A vision of hope for Jerusalem and all humankind.
Before we start, it is interesting to note that in the Hebrew texts Zechariah 1:18-21 is listed as 2:1-4. This would mean that this vision is a continuation from chapter 1.
Zechariah sees a a man (angel) with a measuring line in his hand measuring the length and width of Jerusalem. Another angel runs up to the angel talking to Zechariah, and exclaims three promises from God:
- Jerusalem will be a great city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it.
- God will be a wall of fire around the city.
- God will be the glory within it.
Walls are not necessary for God’s people. Only He is.
Next God makes a command and a proclamation to His people. First, He tells the people to escape from Babylon. He repeats this twice. First calling it “the land of the north” and the second time “Babylon”. Now this seems odd because He is talking to the remnant of Jews who had just returned. However, there are two possible reasons for this command. The first being, that several hundred thousands of Jews were taken captive in Babylon, and at this point in time only about 50,000 had returned. The Jews in Babylon had lives, homes, families, and jobs. They didn’t want to leave these comforts. Meaning that the small remnant that had already returned were the ones who were willing to leave those comforts to come back to Jerusalem to rebuild and start over. So God was still calling for more of His people to return home. The second reason for this command correlates with Zechariah 5:5-11. Here we see that the Jews who had come back from Babylon came back with a serious materialism problem. We have already seen this in Haggai 1, Zecariah’s contemporary, that the people put their own homes and possessions over the rebuilding of God’s house, to their own detriment. So this is also a spiritual call for His people who had already come out of Babylon to remove themselves from that sinful society they had just left. God repeats this call for all Christians in Revelation 18:4, where He figuratively calls all of His people out of the dangerous Babylon.
Next, God proclaims that He is the One who scattered His people to the four winds. This is the same idea as chapter 1. God uses nations and peoples to work His plans. But now, He is ready to punish those nations who were too severe on His people. He refers to the remnant as the “apple of His eye”. This once again shows that God has great love and compassion for His people. The apple of the eye is the idea that God protects His people like humans will protect their eyesight. Eyesight is obviously extremely important to the body, and the eye is a very sensitive organ. This is how God feels about His people. He will protect His people by all means. Even to the extent in this situation, that He will make slaves out of those who enslaved His people. This follows another theme that runs throughout the Bible: God deals out to His enemies what they have dealt out to their victims.
- Again, God gives His people quite a list of promises:
- “I am coming and I will live among you.”
- “Many nations will be joined with the Lord and become My people.”
- “I will live among you and you will know the Lord God Almighty has sent Me to you”
- The Lord will inherit Judah as His portion.
- He will again choose Jerusalem.
- These are more glorious promises God gives to His people, and the fact that several point to the coming Messiah make them even more so.
There is no record Biblically or historically of the Ark of the Covenant ever being returned to Jerusalem after they came out of Babylon. Therefore, for God to live with His people would be fulfilled when Jesus came to earth as a man. Which leads into the next promise that many nations will be joined with God and be His people. This was only able to happen by the sacrifice Jesus made for the sins of the world. This allowed all people, not just Jews, to be joined with God. This is why Jerusalem will be a city without walls. The entrance would be open for all believers. God is making room for all people. Then, the final two promises are repeated from chapter: God will return to His people and choose them when they return to Him.
Verse 13 gives us an idea of God’s power and authority. God has roused Himself from His holy dwelling place. He is getting ready to act, and it will shake things up so much that all mankind can do is be still and silent.