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The Lord Wants His People to Return

1 Zechariah son of Berekiah received a message from the Lord. This was in the eighth month of the second year that Darius was king* in Persia. (Zechariah was the son of Berekiah. Berekiah was the son of Iddo the prophet.) This is that message: 2The Lord became very angry at your ancestors. 3So you must tell the people these things. The Lord says, “Come back to me and I will come back to you.” The Lord All- Powerful said these things. 4The Lord said, “Don’t be like your ancestors. In the past, the prophets spoke to them. They said, ‘The Lord All-Powerful wants you to change your bad way of living. Stop doing bad things!’ But your ancestors did not listen to me.” The Lord said those things. 5God said, “Your ancestors are gone. And those prophets did not live forever. 6The prophets were my servants. I used them to tell your ancestors about my laws and teachings. And your ancestors finally learned their lesson. They said, ‘The Lord All-Powerful did the things he said he would do. He punished us for the way we lived and for all the bad things we did.’ So they came back to God.”

The Four Horses

7On the 24th day of the eleventh month (Shebat) of the second year that Darius was king* of Persia, Zechariah received another message from the Lord. (This was Zechariah son of Berekiah, son of Iddo, the prophet.) This is the message: 8At night, I saw a man riding a red horse. He was standing among some myrtle bushes in the valley. Behind him, there were red, brown, and white horses. 9I said, “Sir, what are these horses for?” Then the angel speaking to me said, “I will show you what these horses are for.” 10Then the man standing among the myrtle bushes said, “The Lord sent these horses to go here and there on earth.” 11Then the horses spoke to the Lord’s angel standing among the myrtle bushes. They said, “We have walked here and there on the earth, and everything is calm and quiet.” 12Then the Lord’s angel said, “Lord, how long before you comfort Jerusalem and the cities of Judah? You have shown your anger at these cities for 70 years now.” 13Then the Lord answered the angel that was talking with me. The Lord spoke good, comforting words. 14Then the angel told me to tell the people these things: The Lord All-Powerful says: “I have a strong love for Jerusalem and Zion.* 15And I am very angry at the nations that feel so safe. I was a little angry, and I used those nations to punish my people. But those nations caused too much damage.” 16So the Lord says, “I will come back to Jerusalem and comfort her.” The Lord All-Powerful says, “Jerusalem will be built again. And my house will be built there.” 17The angel also said, “The Lord All-Powerful says, ‘My towns will be rich again. I will comfort Zion. I will again choose Jerusalem to be my special city.’”

The Four Horns and Four Workers

18Then I looked up and I saw four horns. 19Then I asked the angel that was talking with me, “What do these horns mean?” He said, “These are the horns (Powerful nations) that forced the people of Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem to go to foreign countries.” 20The Lord showed me four workers. 21I asked him, “What are these four workers coming to do?” He said, “The horns represent the nations that attacked the people of Judah and forced them to go to foreign countries. The horns ‘threw’ the people of Judah to the foreign countries. Those horns didn’t show mercy to anyone. But these four workers have come to frighten the horns and throw them away!”

second year that Darius was king About 520 B.C. Zion The southeast part of the mountain Jerusalem is built on. Sometimes it means the people of God living in Jerusalem.

Measuring Jerusalem

2 Then I looked up, and I saw a man holding a rope for measuring things. 2I asked him, “Where are you going?” He said to me, “I am going to measure Jerusalem, to see how wide and how long it is.” 3Then the angel that was speaking to me left. And another angel went out to talk to him. 4He said to him, “Run and tell that young man that {Jerusalem will be too big to measure}. Tell him these things: ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls. Why? Because there will be too many people and animals living there.’ 5The Lord says, ‘I will be a wall of fire around her, protecting her. And to bring glory to that city, I will live there.’”

God Calls His People Home

The Lord says, 6“Hurry! Leave the land in the North in a hurry! Yes, it is true that I scattered your people in every direction. 7You people from Zion now live in Babylon. Escape! Run away from that city!” The Lord All-Powerful said {these things}. He sent me to the nations that stole things from you. He sent me to bring {you} honor! 8Why? Because hurting you is like hurting the pupil of God’s eye. 9{The people of Babylon took my people and made them slaves.} But I will beat them, and they will become the slaves of my people. And then you will know that the Lord All-Powerful sent me.” 10The Lord says, “Zion, be happy! Why? Because I am coming. And I will live in your city. 11At that time, people from many nations will come to me. They will become my people. And I will live in your city.” And then you will know that the Lord All-Powerful sent me. 12The Lord will again choose Jerusalem to be his special city. Judah will be his share of the holy land. 13Everyone, be quiet! The Lord is coming out of his holy house.

The High Priest

3 The angel showed me Joshua the High Priest. Joshua was standing in front of the angel of the Lord and Satan was standing by Joshua’s right side. Satan was there to accuse Joshua of doing bad things. 2Then {the angel of} the Lord said, “The Lord rebukes you and he will continue to criticize you! The Lord has chosen Jerusalem to be his special city. He saved that city—it was like a burning stick pulled from the fire.” 3Joshua was standing in front of the angel. And Joshua was wearing a dirty robe. 4Then the angel said to the other angels standing near him, “Take those dirty clothes off of Joshua.” Then the angel spoke to Joshua. He said, “Now, I have taken away your guilt, and I am giving you a new change of clothes.” 5Then I said, “Put a clean turban* on his head.” So they put the clean turban on him. They also put clean clothes on him while the Lord’s angel stood there. 6Then the Lord’s angel said these things to Joshua: 7The Lord All-Powerful said these things. “Live the way I tell you, and do all the things I say. And you will be in charge of my temple. You will take care of its courtyard. You will be free to go anywhere in my temple just like these angels standing here. 8Listen to me High Priest Joshua and your fellow priests seated before you. These men are examples that show what will happen when I bring my special servant. He is called, THEBRANCH. 9Look, I put a special stone in front of Joshua. There are seven sides* on that stone. I will carve a special message on that special stone. That will show that in one day, I will remove the guilt from this land.” 10The Lord All-Powerful says, “At that time, people will sit and talk with their friends and neighbors. They will invite each other to come sit under the fig trees and grape vines.”

turban(s) A head covering made by wrapping a long piece of cloth around the head or around a cap worn on the head. sides Literally, “eyes.”

The Lampstand and the Two Olive Trees

4 Then the angel that was talking to me came to me and woke me up. I was like a person waking up from sleep. 2Then the angel asked me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see a solid gold lampstand. There are seven lamps* on the lampstand. And there is a bowl on top of the lampstand. There are seven tubes coming from the bowl. One tube goes to each lamp. {The tubes bring the oil in the bowl to each of the lamps.} 3There are two olive trees by the bowl, one on the right side and one on the left side. {These trees produce the oil for the lamps.}” 4Then I asked the angel that was speaking with me, “Sir, what do these things mean?” 5The angel speaking with me said, “Don’t you know what these things are?” “No sir,” I said. 6He said, “This is the message from the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Your help will not come from your strength and power. No, your help will come from my Spirit.’ The Lord All- Powerful said those things! 7That tall mountain will be like a flat place for Zerubbabel. He will build the temple, and when the most important stone is put in place, the people will shout, ‘Beautiful! Beautiful!’” 8The Lord’s message to me also said, 9“Zerubbabel will lay the foundations for my temple. And Zerubbabel will finish building the temple. Then you will know that the Lord All-Powerful sent me to you people. 10People will not be ashamed of the small beginnings, and they will be very happy when they see Zerubbabel with the plumbline,* measuring and checking the finished building. Now, the seven sides* of the stone you saw represent the eyes of the Lord looking in every direction. They see everything on earth.” 11Then I (Zechariah) said to him, “I saw one olive tree on the right side of the lampstand and one on the left side. What do those two olive trees mean?” 12I also said to him, “I saw two olive branches by the gold tubes with gold colored oil flowing from them. What do these things mean?” 13Then the angel said to me, “Don’t you know what these things mean?” I said, “No, sir.” 14So he said, “They represent the two men chosen* to serve the Lord of the whole world.”

lamps These lamps made light by burning olive oil. plumbline A string with a weight on one end. Workers used plumblines to make sure the walls they were building were straight. The workers often put paint on the string and popped the string. This left a straight line of paint on the wall. Then the workers chipped away the crooked part of the wall.  sides This is a word play. The Hebrew word also means, “eyes”. men that were chosen Literally, “sons of extra pure olive oil.” Often a special oil was poured over new kings, priests, and prophets. This showed that these people were chosen by God.

The Flying Scroll

5 I looked up again, and I saw a flying scroll.* 2The angel asked me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see a flying scroll. The scroll is 30 feet* long and 15 feet* wide.” 3Then the angel told me, “There is a curse written on that scroll. On one side of the scroll, there is a curse about people that steal. On the other side of the scroll is a curse about people that lie when they make promises. 4The Lord All-Powerful says: I will send that scroll to the houses of thieves and to houses of people that lie when they use my name to make promises. That scroll will stay there and destroy those houses. Even the stones and wooden posts will be destroyed.”

The Woman and the Bucket

5The angel that was talking to me went outside. He said, “Look! What do you see coming?” 6I said, “I don’t know—what is it?” He said, “That is a measuring bucket.” He also said, “That bucket is for measuring the sins* of the people in this country.” 7A lid made of lead was lifted off the bucket, and there was a woman in the bucket. 8The angel said, “The woman represents evil.” Then the angel pushed the woman down into the bucket and put the lead lid on it. 9Then I looked up and saw two women with wings like a stork. They flew out, and with the wind in their wings, they picked up the bucket. They flew through the air carrying the bucket. 10Then I asked the angel that was speaking with me, “Where are they carrying the bucket?” 11The angel told me, “They are going to build a house for it in Shinar.* After they build that house, they will put the bucket there.”

scroll A long roll of leather or papyrus (paper) used for writing books, letters, and legal documents. 30 feet Literally, “20 cubits.” 15 feet Literally, “10 cubits.” sins Hebrew has “their eye,” but with a minor change of one character, “their guilt.”  Shinar The flat land that the tower of Babel (Gen. 11:2) and the city of Babylon were built on.

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