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11. The exiles who returned

11-1 Ezekiel’s Temple: Based Upon Solomon’s Temple || 11-2 The Nature Of Prophecy || 11-2-1 Conditional Prophecy || 11-2-2 Human Response || 11-2-3 Tyre in Ezekiel 26 || 11-2-4 Delayed Prophecies || 11-2-5 Prophecies With Changed Fulfillment || 11-2-6 The Nature Of Prophecy || 11-3 Command More Than Prediction || 11-4 The Contemporary Relevance Of Ezekiel's Temple || 11-5 The Restoration: Potential Kingdom Of God || 11-6 The Potential And The Reality || 11-6-1 The Weakness Of Judah Under Nehemiah || 11-6-2 Isaiah's Prophecies Of Restoration || 11-6-3 Jeremiah's Restoration Prophecies || 11-6-4 Ezekiel's Restoration Prophecies || 11-6-5 The Cherubim And The Restoration || 11-6-6 Zechariah's Restoration Prophecies || 11-6-7 The Restoration Psalms || 11.7 “The prince" in Ezekiel || 11-7-1 " The prince" : Potential Messiah || 11-7-2 Zerubabbel- Potential Messiah? || 11.8 The Potential For The Surrounding World || 11-8-1 Haggai 2 || 11-8-2 Meshech And Tubal || 11-8-3 Joel Chapter 3 || 11-9 Different Sequences Of Prophetic Fulfillment || 11-10 Zechariah And Malachi: More Chances || 11-11 The Returned Exiles

11-6-6 Zechariah's Restoration Prophecies

God's glory would have dwelt not only in the temple but in the whole city of Jerusalem (Zech. 2:9). But there is no evidence that the shekinah glory ever actually returned to the rebuilt temple let alone was visibly present over the whole rebuilt city of Jerusalem. The Jews were asked to leave Babylon so that Jerusalem would have an "abundance of peoples", in language evidently appropriate to the Messianic Kingdom (Zech. 2:8,10). And yet they for the most part remained in Babylon, and thus showed they didn't want to do their part in making that prophecy of the Kingdom come true in their experience. The prophecies that the Gentile rulers of Judah will be their servants (Zech. 2:10-17) clearly show that Judah wasn't intended to remain a mere subject kingdom of the Persian empire. So much was possible- but they chose to remain, to take the easier option- which is always to remain within the structures we are safe and familiar with.

Zechariah is also relevant to the restoration period. He speaks of the day of Israel’s final obedience, when finally “the Lord shall be seen over them…as lightning” (Zechariah 9:14), just as the cherubim and lightening had been over Ezekiel and would have been over Israel at the restoration- had they followed it. Zechariah attributes Israel’s final success as thanks to “the Lord of hosts”- the hosts of Angels working with them and for them. In “the time of the latter rain”, Yahweh will again “make bright clouds” for Israel, reminiscent of Ezekiel’s cherubim (Zechariah 10:1). Finally, the Lord shall go before them, as He had wanted to in Ezekiel’s time, and even the feeble amongst Israel “shall be as the angel of the Lord [who goes] before them” (Zechariah 10:14; 12:8). They will become as the Angel in the same way as Ezekiel became part of the cherubim system, following eagerly where the Angel-cherubim lead. At the time of the restoration, God could say: “I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built…the Lord shall yet comfort Zion” (Zechariah 1:17). This was the same “comfort to Zion” of Isaiah 40:1. But Israel would not follow God back to Jerusalem, and those who did generally were consumed with their own petty self interest. And so the prophecies and promises of “comfort to Zion” were re-interpetted and fulfilled in a spiritual sense in the ministry of the Lord Jesus. God had gone ahead of them- He had returned to Zion already, and bid Israel follow Him there. It was His plan that the light of His glory would enter into Zion at the restoration (Hag. 2:7); but Israel had to act as if they believed this, and likewise show forth glory: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” (Isaiah 60:1). He eagerly prophesied that “strangers shall build up thy walls…in my favour have I had mercy upon thee” (Isaiah 60:10)- not ‘I am prepared to have mercy upon you’, nor ‘I will have mercy…’. God had had mercy upon them, and invited them to respond to it.