Width and Length

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Sometimes the scriptures can seem puzzling, and the imagery difficult to comprehend. For example, what is the meaning of our first reading from Zechariah?  Without understanding the context that the prophet is referencing we miss the meaning of his interaction with two angels.

I, Zechariah, raised my eyes and looked:
there was a man with a measuring line in his hand.
I asked, “Where are you going?”
He answered, “To measure Jerusalem,
to see how great is its width and how great its length.”

Then the angel who spoke with me advanced,
and another angel came out to meet him and said to him,
“Run, tell this to that young man:
People will live in Jerusalem as though in open country,
because of the multitude of men and beasts in her midst.
But I will be for her an encircling wall of fire, says the LORD,
and I will be the glory in her midst.”

What is the context and what does it mean?  Zechariah lived at a time when Jerusalem had no city walls, a necessary means of defense.  Without walls a city was virtually certain to be attacked and conquered.  However, God is greater than any enemy. He sends the first angel in order to measure the city the Lord loves and the second to reveal that that God will protect the people he loves always.

What was God willing to do to protect his beloved ones?  He gave his only Son so that we can be saved.

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