The prophet Zechariah prophesies to the beleaguered returnees from Babylon. Zechariah’s message is, “My house shall be built” for the temple that God dwells in is not made with hands. He uses dozens of images that display the beauty of God’s kingdom as reasons for the people to finish rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem, which they have neglected for the past sixteen years.
The book of Zechariah is a beautifully-crafted poem that graphically illustrates the love of God for His people. Zechariah’s name means, “the Lord remembers.” Though the people sinned greatly, God preserved a remnant. The Old Testament does not end in captivity but in the restoration of His people and the providing of a vision for future glory.
In Zechariah, God is glorifying Himself through visions of the future as reasons to quit neglecting the house of God so that He might demonstrate His superior goodness in the salvation sinners, the damnation of the wicked, and for the preservation of His people for His eternal glory, and their eternal joy.
The author identifies himself as Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet (Zech. 1:1). He was a young man, for Zechariah 2:4 notes that the angel said “run to this young man.”
Zechariah prophesied from 520 to 518 B.C. during Darius the Great’s reign. He was a contemporary of Haggai and Zerubbabel. It is possible that the oracles contained in chapters 9–14 were delivered at a later point in Zechariah’s life since they do not provide any clear time markers.
“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.” ’ But they did not hear nor heed Me,” says the Lord.’ ”
“Therefore thus says the Lord:
‘I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy;
My house shall be built in it,’ says the Lord of hosts,
‘And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.’ ”
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.”
In Zechariah 9:9, Christ’s coming to Jerusalem on the back of a donkey is foretold. Matthew and John directly cite this passage in both of their Gospels and the parallels between Zechariah’s prophecy and Christ’s fulfillment are not hard to see. The prophet accurately portrays Christ’s moral character as “just” and His mission as “having salvation”—both of them critical themes in the Gospel accounts.
The central element of the prophecy is Christ’s lowly means of arrival: “riding on a donkey.” Zechariah also alludes to the bringing in of the Gentiles, “He shall speak peace to the nations” and the all-encompassing nature of Christ’s Kingdom, “His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.”
Zechariah 11:12–13 serves as a foreshadowing of Christ’s betrayal for thirty pieces of silver. Zechariah is paid thirty pieces of silver as his wages, but is then commanded by the Lord to “Throw it to the potter—that princely price they set on me.” Zechariah writes, “So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.” No explanation is given as to who the potter was, or what significance there would be in throwing the silver to him. However, Matthew quotes this Scripture as being fulfilled in Judas’ betrayal of Christ, and there are indeed many correlations. We see Judas receiving thirty pieces of silver in exchange for betraying Christ (Matt. 26:15), the same amount that Zechariah received. We later see a remorseful Judas throw down the thirty pieces of silver in the temple (Matt. 27:5), the same action that Zechariah took. We see Judas’ discarded funds being used by the chief priests to buy the potter’s field, corresponding to Zechariah’s wages being thrown “to the potter.”
Another Messianic prophecy is located in Zechariah 12:10, which predicts the piercing of Christ’s side. In Zechariah’s prophecy, the Lord promises to “pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication” which in turn would cause them to “look on Me whom they pierced.” In his Gospel, the Apostle John saw the fulfillment of this prophecy in the Roman solider who, finding Jesus already dead, pierced His side with a spear. It is important to note that the person speaking in Zechariah’s prophecy is the Lord Himself, and that He is speaking of His own piercing: “they will look on Me whom they pierced.” This is yet another attestation of Christ’s divinity, for how could His piercing fulfill this prophecy if He were something less than God?
What was Zechariah’s message?
“My house shall be built” (Zech. 1:16).
What did the Lord promise to do if the people returned to Him?
He would return to them (Zech. 1:3).
What was the vision of the horses?
Zechariah saw horses who had been sent out to walk to and fro throughout the earth, who reported that all the earth was resting quietly (Zech. 1:7–11).
What was the vision of the horns?
Zechariah saw four horns which represented those responsible for scattering Israel. Four craftsmen came to terrify and cast out the horns (Zech. 1:18–21).
What was the vision of the measuring line?
Zechariah saw a man with a measuring line who was going to measure Jerusalem. An angel then told Zechariah that Jerusalem would “be inhabited as towns without walls” (Zech. 2:1–5).
Who opposed Joshua the high priest before the Angel of the Lord?
Satan (Zech. 3:1).
Who does the Lord promise to bring forth?
His Servant the Branch (Zech. 3:8).
What is the vision of the lampstand and olive trees?
Zechariah saw a lampstand of solid gold with seven lamps on it and two olive trees replenishing its oil (Zech. 4:1–14).
What did Zechariah see in the vision of the flying scroll?
He saw a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide, going out as a curse over the whole earth. He was then told that the scroll would enter and consume the house of every thief and perjurer (Zech. 5:1–4).
What did Zechariah see in the vision of the woman in a basket?
He saw a basket with a woman called Wickedness sitting in it. The basket was carried to the land of Shinar (Zech. 5:5–11).
What was the vision of the four chariots?
Zechariah saw four chariots, representing the four spirits of heaven, coming from between two mountains. The horses for each chariot were either red, black, white, or dappled (Zech. 6:1–8).
Who did the Lord command Zechariah to crown?
Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest (Zech. 6:11).
What did the Lord say to the people about their fasting?
He questioned whether they had really been fasting for Him (Zech. 7:5–7).
What did the Lord say He would do to Tyre?
He promised to cast her out, destroy her power in the sea, and cause her to be devoured by fire (Zech. 9:4).
Where in Zechariah’s prophecy does he speak of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem?
What was the sin of the worthless shepherd?
Devouring the sheep instead of caring for them (Zech. 11:16–17).
What will the Lord do to the families that refuse to worship Him?
On them there will be no rain (Zech. 14:17).