One gets natural melody out of a natural harp, and spiritual melody out of a spiritual harp. Nominal Christendom can tell us something about the historical features of the Bible, but they cannot tell us about its music. They have not ears that can hear. A harp consists of so many strings, so that it may have perfect harmony, so in God’s harp, there are ten great strings. “I will praise thee upon an instrument of ten strings” (Psa. 144:9), ten great themes. It requires all the strings to make good music.
There was a time when a great many harped on Sanctification, Sanctification, Sanctification! We realize that this is one of the divine strings, but our friends misunderstood the meaning of sanctification, because they neglected the other strings. Our Seventh Day Adventist friends make some music: they are harping on the law! the law! The law! The law is one of the strings in God’s great harp. We are glad that the law string is there. There is the creation string, which is followed by the condemnation string, and the whole race falls into sin. Then comes the law and the ransom, followed by the resurrection, justification, consecration and sanctification, joint-heirship, and restitution; the tenth string is the second death. There is a true octave on these strings, just as there is on a natural instrument.
The passage of scripture from which we are going to get music this time is found in the fourth and fifth chapters of Zachariah, which refer to the Gospel age and to the Millennial age, the church and the world, the peculiar position which the church holds and the blessings she enjoys.
The first thing is to be “awakened.” Over and over again the prophets tell us that they were in a deep sleep, and had to be awakened first. The great majority of the race are asleep. If they are going to know anything about God’s truth, they will have to be awakened. They do not want to be awakened. (Song of Solomon 5.) “I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on?” “I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?” The Lord is looking for those who prefer to be awake: “Set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst of Babylon.” (Ezek. 9:4.) If we have been awakened by the Lord’s grace and riches, and have passed not only from death unto life, but from sleep unto consciousness, let our action fit His will.
After Zachariah was awakened by the angel (Zach. 4:1), the latter said unto him: “What seest thou?” and he answered, “Behold a candlestick all of gold, etc.” We remember that was a golden candlestick with seven lamps in the Tabernacle and a similar one in Solomon’s Temple. In Revelations the church is represented by seven candlesticks, the seven different periods through which the church has passed, seven stages of development. The branches consist of those who are buffeted and persecuted. If you are among those who are letting their light shine, then you are part of the Golden Candlestick. If I am one of those, then it includes me. This candlestick is represented as being all of gold, which represents the divine nature. The church is thus represented not because we are actually divine yet, not at all; but that if we remain faithful we will have a place in this golden candlestick.
“An olive tree.” We read in Rom. 11 of the great olive tree into which some are being grafted. The fact that we are letting our light shine today is no proof that we shall be members of the “Little Flock.” God does not however, deal with us suspiciously. He deals with us as though we were going to remain faithful. If He had dealt suspiciously with Adam, the latter could have said: “It was through your discouragement.” There is a difference between predestination and fore-knowledge. While our heavenly Father knows who will and who will not be faithful, yet He does not tell us anything about it. Those faithful will be in the candlestick ultimately when it is raised to the divine nature itself.
“A bowl upon the top of it.” Who is over the church? Christ is the head over all things to the church (Eph. 1:22). “And seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps.” Here was a candlestick with seven lamps, and the seven lamps all connected with that bowl–connected by golden pipes, all the oil in the lamps flowed from the bowl; all the measures of God’s spirit are received from Christ, the bowl. The oil from the bowl had to come through the pipes. “The anointing which we have received of Him abideth in us”—received through His Son, we do not receive the spirit direct (1 John 2:27).
“And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.” In Revelations the olive trees represent the Old and New Testaments (Rev. 11:3,4). The fact that there are two of these olive trees shows the two sides of God’s Word, one the right hand side, and the other the left hand side. One part of God’s Word was on one side of our Savior and the other on the other side (the Old on the left, the New on the right). He stands between the two, He is the dividing line between the Old and New Testaments.
“So I spake to the angel: ‘What are these my Lord?’ This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel.” The Lord waited, and this would indicate that the Lord wanted to keep his people waiting for it. The angel did
not answer immediately. A great many do not take this waiting in the spirit of the prophet; they get impatient; they do not say: “I will try to get some meaning out of this.” The prophet was willing to wait, and the answer came: “This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel.”
Zerubbabel led many of the children of Israel back from the captivity in Babylon to aid in rebuilding the Temple (Ezra 2:2; 3:8-13). Our Lord Jesus, who delivers his people, is going to build the great spiritual temple, and Zerubbabel is here a type of Christ. “Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” Many in nominal christendom make the mistake of expecting that God was going to do things by might (margin: army-numbers), and they say: “The Lord wants things done in this way.” Not at all! “Not by numbers, nor by power.” Such is not the Lord’s arrangement, it is not numbers, nor power, nor force, but the Lord’s spirit which is going to and does count in His purpose for this age. God’s spirit accomplishes what man’s might and numbers could not accomplish.
“Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.” (A mountain symbolizes a kingdom; and the one here represented as an obstruction before Zerubbabel typifies Satan’s kingdom–the dominion of evil under the prince of this world. Zerubbabel typifies Christ. His name signifies “a shoot (or sprout) out of Babylon.” Literally he was a son or shoot out of David and Jesse (as our Lord also is called), and secondly as a sprout out of Babylon(confusion) he was a further type of Christ, who was out of and yet separate from sin and all admixture of evil. Undoubtedly the people of that day understood Zerubbabel to be the “branch,” or “shoot” mentioned in the vision of chapter 3-8, not realizing that Zerubbabel and Joshua were but types of Christ (sign-men), in whom the two offices of King and Priest would be combined.
Verses 9 and 10 blend the type and the antitype. Zerubbabel had begun the rebuilding of the literal temple, and the people understood that it would be completed by him. They might not then despise the humble beginning of the work, but rejoice to see it progress under his directing; realizing that the seven eyes (i.e. the perfect wisdom of God–seven represents perfection, and an eye represents knowledge — which holds survey of all the earth) were superintending all the work.
The real application of these verses is to Christ, who began the construction of the true Temple of God–“which temple ye are.” His earthly ministry and the work of his followers have all along seemed small and weak, and far from what might be expected by any respecting so great a temple for so grand a purpose. But those who realize the situation from God’s standpoint can rejoice in the outcome, realizing the Lord’s promise that “the day of small things,” the day of suffering, the day of trials, will soon give place to the Millennial Day of joy, perfection and blessing. The despised “little flock” which the world knows not, even as it knew not its master, will soon be glorified with him and share his Kingdom.–Z.W.T. Jan. 1, 1893.)
The kingdom of Satan will utterly pass away before Christ’s power, and the next age, the day of great things will be ushered in. Now we are like the great ocean; its usefulness depends upon the consistency of the molecules of water. If these were too sticky, too light, or too heavy, its usefulness would be much lessened, boats could not navigate it. So our usefulness by and by will depend upon the care we take of the small things now. We must not despise the small beginnings of spiritual graces in our hearts, but cultivate them carefully, the small seeds of humility and love, etc., else we never will be ready for the great things by and by.
The headstone of this great Temple is our Lord, brought forth 1900 years ago. The “plummet,” or plumb-line the perfect standard of righteousness let down from heaven, in Jesus’ hands (see Isa. 28:17). “The plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven lamps (verse 2). They are the eyes of the Lord,” his consecrated church, because they view things from God’s standpoint, spiritually discerned. If we continue faithful here we will hold up the standard of righteousness with Christ Jesus. “Run to and fro through the whole earth.” The truly consecrated run to do His bidding, are willing to go anywhere in the Lord’s service. The tribulation class may seek to do His will, but they do not run to do it.
Chapter 5: While the fourth chapter relates to the blessing, the fifth refers to the curse: “The Flying Roll;” the curse that has gone over the face of the whole earth. This curse is the immortality of the soul. “Flying” shows the rapidity with which this false doctrine has spread. It has been elevated by man’s hand to a spiritual place. No subject outside the Bible, no false doctrine has had so much written upon it to uphold it. It is called the ‘seed of Satan,’ because he is the father of lies. To this teaching, other lies have been added, built upon it, and still others till the system is like a great tree, with many branches.
The doctrine has had such a great influence on man’s mind, that one might expect it would be foretold in the Bible as to its effects in the church (deceiving spiritual thieves and false swearers). It has warped the mind of man. “I will bring it forth:” God’s people are no longer deceived by it.