- Chapters 1-6 A night of visions
- Chapters 7-8 God’s answer to questions
- Chapters 9-14 A future and a hope
Zechariah, the 2nd chronologically of the post-exile prophets after Haggai before Malachi is mentioned in Ezra along with Haggai who prophesied during the same time frame. Unlike Haggai who was born in Jerusalem and exiled in Babylon, Zechariah was born in Babylon and returned to Jerusalem a part of the 45,000 exiles that returned after the 70 year captive led by Zerubbabel the political leader and Joshua the High Priest. Though both Haggai and Zechariah write at around the same time both addressing the abandonment of the rebuilding of the temple for 16 years they do so from a very different approach:
Haggai says: “What do you mean it’s not time to do the Lord’s work”?
Zachariah says: “If you get busy God will bless you with His presence!”
II. Chapters 7-8 God’s answer to questions
Chapter 7: Two years after the 8 visions the people come to Zechariah with a question about fasting. For the 70 years that the people had been in captivity they had regularly fasted four specific days to seek the Lord and to repent of the sin that had caused them to be in Babylon and apparently for the last 18 years they had continued to keep up the practice. So now with the temple being built and the people being blessed they wanted to know if they needed to keep doing so. So in 7:5 the Lord says through Zechariah, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me–for Me?” Oh dear ones God goes to the heart of the matter and that is a lot of the time what motivates our actions is religious duty and not true brokenness. Is what we do a sign to others or to manipulate God into thinking that we mean it this time? So God says, “Forget the rituals and show me you mean it by how you treat your fellow man!” Saints, you only love God to the degree that you demonstrate your love to those who deserve it the least! (7:8-10). In 1 John 4:20 John writes “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” In Zech. 7:11-14 God says, “It wasn’t because you weren’t observing religious fasting that you ended up in captivity. No, it was because you weren’t merciful to your brothers and sisters!” James says in 1:27 “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Dear ones is your walk dry is there no joy to your life? Hey you don’t need more religion, No you need to practice relationship!
Chapter 8: God promises that if they would practice their relationship with Him instead of empty religion then they will not only be blessed they will be a blessing! In Zech. 8:3
God says, “I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth”. Such a presence of Jesus amongst will cause (8:4-5) “Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.” Oh dear ones we can get a glimpse of the Kingdom of God while on earth if we would but leave the adults in the room and go outside and play with the kids in the street! In 8:6-9 God says, “Hey I know that you got caught up in your own lives these last 18 years but what your building spiritually now is going to just be a blessing for you it’s going to continue on for generations!” So “Let your hands be strong…that the temple might be built!” Saint’s do you want to leave something behind as a legacy for your children, grandchildren, for this nation? There is no greater long lasting inheritance we can pass on to the future generations then our renewed and revived faith! God reminds them in 8:10-15 that where there was once a lack of prosperity when God was the center of their worship they would again be prosperous. Saying in 8:13 “Just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing. Do not fear, let your hands be strong.” Then God says in 18-19, “You came with a question about fasts, well if you make me the center of worship you will be making every month a feast not a fast!” Then in 8:23 God says that, “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Saints, when you and I start living what we say we believe turning our fasts into feasts folks will be grabbing our sleeves saying “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” There is no greater threat to the world we live in then Christians who have turned away from religious rituals and towards practicing our relationship with God by feasting on His presence!
III. Chapters 9-14 A future and a hope
Here we come into the final section of Zechariah as he is given two burdens (9:1 and 12:1).
- The first is in chapters 9-11 where he sees the first coming of Jesus and the nations rejection.
- The 2nd burden is in chapters 12-14 where he sees the 2nd coming of Jesus where He comes to set up His righteous reign upon the earth!
In both of these “burdens of the Word of the Lord” Zechariah is no longer a young prophet as almost 40 years has past and the temple has been rebuilt. What he writes is not about the temple it about Who inhabits the temple! Dear ones you can always gage your growth in Christ by looking at what captivates your interest concerning spiritual things.
- You see when we are young in the Lord what interests us is “building” all the activity and things to do as often we look at our spiritual health in terms of what we are doing for God.
- The as we grow more spiritually we become more interested in doctrinal matters, “What about fasts and feasts?”, We want too know!
- Ah but when we grow further our attention seems to be only on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We just want to spend more time in getting to know God better , and specifically when do we get to see Him face to face?
Chapter 9: As Zechariah looks out into the future the first thing he sees is what for us has already happened but yet to happen for them and that is the Coming of Alexander the Great. He sees in 9:2-6 the route that Alexander the Great would take 150 years later as he and his army came down from Greece. He sees in 9:7-8 that when Alexander the Great came to Jerusalem instead of destroying the city he would actually protect it. History tells us that when he came the High Priest and a group of religious leaders came out to meet him and showed him Daniel 8:7-8 and how his arrival was predicted 250 years earlier and he was so amazed by this that he had the High Priest offer a lamb for his sins. Yet in the midst of this prophecy Zechariah records in 9:9 that the nation was to “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” We know that historically Alexander the Great road a powerful horse named Bucephalus “bull headed” (so named because his head looked as broad as a bull’s) surrounded by soldiers. Yet here Zechariah doesn’t see a king riding a stallion, no he sees riding a lowly unbroken male donkey. He came ridding an animal that signified humility and peace; ah but in Rev. 19:11 John sees at the 2nd coming “a white horse and He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.”
The rest of this vision Zechariah sees what God will do to the divided nation of Greece after Alexander the Greats death through Judas Maccabee and his gang that stopped Antiochus Epiphanes.
Chapter 10: There were two rainy seasons in Israel: October-December and April-May which caused the nation to be dependant upon the rain for irrigation. In 10:1 we read that they were to “Ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.” After the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews the Turks came in and possessed the land taxing the people based upon the number of trees of their land. So to keep taxes low the folks cut down all their trees changing the ecological cycle of the land all but eliminating the “later rain”. Ah but into this arid strip of land came the Jews in 1948 not only repatriating the land but also reforesting the land planting millions of trees and back came the latter rains!
In verses 2-4 Zechariah speaks about the 1st coming and why they didn’t recognize Jesus saying in 10:4 that “From him comes the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler together.” Then in verses 5-6 Zechariah says that even though they though away the cornerstone pegging Him to the cross He will still come back but this time on a white horse of judgment! Though they cast in off He will in 10:8 “whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them; and they shall increase as they once increased.” And according to 10:11 “He shall pass through the sea with affliction, and strike the waves of the sea”.
Chapter 11: Here in this chapter Zechariah speaks of tough times when God will discipling His people for their own good. In verse 7 he describes His use of the shepherds staff in His care of them saying “I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock.” Hey saints God cares for us with two staffs one He calls “Grace” by which He keeps us safe from our enemies the other “Bonds” He uses to keep us close to Him.
In 11:12-13 500 years before the event Zechariah prophecies ahead of exact price and details of Judas’ betrayal saying, “So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”–that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.” (Matt. 26:14-16) The exact price according to Exodus 21:32 of the fatal goring of a persons slave by a neighbor’s ox. That is how the religious leaders viewed Jesus just another mans slave! Zechariah predicts a future time when the world will go after a shepherd who will not care for those who are cut off and instead will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves to pieces.
Chapter 12: 12:1 flies in the face of Mormonism as it says that the Lord, “forms the spirit of man within him”, and not that there are spirit babies in heaven awaiting bodies here on earth. At any rate we are told that the nations will attack Israel but that the Lord will protect her. And in that day according to 12:10 God “will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”
Chapter 13: In 13:1 Zechariah says, “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” The fountain can only be the blood of Jesus that cleans us from all our sins. And we know this because of what Zechariah sees in 13:6 where they will ask Jesus, “What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” In 13:9 God promises that he “will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.‘”
Chapter 14: Zechariah starts this final chapter with a promise saying in 14:1 “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst.” At that time He will “go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle”. (14:3) This will lead to what Zechariah sees in 14:9 “And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be–“The Lord is one,” and His name one.” And we are told in 14:16-17 that “it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain.” “In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar.” Zech. 14:20