Christian Apologetics Study

A BRIEF LOOK AT THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH

Nov
29

Zechariah encourages the people to put away the sin in their lives and to continue rebuilding the Temple. In looking forward to God’s messianic kingdom, Zechariah accurately predicts Yeshua’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on the back of a donkey.

God was angry at his people for ignoring his prophets through the years, and he was concerned that they not follow the careless and false leaders who exploited them. Disobedience was the root of their problems and the cause of their misery. God was jealous for their devotion to him. God is jealous for our devotion. To avoid Israel’s ruin, don’t walk in their steps. Don’t reject God, follow false teachers, or lead others astray. Turn to God, faithfully obey his commands, and make sure you are leading others correctly.

The Jews were discouraged. They were free from exile, yet the Temple was not completed. Zechariah encouraged them to rebuild it. God would both protect his workmen and empower them by his Holy Spirit to carry out his work. More than the rebuilding of the Temple was at stake—the people were staging the first act in God’s wonderful drama of the end times. Those of us who love God must complete his work. To do so we must have the Holy Spirit’s help. God will empower us with his Spirit.

The Messiah will come both to rescue people from sin and to reign as king. He will establish his Kingdom, conquer all his enemies, and rule over all the earth. Everything will one day be under his loving and powerful control. The Messiah came as a servant to die for us. He will return as a victorious king. At that time, he will usher in peace throughout the world. Submit to his leadership now to be ready for the King’s triumphant return.

There was opposition to God’s plan in Zechariah’s day, and he prophesied future times of trouble. But God’s Word endures. God remembers the agreements he makes with his people. He cares for his people and will deliver them from all the world powers that oppress them. Although evil is still present, God’s infinite love and personal care have been demonstrated through the centuries. God keeps his promises. Although our bodies may be destroyed, we need never fear our ultimate destiny if we love and obey him.

SUMMARY OF ZECHARIAH’S MESSAGE

Zechariah’s name (Zecharyah) means Yahweh is renowned and God remembers. He was Judah’s prophet and he was the 11th among the 12 minor-prophets. Like Ezekiel, he was of priestly extraction. He describes himself as “the son of Berechiah.” His prophetic career began in the second year of Darius, about 16 years after the return of the first company from exile. He was contemporary with Haggai. His book consists of two distinct parts because the first eight chapters are historical, while the next six chapters are prophetic.

The first eight chapters reflect the period immediately after the Babylonian Captivity and are concerned with the reconstruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in preparation for a messianic age. The narrative emphasizes individual commitment and obedience, inward spirituality, and a peaceful world where Jew and Gentile will worship together. These chapters fall into four parts. The first part is a brief exhortation to repentance. The second part contains oracles in the usual prophetic style intermingled with a series of eight night visions experienced by the prophet in 519BC. The visions, which contain much apocalyptic imagery and are interpreted for Zechariah by an angel, foretell generally an imminent messianic age. The third part describes the symbolic coronation of a priest who will lead the people in rebuilding the Temple. The fourth part consists of oracles describing the conditions expected to prevail in a restored Jerusalem.

The remaining six chapters of Zechariah constitute one of the most obscure portions of the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. They are made up mainly of apocalyptic oracles with numerous allusions that are now difficult to understand and are concerned generally with elaboration of earlier themes. Chief among these themes are the restoration of Israel after the defeat of Israel’s enemies, the advent of the Messiah, and the coming great “day of the Lord,” when the covenant will be reestablished and the God of Israel will be universally worshiped. The tone of these chapters is despairing, and emphasis is placed on supernatural intervention as the sole possible means of the long-delayed but still-expected salvation from Gentile oppression.

Finally, Christian eschatologists at

tach special significance to several passages in the last six chapters. They regard them as prophecies later fulfilled by Messiah Yeshua. Therefore, Zechariah 9:9 is believed to pertain to Yeshua’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem; Zech. 9:10 to his universal reign; Zech. 11:12 to Judas’ betrayal of Yeshua for 30 pieces of silver; Zech. 12:10 and 13:6 to the wounds suffered by Yeshua; and Zech. 13:7-9 to Yeshua as the Good Shepherd smitten for the sheep.

RELATED SOURCES

Biblical Mysteries; Donald P. Ryan, Ph.D; 2000. The Bible; Jim Bell and Stan Cambell; 1999. The Complete Guide to the Bible; Stephen M. Miller; 2007. The Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy; Stephen M. Miller; 2010. The Hand Writing of God; Dr. Grant Jeffrey; 2000. The Signature of God; Dr. Grant Jeffrey; 2010. The Septuagint With Apocrypha: English; Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton; 1851. Book of Zechariah; Dr. J. Vernon McGee; 1988.

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