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Zechariah. Theme, Summary, Outline, Chapter Titles and Sentence Summaries

Theme: Return to the Lord, build the temple, Messiah is coming; or Yahweh God rules history and Israel has a blessed future

Theme

The entire book stresses 1. that Israel must return to the Lord, 2. build the temple, and 3. 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. 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.

Summary

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.

Outline

  1. Eight night visions, 1:1-6:8
  2. Joshua crowned, 6:9-15
  3. Questions about fasting, 7-8
  4. Two burden oracles about the future, 9-14
  5. Judgments associated with rejection of Messiah’s first coming, 9-11.
  6. Blessings associated with Messiah’s second coming, 12-14.

Chapter Titles and Chapter Summaries

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 gives power to his appointed leaders.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.

Lessons for Us