Zechariah sees a man with a measuring line. In the end times, Jerusalem's people will multiply and the city expand beyond its ancient walls. God will live among them and be their wall of fire. All nations will be saved and joined to God's people.
Vision Three - The Surveyor
In Zechariah's third vision, he sees a man going out with a measuring line in his hand (v1). It is likely that this is the same man whom Zechariah saw in his first vision, in which case he is the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Christ. When Zechariah asks where he is going, he is told that he is going to measure the length and width of Jerusalem (v2). The angelic messenger who helped Zechariah understand the first two visions then goes out also. But another messenger meets him (v3) and tells him to hurry back to Zechariah with a proclamation from God. God says that Jerusalem will no longer be enclosed by walls because of the multitude of people and animals there (v4). Instead, God will be Jerusalem's wall of fire and the source of glory in her midst (v5).

This vision is certainly not one that was fulfilled in biblical history. It has been partially fulfilled since the restoration of the State of Israel in 1948, and since 1967 when Jerusalem was restored under Jewish control. Modern Jerusalem is a bustling city that has sprawled well beyond its ancient walls. But ultimately, this is an eschatological vision of Millennial Jerusalem, when the descendants of Israel will have all returned to the land, and when Jesus will be living among them as their king. Jerusalem will no longer need walls because Jesus will establish peace throughout the earth and there will no longer be any threat of war. Ezekiel also saw a man with a measuring line in his hand, in a vision about Millennial Jerusalem and its temple (Ezekiel 40:3).

In verse 6, God addresses the scattered end-time descendants of Israel, living among the nations. They are described in three ways. Firstly God tells them, "Flee from the northland!" Historically Israel and Judah were exiled to Assyria and Babylon. Although Babylon was technically to the east of Israel, to go there you went first to the north of Israel and then turned east around the fertile crescent. So both Assyria and Babylon were considered to be the 'lands of the north'. Secondly, God says, "…for like the four winds of heaven I have scattered you". So God is not just addressing those in the geographic area of ancient Assyria and Babylon, but all the end-time exiles who are scattered around the nations of the world. Thirdly God says (literally), "Escape, Zion, you who live in daughter Babylon" (see NET bible notes). 'Daughter Babylon' is an expression that occurs elsewhere in Psalm 137:8, Isaiah 47:1, Jeremiah 50:42 and 51:33. If refers to end-time Babylon, which is called 'Mystery Babylon' in Revelation 17:5. End-time Babylon is associated with Edom (Arabia) in Psalm 137 and in Isaiah 21. This warning for the people of Zion to escape from daughter Babylon is equivalent to the command 'Come out of her, my people' in Jeremiah 51:45 and in Revelation 18:4. It is an urgent warning for God's people to escape from Edom (Arabia) before her imminent and devastating destruction.

In relation to Jerusalem, Arabia is to the south, not the north. At the end of the Great Tribulation, there will be a great end-time exodus of the descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel. The lost ten tribes will return to Israel primarily from the north. The descendants of Judah (the Jews) will return from their desert safe-place in Edom (Arabia) where they will have spent the Great Tribulation (Revelation 12:6).

In verses 7 to 9 the speaker appears to be Zechariah. He says that God is about to plunder the nations that have plundered Israel, for anyone to touches Israel touches the pupil of God's eye. The KJV translates this 'apple of his eye', which has become an idiomatic expression in English. It communicates how precious Israel is to God, and how sensitive he is about anyone hurting them.

When God punishes these nations that have oppressed Israel, Zechariah tell us they will be looted by their own slaves (v9). There are several possible explanations as to how they will be looted by their own slaves:

One explanation is that the lost ten tribes will mostly arise out of the geographic areas of ancient Assyria and Babylon, to which their ancestors were exiled. So they will mostly be citizens of Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran. When God reveals to them that they are descendants of Israel and calls them home to Israel, they will rise up against Antichrist's end-time empire. The end-time Israelites are prophesied to plunder their enemies in Isaiah 11:12-14, 33:23, Ezekiel 39:10 and in Amos 9:11-12. So these nations of Antichrist's empire will be plundered by their own citizens who are descendants of Israel. According to this explanation, 'their own slaves' means 'their own citizens'.

Another explanation is that Antichrist's own soldiers will turn on each other, plundering and killing each other. In the prophecy of Gog's (Antichrist's) invasion of Israel, a huge earthquake and plagues of hailstones, fire and brimstone cause great panic among Antichrist's forces. Ezekiel 38:21 says, "I will call for a sword to attack Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord; every man’s sword will be against his brother". According to this explanation, 'their own slaves' means 'their own soldiers'. It is reminiscent of Gideon's defeat of the Midianites in Judges 7:22, when "…the LORD caused the Midianites to attack one another with their swords".

Another explanation is to understand that end-time Babylon represents not just Arabia but also the religion of Islam. Muslims identify themselves as 'slaves of Allah'. According to this explanation, the muslim nations of Antichrist's empire are plundered by fellow muslim slaves of Allah.

In verse 10, God addresses the Daughter of Zion, telling her to sing out and be happy. Daughter of Zion refers to end-time Zion, just as Daughter of Babylon refers to end-time Babylon. Zion is to rejoice because God will come to settle in her midst. When John describes the incarnation of Jesus in John 1:14, he says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (KJV). The word that John uses, translated 'dwelt' can also be translated 'pitched his tent'. God dwelt in Israel as Jesus for 33 years, and then ascended back into heaven after his resurrection. But here in Zechariah, God's permanent dwelling in Israel is in view. God will take possession of Judah and choose Jerusalem once again (as his dwelling place) - (v12).

'On the day of salvation' (literally 'in that day), many nations will join themselves to the Lord (v11) and be included as God's people. Jesus' deliverance of Israel is part of God's plan to save people from all nation of the world and to live among them. Zechariah tells us the fulfilment of this promise will prove that Zechariah was a true prophet sent by God. He reaffirms this promise again in 8:22.

In verse 13, Zechariah tells all mankind to be silent in God's presence, "for he is being moved to action in his holy dwelling place". God is about to intervene in earthly affairs, to restore his people Israel to their land, to come and dwell permanently in their midst, and in the process to save the whole world. The command to 'be silent' implies that God has made up his mind, and will not entertain any objections to his plan.
Places: Jerusalem, Israel, Zion
Symbols: Man with a measuring line
Tags: Jerusalem to be expanded, Wall of fire, Israel as the apple of Gods eye, End-time exodus, Restoration of Israel and Judah, God coming to dwell in Jerusalem, Enemy nations plundered by their own slaves, Gentile nations saved
Vision Three: The Surveyor
1 I looked again, and there was a man with a measuring line in his hand.
2 I asked, “Where are you going?” He replied, “To measure Jerusalem in order to determine its width and its length.”
3 At this point the angelic messenger who spoke to me went out, and another messenger came to meet him
4 and said to him, “Hurry, speak to this young man as follows: ‘Jerusalem will no longer be enclosed by walls because of the multitude of people and animals there.
5 But I (the Lord says) will be a wall of fire surrounding Jerusalem and the source of glory in her midst.’”
6 “You there! Flee from the northland!” says the Lord, “for like the four winds of heaven I have scattered you,” says the Lord.
7 “Escape, Zion, you who live among the Babylonians!”
8 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to me that for his own glory he has sent me to the nations that plundered you – for anyone who touches you touches the pupil of his eye.
9 “Yes, look here, I am about to punish them so that they will be looted by their own slaves.” Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me.
10 “Sing out and be happy, Zion my daughter! For look, I have come; I will settle in your midst,” says the Lord.
11 “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on the day of salvation, and they will also be my people. Indeed, I will settle in the midst of you all.” Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me to you.
12 The Lord will take possession of Judah as his portion in the holy land and he will choose Jerusalem once again.
13 Be silent in the Lord’s presence, all people everywhere, for he is being moved to action in his holy dwelling place.