AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH - October 17, 2004
FLIGHT TO REALITY - Zechariah 4-6
Spiritual Movement is Needed, to Soar to Godly Living
We have so far, in Zechariah 1-3, seen basic elements of the eternal Gospel being displayed, with focus on the coming Messiah, while the local and contemporary events played out, so that a new temple was only a first instalment, in face of the living Temple of Christ’s building and dominion to follow. If this is an honour for the Messiah, it is also a horror, since the sin of His people is to be INSCRIBED on Him, as writing on a stone. Yet the glory is shown in this, that the sin is REMOVED in this way, in one day. The Messiah as Saviour indeed, is God indeed, and through Him man finds God (see Isaiah 43:10-11, Luke 2:11).
Now we move to Ch. 4, showing the gold bowl with two inlets bringing in olive oil from the two trees, and seven outlets going to lamps, indicative of
“the eyes of the Lord which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth” (4:10).
TWO WITNESSES TO INCLUDE ALL CHRISTIANS
The two olive trees are “the two anointed ones”, and since we have seen just two persons appointed formally with divine blessing, and in an extraordinary manner, in this and the preceding chapter, Joshua the High Priest, and Zerubabbel, the prince or governor, it seems more than apparent that these two are symbolically fulfilling this place. You see much more about this in Revelation 11, and this is necessary preliminary to understanding that! Thus the high priestly function and the princely one, both Christ’s (as staggeringly stressed in Zech 6:13-14, in a later vision), are seen in these two, in Zechariah’s day provided by Him for His people. The Lord thus supplies in a symbolic structure, what is needed; but it is Himself who shall “bear the glory” and not another, as in Zech. 6:13, and it is He who will build the temple as in Ephesians 2:20ff., which relates to Ephesians 4:15ff..
Accordingly, in Revelation 11 the two witnesses are nothing less or other than the Church of Christ, seen in its ‘anointed’ function of attesting the Lordship and the Priestly power of the Lord, as found in Christ. (See Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ, Ch. 5). These are His kindness and kingship. It is this, ourselves who believe, the entire living body of the Christian Church, who are to COME UP HERE! (as in Revelation 11:12), just when the forces of evil and the devil think they are near to exterminating the church of Jesus Christ, altogether! At this stage in Revelation, the bodies of the witnesses seem to lie dead in the streets; but far is this from the actuality, for they are summoned above, where they go as in Matthew 24:29ff., when the trumpet sounds and the elect or chosen ones of Christ are summoned to heaven, leaving massive turbulence on earth (Revelation 11:13).
THE MANY VISIONS ENDING BY SHOWING
CHRIST AS GOD IN GLORY AS MAN
In the preliminary stage of Zech. 4, however, it is the earthly temple which is to be rebuilt, and God uses this opportunity to use symbols to show WHAT IT MEANS, and how it will all end, not in stones of granite, but of godliness (as in I Peter 2:7-9). It is Zerubabbel the prince who will COMPLETE this, just as the application of the symbol, the Christ will finish building His church of LIVING STONES, as Peter puts it. This is indicated as we find Zerubabbel (Zech. 4:7 cf. Psalm 118:22, Psalm 2)
“bring forth the headstone, with shouts of
‘Grace! Grace to it!’ ”
But HOW will this great rebuilding by the prince be done ? Now come the famous words:
“Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts!”
Even the mighty mountain will become as a plain before the anointed Governor (4:7). This is doubtless a basis for Christ’s statement about faith being able to cast the mountain into the sea! (Mark 11). Faith in the power of God and His grace, by promise can change the geological structure of things, that is, the configuration that confronts you in your life!
In Zechariah 5, we see a bevy of visions. First there is a flying scroll, perhaps 30 feet long and 20 wide, which flies over the earth, bringing the curse of God on its wickedness (5:3). Just as this came to a crescendo in the crucifixion of Christ, so it is coming to a greater finale now, with His return, as in increasing vagueness and rebellion, ALL nations tend to turn their hearts to a flummery of thought that has no faith in God at all, moving either towards the hilarious folly of regarding all men as gods, or to the allied quirk of worshipping any that it makes up, by theological innovation, based on air, to serve its own interests, or in delusion, to serve spiritual powers only too gratified to gain entry!
(cf. Ephesians 6:12, and see Deuteronomy 32: 17-18
for the parallel performance in ancient Israel!).
Of special mention (5:4) are ‘perjurors’ or those who swear by God falsely. The scope of flat rebellion against His words is greatly in danger of this, in religious places not least, in society now, as with Israel then. This in varied ways is becoming all the rage, as they
jointly in tongues, as forbidden (I Cor. 1:2, 14:23,27,
even without an interpreter as also forbidden for public worship (I Cor. 14:27-28),
some even degrading Christ in terms of personal experience; or
evolving gods like revolving doors, ignoring the creation
(see The gods of naturalism have no go); or
¨ partake of New Age mysticism (see The Shadow of a Mighty Rock pp. 867ff.), or
whatever other thing is convenient for their culture,
appetites and naturalistic flirtations.
‘Flirtations’ ? It is just such language that God uses of Israel when it did much the same, in its day (Ezekiel 23:5ff.), and His words do not spare them! Set in terms of adultery, yet it is clear that the actual butt of the divine wrath is idolatry, Israel like an unfaithful wife to God (23:7), flirting with what appeals. Therefore cut from your heart what displaces God, like cancer. Wise is he or she who reverences God and keeps to His words! (Psalm 111:10).
Next, a basket is seen with some woman representing utter wickedness, and she is pushed back in for travel purposes presumably, with a lead cover over her (5:5-8). Two women then stoop to catch up the basket and wing their way with it to Babylon, and the explanation is that when it is there, it will be set on its base. Since Babylon, as in Jeremiah 50-51, and Isaiah 14, is the very spring of false religion and oppression in terms of it, as also seen in Revelation 17:1-5, this indicates that idolatrous wickedness has a spiritual future, that is, that its heavy, leaden oppression will culminate in the end, in the oppression of the earth.
Babylon once had a vast imperial rule, and this has a spiritual future, which will however soon be its broken past! for in the domain of the spiritual it is as near to infinite negativity as the finite can reach!
This feverish 'Babylonian' process into the ultimate regress at the spiritual level, of course, has happened and is being completed before our eyes, as first
Romanism, identified in Revelation 13, 17, with its Inquisition, then the
World Council of Churches, together with the
World Unification of Religions movement,
with their confusion in profusion of unbiblical dynamics,
to make one final synthesis,
one religious cocktail,
the fumes of which will be as oppressive as ever those of Rome,
and more inescapable! (Revelation 13 and see News 122).
Not an empire but a world domain is their field! Indeed, in Rev. 13:11, there is seen a second beast, and it is this which is the religious one, and it is shown serving the political predecessor which continues … till judgment comes! Into the virulent throb of false religion come unclean spirits (as in Revelation 16) out of the mouth of beast, false prophet and dragon (devil), and their wonders are ready for those ready to be engulfed with guile.
The beast and the ‘false prophet’ accordingly are dashed on the return of Christ as in Revelation 18-19 (19:20). Rome for its part is to be burned (Revelation 17-18), but first discredited ( Rev. 17:1-5,15-16 – and see, The Shadow of a Mighty Rock pp. 946ff., 729ff., 743-744, News 49).
This political discrediting has already begun in Europe which, despite Romanism’s pleas recently, refused to acknowledge that religion, for things past or present alike! Thus the religion often misnamed Roman Catholicism, has no place in the European Union’s new Constitution (see Revelation 17:3,15ff.). In fact, in any case, there is nothing ‘catholic’ or universal in a religion based in Rome’s desires (cf. Matthew 23:8-10)!
The catholic and apostolic, indeed Biblical faith is not to be dominated by any man, movement or party. CHRIST ONLY IS ITS MASTER, and ALL the rest are ‘brethren’ as Christ declares so solemnly. God ONLY is Father, and the rest ? brethren.
Babylon always loved rule; but the power is the Lord’s, not man’s (Revelation 17:1-9,17-18).
We move from Babylon (Shinar – 5:11), in Zechariah Ch. 6.
The images now change. Thus, in Zech. 6:1ff., you see horses surveying the scene, and the report is again one of quiet, allowing action for defeated, exiled Israel. Its time for restoration after its 70 year stint in Babylon, has come.
At once, this time, the word of God here turns to symbolise the Messiah directly, using gifts from the captives in Babylon, silver and gold, to make a crown to be placed symbolically on the head of Joshua, High Priest, at whose investiture, we hear this:
“Behold the Man
whose name is the Branch!
From His place He shall branch out,
And He shall build in temple of the LORD.
”Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory,
and shall sit and rule in His throne.
”So He shall be a priest on His throne,
and the counsel foe pace shall be between them both.”
It was precisely for presumption in playing priest that the King Uzziah was in the temple, given leprosy! (II Chronicles 26:16ff.). It was forbidden to join both offices, that of king and of priest, in one person – except of course, when God Himself is concerned!
Here then is something like saying positive-negative, man-woman, child-adult. It is a combination that shocks, for in the MESSIAH and in Him alone, is priesthood and princely power joined! This is quite a direct statement therefore that HE is to come, when all symbolism is swept aside; and that He is God. Thus, as God, He shall ‘bear the glory’.
REALISM ABOUT OBEDIENCE AND RELIGIOUS FASHIONS:
WHAT IS NEEDED IS FOUND ONLY IN THE LORD HIMSELF
As we move to our terminus for today (Zechariah 7 with 8), we come to a dialogue drama. SHOULD WE continue to fast ? This is the question the people are asking. Was fasting ever effectual in itself … this is the answer! Was not the REAL point to OBEY! the Lord made clear. What is the good of religious actions if you are not EVEN able to OBEY, and do what God has directed! What sort of a God is not obeyed!), Luke 6:46, Malachi 1:6).
What sort of a faith does not
obey! In fact, the Lord shows, they made their hearts like flint
(Zechariah 7:12) in order NOT to obey the prophets, hence inheriting divine wrath. The Lord called, but they would not listen; then they called, He would not hear (cf. Hosea 7:13-14). Faith is heard, but not mere opportunism, using God as if He were an axe or lawn-mower!
In Ch. 8:2-3, by contrast, God seeing the penitent people declares He has great ZEAL for ZION, and will rebuild! Bringing them back, HE will be their GOD, and THEY will be His people, and great will be the natural joy in it all. It IS natural to rejoice in the supernatural God! for those who are His…
So do we also share; for as Jerusalem had been destroyed after the repeated sins and hypocrisies of centuries, so have many great churches in this 70 years or so, fallen into follies unspeakable, departing not only from the faith, but from the Bible as directive, instead equivocating and being specious, they have moved as if they were political rather than holy. We too must rebuild! Zeal is there, and we must follow Him in this. It is not enough to say, Yes, and consent to the concept of building your house. You need bricks, and labour, thought and zeal; and we need to bring others to the work and labour of it all, by prayer, by supplication, by helping of the needy, by sincerity, by passion, by compassion (as in Zechariah 7:8ff.).
How ? “Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, says the LORD of hosts!”
When you are tempted in this or that, to be double minded, self-indulgent, then ask yourself, Is THIS to build in the temple of the Lord ? When you see opportunities to seek the lost, and you recoil, ask yourself, Is THAT to build! Does not the Lord impel, saying: “Let your hands be strong!” (Zech. 8:9). It is that the temple might be built. While it is His sovereign task to build, as the participation of the people shows, we are helpers by His grace.
There is more than enough of Babylon; more than enough of Rome; of Mecca before the clear commandment of the Lord and of His Christ (cf. Psalm 2!). What is needed is Calvary, where the Cross is held high, not only in word, but in deed; for without this, none, no, neither Romanist, nor Moslem, neither ‘good living person’ based on that very thing in self-idolatrous arrogance, nor agnostic, meddler in magic nor in the poisonous fruits of philosophy, has any hope. Where God meets man is in one place only as a foundation. Without this, NOTHING CAN BE BUILT (I Corinthians 3:11, Acts 4:11-12, Galatians 6:14).
Like the paragliders, we need to soar in spiritual strength, to the testimony of truth, widely distributed, in one body of dynamic living and godly faith. There is no other name, but Christ’s, by which men MUST be saved. God needs no education from man, and His passion cannot be duplicated by human desire. Love does not relish their loss, and so seeks for them, in the name of Him who first came for them, and earlier showed the way He would act, right to the date (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4).
THIS, it is the teaching of the Bible, and as long as breath lasts, let us affirm it, and acting on it, find strength in the Lord who by this holy means brings men, and by none other, to Himself. It is then, and then only, that a man or woman or child can be … a friend of God!