Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 248

Bible text(s)

The Vision of the Lampstand

1The angel who had been speaking to me came again and roused me as if I had been sleeping. 2“What do you see?” he asked.

“A lampstand made of gold,” I answered. “At the top is a bowl for the oil. On the lampstand are seven lamps, each one with places for seven wicks. 3There are two olive trees beside the lampstand, one on each side of it.” 4Then I asked the angel, “What do these things stand for, sir?”

5“Don't you know?” he asked me.

“No, I don't, sir,” I replied.

11Then I asked him, “What do the two olive trees on either side of the lampstand mean? 12And what is the meaning of the two olive branches beside the two gold pipes from which the olive oil pours?”

13He asked me, “Don't you know?”

“No, I don't, sir,” I answered.

14Then he said, “These are the two men whom God has chosen and anointed to serve him, the Lord of the whole earth.”

God's Promise to Zerubbabel

6The angel told me to give Zerubbabel this message from the LORD: “You will succeed, not by military might or by your own strength, but by my spirit. 7Obstacles as great as mountains will disappear before you. You will rebuild the Temple, and as you put the last stone in place, the people will shout, ‘Beautiful, beautiful!’ ”

8Another message came to me from the LORD. 9He said, “Zerubbabel has laid the foundation of the Temple, and he will finish the building. When this happens, my people will know that it is I who sent you to them.

The Vision of the Flying Scroll

1I looked again, and this time I saw a scroll flying through the air. 2The angel asked me what I saw. I answered, “A scroll flying through the air; it is nine metres long and 4.5 metres wide.”

3Then he said to me, “On it is written the curse that is to go out over the whole land. On one side of the scroll it says that every thief will be removed from the land; and on the other side it says that everyone who tells lies under oath will also be taken away. 4The LORD Almighty says that he will send this curse out, and it will enter the house of every thief and the house of everyone who tells lies under oath. It will remain in their houses and leave them in ruins.”

The Vision of the Woman in the Basket

5The angel appeared again and said, “Look! Something else is coming!”

6“What is it?” I asked.

He replied, “It is a basket, and it stands for the sin of the whole land.”

7The basket had a lid made of lead. As I watched, the lid was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman!

8The angel said, “This woman represents wickedness.” Then he pushed her down into the basket and put the lid back down. 9I looked up and saw two women flying towards me with powerful wings like those of a stork. They picked up the basket and flew off with it.

10I asked the angel, “Where are they taking it?”

11He answered, “To Babylonia, where they will build a temple for it. When the temple is finished, the basket will be placed there to be worshipped.”

The Vision of the Four Chariots

1I had another vision. This time I saw four chariots coming out from between two bronze mountains. 2The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, 3the third by white horses, and the fourth by dappled horses. 4Then I asked the angel, “Sir, what do these chariots mean?”

5He answered, “These are the four winds; they have just come from the presence of the Lord of all the earth.”

6The chariot pulled by the black horses was going north to Babylonia, the white horses were going to the west, and the dappled horses were going to the country in the south. 7As the dappled horses came out, they were impatient to go and inspect the earth. The angel said, “Go and inspect the earth!” — and they did. 8Then the angel cried out to me, “The horses that went north to Babylonia have calmed down the LORD's anger.”

The Command to Crown Joshua

9The LORD gave me this message. 10He said, “Take the gifts given by the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, and go at once to the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. All these men have returned from exile in Babylonia. 11Make a crown out of the silver and gold they have given, and put it on the head of the High Priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak. 12Tell him that the LORD Almighty says, ‘The man who is called The Branch will flourish where he is and rebuild the LORD's Temple. 13He is the one who will build it and receive the honour due to a king, and he will rule his people. A priest will stand by his throne, and they will work together in peace and harmony.’ 14The crown will be a memorial in the LORD's Temple in honour of Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah.”

15Men who live far away will come and help to rebuild the Temple of the LORD. And when it is rebuilt, you will know that the LORD Almighty sent me to you. This will all happen if you fully obey the commands of the LORD your God.

The LORD Condemns Insincere Fasting

1In the fourth year that Darius was emperor, on the fourth day of the ninth month (the month of Kislev), the LORD gave me a message.

2The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech and their men to the Temple of the LORD Almighty to pray for the LORD's blessing 3and to ask the priests and the prophets this question: “Should we continue to mourn because of the destruction of the Temple, by fasting in the fifth month as we have done for so many years now?”

4This is the message of the LORD that came to me. 5He said, “Tell the people of the land and the priests that when they fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during these seventy years, it was not in honour of me. 6And when they ate and drank, it was for their own satisfaction.”

7This is what the LORD said through the earlier prophets at the time when Jerusalem was prosperous and filled with people and when there were many people living not only in the towns round the city but also in the southern region and in the western foothills.

Disobedience, the Cause of Exile

8The LORD gave this message to Zechariah: 9“Long ago I gave these commands to my people: ‘You must see that justice is done, and must show kindness and mercy to one another. 10Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners who live among you, or anyone else in need. And do not plan ways of harming one another.’

11“But my people stubbornly refused to listen. They closed their minds 12and made their hearts as hard as rock. Because they would not listen to the teaching which I sent through the prophets who lived long ago, I became very angry. 13Because they did not listen when I spoke, I did not answer when they prayed. 14Like a storm I swept them away to live in foreign countries. This good land was left a desolate place, with no one living in it.”

The LORD Promises to Restore Jerusalem

1The LORD Almighty gave this message to Zechariah: 2“I have longed to help Jerusalem because of my deep love for her people, a love which has made me angry with her enemies. 3I will return to Jerusalem, my holy city, and live there. It will be known as the faithful city, and the hill of the LORD Almighty will be called the sacred hill. 4Once again old men and women, so old that they use a stick when they walk, will be sitting in the city squares. 5And the streets will again be full of boys and girls playing.

6“This may seem impossible to those of the nation who are now left, but it's not impossible for me. 7I will rescue my people from the lands where they have been taken, 8and will bring them back from east and west to live in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be their God, ruling over them faithfully and justly.

9“Have courage! You are now hearing the same words the prophets spoke at the time the foundation was being laid for rebuilding my Temple. 10Before that time no one could afford to hire either men or animals, and no one was safe from his enemies. I turned people against one another. 11But now I am treating the survivors of this nation differently. 12They will sow their crops in peace. Their vines will bear grapes, the earth will produce crops, and there will be plenty of rain. I will give all these blessings to the people of my nation who survive. 13People of Judah and Israel! In the past foreigners have cursed one another by saying, ‘May the same disasters fall on you that fell on Judah and Israel!’ But I will save you, and then those foreigners will say to one another, ‘May you receive the same blessings that came to Judah and Israel!’ So have courage and don't be afraid.”

14The LORD Almighty says, “When your ancestors made me angry, I planned disaster for them and did not change my mind, but carried out my plans. 15But now I am planning to bless the people of Jerusalem and Judah. So don't be afraid. 16These are the things you should do: speak the truth to one another. In the courts, give real justice — the kind that brings peace. 17Do not plan ways of harming one another. Do not give false testimony under oath. I hate lying, injustice, and violence.”

18The LORD Almighty gave this message to Zechariah: 19“The fasts held in the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months will become festivals of joy and gladness for the people of Judah. You must love truth and peace.”

20The LORD Almighty says, “The time is coming when people from many cities will come to Jerusalem. 21Those from one city will say to those from another, ‘We are going to worship the LORD Almighty and pray for his blessing. Come with us!’ 22Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to worship the LORD Almighty, and to pray for his blessing. 23In those days ten foreigners will come to one Jew and say, ‘We want to share in your destiny, because we have heard that God is with you.’ ”

Judgement on Neighbouring Nations

1This is the LORD's message:

He has decreed punishment for the land of Hadrach and for the city of Damascus. Not only the tribes of Israel, but also the capital of Syria belong to the LORD. 2Hamath, which borders on Hadrach, also belongs to him, and so do the cities of Tyre and Sidon, with all their skill. 3Tyre has built fortifications for herself and has piled up so much silver and gold that it is as common as dirt! 4But the Lord will take away everything she has. He will throw her wealth into the sea, and the city will be burnt to the ground.

5The city of Ashkelon will see this and be afraid. The city of Gaza will see it and suffer great pain. So will Ekron, and her hopes will be shattered. Gaza will lose her king, and Ashkelon will be left deserted. 6People of mixed race will live in Ashdod. The LORD says, “I will humble all these proud Philistines. 7They will no longer eat meat with blood in it, or other forbidden food. All the survivors will become part of my people and be like a clan in the tribe of Judah. Ekron will become part of my people, as the Jebusites did. 8I will guard my land and keep armies from passing through it. I will not allow tyrants to oppress my people any more. I have seen how my people have suffered.”

The Future King

9Rejoice, rejoice, people of Zion!

Shout for joy, you people of Jerusalem!

Look, your king is coming to you!

He comes triumphant and victorious,

but humble and riding on a donkey —

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

10The LORD says,

“I will remove the war chariots from Israel

and take the horses from Jerusalem;

the bows used in battle will be destroyed.

Your king will make peace among the nations;

he will rule from sea to sea,

from the River Euphrates to the ends of the earth.”

The Restoration of God's People

11The LORD says,

“Because of my covenant with you

that was sealed by the blood of sacrifices,

I will set your people free —

free from the waterless pit of exile.

12Return, you exiles who now have hope;

return to your place of safety.

I tell you now, I will repay you twice over

with blessing for all you have suffered.

13I will use Judah like a soldier's bow

and Israel like the arrows.

I will use the men of Zion like a sword,

to fight the men of Greece.”

14The LORD will appear above his people;

he will shoot his arrows like lightning.

The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet;

he will march in the storms from the south.

15The LORD Almighty will protect his people,

and they will destroy their enemies.

They will shout in battle like drunken men

and will shed the blood of their enemies;

it will flow like the blood of a sacrifice

poured on the altar from a bowl.

16When that day comes, the LORD will save his people,

as a shepherd saves his flock from danger.

They will shine in his land

like the jewels of a crown.

17How good and beautiful the land will be!

The young people will grow strong on its corn and wine.

Zechariah 4:1-9:17GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
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