Zechariah 1-7

Scripture:

10 “Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD. 11 “Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.

Zechariah 2:10-11, NIV

8 ” ‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes [d] on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.

Zechariah 3:8-9, NIV

Observation:

Much like the book of Revelation, Zechariah is filled with symbolic prophesy. I am always curious of all of the symbolism  used in the Bible and I must admit I am puzzled by two recurring numbers in these particular chapters and I am asking for insight on what these mean from the readers of this blog. I am giving what I think may be what this symbolism means, but I am by no means a Bible scholar. I am just offering my lay person’s perspective. The two recurring numbers are 4 and 7. Four, or some multiple of, is used 7 times:

  • On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month (Zechariah 1:7)
  • Then I looked up—and there before me were four horns! (Zechariah 1:18)
  • Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen.  (Zechariah 1:20)
  • “for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven,” declares the LORD. (Zechariah 2:6)
  • I looked up again—and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains (Zechariah 6:1)
  • The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits [k] of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. (Zechariah 6:5)
  • In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev. (Zechariah 7:1)

The word seven, or a multiple of,  is used in the following:

  • Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years? (Zechariah 1:12)
  • See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes [d] on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ (Zechariah 3:9)
  • I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights. (Zechariah 4:2)
  • These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range throughout the earth. (Zechariah 4:10)
  • ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? (Zechariah 7:5)

I never think that it is an accident why certain symbols and numbers of these symbols are chosen. I also certainly believe that the two scriptures in the “Scripture” section of this post are Messianic predictions of the coming of Jesus. I can only think that the “seven” can represent the 7 continents and 4 can represent the 4 directions (North, South, East, and West – these are even used in the symbolism, with the North having a special significance). My thought is that all of this symbolism is to remind us that Jesus and his Father, God ,are omnipotent and omnipresent – everywhere at all times; on all seven continents, covering all four directions or bearings.

Application:

How quickly we forget how big God really is. he has created everything, knows everything, and is everywhere. This is such a hard thing to fathom. I cannot seem to wrap my meager little mind around it, but it is true. It seems easy to take for granted when we get busy, but one of the very first things we should do in prayer is acknowledge just how big God is and thank Him for being that way and giving justice and balance to this world. He also gives us a reason to live, and eternal hope through his Son. I thank Him for bold predictions like these that I can use in an apologetic way, to help people understand how many prophecies came true about Jesus and how these prophesies were predicted hundreds to thousands of years before he got to Earth.  These can help us “defend our faith” as these predictions and Jesus’ coming were no accident and no conspiracy. They were predicted by God’s chosen people. We need to thank him for every word chosen in His book, even though we don’t  always understand all of the symbolism and may not fully understand all of it this side of heaven. It is just amazing to me just how big God is – on all seven continents, all four bearings; everywhere, all the time, and all knowing. Whew!!

Prayer:

Lord God, please forgive me for forgetting how big you are. Every battle I face in this life, you know about already. You have chosen every path that I will take. You have chosen my destiny, just as you do for everyone. You chose every word that is used in your book to teach us more about you. Thank you for all of it. Thank you for the conduit to you that you have given to us in Jesus Christ. Thank you for just being so….well…BIG!! Lord, I love you, and may I never take you for granted. Amen

 

Jtgavigan

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Zechariah 1-7

  1. dmbaldwin

    Hey Jim,
    Thanks so much for your post today. The one thing we have to keep in mind is that in Old Testament prophecy there are always at least two things being described. One is immediate and the other further in the future. Sometimes, and perhaps here, there are three events that are described.
    I think what you write is not wrong when it comes to overall biblical truth. I’m not sure you can get all of that from this passage. Seven in Scripture, for instance, usually speaks to God’s perfection or righteousness. It is a godly number. The four could relate to anything. I think there is probably more in what the fours talk about than the number four.
    Then, there is the whole warning in Scripture not to put too much faith in numbers. Numerology is not considered a godly pursuit.
    So, how would I summarize it. Obviously God is supreme on the seven continents. He is stronger and more powerful that any nation to the east, west, north or south. I’m just not sure this is what the passage is speaking to.
    That’s my read on it. I do appreciate your heart for the Word, and would love to continue the conversation.
    What do others think?
    Blessings,
    Dave (dmbaldwin)

  2. jtgavigan

    Dave –

    I am not into the numerology thing at all, I just found it ironic that these chapters had the same recurring numbers mentioned and that it wasn’t an accident. God chooses every word, every anecdote, and every parable very carefully. I was just trying to figure out why THOSE numbers in THESE passages were so important. I have read a little about the number 7 in scripture and agree on that point that you make.

    I remember hearing a sermon on the radio once about some of the symbolism in Revelation and it talked a lot about the animals, metals, numbers, colors, etc used as they all had meaning. They all had significance – none were an accident. You would just gloss over it on the surface, but it was very compelling to hear all of the meanings. It was very interesting and made me wonder what God was up to here. I am sure that my feeble mind wasn’t that close, but it just reminded me how big God really is and that is what I needed from this scripture. Thanks for the insight.

    Jim

  3. dmbaldwin

    Jim,
    I was just sharing my thoughts on the post. I’m really glad you are contributing and sharing your heart. I’m glad we are all in this together growing and learning. Let’s keep at it together.
    Blessings on you my brother.
    Dave

  4. jtgavigan

    Dave –

    Thanks for the thoughts. Hope you didn’t take it the wrong way, as I was in no way challenging you. I really struggled with this one. That is why I wanted feedback. Thanks for sharing and please don’t take my comments the wrong way, I was just offering perspective on my mindset in writing what I wrote. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it was what came to my fingers and I wanted to share with you my thoughts – like I said I struggled and was curious what others thought. Thanks again!! Blessings back to you!

    Jim

  5. johnd7264

    Jim, thanks so much for your post today. I found it real interesting how you picked up on the repetition of the numbers 4 and 7. I did not even pick up on this detail as I read through the first 7 chapters of this book today.

    My thoughts are pretty simple. I don’t know! I have no idea what the repetition means, although I think it is interesting how you came to the conclusion of them symbolizing God’s omnipotence and omnipresence. God definitely is all powerful and He is present everywhere, so even if Zechariah did not repeat these numbers for that specific reason, I do not think any Bible-believing Christian would argue that God does indeed have these attributes. Just as Dave indicated, there is definitely biblical truth here.

    Also, As Dave also indicated in his earlier post, my understanding of the number 7 does seem to point out the perfection and absolute righteousness of God. I am not sure what the number 4 means, though.

    I love your eagerness to dig into the Scriptures and learn. That is so exciting and so awesome! The Bible is such a treasure chest and I also love to think deep and ponder on what the real meanings of certain scriptures are. I applaud you for your eagerness to dig deep. It shows a true, authentic heart for knowing God and who He is. I love that you put your thoughts on your post and asked opinions on what others thought. I am the same way for I want to know everything there is to know about the awesome God we serve.

    One day, I really believe that our questions will be answered. But for now, I have come to the conclusion that no matter how much time I spend studying His Word, and no matter how much time I spend trying to interpret scriptures, there are always going to be mysteries that we will never truly understand this side of eternity. Moses spoke of this in Deuteronomy 29:29, when he wrote “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law”.

    I know I am rambling, but I felt led to comment because I understand your passion to know. The only thing I really know for certain is that God’s love is awesome. Complicated doctrines and gray areas are not really going to matter when we stand before Him one day. I really believe that the one thing that will matter more than anything else, and the single most important question we could ask ourselves, is how much do we love God? You obviously love Him very much by your hunger and passion to know Him more deeply.

    Great words, to both of you, Dave and Jim! You are my brothers and friends and I praise Him that He has allowed me the privilege of blogging with you this year!

  6. dmbaldwin

    Hey Jim,
    Don’t worry. I don’t mind being challenged and should be most the time. I agree with John, I love your passion.
    Let’s keep learning together.
    Blessings,
    Dave

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