Jerusalem without Boundaries
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold … I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in 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” (vv. 10–11)- Zechariah 2
Despite the fact that the Lord had not yet shaken the heavens and earth in Haggai’s and Zechariah’s day to depose the kingdoms of this world and exalt the house of Zerubbabel—the Messiah—the continuing suffering of the Jews under foreign domination was not unfaithfulness on God’s part (Hag. 2:20–23; Zech. 1:1–17). Instead, the restoration had only been delayed (from a human perspective and because Judah’s repentance was not extensive enough; see Dan. 9). The Lord would still consummate His plan, and He spoke through Zechariah to the post-exilic Jewish community to confirm this.
John Calvin’s comments on today’s passage support this interpretation. Calvin notes that the community was depressed by its circumstances and needed encouragement that “God was performing by degrees, and step by step, what he had testified.” Zechariah 2 and its vision of Jerusalem as a city whose length and width cannot be measured and as a city without walls demonstrates that the Lord had not forgotten His promises to His people once they had come back to their land in 538 BC. Jerusalem symbolizes the consummated kingdom of God, and it has no walls because its population will be so vast that it would be impossible to contain it within the physical walls of the city (vv. 1–4). The only wall that will exist is nothing other than the “wall of fire all around”—God Himself (v. 5). When the Lord consummates His plan, His people will have nothing to fear because they will enjoy His personal protection. Calvin writes, “Though walls may be high and thick, they may be scaled by enemies; but who will dare to throw himself into the fire?”
But why will the company of God’s people be so large? It is because the community will include not only the ethnic descendants of Abraham but also “many nations” who will join themselves to Yahweh, the covenant Lord of Israel, and become His people as well (vv. 6–12). Zechariah repeats the common prophetic theme that Yahweh is Lord not only over the Jews but also over the Gentiles, that His salvation will be universal in scope, not in that every person will be saved but that all nations, tribes, and tongues will be represented in His kingdom. Isaiah prophesied that all the nations would flow to God’s mountain to learn His ways (Isa. 2:1–4). Zephaniah foresaw that the Lord would change the speech of the nations so that they could call on Him (Zeph. 3:9). Zechariah likewise was given a vision of God fulfilling His promise to Abraham to bless all the nations through him.
Part of the assurance given to God’s people in today’s passage is that we are “the apple of his eye” (Zech. 2:8). The Lord loves us so deeply and thoroughly that He will not let those who impenitently rise up against us finally get away with it. God never forgets His children, so even when we are suffering the worst kind of harassment, He sees it and will set it right in the end. Let us be confident in the Lord’s love for us even in the midst of our trouble.
Passages for Further Study
Song of Solomon 2:3