Darius the Great found plenty of trouble when he came to claim the throne of Persia at the death of Cambyses. There were around 19 battles fought before Darius could take his place as leader and head. There was a serious depression, crop failure, and apparent ruin facing the Jewish people, who responded to the call of Haggai to build the Temple. The bluntness of Haggai had its effect, and Zechariah came to the rescue to supplement the needed help. These two Prophets did a significant work in keeping the interest high and the hands busy. Much of the Historical Background is similar to Haggai’s.
Zechariah gives us a marvelous picture of the First Advent of Christ in his humiliation, suffering and death – all fulfilled in the experiences of our Savior, including His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the perfidious betrayal for thirty pieces of silver, the purchase of the potter’s field with the blood money, the piercing and the wounds in the hands and the fountain opened. He also gives us another marvelous picture, which was of the Second Advent of Christ when He shall come in great glory to set up His Kingdom on the earth. His vision into the glories of the future kingdom is excelled only by that which was granted to St. John, the beloved six hundred years later on the Isle of Patmos and recorded in the Book of Revelation, which so strangely reminds us of the Prophecy of Zechariah.
The opening appeal of Zechariah was that a strong and intense Spiritual call to repentance in the Old Testament calls to repent and obey. The visions came to an impatient people who were tired and worn, skeptical as to the blessings and promises, for they were slow in coming. God grants such words of assurance through the book.
Chapter 1: We see a strong and intense spiritual call to repentance and obedience. Visions came to an impatient people who were weary. God grants words of assurance in many different visions (chapters 1-6). The vision we see of The Horsemen is similar to Revelation 6:1-11. These four horsemen are doing patrol through the earth to assure peace and quiet because of God’s presence. Next, is the vision of The Four Horns and The Four Smiths – to which, hostile powers scattered Israel, but these four world powers were being used by God to save Israel.
Chapter 2: We see the vision explained The Man with the Measuring Line, to which, this vision declares that God will re-people, protect and dwell in the city of Jerusalem. God will be a wall about them, and His glory will dwell amidst them. People long for freedom and pray for God’s mercy. He loves His People and He knows the issue of their enemies. God further encourages them to go forth, and that He will be with them.
Chapter 3: This vision shows Joshua Accused by the Adversary, to which he appears with soiled garments. He is a representative of the people and he is forgiven, cleansed, anointed, clothed in rich apparel, and becomes the sign of the Messiah. This is the way that we must appear as a priest before the Lord, for yet He cleanses us, anoints us, and uses us for His service when we are submitting to His Will.
Chapter 4: This vision of The Golden Chandelier and the Two Olive Trees was an encouragement concerning Zerubbabel as truly God’s anointed prince, endowed with power from God to do the work. God’s two anointed leaders Joshua and Zerubbabel, are the instruments (a foreshadow of the Two Witnesses in Revelation).
Chapter 5: This is a vision of The Flying Roll, to which, Israel will enjoy the blessings of God’s promises as they cleanse and purify themselves. The other vision was The Woman in the Ephah, to which, the woman seen sitting in a seven gallon measure is being transported to the Land of Shinar. When the Tempe is built, sin must be carried away.
Chapter 6: The vision of The Four Chariots. Powerful horses, dashing in different directions, represent the four winds of heaven under the control of God as He carries out His promises. Then, there is Jesus and Zechariah at the Coronation scene, to which, we see the definite prediction of the coming Messianic reign of peace and glory.
Chapter 7: People are starting to have questions about different fasts. The Jews instituted four fasts to mourn the destruction of Jerusalem. The Temple was beginning to take shape, and with it rebuilt, should the fasts continue…? Zechariah tells them that those fasts did not have an value in God’s sight anyway. However, people were stubborn and pitied themselves to keep the fasts. Because His People ignored God’s instruction to them through the Prophets, God ignored their prayers in return when the enemy had attacked. Because of this overall, they were taken into captivity.
Chapter 8: Zechariah outlines the blessings that will come to Jerusalem when God dwells there. God’s love for Jerusalem was the reason for such punishment. In the new community of God’s People, there will be no place for fear or violence. Above that, they will enjoy true fellowship with God. People are urged not to waste time mourning over the calamities of the past.
Chapter 9: We start seeing the info about the triumph of the Messiah, for Israel has always looked forward to a messianic day of glory and power. The people longed for the day when all enemies would be destroyed, and righteousness would be established in the land under the rule of the Messiah. Zechariah’s prophecies have been fulfilled in part, and some await – to which, they are not descriptions of historical events that were necessarily written in advance, but they are a revelation of God’s purposes given to instruct, warn, encourage, guide, and inform His People. Of course, we have to note that the fulfillment of prophecies can span many eras/generations – not always immediately. Once God’s judgment is out of the way, the nation would settle down to a life of security, joy, and prosperity.
Chapter 10: We see there are many problems of leadership, to which, the Temple had long been finished and life in Jerusalem was not as it was previously. People were also using idolatrous ways in using objects such as magic charms – however, Zechariah tells them to stop such practices and to trust in God alone. God is angry with Israel’s leaders, those who have no concern for the people that they rule. God plans to replace them with strong and dependable leaders. God’s strength would overthrow the nations’ leaders, and the Jews that were still scattered would also return to their homeland. Those that oppress, God would punish, which would be like a raging fire sweeping through the forests.
Chapter 11: After announcing God’s judgment on Israel’s bad leaders, Zechariah demonstrates that judgment in two short plays. In these plays, he acts as a shepherd, representing the leaders of God’s People. The first play God told Zechariah to act the part of the good shepherd, to which, Zechariah was to look after the people that were oppressed and exploited by bad shepherds. In the second play, Zechariah played the part of a bad shepherd, which was the sort of shepherd that Israel wanted. This cruel and selfish type of leadership was what the people deserved, and this would be God’s means of punishing them.
Chapter 12: Victory shall come, but with mourning. God used Gentile nations to punish His People, but if His desire were to fight for Israel, no enemy attack would be successful. God, though, would strengthen His People and people would give glory to God for Jerusalem’s victory. God’s People may have had a great victory, but it was costly – as many had died, and the mourning was through the land, however, God’s forgiveness was available to all who are genuinely sorry for their disobedience and treachery.
Chapter 13: He talks about false prophets and what the true shepherds are. If a false prophet escapes, for example, he might try to preserve his life by throwing away his prophet’s cloak and disguising himself as a farmer. Zechariah also talks about leadership – the leader of God’s choice would be one who is close to God and would truly care for God’s People. He talks about the true shepherd, which is no doubt, God’s Chosen One, Jesus Christ the Messiah. Some were saved from judgment, and these men would become God’s true people, even though they suffered persecution at the hands of the rebellious.
Chapter 14: God gives His People satisfaction and Israel is compensated for all that was previously lost to plundering armies. Enemies are destroyed in a terrifying judgment. No longer would there be a difference, though, between sacred and non-sacred articles. Everything is holy and fit for the service of God. True holiness will at last be established in the world.
- 2:13, “Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.”
- 3:1-2, “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”
- 4:6, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” God gives a message of encouragement that He would be with them, by equipping them with His Presence! Using our own strength is pointless, for His Strength shall be equipped unto us!
- 11:13, “And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.” This tells us that giving should be in more abundance, not just a little bit, because after all, it all belongs to God anyway.
- 13:9, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”
- 14:9, “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” This one explains itself, that the Lord shall be King over all the earth – which is a prophecy of the coming Messiah! It’ll be great for people to only worship One God!
- 14:20, “In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD’S house shall be like the bowls before the altar.” When people are converted before the Lord, they are ever transformed by His grace and holiness, and therefore, this should be symbolic of divine worship before the altar of the Lord.
- The Branch: 6:12, “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.”
- The Wounded Hands: 13:6, “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”
- The Shepherd: 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”