THE PROPHECY OF ZECHARIAH
Zechariah, like Haggai, ministered to the remnant that returned to their homeland from Babylon at the end of the seventy years captivity. The occasion for his message was also the same that the people might be encouraged to finish the rebuilding of the temple.The prophecy of Zechariah, however, touches not only on the conditions of his day, but also foretells the distant future as to what shall take place in the very last days just before the full restoration of Israel.
The book falls into three broad divisions as follows:
1. Chs. 1 to 6. Symbolic visions conveying the word of the Lord to the people.
2. Chs. 7 & 8. The deputation.
3. Chs. 9 to 14. The first and second advents of the Messiah.
SYMBOLIC VISIONS CONVEYING THE WORD OF THE LORD TO THE PEOPLE.
There are two sides to life, which the Christian learns, first manís side and second Godís side. The ordinary person is blind to the working of God, but happy the is individual who is able to take into consideration the fact that God, although unseen, really is and is working for His own. The first six chapters of Zechariah contain a series of ten visions which were given the prophet that he might tell those concerned what God thought of their situation, and what He was doing about it. We will deal with the ten visions in order.
THE VISION OF ANGELIC HORSEMEN.
In Ch. 1:7-17, we read that the prophet saw horses with their riders and was informed that their duty was to walk to and fro through the earth, v.10. In other words, they were the troopers of heaven who patrol the earth, thus helping to fulfill II Chronicles 16:9. Godís people were in distress and nobody seemed to care, for one reported that ďall the earth sitteth still, and is still at restĒ. Because of this the Lord was displeased v.15, and in response to the intercession of the angel of the Lord, v.12, let it be known that He was ready to help His people build their house of worship, v.18
This was just the word of encouragement the people needed.
THE VISION OF FOUR HORNS AND FOUR CARPENTERS.
As visions two and three go together, we will deal with them jointly. The prophet was shown four horns, vs.18-19, and was told they represented the horns or monarchs which had scattered Godís people, and then through a vision of four carpenters was informed that God would use means to overthrow the rulers who had abused His people, vs.20-21.
THE VISION OF A MAN WITH A MEASURING LINE.
In Ch. 2, Zechariah is shown a man measuring Jerusalem. The message to the people was that as per manís measuring, their expectation was too small, v.2. God would so bless them that in the future day when He their Messiah would dwell in the midst of Jerusalem it would be prospered that it would be as a city without walls, ever spreading out under the Divine blessing, vs. 4-5, 10-12.
THE VISION OF JOSHUA THE HIGH PRIEST.
Joshua, the high priest, as Godís representative was bearing not only the brunt of human opposition, but also suffered through the attack of Satan. To encourage him, God gave Zechariah a vision showing Joshua in conflict with the devil and God vindicating him, Ch.3:1-5. Then to help Joshua stand in the hard place the Lord promised that He would reward him for his faithfulness and give him places to walk among those who stood by, vs.6-7. In other words, by being faithful in a few things God would make him ruler over many things, and use him as He would use His angels.
THE VISION OF THE BRANCH.
Joshua in his office of high priest was also a type of Christ who is called the BRANCH, v.8, see Isaiah 11:1. God wanted to show Joshua how important it was for him to remain true so that he might fulfill the type of which Christ is the anti-type.
THE VISION OF THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK AND THE TWO OLIVE TREES.
While Zechariah was in the Spirit he was given a vision of a golden candlestick and two olive trees. The prophet asked what they were and was told that they were meant to convey the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel. It was ďnot by might, nor by power, but by My SpiritĒ was Godís message to him.
A great mountain of difficulty was before Zerubbabel so that he felt his need, but to encourage him, God sent this special word, Ch.4:6-7. The task of restoring the temple seemed so great but he was promised that as his hands had laid the foundation, so he would be enabled to finish the building, v.9.
Zechariah then asked the meaning of the two olive trees and was told that they represented the two anointed ones that stand before the Lord of the whole earth, v.14. At that time it referred especially to Joshua and Zerubbabel who were Godís two appointed witnesses.
THE VISION OF THE FLYING ROLL.
Zechariah was next shown a vision of a flying roll. While God was prepared to do His people good, He also expected them to clean up their lives. The flying roll was a symbol of judgment against wrong living that the people might be prepared to give account if they failed to judge themselves by the Word, Ch. 5:3-4.
THE VISION OF THE WOMAN IN AN EPHAH.
The prophet now sees a new vision, that of an ephah with a woman sitting in the midst of it, and two winged women who took the ephah and carried it away to the land of Shinar, vs.5-11. An ephah was a dry measure, therefore a symbol of commerce.
As a woman in the Bible always is a type of some form of
religion, the inference is that during their stay in Babylon the Jews had become
filled with the greed-spirit of commerce, and were now mixing the same with
their religion. As such a thing was not fitting in the land of Palestine,
Zechariah in the vision is shown that God wanted it banished and sent back to
the place it come from, even the land of Shinar.
THE VISION OF THE FOUR CHARIOTS.
In this closing vision, Zechariah saw four chariots come out from between two mountains of brass, and horses of different colors drawing the chariots, Ch.6:1-8. The chariots were explained as being the four spirits of the heavens, which stand before the Lord. As brass means judgment, one gathers that God would send forth celestial beings to judge the north country which had caused His people so much trouble, and would there quiet His Spirit so that there would be no Divine aid for them, v.8.
In the concluding verses of Ch. 6, Zechariah was told to take certain men aside, and that he with them should get crowns and set them upon the head of Joshua, the high priest, v.11.
Then they should take the crowns and lay them away for a memorial, v.14. As the BRANCH is mentioned the meaning of it all is believed to be that Joshua was crowned symbolically, and that the day will come when Christ, the High Priest Who is the BRANCH will be crowned, and He shall be a priest upon His throne and will unite church and state in Himself, vs. 12-13.
A group of men were sent from Babylon to Jerusalem to enquire of the priests whether the people who had not returned to their homeland should continue to observe certain fasts which had originated in the land of their captivity, Ch.7:1-3. As God had never commanded such to be observed, He made known to Zechariah that their fasts were not unto Him but merely an institution of their own which brought no profit to them, vs.5-6. They were therefore told to discontinue such fasting and that instead they should be upright in their lives and turn their fasts into feasts of joy, Ch. 8:16-19.
Then the prophet is made to know that God had great future plans for His people and their beloved city of Jerusalem, vs. 20-23, so that other peoples of the earth will want to join them in Divine worship.
THE FIRST AND SECOND ADVENTS OF THE MESSIAH.
Beginning with Ch.9, we have great prophecies of the time of the end. The judgment of a number of surrounding nations is foretold, vs.1-5, and brief reference is then made to the gathering of the nations for the invasion of Palestine preparatory to the battle of Armageddon, v.8.As an introduction to the Messiah, the entry of Christ into Jerusalem riding upon a colt is mentioned, v.9, and following this the final struggle of the Jews is touched upon showing that the Lord of hosts shall personally defend them, vs.13-16. Judah and Joseph, or the northern kingdom Israel, will reunited in that day, for God will pour His latter rain upon them, Ch.10:1-6. In the closing verses of this chapter the dispersion and re-gathering of Israel are given in one view.
Another reference is made to Christís first coming in Ch. 11:12-13 wherein we are told of His being sold for thirty pieces of silver, and the money afterwards being used to purchase the potterís field.
The result of this was that God broke the covenant with His people, v.10. The final outcome will be in the last days when the Jews shall accept a false shepherd, even antichrist and suffer accordingly, vs.15-17.
The last three chapters of Zechariah have to do entirely with the time of the end. Ch.12 opens with a reference to the siege of Jerusalem, v.2. It will be a time of utter defeat for the invader, for God shall fight for His people, vs. 4, 7-9. Because of their great anxiety the Jews will truly mourn for their sins, v.10, and a fountain shall be opened to the house of David for their cleansing, Ch. 13:1. Idols shall have no more attraction for the people, false prophets shall be summarily dealt with, vs.2-4, and they shall tenderly regard the wounds, which He bore for them, vs.6-7.
Two thirds of the Jews shall be slain by the persecution under the antichrist, but the remainder shall be refined through the suffering and will confess that the Lord is their God, v.9. In Ch. 14, we have a brief summary of the events of the end.
First a mention is made of the battle of Armageddon, vs.1-3,
Lord shall descend with His saints upon the Mt. Of Olives, causing a cleavage in the land by an earthquake, thus making a way of escape for the hard-pressed Jewish army, vs.4-5. So brilliant will be the presence of the Lord that night shall be turned into day and it shall be light the whole world over at the same time, vs.6-7. Then the Lord shall become king over all the earth, v.9.
He shall rule with a rod of iron so that the nation, which refuses to go up annually to Jerusalem to worship Him, shall have rain withheld from their land. Should they still refuse, a plague will be visited upon them, see vs. 18, 12-15.
Jerusalem will be highly exalted in that day because of the
Lordís presence so that everything shall be regarded as HOLINESS
UNTO THE LORD.