Bible Commentary

Zechariah 4

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Zechariah 4)

Verse 2

[2] And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:

With a bowl — Or basin.

His seven lamps — The temple candlestick had just so many.

And seven pipes — So each of the lamps had a pipe reaching from it to the bowl.

On the top — These lamps were so set, as to stand somewhat higher than the body of the candlestick.

Verse 3

[3] And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.

Two olive-trees by it — All which is an emblem of the church, made of pure gold; to be a light in the world; to shine as lamps that continually burn, maintained with pure oil, distilled from the olive-trees, not pressed out by man, but continually, abundantly, and freely flowing from God.

Verse 6

[6] Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

This word — Is particularly designed to him, and in an emblem prefigures what a church it is, how precious, how full of light, how maintained by God himself.

Power — Courage and valour.

Verse 7

[7] Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

O great mountain — All opposers put together.

Become a plain — Thou shalt sink into nothing.

The head stone — Shall assist at the laying of the finishing stone, as he assisted when the foundation stone was laid.

Grace, grace — Wishing all prosperity, and a long continuance of it, to the temple and those that are to worship God therein. As the free favour of God began, and finished, may the same ever dwell in it and replenish it.

Verse 9

[9] The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.

Thou — Zerubbabel and all the Jews.

Verse 10

[10] For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

For who hath despised — In the work of God, the day of small things is not to be despised. God often chuses weak instruments, to bring about mighty things: and tho' the beginnings be small, he can make the latter end greatly to increase.

For — Tho' they undervalued the meanness of the second temple, yet when finished, they shall rejoice in it.

The plummet — The perpendicular with which Zerubbabel shall try the finished work.

With those seven — In subordination to the Divine Providence expressed by the seven eyes, which were on that stone. And those that have the plummet in their hand, must look up to these eyes of the Lord, must have a constant regard to the Divine Providence, and as in dependence upon its conduct, and submission to its disposals.

Verse 12

[12] And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?

I answered — l went on to discourse.

Unto him — The angel.

What be these — Two principal branches, one in each tree, fuller of berries, and hanging over the golden pipes.

Through the pipes — These were fastened to the bowl, on each side one, with a hole through the sides of the bowl, to let the oil that distilled from those olive-branches run into the bowl.

Out of themselves — An emblem of supernatural grace; these branches filled from the true olive-tree, ever empty themselves, and are ever full; so are the gospel-ordinances.

Verse 14

[14] Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

The two anointed ones — Christ and the Holy Spirit. The Son was to be sent by the Father, and so was the Holy Ghost. And they stand by him, ready to go.

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