, 'you will all invite each other to join you under your vines and fig trees.' " (Zec 3:8-10)
THE VISION OF THE MENORAH
Our "Angel" had one more sign to show our tired prophet. A beautiful Temple lampstand made of pure gold, pure gold thus signifying that the dross had been removed.
Then the angel that had been speaking with me returned and roused me, as if he were waking someone up from being asleep, and asked me, "What do you see?" I answered, "I've been looking at a menorah; it's all of gold, with a bowl at its top, seven lamps on it, and seven tubes leading to the lamps at its top. (Zec 4:1-2)
The pure gold menorah was flanked by two olive trees from where it drew its olive oil.
Next to it are two olive trees, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left."I then asked the angel speaking with me, "What are these, my Lord?" The angel speaking with me said, "Don't you know what these are?" I said, "No, my Lord." (Zec 4:3-5)
Who are they indeed? As the Angel was showing the establishment of the messianic age to Zechariah, He was also showing him that for that to happen, both the "anointed" ministres of priest and king needed to be present and functional. In the days of Zechariah, these two anointed ministries were represented by Joshua as the priesthood and Zerubbabel as the legal descendant of the Davidic dynasty. Their presence fulfills the inter-generational cosmic pre-exilic Jeremiah prophecy that:
For this is what Adonai says: "There will never be cut off from David a man to occupy the throne of the house of Isra'el. Nor will there ever be cut off from the cohanim who are L'vi'im a man before me to offer burnt offerings, burn grain offerings and offer sacrifices every day." (Jer 33:17-18)
THE SPIRITUAL DYNAMICS OF HOW THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS ESTABLISHED ON EARTH
Having uttered this beautiful and hope-filled promise, the "Angel" carefully warns that the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven does not come through the power, strength, anger, nor the wrath of man but by the workings of the Spirit of God.
Then he answered me, "
This is the word of Adonai to Z'rubavel: '
Not by force, and not by power, b
ut by my Spirit,' says Adonai-Tzva'ot.
Then HaShem promises to move mountains before Zerubbabel so that he can accomplish the goal of rebuilding the Temple.
'What are you, you big mountain? Before Z'rubavel you will become a plain; and he will put the capstone in place, as everyone shouts, "It's beautiful! Beautiful!" ' (Zec 4:7)
After the work of Zerubbabel, Herod enhanced the second Temple to the point that it became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Both the Romans who hated the Jews and the Pharisees who hated Herod marveled at it and complimented its beauty.
WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US?
In much the same way as the returning captives from Babylon, as the body of Messiah, we are today on earth rebuilding His spiritual Temple. We must not be discouraged at the mountains of difficulty and opposition that this project brings us against. We must remember that all the promises of HaShem are on our side.
Therefore, may we not try to accomplish this daunting task in the arm of the flesh, using political, mediatic, economic, or strategic means, while forgetting what he has previously said through Zechariah as a foreshadow of this present-day redemption:
and not by power,
but by my Spirit,'
R' GABRIEL LUMBROSO