I was having a little prayer time with some of the staff before the service tonight, and we always pray about all the things that are going to be going on. And for some reason, I was feeling very tired, and so I just said, “Lord, keep me awake. Especially during the sermon.” But we’ll endeavor to do that tonight. Sometimes it sort of catches up with you.
And yet we’re excited about what God’s going to say to us in the second chapter of Zechariah. Take your Bible, if you will, and let’s look at it, chapter 2. This has been kind of an exciting adventure for me to spend some time in the book of Zechariah, a book which I have studied off and on, in bits and pieces, but never really looked at verse by verse carefully all the way through. And it’s just been very enriching and very rewarding for me.
We’ve come to the second chapter of Zechariah tonight, and the subject on hand is the future glory of the city of Jerusalem. I suppose one of the greatest experiences of anybody’s lifetime, should he or she be so fortunate to have this experience, is to be able to visit the city of Jerusalem. I’ve been there a couple of times, and every time I go, I am sort of swept away in my thinking. I stand there, and it’s as if before my eyes the whole of world history goes by me from Genesis to Revelation.
I used to think, when I visited the city of Rome, that I couldn’t comprehend all of the history that was there. So much has happened in that marvelous city that it’s just mind boggling to try to sort it all out and get it all into concentrated, sequential thought.
Well, if that was a problem in Rome, I’ll never forget having left Rome the first time I arrived in Jerusalem, and all of the history of that magnificent place began to flood in on my mind.
And what was most exciting about Jerusalem was not so much what had been done, but what would be done, what was coming for that city. Most of them don’t know that, but God has a marvelous, exciting, unbelievable plan for the city of Jerusalem. It is the special city. In Psalm 132, verse 13, it says, “For the Lord has chosen Zion.” And very often Jerusalem is called Zion because Zion is a prominent mountain on the south edge of the city.
“The Lord hath chosen Zion,” and then the verse says, “He hath desired it for His dwelling place.” God has chosen that city. That’s His special city, where He did dwell, and where He yet will dwell.
The exiles in Babylon, when they had been carried from their beloved city, wrote some songs about it, and they, in looking back at what they had, must have sung with melancholy. The Bible says in Psalm 137, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” And then the mournful reflection, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her skill, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my highest joy.”
Since the psalmist says they hung their harps on the willow, maybe they didn’t even sing it. Maybe they only chanted it. But for them, they would rather lose a right hand or lose the capacity to speak than forget the loveliness and the significance of Jerusalem.
David said, “Beautiful in situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion in the far north. The city of the great King. God in her palaces has made Himself known as a stronghold,” Psalm 48, verses 2 and 3.
The psalmist prays to God on behalf of the city. In Psalm 102:13 and 14 it says, “Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favor her, yea, the set time is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones and favor the dust thereof.” The Jews, throughout history have loved the city. In fact, many Jewish people in America who die have placed in their casket a little receptacle filled with Jerusalem dirt because of the treasure that city is to them.
David cried out in Psalm 122, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper who love thee. Because of the house of the Lord, I will seek thy good.” And, of course, David is saying, “It’s because God’s habitation is there that I care about that place.”
Back in the first chapter of Nehemiah, we can reflect upon the love of one man for the city. In Nehemiah chapter 1, verse 2, it says, “I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, ‘The remnant who are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach.’” Nehemiah’s asking about the remnant that’s gone back. He’s still in Babylon. “‘The wall of Jerusalem is broken down; its gates are burned with fire.’ And it came to pass, when I heard these words” – says Nehemiah – “that I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” A broken heart because of the city that was so beloved.
In the second chapter of Nehemiah, in the first verse, “It came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him. And I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king.” He was the wine taster for the king. “Now I had not been sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said to me, ‘Why is your face sad, seeing you’re not sick. There’s nothing else but sorrow of heart.’
“Then I was very much afraid, and said to the king, ‘Let the king live forever.’” You always say that to the king. Having gotten done with the amenities, he then went on to the point. “‘Why should not my countenance be sad when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchers, lies waste, and its gates are consumed with fire?’” He’s typical of many who have loved the city of Jerusalem.
Fourteen miles west of the Dead Sea – almost straight up, in fact – 33 miles east of the Mediterranean, located on a rocky plateau about 2,500 feet above sea level and 3,800 feet above the Dead Sea sits the city of Jerusalem. It is a naturally fortified city because it is on a plateau. It can be entered only from the north.
It had an incredible water supply bubbling up from the Gihon Spring. The mean temperature of the city throughout the year is 63 degrees. It is perfectly situated away from any major roads or any major rivers or any major seas so that it was never really in the way of all the armies and troops that traveled around. And so, it had some sort of seclusion. But for not these reasons, but some reason beyond that, in the mind of God, He chose this wonderful place to be His holy habitation. And the city of Jerusalem dominates the Old Testament, and it dominates the New Testament.
Let me give you a little, fast history, hang on. It first appears in Scripture as the city of Salem, ruled by a man by the name of Melchizedek. In Genesis 14, he is called the king of Salem. Most people assumed that the name Jerusalem or Salem comes from the Hebrew shalom which means peace. Twenty centuries before Christ, it existed as the city of Salem.
The next time we see Jerusalem in history, it appears as a Canaanite stronghold with an allegiance to Egypt. Soon after that, we see it in reference to Joshua. This is 600 years after the Genesis record, or 1,400 years before Christ. Joshua, in chapter 10, sets his sights on this city as he conquers Canaan.
And in chapter 15, Joshua says that this territory, including this city, has been given to Judah when the land was divided among the tribes. But even though it was 1,400 years before Christ that the city was said to belong to Judah, it wasn’t till 1003 B.C. that David stormed Jerusalem, which was then a fortress of the people called the Jebusites. And according to 2 Samuel chapter 5, David took the city which later was to bear the name the City of David.
The city never really became much under David. It wasn’t until David’s brilliant son Solomon that Jerusalem reached its golden age. And under Solomon, the wall was extended, and incredible palace was built – an amazing and marvelous wonder of the world. The temple was accomplished, and Jerusalem became something astonishing, something astounding.
But after Solomon, the ages that flowed on brought no comparable glory to Jerusalem. And by 586 B.C., or about 400 years after Solomon, the city was a rubble, destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar.
Nehemiah went back and rebuilt it, but it remained rather insignificant from then on. Finally, in 70 A.D., after the birth of Jesus Christ some 70 years, the city was wiped out again and destroyed by the Roman army as we saw last week. Jerusalem rose rather meekly from the ashes a little after 70 A.D., but by 132 A.D., whatever was left was crushed by the emperor Hadrian from Rome.
And until modern times, even in our modern era, Jerusalem has been kicked back and forth between the Turks and the Christian nations; the Muslims and the Christians kicking it back and forth. And finally, in our generation, the marvelous rebirth of the state of Israel has occurred. A miracle of sociology, a miracle of the perpetuity of a race of human beings, I daresay nobody has ever met a Jebusite, a Hivite, an Amorite, a Moabite, an Edomite, or any other “ite” around the Bible, but we sure have Israelites, because God has preserved them in their own land. They’ve come back. But they hold it very tenuously, don’t they? Surrounded by enemies. In fact, on every side of them that is land, they are locked in with literally bloodthirsty enemies. And their hold is tenuous, and they are always on the edge of war. And incredible as it is, from Melchizedek in the fourteenth chapter of Genesis to 1977, the story of Jerusalem weaves its way through history. Cities come and go, but not that city. It just continues. The city of Melchizedek, the city of David, the city of Christ, the city of Paul, the city of Saladin, the city of General Allenby, the city of Ben-Gurion, the city of Moshe Dayan, it is ever the perpetual city, and someday it’ll be the city of the seed of David, the Lord Jesus Christ, yet again.
Its final chapter hasn’t been written. Its final hero hasn’t arrived yet. But He will. For about 2,000 years now, the Jews have been going to the Wailing Wall, at one point or another, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, to plead with God to send the Deliverer and break Gentile power.
And I imagine if you were to go up to the wall – and you wouldn’t dare do this – and pull out of the cracks the little notes that the Orthodox stick in the cracks and read them, they would say, “O God, for the peace of Jerusalem.” And God will answer. Jerusalem has not only been the center of redemptive history, it will be the center of redemptive consummation in the great future that God has planned. It is, incidentally, still to be the habitation of God. It is the only intended capital for the kingdom. And as Melchizedek was its first king, so one after the order of Melchizedek will be its last king. But, until then, the Bible says Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles.
In Daniel 9:26, listen to what Daniel said. “In that city” – said Daniel – “even unto the end there will be war.” Even unto the end. They will never know peace unto the Prince of Peace arrives. Oh, there will be a false peace – won’t there? – set up by the Antichrist, but not the real thing. In fact, the greatest war that the land will ever know hasn’t happened yet has it? What war is it? Armageddon. The Plain of Megiddo. I couldn’t help but think, as I stood on the Mount of Esdraelon and the stables, and also on the other side, on the stables of Solomon, and looked over the Plain of Megiddo, which Napoleon said is the greatest battlefield he’d ever seen in the world, I couldn’t help but think of what was yet to come, when the book of Revelation says the blood will be as deep as the bridles of the horses for 200 miles. A bloodbath that’s inconceivable.
And at the end of that great battle of Armageddon comes the Lord Jesus Christ. Apparently, from what the Bible tells us, the people who are fighting in the battle of Armageddon will all of a sudden see Christ coming out of the sky, and they’ll turn to fight against Him, and He will destroy them and set up His glorious kingdom.
When the Deliverer comes, Jerusalem will be exalted. And you can’t help, when you’re there, but realize that. And I kept thinking to myself, “If they only knew what was going to happen here.” Isaiah’s call will be fulfilled. Isaiah 66:10. Do you know what he said? Listen. “Rejoice ye with Jerusalem. Be glad with her, all ye that lover her. Rejoice with her for joy all ye that mourn her. For thus said the Lord, ‘Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river.’” The day’s coming.
Look with me at a couple of texts in Isaiah. Chapter 1, verse 26, “And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning. And after thou shalt be called” – and I love this – “The city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with justice and her converts with righteousness.” There’s coming a different day, a saving day.
Look at 62 of Isaiah - and this is one of the great pictures of the future of the city of Israel called Zion again here, because it’s – of the significance of Mount Zion - 62:2, “And the nations shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory. And thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. And thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” Here is Jerusalem; it’ll be a sparkling jewel-studded crown. A tremendous thought. And verse 4 is so beautiful, “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken, neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate.”
Now go down to verse 11, “Behold, the Lord has proclaimed unto the end of the earth, ‘Say ye to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, His work before Him.”‘ And they shall call them, ‘The holy people, the redeemed of the Lord,’ and thou shalt be called Sought out, a city not forsaken.”
Will God forsake Jerusalem? No. It’s a city not forsaken. Someday when Jerusalem is righteous, when Jerusalem is cleansed, when Jerusalem is washed of its shame and its pollution, it will become what God originally intended it to be; it will become a holy city.
In Isaiah chapter 4, verse 3, “It shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion, and he who remains in Jerusalem shall be called holy.” Isaiah looks at the future, and he says, “Someday everybody there who is left will be holy.” And that’s the way it is at the beginning of Messiah’s kingdom. Everybody there will be holy because all the ungodly and the unholy will have been judged.
“When the Lord” – and here it is, the key in verse 4 – “When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and have purged the blood of Jerusalem from its midst by the spirit of justice and the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and a smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night, for upon all the glory shall be a defense. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.”
God says there’s coming a day when everything’s going to be different. And I’ll be there, and My Shekinah will be there as it was in the wilderness. The light will be there, the fire will be there by night. And I will be a refuge, but it’ll only happen, verse 4 says, after the Lord has washed the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the blood of Jerusalem. There’s got to be a cleansing first; there’s got to be a dramatic change in the nation Israel.
And Jeremiah 30, verse 9 says, “They shall serve the Lord their God and David their king whom I will raise up unto them.” And, of course, that’s a reference to the Messiah Christ. And he said this in Ezekiel 34:23 – Ezekiel said – this is really a beautiful statement, he said, “I will set up on Shepherd over them. He shall feed them and be their Shepherd.” There’s coming a day when there will be a washing, and there will be a purifying, and there will be a cleansing. And they will be given a new Shepherd, none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Ezekiel chapter 37, verse 21, “Say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord God, “Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations to which they are gone, and gather them on every side and bring them into their own land. And I will make them on nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all. And they shall be no more two nations; neither shall they be divided into kingdoms anymore at all. Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, now with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions. I will save them out of all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and cleanse them. So shall they be My people, and I will be their God.
“‘“And David My servant shall be king over them, and they all have one spirit, and they shall walk in My ordinances and observe my statutes to do them. And they will dwell in the land I have given unto Jacob.”‘”
And then the next verse, 26, “‘“I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it will be an everlasting covenant. And I will place them and multiply them and set my sanctuary in the midst of them forever. My tabernacle also shall be with them. Yea, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And the nations shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forevermore.”‘” Great promises. God has great plans for that place. Restoration, salvation, cleansing, the delivering of their king and their Messiah.
Isaiah 32:17 says, “And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteous quietness and assurance forever, and My people will dwell in a peaceable habitation” – listen to this – “in sure dwellings and quiet resting places.” Peace for Jerusalem. Now, that must seem incredible to anybody who’s ever been there. Now, that must seem incredible to anybody who’s ever been there. It’s coming.
We’re in Zechariah, believe it or not. And Zechariah 9:10, “And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off” – in other words, no more weapons of war, no more articles of war – “he shall speak to the nations, and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth.”
I’m telling you, people, that’s the marvelous message to Israel. That ought to gladden the heart of every hoping Jew. God isn’t finished. And the glory of Israel is yet to come. There will be a day when Jerusalem is glorious beyond anything we have ever dreamed. And that kind of message of hope would be thrilling to every Jew and to every Christian who holds in his heart a special place for that city because it’s the city where our dear Lord was crucified and rose again. And this is precisely the message that Zechariah delivers to his saddened and humiliated people.
And Zechariah chapter 2, the vision is to tell them this wonderful news about Jerusalem. They’re in a situation of terrible degradation, humiliation and sadness. The wall of their city is smashed. Their once glorious place is in rubble. All that they had known of the golden age of Solomon is gone. They are helpless. They are impotent. They are huddled, a small, insignificant minority, wondering how they will defend themselves. They have been threatened by their enemies and cease to rebuild their city. They are cowering in fear that it’s all over.
And Zechariah comes with this third vision and gives them the message that God yet has a marvelous future for Jerusalem. And what he’s really saying to them is, “Go ahead and build it and commit yourself to building it because you’re not dealing with a passing fancy, you’re dealing with an internal city.” I mean he’s saying, “You’re going to win in the end, so, you might as well give it everything you’ve got right now. Your work isn’t going to perish. You’re a part of an eternal plan.”
You’ll remember that the first vision of the rider on the red horse predicted hope for downtrodden Israel. The second vision presented, of the horns and the smiths, presented the fact that the nations who had triumphed over Israel would be crushed. And now the third vision says, “Your hope will be realized when the nations are crushed and Jerusalem is glorified.”
Now, I want to look at six parts to this vision. And I think you’ll see how it unfolds. First of all, the design proposed. The design proposed. Now watch verse 1, “I lifted up mine eyes again.” Remember what we said last time about that? After each vision on this one night – and you’ve got eight of them – he would drop his head in meditation and prayer. And then he would lift his eyes again, perhaps at the prodding of interpreter angel who helps him to understand each vision, and he would see another one.
“So, I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.” Now, he looks up, in his vision. It’s as if God has given him another sense: he can see what is unseeable. He can see what is imperceptible. He is given eyes of a supernatural character to see imagery God wants him to see. And he sees a man, and the man has in his hand a measuring line. If you want the simplest definition of that a tape measure, a builders line.
Back in chapter 1, verse 16 we saw this. He says, “A line will be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. In other words, when the city is going to be rebuilt, somebody is going to measure the dimensions of the new city. And here is that vision right here. And he sees a guy with a tape measure, and he’s a surveyor. And he’s laying out the city.
Now, we could talk a little about who he is. Who is this man? Who was the rider on the red horse? The Angel of the Lord or Christ. Who is the final one of the hammerers that crushed the final kingdom? Very possible that the man with the tape measure is Christ. I can’t be dogmatic about that, and so I don’t want you to think that that’s an absolute conclusion. But I kind of lean that way on the basis of Ezekiel 40. Don’t turn to it; I’ll read it to you.
Ezekiel 40, verse 2. Ezekiel had a vision not unlike this one. “In the visions God brought me to the land of Israel, set me on a high mountain in which there was a structure like a city on the south. And he brought me there, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.”
Now, a similar scene is Ezekiel’s experience, and he sees this man, and there is little question there that it is Christ, that it is the Messiah, that it is the Son of God. And so, it is very possible that here in Zechariah’s vision, it could be the same, although we wouldn’t want to say absolutely. But I would say this: it is definitely true that the one who will rebuild the city in the kingdom will definitely be Christ, won’t it? He’s the one. So, perhaps it’s Christ.
Well, Zechariah doesn’t waste any time in asking what the surveyor is doing. So, in verse 2 it says, “Then said I, ‘Where goest thou?’” He talks to the surveyor.
And he said to him, “‘To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth of it and what is its length.’” Now, he’s going to measure the city.
Now, the question immediately arises here, to any interpreter, “What city is he measuring? Is he measuring the actual city of that time?” Well, that would be a little difficult, because there was no city; it was a rubble. There was no wall, and it wasn’t until about 80 years later, in 444 B.C. that Nehemiah actually got the walls built, and this is somewhere around 519 or 520 B.C. So, it wouldn’t be much to measure. And also, because all of the other vision have definitely a prophetic element, it seems best to see it in the future.
And my conclusion – and we’ll see how this is supported as we go, you can trust me for it now – is that he is laying out the dimensions of the future Jerusalem, the ultimate Jerusalem. The Jerusalem of the kingdom. And that, in some way, accounts for the bewilderment of Zechariah in this situation. It is apparent that Zechariah can’t figure out what he’s doing, and it could be due to the fact that if he were measuring out whatever were the dimensions of Jerusalem, it would have been very obvious to Zechariah. But apparently, he is measuring something that is so vast and so large, that it is beyond anything Zechariah can currently relate to. And so, he’s bewildered. And so we see the design proposed as the man with the tape measure lays out the future city.
That leads us to the second element in the vision, what I call the destined plan. The design that’s being proposed is then clarified, and the destined plan is made known in verses 3 and 4. In the midst of Zechariah’s bewilderment, watch what happens. “And, behold, the angel who talked with me” – and that’s the interpreter angel who appears all the time in the early part of Zechariah – “went forth” – and what happened here is no doubt Zechariah can’t figure out what’s going on, and so the interpreter angel moves into the scene, perhaps ostensibly to check with the man on what he’s doing. And as interpreter angel goes about to find the answer, it says at the end of verse 3, “Another angel went out to meet him.” And so, over here you have the man in the scene, and over here you have Zechariah, and in the middle you have these two angels who all of a sudden begin to converse.
So, “Another angel went out to meet him and said to him” – that is the other angel said to interpreter angel, that’s the best way to see this; the other angel stops interpreter angel as he proceeds to get information from the man that he sees in his vision. “And he says to him, ‘Run and speak to this young man’” – in other words, he says, “Interpreter angel, you go back and tell Zechariah this message. Go back and tell the young man this message.”
And here’s the message, “‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited like towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle in it” – and stop right there. “You go tell him that the reason he can’t figure it out is because it will be so vast that it will be as if there is a city without walls.”
Now, when you think about a walled city, I don’t know what you think about. But if you were to visit Jerusalem, you would realize that from one wall of Jerusalem to the other wall is about a ten-minute walk right across the middle. I mean when they walled off a city, it wasn’t much.
And apparently he is bewildered because of the vastness of it, and so the angel sent from God to give to interpreter angel a message says, “Tell him it’s going to be so huge it’ll be like a town without a wall it’ll be so large.” Imagine what a comfort this was when Zechariah preached this to a bunch of people huddled in the Hinnom Valley, wondering if they’d ever even get a wall. The prophet says, “I have a message from God, and the message from God is that someday Jerusalem will be so big it’ll be like a city without a wall. It’ll be inhabited. Look what he says, “For the multitude of men and cattle in it.” And, you know, what they were beginning to do, Haggai had got them started building – what? – a temple.
And Zechariah was encouraging him, “Build that temple; build that temple.”
And I know there was some pragmatic Jews who were running around saying, “Look you guys, you must be nuts. What good does it do to build a temple if you don’t have any walls to protect it? We got to build the walls first. We should be building the wall, not the temple. We won’t have any temple.” In fact, back in Haggai 1:2, “The people say, ‘The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.’” In other words, the popular opinion was, “This is ridiculous to build a temple without a wall.”
And so, Zechariah says, “You keep on building the temple; it’s more important that you get God in perspective and make sure he’s defending you that you have a wall and no temple.” Take care of the spiritual priority is what he’s saying. And so, it’s a tremendous encouragement for them to hear the message from the angel is that Jerusalem will have so many people, it’ll overflow its boundaries, and it’ll be like a city without a wall. Jerusalem will rise to final glory. It will not be ultimately destroyed. Don’t worry about building your temple. God will be your wall. Look at verse 5, “‘For I,’ saith the Lord, ‘will be unto it a wall.’” I will be the wall; trust Me.
Someday Jerusalem will be a city is inhabited like an open, rural country without walls. The root verb in the Hebrew perazah means to exceed limits, to overflow its bounds, to spread or expand. And the millennial Jerusalem, the Jerusalem of the King, the Jerusalem yet, when Jesus returns, will be so big and so populated with people and animals that it will go way past its walls. It will spread all over the place, and God will be its wall.
Satan can read the Bible, right? Now, the Antichrist, when he gets here, he’ll know that. So, you know what he does? The first thing he does in the tribulation, according to Revelation 6, apparently is make a treaty with Israel of peace. And Ezekiel 38 says that during the tribulation, Israel is dwelling in unwalled villages. You know why? It seems to me apparent that they think that this Antichrist must be our Deliverer. He must be our Prince of Peace.
You see him in Revelation 6 riding a white horse, conquering. No doubt they think he’s the Deliverer, and they believe his false peace, and they let down their security, and they haven’t committed themselves to God yet; there hasn’t been any purging or any salvation or any cleansing. And they’re having a great time in their unwalled villages. And read Ezekiel 38, it’s just at that point that the army of the north comes down and begins to wipe them out. It’s that false security. That is not the fulfillment of this prophecy. Not at all.
Now, some people say, “Well, this prophesy was fulfilled in the time of Nehemiah’s building the wall. That can’t be true either. Joyce Baldwin, who was a lady professor in England, has written a commentary on Zechariah. She does not hold our particular view of Zechariah, but rather a more liberal view. But she even says that this could never be fulfilled in the time of Nehemiah, because she says that the population was so far from filling the city in the time of Nehemiah that they had to cast lots. And if you drew the lot, you lost, and you had to come and live in the city to try to fill it up. So, it couldn’t have been fulfilled then. Impossible.
In fact, if you were to check out Nehemiah 11:1 and 2, you would find that support in there. They had to compel people to live there. It never did overflow its bounds then. But someday it will. This is clearly millennial. And I don’t think that it’s fair, in dealing with prophecy, to try to find any old thing, at any old time in history that seems to fit the situation. The prophet was either speaking about something that was happening them, or soon after, or something that was yet to be fulfilled ultimately in the glory of the coming of Messiah, not America in 1977, or Jerusalem in 1948 or something. I think we have to be careful about that. We are perhaps seeing the beginnings of some things that will be fulfilled in the tribulation and in the kingdom. Let’s be careful that we allow kingdom prophecy to be reserved for the kingdom and not find soon fulfillments of things that are not yet really fulfilled.
So, it seems that this has to be a millennial fulfillment. Jerusalem in the millennial will overflow; it will be crowded. Now, that is supported by many Scriptures. And I want you to just listen as I read some to you.
In Isaiah 49:19, Isaiah says this, “For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction shall even now” – listen; and this is in the kingdom – “be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants.” In other words, it going to be too small for everybody that’s there. “And the children whom you shall have shall say in your ears, ‘The place is too narrow for me; give me a place that I may dwell.’” I got to get out of town, Pop; it’s too crowded.
And the city will begin to spill over in the kingdom. And you’ll remember that in the kingdom people will proliferate in having children. So, it’ll get too crowded there. And believe me, if I was alive in the world, and Jesus was reigning in Jerusalem, I’d want to live around there; wouldn’t you? And he will be the King of the whole world.
In 44:26 of Isaiah it says this, “Who confirmeth the word of His servant, performeth the counselor of His messengers, who says to Jerusalem, ‘Thou shalt be inhabited,’ and to the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built.’” In other words, again, the promise in the kingdom, the city will be inhabited. The city will be built.
Jeremiah says the same thing, chapter 30, verse 18 and 19, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I’ll bring again the captivity of Jacob’s tents. I’ll have mercy on his dwelling place. The city shall be built on its own heap. The palace shall remain after its own manner. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry. And I will multiply them, and they shall not be few. I will glorify them, and they shall not be small.’” In other words, great population growth.
Jeremiah 31:24, “There shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all its cities together farmers and they who go forth with flocks.” Isn’t that interesting? What’s interesting about it is that Zechariah said the multitude of people and cattle. And Isaiah says it’ll be filled with people, and I’ll be filled with animals.
Now, normally, the animals would graze outside. But the city will spread all over the place. And the animals and the people will all live together. Now, we don’t – we don’t have a problem with that. We know like that, that that works that way. We’ve been in cities in America where you just kind of go from the city into the farm country, and there’s no break. But those people wouldn’t have understood that in that day, because they knew nothing but walled cities.
And the thirty-eighth verse of Jeremiah 31, “‘Behold, the days come,’ saith the Lord, ‘the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.’” In other words, it’s just enlarging the cities to all these points.
In the thirty-third chapter of Jeremiah, again the same thing. In verse 10 he goes on to talk about beasts will be there, and men will be there, and the streets will be filled, and there will be everything going on, “The voice of joy, the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, the voice of the bride, the voice of people who say, ‘Praise the Lord of Hosts: for the Lord is good. His mercy endures forever’” – and so forth. And you’ve got all this going on. Now, there, again, he talks about it in verse 12 and in verse 13.
Hosea chapter 1, verse 10, “The number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can’t be measured or numbered.” Tremendous revival resulting in a tremendous growth among the populace of Israel.
In our own book we’re studying, Zechariah chapter 8, verse 4 says similarly, “Thus says the Lord of Hosts, ‘There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.’” It’ll be a place of safety. Safe for kids, safe for old people. And it won’t be like Los Angeles today, or New York, or Chicago.
So, the design is proposed, and the destined plan is clarified. And that brings us to the third point in Zechariah’s vision, the divine Protector. And this may be the best part of all, verse 5, “‘For I,’ saith the Lord, ‘will be unto it a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of it.’” I love this, because this ties in historically. Notice this - a wall of fire and the glory in the midst. What does that remind you of?
It reminds me of Exodus chapter 13, and the glory of God dwelling among the people of Israel. Doesn’t it you? During the day the cloud appeared, and the glory of God dwelt and came down and entered the Holy of the Holies in the tabernacle and dwelt in the midst of the land of Israel. And then, when they were to move, it went up into the sky, and at night it was a pillar of fire. This is the same God, the same Shekinah, the same glorious God who says, “I will be your wall. I will be in you, dwelling in My presence. Don’t worry about any protection. Don’t worry about a physical wall; I’ll be your wall.” Isn’t that great? It’s going to be a wonderful world for Israel, for all those who inhabit that wonderful city.
God has been a flaming wall. I couldn’t help but mention to you 2 Kings 6:15. You remember this one? This is great. We went over this when we studied angels. “When the servant of the man of God was risen early” – Elisha’s servant – “and gone forth, a host compassed the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What do we do?’” He says, “The army’s on us.” Syria.
“And he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, for they who are with us are more than they who are with them.’”
The servant looks around and he says, “You’ve got to be kidding. You and me, guy, that’s it. What do you mean they who are with us?”
“Oh, Elisha prayed and said, ‘Lord, open his eyes.’ And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha.” God had his angelic wall of fire protecting His prophet and his servant. God can make a wall of protection around and in, and that’s exactly what he’ll do in the future for Israel.
In the sixtieth of Isaiah, verse 18 – beautiful – talking about the kingdom, it says, “Violence shall no more heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee. But the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.”
God will be there; His glory. “Thy people shall all be in righteousness. They will inherit the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified.” The day is coming, believe it or not, when the city of Jerusalem will never need any defense because it will be what Ezekiel calls it in 48:35; it will be Jehovah-shammah. “The name of the city will be, Jehovah-shammah.” That means, “The Lord is there.” What other defense would you need?
And as the shepherd in the field would light a fire to keep the marauding wolf from coming to get his sheep, so the Lord will be the fire to protect His nation Israel. The Shekinah will return. Ichabod will be reversed. The glory that departed will come back in the great final kingdom when the Messiah comes. “Afterward” - says Ezekiel in chapter 43 – “he brought me to the gate, to the gate that looks toward the east. And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the East, and His voice was like a noise of many waters. And the earth shined with His glory. And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, that according to the vision that I saw, when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.
“So, the Spirit took me up, and brought me to the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house. And I heard Him speaking to me out of the house, and the man stood by me and said, ‘Son of Man, the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, when I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. And My holy name shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they nor their kings by their harlotry nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places.’” God returns to Israel. A wonderful, wonderful truth. So, we see the glorious plan, and then we see the wonderful delivering, protecting God.
Let’s look at the fourth point – verse 6 – quickly. This glorious reality that God will dwell there means, number four, the delivered people. The delivered people. Verse 6, “‘Ho, ho’” – it means, look, look; listen, listen; catch this, catch this – “‘come forth, flee from the land of the north,’ says the Lord, ‘for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven,’ says the Lord.’”
Now, wait a minute. He wants to get their attention. So He says, “Flee from the land of the north.” What was the land of the north? Babylon. This is directed at the captives who are still in Babylon. And God is saying, “Look, there’s a great day coming for Jerusalem. You better get out of the world system. You better get away from Babylon before you’re totally engulfed in the system itself. And you better get back to the land.”
You say, “Well, now wait a minute, MacArthur, Babylon is to the east.”
Yes, but from Jerusalem, everything is north because it’s the only way out of the city. And all the conquerors had come from the north. Nebuchadnezzar came from the north. Even in 70 A.D., Titus Vespasian came from the north. Everybody who ever entered the city as an enemy came from the north because is the only access.
And so, the north was the enemy Babylon. And He’s saying, “Look, the future of Jerusalem is secure. Come back now.” And in verse 7, “‘Deliver yourself, O Zion, that dwells with the daughter of Babylon.’” Get out of there. Return. He says in the middle of 6, “‘I spread you abroad as the four winds of heaven.’”
And according to 2 Kings 17:6, the Jews in the exile were scattered over an area from the Gozan River, which was 200 miles west of Nineveh, clear to Medea, which was 300 miles east. Some of them were in Moab. Some of them were in Amman. Some of them were in Egypt, and some of them were in Edom. They were all over the place. And He’s saying, “All of you come back. There’s a glorious future here. There’s a wonderful future here. Come back and re-identify with the city of God. Come back from those nations that will lead you into idolatry.”
And I can’t resist a footnote here. I taste an element of the future in this, too, because there’s going to come a day in the tribulation when God’s going to give the same message. He’s going to say to people, “Come out from Babylon.”
Because if you read Revelation 17 and Revelation 18, you will read that the final world system is called – what? – Babylon. The final world system is Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots. And as the world consummates its final amalgamation, it’s final world system, God’s going to call Israel out of Babylon in the future. “Don’t be a part of the world system,” He’s saying to these people, “this city has an eternal future.” And someday he’s going to call His people from out of Babylon yet to come in the time of the tribulation. “Jerusalem will be restored. Come back. Identify with the city of God.”
And, of course, the reason to flee Babylon, both now and in the future, is the fifth point. And that is the destroyed powers. Because God’s going to destroy them. Verse 8, “For thus saith the Lord of Hosts, ‘After the glory hath He sent Me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that touches you touches the apple of His eye. For, behold, I will shake My hand on them. They shall be a spoil to their servants, and you shall know that the Lord of Hosts hat sent Me.’”
Now, I want you to watch this. Now watch. A very difficult but interesting verse. Look what it says in verse 8; this is terrific. “For thus says the Lord of Hosts, ‘After the glory hath He sent Me.’” Now, the Lord of Hosts says, “After the glory hath He sent Me.’” Who in the world sends the Lord of Hosts? That’s what I said. The answers in verse 9, “‘For, behold, I will shake My hand on them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants. And you shall know that the Lord of Hosts hath sent Me.’” Who sends the Lord of Hosts? The Lord of Hosts sends the Lord of Hosts.
You say, “Now, wait a minute. Jehovah sends Jehovah?”
If you reject the New Testament, you got a problem with that. Right? If you accept the New Testament, you don’t have a problem with that. The Lord of Hosts the Father sends the Lord of Hosts the Son. Isn’t that great? And He is the one who comes to deliver His people. He is the one who comes to conquer the nations. And He is after glory. He is after glory. Listen, everything is done for glory for God. The nations are judged that God may be glorified. Summing it up, He says, the second person of the Trinity, the Savior, the Messiah, is sent by the first person of the Trinity, the Father, in order that He may judge the nations to bring glory to God because God too long has been looked down on because His people have been downtrodden. And God says, “In the end, when I exalt My people, then the world will know that I am God.”
Frankly, we know that the humiliation of Israel by the nations must be avenged by the one who is dishonored in their dejected condition. Let’s face it; it’s bad press for God now to claim be the God of Israel and has been through history. But the day is coming when God will seek the glory. And He’s going to seek it by the sending of His Son, the Messiah. “And I will shake My hand on them, and they will be a spoil to their servants.” It’s going to reverse everything. The losers are going to be the winners.
And He says, “The reason I’m going to judge the nations is because of what they’ve done with My people. For he that touches you touches” – what? – “the apples of His eye.”
Now, we can get very pious and say, “The apple of His eye.” And we think about a little kid, a little boy, “Oh, he’s the apple of my...”
Let me tell you what it means. According to the Hebrew words, the apple of your eye is the pupil or the eyeball. That’s all it means. What he’s saying is, “Because you stuck your finger in My eye.” Did you know that the single most protected part of your body that is exposed is your eye? It is the tenderest; it is the most sensitive. God protects it with bones, protects it with an eyelid, and eyebrows, and eyelashes, and tear ducts. He protects it. And nothing is more irritating than getting somebody’s finger in your eye. Very irritating. And God is not talking about what we think He’s talking about. What He’s saying is, “I will judge the nations because they have put their finger in My eye. They have poked Me at My tenderest point.”
He loves His people. And He identifies with His people. And when you poke Israel, you stick your finger in God’s eye. Hurting Israel is something you don’t want to do, see? And I’ve told you before, in Matthew 25, where Christ comes and judges the nations, He judges them on the way they treated – whom? – Israel. Matthew 25. That’s the whole chapter. “If you’ve done it unto the least of these My brethren, you’ve” – what? – “done it to Me.”
So, what do we see? The design proposed: a new city with great dimensions. The destined plan: it’s going to overflow. The divine Protector: God will be the one wall, and He will be in the middle of it. The delivered people: Israel will be delivered from all their enemies to rejoice in joy. And the destroyed powers: God will come in judgment against the nations that have rejected Him and His people. And the only possible response to that I call the delightful prospect.
Verse 10. What else? “Sing and” – what? – “rejoice.” What else for those Jews huddled in the Valley of Hinnom, hoping something will work for them for a change. “‘Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee,’ says the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be My people. And I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of Hosts hath sent Me unto thee. And the Lord shall inherit Judah as His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord, for He is raised up out of His holy habitation.”
You notice four things there? Four things to delight in. Number one, God’s presence, verse 10. “‘Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for, lo’” – what? - “‘I come, and I’ll dwell in the midst of thee.’”
You want to know one characteristic of that day in Jerusalem? God will be there in personal, actual, physical, visible form in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Great promise. God will be there. Rejoice over God’s presence.
Secondly, rejoice over God’s people. Look at verse 11; I love this. “And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be My people” - not just Israel; oh, no; many nations – “and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me to thee.” There’s going to be worldwide salvation. Read Revelation chapter 7. So many Gentiles saved you can’t even number them from every people, tongue, and nation. Worldwide salvation.
And finally, finally, finally Israel will be the channel of salvation to the world that God chose them to be in the first place. So, they delight in God’s presence, God’s people.
Thirdly, God’s portion, verse 12. “And the Lord shall inherit Judah as His portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.” That’s the only place in the Bible where it’s called the holy land. That’s the only time that phrase is ever used. And I’ll hasten to add it has never been the holy land, it isn’t the holy land, but it will be. It will be. That’s the millennial title for Israel. “And He shall choose Jerusalem” - and the best way to translate “again” would be “before all is done,” or, “at the end.”
God’s presence; God’s people going to be enlarged; God’s portion, the land. And lastly, God’s power. “Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord. For he’s raised up out of His holy habitation.” Hey, all you critics, you better be quiet. God is starting to stir. He’s raised up. Do you remember what Psalm 121 said? “He who keeps Israel will not” – what? – “slumber or sleep.” God’s judgment begins to awaken.
The silence of God is broken in the sixth chapter of Revelation when He begins to crack the seals, take over the earth. You saw in the film clip tonight some indications by Francis Schaeffer that history is going somewhere. It is, isn’t it? You know what I get excited about? I’m going to be there when all this happens, because I am one of those that can call myself the people of God by faith in Christ. I hope you are. God has marvelous things. They’re available to all who come to know Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank You, our Father, for giving us the time to share tonight. Indeed we sing and rejoice because you are the God of history, step by step laying it out, making it happen, and letting us be a part. Thank You. And if there are some dear ones tonight, in our presence, who have never committed themselves to You, who are lost to the purpose of existence and the destiny of redemptive history, who will spend a Christless and Godless eternity without You, without hope, may that end tonight as they come to know You through faith in Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, amen.
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