The Last 3 Night Visions: How to Avoid Going to Hell in a Handbasket

Zechariah: Sawing Through the ZZZs, Volume 2

The last three visions of Zechariah - a flying scroll, a woman in a basket, and four chariots - convey God's call to holiness for His people then and now. God's Word will go forth and accomplish its purpose - and has in the person of Jesus Christ. Will that Word be a provision of blessing for you and for others?

Todd WagnerOct 5, 1997Zechariah 5 - 6

Father, we have been before you a number of times already in this service. We come again. We ask now that you would encourage us with your Scriptures. Remind us of great truths we can stake our lives on. That we can begin to have confidence in our tomorrow because we walk in it in accordance with how you have instructed your people to walk.

Because of that we can know the God of creation is with us and for us, that he will not forget us, and as we will see again tonight that as your Word goes out, you will see to it that it is accomplished. Father, I pray that you accomplish your purposes in our lives that we would experience peace. Not peace as the world gives, but your peace, the peace that passes understanding, that we would have a sense of your presence in our lives and a hope and a patience that cannot be explained except that you are real and you have invaded our loneliness.

You have dealt with our sin and reconciled us to yourself. I pray that we would be encouraged in that way tonight. Father, spur us through your Word to love and good deeds. We thank you that you have given us this book for that purpose. If we listen to it and yield to it, it will do what you said it will do. We thank you that this is no idle Word that we now take time to study. It is our lives because it comes from you, the very breath of God. May we then give it the appropriate amount of reverence. In Christ's name, amen.

Can I share with you a little struggle I've had? These last couple of weeks have been kind of tough. I have felt like I've done a C- job a couple of evenings in terms of keeping things tight and clear. I don't want to just give you a bunch of information, although I don't expect… Part of the way the Lord has wired me is when I teach, that you'll retain all that I teach you.

What I try to do when I teach is I give you a fire hose of truth, through which you might go, "You know what? I got wet tonight and I don't remember all the reasons why. But if I open up my mouth a little bit, there is something that can satisfy my thirst. I also know that God has an abundant supply to nourish me and to keep me from thirsting again if I just would go to this book."

I don't want you necessarily to be able to regurgitate everything I say. I want you know that God's Word is where you need to go to be encouraged. I want you to not be bored when we're here, but to see all the great truth that is in that book. I feel like these last couple of weeks though as we've gone through Zechariah, it's been kind of like, "You're talking about the branch and the stone and this lamp with seven candles on it and seven pipes coming from the silver candles. What's that have to do with me in Dallas, Texas, in 1997?"

I am zealous for you that you would make the connection. I want to continually improve personally as an individual who gets the privilege of standing before you and communicating God's Word and helping you make the love connection between God's love letter to you and where you are today.

I know that a lot of you guys go, "Man, why are we reading Zechariah?" I want to show you this book can make sense in your life. This book that was written close to 3,000 years ago by God to a people who he intended to use for good things that you'll be encouraged to go other more familiar places in your Bible.

I thank you for hanging in there with me. I do want to tell you that I do believe it tonight as we finish what I called the eight night vision. Zechariah is a guy who God used to encourage his people Israel who are back now in a land from exile. He is having them be a faithful people again.

Part of that means they are to build a temple where they can worship him and begin to be reminded that he is holy and there needs to be some sacrifice for their sins, which is a picture of, ultimately, the sacrifice that God will provide. It will be his own Son, Jesus Christ, who will ultimately bring forgiveness not just to this nation but to all people who humble themselves and cry out to God.

"We can't ever do what you've asked us to do," and he said, "Perfect. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall receive the kingdom." What is the kingdom? The kingdom is the place that God will ultimately accomplish. He himself will inhabit one day this earth and then one day he and his people will dwell with him for all of eternity. Blessed are the poor in spirit who know they have no right to be there.

For God, who is rich in mercy, as we sang tonight, will place you there by grace. He will give you what you don't deserve: a ticket to ride on that ride if all you say is there is no way I can buy that ticket. "Is there any way I can get in?" You look up at your dad as a child who can't afford to ride that $4 Ferris wheel at the state fair. He'll say, "Yep, I'll put you on it because I love you."

We're going someplace far better than a Ferris wheel. We're going to the place where God himself dwells, the center of the universe, who himself is life. That's where we're headed. God is trying to use Zechariah to encourage the people to get back in relationship with him. This people who have wandered away from him, who have neglected his Word, and who have neglected his purpose for them, which is to be instructors to the rest of the world.

He is now trying to woo them back. He is using Zechariah to do it. Zechariah has eight visions in one night. God tells him to tell his friends so they can get a picture of God's continued love for them and what he is going to do with them if they would just make that connection again, humble themselves instead of being self-dependent and self-sufficient. How does it relate to us? Again, I want to remind you that this book by interpretation relates to the nation of Israel. By application, we can draw principles that make sense in our lives.

The first vision in chapter 1 reminds you that it's better to be with the Messiah, with Christ, amongst the myrtles, lowly in the valley than it is to be with the world in the mountaintops, exalted and experiencing peace and prosperity for a moment, but apart from God. It's only a matter of time before God will level the playing field, exalt the valley and humble the mountains. He reminded Israel of that. In a sense, we need to be reminded of that.

Here right now are people who in many ways are not at home. We shouldn't feel at home here on this earth. Because, as it says in Hebrews, we are just aliens and strangers in this land where wickedness really has the day. God has his people, his citizens of his kingdom here who, in a sense, are strangers of that wickedness who encourage one another, but ultimately we live in a world that is ruled by sin. People die. There is hatred. There is abuse. There is loneliness. There is acne.

There are all kinds of problems on this earth. It's not the way he intended it. We sit here and we mourn for a while, but we know we're going to a better place. We are for a while in the valley, but rather than to exploit this earth for every whim and pleasure that feeds our flesh, we say, "No, we will not climb that mountain itself. We will stay with the Messiah during this season of despair, crying out to people, and to be where the Messiah is is always the place to be. He will deal with the mountain one day.

The second night vision was at the end of chapter 1. It was the vision of the four horns and the four craftsmen. Chapter 1, verses 18 through 21. As a reminder, it said this. Basically, for every evil that rises up against God, God has a proper response. No surprises are going to catch God where he is out of control and unable to serve his purposes for his people.

The third one was basically all of chapter 2. You can summarize that by saying, "He will do what he has said will be done." That's what chapter 2 is saying. "Israel, I intended to make you a great nation, a light to the world where I myself dwell in your midst. I will do that with you." Now for them, it's going to take a series of discipline and literally centuries of humbling before they will realize that they need God.

Chapter 2, the third vision. Zechariah sees in the night that God will make Israel great. He will do what he said will be done. Likewise with us, he will do what he said will be done. The gates of hell will not stand against his church. We must do what Israel should've done, and that is to humble them before God so God can do what he will with his people. We are to be puppets where his Spirit directs us and leads us. The gates of hell will not stand against…what? Not a church, but against his church.

The fourth vision then came in chapter 3. It had this guy who was the representative of the nation of Israel, the high priest who always represented the nation before God. The fourth vision showed a filthy high priest, a filthy nation. God, by his grace, chose to declare them righteous. It is a picture of what has happened with you and me. We are not clinging to anything other than this sacrifice (Jesus Christ) for our righteousness.

The fourth vision that Zechariah had was this. "Filthy Joshua, the high priest, who was an abomination of my sight, I will make him favorable in my eyes." The question asked is, "Why would you do that with him?" God's answer is, "Because I'm God, and I can do what I want to do. Anybody have a problem with that?"

Paul writes in Romans 8, "If God is for us, who is against us?" Who can bring a charge against God's elect? I will tell you the Accuser thought to bring a charge against God's elect. He will seek to bring a charge against you. He will say, "Do you know how selfish Todd Wagner is? Do you know the tone he consistently uses with people, the arrogance that fills his heart? Do you know that this individual struggles with A, B, C, D, E, F, G, Z, Z1, Z2, and all the way through?"

God is going to say, "Yes." Satan is going to say, "Why would you accept him?" He'll say, "I believe because I'm God and I can do what I want to do. I love him! Do you have a problem with that? Be gone!" That is my hope! That alone is my hope. That is Kurt's hope. It is my wife's hope. It is Bill Bernard's hope. It is your hope if you're a believer in Jesus Christ.

How does God make a filthy person a favorable person? He says he is going to do it. Do you believe you need his declared righteousness over your life? If you do, be encouraged with Zechariah, chapter 3. What was the fifth vision? The fifth vision was the one we studied last week. It was Zechariah, chapter 4. It was simply this.

The oil for the lamp is the Spirit of the Lord. We just showed you the way that Israel is going to be a light to the world is not because they're going to be beautiful and ornate and proper and mighty and strong, but because God is going to reside in their midst. How will we be an effective church? We will be an effective people, an effective church, and effective individuals as we let the Spirit of God shine in us.

Now we get to the last three visions. God is showing Zechariah these great things. "I know you're in the valley of despair, but the Messiah will one day exalt you and humble the world. Don't worry about how powerful the world is. I will respond to the world. I will do for you, Israel, what I said will be done. I will make you righteous because I'm God and I can do that. I will make you a great nation because my Spirit will be in you. Just don't choke off the Spirit."

Then we get to chapter 5, which is the sixth vision. There are three. We are going to hit them all tonight. Let's read together. Zechariah 5:1: "Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll. And he said to me, 'What do you see?' And I [Zechariah] answered, 'I see a flying scroll…'" It's basically 30 by 15 feet.

"Then he said to me, 'This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land; surely everyone who steals will be purged away according to the writing on one side, and everyone who swears will be purged away according to the writing on the other side. I will make it go forth,' declares the LORD of hosts, 'and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name; and it will spend the night within that house and consume it with its timber and stones.'"

Gang, what in the world? This is the sixth thing that this guy has seen. It is a flying scroll, a parchment. There is writing on both sides. It's not a small scroll. It's a big scroll. It's a B-52 scroll. It's coming. There is writing on both sides of this scroll. You can see it. It's saying that God's judgment is coming because people have violated what is on that scroll. It is the Word of God represented by the third and the eighth commandment, which are representative of the whole law.

Those two commandments, the one comes from Exodus, chapter 20, verse 7, is that you shouldn't swear by the Lord's name if you don't mean what you say. Ecclesiastes, chapter 5, verse 2 says, "Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few."

In other words, don't be telling God you're going to do all kinds of things unless you really are about to do it. How many of y'all when you hear somebody say, "G– D– " Go, "Oh! Don't use the Lord's name in vain!" I'll tell you what. There is a problem with saying that phrase G– D–, which we still edit out on network television.

But that's not what it means in the Ten Commandments where it says, "Don't take the Lord's name in vain." In a sense it is, but not ultimately. That really is addressed to a people who don't use God as a cuss word or who blatantly walk around saying, "God damn" that or "God damn" this." "Cast it away into eternal punishment!"

It is using God's name flippantly, but more than that, what he's really driving at is, "Don't you people act like you love me and flippantly make a vow by me or to me when you don't mean it with your heart." Matthew 15:8 says, "THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME." That's a violation of the third commandment, Exodus 20:7. It's a violation of one of the sides of the scroll. God's judgment is coming upon this nation Israel.

He gave them a vision for what they could be, but now he's going to deal with reality. "Zechariah, tell them that I will not put up with their playing games with me, for they have violated their love for me. They have no love for me. They say that they want to marry me. They come, they gather their friends, and they stand with me at the altar. They hold my hand. They offer me a ring.

Then they leave me standing here and they go and party with every harlot that the world can imagine. You are flippant in your honor of me. You swear that you love me and will serve me, but your hearts are far from me. I have a problem with that. Judgment will fall upon you for that."

It's a terrible thing for us to sit here and pledge devotion to the Lord and to say that we're serious about walking with him and yielding ourselves to him and then to walk out of here and to live for self. God says, "I will get a hold of those individuals. I will either get their attention and show them that what they do is not a smart strategy to live by or ultimately I will expose their hard-heartedness to the world in eternal judgment."

The other people he mentions are those who steal from one another. He is saying, "I'm going to come and judge Israel because they violate the great commandments." What are they? Jesus was asked at one point in his life, "Hey, what's the greatest commandment?" You guys are very familiar with this. It's a key verse for us as a church.

"And He said to him, '"YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND." This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.'"

He is saying, "If you go and look at the Ten Commandments and at all the other laws, you'll see that every one of them have to do with one of two things. You need to be in right relationship to me, and because you're in right relationship to me, you will see human life as I see it: created in my image, valuable, and worth shedding eternally holy blood for.

You will love that other life as you love yourself because you know that I love it. Because you love me, you will love what I love and care for it as I care for it. But if you are selfish and consumed with doing what you want to do when you want to do it, and you live for self and steal from others so that you might be content, that is evidence that you do not know who I am. Because you don't love like I love."

So basically he comes down on this nation because he is saying, "God's judgment is coming like a fighter jet. It's going to come in there and it's going to get you. It's going to come quickly. It is pronounced. All can see it coming. The world remains hard in its heart toward it." Look what it says in this little section right here.

It says, "You're going to suffer the consequences of disobeying my commandments." That's what he says. If you don't want the blessings, you will take the curse. He writes there in verse 4, "I will make it go forth…" Make a note, gang. God's Word will be accomplished. Scribble down in your margin right there, Numbers 23:19.

It's a little obscure verse that many of us in this body have memorized as we go through our discipleship program with you and encourage you to know God's Word and hide it in your hearts that you might know the character of God and his will for your life. He said, "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" That's Numbers 23:19.

God is saying, "I will say something and accomplish it." So God says there in Zechariah 5:4, "I will make it…" What is it? His Word. "…go forth…" He says, "It will accomplish what I said it will accomplish." It's going to do one of two things. God's Word will either preserve you through promise or it will prosecute and punish your measly self.

When I ask you tonight, when God's Word goes forth in your life, which one will it do? There is probably no better time to teach this little message in this country than right now in our nation's history. Yesterday, a million men, maybe 700 thousand, I didn't have time to count them all, sat there and in the main place, the mall of our country, individuals stood up.

I heard a guy say, "If you don't come into right relationship with Jesus Christ who alone is the way, the truth, and the life, your name will not be in the Book of Life, but your name will be absent from that book and in another book, the book of judgment. Your eternity hangs in the balance of what you do with this man Jesus Christ."

He echoed off of Jefferson, Lincoln, the Capitol, and the White House. It was broadcast all across our nation. It's no secret to this land that judgment will come. Not just upon our land, but upon the souls of all men and women. What he said and what those men proclaimed like it has never been proclaimed before across the world… It's amazing what God is doing today. It's exciting.

How many times have we sat here and said, "I wish that there'd be a time where we would gather and celebrate Christ the way that people celebrate the Cowboys," or up there in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where 100,000 people a weekend gather to celebrate the Wolverines. Man, it was unbelievable that the most attended celebration event was not a sporting event for the first time that I can ever remember in my life.

It was to praise Jesus Christ. I'm not a rah-rah worshipper personally. I don't really get encouraged when somebody stands up and says, "Praise the Lord!" and people shout back, "Praise the Lord!" It just doesn't resonate with my soul. It doesn't mean it's not genuine with other people, but it just doesn't work for me. I was encouraged to see men do that.

I was encouraged to see that there were a lot of folks who were willing to clap and worship God and say, "I'm for Jesus." That's an appropriate way to worship, by the way. The Scriptures tell you to clap your hands, to raise your hands before him. There were a number of men who raised their hands in surrender yesterday in that mall in Washington, DC.

God says if you've raised your hands to me in surrender, which is the international sign of surrender… Right? "I'm not going to mess with you. You're in control." That's what we ought to be saying when we raise our hands to God. God said, "If you just did that and you said, 'Hey, I'm going to love you and serve you,' but you didn't really do that, I have a problem with that.

You made an oath by me you didn't really mean. That is not to be done. Don't leave me standing at the altar. If you really want to submit and surrender to me, if you want to be married to me, then live with me, abide with me, or I will get your attention." God's Word will do one of two things in your life. When God's Word goes forth in your life, will it preserve you or will it punish you?

I love what God says right here. I just love verses where God reveals himself as the Mighty One. Look what it says in verse 4. "I will make it go forth…and it will enter the house of the thief…" The one who doesn't love his neighbor as himself, which is symbolically represented by a thief. "…and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name…" The one who doesn't love God, which is represented here by one who doesn't take his name seriously.

It says, "God is coming over. He is going to spend the night. He is going to haunt you like you've never been haunted. That shining coming from the basement isn't Jack Nicholson. It's the light of the world. He is going to stay there until everybody in their safe little room with their safe little Master Locks are dealt with." That's horrible. Do you think Friday the 13th,_ A Nightmare on Elm Street, or _Halloween is scary?

Do you see what God is saying? "You can't lock me out, brother. You can go to your house in your little safe box. You can go in your little bomb shelter. I'm coming." Likewise, if evil seeks you out and destroys your very being, God said, "My Word will be accomplished. Therefore, don't be discouraged when this world, whether it be through sickness or perversion, takes your very life. Why? Because I will bring forth my Word."

That is why Christian funerals are celebrations. Because it looks like death has had its way and God says, "Nuh-uh. I can go into a coffin as easily as I can go into a church. I will do what I will do. You can put a Roman guard and a big stone and seal it and say I can't get in there, and I'm coming out. My Word will go forth. It will spend the night. It will lodge there until it does what it needs to do." Will God's Word be, when it flies into your life, a place of promise and protection or persecution and penalty? You have to decide that tonight.

Look at the next vision. He said, "Not only am I going to deal with individuals in their sin, I'm going to take sin and I'm going to move it away." Have you ever heard the expression, "You can go to hell in a handbasket?" It comes from Zechariah, chapter 5, verses 5 through 11. If you don't believe me, let's read it.

"Then the angel who was speaking with me went out and said to me, 'Lift up now your eyes and see what this is going forth.' I said, 'What is it?' And he said, 'This is the ephah [the bushel] going forth.' Again he said, 'This is their [the nation's] appearance in all the land…'""They are full of evil. I'm going to ship them out. If you don't shape up, I'm going to ship out people who are not my people from my presence and from my land."

Verse 7: "'…(and behold, a lead cover was lifted up); and this is a woman sitting inside the ephah.' Then he said, 'This is Wickedness!'" The woman sitting inside was symbolic of wickedness. In the Hebrew, like many of the romantic languages of our day, there is male or female gender attached to certain objects. The Hebrew word for wickedness has a female gender, for whatever reason. That's why there is a woman pictured in this basket.

In verse 7, it says this woman is sitting inside this basket. "Then he [the angel] said, 'This is Wickedness!' And he threw her down into the middle of the [basket] and cast the lead weight on its opening." God will restrain evil. God is sovereign over all evil. He lets evil out so that it can accomplish its purposes, which is one thing to show us that we are not home yet. C.S. Lewis said, "Pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

If you are comfortable on this earth, if you think that this is as good as it's going to get, then you really need to think about what hope you have. God says, "Listen. There is pain here beyond what I ever desired for it to be. You need to be confident that one day I will deal ultimately with evil. For a while though, I restrain evil, I will let evil play its hand. I will let evil run its course. But I am sovereign over it." He is showing us this nation of wickedness and their system of wickedness, which is symbolically placed in a basket.

Verse 9 says, "Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and there two women were coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the [basket] between the earth and the heavens. I said to the angel who was speaking with me, 'Where are they taking the [basket] ?' Then he said to me, 'To build a temple for her in the land of Shinar [in the land of Babylon] ; and when it is prepared, she will be set there on her own pedestal.'"

God is basically saying right here that he is going to remove wickedness, which is that word representative of all moral and civil wickedness that's out there. Before he can come and dwell in a place, he has to get rid of evil. Purge evil from that place. He is saying that, "I will come and judge Israel. I will get rid of all the individuals who love wickedness. Then I will get rid of that system of wickedness: moral, civil, and religious. I'm going to load it up and ship it back to its birthplace where it will wait its final judgment."

In Revelation, chapter 17, you have this phrase used for Babylon. It is called the mother of harlots. Why? Because you go back to Genesis 11, and you will see that the initial rebellion against God from the nations came from Babylon. We call it the Tower of Babel. Men began to say, "In our own might, we can build ourselves up to God, shake his hand, and tell him how we're going to cut a deal to run this earth."

God said, "Nuh-uh." Eden is at the crossing of three rivers, two of which are the Tigris and the Euphrates. There is one other, which is basically in ancient Babylon, where Eden is, not in Kansas City, Missouri, as a certain church sect in Salt Lake City would tell you. The Scripture says, "No, it's over there in the ancient Near East toward Babylon." The seat of wickedness has always been Babel, Shinar.

God says, "It has gotten its way into my people. This Word might have saved hearts but have Babylonian minds. I'm going to ship that babble back to Babylon. I'm going to cleanse my land. I will make this my holy land, but I'm going to rid it of wickedness." He says, "I'm putting it up in a basket, and you can go to hell in a handbasket with it if you want. I'll leave it there for the time of judgment. You'd better shape up or I'm going to ship you out with all wickedness." That is what he is saying right there. "I will cleanse my land."

Here comes the eighth night vision that comes in chapter 6, verse 1. "Now I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, four chariots were coming forth from between the two mountains; and the mountains were bronze mountains." We don't have time to establish it, but you will go through in the Scriptures and see again and again that bronze is symbolically used in the Scriptures used of a source of righteous and divine judgment of sin. Between these bronze mountains of righteousness and justice come these four chariots. Now watch this.

"With the first chariot were red horses, with the second chariot black horses, with the third chariot white horses, and with the fourth chariot strong dappled horses. Then I spoke and said to the angel who was speaking with me, 'What are these, my lord?' The angel replied to me, 'These are the four spirits of heaven, going forth after standing before the Lord of all the earth, with one of which the black horses are going forth to the north country; and the white ones go forth after them, while the dappled ones go forth to the south country.'"

God is going to send his servants forward. Watch this. The eighth vision that God gave Zechariah on this one night where he is telling them about God striving with Israel… Seeking to make them great. Declaring them righteous by his grace. Telling them he'll make them great if they yield to his Spirit. Telling them that he's not going to let them individually just pretend to love him when they really don't.

Telling them that the whole system of idolatry and wickedness and rebellion will be shipped out of Israel. He will ultimately one day do what he said will be done (the second night vision). He will judge the world (the first night vision). Here's how he is going to do it (the eighth night vision). "'When the strong ones went out, they were eager to go to patrol the earth.' And He said, 'Go, patrol the earth.' So they patrolled the earth."

You will see that He is capitalized. It is symbolic of what we call the angel of the Lord, the captain of the Lord's hosts. It is symbolic of Jesus Christ who alone will judge the earth. I love the picture that is here. They want to go patrol the earth. If you read in your margin it says, "They want to go walk the earth."

God's judgment of the world will be like a walk in the park for him. It will not be some great, raging battle. When God wants to bring evil to its knees, he will say, "Go, take a little stroll, and clean this place up." He is not threatened by the powers of the world. He is not threatened by your rebelling against him. He is patient toward you, longing that you would come to repentance.

He is longing that his Word, when it goes forth, would be found to bring promise and protection into your life and not penalty and persecution. When he goes forth, it will be like a walk in the park for him, but it's going to bring great destruction like we've never seen on this earth. He said, "Go." At this time in his vision, he is showing Zechariah, "There will be a day when I will let go my men."

Can I teach you one of my favorite heresies in the Bible? Here it comes. It says in Colossians 3:1, "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ…where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." Where is Jesus today? We say he is seated at the right hand of God. You read in the book of Acts, chapter 7, that the first Christian martyr was an individual named…what? Stephen.

When Stephen himself was stoned, it says that he saw, he looked into the heavens, and God gave him a vision. What did he see? He saw Jesus Christ doing…what? Standing. One of my favorite heresies is this. Jesus went up, and he was seated at the right hand of the Father. He is done. As a priest, he no longer needs to be standing, continuing to offer sacrifices, because the sacrifice was perfect.

He was seated at a place of rest and prominence by the Father. Then he saw his boy shed blood for his name. He saw evil raise its ugly head. I have to believe Jesus stood up and said, "Uh oh. Let's go." I have to believe that in his love for you, understanding as you wage against the world, in my own mind, in my own heresy, Jesus isn't seated by the Father anymore. He is running in place.

God the Father has him by the scruff of the robe. He is waiting to whisper in the perfect wisdom of the Trinity, "Go." Jesus will say, "Go. Walk." Then he is going to come. There will be no more Stephens who suffer at the hand of evil and wickedness. That lead cap will be squished completely. Wickedness will be put away finally. He cares for you.

If you go back and read that first night vision and Jesus Christ was with you in the valley and he interceded for you then as it says in Hebrews 7 and Hebrews 9, he intercedes for you now. He says, "How long will wickedness have its way with my people?" In the eighth night vision, he gives a vision of what will happen that day when he said, "No longer. Go." Exciting day.

So right after this idea where Zechariah saw God ultimately judge wickedness in the world with his servants, verse 9 comes into play. After his wrath had been appeased and his Spirit had been made satisfied, verse 9 says, "The word of the LORD…" This is not a vision, but the visions are over and God spoke to him directly. "…saying, 'Take an offering from the exiles…'" He mentions their names. "…they have arrived from Babylon. Take silver and gold, make an ornate crown and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest."

Watch this, because I've spent a lot of time talking with you about what Joshua the high priest is symbolic of and about what Zerubbabel, the governor of the land, is symbolic of. These two leaders of the nation. There is one, specifically. Not here the king or the governor who is going to be made king, because that is what you would think would happen. No, it's the priest.

For the first time in the history of nation of Israel, the priest is going to be a king. It was forbidden for the tribe who is anointed by God to serve him in the temple to run for political office or to be in the monarchy. That was to come from another tribe, the tribe of Judah. The Levitical tribe was to serve God to atone for the sins of the people.

There is going to be one who would receive a crown one day, who is the branch, who is the man, literally, right there in Zechariah 6:12, who will be a priest and a king. Hebrews says that he is according to the line of a guy by the name of Melchizedek, which comes way back there from Genesis in the early parts of that book. Melchizedek is seen as a guy who has no beginning and no end, no father and mother.

We don't know where he comes from or where he goes. He is king of Salem, which is the city of peace, which we call in our New Testament Jerusalem. This king of Salem is a high priest. Abraham offers a sacrifice to him. It says in the book of Hebrews that Jesus Christ is not according to the line of Aaron, but Jesus Christ is the high priest according to the order of Melchizedek, who is both priest and king of the city of peace.

Read Zechariah 6:12. "'Then say to him, "Thus says the LORD of hosts…"'""I'm going to crown Joshua, the real high priest, to teach you a picture of what will happen." "Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD." The final great and glorious temple of the Lord. You will see that Jesus Christ himself has done that in us. He has built his temple in you. He will build another temple where he himself will reside and be worshipped as King.

Verse 13: "Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices." In other words, this man alone will bring together the full purpose of both the priesthood and the kingly line in the nation of Israel.

Turn back with me very quickly to Zechariah 4. Let's read one more time verses 13 and 14. We'll tie this tight knot up. Are you ready to be encouraged? There is a vision here of a lampstand, which is a picture of the nation of Israel, the menorah. There are seven lights on this lamp. Those seven lamps are symbolic of fullness and complete life that all the world would need to see.

How do you keep a lamp lit? It has to have oil constantly running to it. How can this lamp stay bright? Answer: each of those seven lights in that lampstand has seven sources feeding into it. So 49 pipes come off that lampstand into a bowl. That bowl is being fed by two branches, which are connected to two big olive trees, symbolic of olives where you get olive oil from to burn the lamp. It's a never-ending source.

We are told in Zechariah 4:13 and 14 who those two branches represent. One branch is Joshua the high priest. The other branch is Zerubbabel the governor. They are the channels of mercy, the branches of the Lord, the extension of God's work to his nation of Israel through which he provides forgiveness for sin and protection from the enemy.

The king will protect you from persecution. The priest will protect you from punishment from a holy God. If you let them serve you the way that God would have them lead you as a priest and as a king, they will then protect you so that you can shine bright without oppression from the outside and they will cleanse you from within so that you can shine bright without evil squelching your life.

Now catch this. It says there that those two branches are connected to a tree. Those two offices that God gave his nation of Israel will ultimately be accomplished one day by one individual who is the branch who will be both Priest and King. It is Jesus Christ. He is the one who ultimately will be the means through which God does that.

Question. What was the oil that came from the olive tree through the branch into the bowl down through the seven pipes reach through the seven lights symbolic of? We said the Holy Spirit. The person of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself who is the truth, the life, and the way will be for that nation all that that nation ever needed. He will be for you all that you ever needed to be.

Let me give you a picture of what you are to be. Because, as you know, that nation choked off the Spirit. God is disciplining them for a time and says, "For a while, there is another people I am working with who will be a light for me until I restore my work. I will do what I said I will do in Zechariah 2 and Zechariah 8 and all the other places in the eighth night vision Zechariah 6 for that nation. I will raise up another people who will be my lamp that their light should go forth into all the world."

Here is the application. By prophetic interpretation, Zechariah 4 relates only to the high priest and the king of the nation of Israel. Symbolically, they represent Jesus Christ, who one day will be the means through which the Holy Spirit comes and offers forgiveness for sin and the means through which the Holy Spirit comes and provides ultimate protection and greatness.

He is their King. He is their sacrifice and their priest and the one who atones for their wickedness. You, by application principally, are God's light for the world today. How will you shine bright? Answer: the exact same way Israel will. When they let their Priest and King, Jesus Christ, give you his Spirit through which you might shine brightly in the world.

There is one application for you. It says in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine…" How will your light shine? It says in Ephesians 5, by being filled with the oil, with the Spirit of God. Here is the second application for you. Not only are you the lamp which is to shine forward, you are that branch, but not the king. You are the branch, the priesthood.

It says in 1 Peter 2, that you are a nation, a kingdom of priests. God wants to use you. Watch this. You, by application, are like the priest Joshua who was the means through which the Spirit of God flowed to be a light to the world that they might be all that God created them to be. God had a serious problem with national leadership whenever they choked off.

It's one thing for the light to choke off the seven, the perfect provision that could come to it. It's another thing if the branch that was supposed to be the means through which the oil came into the bowl stopped being a faithful branch. He said, "That branch I will prune off and I will throw away."

He reminds the branches in John, chapter 15, verses 4 and 5 that, "You are the branch. I am the tree. Apart from me, you can do nothing." God wants us to be the vessel through which he ministers to a dark world to bring light to the world through which his Spirit might flow to show love and goodness and gentleness and kindness and sacrifice and provision for them.

What kind of branch are you? Are you a branch that is a branch of honor, like it says in 2 Timothy, chapter 2? "Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things…" For the purpose of our discussion, these things are rebellion. "…he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work."

John 15:5 says, "Abide in me and you will bear much fruit," loosely paraphrased. Colossians 1:27 says it this way. "The hope of the world is Christ in you, O branch. The Spirit in you giving a light to the world." How are you doing in that way? Are you a branch of honor that he can extend to the world and hold up and say, "Through this individual, you will get a glimpse of my love and my Spirit. This person is a vessel from me through which you might receive my love."

That's his intentions for us as a church. We need to be reminded by way of application again here that judgment will come. All know it will come. They'll know why it will come. It will be unavoidable when it does come. Are you ready to make God's Word a provision of blessing in your life and not a prompting of judgment?

The second vision we studied tonight, specifically, we saw that there is a place where wickedness can go and a place where wickedness can be worshipped, but it should not be in the house of God where his people are. Is wickedness dwelling here tonight? In your heart, do you profess to love him with your lips but your heart is far from him?

It says don't let that even be named in your midst. We owe that to one another to say, "Hey, there is a place for wickedness to dwell, but not where God dwells." He says, "I'll send them to hell in a handbasket. You'd better shape up or I'm shipping you out." He wants his people to be a holy people. The last thing we saw as we looked at the applications for today is that God will not rest until wickedness is finally judged, so neither should we. Do you see that?

Look at Zechariah 6, verse 8. "Then He cried out to me and spoke to me saying, 'See, those who are going to the land of the north have appeased My wrath…'""They have caused my Spirit to rest." Gang, please, just hunker down with me right now. God's Spirit is not at rest until wickedness has been completely done away with. Neither should ours be.

For us to sit and to know that brothers and sisters, family members, coworkers, people who sit next you here tonight have wickedness enslaving their lives, for us to sit here and see marriages fall apart and to not care, to see friendships fall apart because of selfishness and empty talk and slander and idle chatter and to not care and to sit in comfort in Zion, as it says in other places in Scriptures, God has a problem with that.

The Spirit of God, the third time he reveals himself in Scripture, shows himself as one who is striving for man. The Spirit of truth is always striving for man for truth and conviction of righteousness. If you are a vessel of honor, you too will strive for truth. Is that a pattern of your life? It is one of the means through which you can have assurance: that you in your life are driven to do what God himself is driven to do.

Jesus Christ did not rest until wickedness was ultimately dealt with on the cross. We should not rest until we find our body laid in a grave as well. Don't worry because God isn't done then. His Word will go forth. He will accomplish with you what he said he is going to do. That is to make you glorious and great. Death itself can't take that away from you. We celebrate that tonight. Jesus, the Spirit, the Branch did not rest, but he died for this world. He prayed for this world. He wept over this world. His banner over this world was love.

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." So ought we. As you share the Communion meal tonight, you need to ask yourself, "Am I at ease in Zion? Am I at ease in Dallas?" or are you a part of the Master's plan? Are you a vessel of honor striving against wickedness until that day when God says, "Go. Go."? For now, he doesn't say, "Go" to his chariots to judge the earth, he says, "Go" to his people who are the priests through whom he seeks to reconcile a lost world to himself. Let's pray.

Father, we celebrate now the Communion meal where we remember your work, how you did love, how you did not rest. Though you wanted to, you feared the labor that was before you. You instead humbled yourself and said, "O God, if there's another way let's do it. If not, let me not find rest and hide here in the garden. Let me not sleep. Let me go forward to the cross."

So today in response to what you have done for us, I pray that you move in the lives of your people. That we too would say, "Let me pick up my cross and follow him." That we would do, as we taste this bread, which is a reminder of your body which was broken for us… May we be moved to go into this world and to die for it even as you did.

Father, we thank you that not only are we a light to the world, that you now fill us with your Spirit that we might be a source through which the world might find truth, we are even the vessel through which your Spirit now comes into their lives where they might find the way, the truth, and the life that they then too might be a light to the nations, that you would work in us an through us to accomplish your work in them.

We thank you that we can be a part, a branch of this tree that is Jesus Christ. We thank you, Father, for your example of not resting, but laboring and striving with us even to the point of death, death on a cross, because you loved us.

We, indeed, thank you for the many ways, Father, that you have shown yourself to be faithful before us. Those of us, who, for no other reason than you as God have declared us righteous, are grateful. We thank you, Lord, that you have strived to eliminate wickedness in our lives. We celebrate your broken body now. In Christ's name, amen.

About 'Zechariah: Sawing Through the ZZZs, Volume 2'

In this second volume of "Sawing through the ZZZs", Todd Wagner unravels one of the richest, most complex of the minor prophetical books, revealing a timeless message of hope to all who will hear. Using night visions, oracles and symbols, God gives the prophet Zechariah a warning to the struggling, disillusioned nation of Israel freshly returned from exile in Babylon. This glimpse into their immediate and distant future exhorts them - and us - to repent, obey and persevere. The Lord is near to His own and this prophetical work concludes with a glorious look at the Messiah and the hope of His triumphant return.