Would you please explain God's words in Zechariah 2:6-13, following the vision of the measuring line in Zechariah 2:1-5?


As we explained in our last Update (#363), the vision of the “measuring line” clearly deals with prophetic events for us today and for our immediate future. It should therefore be self-evident that the statements immediately following that vision are likewise addressing events, which will shortly come to pass.

Zechariah 2:6-13 reads:

(6) “‘Up, up! Flee from the land of the north,’ says the LORD; ‘for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven,’ says the LORD. (7) ‘Up, Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon.’ (8) For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. (9) For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me. (10) Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,’ says the LORD. (11) ‘Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. (12) And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem. (13) Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!'”

1) Who Is Speaking?

This passage in Zechariah 2:6-13 is one of those remarkable passages in the Old Testament which prove that God is not just one Person. We read that the LORD says that He will send the LORD. Notice carefully: In verse 10 we read that the LORD says that He is coming and that He will dwell in the midst of His people–an obvious reference to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (more fully explained below). But then, we read in verse 11 that God’s people will know that the “LORD of hosts” has sent “Me” [i.e., the LORD, mentioned in verse 10]. So we see that the FATHER–called the LORD of hosts–will send Jesus Christ–also referred to as the LORD–back to this earth. The word “LORD” in the Old Testament can therefore refer to either the Father or the Son–depending on the context.

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states that the Personage speaking here [i.e., the LORD] is “Christ, sent by [the LORD, i.e.] God the Father; and who will be known and owned by the Jews, as well as by the Gentiles…, when they shall be converted, and antichrist shall be destroyed.”

Our free booklet, “God Is A Family,” describes and explains this fact in more detail. Under the headline, “The Prophet Zechariah Understood,” the following is pointed out:

“Reading in Zechariah 4:8–9: ‘Moreover the word of the LORD [in Hebrew, ‘Yahweh’] came to me, saying: The hands of Zerubbabel Have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know That the LORD [in Hebrew, ‘Yahweh’] of hosts has sent Me [“Yahweh”] to you.’

“We see in this passage that the LORD [‘Yahweh’] sent the LORD [‘Yahweh’]. The expression, ‘Yahweh,’ then is applied to both God beings. As we will see in more detail, both God the Father and Jesus Christ are referred to in Scripture as ‘Yahweh’—the ‘I AM’ (compare Exodus 3:14)—basically meaning, ‘the Eternal,’ or, ‘the Ever-living One.’ This fact alone proves that both the Father and Jesus Christ have always existed—that they are God beings, and that the Old Testament teaches that there is more than just one God being.

“Zechariah 6:9, 12–15 confirms this conclusion: ‘Then the word of the LORD [‘Yahweh’] came to me, saying… (v. 12) Then speak to him, saying, Thus says the LORD [‘Yahweh’] of hosts, saying: Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD [‘Yahweh’]; Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD [‘Yahweh’]. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both. Now the elaborate crown shall be for a memorial in the temple of the LORD [‘Yahweh’]… Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the LORD [‘Yahweh’]. Then you shall know that the LORD [‘Yahweh’] of hosts has sent Me to you. And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD [‘Yahweh’] your God.’

“Again, we see, that the God being, referred to as ‘Yahweh’ here, sent the second God being, also referred to as ‘Yahweh.’ It is ‘Yahweh’ who says that ‘Yahweh’ sent Him to the people. This passage does not refer to just a human messenger, or to an angel to convey the ‘word of the LORD,’ while the ‘LORD’ is speaking about Himself. Note that the New King James Bible capitalizes the word ‘Me’ in ‘…the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.’ They convey the intended meaning that the word ‘Me’ refers to one of the two God beings, and not to a human or angelic messenger.

“A third passage in the book of Zechariah, proving that the word ‘Yahweh’ applies to both God beings, can be found in chapter 2, verses 8–11. Again, we read what the LORD [‘Yahweh’] says, ‘And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD [‘Yahweh’] of hosts has sent Me to you’ (verse 11).”

2) The Identity and Meaning of “Zion”

We read in Zechariah 2:7 that “Zion,” which is “dwelling with the daughter of Babylon,” is to flee out of the “land of the north.” Who is Zion?

We pointed out the following in one of our Q&As on “Zion,”:

“In the time of Abraham, the place where the city of Zion was built was known as Salem. It is from this city that Melchizedek reigned as king and priest of ‘God Most High’ (Genesis 14:18)… the meaning of Zion continued to expand in its usage throughout the Bible. Zion became synonymous with Jerusalem and Israel and was applied to the land and people that God had chosen, as well. For example, Jerusalem and its inhabitants are personified as the ‘daughter of Zion’ (Compare Isaiah 62:11; Zechariah 9:9; and, Matthew 21:5).

“Zion is especially significant regarding the many prophetic statements concerning the establishment of God’s Kingdom on the earth and the location of His rule. ‘For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it”‘ (Psalm 132:13-14). Zion is called the ‘…city of God’ (Psalm 87:3) and the ‘…city of the great King’ (Psalm 48:2)… Another reference states: ‘For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem’ (Isaiah 2:3). Psalm 102, verse 16, explains: ‘For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory.’

“The physical location of Zion is the place on this earth where Jesus Christ will assemble those who have part in the first resurrection (or who are changed from mortal to immortal — compare 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18): “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads’ (Revelation 14:1)…

“We see, then, that the meaning of Zion is far more than its original designation as a Jebusite stronghold or fortress. Zion depicts the headquarters for governmental administration — that is, for God’s rule in and from heaven; for a united Israel under King David; and eventually for the rule of God’s government over mankind. Importantly, Zion also describes the people and the land of promise as a symbol of the hope that God has prepared for all nations!”

As pointed out above, “Zion” can refer to the chosen people of God. This means that it can refer to and include, symbolically, the members of the New Testament Church of God. Christ will rule with His saints–Spirit-born Church members–from Jerusalem. As “Zion” can refer to a physical location as well as the physical people of Israel and Judah, so it can also refer to the people of spiritual Israel–true Christians.

We must understand God’s admonition to “Zion” to flee out of the “land of the north” mostly in this context. As we will point out below, God warns true Christians to separate themselves, spiritually, from the end-time Babylonian system, as He will destroy it in due time because of its sins.

3) Time Setting

As mentioned, Zechariah’s prophecy addresses our time. For example, we read in verse 11 that many nations will join God “in that day.” The phrase, “in that day,” refers ALWAYS to the time just prior to, or subsequent to Christ’s return. Another expression would be, “the day of the Lord.”

A similar description of the events just following Christ’s return and His rule in Zion [Jerusalem] can be found in Isaiah 2 (mentioned above). We read in Isaiah 2:2-4: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That… all nations shall flow to it [the Lord’s house, verse 1]. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

We also read, in Zechariah 2:6, that God has spread abroad Zion like “the FOUR WINDS OF HEAVEN.” This can be understood as a reference to the physical end-time descendants of the ancient houses of Israel and Judah who will be enslaved in many countries. Jeremiah 23:8 prophesies that Christ, when He returns, will free the remnants of Israel and Judah from their captivity:

“…’As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the NORTH COUNTRY and from ALL THE COUNTRIES where I had driven them.” Compare also Jeremiah 3:18; 16:14.

These passages could also refer to Christ’s disciples–members of spiritual Israel–the Church of God. We read in Matthew 24:31 that Christ, at His return, “will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect FROM THE FOUR WINDS, from ONE END OF HEAVEN to the other.”

4) Flee from Babylon

We are told, in Zechariah 2:6-7, that the daughter of Zion is to flee and escape from the “land of the north”–the “daughter of Babylon.”

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains that “The north country, although its capital and center was Babylon, was the whole Babylonian empire, called ‘the North’… because its invasions always came upon Israel from the north.”

End-time Israel will be conquered by the “king of the North” (Daniel 11:40-42). This king will be the last leader of the revived Holy Roman Empire. He is also referred to as the “beast” in the book of Revelation. He will be the military leader of modern Babylon.

Even though the end-time relevance of God’s admonition to flee from or escape out of the land of the north–i.e., modern Babylon–can be hardly overlooked, some commentaries try to apply this warning only to the Jews at the time of Zechariah. However, the New Testament repeats God’s warning, addressed to His people in the end time. Zechariah’s admonition to Zion to escape from the “land of the north” is foremost directed at spiritual Israel–the “Church of God.” So is the following warning in Revelation 18:4: “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her [Babylon, verse 2], my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”

Additional end-time warnings, pertaining to the same circumstances, can be found in Jeremiah 50:8 and Jeremiah 51:6, 45.

God does not want His people to dwell with the “DAUGHTER of Babylon”–the revived modern Babylonian system. The commentary of John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states: “… it may be rendered, ‘[Zion] inhabits the daughter of Babylon’;… dwells in [her] cities, towns, and villages, belonging to it.”

5) Be Silent, for God Is Aroused

Zechariah 2:13 tells us to be silent–or to stand in awe and amazement–when Christ returns to this earth to take vengeance on the enemies of God (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Revelation 6:10).

The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown explains:

“[God] is raised up out of his holy habitation–that is, out of heaven… to judge and avenge His people… the call to all to ‘be silent’ is… when God has come forth from heaven where so long He has dwelt unseen, and is about to inflict vengeance on the foe, before taking up His dwelling in Zion and the temple… God is now ‘silent’ while the Gentile foe speaks arrogance against His people; but ‘our God shall come and no longer keep silence’; then in turn must all flesh ‘be silent’ before Him.”

In conclusion, Zechariah’s prophecy is directed at us today. It contains a warning to separate ourselves–in conduct and in mind–from this wicked world and its environment, which will reach its evil culmination in a future revival of the ancient Roman Empire. The Bible calls this last revival “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth” (Revelation 17:5). Christ will return soon to avenge His people and to spoil those who spoiled them (compare Zechariah 2:8-9). Until that time, God’s true servants must be sober and of a sound mind, resisting the temptation of wanting to belong to and befriend the people of this world–this Babylonian system–in order to follow their bad example. After all, this present evil age, with its lusts and passions, will pass away very soon.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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