Zechariah 8 Summary Handout. The LORD will return to Jerusalem and make her a blessing to people and nations
Yahweh God will return to Zion, live in Jerusalem, restore and bless His people in their land, and great nations of the world will seek blessing by association with the people of Jerusalem.
This chapter has a series of statements beginning with “thus says the LORD of Hosts,” Zechariah 8.2,4,6,7,9,14,19,20,23; Zechariah 8.3 has “thus says the LORD.” The messages of this chapter are introduced by this statement.
- Zechariah 8.1-8. The future city of truth.
- Zechariah 8.9-13. The curse and the blessing.
- Zechariah 8.14-17. The past, present, and future.
- Zechariah 8.18-19. The fasts will become joyful.
- Zechariah 8.20-23. People and nations will seek the LORD’S favor.
Summary explanation of each section
- Zechariah 8.1-8. The LORD will return to Zion and make Jerusalem the City of Truth, old men and women will sit in Jerusalem in peace, children will play in the squares, and the LORD will bring his people back from exile around the world to live in Jerusalem. At that time “they shall be my people, and I will be their God in truth-faithfulness and righteousness.” This has not yet happened. It awaits God bringing this about.
- Zechariah 8.9-13. Zechariah recalled the time when the temple foundation was laid after the first exiles returned from Babylon in 536 BC. The prophets, including Zechariah and Haggai had encouraged the people to build, but there was much opposition from the neighboring nations (Ezra 4.1-7; 5.1-5) Now, some 20 years later, they again encourage them. This time the prophets speak of a time of full blessing by the LORD, and this full blessing will not be completed until Judah and Israel are a blessing to the nations. The entire nation, not just the Judean exiles from Babylon, but Judah and Israel; the nation will be reunited. This is a long term view of the present and future of Judah and Israel.
- Zechariah 8.14-17. The prophet continues to contrast the past with the future. In the past, because of their rebellion and apostasy, divine discipline was the order of the day. Now blessing is projected for Judah and Jerusalem. This was possible for them at the present (in these days, Zechariah 8.14) if they will now follow the LORD by observing four commands: speak truth to each other, practice true and peaceful judgment at the judgment gates, do not devise evil, and do not love perjury. See proverbs 6.16-19. Note that the LORD through Zechariah instructs and encourages the people about conduct for the present because of the hope for the future.
- Zechariah 8.18-19. The sorrowful fasts that Judah made up and has been observing while in exile will become cheerful fasts. The fast of the fourth month (Nebuchadnezzar’s army broke through Jerusalem’s wall, 2 Kings 25.3-4, Jeremiah 39.2), the fast of the fifth month (Nebuchadnezzar burned Jerusalem and the temple in 586 BC, 2 Kings 25.8-10), the fast of the seventh month (assassination of Gedaliah, 2 Kings 25.25, Jeremiah 41.1-2 in 586 BC) , and the fast of the tenth month (Nebuchadnezzar began the siege of Jerusalem, 2 Kings 25.1-2, Jeremiah 39.1) will now have spiritual meaning. Why? Because the LORD of Hosts will turn defeat into victory, cursing into blessing, and LORD Messiah will be the king of the earth (Zechariah 14.9). This is enough to motivate the love for truth and peace.
- Zechariah 8.20-23. In that future time of Israel’s national restoration and blessing many people and even mighty nations (important officials) will travel from many cities to Jerusalem. They will encourage each other to go in order to entreat or seek the favor of the LORD (for blessing) and to seek the LORD of hosts (probably be near him). The Judeans will be so “famous and attractive” that ten men (many) from all the languages of the nations will grab the coat of one Judean and ask to go with him to see the LORD. The word is out that God is with the Jewish people, and a great many people want to be blessed by association with them. This will occur at the time of the Millennial Kingdom. See Zechariah 14.9-11, 16.
So what? Application
- Primary lesson. God always keeps his word (Psalm 117). This chapter again reinforces the theme that Israel, the LORD’S people chosen for a purpose, has a significant future in God’s plan, and that she will be respected and will attract people and nations to the LORD.
- Promise for the future. The LORD has designed a future for reunited Israel. No longer will Israel and her people be the outcasts. The time written about is after Jesus Christ returns to earth to rule as King over all the earth. See Isaiah 2.1-4, Micah 4.1-5, Matthew 24, Acts 1.6-11, and many other texts speak of this.
- Description of the future. This will be a time of peace, security, and prosperity for the young and old.
- Expectation for the present. In the meantime, the LORD instructed the house of Judah to speak truth to each other, practice true and peaceful judgment at the judgment gates, do not devise evil, and do not love perjury.
- Expectation for the future. People from all nations will be attracted to the Jews, seek the LORD of Hosts’ favor, and seek to be blessed by association with them because they will know that God is with the Jews.