Summary: This sermon shows how the Lord remembered Israel, and encouraged them through Zechariah to complete the monumental work He had given them to do.
How God Turns Mountains Into Mole Hills
Text: Zechariah 4:1-10
Introduction: The book of Zechariah has been called the Apocalypse of the Old Testament. The prophet was a contemporary with Haggai, who, you will recall from our previous study, ministered to the remnant who had returned from captivity in Babylon, and who were committed to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Zechariah was written to comfort and encourage the returned remnant to return to the Lord and to rebuild the temple. You see, the people felt like their efforts in rebuilding the temple were insignificant and the future was uncertain. They weren’t even an independent nation - just a client state of a mighty empire.
Look at verse 1. Do you see the ancestry of the prophet? How tempted we are to jump past such things and get into the body of the message, but tred slowly here. Those names mean something. Zechariah, means, “The Lord remembers”, Berechiah means, “The Lord blesses” and Iddo means “At the Appointed time.” So, Zechariah came to Jerusalem in the midst of their depression, and their darkness and discouragement, with this announcement that is even wrapped up in his name and ancestry: The Lord remembers and at the appointed time He will bless. What an encouragement those names must have been
Now, I trust you will understand if we don’t go through these 14 chapters of Zechariah in great detail this morning. This is a tremendously complex book, and just as it would be an impossibility to cover the book of Revelation in any great depth in one sitting, so it is with Zechariah. But let me summarise the outline of the book, and perhaps show you one or two tremendous prophecies from it and then we will focus in our message for this morning. Zechariah is easily outlines. It follows the path of 8 visions, 4 messages and 2 oracles 9or burdens).
In chapters 1-6 we have eight visions - reveal God’s judgment on the Nations, then God’s purging of Israel, with the focus on God’s Spirit working with Zerubbabel and Joshua to complete the temple.
One of the most remarkable prophetic tracts among these visions can be seen in chapter 6 with the coronation of Joshua the High Priest - picture of the Branch who would come in the offices of priest and king and rule in peace – See 6:12-15
• The Branch is a man … “Behold the man”, these are the exact words used by Pilate as he presented Jesus to the crowd wearing a crown of thorns and purple robe.
• The Branch would come out of Israel – “he shall grow up out of this place”
• He would hold both offices of King and priest… “He shall be a priest upon His throne.”
• And he would build the temple – this extends now to the millennial kingdom, and the glorious temple that shall sit outside of Jerusalem in that day.
In chapters 7 & 8 we find four messages
In chapter 7:1-7 there is a rebuke for not worshipping with pure heart - vertical relationship.
Then in vss 8-14 a reminder of the requirements of the law - horizontal relationship.
In chapter 8:1-17 we read of the promise of restoration - showing God’s faithfulness to His promises. Just as He has faithfully and literally brought the curses, He will also faithfully and literally bring the blessings.
And then in 8:18-23 the promise that Israel would return to her land and live in peace, again pointing to the millennium when Israel and the nations will be brought to God.
Finally in chapters 9-14 we find two oracles
The first oracle looks forward to the Good Shepherd’s rejection and the people’s acceptance of the antichrist.
See 9:9; 11:12, 13.
See also 11:15-17. If you won’t stand for the true shepherd you will fall for the false one; if you do not accept Christ, you will be deluded into accepting antichrist.
(2) The second oracle looks forward to the Day of the Lord when the nations will finally be destroyed, the Israelites will be delivered and the Davidic line will be re-instated as the kingdom is inaugurated.
The message of Zechariah is that God remembers His covenant and will eventually fulfil all the promises. This is a message of hope for the post-exilic community, as they sough to rebuild the temple.
Where does Zechariah’s message come in? Will it comes between Haggai’s first and second message. In the first message Haggai spurred the people on to restart the work of rebuilding the temple, and this they did, but then as the new temple began to rise out of the ashes, some of the older people began to doubt and to question. They started to make comparisons between the new temple, and the old. Remember how in Haggai the Lord quoted their words, “Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?” They said, "Do you call this a temple? This heap of ruins? We have seen chicken coops better built than this. We saw Solomon’s temple, and what you are building here is nothing compared to that. All the gold and silver that was in that temple – now that was a temple! Besides, you don’t even have any gold or silver. How are you going to decorate this temple?" So the people got discouraged, and once again they downed tools.