Notes from Zechariah
We had an enjoyable home Bible study this past Saturday as always and really good discussion about some verses in Zechariah!
Our next Bible study will be Sunday, October 18th at Cabot Park in Laguna Hills at 10:30am. Please bring a chair, a friend, and your Bible!
Before we get to the notes, I always wanted to point out that I had the privilege of interviewing Randy Thomasson from SaveCalifornia.com on the Titus Ministries podcast! It was excellent and you're going to want to check it out.
Here are the notes from our study on the Minor Prophet book of Zechariah:
This is a very important book in Messianic prophecy, and the last 5 chapters are heavily quoted in the New Testament—more so than any other prophetic book. We really should take some time to go through but it’s 14 chapters and the longest of the Minor Prophets. So I just want to give an overview first and then we’ll look at a couple important chapters and verses.
The book has a clear division where the first 6 chapters take place in 520 B.C. and chapters 7-14 take place a couple years later.
The first 6 chapters deal with visions and encouragement from God and an Angel of the Lord (Jesus) to Zechariah to keep building the temple and to finish it. Ezra 5:1 says, “Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem; in the name of the God of Israel prophesied they unto them.” So Haggai and Zechariah worked together to encourage the rebuilding of the Temple.
The rest of the book deals with prophecy of Messiah, His first and second coming.
1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,
2 The Lord hath been sore displeased with your fathers.
3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.
James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” This is always true throughout the Bible where God is always calling His people to love and obey Him. In all these books of the Minor Prophets we see the judgment of God but also His mercy and His desire for His people.
4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the Lord.
5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?
6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the Lord of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.
So these first 6 verses are the introduction and instruction from God to listen to the lessons of the past and don’t reject God. And I think we can learn a lot from the Old Testament on what not to do.
Let’s go to chapter 3.
1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
2 And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
The ‘Angel of the Lord’ often refers to the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ in the Old Testament and this is a clear example of that.
8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.
So this is the first Messianic prophecy in Zechariah and it is really amazing so let’s take some time to cover this. Here we have God, via His angel saying He will bring forth His “servant the Branch.” There are a few other times in Scripture where Jesus Christ is called the Branch and He’s given four different descriptions.
Here He’s called a servant.
In chapter 6 verse 12 of Zechariah that we’ll look at today He’s called the man.
In Jeremiah 23:5 it calls Him The Branch that will reign as King.
And in Jeremiah 33:15 He is the righteous Branch.
In the four Gospels we have Jesus portrayed as King (Matthew).
Son of Man (Luke).
Son of God who is righteous (John).
And then in Revelation we have the four creatures. Chapter 4 verse 7 says, “The first living creature was like a lion [King], the second was like an ox [Servant], the third had a face like a man [Man], the fourth was like a flying eagle [Deity].
9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Romans 9:33 says, “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” So I think this verse is talking about Jesus and what He did on the cross in removing our sin by His blood.
10 In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.
6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
This is a great verse that we all need to remember because it is God that works, it is the Holy Spirit that deserves all credit when we do good works, when we grow as a person, when great things are accomplished for Jesus Christ – All glory to God.
John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
In context the verse in Zechariah is talking about, as John Gill says, “the temple should be built by Zerubbabel, not through the multitude and strength of men, but through the Spirit of God, animating, exciting, encouraging, and strengthening them to go through the work.”
12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:
Here Jesus is called “the man whose name is The Branch.”
13 Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
And here Jesus is called a priest. He is our High Priest and He’s frequently called that in the book of Hebrews like Hebrews 8:1 which says, “Now in the things which we are saying the chief point is this: We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”
1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;
2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the Lord,
3 And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?
So these guys came to the priests and the prophets asking about fasting. Some translations say “fast”, some say “weep”, others say “abstain” but they’re talking about fasting.
The fast in question on their 5th month is probably because of what was described in Jeremiah 52:12-13, “In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. 13 And he burned the house of the Lord, and the king's house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down.”
What is really interesting about this is that the only fast proclaimed by God is the Day of Atonement. It’s even arguable that fasting isn’t required on this day (Leviticus 16 & 23). So this is where we see some strange traditions creeping into Israel that came from the mind of man and not from God. Remember Luke 18:12 where the Pharisees apparently by the 1st Century increased their ritual fasting to twice a week!
So then God gives His answer to their question about this fast.
4 Then came the word of the Lord of hosts unto me, saying,
5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?
6 And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?
Their rituals and fasting were meaningless because they were all done out of tradition. And this is something we see throughout Scripture that it is our motives that matter—our heart. Like in 1 Corinthians 10:31 it says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” And these guys had their traditions but it wasn’t to glorify God. Like with fasting, if you go a day or more without food it means nothing unless you are doing it for the right purposes and seeking the Lord during that time.
7 Should ye not hear the words which the Lord hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?
8 And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying,
And here is where God tells us proper motive and shows the second great commandment of Jesus:
9 Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
Isn’t this, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”? Also just like 1 John 3:15 says, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Now this is obviously an amazing Old Testament prophecy that is so exact it couldn’t possibly apply to anyone else besides Jesus Christ. Have you ever even heard of something similar to this? Jesus brought us salvation; He is our King, He came as a humble servant and rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (John 12:14-15).
This is a great verse to introduce prophecy to new believers and help them strengthen their faith in the Bible as the Word of God.
10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
This verse is quoting Psalms 46:9 & 72:8 about Jesus being King of all creation.
11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.
And this is really interesting as well, because Jesus quoted this verse (at least partially) at the Last Supper in Matthew 26:28 where He says, “for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins.”
The “pit” seems to be a metaphor for sin and Adam Clarke called the captives here, "those who were under the arrest of God's judgments, the human race fast bound in sin and misery."
11 And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the Lord.
12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.
So this is pretty clear what this is talking about, right? Let’s read the passage in Matthew 27:3-10.
10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
John 19:36-37 says, “For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: Not one of his bones will be broken. And again another Scripture says, They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
These next two verses I believe talk about Israel going through the Great Tribulation (Romans 11:25-27).
8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.
9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.
1 Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
Chapter 14 here talks about the Day of the Lord as many other prophets foretell.