11-3 Angels In Zechariah
11-3-1 Zechariah Chapters 1-3
The first half of this prophecy is packed with Angelic language
and insight into exactly how the Angels scattered and restored the
Jews. The allusions to Angelic activity appear to diminish in the
second half of the prophecy, as the emphasis shifts away from the
primary fulfilment in the restoration to the more glorious regathering
of Israel and the establishment of the Kingdom.
Zechariah Chapter 1
v. 3 "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts (Angels); Turn ye unto Me,
saith the Lord of Hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord
The triple repetition of "Lord of Hosts" clearly points towards
the Angels. 'Turning' back to God has the implication of patching
up a marriage: "If a man put away his wife, and she go from him,
and become another man's, shall he return unto her again?. . . yet
return again unto Me, saith the Lord" (Jer. 3:1). This is similar
to Jer. 31:32 and Mal. 2:14 already considered, where again in an
Angelic context God, through the Angel, implies He would be justified
in divorcing Israel.
Mal. 3:7 seems a parallel passage : "Even from the days of your
fathers (cp. Zech. 1:2,4,5) ye re gone away from Mine ordinances
(given by an Angel), and have not kept them. Return unto Me, and
I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts" (Angels).
v. 4 "The former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the
Lord of Hosts"- Angels responsible for inspiration. "They did
not hear"- alluding to Jer. 34:14, where the context is about
the keeping of bondmen. This was a problem during the restoration
period (Neh. 5:1-12).
v. 6 "Like as the Lord of Hosts (Angels) thought to do unto us.
. so hath He dealt with us"- as if the idea came into the Lord's
mind and He decided to act on it; the language of limitation,
surely, seeing the 'logos' was with God Himself from the beginning.
v. 8-11 "A man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the
myrtle trees"- defined in v. 10,11 as an Angel: "O my Lord, What
are these? And the Angel that talked with me said. . . they answered
the Angel of the Lord that stood among the myrtle trees". The
red, speckled and white horses behind him (1:8; 6:2-7) would therefore
also appear to be ridden by Angels- indeed they are called "the
four spirits (Angels; Ps. 104:4) of the Heavens" in 6:5. The horse
riders of Rev. 6 are clearly based on this vision in Zech. 6,
and they would therefore be Angels. Zech. 6:5 describes the horses
as "standing before the lord of the whole earth"- the mighty Angel
of the Cherubim that stands for the land (earth) of Israel. In
1:8 they are behind Him, although He then sends them out to survey
the state of the land of Israel. They return to Him, reporting
that "we have walked to and fro throughout the earth (land), and
behold, all the earth sitteth still and is at rest". Is there
any reason to doubt that these Angels literally walked about in
the land, albeit unseen, at a similar speed to which we walk?
They walked "to and fro" because it is not in their ability to
know the exact situation of a country just from a cursory glance.
The comment of the Angel on this was: "I am very sore displeased
with the heathen that are at ease" (v. 15)- that were sitting
at rest in God's land. This scenario is similar to that in 1 Kings
22, where Angels come and go from God, reporting back information
and receiving commands, showing how much the Angel in the myrtle
trees, "the Lord of all the earth" (land), was a representation
of God Himself.
v. 12 "The Angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of Hosts,
how long wilt Thou not have mercy on Jerusalem"- an Angel praying
'O God of us Angels. . '? Angels have the same problems grappling
with time periods as we do! Notice it was the "Lord of Hosts"
(Angels) who "had indignation these threescore and ten years"
v. 13 "And the Lord (of Hosts) answered the Angel that talked
with me with good words and comfortable words". These words of
comfort therefore came from a "comforter"- the title of Israel's
Angel (see Chapter 13). There must surely be a highly significant
connection here with Is. 40, the start of Isaiah's prophecies
concerning the restoration:
"Comfort ye My people, saith your God" (Is. 40:11)- the God of
Israel was manifested through an Angel. "Speak ye comfortably to
Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her appointed time (the 70 years)
is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned" (40:2). Zechariah
explains how the Angels spoke comfortably to Jerusalem, enabling
the restoration. "Comfortably" means literally 'to the heart'- and
we have seen that the Angel, "the good hand of. . God" acted upon
the hearts of Ezra and Nehemiah, stirring up the spirit of Cyrus,
to enable the restoration. Nehemiah actually means 'Comfort of Yah';
'Nehemiah ye, Nehemiah ye My people'. The Angel spoke comfort to
Jerusalem through the words and work of Nehemiah.
Jerusalem had by the end of 70 years " received of the Lord's hand
(the Angel) double for all her sins". Is. 40 can therefore
be seen as the Angel preparing the way for Cyrus' decree. This is
confirmed by the similarities between Is. 45 concerning Cyrus and
v. 3,4 "Prepare ye the way…
make straight in the desert a highway. . . the crooked shall
be made straight, and the rough places plain".
v. 1,2,13 "Thus saith the Lord
to Cyrus. . I will go before thee, and make the crooked
places straight. . . I will make straight all his ways.
. he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives"
Notice too the emphasis in both chapters on the natural creation.
Indeed, Cyrus is closely identified with the Angel using him; "He
is my shepherd. . . saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built" (Is.
44:28), exactly as the Angel-shepherd (Is. 63:9-11; Ps. 80:1) of
Israel said. This explains why an Angel can be called "the prince
of Persia" in Dan. 10:13. Is it an 'undesigned coincidence' (not
that any exist in Holy Scripture anyway) that John the baptist and
his disciples (cp. Elijah's school of prophets) are called Angels
(Mal. 3:1; Lk. 7:24)? It is as if the same Angel worked through
Nehemiah and Cyrus to "prepare. . . the way" as worked through John
Malachi 4 is relevant to all this. It speaks of "The Lord of Hosts"
(Angels); notice the triple repetition of this phrase in the
few verses of the chapter, and the reference to this Lord giving
the Mosaic Law in v. 4; which was Angelic work. The Angel says that
the day was coming upon Israel when the earth (land) would be smitten
with a curse (4:6), and a day of fiery trial would result in them
not being left "root nor branch" (4:1). These are both clear titles
of Christ. The Angel can change His mind, we know. It seems that
the Angel is threatening to totally cast off Israel and leave them
without even the hope of Christ, the root and branch which had previously
been promised to Israel in their times of lowest spiritual ebb (e.
g. in the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zechariah) to remind
them that although they sinned, a root and branch in the person
of Christ would still arise to save them. Such a threat cannot have
been made by God Himself, who knew from the beginning the nature
of His purpose with natural Israel as the seed of Abraham His friend.
This Angel warned Israel that "Behold, I will send you Elijah the
prophet. . lest I come and smite the earth (land) with a curse"
(v. 5,6). Elijah being sent by an Angel here in Mal. 4 confirms
our interpretation of Is. 40- that Cyrus and the Elijah prophet
were sent by an Angel.
v. 14 "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem
and for Zion (the temple) with a great jealousy". "Jealous" being
the same Hebrew word translated "zealous", we see the tremendous
zeal of the Angels for the restoration. Hence the ability of Ezra
and Zerubbabel to achieve so much, seeing that they worked with
the Angel. The pathetic, half hearted response of the Jews due
to their obsession with materialism as decried by Haggai, Malachi,
Ezra and Nehemiah must have been so 'frustrating' for the Angels,
who were willing to provide so much power and success for those
who would whole-heartedly commit themselves to the work. How many
similarities with the new Israel?
v. 16 "I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall
be built in it, saith the Lord of Hosts, and a line shall be stretched
forth upon Jerusalem". As the Jews literally returned to Jerusalem,
the Angel too physically returned to "My house"- where He used
to live. To some limited degree the Angel must have literally
been in the temple- as Ez. 40 prophesied would happen. However,
in the same way as the temple described by Ezekiel was not built
on the scale intended by the Angels because of Israel's apathy,
so maybe the Angelic presence too was greatly diminished to what
it could have been. The presence of the temple Angel in Lk. 1
indicates that He was there to some degree. The Lord of Hosts
stretched the line upon Jerusalem by the Angel surveying and measuring
Jerusalem as described in Zech. 2, Rev. 11 and Ez. 40-47.
v. 18,19 "Four horns. . . which have scattered Judah, Israel
and Jerusalem". The number four is associated with the four cherubim
Angels- the four types of Angel-controlled punishment explained
elsewhere in these studies.
v. 20,21 "Four carpenters. . . are come to fray them (the four
horns), to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up
their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it". The four carpenter
Angels "frayed" the horn Angels which had scattered Israel. For
another example of Angels casting out other Angels from a previous
position, see 'Angels and the ending of the Law' in Chapter 12.
The Hebrew for 'fray' means 'to hasten (with anxiety), to frighten'.
Thus one group of Angels hastens the fulfilment of other Angels'
work; hence in v. 12 an Angel prayed
to the Lord of Hosts (Angels) encouraging them to end their
indignation because the 70 years were ended. Similarly the Comforter
Angel says that Jerusalem has "received of the Lord's hand (Angel)
double (i. e. too much?) for all her sins" (Is. 40:2), and that
her warfare ('appointed time') has ended, or expired. The phrase
"appointed time" is the same word translated "host", used concerning
the Angels, thus indicating that the period of the captivity was
under Angelic control. Thus Dan. 10:1 also points out that "the
time appointed was long"- implying too long, seeing that "the
thing was true"?. This helps us to explain Angels being in some
ways in opposition to each other in Daniel, e. g. the Angel prince
of Persia withstanding another Angel in His action because of
the need to execute a certain time period first.
Zechariah Chapter 2
This chapter exemplifies the relationships between the Angels in
implementing God's purpose. Chapter 1 has described the continuing
sins of the Jews, and the Angelic actions in punishing both the
Jews (by the four horse-Angels), and their oppressors by the four
carpenter-Angels. In chapter 2 an Angel begins to prepare judgements
on Jerusalem, but is interrupted by another Angel who describes
God's plan to restore Jerusalem, and quickly corrects the impression
made on Zechariah by the first Angel.
v. 1 "A man with a measuring line"- the Angel of 1:16; cp. Ez.
40:3; 47:3; Rev. 21:15-17 and the idea of "the measure of a man,
that is an Angel". Measuring is a figure of judgement- e. g. "judge
not. . . for with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to
you" (Mt. 7:12); "shall I come unto you with a (measuring) rod?"
(i. e. in judgement- 1 Cor. 4:21).
v. 3 continues: "The Angel (i. e. the one doing the measuring)
that talked with me went forth, and another Angel went out to
meet him, and said unto him, Run (i. e. run back), speak to this
young man (the observing Zechariah), saying, Jerusalem shall yet
The Angelic language continues: "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts (Angels).
. . I will come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee" (v. 8,10)-
i. e. the Angel would physically return to Jerusalem (the temple?
In which case this has yet to be fulfilled). The primary fulfilment
of this was in the return from Babylon- the Angel led them back
across the deserts, physically moving with them, to enter Jerusalem.
This would explain the restoration from Babylon in terms of the
wilderness journey and the Angel's guidance of them then- because
this very same Angel was involved in leading them through a different
wilderness, back to Israel.
v. 5 especially has reference to the Angels' part in the restoration:
"I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about,
and will be the glory in the midst of her". As the Angel had been
a pillar of protecting fire to Israel previously, He would be
to them instead of a physical wall as they started rebuilding
Jerusalem amidst great opposition, with no physical wall to protect
Zechariah Chapter 3
A theme of Zechariah's early prophecies is the opposition between
groups of people, individuals or Angels who want to rebuild the
temple and restore Israel, and adversaries to them. Thus in chapter
1 there are the carpenters opposed to the horns, and the Angel who
wants to measure (judge) Jerusalem being countermanded by the Angel
who decrees that Jerusalem is to be inhabited in chapter 2. This
is continued in chapter 3 by the vision of Joshua and satan standing
before the Angel. It is suggested that this 'satan' is an Angel
(we are familiar with satan Angels from 1 Chro. 21:1 and Num. 22:22
at least); this is because groups of people, even evil ones, have
their viewpoint represented or brought to the notice of the court
of Heaven by a satan Angel- a 'devil's advocate', as it were!
The satan Angel "resists" the Angel representing Joshua. The resisting
was during the 21 year period when the temple rebuilding was suspended
(Ezra 4:24). This corresponds to the 21 days (years), during which
the Angel prince of Persia resisted Gabriel's work of rebuilding
(Dan. 10:13). Taking this further, this 21 day-year period is the
same as the three weeks (21 days) which Daniel spent praying for
the rebuilding to commence. Somehow- and the complexity of the situation
is well beyond the present writer- the period Daniel spent praying
was over-ruled; there is a sense of time in the court of Heaven,
and probably will be in the Kingdom too (e. g. Zech. 14:16). His
prayer was answered from the first day he prayed (Dan. 10:12), but
despite one Angel being eager to answer it, another opposed it.
Why. . . how. . ?
v. 1 "And He shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before
the Angel of the Lord, and satan standing at His right hand to
resist him". The prayers offered by Joshua the high priest came
before the Angel to whom all prayers go initially, in the form
of an Angel presenting his case; whilst the satan Angel opposed
Him. He was a satan by reason of representing the Samaritan opposition.
In our notes on Jer. 24:1 we suggested that the two baskets of
figs placed before the Angel in the temple laid the basis for
this vision. The baskets represented the faithful and apostate
Jews. The Joshua Angel would have represented the
faithful Jews eager to rebuild Jerusalem, whilst the satan Angel
would represent the apostates whose very existence militated against
God answering the prayers of the rest of Israel. Does the same
principle apply to Israel after the spirit- that the apostasy
and apathy of some hinders the answering of the common prayers
of the others? And our common prayer is surely for the second
coming and the greater restoration of the true temple.
v. 2 "And the Lord said unto satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan;
even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee". The
Angel-Lord (Jude 9) says that despite the sins of
the bad figs in Israel and the opposition of the Samaritans, His
choice of rebuilding Jerusalem will stand. Jude 8-10 lends support
to this line of interpretation. Jude says that Michael the Archangel
did not "bring a railing accusation" against the satan Angel,
nor did He "despise dominion" (another Angel-ruler) or "speak
evil of glories" (AV:"dignities"; the same word is in Jude 24
"the presence of His glory"- the Angels). This marked lack of
aggression which Jude emphasizes shows that there was no conflict
between the Angels, as may be wrongly inferred from the severity
of the English word "rebuke".
Our demeanour generally, especially with each other when it is
necessary to have divergent opinions, or to correct others' ways
of executing God's purpose as they see it, should be done in the
same mutually loving spirit. Notice how Jude 8 links the satan of
Zech. 3 with a "dominion"- a ruler or 'prince'. The satan Angel
who resisted the Joshua Angel for 21 days is "the prince of
Persia" in Dan. 10:13. "The Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke
thee; is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?". Another allusion
in Jude (v. 23) interprets this: "Others save with fear, pulling
them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh".
The implication is that the Angel just about decided in favour of
saving Jerusalem out of the 'fire' of eternal punishment (cp. Jer.
17:27) for her sins- He had "compassion, making a difference" (v.
22). The "garment spotted by the flesh" must connect with the "filthy
garments" worn by Joshua as he came into the Angel's presence.
v. 4,5 The Angel "answered and spake unto those that stood before
him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto
him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from
thee. . so they (the Angels that stood by). . . clothed him with
garments. And the Angel of the Lord stood by".
Does this mean that the Angel commanded other Angels to arrange
Joshua's forgiveness and to end his being "polluted from the priesthood"
(due to lack of proven ancestry and the high priestly garments),
in order that the prayers he presented should be more powerful?
This would explain why he was given both a mitre and garments (v.
5). In passing, why did Zechariah suggest giving him a mitre (v.
5)? The greater Joshua was also clothed with a change of nature
by the Angels (as outlined in Rev. 4 and 5).
v. 7 "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts (Angels); If thou wilt walk
in My ways, and if thou wilt keep Mine ordinance (of Lev. 18:30
about the abominations of the surrounding nations). . . thou shalt
also judge My house. . . My courts, and I will give thee places
to walk among these (Angels) that stand by".
"My house" refers to the Angel dwelling in the temple; the offer
of places to walk among the Angels is the same idea as being "made
equal unto the Angels" in Lk. 20:35,36.
v. 8 "I will bring forth My servant the Branch". As shown earlier,
it would seem that an Angel was personally associated with arranging
the advent of Jesus, as He arranged that of Zerubbabel, the type.
Ps. 80 has a clear Angelic context; it describes the God of Hosts,
His right hand, making "the branch. . . strong for Thyself" (i.
e. so Jesus could fully reconcile them with God?).
v. 9 "I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. . .
saith the Lord of Hosts" (Angels). Again, the ability of an Angel
to arrange forgiveness of sins.