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Third Vision: The Man with a Measuring Line


I looked up and saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2Then I asked, “Where are you going?” He answered me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.” 3Then the angel who talked with me came forward, and another angel came forward to meet him, 4and said to him, “Run, say to that young man: Jerusalem shall be inhabited like villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and animals in it. 5For I will be a wall of fire all around it, says the L ord, and I will be the glory within it.”

Interlude: An Appeal to the Exiles

6 Up, up! Flee from the land of the north, says the L ord; for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven, says the L ord. 7Up! Escape to Zion, you that live with daughter Babylon. 8For thus said the L ord of hosts (after his glory sent me) regarding the nations that plundered you: Truly, one who touches you touches the apple of my eye. 9See now, I am going to raise my hand against them, and they shall become plunder for their own slaves. Then you will know that the L ord of hosts has sent me. 10Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the L ord. 11Many nations shall join themselves to the L ord on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the L ord of hosts has sent me to you. 12The L ord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.

13 Be silent, all people, before the L ord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

Added now is another vision for the same end; not that the former was difficult to be understood, but because there was need of confirmation in a state of things so disturbed; for though the return of the people was no common evidence of the goodness and favor of God yet as Jerusalem was not flourishing as formerly, as the temple was like a cottage as there was no form of a kingdom and no grandeur, it was difficult to believe what had been already exhibited. This is the reason why God confirms by many proofs the same thing; for we know how difficult the contest is, owing to the infirmity of the flesh, when grievous and sharp trials assail us.

Hence Zechariah says, that he saw in the hand of a man a measuring line. He calls him a man, who appeared in the form of man; and it is well known, and a common thing, that angels are called men. For though they put on a human form only for a time, yet as it was the Lord’s will that they should be seen in that form, they are called men, though with no propriety. If it be asked, whether angels did really put on human nature? the obvious answer is, that they never, strictly speaking, became really men. But we know that God treats us as children; and there is the same reason for the expression as for the thing itself. How was it that angels appeared in human form? even that their access to men might be easier. Hence God calls them men as in this place. Zechariah then says, that an angel appeared to him in the form of a man, having in his hand a measuring line.

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