Summary: Zechariah was anointed by God’s Spirit, who took him to heights of messianic revelation rarely equaled. He not only reveals a God who is able to protect His people, but a God who has given us what we need to know His Messiah & His plan for the future.
THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH
Life on planet earth is fragile. We live every day under the threat of catastrophic environmental disasters and weapons of mass destruction.
Surprisingly, a study of a book as ancient as the Old Testament prophecy of Zechariah can give us a stabilizing perspective in these fear-filled times. Zechariah reminds us that even though there will be calamitous events in the last days, human history is not destined for accidental death and extinction. Rather, we can expect a merciful deliverance and the long-awaited kingdom of God’s promised Messiah.
The book of Zechariah was written when the people of Israel were a small nation with no means of defense against powerful neighbors. Zechariah not only reveals a God who is able to protect His people, but a God who has given us all the information we need to know His Messiah and His plan for the future.
The Prophet Zechariah was unusually anointed by God’s Spirit, who took him to heights of messianic revelation rarely equaled. His revelations or oracles were for God’s chosen people who had covenanted with God. The church today is made up of God’s chosen who have entered into a covenant relationship with God. This new covenant relationship is also by grace through faith.
The study of this book will grow and fortify our faith if we will realize with the prophets of old, that for every situation developing in Israel, the God ruled ones, there was nothing more necessary than faith in the Messiah of the transcendent God. When new problems appear what Israel, the Church, and you need is a fuller revelation of what the Messiah is and does and that our help lies entirely in Him.
The New Testament makes repeated use of this book. So should we.
The historical situation underlying the book of Zechariah is identical in time and place to the one which called forth the oracles of Haggai. The return from exile had become a reality. A small remnant of the Jews who had been torn loose from Judah had not taken root in Babylon despite their 70 year captivity there (Dan. 9:2). They returned to their homeland. This return was an extremely important event in the history of Israel.
The raising of interest and enthusiasm of the small remnant to return was like a resurrection of the nation out of death. For it was through this chosen remnant that the promised Messiah would come. Through Divine intervention (Ezra 1:1-4) Cyrus, King of the Medes and the Persians (Isa. 44:28; 45:1-8), issued a decree that gave permissions for the Jews to return to the land of their fathers. This Cyrus was the same one Isaiah professed by name as responsible for punishing and over throwing the world power Babylon and setting Israel free and sending the remnant to restore their nation. Less than 50,000 of the once mighty nation did return (Ezra 2, Neh. 7).
Almost at once upon returning, the remnant began the erection of their temple as Cyrus had decreed. The difficulties of this undertaking were increased by the opposition of the Samaritans (Ezra 4ff) after they were not permitted to join in rebuilding the temple. The Samaritans then deceived the Persian officials and made them suspicious so that the generous assistance promised by Cyrus did not come. The remnant was also subject to raids because the walls were broken down. The Samaritans told King Artaxerxes (464-424 B.C., Ezra 4:1-24; 7:1; Neh. 2:1. He succeeded his father Ahasuerus or Xeres I, and is also called Darius the Mede ? Dan. 9:1) to search their records and learn what a mighty nation this once was--and so they wanted to be again.
The discouraged people gave in to the opposition and started seeking just their own comfort. Many of them built for themselves rather substantial dwellings (Hag. 1:4), but the work upon the Lord’s house had come to a complete stand still.
Then 17 years after the small remnant had returned, the prophet, Haggai, meaning "a messenger from God," stepped forth to call the people to resume the building of the temple. Two months later, Zechariah would burst forth and join in proclaiming God’s revelation to His people.
Notice that God waited many, many years before He called His people to rebuild the sanctuary. He allowed them the natural concern of building shelter for their families and solidifying their livelihood. But with their houses built they became individualistic having no enthusiasm for the united undertaking of a new temple or a protective wall around Jerusalem. The call for the people to repent and return to God for the spiritual reviving necessary was the formidable to which Haggai and Zechariah were called. Haggai, Ezra and others called for repentance and the building of the temple and Zechariah proclaimed the spiritual restoration necessary to experience God’s blessings.