Zechariah 02 (Contemporary English Version)
- This time I saw someone holding a measuring line,
- and I asked, "Where are you going?" "To measure Jerusalem," was the answer. "To find out how wide and long it is."
- The angel who had spoken to me was leaving, when another angel came up to him
- and said, "Hurry! Tell that man with the measuring line that Jerusalem won't have any boundaries. It will be too full of people and animals even to have a wall.
- The LORD himself has promised to be a protective wall of fire surrounding Jerusalem, and he will be its shining glory in the heart of the city."
- The LORD says to his people, "Run! Escape from the land in the north, where I scattered you to the four winds.
- Leave Babylonia and hurry back to Zion."
- Then the glorious LORD All-Powerful ordered me to say to the nations that had raided and robbed Zion: Zion is as precious to the LORD as are his eyes. Whatever you do to Zion, you do to him.
- And so, he will put you in the power of your slaves, and they will raid and rob you. Then you will know that I am a prophet of the LORD All-Powerful.
- City of Zion, sing and celebrate! The LORD has promised to come and live with you.
- When he does, many nations will turn to him and become his people. At that time you will know that I am a prophet of the LORD All-Powerful.
- Then Judah will be his part of the holy land, and Jerusalem will again be his chosen city.
- Everyone, be silent! The LORD is present and moving about in his holy place.
In this third vision, the man with the measuring line tells Zechariah that Jerusalem will become a city without walls. Two reasons are given for this lack of walls: First, because of the large number of people and livestock, which is a reference to the prosperity of the city, and Second, because Jerusalem will have the Lord's protection and will not need walls to fortify it against its enemies. The time frame for this setting is the second advent when the Messiah Himself will be Jerusalem's protection.
Next, a call is given to the Jews to return from their exile in Babylon to their homeland. This moves us back to Zechariah's time frame as a call to his contemporaries to leave Babylon. Not only is this a call to re-inhabit and rebuild Judah, but it is a call to safety. God was preparing to punish the nations that had 'plundered' Judah and did not want the Jews to be in harms way.
Then the time frame moves back out to the second advent in the concluding verses of the chapter. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are told to "shout for joy and be glad," because the Messiah is coming to dwell among them. When the Messiah comes, the Gentile nations will also join themselves to the Lord and become His people. Jerusalem will become at that time a world-wide center. The Messiah will reign, many nations - not just Israel - will join in His reign, and He reign will be from Jerusalem.
God sees the whole while we can only see our little piece. God knows how the present fits the future, so for Him the two are inseparable and flow together. Undoubtedly, Zechariah's visions were intended to encourage those returning to Jerusalem from exile. Even though fulfillment of God's plan for His people would not happen in their time, they needed to see how their experiences fit the whole, which is true also for us. If we are to understand life and its meaning, our perspective needs to be informed by God's perspective.