Any study of the book of Zechariah has to take into account and factor the history of the Kingdom and people of Judah and Jerusalem in the century prior to the giving of the prophecy. The people had sinned so severely that they had been conquered and exiled to Babylon . A people who thought they would never see foreign troops enter the city of David and Solomon had seen it left a pile of ruins. How traumatic!
Against this frightening backdrop, Zechariah, as reported in the fourth chapter, has a vision of the Menorah inside the Holy Place, but, with a notable change. The Menorah , or Lamp , was now flanked by two olive trees stretching their branches over the Lampstand.
Before going on to discuss the vision, it would be wise to examine the Menorah itself. The object was made of a single block of pure gold weighing a talent. This would have been worth millions of dollars in today’s terms. It could not be welded or bolted; it was hammered into shape. This was exacting work.
Gold itself was symbolic of purity. Light represented revelation and salvation. Altogether, the Menorah stood in the Tabernacle, and, later, the Temple, giving out ongoing light , never being allowed to burn out or be extinguished. It reminded the infinite Truth and Promise of God’s Word , ultimately to be embodied in God’s ultimate Truth and Revelation , the Messiah. Just as the Menorah was made of the purist gold hammered into shape, so the represented Messiah would bring the knowledge of the Lord’s Truth, Light, and Salvation by the “hammering” He would and did experience. “He will be wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our guilts; the punishment for our well-being will fall on Him; and, by His stripes, we will be healed.”- Isaiah 53:5 .
That promise of eternal light looked very dim to Zechariah’s age. We will discuss it further in later installments, but, remember, it is the Promise of Adonai we are discussing .
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler is on the Board of HaShomer and also Rabbi of Sha’arey Yeshua in Indianapolis, IN.