Thursday, November 06, 2008

Zechariah 1:7-17

The first section of Zechariah's overnight vision, we first note this vision still has the authority of God's word. The means of God's self-revelation does not dilute its authority. Rather, the presence of mediators seems to impress upon the people their distance from God. And yet God remains sovereign. The horses seem related to the troops of Persia—the present rulers—which have brought peace after the succession of Darius and his efforts at quelling uprisings.

The effect of this passage is to affirm that Jerusalem is still the centre of God's interests, but that he is working out his purposes through the powers of Persia. Yet there is still a longing for Jerusalem's restoration. This is assured by Yahweh's love for them, not the evident power of Yehud (the territory around Jerusalem at that time). There is also the possibility that Zerubbabel has tried to exert political power or claim too much for his rule, and so Darius has intervened. In that case, the expression of God's compassion and consoling is because he still loves Jerusalem, despite their present circumstances.

Moving into the New Testament, we discover God's self-revelation not in a final and authoritative prophetic voice alone, but in something more substantial. The mediator who is his Son, and who, by knowing him, we know the Father. Thus Christian Scripture accomodates far more than just the prophetic word (cf Islam). The rebuke of Zerubbabel if he ran ahead of his humble circumstances could speak to Christians who wish to act like they rule with Christ now, not appreciating the humbled reign of Christ while he was here on earth and his humility in heaven now. Finally, note how being at the centre of God's purposes is predicated on his love, and not our efforts.

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