Before summarizing the visions let me tell you that these are rich in interpretation and deserve a more thorough examination than space allows me here.
Vision number 1 (Zechariah 1:8 – 11) is of a horse patrol; four horses of varying colors go throughout the earth and report back that the whole earth is at rest and in peace. Sounds calm, but that phrase has bad connotations. In verse 15 the Lord says “I am very angry with the nations that feel secure.” The Lord adds that He will return to Jerusalem with mercy and rebuild His house. The people are encouraged by this.
Vision number 2 (1: 18 – 21) is of four horns and four craftsmen. Horns usually signify military might. The four horns are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, the four Gentile nations which plundered Judah and scattered its people. The four craftsmen are the succeeding Gentile nations which in turn clashed with each of the above “horns.”
Vision number 3 (2:1 – 13) isof a man with a measuring line who sees how wide and long Jerusalem is. The prophecy states that Jerusalem will be a city without walls. Since it has always had walls, scholars believe that this is yet to be fulfilled in the millennium. However, this is still an encouraging word to the people Zechariah is speaking to. Remember they are working on rebuilding.
Vision number 4 (3:1 – 10) is about clean garments for the high priest, Joshua. This signifies purifying the nation, their sins forgiven. (You’ll find the ayin word “eyes” as well as “servant” here.)
The next four prophecies match up, in reverse order, with the first four. The fifth vision (4: 1 – 14) is of a gold lampstand and two olive trees. The lampstand symbolizes the presence of God and the two olive trees are Zerubbabel and Joshua. The priest with clean garments from vision 4 can now work on the Lord’s house. See verse 9: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.” (The 7 eyes of the Lord are mentioned in this section.)
In vision number 6 (5:1 – 4) Zechariah sees a flying scroll which is explained to be a curse to wipe out those who sin against man (every thief) and those who sin against God (everyone who swears falsely by my name). This matches up with the third vision in which a prosperous, peaceful Jerusalem without walls is foreseen. The flying scroll has eliminated those who would destroy that peaceful city.
The woman in the basket in vision 7 (5:5 – 11) is wickedness personified. Two other women take her to Babylon where a house will be built for her. When I match this up with vision 2 which started with the first of the four horns being Babylon, I am amazed at the symmetry.
The last vision (6:1 – 8) is the four horses, as in vision 1, out on patrol again. Remember they found the earth at rest the first time. This time they are out for judgment. I’m sure that Zechariah’s audience was pleased with this and comforted.
After these 8 visions Zechariah is told by the Lord to make a crown for Joshua and also that people from far away will come to help build the Temple.
Next week we’ll look at the rebukes and reminders God makes before Israel can be restored.