The Book of Zechariah is recognized as “the most Messianic, the most truly apocalyptic, and the most eschatological of all the writings of the OT” (ISBE, 1956 – referenced by Dr. John C. Whitcomb). It stands as God’s remarkable witness to the folly of despising small beginnings. When God is sovereignly at work to accomplish His kingdom purposes, the ultimate end can far transcend the pitiful circumstances viewed from just a natural perspective. The small remnant of Jews that had returned from the Babylonian Captivity to rebuild the temple were faced with a discouraging task. Everywhere they looked there was the rubble to remind them of the faithlessness of their ancestors. Even the construction of the temple itself was but a sad contrast to the majestic state of Solomon’s former edifice. But God will again remember His people and accomplish His great promises.
Despite the encouragement of the prophet Haggai, the Jews had suffered reprisals after rejecting the ecumenical advances of the Samaritans and the project had been dormant for 16 years. But under the encouraging ministry of Zechariah, the people were given a vision for the future glories that God still had in store for His covenant people. Their enemies were under God’s future wrath as God would once again choose Jerusalem and accomplish all that He had promised. The Messiah would return in triumph to vanquish all opposition and establish His rule from His throne in the city of David. Despair was replaced with hope and a zeal to accomplish the task God had set before them.
BY A SERIES OF PROPHETIC VISIONS AND MESSAGES OF ULTIMATE RESTORATION AND TRIUMPH, ZECHARIAH ENCOURAGES THE NATION OF ISRAEL IN THEIR MISSION OF REBUILDING THE TEMPLE BY REMINDING THEM OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS TO FULFILL HIS MESSIANIC AND KINGDOM PROMISES
Zechariah 1:17 “the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem”
I. (1:1 – 8:23) SERIES OF EIGHT PROPHETIC VISIONS AND FOUR MESSAGES FROM THE LORD —
TIMESTAMP: During the Building of the Temple (520-518 BC)
A. (1:1-6) Introductory Call to Repentance – History proves that the Lord’s urgent call to repentance must be responded to right now
B. (1:7 – 6:15) Series of Eight Prophetic Night Visions regarding the future of Israel and judgment on her enemies
C. (7:1 – 8:23) Series of Four Messages From the Lord – Exhortation to live righteously in anticipation of promised prosperity that will spill over to the Gentiles. Introduced by: “Then the word of the Lord . . .” (7:4,8; 8:1,18)
II. (9:1 – 14:21) SERIES OF TWO MESSAGES OF ULTIMATE RESTORATION AND TRIUMPH —
TIMESTAMP: After the Building of the Temple (480-470 BC)
Introduced by: “The burden of the Word of the Lord . . .” (9:1; 12:1)
A. (9:1 – 11:17) First Message – The Messiah Comes the First Time and is Rejected
B. (12:1 – 13:9) Second Message – The Messiah Comes the Second Time as the Triumphant Warrior-King
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
• To encourage us to count on God’s faithfulness to His promises and to His people – even when the present circumstances seem so bleak.
• To challenge us to examine our hearts, repent of any self righteous or legalistic forms of external religion and truly follow Christ from a sincere heart – practicing justice and righteousness.
• To shake us from our complacency and indifference so that we labor whole-heartedly for the Lord, knowing that our service is not in vain for the Lord.
• To live in anticipation of the second coming of our Lord and all of the blessing and prosperity that will be ushered in at the time of His Millennial Kingdom.
David Malick: Even though Yahweh warns the postexilic community and recounts their faithfulness, He encourages them through prophetic visions and messages of ultimate victory in order that they might presently trust and obey Him who is faithful.
Robinson: The book of Zechariah is the most messianic, the most truly apocalyptic and eschatological of all the writings of the Old Testament.
John Whitcomb: In Zechariah we learn that only the Messiah-Christ, the Angel of the Lord, the Branch and the Stone (Zech 3), and the Priest upon His throne (Zech 6) can save His people!
John MacArthur: Zechariah joined Haggai in rousing the people from their indifference, challenging them to resume the building of the temple. Haggai’s primary purpose was to rebuild the temple; his preaching has a tone of rebuke for the people’s indifference, sin and lack of trust in God. He was used to start the revival, while Zechariah was used to keep it going strong with a more positive emphasis, calling the people to repentance and reassuring them regarding future blessings. Zechariah sought to encourage the people to build the temple in view of the promise that someday Messiah would come to inhabit it.
Roper: The message revolves around the meaning of his name, for Zechariah means “God remembers”. That would be important for the returned exiles to know. They felt at times that they were a forgotten people, that God had turned his back on them, and they needed to recall that God remembered. Actually, a number of priests during the exilic period were given this name, so it is evident that this was a thought which pervaded much of the nation of Judah at this time.
J. SidlowBaxter: The first eight chapters are mainly vision-prophecies; the remaining six chapters are wholly direct prophecies. The first eight chapters were written during the rebuilding of the temple; the remaining six chapters were written considerably after the temple was rebuilt. The first eight chapters have a particular and immediate reference to the Jewish “Remnant” now back in the land; the remaining six chapters have a general and far-reaching reference to Israel as a whole, to the ultimate future, and to the Gentile nations. The contents of the first eight chapters are carefully dated; the contents of the remaining six chapters are nowhere dated.
John Piper: The main point is: Fear not, for I purpose to do you good, says the Lord. The whole book is made up of visions and prophecies of how God is going to save Israel and make her a blessing to others. And these promises are intended to fill the Jews with hope in God and make them fearless and strong.