In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,
Zechariah and Haggai share the same historical background and setting. God had called both prophets into service sixteen years after the arrival of the original Jewish exiles returning from Babylon in 538 B. C. His message was one of encouragement after the building of the temple had ceased.
Therefore say to them, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:“Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts.
One of the glorious and loving things about the Lord is how eager He is to love and receive us when we return to Him. Every time I read about it, in the midst of or coming off of rebellion and disobedience, I think to myself, how can that be? It is then that I realize that it is because we have such a loving and forgiving God.
For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst. ’”
We must understand and walk in the truth that the Lord wants to be ‘a wall of fire around us’. This is a great picture of how He protects us. We can be greatly comforted by this truth.
Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
What a glorious picture of salvation. When we accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, the Lord removes our filthy garments and replaces them with rich robes of righteousness.
‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.
My Servant the BRANCH, is a direct reference to Jesus. We see this more clearly in Jeremiah 23:5, “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.
We must be ever aware that it is not by any power of our own that anything is accomplished, but rather all is accomplished by the Spirit of God. We need to guard ourselves from doing things in our own strength, always relying on the Lord’s strength in us. Paul exhorted the churches in Galatia, Galatians 3:3, Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”
Our plumb line, that by which we measure everything in our lives, must always be ‘the eyes of the Lord’. We must constantly be asking ourselves, how would the Lord view what is going on here and what is it that He would have me do. When we do this, we can never go wrong.
For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
A verse like this may seem to contradict what we read in Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” The author of Hebrews is quoting the prophet Jeremiah. It seems to me, that because God is omniscient, that He is all knowing, it would be impossible for Him to forget anything. So what is going on here? I believe that it is a reference to remembering in the sense that He holds our sins, our iniquities against us. This is what forgetting refers to, forgetting in the sense that I will not punish for those iniquities, or In other words, I will forgive your sins. Praise God we know that He is a forgiving God. Having said that, there is a day when He will remember the sins of the impenitent and punish them accordingly.
For in one hour such great riches came to nothing. ’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city? ’
The time period that Chapter 18 is taking place is at the end of the Great Tribulation period and the second coming of Jesus Christ. We know that references to Babylon can either be references to the religious system in the Great Tribulation period, the political, economic and commercial system in the Great Tribulation period or the physical city of Babylon. Either way, the day is coming when this system that seems to be in its glory is going to come tumbling down. We mustn’t be misled by the false sense of security our economy or commerce system seems to bring. It is only temporary at best!