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Monday, January 15, 2007

Behold, a Lampstand (4.1-14)

“So he answered and said to me: ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.’” Zechariah 4:6

Often, Christians struggle not with their view of God, but with the fact that they question whether or not He will do a mighty work on their behalf. The answer to those questions that arise in our minds is to be sure of our calling. Once we know that we are called to a work, we can be assured of the Spirit’s empowerment.

The lampstand mentioned at the start of this chapter is intended to cause the reader to think of the temple’s candelabrum. The lampstand in the temple represents the light of God’s revelation through His chosen people Israel. The oil feeding the lampstand represents the Spirit of God. “Oil is one of the most clearly defined symbols in the Bible…” (Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament, v.3, 301). The gold represents deity. The lampstand is of solid gold (4.2) to remind Israel that the light given them was a light manifesting the glory of God. The oil feeding the flame reminded the people of the continuous work of the Spirit of God.

A bowl was located on top of the lampstand. Seven pipes fed the seven lamps from the bowl. Two olive trees were located on either side of the bowl with pipes connecting to each side of the bowl. The olive trees are representation of the priestly and kingly offices of God’s theocracy. Joshua and Zerubbabel were these representatives in Zechariah’s day. The prophecy of Zechariah, however, looks to a future and final millennial fulfillment through the Great King and High Priest of Israel, Jesus Christ.

Christ is the Light and He is also Lord. “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8.12). “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).

While the promises given Zerubbabel helped him realize a rebuilt temple accomplished by the power of God (4.6) leading to cause for great rejoicing at its completion (4.7-10), they also may be applied to a yet future millennial reign. The universal application of God’s Word also extends to our present circumstance. Let me offer the following practical applications:

The Kingdom of Christ will overthrow the world’s kingdoms (6-7). The light of this future fact extends to the present circumstance you’re facing. All is dependent upon the power and grace of God. The power of this world’s system will not be successful against God. You may believe your work is small or that you are weak. That is no matter to the mighty God we serve!

Zerubbabel had already failed in completing the work in the past. That defeat weighed heavily in his mind (8-9). How can a failure be given the work again to accomplish? Only by the grace of God. He will not give up on you.

“For who has despised the day of small things” (10)? The older leaders had (see Ezra 3.10-12) dampened the spirits of those celebrating the completion of the new temple. The rhetorical statement in Zechariah points to the foolishness of such despising. The seven eyes of the LORD supervised the construction. They were bright and eager eyes contrasted to the weeping eyes of the leaders in Ezra. God delights in the small beginnings of a great work. We should be concerned about His eyes!

God’s power is sufficient; human instruments are not (11-14). It is easy to see how problematic the human equation is. Yet the oil is golden which flows through the pipes from the olive trees. It is divine. The human equation dissolves when one considers that we may work through the Lord and in behalf of the Lord. We are not sufficient, but He is all-sufficient!