Zechariah Bible Walk
Theme: Return to the Lord, build the temple, Messiah is coming or Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future
- Return to the Lord, build the temple, Messiah is coming. Zechariah urged the people to return to the Lord. Thoroughly interwoven into these three topics is the repeated refrain that Yahweh God truly rules history and Israel has a blessed future. As a part of their return and obedience they were to rebuild the temple, but Zechariah’s larger theme was one of hope—God will preserve a remnant throughout all Israel’s trouble and later the Messiah will come and restore Israel’s kingdom to them under Messiah’s rule. The Israel nation should prepare for that coming. Zechariah is second to Isaiah in the number of Messianic prophecies.
- Zechariah 8:3; 12:10; 14:9
- Zechariah 8:3 “Thus says the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’
- Zechariah 12:10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
- Zechariah 14:9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.
Guidelines for Interpreting of Prophecy
- First, it is instructive to realize that prophecies that have already been fulfilled have been fulfilled literally or as plain language would expect. For example, the birth of Jesus. This guides us in interpreting unfulfilled prophecy.
- Second, the prophet should be allowed to mean what he says. We should take the plain or literal meaning of what the prophet says. For example, the ancient Israelites and prophets always meant Zion when they said or wrote Zion, and they meant Canaan when they said or wrote Canaan. They meant Israel when they said or wrote Israel.
- The interpreter must seek, understand, and accept the author’s original and intended meaning. The following statement guides us in all Bible interpretation, including prophecy. “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense” (David L Cooper). Therefore we should understand a passage as it stands unless there is something in the text that tells us to interpret it in another way.
- The principle of double reference (not double fulfillment which is a wrong principle) observes that a passage may speak of two people or two events that are separated by a period of time. Part of the Scripture passage speaks of the immediate people, time, and place and part of the passage goes beyond the immediate people, time, and place. History helps us to determine which is which. Zechariah 9:9 speaks of the coming of Messiah; events of the first coming and the second coming are put together. Psalm 22 also illustrates this for us; David is in view, but certain things in the passage go beyond David to the greater David, Messiah Jesus.
- Interpret Scripture by Scripture. This means to compare Scripture passages that speak of the same individual or event. There is a caution: Bible revelation is progressive—God gives added revelation as time progresses (e.g. the readers of Isaiah or Daniel did not have Zechariah or Matthew or Revelation during their time). Latter generations can often more fully understand prophecies.
- Pay attention to the context of the Scripture passage. Read the verses surrounding the particular segment of Scripture and take into account the argument of the book, the history of the time of writing, and the author and reader’s viewpoint.
- Zechariah, 1:1, 7; 7:1, 8
- He was younger (2:4, na’ar, boy, lad, youth, servant) and a contemporary of Haggai the prophet, Zerubbabel the governor, and Joshua the high priest. Zechariah was the son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo. Iddo, his grandfather, was one of the priests who returned with Zerubbabel to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:4). Ezra wrote that “When the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel” (Ezra 5:1). Zechariah prophesied from October/November 520 BC to December 7, 518 BC.
- See history in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Haggai. Zechariah 1-8 has the same history as Haggai. Zechariah 9-14 occurred a little later, possibly after the temple had been completed. Remember that just prior Zechariah’s ministry a large number of Jews had returned from their captivity in Babylon.
- Darius I, 522-486 BC. He was a distant cousin of Cambyses who was Cyrus the Great’s son. Darius killed Pseudo Smerdis/Gaumâta (the false Bardiya and usurper of the throne who claimed to be Cambyses’ brother and therefore son of Cyrus) in September, 522 and took the throne. See the Haggai notes.
- Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 tell us that God raised up Zechariah and Haggai to encourage the returned exiles to rebuild the Jerusalem temple. The returned exiles allowed the enemies to steal their hope for blessing and peace. But Zechariah—his name means “Yahweh (LORD) remembers”—reminded them that God remembers his promises to his people and encouraged the returned exiles to complete the rebuilding of the temple.
- Though the rebuilding process had begun shortly after the exiles arrived in Jerusalem (Ezra 3:8), the enemies around Jerusalem were able to slow and eventually stop the building process (Ezra 4:1-5). The temple sat unfinished for 16 years from 536 BC until 520 BC.
- Zechariah had three audiences: Zerubbabel, the governor, 4:6-9; Joshua, the high priest, 3:1-10 and 6:9-15; and all the returnees from Babylon, 7:4-7.
- The exiles returned to their land in three groups. Zechariah ministered to the first group.
- Sheshbazzar and Zerubbabel led the first group to Judah in 536 BC.. Cyrus was king of Persia. They completed the temple in 516 BC, during the reign of Darius I (Ezra 1-6). Zechariah was a prophet to this group.
- Ezra led the second group. They returned in 458 BC. Artaxerxes was king of Persia (Ezra 7-10).
- Nehemiah led the third group. They returned in 444 BC. Artaxerxes was king of Persia (Nehemiah 1-2).
- The prophecy came in October-November 520 BC (1:1). The first vision came February 15, 519 BC (1:7). The last date given was December 7, 518 BC (7:1).
- Zechariah the prophet. See above.
- Zerubbabel the governor of Judah (Zechariah 4:6 , 7, 9, 10; Haggai 1:1, 12, 14; 2:2, 4. 21, 23 and many other Bible books). He was a descendent of David. King Cyrus appointed him governor of the exiles returning to Judah. In 520 BC he and Joshua the high priest resumed construction of the temple. It was completed four years later in 516 BC. Zerubbabel was successful in his job.
- Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3:1, 3, 6, 8, 9; 6:11). He along with Zerubbabel led the rebuilding of the temple from 520-516 BC. God honored him (Zechariah 6:10-11). He represents and symbolizes the coming King-Priest, Messiah (6:11-13).
A Few Key Words and Doctrines
- “In that day” (Hebrew phase בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא bayom hahu’ ) is used 20 times in 19 verses in the NASB95. Seventeen times in chapters 12-14, and 3 times in chapters 1-11. This refers to the future intervention by the Lord for judgment and blessing (2:11 [Heb 2:15]; 3:10; 9:16; 12:3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11; 13:1, 2, 4; 14:4, 6, 8, 8, 9, 13, 20, 21). Zechariah 6:10 and 11:11 have the same Hebrew phase but in a different context.
- “Angel” and “Angel of the Lord” are used 20 times, (1:9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19; 2:3; 3:1, 3, 5, 6; 4:1, 4, 5; 5:5, 10; 6:4, 5; 12:8). The interpreting angel delivers God’s messages. In some passages the angel of the Lord is the Lord, (1:8, 10, 11).
- “Apple of His eye” in 2:8, refers to Israel.
- “Branch” tsemach (3:8; 6:12), contains reference to Messiah. Also see Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; and Jeremiah 33:15.
- “Burden,” massa from nasa, to lift up (9:1 and 12:1) points to a prophetic oracle or serious message from the Lord that the prophet delivered.
- “I saw,” “lift up eyes,” “he showed me,” “what do you see?” introduce visions delivered to Zechariah (1:18; 2:1; 3:1; 4:2; 5:1, 5, 9; 6:1).
- “Return” meaning that Israel is to return to the Lord (1.3, 4; 9:12).
- “Jerusalem” and “Zion” are used 50 times (1:12, 14, 16, 17, 19; 2:2,4,7,10,12; 3:2; 7:7; 8:2,3,4,8,15,22; 9:9,10,13; 12:2,3,5,6,7,8,9,10,11; 13:1; 14:2,4,8,10,11,12,14,16,17,21). This demonstrates the centrality of Jerusalem in the prophet’s messages.
- “Me whom they have pierced” (12:10) refers to Messiah at his second advent at which time individual Jews will recognize and believe in Messiah Jesus.
- “My house” or “temple” (1:16; 3:7; 5:11; 6:12,13,14,15; 8:9; 9:8). The tabernacle and then Solomon’s temple were central to Israel’s life. Once the temple was completed by Solomon (1 Kings 6:1, 37, 38), it was the focus of the national and spiritual life of the nation. Governor Zerubbabel and high priest Joshua led the rebuilding of the temple, called the second temple.
- “Prophet” (1:4,5, 6, 7; 7:3, 7, 12; 8:9; 13:2, 4, 5).
- Seventy years is the length of time of the Babylonian exile, 1:12; 7:5. Also see Jeremiah 25:11-12, 29:10, and Daniel 9:2.
- “Shepherd” is used 10 times. All but 13:7 refer to bad leaders. In 13:7 the shepherd is Messiah who will be killed when he comes the first time.
- Stone, eben (3:9), is another prophetic title for Messiah in some passages (Psalm 118:22, David and then Messiah; probably Isaiah 28:16, at least in its extended meaning; New Testament Romans 9:31-33; 1 Peter 2:6-8).
- The Lord will return to Israel on earth is 1:3, 16; 8:3.
- Eight night visions, 1:1-6:8
- Joshua crowned, 6:9-15
- Questions about fasting, 7-8
- Two burden oracles about the future, 9-14
- Judgments associated with rejection of Messiah’s first coming, 9-11.
- Blessings associated with Messiah’s second coming, 12-14.
Zechariah Chapter Titles
- Chapter 1. Vision 1, the rider and four horses, and vision 2, four horns and four craftsmen.
- Chapter 2. Visions 3, Surveyor, wall of fire, and LORD returns
- Chapter 3. Vision 4, Joshua cleansed
- Chapter 4. Vision 5, the lampstand, olive trees and branches, and the Holy Spirit.
- Chapter 5. Vision 6, the flying scroll and vision 7, the woman in the basket
- Chapter 6. Vision 8, the four chariots. Joshua crowned.
- Chapter 7. Question: ritual fasts without reality.
- Chapter 8. Promise: the Lord will return to Jerusalem in the present and future.
- Chapters 9. First burden oracle: Judgment on nations; deliverance of Israel.
- Chapter 10. First burden oracle: The Lord gathers and blesses.
- Chapter 11. First burden oracle: judgment in preparation for Messiah.
- Chapter 12. Second burden oracle: The LORD rescues Jerusalem.
- Chapter 13. Judgment for the false prophets and unbelieving Israel, restoration for the remnant.
- Chapter 14. The Lord’s second coming, King of the earth, worship at Jerusalem.
Trace the Theme
- Zechariah delivers 8 night visions in chapters 1-6. The first and the last vision focus on God intervening for his people. God will restore his people and this is pictured by the cleansing of the high priest Joshua in chapter 3 and the ministry of the Holy Spirit restoring the temple in chapter 4. Chapters 7-8 answer the question about continued fasting in memory of the destruction of Solomon’s temple. Chapters 9-12 contain two prophetic messages. The first is about Messiah’s first coming and the second message is about Messiah’s second coming, victory, and deliverance of Israel. The entire book clearly stresses that Israel must return to the Lord, build the temple, and Messiah is coming. Thoroughly interwoven into these three topics is the repeated refrain that Yahweh God truly rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 1. Vision 1, the rider and four horses and vision 2, four horns and four craftsmen. The visions begin in the fall of 520 BC (Marchesran, October-November). The LORD calls the people to return to him and not be like their fathers (1-6). Three months later the Lord gave the first vision of the rider on the red horse with a red, sorrel, and white horse behind him. They scouted the earth. The nations were relatively peaceful (7-11), except for Jerusalem and Judah, whom the nations had scattered. The LORD will restore Jerusalem to peace and prosperity (12-17). The second vision shows four horns (those nations who scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. The four craftsmen symbolize those who will destroy the horn nations (18-21).
- Chapter 2. Visions 3, Surveyor, wall of fire, and LORD returns. Zechariah continues with his third vision. This depicts a surveyor measuring the size of Jerusalem. The message is that in the future Jerusalem will be larger and without walls because the LORD will be the wall of fire and dwell in her. The LORD further says that the Hebrew people, the apple of his eye, are to flee the Babylonians because He will plunder Babylon. In the future the LORD will restore Judah and Jerusalem. Then, even Gentile nations will follow the LORD.
- Chapter 3. Vision 4, Joshua cleansed. In chapter 3 Satan accuses Joshua of sin but the LORD forgives and cleanses him (1—3). Then the LORD dresses him in clean priestly clothes and makes him high priest for the returned people. Joshua will be the spiritual leader of the returned people. He symbolizes forgiveness, spiritual leadership of the nation, and Israel’s priest nation status (4-7). Joshua’s friends symbolized a coming servant of the LORD, the Branch—the Messiah (verse 8, also 6:12 and Isaiah 4:2; 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; and Jeremiah 33:15). The next symbol is the stone, another prophetic title for Messiah. This speaks of Messiah’s second coming when He cleanses the Land (9, remove the iniquity) and brings peace (10, sit under the vine and fig tree). See also Psalm 118:22 (David and then Messiah), Isaiah 28:16 (at least in its extended meaning), and in the New Testament, Romans 9:31-33 and 1 Peter 2:6-8). In Daniel 2:34-35 and 45 the stone symbolizes the future Messianic kingdom which destroy the ruling kingdoms of the times of the Gentiles and rule the earth.
- Chapter 4. Vision 5, the lampstand, olive trees and branches, and the Holy Spirit. The angel now gives Zechariah a vision of a lampstand fed oil from two olive trees (3, 11). The trees provided oil for the lamps. They teach that the work to be done must be done by the Holy Spirit through his man, not by human power (1-6). The Holy Spirit’s power will remove obstacles (mountain) and complete the temple (7-11). Zechariah then asked what the olive branches were (12). The olive branches were the two anointed leaders, Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor (13-14). Both were instrumental in completing the temple, an almost impossible task, only to be finished through the Holy Spirit.
- Chapter 5. Vision 6, the flying scroll and vision 7, the woman in the basket. The scroll vision (1-4) symbolized God’s righteous standards and his judgments against evildoers in the land. The judgments are specifically directed against stealing (Exodus 20:15) and false swearing (Exodus 20:7). The vision of the evil woman in the basket (5-11) symbolizes that God had restrained evil in Judea at the present time. The woman is then sent to Babylon (land of Shinar, 5:11) where she will rule in her own temple. This pictures the restoration of Babylon in the future as the center of evil (see Revelation 17). Persian, under Cyrus the Great, had defeated Babylon (539 BC) by this time but Babylon will not be totally destroyed until the Tribulation period. See Isaiah 13-14, Jeremiah 50-51, and Revelation 17-18 for a few of the many Scriptures that discuss Babylon.
- Chapter 6. Vision 8, the four chariots. Joshua crowned. The eighth vision shows four chariots pulled by four horses. Each represents a judging spirit sent from God (5). They especially judge the nations in the north—probably Babylon. Babylon was defeated by Persia (8). In the future Babylon will revive and be a center of evil. Babylon will subsequently fall to God’s judgment. The four chariots conclude the eight visions. After the eight visions Zechariah was instructed to make a crown of silver and gold and crown Joshua, the high priest (9-15). Joshua was now the king and high priest in Judea. He foreshadows Messiah Jesus who will be the greater branch and the final king and priest. The historical reference is to Joshua, but some statements within this section refer to the greater branch, Messiah.
- Chapter 7. Question: ritual fasts without reality. The question posed by men of Bethel to the priests and prophets in Jerusalem was whether they should continue to mourn in the fifth month (Ab—August) on the ninth day in remembrance of the destruction of the temple and in the seventh month (Tishri--October) in memory of the death of Gedaliah? The Lord’s answer was that when they fasted and mourned the past 70 years they were doing it for themselves instead of to honor and seek Him (4-6). A further word from the Lord to Zechariah (8-14) reminded the people that the Lord has instructed the people to practice justice, compassion, and kindness (9). They refused. They hardened their hearts. So, God did the same to them as they did to Him. The people called for help and the Lord did not listen. He exiled the people (13-14).
- Chapter 8. Promise: the Lord will return to Jerusalem in the present and future. The theme of return to the Lord, build the temple, Messiah is coming continues. In chapter 8 Zechariah gives statement about what the Lord will do in the present and future. These are mixed in the prophecy. Some will happen at that time, but the more complete fulfillment will come when Messiah returns to earth to judge and rule and bless. The Lord says he is jealous for Zion (2). He will return and live in Jerusalem (3). There will be peace and joy (4-5). He will bring them back to their land (7-8). They will be His people and He will be their God ((8). They are to build the temple ((9). Peaceful and productive farming will be the rule (10-12). The house of Judah and Israel will be a blessing to others (13). The Lord will do good for them (15). Peoples and mighty nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord (22). People will want to be identified with the Jew (23). Meanwhile the Lord wants Judah to live righteously (16-17) and their feasts should be joyful instead of mourning (18-19). These promises still await fulfillment when Messiah comes to earth to set up His kingdom.
- Chapter 9. First oracle: Judgment on nations; deliverance of Israel. With chapter 9 Zechariah delivers a message of judgment brought through Alexander the Great in 333 BC upon Syria (Hatarrika, identified with Tell Afis; Hamath), Phoenicia (Tyre and Sidon), and Philistia (Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and Ashdod). God will protect Jerusalem. All of this occurred as predicted (1-8). Coupled with God’s protection from Alexander’s soon coming military sweep to Egypt, the prophet calls for rejoicing because their Messiah King is coming and he will bring the peace Israel has long been looking for (9-10). Zechariah then says that God, in keeping with his covenant to Israel, will deliver Israel from attacks (11-17) “in that day” (16). This may refer to the Syrian attack in the Maccabean period and a more complete reference to the final deliverance of Israel in the Day of the Lord, when Messiah Jesus returns.
- Chapter 10. The Lord gathers and blesses. Judah is to ask the Lord for blessings (1), because the teraphim (house idols), diviners (fortune tellers), and leaders are of no help (2-3). The Lord of hosts (God himself) has visited (He will care for and prosper and bless) Judah (3). The cornerstone, tent peg, and bow—all symbols of strength and support—will come from Judah (4). These ultimately refer to Messiah who will come from Judah. Judah will fight the enemies and win because the Lord will be with Judah (5). The Lord will recall Judah, Joseph, and Ephraim and bless them (6-7). Judah is put for the southern kingdom and Joseph and Ephraim for the northern kingdom. The Lord will strengthen (6), save (6), bring back (6), have compassion (6), answer (6), whistle and gather (8), redeemed (8), bring back and gather and bring (10), strengthen them in the Lord (12). All Israel rejoice (7), be numerous (8), remember the Lord (9), will live and come back (9), pass through (11), and walk in the name of the Lord (12). These statements can only be fulfilled miraculously by the personal intervention of the Lord. This has not happened yet in history. It awaits completion in the Day of the Lord, which we learn from other Scripture.
- Chapter 11. The first oracle focusing on judgment in preparation for Messiah’s return now describes the devastation of Israel’s forests (1-3). After this the Lord has Zechariah play two parts, a good shepherd (shepherds are leaders) who the people reject (4-14) and a foolish, destroying, and worthless shepherd (15-17). Zechariah actually did what this chapter says and it appears that what he did as the good shepherd and the evil shepherd portrays the history of Israel, at least from the death of Solomon on (see Ezekiel 34:2-4). The shepherds over Israel had simply used the people for their own gain, while the people were turned over to judgment because of their rejection of the Lord (5-6). Zechariah took up his role as a shepherd. He removed three shepherds (8-9). Who they are we do not know. If real men of his time, Zechariah removed them. If beyond the history of Zechariah they may well stand for the spiritual leadership of prophets, priests, elders or kings (Jeremiah 2:8; Matthew 16:21; Luke 9:22). The two shepherd staffs stand for what Israel is rejecting and therefore loosing for the time. Favor, no’am, means delightful or pleasantness and indicates the shepherds favorable execution of his job. Union, hobelim, symbolizes the northern and southern kingdoms. Due to Israel’s unbelief, the Lord told Zechariah to break the favor covenant (7, 10-11). Since he was finished with the job of shepherd Zechariah received a slave’s pay of 30 pieces of silver (Exodus 21:32, Matthew 26:25), an insulting wage, and threw it to the potter in the temple. He did not want it (12-13). Though this actually occurred with Zechariah in his part as a shepherd, this pointed to the betrayal price paid to Judas (Matthew 27:3-10). Zechariah then broke the staff, Union, symbolizing the breakup of Israel into north and south which occurred at Solomon’s death (15). Verses 15-17 symbolize by Zechariah’s actions a very evil shepherd. He is described by foolish, does not care, devour, tear, and worthless. This person will be attacked (17). In context this refers to someone who comes and devastates the flock of Israel, a reference to the future dictator, Anti-Christ, Beast (Daniel 9:27; 11:36-39; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10; Revelation 13:1-8).
- Chapter 12. The LORD rescues Jerusalem. The prophet now concentrates on the coming of Messiah to rescue Jerusalem, Judah, and Israel. The LORD, creator of heavens, earth, and mankind now miraculously intervenes in world history. The LORD will use Jerusalem—throughout history the object of scorn, jealousy, terrorist attacks, and wars—to destroy the anti-Israel armies which have set themselves against the ancient city of God’s people. This predicts the future battle of Armageddon (1-3). Jerusalem will be a cup that causes reeling (2), and a heavy stone (3). The Lord will fight for Judah and Jerusalem and destroy the nations besieging Jerusalem. Jerusalem and Judah will know the Lord is fighting for them (1-9). Messiah will return to earth as warrior and ruler. Judah and Jerusalem will at that time recognize their Messiah and mourn because they realize they had rejected Him and crucified Him when He came the first time (10). The people will mourn individually and in groups and also separated by gender as was the custom in the ancient world. This will be genuine mourning, not a media event (11-14).
- Chapter 13. Judgment for the false prophets and unbelieving Israel, restoration for the remnant. When Messiahs returns to earth He will provide forgiveness to those who accept Him (1); see Ezekiel 36:25. He will also judge idols, false prophets, and demons operating in Israel; see Revelation 20:1-3, (2). Parents of false prophets will execute their false prophet sons; see Deuteronomy 13:6-9 (3). Those false prophets who survive the immediate purge will deny their true status (4-6). The hairy robe was warn by some prophets—Elijah in 1 Kings 1:8 and John the Baptist in Matthew 3:4. The prophets of Baal cut themselves to induce Baal to answer their prayer (1 Kings 18:28). Verses 7-9 refer to the first and second coming of Messiah. Verse 7 predicts His death followed by the scattering and discipline of Israel. Sword speaks of judgment and death; My Shepherd and My Associate refer to an equal with the Lord of Hosts, Messiah. Verses 8-9 predict judgment, deliverance, and restoration. At Messiah’s second coming to earth He will separate and judge the unbeliever two thirds, and deliver the believing one third (8-9). The delivered remnant will call on the Lord—they are His people and He is their God (9). For the deliverance of the remnant of Israel see Romans 11:26.
- Chapter 14. Chapter 14. The Lord’s second coming, King of the earth, worship at Jerusalem. Verses 1 and 3 are summary statements for verses 1-8. Just as the nations are attacking Jerusalem in the final phase of the Armageddon Campaign, Messiah will come to the city and fight for Israel (1-3). He will stand on the Mount of Olives and cause an east west valley to be formed by splitting the mountain into a north part and south part (4). The Israelite remnant will escape by this valley (5). Azel is probably somewhere east of and near Jerusalem. Darkness will overwhelm the land until evening, at which time the light of the Lord’s return will shine (6-7 and Joel 3:15-17 and Matthew 24:29-39). The Lord, Messiah, will cause living water to flow from Jerusalem to the Mediterranean in the west and to the Dead Sea in the east (8). This water will apparently provide lush vegetation and possibly some type of physical or spiritual refreshment for the people who will live in the area. The Messiah will take the rule over the entire earth (9). Psalm 2 was recited when a Davidic king was enthroned. The full fulfillment will come when the final Davidic king, Messiah is enthroned. As part of the new kingdom, Messiah will change the geography around Jerusalem with the resulting prosperity (10-11). More graphic details of the defeat of Israel’s enemies by Messiah are related in 12-15. A God sent plague of some kind, fighting each other, and Israel fighting are used to defeat the enemies of God and Israel. After the kingdom is established, those survivors from the nations who fought Israel will submit to Him. Every year representatives from each former enemy nation will go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Booths, commemorating God’s blessings (16). God will cause drought on the nations who refuse the yearly worship at Jerusalem (17-19). Remember that people will have children in the kingdom. Not all will follow Jesus Christ. The Lord will be honored throughout Jerusalem and Judah (20-21).
Chapter Titles and Summary Principles
- Chapter 1. Vision 1, the rider and four horses, and vision 2, four horns and four craftsmen. Summary: Yahweh God will restore Jerusalem and avenge her enemies. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 2. Visions 3, Surveyor, wall of fire, and LORD returns. Summary: Yahweh God will enlarge Jerusalem and make it safe, blessed, and a blessing to nations. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 3. Vision 4, Joshua cleansed. Summary: Yahweh God cleanses from sin for service, and Joshua and his friends symbolize the coming Messiah Branch Stone. Yahweh God rules in the spiritual war. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 4. Vision 5, the lampstand, olive trees and branches, and the Holy Spirit. Summary: the ministry of the Holy Spirit is necessary to accomplish God’s work. Yahweh God give power to his appointed leaders. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 5. Vision 6, the flying scroll and vision 7, the woman in the basket. Summary: Yahweh God will purge or cleanse the land and meanwhile He has restrained evil in the land, and later will restore Babylon as the seat of evil. Watch for the rise of Babylon. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 6. Vision 8, the four chariots. Joshua crowned. Summary: in the future God will judge Babylon, the center of evil, but meanwhile Joshua as priest and king represents the future Messiah Priest King. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 7. Question: ritual fasts without reality. Summary: ritual without the spiritual reality is worthless, and hardening against Yahweh God is dangerous to our relationship or fellowship with Him. He will discipline and judge. Communion and baptism are church rituals with great meaning—do we observe them as reality or empty ritual? Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 8. Promise: the Lord will return to Jerusalem in the present and future. Summary: Yahweh God will restore and bless His people in their land and great nations of the world will seek blessing by association with the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapters 9. First burden oracle: Judgment on nations; deliverance of Israel. Summary: Yahweh God will destroy even the most powerful nations, yet He can protect Israel when He chooses to do so; and though nations continue to battle, Messiah King will come first on a donkey and later He will dominate all nations and save Israel. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 10. First burden oracle: The Lord gathers and blesses. Summary: Yahweh God will give Judah and Joseph (Israel) victory in the great coming battle (Armageddon) and whistle for His people to return from the nations (restoration). Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 11. First burden oracle: judgment in preparation for Messiah. Summary: in the future there will be two shepherds, a good one who will be rejected (Messiah) and one bad who will be judged (the one who opposes Messiah). Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 12. Second burden oracle: The LORD rescues Jerusalem. Summary: Yahweh God, Creator and Lord of all will smash the enemies of Israel when they attack Jerusalem, and the remnant of Jerusalem will recognize Messiah and mourn because they had killed him when he came the first time. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 13. Judgment for the false prophets and unbelieving Israel, restoration for the remnant. Summary: in the future there will be spiritual blessing for the nation of Israel—forgiveness of sin, removal of idols, judgment of false prophets, but before that God’s shepherd will be killed and the Jewish people scattered, yet a remnant will be preserved and serve Yahweh God. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
- Chapter 14. The Lord’s second coming, King of the earth, worship at Jerusalem. Summary: Israel’s prophesied future includes an international attack against Jerusalem (Armageddon) at which time Yahweh God will return to the Mount of Olives and will defeat the attacking nations, change the geography, rule the world, and receive international worship. Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future.
Lessons for Us
- We should stay in fellowship with the Lord and when we wander from Him, we should return to Him through confession of sin and renewal of spiritual growth and service.
- God controls human history, even in the middle of terrible anti-Semitism. Let’s not give up on God when historical events are bad.
- Each of us is dependent upon the Holy Spirit’s power and ability to serve God the right way and with God’s intended results. Each of us needs to walk by the Holy Spirit—to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
- The Lord will regather Israel in her land and be her Priest-King. We can rest in the fact that history is moving toward a time of God’s judgment followed by God’s great blessing and righteousness. Right now it looks hopeless. If the Bible is true, and we know that it is, our hope—our confident expectation—is in the Lord.
- Ritual for ritual sake did not please God in the past and neither will it please God now. Why do we observe communion? What do we think about during that ritual?
- Messiah Jesus is coming back to earth. He will judge sin, right wrong, and be the perfect political and spiritual leader. Let’s concentrate on what God is doing instead of becoming overwhelmed by the failure of our non biblical political and religious leaders. Let’s tell others of our confident expectation and how they can also have that “hope.” People want a perfect society in a fallen and sinful world. It cannot happen. Only Yahweh God can bring in a righteous society.