Previously we considered Haggai. His message was certainly pithy and to the point. Consider your ways! Your cieled houses! This house lieth waste! Ye have sown much, brought in little! Why? Because of mine house saith the Lord! Reflecting on this short, sharp message, the returning captives could easily have been discouraged. The task before them was daunting, having found Jerusalem and the temple in ruins. If the ministry of Haggai emphasised the need to get on with the work, to avoid despair another avenue of ministry was required. So, onto the scene, complimenting and overlapping the ministry of Haggai comes Zechariah. The workers needed their eyes lifted to see a glorious future, and to understand that they were playing their small part in the bigger overall programme of God. Perhaps in our day we too need the encouragement to work, despite the disappointments. We also need to keep in mind, that like Israel, the future of the Church is glorious and secure.
ZECHARIAH!Israel’s fortunes are changing, and their future is secure! Pictorial, Prophetic, Panoramic… A book for the eyes… Looking for Christ the Messiah!
As Zechariah is such an important book of prophecy, containing fourteen chapters, in keeping with previous notes on the larger books of the Minor Prophets, I have given a general outline with a few pointers for personal reading and study in these notes. In Part 2 we will fill in some of the details on The Visions, The Coronation, The Messages, The Burdens and The Messianic Predictions of Zechariah. Haggai and Zechariah ministered to the same people, at the same time, in the same circumstances. The times stated below will show how they overlapped and how Zechariah’s ministry continued for a longer period.
Note on dates in Haggai and Zechariah: Haggai 1:1. First message. Second year of Darius, 6th month, 1st day of the month. Haggai 2:1. Second message. Second year of Darius; 7th month, 21st day of the month. Zechariah 1:1. Word of the Lord! Second year of Darius, 8th month. Haggai 2:10. Third message. Second year of Darius; 9th month, 24th day of the month. Haggai 2:20 Fourth message. Second year of Darius; 9th month, 24th day of the month. Zechariah 1:7. Word of the Lord! Second year of Darius; 11th month, 24th day of the month. Zechariah 7:1. Word of the Lord! Fourth year of Darius; 9th month, 4th day of the month.
According to the dates given in Zechariah (1:1, 1:7 & 7:1), the first eight chapters of Zechariah were written during the building of the temple. While we cannot be sure, most commentators are agreed that from chapter nine, the latter part of the book was written at some time after the building of the temple was completed.
Outline: In a helpful note on the general outline of the book, Mr John Stubbs has the following: Chapters 1-6, The Foes of Israel. Chapters 7-8, The Fasts of Israel. Chapters 9-14, The Future of Israel. (Ritchie Old Testament Commentaries, What the Bible Teaches, Zechariah, John Ritchie Ltd).
The Introduction: Chapter 1:1-6. The call to repentance.
The Visions: Chapter 1:7-6:8.Eight visions all in a night!
First Vision (1:7-17).
A man riding a red horse among the myrtle trees/The Lord returning to Jerusalem with mercies.
Second Vision (1:18-21).
Four horns/Israel’s enemies. Four carpenters/To fray or destroy the enemy.
Third Vision (2:1-13).
A man with a measuring line/Jerusalem to be populated and safe.
Fourth Vision (3:1-10).
Joshua the High Priest/Priesthood cleansed and restored.
Fifth Vision (4:1-14).
Golden candlestick or lampstand and two olive trees/Witness and testimony.
Sixth Vision (5:1-4).
Flying scroll/God’s judgment on individuals.
Seventh Vision (5:5-11).
An ephah and a woman/God’s judgment on the nation of Israel.
Eighth Vision (6:1-8).
Four chariots/God’s judgments on the nations.
The Climax of the Visions: Chapter 6:9-15. The Coronation (6:9-15).
The Messages: Chapter 7:1-8:23. These messages have to do with questions about fasting (7:1-3)
First Message (7:4-7).
A message of Rebuke.
Second Message (7:8-14).
A message about their Responsibilities.
Third Message (8:1-17).
A message of Restoration.
Fourth Message (8:18-23).
A message of Rejoicing.
The Burden of the Word of the Lord: Chapter 9:1-11:17. "The burden of the Word of the Lord" (9:1). Emphasis in these chapters, 9-11, The Messiah - His Coming and Rejection.
The Burden of the Word of the Lord: Chapter 12:1-14:21. Note: change in style, "In that day"! "The burden of the Word of the Lord" (12:1). Emphasis in these chapters, 12-14, The Messiah - His Coming and Reception.
The Messianic Predictions! Just a few of the Messianic predictions in Zechariah. We will look at these in more detail in Part 2 and seek to put them into chronological order.
King coming… "lowly riding upon the colt the foal of an ass" (9:9).