TODAY’S READING: ZECHARIAH 1-8

 

OVERVIEW:

A call for repentance and exhortation to fathers (1:1-6); the eight visions designed to encourage the people to rebuild the temple (1:7-6:8); Joshua is crowned the high priest (6:9-15); Jews from Bethel inquire concerning the continuance of fasting (7:1-8:23).

 

HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:

Because of the significant content and length of the Books of Genesis, Psalms, and Isaiah, it is certainly no surprise that they are the most quoted Books in the New Testament.  Do you realize, however, that the little Book of Zechariah (only 14 chapters) is quoted almost 40 times in the New Testament?! That is certainly because of the messianic emphasis in this Book.  It is without a doubt the most Christ-centered of all of the Minor Prophets, and contains more messianic prophecies than perhaps any other Book in the entire Old Testament.

 

Notice that verse 1 says, “the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo” (1:1).  The name Zechariah means “Jehovah remembers.”  His father’s name means “Jehovah blesses.”  His grand-father’s name means “His time.” If you put the meanings of these three names together it states “Jehovah remembers and blesses in His time.”  You may need that subtle reminder to be a word of encouragement to you today (Prov. 15:23;25:11), but the historic and prophetic significance of the “Lord remembering and blessing in His time” has to do with Jews and Jerusalem.  In fact, the city of Jerusalem is mentioned 39 times in Zechariah.  Verses 14-17 of chapter one are really a concisement of the theme of the Book,  stating that God, the great “I AM,” is jealous for Jerusalem; He remembers what the heathen did to His city; and, one day He will bless Jerusalem with prosperity and peace.

 

Do note that Zechariah and Haggai were contemporaries who ministered to the same people, yet their lives, their ministries, and their Books are filled with contrasts.  Haggai was an old man; Zechariah was young (2:4).  Haggai preached sermons; Zechariah shared visions.  Haggai’s ministry was marked by exhortation; Zechariah’s ministry was marked by encouragement. 

 

Zechariah’s prophecy begins in verse 1:2 with a statement that could be made in our day just as aptly as it was his own: “The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers.”  One of the most horrific things about the Laodicean Church Period is what has taken place in the whole realm of fathering.  As we have previously discussed, the devil has waged an all-out attack on fathers because they posses the title God wants us to relate to our relationship with Him.  Fathers, how are you doing in carrying out your seven biblical responsibilities to your children?  If the Lord were to comment on your fathering as He did in Zechariah’s day in verse 2, would He say He was pleased, or as in their case, “sore displeased,” or somewhere in-between?  Listen to and find encouragement in the promise in verse 3: “Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you”!  Turn to your heavenly Father today!

 

As we have seen all through the Bible, the problem in fathering is that unless something supernatural takes place in a man’s life, he invariably becomes like his father.  And most often, that isn’t a good thing (1:2), and thus the admonition of verse 4, “Be not as you fathers.”  Zechariah continues on in verse 4 to say that though the prophets were crying out to the fathers to turn from their “evil ways” and “evil doings,”  they paid absolutely no attention whatsoever to them, much less obey!  In verse 5 God asks, “Where are they now?” This might be where “Dr. Phil” would ask, “How’d that kind of life work out for ‘em?”  Zechariah states in verse 6 that had they taken hold of God’s words and statutes, His words and statutes would have taken hold of them!  They could have received blessing from the Lord, but because they refused to listen and turn, they willfully chose cursing.  Oh Dads, you might can miss some of the things concerning Zechariah’s “visions” in the first 6 cha!

pters, but please don’t miss the message in the first 6 verses!

 

What follows this powerful exhortation to fathers in 1:1-6 is a series of eight visions that Zechariah received and was commanded to share with the people.  The eight visions which span 1:7-6:8, were designed by God to encourage the people to rebuild the Temple.  Each visions is introduced with phrases such as, “I saw,”  “I lifted up my eyes and looked,”  “He showed me,” etc.

 

The eight visions and a brief concisement of God’s message through it is as follows:

 

1) The Man Riding on a Red Horse. (1:7-17)

   God is displeased with the Gentiles who are at ease while His

   people are afflicted. He will punish the nations and restore His

   people. 

2) The Four Horses and Four Craftsment. (1:18-21)

   God will destroy the four Gentile world powers.

3) The Man with a Measuring Line. (2:1-13)

   God will restore Jerusalem.

4) Joshua the High Priest. (3:1-10)

   God will cleanse and restore the priesthood, which is 

   representative of the nation.

5) The Golden Candlestick and Two Olive Trees. (4:1-14)

   Israel, God’s light bearer, will rebuild the Temple by the power  

   of the Spirit of God pictured by oil) under the leadership of

   Joshua and Zerubbabel.

6) The Flying Roll – i.e. Scroll. (5:1-4)

   God will judge the sin in the land.

7) The Woman in the Ephah (a basket used for measuring). (5:5-11)

   Wickedness (the woman) will be carried from the land back to the 

   land of its origination;Babylon.

8) The Four Chariots. (6:1-8)

   God controls the nations.  His enemies have been shut down, and

   Jerusalem is safe.

 

In 6:9-15, for the first time, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah without being in the form of a vision.  Joshua, a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, a “priest-king” referred to as “The BRANCH,” would build the Temple and sit on the throne!

 

Chapters 7 and 8 form somewhat of an interlude in the Book.  In these chapters, God addresses the subject of fasting.  The only required fast in the Old Testament was the fast on the Day of Atonement, but the Jews had included fasts to remember the fall of Jerusalem.  (We might equate it with remembering the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11.)  Zechariah uses this as an opportunity to teach about God’s intention through fasting.

     

CHRIST IS REVEALED:

As the BRANCH – Zech. 3:8; 6:12 (Isa. 11:1; Jer. 23:5; 33:15).

 

As the STONE THAT REMOVES SIN – Zech. 3:9 (Rom. 9:31-33).

 

As JOSHUA (Hebrew word for Jesus) THE PRIEST-KING – Zech. 6:11-13