Zechariah - Who God Remembers

The Prophecy of Zechariah is the longest and most complex among the minor prophets. His name means "God remembers." Just as our dreams are sometimes a swirling of images, without regard for time and sequence, this work is a kaleidoscope of visions. Among the predictions about Jerusalem are precious messianic promises that find their fulfillment in Christ.

Two months after Haggai preached his first sermon and the work began on the Temple God spoke to Zechariah. God is not limited in the number of vessels he can fill nor of those he can pour out. The rebuilding of the Temple was accompanied with a great outpouring of God’s Spirit and where there is faith there is also the Word.

The calamities that fell on Israel and Judea were a display of God’s anger. It is as if Zechariah is saying, "learn from the mistakes of others, and don’t repeat their folly." We too were told that the scriptures were given to us as examples. "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (Heb. 10:11-12). "Be not like your fathers," said the sage. (Zec.1:4).

His visions include colored horses like the Apocalypse of John. There are angels and myrtle trees and even a glimpse of the Devil himself. There are flying scrolls and stones with eyes, there is judgment and justice. These visions are smoke and fire and fury. The fourteen chapters are full of symbols, and signs, lightning and thunder. No one fell asleep during Zechariah’s sermons. His oracles still shake heaven and earth.

Nations are seen swallowing up nations and then being crushed by another. When Zechariah spoke of Egypt, Assyria (already reduced to subservience), Philistia, Syria, Tyre and Sidon he was speaking of all that dared to touch the "apple of [God’s] eye." 2:8. Woe to all who had a part in ill-treating God’s chosen. The LORD will shake his hand upon all who were unkind to Israel.

The work of Zechariah and Zerubbabel was only a shadow of another day when God will say "I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem" 1:16. In that day a servant shall appear who is called the BRANCH. Then God says through his prophet, "I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day." While this speaks of a day yet to come, one can only shudder to think of what that might mean in light of the crucifixion of the BRANCH.

Zechariah speaks of the restoration one moment and then he is predicting destruction the next. He is rejoicing and then he seems to be lamenting. He speaks of God’s forgiveness and pity and then next moment is telling again of God’s wrath. The reason for this is that this restoration of the temple was to be temporary. Once again it shall be in ruin and God shall

abandon her. Zechariah himself had no idea Rome would one day rule the world and destroy the city yet again. He had no idea when he spoke of the gathering of Jews from the far corners of the earth that he was speaking of Ben Gurion and the founding of a modern Jewish state (8:7), but these things have come to pass as he predicted.

The fulfillment of prophecy is not proof of the veracity of God’s word. The believer needs no proof. However, when incredible events come to pass Christians cannot help but find comfort in the accuracy of the Bible. The fall and utter destruction of Tyre was foretold (9:4). For centuries this promise laid dormant, then in 332BC Alexander the Great accomplished what the Assyrians and Babylon found impossible (Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to it for more than a year, but in vain). The Macedonian tore down the city and overpowered the sea fortress killing all the inhabitants and selling 20,000 into slavery.

The prophet spoke of things he could not have understood. Little did he know who would be riding on the colt, the foal of an ass (9:9) nor who would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (11:12). Neither did he realize the depth of the mourning that shall come when Israel looks upon that awesome "me whom they have pierced" (12:10).

Zechariah’s vision included a rending of the earth when the Mount of Olives shall break in two. "And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it to the south" (13:4). It was upon this mountain that the Lord Jesus ascended and mesmerized his disciples until the angels once again animated the startled followers of Christ saying, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

This difficult book is a labyrinth for the even the most learned and astute among scholars. It is filled with much mystery yet its fear and fury ends with a triumphal note of hope and joy. It looks forward to that coming day when "the LORD shall be king over all the earth" (14:9a). And in that day the bells on the horse’s bridle shall ring calling attention to the "HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD" (14:20).