The Man With the Measuring Line
A prophecy from Zechariah: Zechariah 2:1-2
Before we look at the prophecy Some insight on Zechariah from Chuck Swindoll:
The book of Zechariah contains the clearest and the largest number of messianic (about the Messiah) passages among the Minor Prophets. In that respect, it’s possible to think of the book of Zechariah as a kind of miniature book of Isaiah. Zechariah pictures Christ in both His first coming (Zechariah 9:9) and His second coming (9:10–10:12). Jesus will come, according to Zechariah, as Savior, Judge, and ultimately, as the righteous King ruling His people from Jerusalem (14:8–9).
Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 So I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see how wide it is and how long it is.”
The setting of the book of Zechariah:
The people of Israel had returned to their own land from their exile in Babylon but they had not yet seen the full fulfillment of God’s restoration.
Remembering when measuring lines are used:
Before something is built or put in place
Remember what happens in the year of Jubilee:
The original owner returns to his land
What needs to be done:
A deed is referred to.
What is on a deed?
Measurements to define the land – if there is no deed then measurements must be made
Remember what God told Abraham when He gave him the land?
14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;
15 for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever.
16 I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.
17 Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.”
18 Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
In Zechariah’s vision the man with the measuring line was doing so in preparation for the return of the Jewish exiles from the Babylonian Captivity.
Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn writes:
“So in the days of Zechariah, when the Jewish people were returning to the land, the man with the measuring line comes to the city in a vision. And his appearance is a sign of what is yet to take place. It happened in the ancient world. So too it would happen again in the modern. The ancient sign would again manifest in the world . . .in modern times. The man with the measuring line would again come to Jerusalem. And his appearance would be a sign of what was yet to come.”
The modern measuring
In 1867 a British Officer, a member of the Royal Engineers by the name of Charles Warren was sent to the land of Israel on a mission to survey and map out Jerusalem – a man with a measuring line. – Not Jerusalem as it was then, but as it once was, the boundaries of the ancient city.
To do that he had to dig through centuries of earth and debris to get down to the ancient foundations. Much of his work had to be done in secret because the Ottoman Turks were in control of the land and they were highly suspicious of him.
Warren’s work ushered in the modern age of Biblical Archaeology and resulted in the measuring of the entire land of Israel.
Although he didn’t know it, his work was a sign that God was going to restore the land of Israel to it’s rightful owners, the Jewish people. His work took place the same year that Mark Twain, “the stranger” wrote of the land. Their time in Jerusalem overlapped. The year was 1867, a date that will be significant when we look at the restoration of Israel to her homeland.