Vs. 3, “Whether it continues flowing from his body or is blocked, it will make him unclean. This is how his discharge will bring about uncleanness:” This is the last chapter on the topic of clean and unclean. It’s safe to say this chapter deals with quite an interesting topic. The word discharge is used twenty-four times and deals with bodily fluids. However, these bodily floods are from the genitals. In this chapter, it deals with both the natural and unnatural bodily fluids. Some scholars point to the unnatural fluids that could be from some form of a sexually transmitted disease. Both genders are covered along with the natural and unnatural bodily fluids. Bear in mind, sexual relations between man and woman is not considered impure, but the sinful nature in us can be defiling. Thankfully, there was a process for God’s people to become clean.
Regarding application…Be Holy. Vs. 31, “You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, w which is among them.’” God has called us to be distinct from this unclean world we live in. Certainly, these clean and unclean laws do not apply to us today. The Israelites were clean when they would abide by God’s laws. We are clean today because of what Christ has done. Question: How can we live holy lives today? I believe part of this is being in God’s community. As we live, we are to be plugged into His church. We don’t have the tabernacle laws, but we do have the gift of His church. The church gives us the accountability and teaching to live a holy and clean life. Let us be in community together, so we can be a light to the community of darkness.
Vs. 1, “Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep.” Zechariah fifth vision comes as the angel wakes him up, remember all of these vision came to him in one night. Zechariah is given a vision of a golden lampstand with a bowl on top along with seven lamps and two olive trees on the right and left side of it (vs. 3-4). Question: What is the significance of this golden lampstand and the two olive trees? The Olive trees signify the olive oil that is continuously supplying the lamps via the channels from the trees. The purpose of the vision is to encourage Zerubbabel (Governor) that God will help supply all the needs to lead the rebuilding. No enemy would be able to stand against Israel. Subsequently, the olive trees also represent the leaders of Zechariah’s time, Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel (vs. 14) or prophets like Haggai and Zechariah. There are differing thoughts on this understanding.
Regarding application…Spirit’s Power. Vs. 6, “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Question: How was this big monumental task of rebuilding God’s temple going to be possible? By the Spirit’s power. Last week, we were reminded from our reading in Galatians 5, that we are to keep in step with the Spirit. As a preacher and teacher of God’s word, I too have been admonished to pray for the Spirit’s illumination as I prepare and teach. I think there is certainly a tendency to rely too much on our own talent and abilities. When we look at many church communities today, there are fears about our future. Yet, this was what was going on in Zechariah’s time for there was fear about their own community. There is when we must not try to do things by our own power, trust in the Lord!
Vs. 3, “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” Question: What is going on here? The setting is in Jerusalem and Pentecost aka Feast of Weeks (Jewish harvest festival) is upon them. Pentecost was 50 days after Passover and it recognized the barley harvest and how God continues to provide for His people. How appropriate that Jesus was the Passover Lamb and now the Holy Spirit is given on the day of Pentecost. It’s important to see the timing of God as many Jews would make their pilgrimage to the Holy City. Jesus’ promise comes true in the form of the Holy spirit coming like a rushing wind (giving life) and tongues of fire (bringing judgment). When the Spirit was given, the disciples began to speak in tongues (vs. 4). Bear in mind, what was going on here in the first place. There were Jews from many nations (vs. 5-12) and they were quite astonished to realize that these Jews from most of Galilee were speaking in their native dialect (vs. 12). Some assumed they had been drunk (vs. 13). While there are differing viewpoints on the topic of speaking in tongues, one thing I want to point out that nowhere in Scripture are we told that speaking in tongues (Acts 2, I Cor. 12, 14) must accompany the Spirit baptism we receive upon accepting Jesus. We also see Peter stand up with courage and address the onlookers and subsequently thousands come to faith that day (vs. 14-41). Peter applies the Old Testament prophecies to the person of Jesus and calls for all to repent and believe. And then lastly, we come to a somewhat shocking yet beautiful picture of the genesis of the church (vs. 42-47). They were spiritually filled and devoted to fellowship (Koinonia – Greek), remember Christ and prayer (vs. 42). Some accuse the early church of looking like communism, however, the sharing of the early church was out of the “voluntary” goodness of heart and it was not something forced upon them. It reminds us of what our churches should look like today!
Regarding application…Being Together. Vs. 44, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” We live in a world that teaches us to be strong and independent. You’ve heard of the adage, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” But, here we are reminded of a completely different paradigm of thinking. Here we see a community of believers just being together as one body. Question: Is this possible in the churches today? Absolutely! But, it starts with leaders in the church paving the way. It starts with members in the church “buying in” to being a community of believers. God loves His churches. We are not perfect. But, I sure hope and pray we continue to strive to be a church like the early church. Sometimes, I think we are too quick to assume that isn’t possible in this day of age. In my years serving the church, I connect with vs. 46, as a powerful reminder of opening our homes to each other. Many of my most cherished times as a church community is when we visit each others homes and just enjoy being together!