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Produced by Keith G. Richardson




STUDIES

IN

ZECHARIAH.


BY

A. C. GAEBELEIN.

_EIGHTH EDITION._

PRINTING BY

FRANCIS E. FITCH, INC,

47 BROAD ST., NEW YORK.




Copyright 1911, by A. C. Gaebelein.




FOREWORD TO THE EIGHTH EDITION.

This little exposition of the Prophecies of Zechariah was written
almost 15 years ago. We are thankful to God that it has been a help
to so many. The sixth edition has been sold and a seventh has become
necessary.

We were somewhat reluctant to print another edition. When this book
was written the writer did not at all have a clear vision in the
prophetic Word concerning the great predicted end events of the times
of the Gentiles. Like so many others he did not distinguish between
the personal Antichrist and the King of the North. He then held the
view, which is still taught by many, that the first beast in
Revelation xiii is the personal Antichrist. This belief led into
incorrect views about that part of Revelation.

Since writing the book it has pleased the Lord to give the writer
better light on these great prophetic unfoldings and for this reason
some of the interpretations given, especially on pages 135, 136 and
137, are no longer looked upon by the author as being scripturally
correct. In our later books "The Harmony of the Prophetic Word"
"Joel," and especially "Exposition of Daniel," the truth as revealed
in Prophecy concerning the two beasts and the King of the North, is
given. We therefore request the reader to consider this when studying
this volume.

We are sure the Lord will continue to bless the simple unfolding of
the greatest Post exile Prophet. So little is written on this great
book that we feel that we should not withhold this imperfect
exposition from the students of the Word of Prophecy. May the Lord
continue to bless it.

A. C. GAEBELEIN.

Sept. 30, 1911.




INTRODUCTION.

Zechariah, the name of the prophet whose visions and prophecies we
desire to study, is not an uncommon name in divine history. Its
meaning is _Jehovah remembers_. He is called the son of Berachiah,
_Jehovah blesses_, the son of Iddo, _the appointed time_. There is
here, as in many other instances in the Bible, a great significance
in the Hebrew names. The name of the grandfather of Zechariah (who
probably brought him up, as his father must have died early), his
father's name and his own read in English translation, _the appointed
time_, _Jehovah blesses_, _Jehovah remembers_. The Holy Spirit has
inspired these very names; they are in themselves a commentary to the
prophecies and visions God gave to Zechariah, for they speak of an
appointed time of God's blessings for Jerusalem and of His loving
remembrance.

Zechariah was born in Babylon in the captivity, for when he returned
to the land of his fathers he was but a child. Like some other
prophets he was a priest as well as a prophet. His work as a prophet
was commenced by him when he was a young man, for thus he is called
in one of the visions. The time of his opening address to the people
is two months after Haggai had opened his lips in Jehovah's name.
Haggai received the word of the Lord in the sixth month in the second
year of Darius, and Zechariah in the eighth month of the same year of
the reign of that King, about 520 before Christ.

Both prophets had the same thought given, namely, to encourage the
Jewish remnant in the blessed work of rebuilding the house of the
Lord. This work had suffered an interruption; the Samaritans were the
cause of it. They had applied to join in the work, but as the remnant
considered them idolators and as not belonging to God's people, the
application was rejected. These Samaritans tried after that in
various ways to hinder the rebuilding, which had so blessedly begun.
At last they succeeded in obtaining a decree which forbade the
building of the Temple. All work had to be stopped and ceased for
about fourteen years. But when the King who had forbidden the
prosecution of the work had died and Darius became King, the building
of the Temple was once more made possible. The leaders of the people
in the enterprise were Serubbabel and the High Priest Joshua. But
again they were hindered from the outside, while on the other hand
the people themselves had lost much interest and possessed no longer
that love and zeal for God's house, which was so prominent after
their return. Thus Haggai said: _This people say, It is not the time
for us to come, the time for the Lord's house to be built. . . It is
a time for you to dwell in your ceiled houses, while this house lieth
waste_. Haggai, chapter 1.

In that critical moment these two prophets made their appearance, and
God gave them visions of comfort and glad tidings to encourage the
disheartened, selfish and unbelieving people.

The visions and prophecies of Zechariah, however, do not only give an
assurance that there could be no failure in the work the remnant had
taken up anew, but more than that in them the glorious future of
Jerusalem and Zion is unfolded. They lead up to the grand finale of
the history of God's ancient people, the time when Israel, redeemed
and restored forever, will sing the grand and glorious Hallelujah.

It is, of course, true that Zechariah did a blessed work for the
people who lived in his day; he had a special mission to perform and
succeeded in it, but the Spirit of God in the message of comfort for
that time gives the history of events then in a distant future. The
Babylonian captivity of Israel foreshadows their greater dispersion
in which they are to-day wanderers all over the earth, and the
restoration which took place in the time of Zechariah is highly
typical of that coming restoration for which we hope and pray.

Zechariah may therefore be fitly called the Prophet of the
Restoration. Surely it is a deplorable blindness in some teachers of
the Word, who see in the book of Zechariah nothing but past history,
and who claim that all has been fulfilled in the return of the small
Jewish remnant from the captivity, and whatever promises of mercy
given to Jerusalem and the land of Judah find now their spiritual
fulfilment in the church.

It will be our aim in a series of studies in Zechariah to consider
mostly the relation of these visions to the end of this age, and the
beginning of the next, the millennial glory. We shall find that
instead of the book of Zechariah being all fulfilled prophecy, as
some would have it, it is indeed mostly unfulfilled, and even some of
the prophetic promises which on the surface seem to have been seen a
fulfilment, were only in part realized. And how important at this
time to study the book of Zechariah! We are living in the time when
that greater restoration with all its events forerunning and
connected with it are about to come to pass. It is needless to say
that we firmly believe that Zechariah wrote all of the book which
bears his name.

Several of the Jewish commentators confess an inability to explain
the book. The well-known Jewish commentator Solomon Ben Jarchi
(generally known by the name Rashi), says: "The prophecy (of
Zechariah) is very dark, for it contains visions much like dreams,
which want interpreting, and we will never succeed in finding the
true meaning until _the Teacher of righteousness arrives_." Abarbanel
makes a similar confession.

We praise God that the Teacher of righteousness has come, even the
Spirit of Truth, who guides into all truth and reveals the things to
come.




CHAPTER I.

_The Opening Address of the Prophet to His Nation. The Night Visions
and Their Meaning. The First Night Vision._

The opening address of the prophet (chapter i: 1-6) forms an
excellent introduction to the visions of comfort and warning which he
had and revealed to the people. It is a very pointed and earnest call
to repentance: _The Lord has been sore displeased with your fathers._
They were disobedient and stiff-necked. The former prophets, Jeremiah
and Isaiah, had called them to turn from their evil ways, but they
did not hear. And now, where are the fathers? They had passed away
like the disobedient ones in the wilderness; God's judgment and
displeasure had overtaken them. But the faithful God of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob, whose gifts and calling are without repentance,
comes once more to His chosen people, the seed of Abraham, and the
Spirit, through Zechariah, speaks a direct message to return, and
utters the promise that the Lord will also return unto them. _Thus
saith the Lord of Hosts: Return unto me saith the Lord of Hosts, and
I will return unto you saith the Lord of Hosts._

The name Jehovah appears three times in this short exhortation. Each
time the name is in another connection. Jehovah speaks, they are to
return to Jehovah, and Jehovah will return to them. Surely in profane
literature such a repetition would be rejected as useless and
superfluous, but in the Book where every word and phrase is
God-given, we cannot pass it by as having no significance. Like in
many other passages in the Old Testament we have here a revelation of
the one God as Father, Son and Spirit. This revelation was often made
in divine history, and when the measure of Israel's apostacy was at
last filled up, they had indeed rejected Jehovah in rejecting
Jehovah-Jesus, and also Jehovah, the Spirit. And while this
exhortation was one for Zechariah's contemporaries, it is the great
exhortation to the Jewish remnant for all times. The nation having
forsaken Jehovah in His revelations as Father, Son and Spirit, will
have to return and listen to Jehovah who speaks, to Jehovah whom they
rejected, and Jehovah in His merciful and loving manifestations will
return to them as a nation and to their land.

This return of Israel to which Zechariah exhorts will take place in a
set order clearly revealed throughout the word of God. We hear in
Romans ii. that Paul speaks of a remnant according to the election of
grace. That remnant is the remnant which turns to Jehovah now during
this dispensation, and, of course, all Jews who are now turning to
Jehovah-Jesus, and to whom Jehovah, the Spirit, also comes, are
_members of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ_. As soon as the
_church_, the witnessing body in the earth, is removed by that
glorious event which is our blessed hope, another Jewish remnant is
called, and that remnant will be Jewish throughout, "keeping the
commandments and having the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ." Of
course that remnant will have returned to Jehovah, and will be the
witnessing and the _suffering_ body in the great tribulation. The
believing and longing cry of that remnant, "Blessed is He that cometh
in the name of the Lord," will at last welcome Him, the Pierced One
and King of Israel as well as King of Glory, to this earth, and then
the remnant of the nation in all lands will turn to Him. This is the
divine programme for Israel.

After these opening words, delivered probably to the assembled
people, Zechariah received his wonderful night visions. They were not
mere dreams, but the events which he describes passed before him in
visions. He saw them all in one night. They are eight in number, and
have not found many interpreters. They were not only given in one
night, but just as one followed rapidly the other, so are they all
closely connected, and giving events which are to follow one after
the other. That we have here a revelation which may fitly be termed
_the Apocalypse of Zechariah_ is unquestionable. After all these
visions had passed, Joshua, the High Priest, is crowned with two
crowns foreshadowing Him who is to be a Priest upon His throne. This
crowning is a climax in Zechariah's night visions which lead up to
that coronation. Divine interference in behalf of Jerusalem and the
land of Judah, God's displeasure upon the nations for their
abominations, and the overthrow of Israel's enemies are clearly
depicted in the first two night visions, while in the others we see
the promised prosperity returning to the land, God's glory appearing
once more, the nation once more inhabiting the land and cleansed from
their guilt, filled with the Spirit, wickedness judged, Babylon set
up and overthrown, and the chariots of God appearing.

The first night vision is especially suited for a close study for our
times, for the events and conditions in that first vision are a true
picture of the peculiarities of the times in which we live. Indeed we
are rapidly nearing the fulfillment of this first night vision.

This is the vision: Zechariah sees a man riding upon a red horse and
he halts in a valley among myrtle trees. He is surrounded by a large
army of angels upon red, sorrel and white horses, and the man upon
the red horse becomes the centre of the hosts of heaven. The angels
give their reports unto the man in the midst, who is also called the
Angel of the Lord. These angels had walked to and fro through the
earth (like the evil spirit and his demons, Job i., so the good
angels walk to and fro through the earth), and they report to the
Angel of the Lord, telling him that all the earth sitteth still and
is at rest. Prosperity and peace seems to be what the angels saw, but
over against this bright picture there is the dark scene - Jerusalem
trodden down, the house of the Lord unfinished, a persecuted
suffering remnant.

And now the Angel of the Lord becomes the intercessor for Jerusalem
and turns to Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts sitting upon His throne. _O
Lord of Hosts, how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on
the cities of Judah against which Thou hast had indignation these
three score and ten years?_ He receives an answer of comfortable
words. God is once more jealous for Jerusalem, and very angry and
sore displeased with the nations, the nations who are in greater part
responsible for the condition of His inheritance - they _have helped
forward their affliction_. God promises to return to the city with
prosperity, and that the house shall be built in it, and the Lord
shall yet comfort Zion and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

The first question which arises in the interpretation of this vision
is concerning the person who leads the angelic hosts. He is called a
man riding upon a red horse. This does not mean that he was nothing
but a man, but it means that he appeared in the vision to Zechariah
as a man, he had a human body. Later he is called the Angel of the
Lord, and as such, he acts as successful intercessor for Jerusalem,
and receives a loving answer from Jehovah. The leader must have been
a divine person incarnate. The name Angel of the Lord is one of the
Old Testament names for the _Son of God_, and there can be only one
satisfactory interpretation of who the rider upon the red horse is,
and that is, He must be the Son of God. There are three chief reasons
for this interpretation. In the first place, the color of the horse
which He rode was red; this denotes blood, and is the color of the
Son of God, for He is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of
the world, and He is the Lion from the tribe of Judah, who will arise
and slay His enemies, coming to judge the nations (Isaiah lxiii). He
is the Leader as well as the Centre of the heavenly hosts, for to Him
all power is given in _Heaven_ and in the earth, and all things are
in His hands; and in the third place, the intercession which the
Angel of the Lord makes is the intercession which belongs to the Son
of God. The heavenly company comes to a stop in a deep valley, and
the Angel of the Lord stands there among the myrtle trees.

Jewish interpretation (in the Yalkut) says: He was staying among the
myrtles which were in the _Metzullah_ (depths). Now myrtles
(Hadassim) mean nothing else than saints, as it is said (Esther ii:
7), and He was bringing up Hadassah (Esther), and the depths means
nothing else than Babylon. We believe this as correct an
interpretation as any. Myrtles denote lowliness and sweetness, and
the dark, dreary valley stands for persecution, suffering, and being
outcast. All this was true of the remnant, and it is true as well of
the church. What a comfort it must have been to the patriotic prophet
and to all true believers among the returned exiles, to learn that in
that vision it was made so clear that Jehovah, the Angel of the Lord,
was with them in all their lowliness and suffering. The Angel, who so
wonderfully delivered their father Jacob, and whom he called the
Angel the Redeemer, and who had so often appeared in the miraculous
events of the past, this same Angel, with all the army of heaven at
His command, was still with them, though the cloud of glory was
missing.

May we not forget that the Angel of the Lord, the Son of God, our
blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is still with His people
Israel. He has indeed not cast them away, whom He foreknew. He is
their King and their Priest, and for all we know, the mighty angels
who are under His direction, may be assembled now as they were in
Zechariah's vision, and He Himself ready to reveal His love and mercy
to Jerusalem.

And what is the report of the angels to their leader? They have
walked to and fro through the earth, they have found nothing but
prosperity. All the earth sitteth still and is at rest, the nations
at ease, a perfect picture of prosperity. The nations are seen in a
flourishing state, but His nation is in trouble and His inheritance
laid waste, the nations having like wild beasts trampled it into the
dust. While the large cities of the nations are increased and have
plenty, the city of a great King is forsaken. History shows that
indeed at that time there was no war, but peace everywhere and
prosperity enjoyed selfishly by the nations. Should not these nations
have an interest in that land and in that people? But they were
living for their own ease and comfort. What does it matter if there
is yonder a poor and suffering people?

Prosperity, universal prosperity, and with it universal peace, is the
cry at the close of another century, and will be more so as we
advance towards the end of this age. Civilization, world conquest,
commercial extension and a universal peace, seem to be the leading
thoughts among the nations of our times. Truly it is realized by some
that our boasted civilization, liberty and prosperity is nothing but
a smouldering volcano which may burst open at any moment and make an
end of all boasting, but the majority of the people even in
Christendom are sadly deluding themselves with idle dreams. And what
of God's thoughts and His eternal purposes? What of His oath-bound
covenant promises? They are being misinterpreted, set aside and
forgotten. Thus it will continue till the climax is reached, so
clearly foretold in the second Psalm,

"Why do the nations rage
And the peoples imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His anointed.
Let us break their bands asunder
And cast away from us their cords."

This is a true picture of the nations as the King of Kings at last
will find them when He returns with and in His glory. The great sin
of the nations, which is _Anti-Semitism_, will be considered later.

The nations at ease, prosperous and increased, and Jerusalem trodden
down, the land waste and desolate, in the hands of the enemy, is the
mark of this age up to its end.

But now comes the interference of Him who sitteth in the heavens. The
angel of the Lord intercedes and cries to the Lord of Hosts, "How
long?" It has been so much overlooked that He who is our Intercessor,
the Great High Priest in the Heavens, is, according to the flesh, of
the seed of Abraham, and He stands there in His place in His
glorified humanity. If the High Priest in the Old Testament carried
upon a breast-plate nearest to his heart the names of the twelve
tribes of Israel, may we not assume that the true High Priest, who is
the King of Israel as well, has them just as near to His loving
heart? He loves His own, and longs for the time when they will crown
Him Lord of all. And is it not very significant that the Spirit at
this present time teaches so many children of God to pray for the
peace of Jerusalem, that He may establish and make Jerusalem a praise
in the earth? The Spirit and the Bride say "Come," and surely the
dearest thought in the Saviour's heart is being laid upon the hearts
of His children, in whom the Spirit dwells, to pray and intercede
with Him for the peace of Jerusalem. This prayer, heard from so many
lips to-day in the church waiting for her Lord, is but an echo of His
"How long?" and prayer for His people.

The interceding angel of the Lord is not left without an answer from
the Lord of Hosts whom he has addressed in behalf of Jerusalem. It
must be noticed that the answer is not the one which Jehovah gives to
the angel of the Lord, but the answer is transmitted by the Lord
through another angel who talked with the prophet. _So the angel that
talked with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of
Hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great
jealousy._ Then follows the message in its details. _And I am very
sore displeased with the nations that are at ease: for I was but a
little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore
thus saith the Lord: I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my
house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of Hosts, and a line shall
be stretched forth over Jerusalem. Cry yet again, saying, Thus saith
the Lord of Hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread
abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose
Jerusalem._ We desire to take up separately some of these comfortable
words. We firmly believe that the time of their fulfillment is not
only at hand, but that we are really living in the days when God once
more remembers His suffering people and is about to rise in judgment
upon His and their enemies, and turn in mercy to Zion.

First then stands the declaration that God is jealous for Jerusalem
and for Zion with a great jealousy. The word used in the original for
jealous means burning, and is correctly translated with that word,
for jealousy is a burning emotion. Men are jealous of that which is
their own when it is in the hands of another or in danger of being
taken away and misused. In this sense God is likewise jealous of His
own. Jerusalem is His city, the city of a great king; Zion is His
holy hill, and Israel His own people. All has fallen into the hands
of the Gentiles and is injured by them. His people scattered and
dispersed, the holy hill desecrated and Jerusalem trodden down by the
Gentiles. True, God has permitted it all, prophets have spoken of it,
and their prophecies concerning Jerusalem's desolation have all been
literally fulfilled, but now God is seen to rise and to claim once
more in great jealousy that which is His Own. We look away from the
partial fulfillment of this prophecy in Zechariah's time. God looked
down from heaven then, and His eyes beheld the sad picture of the
desolate land, the unfinished temple and the disheartened and
punished people. At the end of our dispensation, God looks down from
heaven, and while the nations are prosperous and at ease, He sees His
city controlled by His enemies. The holy hill of Zion, where Jehovah
revealed Himself so often, has become the place of idolatry. His name
is not honored but dishonored. Indeed, the Land and Jerusalem
attracts once more the attention of the world. Nations are desirous
of owning the Land and gaining a foothold there. The visit to
Palestine of the German Emperor, the representative of Lutheranism
and the avowed friend of one of the darkest characters of our times,
the man whose throne seems almost unshakable, and who holds the Land
in the grasp of his bloody hands, is highly significant. All the
other nations have watched this visit, and Zionism especially
rejoices in the fact of the friendship of the Protestant Emperor with
the Sultan and hopes much from it for the realization of its well
planned schemes. It is to be expected that as the end draws nearer,
Palestine will become the great centre around which the nations
gather. Scheming nations, religious and political ambitions for world
rule and world power, and connected with it Commercialism, which
seems to become more and more the god of this world, are the
programme for the near future, and upon the entire scene are the eyes
of the covenant-keeping God of Abraham, and with His burning eyes He
looks on with jealousy for Jerusalem and very great jealousy for
Zion. (Joel ii: 18.)


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