Judging the Gentile World (Zechariah 1.18-21; 2.6-9)
We continue our study in Zechariah by transitioning from the judgment of the antichrist to the judgment of the Gentile world at large. The world’s system will capitulate to the Great King. The context surrounding Zechariah 1.18-21 and 2.6-9 should accompany this study. This is a continuation of part three which considers the revelation in glory of the Messiah.
The Fourth Carpenter (1.18-21)
It is advisable to read carefully Daniel 7.7-11, 20-24; 8.1-21; Rev 12.3; 13.1-11; 17.3-16 in order to see the greater context of the following interpretation of this passage in Zechariah. Among the dispensational scholars who have sought the wisdom of God in this passage, there is a general consensus that the horns are assigned to Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome respectively. Assigning the horns helps the reader discern the carpenters.
The first carpenter is the second horn or Medo-Persia. She came to terrify Babylon as an instrument of God’s chastening of this Gentile power. The second carpenter (third horn) is Greece who terrified Persia.
The third carpenter (fourth horn) is Rome who terrified Greece. Rome is never totally extinguished – vestiges still remain in the day in which we live. Rome’s influence remains in the world and will remain until it is revitalized. Restored Rome will rise from its smoldering ashes and make one last stand against the Fourth Carpenter: The Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Fourth Carpenter will establish a fifth kingdom and terrify Rome once for all. It is at His revelation in glory, that the Fifth King will put Rome down and reign.
“He Sent Me After Glory” (2.6-9)
Here before the reader are the Gentile nations once again epitomized by Babylon. The nearer fulfillment concerns Babylon, the land of the north. Babylon, the gold head of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, has a place of prominence among the Gentile nations. It is used to exemplify the world system in rebellion against God. Therefore, the reader may see a latter fulfillment which speaks of a New Babylon.
Israel is dispersed (6) and she yearns to dwell with the daughter of Babylon (7). “He sent Me after glory!” Here is a clear reference to the Messiah’s revelation in glory. The Lover of Israel (8) will become the judge of Babylon (9). The New Religious Babylon is judged at the Messiah’s revelation in glory (Revelation 17). The New Political Babylon is judged as well (Revelation 18).
Unger writes, “The phrase after glory accordingly describes the ministry of Messiah in which He vindicates and demonstrates the glory of God, particularly as He will punish Israel’s enemies and deliver and establish His own people in the kingdom blessing” (Unger, 49).
The application of this passage is extremely relevant today. Just as Israel desired to stay within the world system, even so the church of God desires the same. The very system that will one day be judged by the Fourth Carpenter is a desolate harlot. We would do well to heed Paul’s words: “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17).
May God preserve for Himself a remnant of serious-minded believers who have the discernment to see these things. May we be a part of that remnant. The good and comforting words of Christ will serve as hope that we might desire continual repentance as we battle through life.