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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

11-6-5 The Cherubim And The Restoration

Ezekiel’s opening vision of the cherubim was surely to encourage the captives in Babylon that above them was an awesome Angelic system, that was able to carry them with it back to the land- if they were workers together with God. Although it seemed that they were sitting still, nothing was happening, they were just passing time by the rivers of Babylon, above them there was an intensely active system of Angels working for their good. Asaph, writing Psalms in the captivity, perceived this when [surely referring to Ezekiel’s recent vision] he speaks of how the God who dwells between the cherubim is in fact actively leading Judah somewhere (Psalms 80:1). And yet the common phrase “Lord of Hosts” / Angels never once occurs in Ezekiel or Daniel. This outstanding omission is surely reflective of the sad fact that the Angel-cherubim withdrew from the land during the captivity- the land where the Angelic eyes of the Lord had run to and fro previously. Ezekiel 1:20 describes how "Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go…for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels”. The wheels, it appears, represented God’s people Israel on earth. If they had kept in step with the Spirit-Angel, following Him both to Babylon and back to Judah at His bidding, they would have been in step with God’s plan for them, and all would have prospered. This passage appears to be behind Paul’s appeal to us to walk in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). Ezekiel himself was the great example of this, for he was “lifted up” by the Spirit just as the wheels were lifted up, and went wherever he was taken, backwards and forwards between Babylon and Judah (Ezekiel 8:3; 11:1). He became part of the Cherubic system. Ezekiel had to put his hand under the wings of the cherubim; and then there appeared permanently in the Cherubim visions “the form of a man’s hand [i.e. Ezekiel’s] under their wings” (Ezekiel 10:2,8). I take this to be indicative of how humanity can be so deeply a part of God's work; we are identified with Him and His Angels. The visions involved the whole system held up as it were upon a human hand; and God in the image of a man crowning it all in the Heavens. Truly God isn't far from any of us; and in a sense, as the great Rabbi Abraham Heschel put it, "God is in need of man". Note how when the cherubim lifted up, so was Ezekiel lifted up (Ezekiel 11:22-24). Judah should have left Jerusalem when the Spirit told them to; and they should have upped and left Babylon when the Spirit told them to. But they were out of step with the Spirit, despite Ezekiel’s acted parable of literally being lifted up and going where the Cherubim went. The equivalent of this for us is surely our sense of doing all for God’s glory, of having this as the final deciding factor in all our decisions.  

We note in this context that it was an Angel who described to Ezekiel the nature of the temple which the exiles were intended to build; and we even read in Ezekiel 40:14 that “He made…” [e.g. the posts of the temple]. The Angels had potentially built that temple; it was for Israel to build according to the pattern of it. And for each of us, there are wonderful things prepared for us to achieve for the Lord, made potentially possible, with all the host of Heaven eagerly awaiting our fulfillment of them on earth. But so very often they remain only poorly replicated by us. And the temple prophecies of Ezekiel are a classic example. Ezekiel saw a functioning temple- he speaks of “where they washed the burnt offering”, he saw animals being killed, things being laid on tables (Ezekiel 40:38-43). It was all- potentially- ‘happening’. It just had to be realized on earth. The temple was to have cherubim motifs throughout it (Ezekiel 41:18)- as if to show that the Cherubim of Ezekiel 1 had now ‘landed’ on the temple at the end of the prophecy. The vision of God’s glory entering the temple “was according to the vision…that I saw by the river Chebar” back in Babylon (Ezekiel 43:2,3). This is the meaning of the fact that cherubim visions both begin and end the prophecy of Ezekiel. The cherubim would move from Judah to Babylon and then back to Judah, to enter into and dwell in the temple. Yet God’s glory did not enter the temple which Nehemiah built. This was because the people had not followed Ezekiel’s example, they had not identified themselves with the Angelic movements above them, but rather remained dominated by their petty self interests. They never really repented- for Ezekiel 43:11 records Ezekiel being told to only give Judah “the form of the house” and “write it in their sight” only “if  they be ashamed of all that they have done”. There is no record of Ezekiel giving them the plans for the temple- so the wonderful prophecy could not be fulfilled, because they did not repent.

“Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion” (Is. 52:8) is a restoration prophecy embedded between verses which speak of the command for Judah to leave Babylon: “Loose thyself from the bands… depart ye, go ye out from thence” (Is. 52:2,11). Who are the watchmen? Surely they are the Angels, who potentially prepared the way for Judah to leave Babylon. Had the people of Judah followed the cherubim Angels above them and all returned to Zion, they would have as it were seen the Angels eye to eye, sung together with the Angels at the new creation of Zion… and God’s eyes are the Angels, so in that sense Judah would have seen eye to eye with God. But they didn’t utilize what God had prepared; they lazily preferred to stay within their comfort zones by remaining in Babylon. In our experience in Christ, the same is all true, day by day. The way is set up for us, and if we bravely and boldly go in the way which the Angels have prepared, the way God intends, then we will have the experience of truly walking with the Lord, singing with His Angels, seeing eye to eye, in foretaste of the final day when we shall finally see Him face to face.

Following The Angel

The return of the exiles led by Ezra made the journey by a "right way" from Babylon to Zion (Ezra 8:21). Yet this is the very word used about the "straight" feet of the Cherubim Angels in Ez. 1:7,23. The return from Babylon involved following in the path of the Angels, walking in step with them. The restoration prophecy of Jer. 31:9 spoke of how the returnees would walk "in a straight way" (s.w.) "by the rivers of waters"- and surely Ezra consciously alluded to this when by the river Ahava he fasted for the exiles to return in a "right / straight way". He knew that these prophecies of restoration would not just automatically come true- they had to be fulfilled by much prayer, fasting and stepping out in faith. But so very few perceived that. And the challenge remains for us today- to walk in the way which God's Angels have potentially prepared for us, with prayer and boldness. I feel this is especially true in the matter of latter day witnessing. Rev. 14:6 describes the great latter fulfilment of the great preaching commission in terms of an Angel flying in Heaven with the Gospel of the Kingdom to be preached to all nations and languages. Surely the implication is that the latter day preachers of the Gospel are walking on earth in league with an Angelic system above them, empowering and enabling them.

The Divine presence as symbolized by the cherubim Angels was in the land until Judah went into captivity; hence the cherubim removed from Jerusalem. In their machinations against Israel and Judah, her enemies forgot that “the Lord was there” (Ez. 35:10). Yet God’s intention was that His people would return, the Angel cherubim of glory would return, and again it would finally be true that “the Lord is there” (Ez. 48:35). Note how in Ez. 3:23 the cherubim of glory are described as the Lord being “there”, and yet they move away to Babylon. Israel were being asked to follow their Angel, as they had followed the Angel in the pillar of cloud and fire in the wilderness. But they refused, generally, and therefore the great things the Angels had potentially made possible were not realized. Our following of the Angel is just as real, and just as much a matter of daily freewill choice, as it was for the exiles.  

What Judah prayed for by the rivers of Babylon was indeed heard. There they had asked that God would “visit” them and “return” them (Ps. 80:14). The same two Hebrew words are to be found in Jer. 27:22, where we read that God would exile His people to Babylon and then “visit” them and make them “return”. We meet the same two words in Zeph. 2:7, where God would ‘visit and return’ the captivity of the remnant of Judah. But when God did “visit” His people, just as when He ‘visited’ His people in the gift of His Son, they didn’t want to ‘return’ or respond. Those who had desired ‘the day of the Lord’ at that time had been praying for it, when it was ‘to no end’ for them. And we have to ask ourselves whether we really mean our prayers for the Lord’s return. Jer. 27:22 predicted that God would “visit” His people and “bring them up”. Those very two words are found in the declaration of Cyrus as recorded in 2 Chron. 36:23: “God hath charged [s.w. “visited”] me to build him a house in Jerusalem… who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up [s.w. “bring them up”]”. The most powerful monarch in the Middle East made the humanly bizarre and inexplicable command to “go up” to the land. ‘Going up’ and ‘visiting’ are language associated with Angels. The people were being encouraged to follow the cherubim-Angel. But most of the people said ‘No that’s fine, we’ll give some money, but we’ll stay here thanks. We won’t be ‘going up’’. And in essence, we are so similar as a community. The design of the temple which Ezekiel communicated to the captives featured the motif of cherubim all over it, especially in the holy place. This wasn't mere decoration. The idea was clearly that if the captives returned and built the temple as specified, then the cherubim would again dwell there. It was up to them. But there's no indication that they were very obedient to the pattern given them; hence perhaps it was the more spiritually perceptive who wept when the foundation of the second temple was dedicated, knowing how far it was from Ezekiel's commands (Ezra 3:12). Ezekiel saw the temple as if it were already there, located at Jerusalem; he wasn't transported to Heaven to view it (Ez. 40:2). And it was there, potentially, that whole glorious temple. But the captives had to return and build it. turning the prophetic word into flesh, the logos into reality. But they didn't.

What Do The Cherubim Represent?

There seems little doubt from the above evidence that the Angels are involved with the Cherubim. Yet in Ezekiel's context, the language of chariots inevitably suggests the approach of enemy armies. Thus the cherubim chariots represented not only the Angels, but also the chariots of God's enemies; for the Lord of the Angelic hosts was manifested on earth in the Babylonian hosts. The word for the "rushing" noise of the cherubim wheels is used elsewhere about the noise of the chariots of Israel's enemies and the Babylonian invasion (Jer. 10:22; 47:3; Nah. 3:2). The Angelic armies of Heaven were therefore revealed on earth in the chariots of Babylon; it was both Babylon and the Angelic cherubim behind them who took Judah captive, and who could also return them to their land. Hence the stress in Ezekiel's vision that the wheels of the cherubim were on the earth / land. Clearly enough, the things that go on in our lives, even those things which appear as brutal and tragic as the Babylonian chariots were to Judah, are not random machinations of men; they are, in some unfathomable way, under the direct control of a God of love, who only means to do us good at our latter end.

Yet the cherubim also speak of God's people. The sound of the cherubim Angels which Ezekiel heard was like the noise of an earthquake (Ez. 3:12). Those two Hebrew words, for "noise" and "earthquake", occur later in his prophecies, when he hears the "noise" of "shaking" or earthquake as the bones of Israel in exile come together by the spirit / Angelic operation of Yahweh (Ez. 37:7). The Spirit came from four places (Ez. 37:9)- just as there were four cherubim. As the sound of the cherubim was as of a great army (Ez. 1:24), so revived Israel stood up as a great army (Ez. 37:10).The Angel cherubim would work with God's disillusioned and broken people, to revive them, so that they would become like the guardian Angels of Israel above them. The point was that the Angel cherubim system which Ezekiel had seen at work amongst the captives was able to gather them together, and give life to the nation. And yet that didn't happen to those exiles- because they didn't walk in step with the spirit.

There are evident similarities between Ezekiel's cherubim, and the four living creatures of Rev. 4. They are both described as "full of eyes" (Ez. 1:18 = Rev. 4:6), with four very similar faces (lion, calf, man, eagle in Rev. 4:7 = lion, ox, man, eagle in Ez. 1:10); and both have wings (Rev. 4:8 = Ez. 1:8). Yet the living creatures of Revelation speak of being redeemed by the blood of Christ and made king-priests in God's Kingdom (Rev. 5:8-10)- as if they are the redeemed people of God. The four faces are likely to be connected with the four standards of the tribes of Israel (Lion = Judah, Man = Reuben, Ox = Ephraim, Eagle = Dan). Each of those tribes had two other tribes assigned to them in the encampment procedures of Num. 2. There is extra-Biblical tradition that the cherubim in Solomon's temple had the same four faces which Ezekiel saw on the cherubim- lion, ox, man and eagle (1). Those to whom Ezekiel related his vision would have immediately understood the point- that the earthly sanctuary was a reflection of the Heavenly, and that above that was a huge Angelic system operating, which also represented God's people- them. But that huge system was to remove to Babylon, and then the final visions of Ezekiel show that glory returning. Ezekiel, as the representative "son of man" as he's so often styled, was caught up within that system and transported at ease between Babylon and Jerusalem- and those who wanted to opt in with God and His Angels could likewise be taken to Babylon and returned. Those who chose to remain in Babylon were therefore resisting being part of an awesome system of God manifestation and Angelic operation. We have that same choice in things great and small today.


If the cherubim speak also of God's people, as well as the Angelic hosts and the hosts of Babylon, then perhaps the message was simply that God was awesomely involved- as awesome as the cherubim vision- with His people on earth. The same Angelic system that brought the hosts of Babylon upon Judah also went with Judah into captivity, and would return from there with them- if they still wished to be part of that Angelic system. And yet most of Judah opted out of it, and remained in Babylon, just as we can opt out and remain in Babylon today. In this context it's interesting that the vision of Jesus as the Son of Man in Rev. 1 has similarities with the cherubim vision of Ez. 1 (feet like brass, Ez. 1:7 = Rev. 1:15; shining face, Ez. 1:13 = Rev. 1:16; voice like many waters, Ez. 1:24= Rev. 1:15). Perhaps this suggests that Israel's failure to identify with the cherubim led to a refulfilment of the prophecy in the person of the Lord Jesus, who was in person all that God intended Israel to have been. Thus the prophecies of Israel as "the servant of Yahweh", given in the context of the restoration, could have been fulfilled in the people of Israel, but were reapplied and fulfilled in the person of the Lord Jesus.

The idea of reapplication of the cherubim is maybe hinted at in Zechariah's visions. He sees the same Angel chariots emerging from between two bronze mountains (Zech. 1:7-11), perhaps designed to recall the bronze pillars of the temple (1 Kings 7:15-22). The rebuilt temple was intended to be the point from which the Angel chariots would go forth; but that didn't happen at the very limited restoration from Babylon, and so the first four seals of Rev. 6 are full of allusion to this Zechariah vision- it was not left unfulfilled because of Israel's indolence, but rather was reapplied to the latter day events of which Revelation speaks.


(1) John Thomas, Eureka (West Beach: Logos, 1984 ed.) Vol. 2 Ch. 4 sec. 4.2.


Angels In Jeremiah

There is much reference to Angelic language in the prophecies of Israel's return from captivity in Babylon, which also points forward to the part Angels play in the present and future regathering of Israel. It is significant that Ezra and Nehemiah speak of the "God of Heaven" whilst Zechariah speaks of the "God of the earth" or 'land' of Israel, perhaps because the Angel of Israel literally went to Heaven when the glory departed from Jerusalem, and returned, in a sense, at the restoration- to depart again  at Christ's death ("Your house is left unto you desolate"; of the Angel that once dwelt in the temple).

The following commentary on the relevant passages highlights the main uses of Angelic language and the implications that follow.


The latter day application of Jeremiah and Ezekiel have possibly been emphasized to the neglect of their primary reference to the Babylonian captivity and restoration. This is no doubt due to a (correct) reaction against the critical school of thought which assigns a vague primary application to much Bible prophecy and then proceeds to mutilate the text.

Chapter 23

23:3 "I will gather the remnant of My flock"- the Angel of Israel is likened to a shepherd in Ps. 80:1; Is. 63:9-11 etc.

v. 4 "I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them"- rulers who would  genuinely care for Israel like the master shepherd, the Angel, did. Jeremiah was frequently moved to lament the false shepherds of Israel, which is understandable if the Angel shepherd of Israel inspired Jeremiah. He would have been deeply hurt at his flock being left to ruin by those to whom He had delegated His shepherding role (cp. how in Is. 63:9-11 both the Angel and Moses appear to be the shepherd that led Israel).

v. 5 "I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper". Zech. 6:12 interprets this as a reference to Zerubbabel: "the man whose name is the branch. . . shall  build  the  temple of the  Lord". Zerubbabel being a king-priest was in the kingly line, and thus can correctly be called a king in the line of David (Matt. 1:12; Lk. 3:7; 'Sheshbazzar' of Ezra 1:8 is the Babylonian equivalent of 'Zerubbabel'; Ezra 3:8 describes his brothers as "priests and Levites"). Great prince Nehemiah humbly entered Jerusalem incognito on an ass (Neh. 2:11-15)- it is a wild speculation that Zerubbabel did the same, and thus provided a primary basis for Zech. 9:9 "Thy king cometh unto thee (also unrecognized, in the case of Jesus entering spiritually ruined Jerusalem). . . lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass".

v. 7,8 "They shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them" (primarily fulfilled by the Babylonian policy of scattering their captives among other nations they conquered- hence the existence of the Samaritans in Israel). The Angel brought Israel out of Egypt- and was also responsible for their regathering from Babylon.

v. 11 The Babylonian captivity was to be because "in My house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord". The Angel that dwelt in the temple could call it "My house".

v. 14 "They are all of them unto Me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah"- both of whom were visited and destroyed by Angels. Similarly the Angels would bring judgement on Jerusalem

v. 15,16 "The Lord of Hosts "(Angels). This title of God is common in these prophecies.

Chapter 24

v. 1 "Two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord"; one representing the apostate Jews who remained in the land, and the other those who went to Babylon and later revived spiritually. We have seen that an Angel dwelt literally in the temple. This vision of two groups of Jews standing before an Angel is probably the basis of the vision of Zech. 3, where Joshua and the Jews eager to rebuild Jerusalem stand before  the Angel, with the satan standing there too. 'Satan' is often associated with apostate Jews in the New Testament.

v. 5 "The God of Israel" (Jacob)- Angelic language.

v. 6 "I will set Mine eyes (Angels) upon them for good"

v. 7 "I will give them an heart to know Me"- the Angels acting directly on a man's heart.

v. 10 "The land that I gave unto them and to their fathers"- done by the Angel.

Chapter 25

v. 11 "This whole land shall be a desolation". The Angels of Zech. 1:11 reported that "all the earth (land- of Israel) sitteth still and is at rest" (cp. also Jer. 30:10), indicating that they were responsible for the state of the land.

Chapter 29

This chapter stresses the Angelic title "Lord of Hosts" (v. 8,17,21,25)

v. 10 "I will visit you" (God manifestation through the Angels) "after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon". Notice the further similarity with the visiting of the Jews by the Angel at the Exodus.

The use of Exodus language in both Isaiah and the other prophets regarding the return from captivity creates a link between them and Isaiah. This means that Isaiah has a dual application to both Hezekiah's time and also the restoration (how else can the Cyrus passages be satisfactorily understood?). For more evidence of this, see the appendix.

The similarity of language makes the equation look like:

Angel visiting Israel in Egypt= Angel saving Judah from Assyria in Hezekiah's time= Angel saving Judah from the Babylonian captivity.

v. 12 "Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you"- prayer to God manifest in the Angel.

v. 14 "I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places, whither I have driven you, saith the Lord: and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive". All this was the work of the Angel.

v. 19 "They have not hearkened to My words, saith the Lord, which I sent unto them by My servants the prophets"- Angels inspiring the word of God.

Chapter 31

v. 28 "Like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down,  and  to  throw  down,  and  to  destroy, and to afflict, so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord".

The interpretation of Jer. 1:11 in 'Angels and the word of God' in Chapter 8 shows that the watchers here are Angels.

v. 31 "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah". Will the future covenant with Israel be made through Angels? Or is this regarding the new covenant that the Angels arranged in Christ? See 'Angels and the end of the Law' in Chapter 12 for details of how separate groups of Angels instituted both the Law and Christian dispensation.

v. 32 "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt". This covenant was given by the Angel at Sinai. "Which My covenant they break; and should I (therefore) have continued an husband unto them?" (AVmg. ). This associates the Angel with marrying Israel, and would explain the passages in Ez. 16,20 and elsewhere which speak of God falling in love with Israel and being flattered by their love. The implication in these passages is that God made an emotional decision in 'proposing' to Israel at Sinai. Such language is far better suited to Angels than to God Himself. The Angel here in v. 32 seems to be saying that His divorcing Israel would be justified- and as we see later in Hosea, God did divorce Israel. This contradicts- apparently- God's personal abhorrence of divorce. The situation appears less contradictory if it is recognized that the Angels actually divorced Israel, with God looking on and accepting the reason for the Angel's action. Mal. 2:14 brings this out: "The Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant". This "wife of thy youth" cannot be God Himself- seeing that He is witnessing between Israel and this other party. It is fitting if she therefore represents the Angel, whom Israel married in her national youth at Sinai, where the Angel made the covenant with Israel to constitute Himself "the wife of thy covenant". It should be remembered that Malachi was prophesying in the same context of the restoration as Jeremiah. The Jeremiah passage shows that just before the captivity God, manifest in the Angel, considered divorcing them, and He thought similarly after the restoration too, according to Malachi. "The God of Israel. . . the Lord of Hosts (Angelic titles) saith that if He hate here, put her away" (AV: "The Lord hateth putting away". The ambiguity here seems designed)). This is the same idea as Jer. 31:32- the Angel saying He would be justified in divorcing Israel, although He did not want to.

v. 33 "I will put My Law in their inward parts". The Law was given by Angels; again, notice the action of Angels on the human heart. The word is soon to be placed in Israel's stony hearts- and the power of the Spirit Angels will be operative in this.

". . and will be their God". The Angel will still be "the God of Israel" in the Kingdom; or will He be replaced by Christ?

v. 36 "If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever"- the Angel of Israel will always preserve them.

Angels In Ezekiel


The primary fulfilment of Ezekiel too is in the restoration from Babylon. The great emphasis on the Angel-cherubim shows the importance of the Angels in it. The Cherubim of chapter 1 "came out of the north" (v. 4). "The North" in the prophets often refers to "the north country" of Babylon. Is the whole vision primarily describing the Angels coming from Babylon, with the wheels "upon the earth" (v. 15) representing natural Israel under Angelic control? Thus "when the living creatures (Angels) went, the wheels went by them "(v. 19), due to the Angelic inspiration of the Jews and their touching the hearts of men like Cyrus, Ezra and Nehemiah "according to the good hand (Angel) of. . God upon" them; "the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels" (v. 20). Remember that the Angels are the vehicles of God's Spirit. The visions of the glory progressively removing from the temple show the Angel departing from Jerusalem, and then in chapters 40-48 the glory Angel returns to a re-built Jerusalem. Recall how the Angel in Ex. 33 and 34 is also described as the "glory". What other primary application can chapters 1 and 40-48 have? The exact dimensions of the temple given in Ezekiel recall Zech. 1:16 and 2:11, where the Angel accurately measures Jerusalem in preparation for the rebuilding of the temple. In the same way as it is possible to argue that Christ's second coming in AD70 was described in detail but was postponed to the last days because of Israel's lack of spiritual response, it may be that Ezekiel's visions of the temple were what should have been achieved during the  restoration, but  because of the feeble spiritual response of the Jews during and after the restoration, as lamented by Malachi, Zechariah and Nehemiah, the full glory of the temple which God intended was postponed until Christ's return in our last days.

Ezekiel's familiar prophecies of Israel's regathering thus have their primary fulfilment in the restoration. Ez. 36:36 is obviously relevant: "The heathen that are left round about you (the other nations that the Babylonians had placed in Israel) shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places" (by the miraculous rebuilding of the temple amidst great opposition). 37:14 alludes directly back to the vision of the Angel-cherubim's spirit being placed in the "wheels" of natural Israel: "I (the Angel) shall put My spiirt in you, and ye shall live". There are many links discernible between Ezekiel and Zechariah, as they both prophesy concerning the same scattering and restoration of Israel. Just two examples:



36:29 "I will also save you from all your uncleanness: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you".               

9:17 "Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids. . . how great is His goodness" (in forgiveness).

37:16 "Judah. . . the children of  Israel. . Joseph, the stick of  Ephraim. . all the house of  Israel"

10:6 "The house of Judah. . the house of Joseph. . they of Ephraim"

Angels In Zechariah

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 of Hosts".

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" against Jerusalem.

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 Is. 40:

Isaiah 40  

Isaiah 45

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 years later.

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 be inhabited".

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 them.

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.

The Vision Of Seven Lamps

Zechariah Chapter 4

The vision is of a bowl with seven lamps, fed from a sump of oil in a bowl which is supplied by pipes from two olive trees.

The "seven lamps are the seven eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth" (Zech. 4:2,10)- i. e. they represent the Angels active in the land of Israel to enable the restoration. They are energized by the spirit in the bowl. The candlestick being part of the tabernacle was therefore also a "pattern of things in the Heavens"; it represented how the Heavenly organization of Angels works. The olive trees "are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth" (v. 14). The "Lord of the whole earth" is the Angel of 3:1 (making "the God of the earth" in Rev. 11:4 also an Angel). The olive trees actually stand by the candlestick, thus making the whole arrangement of bowl, branches, pipes and lamps represent the workings of the one Angel- in the same way as the Angel of Jesus in Rev. 1 can somehow stand in the midst of a candlestick.

The olive being a symbol of leadership (in Judges 9:8  the olive tree was the first tree to be thought of as a national leader), it would be fitting  that  they  represented Joshua and Zerubbabel. However, there is a definite allusion to the Angel cherubim here. "Within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree" (1 Kings 6:23); "and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two (olive tree) cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony" (Ex. 25:22). If the olive trees are like the Cherubim, then "the Lord of the whole earth" of Zech. 4:4 which was between them connects with the ark- the Angel that dwelt over the ark, between the Cherubim.  Josh. 3:11-13 also makes the connection between the ark and the "Lord of all the earth". The candlestick therefore represents the Angel co-ordinating the restoration, as well as the other "seven" Angels in His control.

This shows the close association between the Angel-cherubim and Joshua and Zerubbabel. Thus from the Angelic inspiration of these two men, the spirit was supplied to the candlestick through the gold pipes- the faith they showed and their prayers supplied the spirit which enabled the seven lamp Angels to act. However, the close link between the two olive trees and the Cherubim Angels once again shows that the ultimate impetus to our faith, prayers and spirituality comes from God's spirit in the Angels rather than from any personal inspiration we may feel. This idea of the flow of the spirit, enabling God's action through the Angels as a result of  our prayers, is found elsewhere:

  • "This shall turn to my salvation, through your prayer, and the supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:19)
  • ". . . how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit ("good things", Mt. 7:11) to them that ask Him?" (Lk. 11:13).

Of Oil And Olives

Thus in the vision of the seven lamps, the prayers and faith of Joshua and Zerubbabel were the oil, the spirit that was supplied to activate the seven lamp Angels that went to and fro in the land of Israel preparing the way for the restoration. However, the olive trees were "sons of oil" (4:14 AVmg)- they were anointed with the  oil initially. Is this a dim foreshadowing of the birth of the spirit ("sons of oil")? The oil of the spirit is clearly a symbol of the word- the men of the olive trees were sons of the spirit word through their belief in the word of God through Jeremiah concerning the restoration. The olive branches emptied the golden oil out of themselves- if we are to have the same victory of  faith as Joshua and Zerubbabel, we have to in the same way pour ourselves out in prayer and golden faith. The amount of oil flowing into the bowl determined the amount flowing out of it to the lamp Angels, seeing that there was a constant flow of the oil in the vision. Thus the amount and intensity of our prayers and spirituality affect how brightly the Angels burn in their zeal to fulfil our requests. Notice too the power of the prayers of a small minority of God's people. The two olive branches which feed the bowl are replaced by Christ, the one branch (Zech. 3:8; 6:12), who would provide the Spirit in abundance so that the true spiritual temple could be built- "the branch. . . shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord" (6:12).

It is difficult to relate Rev. 11:1-5 to all this. It is clearly based on this and other visions in Zechariah, but the exact links are elusive. The measuring of the temple in Rev. 11 is similar to that in Zech. 2, which was stopped by the Angel. In Rev. 11 the measuring (for judgement) goes ahead for the Jews but not for the Gentiles. The two witnesses of Rev. 11 are empowered to overcome their adversaries, as Joshua and Zerubbabel were given power to overcome theirs. There are often what appear (superficially?) to be vague allusions to the Old Testament in Revelation, and it is hard to determine their exact significance (e. g. Job 3:21= Rev. 9:6). Maybe the points of contact between Zechariah and Rev. 11 are examples of this? But Rev. 11:4 seems specific: "these are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks". And why two candlesticks when there was only one in Zechariah?

Let us take the rebuke which the Angel gave Zechariah twice (a sign of rebuke often in Scripture- e. g. "Simon, Simon"): "Knowest thou not what these be?" (v. 5,13), the Angel answered Zechariah when he asked what the system of pipes represented. Let us be humble to the Word, let us really accept the potential power of our prayers and truly poured out spirit. Note too the Angel's method of educating Zechariah by asking the question "What seest thou?" (v. 2). Through what mechanism do they open the word of God to us and lead us to concentrate on certain parts of it, as they did to Zechariah?

Zechariah  Chapters 5- 14

Zechariah Chapter 5

This seems to be  almost in parenthesis, concerning the sins of Israel and ultimately the evils of Judaism and false religion.

Zechariah Chapter 6

Chapter 3 depicts the Angels of Joshua and the satan Angel standing before the mighty Angel called "the Lord of the whole earth" in 4:14. Chapter 4 shows this same Angel similarly flanked by two olive trees. Chapter 6 has the same "Lord of all the earth" Angel (6:5) flanked by two brass mountains (v. 5 cp. v. 1), with four chariots full of horses being sent out from Him.

'Chariots' and the 'cherubim' are linguistically connected, and thus also connected in Biblical usage- e. g. "He rode upon a cherub (chariot)" (Ps. 18:10). The number four has links with the Angel cherubim; John Thomas (2) interprets these "four (chariot) spirits of the Heavens" (6:5) as the same as the four faces of the cherubim. The whole vision is full of Angelic language. "The chariots of God are. . . thousands of Angels" (Ps. 68:17); God makes His Angels spirits (Ps. 104:4). We have mentioned previously that the horses within the chariots also represent Angels (Chapter 3), under the control of the four mighty cherubim Angels. This is similar to Ps. 68:17 describing God's chariots as being full of Angels.

v. 6 "The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them". "The north country" must be Babylon (2:6; Jer. 1:13,14 etc. )- those Angels went to minister to the Jews there and to enable the hearts of the Persian rulers to continue to support the work of rebuilding (or is this looking back to the judgements on Babylon in preparation for Cyrus' decree concerning the restoration?). Another group of Angels went toward the South- i. e. the land of Judah (Ez. 20:46,47).

v. 7 "The bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and He (the Angel) said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth". The "earth" here is probably 'the land' of Israel-  which  would  have  included Babylon, at its proper extent from 'sea to sea'. These Angels, the same as those who originally surveyed the whole area by walking "to and fro through the earth"" in 1:10,11, "sought" permission from the co-ordinating Angel to continue their work.

v. 8 "These (two groups of Angels) that go toward the north country (Babylon) have quieted My spirit (Angel)  in the north country". The Spirit-Angel that needed quietening in Babylon was perhaps the satan-Angel that was resisting the Angel seeking to further the rebuilding work. He would have gone (literally?) to Babylon to give the "prince of Persia" the idea of banning the rebuilding. The two Angels that quietened Him were those of Dan. 10:12,13- the Joshua-Angel of Zech. 3:1, and Michael who "came to help Me" (Gabriel) in Dan. 10:13. Alternatively, note that Dan. 9:21 describes Gabriel being "caused to fly with weariness"- thus it may have been Gabriel who was 'quieted' or 'given rest' (AVmg. ) in Zech. 6:8, implying He was in Babylon trying to enable the rebuilding but needed the support of the other two Angels.

Zechariah Chapter 7

Notice the frequent references   to "the Lord of Hosts" and the Angel returning to His house- where He had dwelt in the temple.

Zechariah Chapter 8

v. 2 "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts (Angels); I was jealous (zealous) for Zion (the temple) with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury".  The Angel's tremendous zeal for the restoration comes bubbling through. No wonder the Kingdom prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah could have been fulfilled if only the people had worked together  with the Angels to their full potential!

v. 3 "I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem". The physical movement of the Angel back to Jerusalem.

v. 4 "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts (Angels): there shall yet old men and old women dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age". The Angel, v. 3, was to dwell in the midst  of Jerusalem, i. e. in the temple. Here in v. 4, old men and women were to do so- showing the Angel's close identification with his charges, such as Anna the prophetess who "departed not from the temple" at the time of Christ. As a result of the Angelic work in restoring Jerusalem, the old people who could remember the temple in its former glory when they  were taken captive 70 years previously would return to Jerusalem again.

v. 6 "If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days,  should it also be marvellous in Mine eyes (Angels)? saith the Lord of Hosts". The Angel is saying 'Because you find it hard to believe what I can really do for you, I might not do it in reality; but don't think My Angels (eyes) can't actually do it if they want to!'.

Zechariah Chapter 9

v. 14 "The Lord shall be over them"- as the Angels went over David beyond the mulberry trees (2 Sam. 5:24) and as the Angel in the cloud was over Israel in the wilderness. "His arrow shall go forth as lightning"- Angel cherubim language. He "shall go with whirlwinds of the South"- the group of Angels sent into "the south" (i. e. Judah) in Zech. 6:6.

v. 16 "The Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of His people"- the Angel is elsewhere  styled a shepherd (Is. 63:9-11; Ps. 80:1).  "The lord of Hosts (Angels) hath visited His flock the house of Judah" (10:3). Similarly, Israel "went their way as a flock, they were troubled because there was no shepherd" (10:2)- i. e. the Angel was not with them.

Zechariah Chapter 10

v. 10 "I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria" (Babylon- they are frequently used interchangeably). Notice the word "again"- as the Angel brought Israel out of Egypt the first time, so He would do it again in the restoration.

Zechariah Chapter 11

Earlier it was suggested that the "I" referred to in this chapter is concerning the Angel, as it was an Angel who broke the covenant with Israel, as described in Zech. 11:10.

Zechariah Chapter 12

v. 4 "In that day. . . I will open Mine eyes (Angels) upon the house of Judah"- cp. Michael 'standing up' for Israel in the last days (Dan. 12:1).

v. 5 This shows how Angels will be very much in evidence on earth at the time of Jerusalem's surrounding by armies and Armageddon: "The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of Hosts (Angels) their God". Who this 'God' refers to is defined in v. 8: "He that is feeble amongst them (the "inhabitants of Jerusalem") at that day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the Angel of the Lord (which will go) before them". This implies that the inhabitants of Jerusalem will have the same power as the hosts of Angels which will have been seen fighting "before them". Thus the Jews will "walk up and down in His Name" (Zech. 10:12) as the Angels are now said to do (Zech. 1:11; Job 1:7).

Zechariah Chapter 13

v. 7 "Awake O sword ,against My shepherd. . . smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered". The shepherd here clearly refers to Jesus, but the shepherd elsewhere in Zechariah refers to the Angel- another proof that there was one specific Angel in the Old Testament that foreshadowed Jesus.

Angels In Haggai


If Judah had followed what the Angels made potentially possible, they would have worked zealously to rebuild the temple according to Ezekiel's specifications. Note the word play in Hag. 1:13,14: the messenger (Heb. malak- the word for Angel, the Angel who was behind the words of the prophets) gives a message (malakut) to the people to "work" (melaka). It's rather like making a word play in English between 'word' and 'work'- if the word of the prophets, the word of the Angels, had been taken seriously, the people would've worked. And so with us- if we perceive the spiritual possibilities which the work of the Angels is setting up through God's word, then we will work, doing our part to bring it all to realization.

The Angels were zealous for the restoration to proceed, and therefore influenced the people as far as they could to be zealous for it too. They did this in various ways- e. g. by direct rebuke through the prophets whom they inspired: "Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built" (1:2). The context of this, according to Ezra 5:1, was of the people losing heart in the rebuilding because of the opposition from the Samaritans and the temporary ban on the work from Babylon. They argued: 'We'll do God's work if we get the chance, but this ban is clearly a sign from God not to go ahead'- when really it was their self-satisfaction with their "ceiled houses" (1:4) that made them give up so easily. But the Angels were eager to go ahead! The paltry excuses for shirking the Lord's work today are no better. As ever, they stem from the apathy born of materialism, but are wrapped up in pseudo-spiritual reasoning.  The  satan  Angel  that caused the 21 day-year delay in the rebuilding (Dan. 10:12,13; Zech. 3:1 etc. ) was maybe representing the apathy of the Jews as well as the opposition of the Samaritans in the court of Heaven. The two Angel chariots sent to overcome this opposition (see notes on Zech. 6) would therefore have tried to influence the Jews to be more genuinely committed to Zion's cause. Part of their work was in the inspiring of Haggai's words (n. b. the many references to "the Lord of Hosts" in Haggai). Again, the context of Ezra 5:1 must be remembered- Haggai prophesied to encourage the people during the 21 year cessation of the rebuilding (details in Ezra 4).

Despite the apathy of the people, the Angel's encouragement was tremendous: "Be strong, O Zerubbabel. . be strong, O Joshua. . be strong, all ye people. . and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of Hosts" (Angels)- 2:4. "My Spirit (Angel) remaineth among you" "(2:5), just as the same Angel was with them “when ye came out of Egypt”. And with us too.

In common with Ezekiel, Zechariah and Isaiah, Haggai also speaks of the possible glory that could have been at the restoration, but which has now been postponed until the second coming: "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and  I will shake the Heavens, and the earth. . and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts (Angels). . . the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of Hosts" (2:6,7,9). Compare this with what actually happened- the old men wept because the new rebuilt temple was nothing like the former temple.

Angels In Ezra And Nehemiah


EZRA Chapter 1

v. 1 "The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus". The Angel  acted directly on his heart (or on his guardian Angel?).

EZRA Chapter 5

v. 5 "The eye of their God (the Angel) was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease" (building).

EZRA Chapter 6

v. 22 "The Lord had made them (Israel) joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel" (the God of Jacob- an Angelic term for the Angel that stands for Israel). Note the emphasis on the Angel directly working on human hearts.

EZRA Chapter 7

The theme of the Angel acting on the heart is common here: "The king granted (Ezra) all his request, according to the hand (Angel) of the Lord his God upon him. . . blessed be the Lord God of our fathers (the God of Abraham, Isaac  and Jacob was an Angelic term), which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart. . . I was strengthened as the hand (Angel) of the Lord my God was upon me" (v. 6,9,27,28).

EZRA Chapter 8

v. 31 "We departed from the river of Ahava. . . to go unto Jerusalem; and the hand (Angel) of our God was upon us"- on the dangerous journey back across the desert with no military escort, carrying the temple treasures. As the Angel was with them from the Red Sea to Jerusalem at the Exodus, so He was again.

EZRA Chapter 10

v. 11 "Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers"- confession of sin to an Angel.



Notice the same emphasis on the Angel acting directly on the hearts of the Jews and Persians- 2:8,12,18; 4:6.

The Angel Gabriel explained to Daniel that he had to battle with both the rulers of Persia and Greece in order to bring about the fulfilment of Daniel’s prayer and Jeremiah’s prophecy- in the command for the Jews to return to Judah. By appreciating the local politics which the Angel brought about between Persia and Greece, we can better understand why Gabriel had to manipulate Greece in order for the Persians to allow the Jews to return, and even to encourage them to do so: “From the point of view of the Persian king a strong pro-Persian Judea was a major threat to the Greek coastal lifeline, and as long as the Greeks dominated the coast and Egypt he supported a strong Judean province headed by a Judean-Persian official and peopled by a pro-Persian population, most of whose families were hostages in Babylon and Persia(1).


(1) Othniel Margalith, "The Political Role of Ezra as Persian Governor," Zeitschrift für dieAlttestamentliche Wissenschaft 98:1 (1986):111.