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Getting to Know the Bible: Zechariah Overview



Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.


Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on Zechariah. But before we get to Zechariah 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of Zechariah. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.


And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of Zechariah, as we prepare to behold and discern Zechariah, beginning with Zechariah 1 in our next installment of this series.





Book Type: The eleventh book of the Minor Prophets


Authors: Zechariah


Date of Writing: ~520-480 B.C.


Audience: The postexilic Jews living in Judah

Original Language: Hebrew


Genre: Prophecy


Setting: The exiles had returned from Babylon to rebuild the temple, but the work had been balked and impeded. Haggai and Zechariah confronted the people with their task and encouraged them to complete it.


Background:

As one of the postexilic prophets, along with Haggai and Malachi, Zechariah ministered to the small remnant of Jews who had returned to Judah to rebuild the temple and their nation. Like Haggai, he encouraged the people to finish rebuilding the temple, but his message went far beyond those physical walls and contemporary issues. With spectacular apocalyptic imagery and graphic detail, Zechariah told of the Messiah, the One whom God would send to rescue his people and to reign over all the earth.


Blueprint:

While Rebuilding the Temple (1:1-8:23) - Zechariah encouraged for people to put away the sin in their lives and continue rebuilding the temple. His visions described the judgment of Israel's enemies, the blessings to Jerusalem. and the need for God's people to remain pure- avoiding hypocrisy, superficiality, and sin. Zechariah's visions provided hope for the people. We also need to carefully follow the instruction to remain pure until Christ returns again.


After Completing The Temple (9:1-14:21) - Besides encouragement and hope, Zechariah's messages were a warning that Gods Messianic kingdom would not begin as soon as the temple was complete. Israel's enemies would be judged and the King would come, but God's people would themselves face many difficult circumstances before experiencing the blessing of the Messianic Kingdom.


Timeline:




Theme:


God's Jealousy - God was angry at His people for ignoring his prophets through the years, and His desire was 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 is jealous for our devotion. To avoid Israel's ruin, let us not reject God, ever. Let us also be vigilant in avoiding and rebuking false teachers, and not leading others astray. Rather, let us hold fast to God, obey His commands, and trust wholly in Him.


Rebuild the Temple - 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 people and empower them by His Holy Spirit to carry out His work.


More than the rebuilding of the temple was at stake. God had our eternity in mind, even at this time. Those of us who believe in God must complete His work. To do so we need the Holy Spirit's help.


The King is Coming - The Messiah will come both to rescue people from sin and to reign as king. He will establish His kingdom, conquer every one of His enemies, and rule over all the earth.


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. Let us submit to His leadership and prepare to be ready for the King's triumphant return.


God's Protection - There was opposition to God's plan in Zechariah's day, and he prophesied future times of trouble. But God's word endures. Our LORD remembers every agreement He makes with His people. He cares for His people and will deliver them from all the world powers that oppress them.


Although evil remains prevalent, God's infinite love and personal care have been demonstrated through the centuries. Our LORD keeps every one of His promises.


Purpose of Writing:

To give hope to God's people by revealing His future deliverance through the Messiah, our LORD & Savior. The book also bears evidence that even prophecy could be corrupted. History shows that in this period prophecy fell into disfavor among the Jews, leading to the period between the Testaments when no lasting prophetic voice spoke to God’s people.


Summary:

The Book of Zechariah teaches that salvation may be obtained by all. The last chapter depicts peoples from all over the world coming to worship God, who desires that all people follow Him. the book teaches that God desires that all people worship Him and accepts those who do, regardless of their national or political expressions. Finally, Zechariah preached that God is sovereign over this world, any appearance to the contrary notwithstanding. His visions of the future indicate that God sees all that will happen.


Overview:

Zechariah includes 14 chapters with three main sections.


Following a call to repentance (Zechariah 1:1–6) Zechariah is given a series of eight visions (Zechariah 1:17—6:15). The eight visions include a man among myrtle trees (Zechariah 1:7–17), four horns and craftsmen (Zechariah 1:18–21), a man with a measuring line (Zechariah 2:1–13), the cleansing of the high priest (Zechariah 3:1–10), a gold lampstand and two olive trees (Zechariah 4:1–14), a flying scroll (Zechariah 5:1–4), a woman in a basket (Zechariah 5:5–11), and four chariots (Zechariah 6:1–8). The section ends with mention of the consecration of the high priest Joshua (Zechariah 6:9–15).


The second main section consists of four sermons or messages from Zechariah. After questions about fasting (Zechariah 7:1–3), Zechariah's four messages condemn the Israelites for sinful motives (Zechariah 7:4–7), demand repentance from the people (Zechariah 7:8–14), preach concerning the favor of the Jews which will be restored in the land (Zechariah 8:1–17), and tell the people their traditional fasts would now be times of feasting (Zechariah 8:18–23).


The final section addresses two concerns of Zechariah in chapters 9—14. In chapters 9—11 he predicts the coming of the Messiah, and judgment on those nations who reject Him when He appears. Yet chapters 12—14 note a second coming at which He will be embraced and restore all things. The messages of these chapters have been partly fulfilled in the coming of Jesus as the Messiah, while the yet future predictions of the second coming of Christ remain to be completed in the future.


Foreshadowing:

Prophecies about Jesus Christ and the messianic era abound in Zechariah. From the promise that Messiah would come and dwell in our midst (Zechariah 2:10-12; Matthew 1:23) to the symbolism of the Branch and the Stone (Zechariah 3:8-9, 6:12-13; Isaiah 11:1; Luke 20:17-18) to the promise of His Second Coming where they who pierced Him will look upon Him and mourn (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:33-37), Christ is the theme of the Book of Zechariah. Jesus is the Savior of Israel, a fountain whose blood covers the sins of all who come to Him for salvation (Zechariah 13:1; 1 John 1:7).


Application:

God expects sincere worship and moral living of us today. Zechariah’s example of breaking through national prejudice reminds us to reach out into all areas of our society. We must extend God’s invitation of salvation to people of all national origins, languages, races, and cultures. That salvation is only available through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, who died in our place to atone for sin. But if we reject that sacrifice, there is no other sacrifice through which we can be reconciled to God. There is no other name under heaven by which men are saved (Acts 4:12).


Key Verses (ESV):


Zechariah 1:3, "Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Return to me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you,' says the LORD Almighty."


Zechariah 7:13, "'When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,' says the LORD Almighty."


Zechariah 9:9, "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."


Zechariah 13:9, "This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.'"



*Note:

Zechariah was a priest and prophet born during the exile in Babylon. He later came to Jerusalem under the first return with Zerubbabel and Joshua. Zechariah, like Haggai, encouraged the people to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Ezra 6:14–15 notes this project soon began and was completed four years later.


In addition, the purpose of the eight night visions (1:7-6:8) is explained in 1:3,5-6: The Lord said that if Judah would return to him, he would return to them.


I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.


May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.


Love you much.


Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!


-Humble Servant


P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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