Sermon #05 Zechariah Series
Title: “A Man With A Measuring Line”
Text: Zechariah 2:1-13
Subject: The Sure Salvation of God’s Elect
Reading: Zechariah 2:1-13
1. I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.
2. Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. (Zechariah 2:2)
3. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him,
4. And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:
5. For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
6. Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.
7. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.
8. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
9. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.
10. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.
11. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.
12. And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.
13. Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.
Zechariah 2 gives us Zechariah’s third prophetic vision of “A Man with a Measuring Line.” While the chapter opens with some things that may appear mysterious and hard to understand, God the Holy Spirit caused his prophet Zechariah to quickly explain that the message of the things he saw is a message of pure, free grace, assuring us of the sure salvation of all God’s elect, God’s special, constant and tender care for his people, and the ultimate glory of Christ in the complete salvation of his church.
As I will show you, this vision is not about the ancient city of Jerusalem, but about the church of God, Jerusalem which is above.
The Man with a Measuring Line
The chapter opens with a vision of “a man measuring line” (v. 1).
(Zechariah 2:1) “I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.”
I do not hesitate to assert that this Man is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, our Mediator and Savior. In Zechariah’s first vision, we saw our Savior riding triumphantly in the midst of his church to protect her from her constantly oppressing enemies. Here we see him measuring his church and kingdom. He “who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven as with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance” (Isa. 40:12), he and he alone numbers his people and measures the city of his redeemed. His church is his house and his city (Heb. 3:3-4).
· He chose it!
· He bought it!
· He builds it!
· He keeps it!
· He will complete it!
· He gets the glory for it!
(Hebrews 3:3-4) "For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. (4) For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God."
This is much like the vision John describes in Revelation 11:1.
(Revelation 11:1) "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein."
What is meant by the “measuring line” Zechariah saw in our Savior’s hand? Obviously, I cannot speak with dogmatism about this; but there are three things revealed in Holy Scripture by which the measure and number of God’s elect are fixed.
1. Perhaps it refers to the book of divine predestination, which Christ, the Lamb took from the hand of him that sat upon the throne in Revelation 5.
2. The measuring line might refer to the Lamb’s book of life, in which the names of all God’s elect were written before the world began (Rev. 13:8; 17:8). That is the measure and rule by which he redeemed, calls, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies all the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.
3. The measuring line may refer to the Word of God, the measure and rule of faith and practice, doctrine and worship according to which the Lord Jesus Christ forms, constitutes, and regulates Gospel churches. This is the measuring reed he holds as he stands at the gate, as the Keeper of his house (Ezek. 40:3)
(Ezekiel 40:1-3) "In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither. (2) In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. (3) And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate."
Whatever the measuring line is, I can tell you this, — We have great reason to give thanks to God that it is in the hands of this Man, who is God our Savior, and not in the hands of any other man!
The Vision Explained
As soon as Zechariah saw the “man with a measuring line,” he asked him what he was doing, and the Man told him (v. 2).
(Zechariah 2:2) "Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof."
Dares a man ask God our Savior what he is doing? We must never do so irreverently, or as in any way implying unbelief or disapproval. God is not answerable to us! Yet, our great God and Savior is so gracious that he makes us his friends and reveals his secrets to us (John 15:15); and he even bids us ask of him concerning his work (Heb. 4:16; Isa. 45:11).
(Isaiah 45:11) "Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me."
The Lord graciously answered Zechariah, — “And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.” In Revelation 21:16, we are told that the length and breadth and height of the city are all the same. The City of God is a city foursquare, solid and unaffected by outside influence, a city fully inhabited and perfect.
The Angel’s Message
Read on. — In verses 3-5 we see an angel running up to the Lord Jesus, who is given a message to carry to Zechariah.
(Zechariah 2:3-5) "And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, (4) And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: (5) For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her."
We know that the first Angel mentioned in verse 3, who was talking to Zechariah is the Lord Jesus, because it is the “Man with a measuring line in his hand” who had been talking to Zechariah. This “other angel,” or messenger, is the Lord’s servant. I cannot imagine who he might signify, if not a gospel preacher, one of the “angels of the churches,” by whom the Lord God speaks his Word to his people.
How anxious our Lord Jesus to inform his redeemed ones of all things suitable for us to know, especially to inform us of his many gracious promises (John 15:15). For that purpose he has given his church pastors, according to his own heart, to feed them with knowledge and understanding (Jer. 3:15).
(John 15:15) "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."
Look at the promise our Savior here tells his servant to proclaim. — He “said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein” (v. 4).
It is obvious that he is not telling us about Jerusalem, the literal city, because by the time Zechariah received this vision the walls of that literal city had already been built under Nehemiah’s supervision (Neh. 6:15). So this promise that “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls” must be understood of Jerusalem, spiritually, “Jerusalem which is above,” “the heavenly Jerusalem,” the church of God’s elect (Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22).
Here is the blessed security of God’s people, Jerusalem, his church. He is himself our security. He has provided “salvation for walls and bulwarks” (Isaiah 26:1; Ezekiel 38:11; John 10:28-30).
(Isaiah 26:1) "In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks."
(Ezekiel 38:11) "And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates."
(John 10:28-30) "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. (30) I and my Father are one."
This is a city well populated, a city fully inhabited by “the multitude of men and cattle therein.” Last week, Shelby and I were studying this passage together as we drove back from Texas. When we got to verse 4, she asked me, “What do those cattle represent.” I said, “I don’t have clue; but I hope to find out before I preach from that passage.” Well, Dr. Gill helped me. “The multitude of men and of cattle,” he demonstrated represent God’s elect, referring me to Ezekiel 34:31, where the Lord God declares, “Ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.” Yes, God’s elect are a great multitude, a number which no man can number, as the sands of the sea and the stars of the sky that cannot be measured.
A Wall of Fire
But the promise of our God does not end there. He goes on to promise that he will be “both a wall of fire round about, and a glory in the midst of his people.” The allusion is to travelers in ancient times, who would build fires around their camps at night to keep snakes and wild animals away. Here the Lord Jesus promises that he will be the defense and protection of our souls as we make our pilgrimage through this world. Like a wall of fire around us, he protects us from all our enemies, and keeps the great enemy of souls, that roaring lion, Satan, from seizing and devouring his sheep.
Not only is Christ our Defender and Protector, he is both a “sun and a shield,” our Strength and our Glory (Psa. 125:2).
(Psalms 125:2) "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever."
· Christ reveals his glory in us.
· He is himself all our glory and beauty.
· And he will make us glorious and a glory.
(Isaiah 4:2-6) "In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. (3) And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: (4) When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (5) And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. (6) And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain."
(Isaiah 60:13) "The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious."
The Call of Grace
In verses 6-9, the messenger is still proclaiming the Lord’s message. Here, the Lord God calls his elect out of all the nations of the world.
(Zechariah 2:6-9) "Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. (7) Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. (8) For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. (9) For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me."
This is God’s proclamation and call to his elect to come out of Babylon. Just as he called Israel out of literal Babylon, he calls all his people scattered throughout the earth to come out of Babylon, the great harlot (Rev. 18:4), and come to him (2 Cor. 6:17-7:1).
(Revelation 18:4) "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
(2 Corinthians 6:17-18) "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (18) And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
(2 Corinthians 7:1) "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
Now, look at the promise our Savior gives to all who come to him, to all who trust him. — “Whoso toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye.” He who redeemed us with his blood has made us so really and truly one with him by the wondrous work of his grace that none can touch us without touching the apple of his eye; and that none can do!
· God has spread his elect abroad in the earth as the four winds of heaven.
· But even in their dispersion, they are kept by Christ as the apple of his eye (“Preserved in Jesus Christ!” — Jude 1).
· When our blessed Savior redeemed us with his blood, he shook his hand upon the nations and spoiled our enemies, making all that appeared to be against us our servants (John 16:8-11; Rev. 20:1-6).
· And when the Lord Jesus sends out his Spirit to gather his elect by the mighty operations of his grace, he shakes his hand over the nations, enters the hearts of chosen sinners, binds the strong man (Satan), casts him out, and sets his throne in the hearts of his people (Matt. 12:29).
· When that happens to you, when Christ reveals himself in you, he says, “ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me.”
· Soon, he will cause us to spoil the earth!
Sing and Rejoice
In the light of all that we have seen, it should not surprise us that the Lord God our Savior calls for his church to sing and rejoice! It may appear that things are dark and dismal. It may appear that Satan is having his way. But that is not now, never has been, and never can be true! God our Savior is having his way! He always has had his way! He is having his way! And he will yet have his way in all the earth! And when he gets done, when the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in, and all Israel is saved, what glory shall be revealed in us and to us!
(Zechariah 2:10-11) "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. (11) And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee."
The Prophet Zephaniah had called us to rejoice in nearly the same words and for the same reason (Zeph. 3:14-17).
(Zephaniah 3:14-17) "Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. (15) The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. (16) In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. (17) The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."
This joy and singing of Zion is called forth, not only at the prospect of Christ’s incarnation, when he came to redeem us with his blood, but with regard to all the auspicious events of his glorious second advent. It was the Lord Jesus who said, “Lo, I come!” And he here declares it was “that is the Lord of hosts hath sent me.” And he avows that all his people shall be made to know these things!
· This is he whom Jehovah has sent as his righteous Servant to save his people.
· This is he whose goings forth have been of old, even from eternity, coming to do his Father’s will.
· He has saved us!
And when he comes to be glorified in all his saints and admired of all them that believe, standing again upon the Mount of Olives, he will shake his hand over the earth, gather his ransomed ones to himself in resurrection glory, and inherit Judah his portion!
(Zechariah 2:12-13) "And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. (13) Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation."
Yes, our Savior shall soon see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied! Judah here represents the whole Church of God’s elect.
(Isaiah 49:6) "And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth."
Wonder of wonders,…
· He who is our Portion, here declares that we are his portion.
· He who is our inheritance, here declares that we are his inheritance!
· He who is our Fulness, here declares that we are his fulness!
· And he who is our Glory, here declares that we are his glory!
In the light of all these things, Robert Hawker asked, —
“What universal silence will pervade the earth, in adoration, love, and praise, when the Lord is raised up, or riseth himself out of his holy habitation in heaven, and comes openly and visibly, as in the days of his flesh, but not now in weakness, but in power and glory; to fill the earth with wonder in the calling home all his redeemed, among his ancient people the Jews, and all the Father hath given him among the Gentiles; and to destroy all his enemies before his face, with the brightness of his coming?”
(2 Thessalonians 1:7-10) "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (8) In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (9) Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (10) When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."
Oh! blessed, sovereign Lord God, my Savior, how we rejoice in that which you have here revealed to our hearts! Let us no more be fearful and doubting, but confident and joyful! Shake Your hand, O Mighty God, and gather Your elect this day out of the earth! Soon, that day shall come when all Israel has been saved and Your glory shall be revealed. O Lord, hasten the day! Then the whole earth will be silent in one universal act of wonder, love, and praise! — “Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.”
 Date: Sunday Morning — June 26, 2005
Rescue Baptist Church, Rescue CA— (WED PM – 06/29/05)
Tape # Zechariah #5