A Wall of Fire Without and the Glory Within
A Wall of Fire Without and the Glory Within
Responsive Reading: Isaiah 60
Hymn: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing - # 93
Text: Zechariah 2.5 ~ “‘For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”
Introduction: The Lord stirs up the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia to release His people out of captivity and incredibly only 50,000 return home. Those who do return are met with severe opposition that causes them to cower in their mission to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple of God. The Lord speaks to Zechariah calling them to repent and then speaks to them “Good and Comforting Words” in Eight Visions to Zechariah. The first vision is a General Vision giving generalities where as the subsequent visions play out the intricate and specific details.
The Second Vision answers an immediate question, What about all of the opposition, our enemies? The Lord demonstrates that He Remembers His people and their condition. Although it appears their strength and numbers are too great and overwhelming, God meets the challenge with Four Craftsmen, sufficient in number, strength and ability to terrify and cast down. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”
This prophecy is considered the most obscure of the books of prophecy; however, some seventy prophecies are revealed in the New Testament, most concerning the Messiah. There are those who believe the book to concern only ethnic Israel; but it is apparent that ethnic Israel has never experienced the fulfillment of these words as is fulfilled in the Church of Christ. The fulfillment of these words of God in the magnitude in which they are expressed here are only in the Church of Christ. In verse 5, the Lord strikes a double theme that assures His people of His presence it is these four words, “For I will be A Wall of Fire Without and the Glory Within…”
I. The Vision
A. The Lord doesn’t give us these things to hide the truth from us, but to reveal the truth. You see Zechariah asking all throughout, “What is this? What are you doing? Where are you going?” And, every time the Lord answers his questions. Mark 4.11-12 and 21-25.
- There are several characters in the vision. Immediately we are introduced to a surveyor. What is he doing? What is his purpose? A surveyor measures out and sets the boundaries property. However, just as quickly as he appears he is gone. So, what is his purpose? He performs a symbolic action in the vision. His purpose is to measure Jerusalem, to see what the width and length are. However, we are not given any measurements. In fact, we don’t see him again. His purpose is to perform a symbolic action of infinite measurements of an immeasurable host. The important thing is what the vision represents.
- After the surveyor, we are introduced to the conversation between two angels, one who is the interpreting angel and another angel. The other angel tells the interpreting angel to “Run, speak to this young man…” We can see the urgency, “Run!” He insists on Zechariah knowing something that Zechariah might give to Jerusalem. The Lord hides nothing from His children. He seeks to encourage with the details of those “Good and Comforting Words.”
- The vision now turns to Jerusalem herself, not so much the physical place her inhabitants. The Lord speaks of “Her” in verse 5. However, we must be sure to understand this is not the physical city of Jerusalem.
- This does not and cannot refer to the physical city, because later we find Nehemiah commissioned to rebuild the city walls. Here the vision speaks of a city with no walls.
- Also, it cannot be national, ethnic Israel, because there are only 50,0000 who had returned. The majority stayed in captivity.
- This must be symbolic. It must also be supernatural. They are innumerable.
- Verse 5 is the key verse concerning the vision. It is the focal point. The Lord speaks. It now becomes apparent who the other angel is. It is once again the Angel of the Lord. “‘For I,’ says the Lord.” The Word of the Lord is always the focal point. What does the Lord say?
- He says, “I will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.” The rest of the vision, verses 6-13, illuminates the fullness of these two realities: The Lord is her protection and her glory. This is to assure Jerusalem that the Lord is Present.
II. A Wall of Fire and the Glory in Her Midst
A. The vision gives a marvelous demonstration of the absolute and perpetual protection for the people of God. Notice the Lord says, “I will be a wall of fire all around her.” There are several things about this:
1. Cities were built with walls. The functions of walls are to keep out enemies. They fortify. They offer protection by keeping enemies out. Jerusalem was strategically set in the midst of mountains. Mountains offered protection to the city as well as it own walls. However, armies still came in, destroyed the city and took captive the inhabitants. Now, the Lord says Jerusalem will be inhabited as towns without walls. This perfectly describes the Condition of the Church.
2. Its condition is no protection in the flesh. There are no walls. No walls means they are wide open to attack and invasion. “I send you as sheep into the midst of wolves.” This is the reality for the true church. The True Church has no protection of the flesh.
3. But, this city without walls has a wall. It is a wall of fire. Its wall is better than stone or mountains. Armies went around or over mountains. This wall cannot be scaled. Fire is dreadful. It totally surrounds the city. Who or what could get in? The fire would consume every invader.
4. It is inferred that the fire is absolute and perpetual. It is all around. There is not a hole anywhere in the wall. It is perpetual in that it is continuous, everlasting as God.
B. However, not only is there absolute and perpetual protection, but glory within. His glory is in the midst of the city. Revelation 21.21-27 There is no need of light. No longer will there be night. No need of the sun or the moon.
How does all this transpire? It is revealed in verses 6-13
III. The Urgency of the Message
A. The situation is there are only 50,000 who came home. The rest, the majority, stayed in Babylon. Babylon is a type of the world’s system in its religions, politics, entertainment, wealth and economics. It is not like when all Israel came out of Egypt. Most stayed in the comforts and ease of the world.
- Several considerations may give us understanding to why they did not return. Everything was destroyed. No city, no walls, no gates, no temple, everything is dreary desolate. Several generations have been born in Babylon. They are accustomed to her riches, her protection, her religion. Matthew 13. 21-22 speaks of such a condition. “It would cost too much to return. I am too old to go home now. I have nothing for me in that land. Everything I have ever known is right her in Babylon. It is more convenient. I enjoy the atmosphere. They have the best entertainments. I like it here. I don’t want the troubles and difficulties of living with the people of God. These people are very religious.” Can you imagine? God opens the door and loosens the chains of captivity and yet, they desire captivity.
- And so, there is first a warning: “Up! Up! Up Zion! The vision is one of urgency not only for comfort to the people of God, but also as a warning to those who have not come out. Revelation 18.1-4 Escape to avoid the wrath of God. The true child of God desires to be with the people of God. Hebrews 11.24-26. If they were truly, God’s people their hearts would desire to be with the people of God. Psalm 137
- We need clearer thinking concerning the world and the wrath to come. The wrath of the Living God hangs over the world and they continue as if there is peace. We need clear thinking of the world for preaching the Gospel to the lost due to the imminent wrath of God and for our own soul’s safety.
1. Souls are dying under the wrath of God. They live in a land of death. The only hope is the Lord. We must preach Him to them. Persuade them to hear the Gospel.
2. The other factor is that we must be clear that we live in a world dominated by sin and ruled by evil. Everything of this life is in opposition to divine life. “Babylon is drunk with the blood of the saints.” “Come out from among her.” Do not be content to stay in Babylon. Be separate from the world.
1 Peter 4.18 says, “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” The righteous escape the wrath by a narrow margin. It is a great struggle. That being so, what does the future hold for the ungodly and the sinner?
IV. The Presences of the Lord
A. Notice in verse 8, the beginning of 7 Revelations that bring Assurance that the Lord is indeed in their Presence and likewise in our own:
500 years before Christ, the word of the Lord comes to this young obscure prophet.
Twice we have the same phrase, in verse 9 and verse 11 – “Then you will know…” The desire of the Lord in this vision is for His people to know these things!
1. “He sent Me…” The Lord sent the Lord. “Then you will know that the Lord has sent Me to you.” This come up all throughout the life of Christ on this earth. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me.” “No man can come unto Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…” “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.” The Lord sending the Lord, The Father sends the Son. He has the authority of the Father, being sent. He comes with the authority of the Father. This is who you are dealing with when you deal with Jesus. You deal with the Father.
2. “I am coming…” The Jews waited for centuries for the coming one. He was not just born, but He came just as He promised. In order for Him to come, He had to exist at the time of the promise. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her king!” That is not a Christmas song. It is a song of the salvation of the Lord. In John 6.38, Christ declares, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
3. “I will shake My hand against them.” Here the Lord displays just how trouble-free and effortless it is for Him to destroy the enemy. We get to the point where we are worried over the enemy or the situation and all the while, the Bible consistently and continuously declares that all God has to do is wave His hand. This should cause us to cling to God who is a wall of fire for us, rather than taking shelter in walls of stone.
4. “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord…they shall become My people.” Instead of being confined within walls, the city is open to all nations. Within 100 years, the gospel went to England and India and has now circled the globe. Could the Jews have imagined such a thing?
5. “I will dwell in your midst.” Verse 5, 10 and 11. God literally, dwells our midst in the incarnation. Emanuel – God with us! This was much, much more than the temple being rebuilt and the Lord dwelling in the Holy of Holies. This is the promise of dwelling in the hearts of His people.
6. “The Lord will take possession of Judah.” He will claim His own. The measurement of Jerusalem was not given. Only God knows her boundary, for He alone set her limits.
7. “I am zealous for Jerusalem.” “For he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.” This is the pupil, the pupil of God’s eye. God uses an amazing analogy. This is the spiritual reality of God’s protection. Would you allow anyone to touch your eye? Here is God’s revelation that He gives the most careful protection to you. “Fear not!” You are the Lord’s possession and He is a wall of Fire all around you. Doesn’t this give great comfort? Hymn # 87 – Joy To The World