J. B. Hewitt, Chesterfield
This book surpasses all the Minor Prophets in its Messianic emphasis and in its unfolding of events connected with both the first and second advents of our Lord. Isaiah and Zechariah are the most Messianic of all the prophets. Zechariah is the most truly apocalyptic and eschatological of all the writings in the Old Testament. Read Zechariah 6-14 with Isaiah 40-66, tracing the references to the first and second advents of Christ.
Zechariah was contemporary with Haggai, Ezra 5. 1, and their prophecies belong to the same era of history. Zechariah seems to take up his message where Haggai finishes. Haggai had said “from this day will I bless you”, Hag. 2. 19, and Zechariah takes up the theme supplementing, developing, and amplifying the message of Haggai.
Zechariah means “He whom Jehovah remembers” and the name was given to various kings, princes and prophets in Israel. The theme connected with God remembering is worth tracing with the help of your concordance; e.g. Gen. 9. 15; 19. 29; Exod. 2. 24; Psa. 98. 3; 103. 14; 105. 42; 115. 12; 136. 23. Thus amid the pressure of circumstances and problems that challenged this nation, God demonstrated His mindfulness in sending them Zechariah. He was of honourable priestly descent, his grandfather, Iddo, being head of one of the twelve priestly families, or courses which returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua (see Ezra 5. 1; 6. 14; Neh. 12. 4-16). When called to the prophetic office Zechariah was still very young, Zech. 2. 4. He is the central figure in the group of the three post-exilic prophets, and his voice was among the last of that unique and wonderful succession of men who brought the oracles of God to men.
In the second year of Darius, b.c. 519, he began to prophesy, 1. 1. He commenced in the same year as Haggai, the latter preceding him by two months. Zechariah prophesied for a longer period than his contemporary and his predictions are a sequel to those of Haggai. They stretch out in a series of visions set in his own days but sighing not only for the first but also the second advent of Christ. His later prophecies are dated about two years after his opening visions, 7. 1, and it is possible that the ministry of chapters 9-14 was considerably later than that contained in chapters 7 and 8.
He sets forth the highlights of history from the return from Babylon to the redemption accomplished by the Messiah, 1. 12-17 with 12. 10 and 13. 7. His purpose in the first section of his book is to encourage the rebuilding of the temple, and in this his mission was comparable to Haggai’s. The object of the second part is to encourage them further after the temple was built, and to wean them away from the material to the spiritual. He shows that the abounding discord, disunity and drought will continue until they adjust their lives by entering into right relationship with God. The visions given to the prophet would verify God’s guidance and goodness and assure him and the nation that the sovereignty of God’s discriminating justice and His work of salvation, 3. 2, would be realised through the Branch, their Priest-King. 3. 8; 6.12-13; 9. 9-10. The prophets vary greatly in their presentation of truth, but in substance they are in perfect harmony. “To him give all the prophets witness”, Acts 10. 43.
Zechariah was a great encourager and his wonderful visions, which form the greater part of his prophecy, are full of the spirit of good cheer. He believed that a good time was coming for his people, an era of peace and prosperity in which the city, that had run with blood, would be “full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof”, 8. 5. Zerubbabel the Governor must have been greatly encouraged by this heart stirring message. The temple would be rebuilt and the sacred lamp would shed, as of old, its radiance over the shrine, a symbol of that light of truth shed abroad over a world of darkness, ch. 4. Our resources in God are inexhaustible as we serve not by might or power but by His Spirit, 4. 6. To the unscaleable obstacles we are encouraged to say “Who art thou”, 4, 7. Satan must be rebuked and the Lord’s people cleansed, clothed and vindicated, ch. 3.
Suggested Analysis. Viewing the book as a whole, the reader should find the following outline helpful.
- Introduction, i. 1-6. The prophetic call.
- Preface, 1; pleading, 2-3; punishment, 4-6.
- Instruction, 1. 7 to 6. 8; The prophetic communication. The panoramic visions. Eight pictures.
- Myrtle Trees, 1. 7-12. Divine care and sympathy, 13.
- Horns and Smiths, 1. 18-21. Divine safety, 21.
- Measuring Line, 2. 1-13. Divine security, 5, 10.
- High Priest, ch. 3. Divine salvation and suitability, 2-5.
- Golden Lampstand, ch. 4. Divine sufficiency in service, 6.
- Flying roll, 5. 1-4. Divine scrutiny, 4.
- Ephah, 5. 5-11. Divine severity, 8-11.
- Four chariots, 6. 1-8. Divine sovereignty, 5.
- An object lesson, Christ the coming Builder, Ruler and Priest.
- First message, ch. 7. Inquiry, 2-3; interrogation, 4-7. Examine the motive in fasting and the measure of their obedience.
- Second message, 7. 8-14. Inward righteousness rather than outward forms,
- Third message, 8. 1-17. Word of restoration. His presence and power, 3-6.
- Fourth message, 8. 18-23. Word of reassurance. His purpose and provision, 22-23.
- The Burden of the Nations, chs. 9-11. Subjugation of the nations, 9. 1-8. The Saviour King, two advents, 9. 9-17. The sustaining Lord, ch. 10. Gives prosperity, liberty and victory. The Shepherd rejected, ch. 11. True Shepherd abhorred, false shepherd received.
- The Burden of Israel, chs. 12-14. The grievous destruction 12. 1-6; a gracious salvation, 12. 7-9; a great lamentation, 12. 10-14; a generous provision, 13. 1; the grand purification, 13. 2-6; God-sent affliction, 13. 7-9. The glorious consummation, ch. 14. The Day of the Lord will be a day of devastation, 1-2; of visitation, 3; of vindication, 4-8; of coronation, 9; of restoration, 10; of satisfaction, 11; of destruction, 12-15; of profession, 16; of sanctification, 20-21.
For your Meditation.
- Trace the key words of the book. The Lord of Hosts, 50 times; “I will”, 42; “Jerusalem”, 41; “behold”, 21; “see”, 21; “the word of the Lord came”, 17 times. “In that day” about 20 times in chapters 11-14; “turn” or “repent”, 16; with other words oft repeated, “dwell”, “inhabit”, “house”.
- Its Messianic study is most fascinating. The Lord’s Servant the Branch, 3. 8; The Man the Branch, 6. 12; The King Priest, 6. 13; True Shepherd, 11. 1-11, contrasted with the false shepherd - Antichrist, 11. 15-17; 13. 7. The Sovereign Lord of the whole earth, 4. 14; Jehovah’s fellow, 13. 7; His lowliness, 9. 9; crucifixion, 12. 10; smiting and suffering, 13. 7. The Omnipotent Ruler of the universe, 2. 11-12. His second advent in glory, 14. 4; the Deliverer of Israel, 2. 8-9; setting up His throne, 2. 10-11; He will be King over all the earth, 14. 9; and restored Israel will be holiness unto the Lord, 14. 20-21.