Zechariah Chapter 2

The theme of this chapter is that God will come and dwell with His people. This is clear from the following verses:

‘And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within (v5)’ ‘Shout and be glad, Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord (v10), and again ‘I will live among you... (v11)’

The first image in the chapter is the angel with the measuring line, measuring Jerusalem. This is for the purposes of building, but who is the builder? This reminds us of Hebrews 11:10:

"For he (Abraham) was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God”, and

(Isaiah 26:1) "We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts".

God is not only the builder but he Himself is an integral part of the city. This chapter of Zechariah reminds of what we read in Revelation 21:1-4:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

It is worthwhile to read the whole of Revelation 21 and the first five verses of Revelation 22, for the new city built by God is beautifully described there.

What we are seeing in this chapter is something that will become more and more clear as we make our way through the book of Zechariah - that in the midst of the remnant Jews' rebuilding project, God is introducing imagery of another city, a city altogether different from what they have before them at this point. Of course, we need to keep in mind that even though these Jews did rebuild the city in the end, all of it was again destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, leaving not one stone upon another. Having this information gives us a bird's eye view and confirms for us that God was trying to introduce the idea of an everlasting city which He would build in the future.

Our main focus for the study of Chapter 2 then became verse 5. The King James Version reads:

 'For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her,'

 while the NIV reads as follows:

'And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’

It is clear that the NIV has the word myself added. This is an attempt to translate a Hebrew word in the original text, which if translated literally would make the sentence very long and unwieldy. However, for the purposes of our study it is very important to look at the original text. This word occurs twice in verse 5 in the original Hebrew. The word is 'hayah'. This word means 'being', 'to exist', 'to be made manifest'. It is also the basis for what God says to Moses in Exodus 3:14: 'I am what I am...’ What God is saying in Zechariah 2:5 is that He, in His very existence, His presence, His being made manifest, will be with them.

It becomes even more interesting when we see that this word 'hayah' is used whenever we read: "...and the word of the Lord came to" the prophets, as we read in Jeremiah 1:4, 2:1, 7:1 and elsewhere. This word translated 'came to' actually means far more than just a message having been sent to the prophet. It means that God's Word 'became present or was made manifest in' the prophet.

The message that God was trying to get through to the remnant Jews in this chapter was that He Himself and His presence supersedes the importance of the city or the Temple. This reminds strongly of what Jesus says to the Pharisees many years later in Matthew 12:6 regarding His being there with them: "I tell you that something greater than the temple is here". For our own lives as we study this chapter - we need to ask ourselves whether God is with us as a 'thought' or an 'idea' or some abstract concept that we hold onto, or whether he is with us in his very existence, His presence, His being made manifest.

The Jews to whom Zechariah was bringing his prophecy had been dwelling in exile in Babylon for seventy years, and Babylon had become the centre of Judaism at this time. Many of the Jews must have been reluctant to leave the lives they had made there, but the Lord urges them, “Come forth, and flee ... escape, you who live closely with the daughter of Babylon (v6, 7).” Many times in Scripture He repeats this plea to His people, “flee ... depart from ... leave ... come out of ... (see Isaiah 48.20 and 52.11, as examples). How earnestly He entreats us to sever the worldly ties that bind us and keep us from Him, so that we will not be destroyed by association with the things that have no part in His eternal plan, or (more subtlely) that keep us from the “something greater”. We need to let go of anything we are holding onto or trusting in other than God Himself - Church, Christian books, Doctrine or even Scripture. These should all just point us to Him and bring us to that place where we are in Him and He is in us.

The final verse of this chapter (v13) brings us to the right place. “Be silent, O all flesh (mankind), before the Lord.” Echoing Psalm 46:10, Zephaniah 1:7, and Habakkuk 2:20 (Be still ... Hold thy peace ...Keep silence - Hush! Be still!), these words remind us that in the presence of the Lord all striving must - and will - cease.