THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH
God will Defeat our Enemies Zechariah 1
Who is Zechariah?
v A contemporary of Haggai the prophet, Zerubbabel the governor, and Joshua the high priest.
v He returned with 50000 exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem after 539BC when Babylon fell to Persia.
v The northern kingdom was exiled in 722 BC; the southern in 586BC. The southern Jews returned during Zechariahís time but the northern tribes began to return in the run-up to nationhood in 1948AD.
v Southern Jews returned to rebuild their temple 70 plus years later. Despite opposition from locals Both Haggai and Zechariah encouraged the exiles to spiritual renewal motivating them to finish rebuilding the temple.
v Zechariah motivation came by revealing to the Jews Godís plan for Israelís future.
v Why rebuild the temple? Israelís existence revolved around Temple worship. Jesus coming 500 years later would require a temple to authenticate his ministry, which was both at the beginning and end when he threw out the moneychangers. After entering this temple again on Palm Sunday there was no more need for it. The Romans in 70AD destroyed it.
v The message of Zechariah is their future is connected to the coming of their Messiah established with a new temple.
OVERCOME YOUR TENDENCY TO DISOBEY GOD AND DETERMINE TO OBEY 1-6
1. The second year of King Darius is around 520BC. Then the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah. Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah were contemporaries. What was that word? The bottom line is a call for these newly returned exiles not to be like their fathers who had rebelled, disobeyed, and were exiled. Like the fresh generation returning from 40 years wandering in the wilderness and entering the land in belief and not unbelief (the assumption that I know what is in my best interest better than God does). This word included a number of things. (1) The Lord was very angry with your fathers. This is probably the disobedient ones who originally went in to exile to Babylon in 586BC. (2) The message is to repent and return to God. They were to return to their God and from their evil ways and evil deeds made them estranged vs 3-4. (3) They did not listen or did they heed the warning vs 4. So God sent them prophetís vs 4. The prophets were Godís spokesmen pleading and arguing for the people to return to God and obey Him. (4) Eventually the exiles came to their spiritual senses in vs 6. It was through the word of the prophets, which had overtaken them. Though these prophets had died and the fathers too, Godís Word bore fruit and caught them. They recognized they deserved Godís punishment as they had violated the covenant. Some of these may have genuinely repented after being exiled and forgiven. These are now restored back to the land. So these now must decide what they are going to do. God will return to them in this land if they remain repentant and obedient.
2. The contrast is to not be like your fathers. Imagine how difficult this is for any of us. The most significant model we have in our lives is our father. Asking us to not be so is nearly impossible. Yet as God does again and again, He is asking for the impossible, the improbable. He does not want them to be like their fathers because their fathers did not turn to God. We may want to use the excuse that our backgrounds, our habits, our traditions, our culture, the ones we now have; the ones we grew up with, keep us from being committed to holiness, Godís will, and obedient to His Word. That excuse will not cut it with God. If He demanded they not follow their fatherís unbelief, He expects nothing short of this for us. James says we can draw near to God and He will draw near to us (4:8). We have this choice no matter the difficulty in making it because of our fathers. Like the prodigal son, the Father awaits our return; but we must decide to do that if we have strayed.
WORLD PEACE COMPROMISES TRUTH & RIGHTEOUSNESS WHILE GODíS PEACE WILL ESTABLISH IT
A patrol finds peace and quiet amongst the nations 7-11 Zechariah has a series of 8 visions all on the same night vs 8. In each vision there is a revealing angel. The reason for these visions: ďI am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and ZionĒ vs 14. A man riding a red horse with other horses behind him v 8 who had done this patrol. This rider is standing among myrtle trees. The others had gone out to patrol the earth v 10 and came back with a report. They said the earth was peaceful and quiet during the second year of King Darius. This was actually a report about world peace. There was not war amongst the nations against Israel and Jerusalem any longer v 14. So this peace and quiet is ominous not hoped for.
This peace was at the price of Israelís safety and security 12-17 It is the angel of the Lord who speaks v 12 designated as Jesus Christ. Jesus must be the man standing amongst the myrtle trees and asks the Lord of Hosts, the Father, how long will he have no compassion for Jerusalemóespecially as this relates to the 70 years of captivity v 12. This is a lament since the 70 years are over and the city remains un-built. God answered Jesus who was speaking to Zechariah v13 gracious and comforting words. These words are the message of v 14-17 and come from the Father interpreted to Zechariah by the angel of the Lord, the son in response to the Sonís question. This message encompasses several themes:
1. God is exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. God has a burning zeal for the covenant made to His city and its people. This zeal caused their exile after they rebelled. This same zeal burns for their security and return after they repent.
2. God is very angry with the nations at peace that were used to judge Israel v 15. They had extended their punishment of Israel making it prolonged and intensive. They had added to Israelís calamity overstepping Godís limits with brutal punishment from anger and rage and envy and revengeóthe same thing Ezekiel had prophesied about these nations in Ezekiel (Chp 25-32) who were the instruments of Godís wrath against Israel. Christ is angry about these nations who are at peace.
3. God is going to rebuild and re-establish his people in the land v 16-17. Specifically, God says He will do 5 things for Jerusalem: (1) I will return to Jerusalem with compassion. This is in stark contrast with his departure of the divine glory from the temple in Eze 10-11. (2) My house will be rebuilt. So there will be a rebuilding of His house in Jerusalem. Even though a preliminary temple is built in Zechariahs day and Herodís is built in Jesus dayóneither one of these is the rebuilding God is talking about here. We know in both of those temples Gods Shekinah glory never returned to the holy of holies. It will only come in the 1000 year temple where Christ will bring it in His glory as He rules from Jerusalem then. (3) A measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem. This refers to construction of the city itself. (4) Godís cities will be overflowing with prosperity v 17. Isaiah says of this that the overflow of this wealth will be such that the city walls will be unable to contain it (Isa 60:4-9). (5) The Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Israel. God will fulfill His gracious promises exactly as he has promised when Christ returns to establish this new covenant for the nation.
Christ is angry about the peace the world establishes. Peace is always tentative and usually a compromise in some way with truth and righteousness. There seem to be only two kinds of peace in the Bible: (1) is peace between individual through forgiveness, compassion, and loving our enemies. (2) Is peace brought about by the judgment of God where He judges sin and confirms people to His standard of righteousness. But political peace is always a compromise, which offends Gods character not conforms to it. We know that God defines peace as everyone conforming to His standard The 1000 year kingdom will be Godís political peace on earth. Until then, peace will be a compromise. It is good to look for Christís on return, anticipate His return, and put our hope in that alone as the solution to the worldís problems. World peace without the return of Christ should never be considered valuable because of the compromise with Godís character to bring it about.
GOD WILL DEFEAT OUR ENEMIES 18-21
Four Horns Zechariah sees four horns v 18. These horns are nations God used to scatter Israel v 19, 21. Specifically, these nations had scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. Regionally these nations are identified in Ezekiel as Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, Sidon, and Egypt. World powers include Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and eventually Greece and Rome. The point is that these horns have scattered Godís people from the land.
Four Craftsmen The craftsmen have come to tear down those who scattered Judah particularly v 21. Some of this work has already been accomplished and some yet to be fulfilled. In any case this reveals that God raises up instruments of judgment and deliverance of His people from all of her enemies. This judgment will bring terror and the nations will be crushed so as to never be empowered like this again.
Vengeance is mine I will repay says the Lord. So you cannot take revenge on those who have Ďscatteredí you. God will do that and apparently will do so by raising up people to do that. God will bring people to rebuild you as well just as he brings people to scatter you. In either case, our focus must be on God not on the people he is using against us or for us. God is in charge of His plan for you and that plan usually unfolds in the context of relationshipsóall kinds of them. Make sure you stay focused on righteous decisions along the way.