Zechariah 4

DateVersionReading Plan
@December 16, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • A Vision of a Golden Lampstand


Zechariah’s fifth vision is of a lampstand, on top of which was bowl containing seven lamps, each with seven lips and olive trees on the right and left of the lampstand. Zechariah asked the angel what they were and was told that it was a word of the LORD to Zerubabbel and that he would be instrumental in accomplishing God’s purpose in rebuilding the temple. The “great mountain” of a task would “become a plain” (Zech. 4:7) not by might or power but by God’s Spirit who was with them to overcome any obstacles. Zerubabbel would initiate the temple rebuild and its completion would validate Zechariah’s prophecy and that the LORD had sent him. Zechariah then asks about the olive trees next to the lampstand and is told that they symbolize “the two anointed ones” (Zech. 4:14), commonly taken to refer to Zerubbabel and Joshua, representing the offices of king and priest.

That the rebuilding of the temple would be by God’s Spirit rather than any power or might is crucial to understand. Zerubabbel as king was appointed the blessed task of construction oversight, but its completion would ultimately be by divine power. His abilities did not come from within but from without, wholly dependent on the Spirit to make a “great mountain” become “a plain”. In reading this, I was reminded of Paul’s words to Colossians as he describes his work to spread the gospel. He says, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” (Col. 1:29). It was God’s energy that He worked within Paul to set out on his missionary journeys to make known the work of Christ.

In these passages, we are to see that not only is our work to be for God-glorifying ends but that only by Him are we given the desire to carry it out and vitality to persevere. It is only through the Lord’s work that our work becomes worthy.

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