Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Not by Military Strength nor by Individual Ability

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today 

Not By Strength

Nor By Power


Zachariah having slipped into an unconscious or sleep state, the angel comes to him again and brings him back to consciousness in his vision.

He sees a solid gold lamp stand with a bowl of oil on top of it. Around the bowl are seven lamps, each having seven spouts with wicks. Quite a complex thing compared to the image above. And beside it, one on the left and one on the right, two olive trees.

These present a message in pictures rather than words. The angel seems astonished that Zachariah does not know what these mean.

A Picture About Power and Authority

The lamp stand and its wicks stand for the seven fold Spirit of God which examine the works of man and shine the light of God throughout the world.

The olive trees represent Zerubbabel, who brought into the picture here, and Jeshua, who has already been addressed in the prophecy. These men in turn represent the priesthood of believers or the spiritual authority given to men and the political authority given by God to men in governance (see Romans 13:1-7).

Later we will see that the Spirit which flows through the candlesticks also flows out of the two olive trees. This shows Zachariah that these two men are filled with the Holy Spirit of God and are his channel for pour the Spirit of God out to the people.

 “Don’t you know?”

But before the angel makes all of this clearer to Zechariah, he first states the message of this image.

"This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies"

As a child we memorized bible verses for Sunday School, at Missionary Workers Band, and at home. One verse presented over and over was Zechariah 4:6 KJV: "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord."

Don't you know?! God's work, whether building a temple for the Jews returning from Babylon or the Church today, is not by military might nor by individual abilities (leadership or other). The work of God in the world, even on the practical level of bricks and mortar, comes by Spirit empowerment, spiritual gifting, not human effort.

In spreading Christianity to the pagans, one time several thousand people were forced into a river by the converted ruler's army in order to baptize his reluctant citizens. That hasn't worked out so good.

In spreading Christianity in the last century, church planting and seeker friendly systems have been developed, usually imitating what God has done through one man, woman, or church. These other church leaders have eagerly gobbled up with the dream of spreading Christianity. That hasn't worked out so good if the loss of presence, numbers, and influence in society is weighed and measured.

God's Will is Going to Happen

God is going to purify the Priesthood of Believers. The witness to and visibility of the power and authority of God are going to become more visible even in the face of militant opposition. Zerubbabel with finish building the temple he started.

"Not by might nor by power. Not by force nor by strength. Not by military power nor by individual ability. Not by social manipulation nor by political force of will.

 But by my Spirit,"
says the Lord.

"Let's get first things first, then we can talk about
what is to come." 


Photo Credits:
Menorah - a catalog image from http://www.jewishsource.com

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