(2:14) "Sing, daughter of Tziyon; rejoice! For, here, I am coming; and I will live among you," says Adonai.
(Zec 2:10 CJB)
PARASHA VAYESHEV BEFORE CHANUKAH
On the years when par'shat Vayeshev coincides with Chanukah, the haftara for that week relates the oil menorah in the Zechariah prophecy. In that oracle, Zechariah speaks of the time of the building and dedication of the second Temple, replacing the first Temple that had been burned by the Babylonians.
This period in time carries strong resemblance with the rededication of that same second Temple after it had been defiled by the Greeks. The similarity between the two events is the reason why the sages of Israel chose this passage to be read at Chanukah.
Zachariah was a priest at the time of the return from Babylon. His prophecies speak of the reestablishment of Jerusalem, the Temple, the priesthood, and the monarchy. In his time, not too much unlike today, the Jewish nation struggled to keep a foothold in the Promised land. Two prominent figures appear in the oracle: Joshua the High Priest and Zerubbabel, the heir of the Davidic monarchy.
"REJOICE, I AM COMING!"
The oracle starts with a rallying cry for Jerusalem:
(2:14) "Sing, daughter of Tziyon; rejoice!
A prophecy follows about HaShem's presence returning to the people:
For, here, I am coming; and I will live among you," says Adonai.
(Zec 2:10 CJB)
The Temple was built, the very Temple that became the place where the Master revealed Himself to his people. That revelation brought the Gentiles to join with Israel as covenant people:
(2:15) 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.
(Zec 2:11 CJB)
(2:16) Adonai will take possession of Y'hudah as his portion in the holy land, and he will again make Yerushalayim his choice.
(Zec 2:12 CJB)
May it be soon HaShem, even in our days.
(2:17) Be silent, all humanity, before Adonai; for he has been roused from his holy dwelling.' "
(Zec 2:13 CJB)
Then all the people on the earth will be silenced and give you glory!
THE ACCUSER ACCUSED
HaShem continues leading Zechariah in the oracle. The prophet sees the current high-priest in soiled garments being harassed by the HaSatan.
In this vision, Joshua represents the Judean community in its sinful state, a sinful condition that HaSatan is all too happy to point out to HaShem, as he always does in his role of prosecutor-in-chief (the Accuser of the Saints). Adonai then accuses the Accuser:
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.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?"Y'hoshua was clothed in garments covered with dung; and he was standing before the angel,
(Zec 3:1-3 CJB)
For the sake of His great compassion, HaShem restores Jerusalem:
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 3:4-5 CJB)
HaShem gives His admonition to restored Judah:
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 CJB)
This post-Babylonian exile restoration of Judah by HaShem's mercy becomes a sign that a greater messianic restoration is on its way through the One called, "the Branch", the Messiah. His name on earth will be Yeshua, which is an Aramaic colloquial version of the name Joshua.
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.
(Zec 3:8-9 CJB)
This time will be a precursor to the peace and abundance of the promised Messianic Era.
When that time comes,' says Adonai-Tzva'ot, 'you will all invite each other to join you under your vines and fig trees.' "
(Zec 3:10 CJB)
A MESSIANIC MENORAH
The angel that was speaking to Zechariah continues with the messianic oracle. He shows Zechariah a vision using the Temple menorah, an intricate menorah with tubes feeding it oil coming from two olive trees flanked at its sides.
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. Next to it are two olive trees, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left."
(Zec 4:1-3 CJB)
Zechariah wants to know, what is the meaning of the vision?
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 4:4-5 CJB)
The vision is a prophetic representation of the return of Israel's existence with its Levitical priesthood and Davidic monarchy. A mountain of obstacles stands before this beautiful realization. The angel then gives Zachariah the admonition that this vision will not be accomplished by the strength of man, but by the work of the Spirit of HaShem:
Then he answered me, "This is the word of Adonai to Z'rubavel: 'Not by force, and not by power, but by my Spirit,' says Adonai-Tzva'ot. '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 4:6-7 CJB)
ANOTHER REDEDICATION, IN THE FUTURE
Chanukah tells us of another time when HaShem mightily worked through His people to reestablish the Jerusalem Temple that will less than 200 years later receive the "Branch", Yeshua the Messiah. He came to teach us to let go of our pride; of our rebellious individualistic and selfish attitudes: of our baseless hatred that caused the destruction of the both the first and second Temples: that we may learn to live by the Torah that He teaches us. He came to tell us to repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand, the one that comes,
"Not by force, and not by power, but by my Spirit,' says Adonai-Tzva'ot.
At the time of the end, may we be there for the Chanukah of all Chanukahs, for the Dedication of all Dedications, the Dedication of the 3rd Temple in the presence of our Yeshua our Master, Priest and King of Israel.
R' Gabriel Lumbroso