The vision of a measuring line in the hand of a visitor is repeated, proposing a plan to rebuild Jerusalem on a new grand scale. The angels object, and counter that the new Jerusalem will be like a village without walls, rather than a walled town with a tower. A wall is not only defensive against the world, but confines and limits the number of inhabitants. God may be trusted to provide the defense of a wall of fire, making room for whom God invites.
I have long loved verse 6 as the ‘scriptural authority for Santa Claus’, but of course it invites exiles and others to move south from Syria, out of the regions of Babylon and Persia, over the northern edge of deserts, and return to Jerusalem and Judah. God will provide protection, and people from many nations will seek out the holy city as sanctuary. It’s time to pause in awe.
Again, to end the week, I’ll pose the question: will you read this as a Zionist, or as a Messianic Christian – or see the shape of hope? Choosing counter-culturally requires some confidence in ultimate vindication. Overcoming fear with faithful trust requires some sense that while you can’t win against all opponents, that’s not your job. Our job is to build something worthy of our calling and invitation to be a people of God, to re-present what’s fully human.
Zechariah 2 (NRSV)
1*I looked up and saw a man with a measuring line in his hand.
2Then I asked, ‘Where are you going?’ He answered me, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.’
3Then the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him,
4and said to him, ‘Run, say to that young man: Jerusalem shall be inhabited like villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and animals in it.
5For I will be a wall of fire all round it, says the LORD , and I will be the glory within it.’
6 Up, up! Flee from the land of the north, says the LORD; for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven, says the LORD.
7Up! Escape to Zion, you that live with daughter Babylon.
8For thus said the LORD of hosts (after his glory* sent me) regarding the nations that plundered you: Truly, one who touches you touches the apple of my eye.*
9See now, I am going to raise* my hand against them, and they shall become plunder for their own slaves. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me.
10Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the LORD.
11Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
12The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.
13 Be silent, all people, before the LORD; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.