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Five More Visions

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 17, 2020 8:00 am

Five More Visions

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 17, 2020 8:00 am

The book of Zechariah is the fascinating account of a priest who had visions. Discover the lessons these visions teach, and see how they relate to issues about religion today, such as what true religion is...what is the significance of cleanliness...and whenshould wefast. See also the unique picture that Zechariah gives of the Messiah as the shepherd-king. Youll be both enlightened and inspired as you study this thought-provoking book.

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Welcome to the Bible study reviewing Internet ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our bearing you to think and act biblically.

I don't know if Charles Dickens ever read the book of Zechariah, but he may well have since I find a strange resemblance between the experience of Ebenezer Scrooge as a was visited by the ghost of Christmas past, present and future, and the experience of Zechariah and his visions as he was accompanied by the interpreting angel like visions of Ebenezer Scrooge. Each of these came in the same evening and on every occasion there was hear the angel of the Lord to interpret the meaning of the vision until appliance to Zachariah.

We already seen a number of these, we began with a study of the visions in the first chapter where there was description of the man seated upon a horse which was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine that symbolized the presence of God with his people. This is the way the angel of the Lord explained it. I will return to Jerusalem with mercy and there. My house will be rebuilt. The measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem second of these visions had to do with four horns, which represented world powers and four craftsmen. We are told in the vision were to be raised up to scatter and terrify the world powers. This is interpreted, these are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise his head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations lifted up their horns against the land of Judah scatter his people. The third vision was a man with a measuring line going out to measure Jerusalem back to his explained has to do with Jerusalem prospering by the presence of God growing so large that it won't even have boundaries as it flows out a special spiritual sense over the whole earth. Then there was a climax this first set of visions in a special vision that Zachariah had concerning Joshua the high priest Joshua was seen standing in soiled garments. He was given clean garments in the clean turban where symbolized his cleansing and since he stood in a representative capacity for the people that symbolized the cleansing of the people to then. This was used as a jumping off point to look forward to that one who is the true priest and great high priest of Israel should common his day and as it says in the passage shipped one time and in the single day. Remove the sin of Israel, we come to chapter 4 which is the point we begin our study tonight. We begin somewhat with a new set of visions.

These first floor led up to this great peak in the cleansing of Joshua the priest. Now, as it were. We begin again. The series of visions which also build and come to another right climax in the latter half of chapter 6 vision of a golden lampstand with two olive trees which will explain in a moment vision of a flying scroll to women in a basket for chariots and then at the end of all that, here is Joshua again last incident is not strictly speaking, the vision is more a revelation to Zachariah something.

He was to do a symbolic sense but it involves Joshua in a way so parallel to the first set of visions that there's no doubt that it belongs to the second set.

Here we have a great vision of Joshua the high priest, being crowns therefore pointing forward to Jesus who was both king and priest and sits forever as king and priest upon the throne of his father David. That's a magnificent flow and is what we need to study together this evening. This first vision of a golden lampstand, the two olive trees is easy enough to comprehend. Zachariah said that he looked up and he saw this golden lampstand and had seven lights since it's described as being of gold and having seven lights. There's no doubt that this is a reference to the menorah and the Jewish temple.

Certainly, it bears a resemblance to that yet when you look at it closely. There number of features that the menorah didn't have. There's a ball above it to contain the oil are the two olive trees standing at each side, and these it would seem from the vision suggests the continuous supply of oil to the bolts, which in its turn supplies a continuous flow of oil to the lamps you have menorah but you have an additional element added to it. Dr. I didn't understand that exactly but we should have. Certainly this idea of the seven branched lampstand both in the Old Testament and in the new is representative of the people of God. Israel in the Old Testament, the church, composed both Jew and Gentile in the new of the great texts of the Old Testament and the New Testament use the imagery in this way. Isaiah 60 versus 1 to 3, four example, Isaiah writes arise shine, for your light is, there is talking about light into senses light is come to Israel. I was real because it's received. The light is itself to shine the glory of the Lord rises upon you see, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the people with the Lord risen upon you in his glory appears over you nations will come to your light and Kings. The brightness of your dawn again to chapters later Isaiah 62 verse one for Zion's sake I will not keep silent for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet till her righteousness shine out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch New Testament you find the Lord Jesus Christ referring to his disciples as the light of the world.

He said let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father was in heaven he said keep your lamps burning, then in Revelation 1, which is the New Testament counterpart to the vision we have here in the fourth chapter of Zachariah we find the Lord Jesus Christ standing in the midst of the seven golden lampstands Lord himself. On that occasion explains the symbolism. He says the stars of the angels of the seven churches in the seven lampstands are the seven churches let much of the vision is easy to comprehend second element of it has to do with the oil that also is not terribly difficult oil in Scripture is generally a symbol of the Holy Spirit's power and grace of the Holy Spirit supplied to the lives of God's people. Charles Feinberg, in his commentary on Zachariah has an interesting section where he spells out in detail why oil is such a good symbol for the spirit. The spirits work says oil lubricates oil heals oil like soil.

Warm soil invigorates or oil adorned soil polishes every one of those ways you find parallel to what Holy Spirit does in the lives of his people within the company of the church is interesting when we look at this vision, however, and find the angel beginning to apply it, that it's not applied in terms of the general meaning of those images slammed Israel in the oil to the Holy Spirit rather supplied in a very special way to the work of Zerubbabel within the people in the work of the people in that day.

In other words, you have a special word for Zerubbabel, the chief civil ruler in Israel in Zachariah for just as it was a special word for Joshua the high priest, the chief spiritual leader in Israel.

In chapter 3 takes a number of different forms and points. There's a general principle, not by might nor by power but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty verse six there's reference obstacles in verse seven. What are you a mighty mountain before Zerubbabel you will be brought down to become level ground. There's a special promise to Zerubbabel himself to the effect of justice.

He has begun the rebuilding of the temple. So we lived the completed hands of Zerubbabel of laid the foundation of this temple. His hands will also complete it and you will know that the Lord Almighty and sent me to you. And finally there's a general word of encouragement who despises the day of small things I tell you men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel's must've been a great encouragement to Zerubbabel because he was a man who faced unusual difficulties you had the responsibility of leading the people in the discouraging a she faced opposition within without side is really yeah those were lazy. Those that lacks the vision ocean said the time is not yet the very sort of thing about which IDI rights writing about the same time men without he faced all kinds of enemies. Those who were directly opposed anything he might do honor the God of Israel yet. Here's a word to him where God says he will complete the work, but understand that is not going to be by human power.

And it's not going to be by man's might it's going to be by the power of my spirit is alive promised God that I will perform just as I've encourage you to begin the work so I'm going to bring your work to a satisfactory close. I find that encouraging. I think, and that God speaks stops there's not any work that is given us to do that he doesn't give us strength to complete it gives you something to do to matter how difficult that may seem to matter what darkness which operate no matter the opposition you face either within or without, may be God's given you that work to carry you throwing a good by his power, not by your own will teach you to say, as it does here and I think our Christian experience leads us the days of our lives. To appreciate the statement increasingly well, not by might nor by power, but is by human minor by human power but by my spirit, saith the Lord. Well, I read that and all that's encouraging. But there's one very practical word that I think has to come in here to and is simply this, that there were no shortcuts for Zerubbabel even though we had such a great promise, and there are no shortcuts for us I mean by that. But even though you have here the man who God says is raised up to do the task and to whom these great promises are given and who is to be used by God's Holy Spirit to minister blessing in Israel and eventually to the nations, even though you have a man like that he was still a man who had to get on with the work day by day by day, you take the reference herein Zachariah to the time of the vision of the word Zachariah and you compare it with what Ezra tells us about the building of the temple you find that was four years later before the temple was completed four years, four years of hard work. Zerubbabel minutes as he led the people day by day.

It says here men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel, the commentators say well that's symbolic.

This means that he was the head of the people and he was giving the direction laying down the line may be, but I don't think so. I think Zerubbabel actually got out there with the plumb line you know in your region. Ezra Ezra emphasizes that all the people went to the work.

There were those here and those here in Osier all did their job. I think Zerubbabel is in there with everybody else working day by day getting his hands dirty. Laying the bricks propping the line and we need to stress that because I talked to so many people today, especially young people, and as I try to understand where they're coming from and what problems they're facing and why they're having difficulty getting on with the Christian life. I think in many many cases. The bottom line is that they're looking for a shortcut studying the Bible and they want a simple principle that allow them to do away with all the hard work of Bible study just the principle you get that in mind, everything's all right or they talk about the Christian life.

They want an experience eliminates the difficulty of living day by day. For the Lord in the midst of difficulties you talk about a church. They want to fellowship that's perfect to start with that I don't have to enter into the very difficult task of working within the fellowship to make it increasingly by the grace of God, the kind of fellowship. God desires it to be my center. No shortcuts. God could have given a shortcuts God to the throne the temple up overnight, Zerubbabel going to come out one morning and say wow look at God did a miracle. Praise be to his name, got into it that way was brick by brick, stone by stone mortar by mortar is over the period of four years. God build up the structure through Zerubbabel and the others in the work of their hands, should we have in any better.

Zerubbabel who has all these promises still had to work at it. We have to work at it to last part of this vision. Another part.

The Zachariah himself didn't understand it and understand about those trees as well as that many understood what the lampstand was so I'm here with these trees and trees had two branches in the branches stuck out they were dropping oil he didn't understand that it's explain these are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the art in the context of the vision that must refer to Joshua on the one hand, and Zerubbabel on the other must refer to the priestly role in the kingly role. Therefore those two great offices in Israel but you know the ultimate sense it points forward to the Lord Jesus Christ who combines both his one person. This is the flow of the visions were to see it when we get to the end. See the high priest of Israel was the branch and the king in Israel or the governor was the branch that the branches were attached to the trees and the trees stood for Jesus Christ. So would worry about that work building up the kingdom.

Day by day in the little place that God has given us to labor and the promise that we do so is that what comes together, not by might nor by power but by the spirit of God flowing from the Lord Jesus Christ last for the branches to do the work I do know of any greater encouragement than that we find ourselves in difficult times. Given as they had small things to do for the cause of Christ. Well, we come to three more visions.

Everything's been encouraging up to this point has been the promise of God with his people.

There's been the promise that God will always raise up leaders able to cope with whatever difficulties is the promise of blessing for Jerusalem. The cleansing of the high priest symbolizing the cleansing of the nation, and now this great promise for Zerubbabel that the work will be completed. I asked her still the problem of sin. Sin among the people here three visions that deal with that. I think they go together must admit that there are differences among commentators as to how these visions are interpreted. Zachariah is one of the difficult books of the Old Testament so far as interpretation is concerned but I think his idea of sin, and the cleansing putting away of sin is what ties the three together. First of all, chapter 5 verses one through four. Zachariah sees a flying scroll is the dimensions of its 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. That's an unusual dimension for scroll 30 feet long, wouldn't be so surprising, but a scroll 15 feet wide would be difficult to manage not only to handle the degree people try to explain this slave noted people like to know such things that these are the dimensions of the holy place the Jewish tabernacle. These are also the dimensions of Solomon's porch of the later temple built by Solomon.

They said well it symbolizes God's judgment coming out of the holy place symbolizes the place with the laws read that. Maybe I don't know. I think probably the great dimensions of the scroll simply indicate that it's a weighty judgment. The big thing not to be missed here is going forth as it says to judge everyone who swears falsely or steals within Israel, God sending it out is going to enter into the house of the thief and a liar is not only going to destroy them, judge them, it's going to destroy the house as well. Both timbers and stone. Have a symbol seems to be not merely of the purging away of these two sentence but by using them in a representative sense all sin among the people. Secondly, there's this vision of a woman in a basket, baskets, and a fox. The largest dry measure.

Here's a woman in it she represents wickedness as the vision census while Zachariah watches that led lid is clamped down upon the basket and then to flying women angels presumably arrived and lift up the basket.

They carry it away to Babylon where place is been prepared for.

It's going to be left there just as the first vision symbolizes the judging of those sore sinners within Israel. So does this one. Symbolize the taking away even the very principle of wickedness itself and finally have this vision of the chariots for about this vision is perhaps the most difficult because the least amount of explanation is given. But when you have for it probably means the four corners of the earth.

That's the direction which the chariots go. Jerry was war machine so probably this speaks of judgment.

Here you have one chariot going off to the north and one to the west. One of the Southeast doesn't mention the emphasis of the vision is that this is a judgment upon the whole earth to find it three times in verse seven, when the powerful horses went out they were straining to go throughout the earth, and he said go throughout the earth, so they went throughout the earth, the difficulty of the vision seems to me is not so much saying in a general way, as I just have what they apply to but saying the period of history.

The time in which they apply.

This really is where the commentators differ somewhat to the past. I see that image of the woman being carried away in a basket may see that perhaps as a symbol of the deportation of the people that took place earlier, the northern kingdom being carried away in the southern kingdom being carried away to Babylon.

Great image for that.

They say that's the case then your Zachariah looking to the past. The only problem with that is all the vision seem to look to the future.

This one doesn't quite seem to fit some of said well it refers to the present year under the governorship of Zerubbabel. God is going to purge away sin from the people he's going to do away with the thief and the murder in the lyre and all that. The only problem I have with that reputation. Is it didn't seem to happen thief of the murder in the liar were still there and certainly the principle of wickedness is not removed. This is one reason, among others.

Why, I will offer 1/3 position cited is looking to the future future of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ upon the earth, in which, in a very literal way, as I believe the vision should be taken. There will be judgment upon evil doers of the principle of evil will be removed. I think perhaps this is why in the last verse of the section I just read Zachariah six verses one through eight. There's a special emphasis upon the Bible and once again then he called them a look those going toward the north country of given my spirit rest in the land of the earth Bible is the great symbol of the world opposed to the people of God way in the past under Nebuchadnezzar here. This present time and then finally, even as we find it in the book of Revelation in the future God is going to judge the Gentile nations represented by this great world power. But as I said the second half of this chapter reaches a new and second peak indeed a higher one in the matter of this crown being prepared for Joshua word of the Lord came to me takes over gold from the exiles held by the by June July who have arrived from Babylon for the same day to the house of Josiah's son of Zephaniah takes over gold. Make a crown set on the head of the high priest Joshua the son of Jehovah's attack now in the Hebrew that word crown is plural, and is kind of an interesting series of speculated actions by the liberal commentators since it's in the plural. They've imagined it to mean to crowns the means to crowns. They've imagined that one must be set up on the head of the high priest Joshua and presumably the other upon the head of the governor Zerubbabel so they interpolate into the text to read. Take the silver and gold and make crowns and set one on the head of the high priest, Joshua the son of John is a deck in the second upon the head of Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah.

In addition to being absolutely unjustified speculation which unfortunately is all too frequently advice of liberal scholars. It misses the point of the passage see the point of the passage. Is it within Israel, there was always a very clearly defined distinction between the priesthood. On the one hand of the civil rulers on the other. No priest was ever to wear a crown.

No priest ever sat upon the throne. By contrast, no civil ruler ever was permitted to perform the functions of the priest here.

You say crown is prepared in the crown is set smart upon the head of Zerubbabel which one might have expected, but upon the head of Joshua the priest passage goes on to say that this man, this priest shall sit upon his throne. Joshua understand that to mean that he was going to be the K he was going to sit upon the throne of David, although he understood perfectly well that I was symbolic. That's why, in the passage it says after Zachariah has performed a symbolic act crown is to be taken is to be laid up within the temple. He understood perfectly well that was not pointing forward to a role that he would perform but it was pointing forward to the role that the Messiah, the great King priest of Israel would perform in the Lord's own day. This is one of the great messianic passages of the Old Testament. It's a kind of passage that deserves a study virtually of every word look at it. Beginning with the words, here is the man whose name is the branch in the Hebrew the word say, behold, the man that makes us think of pilots words when he brought forth the beaten and humiliated Christ for display before the people of Jerusalem at the Homo. Behold, the man on the pilot was bringing forth the Lord of glory in his humiliated foreman here, Zachariah. Speaking of the man Jesus in his exalted heavenly glory.

This man's name is the branch there's a second emphasis that word occurred earlier in the reference in the third chapter 2, the high priest and the way in which his role look forward to the Messiah here is explained is called the branch because he going to branch out. There's a pond or double meaning on the board. He starts as a small thing but is going to grow and grow until his rule actually extends over the whole earth is going to cinch on his throne. He's going to build the temple of the Lord, and as result of his work. There will be harmony between the two.

Word harmony is the word piece you say what is the harmony involved. What is the peace this man establishes is it harmony or peace between the two roles. The role of the priest and the role of the king. Although they were harmonious to begin with.

Is it harmony between God the father and God the son own all that peace existed from before the foundation of the earth. What is it that. How is it that he's established peace.

What does it refer to obviously refers to is making peace between the holy sovereign God and sinful men and women.

Jesus Christ is our peace, and he's established that piece by his work on the cross, which he is finished monster. All is her proof of which he sits down upon his throne, the role this church in the world forever more advanced and Savior. That man is the Messiah that man is the ultimate fulfillment of the visions, and this is one of whom, we must book our salvation is the Lord Jesus Christ your priest or Jesus Christ, your King, your Lord, as he made peace for you with God by the blood of his cross, you don't find peace there not going to find peace anywhere because there is no peace with God, apart from Christ work you'll come to that cross. If you submit yourself to him if you will surrender to him as Savior and Lord, and you'll find that not only has he established peace between you and the holy God same priest lives forever to make intercession for you and the live rule and direct your life the way it brings forward the fullest measure of the divine blessing.

Hallelujah we have such a priest and king and Savior. Let us pray our father we ask you to bless the study to our hearts. We confess when we come to prophecy that there's much we do not understand there may even be mistakes in the way we interpret what we read. We can't miss the fact that this portion of Scripture, as indeed rightly understood all other portions of Scripture point to Jesus, the one who is our Savior are King and our great high priest, we would assess by your grace. There might be no one listening who is able to put these things lightly. Aside we ask rather that your Holy Spirit will seize upon their mind and their hearts in such a way that they might have no peace themselves until they come to find peace which Jesus Christ achieved by his work on Calvary grantor father, we might all grow day by day in the knowledge of what that means. The praise of the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord, or moon you have been listening to the Bible study our production of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals the alliance of confessing Evangelicals exist to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of Reformation theologians from decades, even centuries gone by. We seek to provide contemporary Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. The alliance ministry includes the Bible study are featuring Dr. James voice every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Rieke and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Gray Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a full list of radio stations carrying our programs or to make a contribution. Please contact us by calling toll-free 1-800-488-1888. Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You can also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia, PA 19103 work, you can visit us online at ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio teachings, commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians, including Donald Barnhouse, James Boyce and Philip Rieke. Thank you again for your continued support and

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