Zechariah 1-3

Thursday Evening Bible Study

July 6, 2006


Zechariah was a contemporary of the prophet Haggai.

Over 50,000 Jews had returned to their homeland under the decree of King Cyrus of Persia.  Initially the Jews laid the foundation for a new Temple, but got sidetracked, hindered, delayed, and for 15 years the Temple remained unfinished.

(Ezra 5:1-2 NKJV)  Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. {2} So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
It was under the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah that the work got stirred up again.

The dating of the book overlaps with the book of Haggai, this book was written between 520 and 518 BC.

One of the wonderful things of the book of Zechariah is the amount of prophecy about the coming Messiah.

There are more prophecies about the Messiah in this book than any other Old Testament book (except for Isaiah).

Zechariah 1

:1-6 Call to repentance

:1 In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

It is October/November of 520 BC.

Haggai has already received two prophecies: 

Hag. 1 (given in the 6th month)
A message about not neglecting God’s house in order to build their own houses.
Hag. 2:1-9 (given in the seventh month).
The glory of the coming Temple will be greater than the former Temple.

Zechariah – “Yahweh remembers”

There are 27 people in the Bible who are named Zechariah.  It’s a popular name.

:2 "The LORD has been very angry with your fathers.

The nation had been in captivity in Babylon for seventy years because of the sins of the fathers.

:3 "Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Return to Me," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts.



If you have been far from God, and you are willing to turn around, you will find that God is right there waiting for you.
(John 6:37 NKJV)  "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
If you have been away from God and you want to come back, He’s not going to say “no”.
(James 4:8 NKJV)  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

:4 "Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds." ' But they did not hear nor heed Me," says the LORD.

former prophets – like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

:5 "Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?

:6 Yet surely My words and My statutes, Which I commanded My servants the prophets, Did they not overtake your fathers? "So they returned and said: 'Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, According to our ways and according to our deeds, So He has dealt with us.'" ' "

God’s Word endures.

The prophets may die, but God’s Word continues.

Pay attention to what God says.

:7-17 Vision of Horses

:7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet:

Three months after the first prophecy, another one arrives. 

This is also two months after Haggai’s final prophecies in 2:10-19 (encouragement to holiness), and 2:20-23 (assurance for Zerubbabel).

The implication is that the people have been listening to Haggai and Zechariah, and they have indeed repented.

:8 I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white.

I saw by night – this is a “vision”, where a person sees something while still awake.

a man – this is going to be the “angel of the Lord” (vs. 11)

sorrel – a reddish-brown color.

:9 Then I said, "My lord, what are these?" So the angel who talked with me said to me, "I will show you what they are."

The angel talking with Zechariah is not the one next to the trees.

:10 And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, "These are the ones whom the LORD has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth."

God is aware of what goes on with this planet.

(2 Chr 16:9 NKJV)  "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…

These men on horses are are angelic beings on patrol around the earth, good guys.

:11 So they answered the Angel of the LORD, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, "We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly."

the Angel of the LORD – we will be seeing a lot of this person in this book.

This is a specific phrase used to describe a specific person in the Old Testament.

The word “angel” (Hebrew, mal’ak) means a “messenger” or “representative”.  It doesn’t necessarily refer to the type of created being that we call “angels”.
The combination of these words (the angel of the LORD) is a phrase that refers to someone who is also worshipped and called God.
We believe that this is the person of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, appearing to men in His “preincarnate” (pre-birth) form.
He is found speaking with people like Abraham (Gen 22:11); Moses (Ex. 3:2); Gideon (Judg. 6), and many others …

These other angelic beings on the other horses are reporting in to Jesus.

The angelic messengers report that all the heathen nations are resting in prosperity (while Judah is still desolate).

:12 Then the Angel of the LORD answered and said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?"

The Temple in Jerusalem was in ruins from 586-516 BC.

:13 And the LORD answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words.

:14 So the angel who spoke with me said to me, "Proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "I am zealous for Jerusalem And for Zion with great zeal.

God has a passion for His people.  God has a passion for Jerusalem.

:15 I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; For I was a little angry, And they helped; but with evil intent."

God was angry with Judah for its sins and that was why God allowed the heathen nations to come against Judah. 

But the heathen nations went further than God wanted them to go.  They tried to wipe out the Jews.

:16 'Therefore thus says the LORD: "I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it," says the LORD of hosts, "And a surveyor's line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem."'

surveyor’s line – the implication is that Jerusalem will be rebuilt.

The Temple will be finished in 4 years, 516 BC.

:17 "Again proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The LORD will again comfort Zion, And will again choose Jerusalem."' "


God is for you

Sometimes we can have this idea that God is some cranky old man sitting up in heaven just waiting to pound us again and again with his hammer of judgment.
Sometimes we can look at other people and because WE don’t like them, we assume that God doesn’t like them either.
I think of all the stories of Jesus being accused by the Pharisees of being a “friend of sinners”.  I think of how Jesus treated “sinners”.
(John 8:1-11 NKJV)  But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. {2} Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. {3} Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, {4} they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. {5} "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" {6} This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

The Pharisees have caught themselves a sinner.  There is no question that she is a sinner.  The Pharisees can’t be considered guilty of “misjudging” the woman, she was caught in the act.

But they have no compassion on sinners.  They are only thinking about how they can hurt Jesus.

{7} So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." {8} And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. {9} Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. {10} When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" {11} She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

Jesus has compassion on sinners.  He forgives them.  He cleanses them.  He wants them to “sin no more”.

How do we think God thinks of us?  Is He angry all the time?  Is He ought to “get us”?
(Rom 8:31-34 NKJV)  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? {32} He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? {33} Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. {34} Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Sometimes we might feel like others are constantly judging us, criticizing us, looking for ways to trip us up.

God is not like that.

God is for us.

:18-21 Vision of horns and craftsmen

:18 Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns.

horns – perhaps like the horns of an animal.  Horns often are a symbol of power.

:19 And I said to the angel who talked with me, "What are these?" So he answered me, "These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem."

What do the horns represent specifically?

Perhaps the nations of Assyria, Egypt, Babylonia, and Medo-Persia.

:20 Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen.

craftsmencharash craftsman, artisan, engraver, graver, artificer

The craftsmen take the raw material, like horns, and make something out of it.

:21 And I said, "What are these coming to do?" So he said, "These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head; but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it."

The craftsmen would be the nations that would bring down the nations represented by the “horns”.

Zechariah 2

2:1-13 Vision of the Surveyor

:1 Then I raised my eyes and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand.

A surveyor measuring the land, getting ready to divide the land into plots, preparing for building.

:2 So I said, "Where are you going?" And he said to me, "To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length."

There’s going to be a construction project in Jerusalem, the city that has been in ruins.

The book of Nehemiah tells us that when the people returned from Babylon, they didn’t settle in Jerusalem, they settled in the cities around Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was still a prime target for invading armies.  They wouldn’t settle in Jerusalem until the walls were built around the city.

:3 And there was the angel who talked with me, going out; and another angel was coming out to meet him,

:4 who said to him, "Run, speak to this young man, saying: 'Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it.

without walls – a sign of peace, no need for defense against enemies.

multitude – a picture of prosperity.

It would seem that this is a prophecy about Jerusalem in the Millennium.

:5 'For I,' says the LORD, 'will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.'"

This too would be a picture of the Millennium, when Jesus will rule and reign over the earth from Jerusalem.


God’s protection

It’s described as a “wall of fire”.
(2 Ki 6:8-17 NKJV)  Now the king of Syria was making war against Israel; and he consulted with his servants, saying, "My camp will be in such and such a place." {9} And the man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, "Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are coming down there." {10} Then the king of Israel sent someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him, and he was watchful there, not just once or twice. {11} Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, "Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?" {12} And one of his servants said, "None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom." {13} So he said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him." And it was told him, saying, "Surely he is in Dothan." {14} Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. {15} And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"
Elisha’s servant was freaked out seeing the Syrian army surrounding their city.  From his perspective, it looked pretty hopeless.
{16} So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
I imagine that the servant must have thought that Elisha either needed glasses or he was nuts.
{17} And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
I wonder sometimes if I really understand this.  I wonder sometimes if I really am aware of what God is doing.
Sometimes we can feel so alone and discouraged.
John Paton was a missionary in the New Hebrides Islands.  One night hostile natives surrounded the mission station, intent on burning out the Patons and killing them.  Paton and his wife prayed during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them.  When daylight came they were amazed to see their attackers leave.  A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Christ.  Remembering what had happened, Paton asked the chief what had kept him from burning down the house and killing them.  The chief replied in surprise, “Who were all those men with you there?”  Paton knew no men were present—but the chief said he was afraid to attack because he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords circling the mission station.
If only our eyes were opened.  And our ears too …
Hard of Hearing
Three old guys are out walking. First one says, “Windy, isn’t it?” Second one says, “No, it’s Thursday!” Third one says, “So am I. Let’s go get a soda.”
A man was telling his neighbor, “I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it’s state of the art. It’s perfect.” “Really,” answered the neighbor. “What kind is it?” “Twelve thirty.”
When we find ourselves deficient in wisdom, it is not because the Word of God has pages missing, but because we have not seen all there is on the pages we already have. It is not another book we need, but better attention to the book we have; it is not more knowledge we require, but better vision to see what has already been revealed in Jesus Christ.

-- Eugene H. Peterson

God open our eyes.  Open our ears.

:6 "Up, up! Flee from the land of the north," says the LORD; "for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven," says the LORD.

:7 "Up, Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon."

Only 50,000 Jews had come back from Babylon to this point.

The word is sent out for the rest to come home.

After Rome wiped out Jerusalem in 70AD, the Jews were once again scattered.

But since 1948, when Israel was once again established as a nation, the Jews are returning home.  I believe that this year the Jewish population of Israel will now cross the point of being the nation with the most Jews around the world.

:8 For thus says the LORD of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.

the apple of His eye – one commentator says the Hebrew word means literally “gate” or “opening”.  We think this is referring to the pupil of the eye.

God is telling His people that if anyone touches them, it’s like poking God in the eye.  You don’t want to do that.

:9 "For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me.

:10 "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst," says the LORD.

:11 "Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.

Again, this speaks of the Millennium and the many Gentiles that will be joined to the Lord.

:12 "And the LORD will take possession of Judah as His inheritance in the Holy Land, and will again choose Jerusalem.

:13 "Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for He is aroused from His holy habitation!"

Zechariah 3

3:1-10 Vision of Joshua cleansed

:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.

I imagine that the reason behind this vision was the fact that the ministry of the priests had been disrupted for seventy years.  Who did these priests think they were to claim to represent God after God had brought such judgment on the nation?

The purpose of this vision was for God to show the people that He was behind this priesthood.

Joshua – this is the actual high priest in Zechariah’s day.

Joshua … Jesus … Satan

This seems like something that is going on in heaven right now.

Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10) who accuses believers night and day.

Jesus (the Angel of the LORD) is our defense attorney.

(1 John 2:1-2 NKJV)  My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. {2} And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

And there’s a sense in which we can certainly identify with Joshua, standing there being accused by Satan.

:2 And the LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?"

a brand plucked from the fire – someone who has been rescued from the brink of destruction, saved from the Babylonian captivity.  God has rescued this man, so Satan better back off.

the Lord rebuke you

We stand behind the rebuke of the Lord.

Some people act as if they’ve big enough to take on Satan single-handedly.  I’m not sure that’s a wise thing.

If Satan comes knocking on your door, it’s best to turn around and yell, “Jesus, it’s for You!”

We have authority over Satan, but it’s the Lord’s authority, not our own.

:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.

filthy garments – garments are a picture of a person’s life.  This might be a picture of how the people had been away from God, perhaps a picture of how God viewed the people in their sin which led to the Babylonian captivity.  Perhaps it’s a picture simply showing that Joshua wasn’t right with God.

Our good deeds …

(Isa 64:6 NKJV)  But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

On a good day, the best we can come up with on our own to wear before the Lord is filthy rags.

:4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, "Take away the filthy garments from him." And to him He said, "See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes."

What a great picture of the cleansing that Jesus gives us.

Jesus will give us clean clothes:

(Rev 19:8 NKJV)  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
(Rev 19:14 NKJV)  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

:5 And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.

clean turban – this was the head piece worn by the high priest.

On the turban was a plate on which was engraved “Holy to the Lord”.

(Exo 28:36-38 NKJV)  "You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD. {37} "And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. {38} "So it shall be on Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.

Joshua is returned to his ministry.

:6 Then the Angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying,

:7 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'If you will walk in My ways, And if you will keep My command, Then you shall also judge My house, And likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk Among these who stand here.

God promises Joshua a place of authority if he will keep his clothes clean, if he will continue to walk with the Lord.

There are plenty of examples of people that God has used despite their sin.  But God’s desire is for us to live a pure life.

(2 Tim 2:20-21 NKJV)  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. {21} Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

Authority comes from a pure life.

:8 'Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.

My Servant – a title for Jesus (Is. 42:1-4)

the Branch – another name for Messiah, for Jesus (Is. 11:1-4)

:9 For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,' Says the LORD of hosts, 'And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

the stone – what stone?

Perhaps this too is a reference to Jesus?

(Psa 118:22 NKJV)  The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.

seven eyes – a picture of perfect knowledge.  Seven is the number of perfection, completion.  Eyes are how we see things.  Jesus sees everything, knows everything.

remove the iniquity of the land in one day

On the cross He dealt with our sins all at once.

(Heb 10:14 NKJV)  For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

When He returns He will remove iniquity from Israel.

(Rom 11:25-26 NKJV)  For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. {26} And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

:10 In that day,' says the LORD of hosts, 'Everyone will invite his neighbor Under his vine and under his fig tree.'"

This is a picture of peace and prosperity

(1 Ki 4:25 NKJV)  And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

More specifically, it’s a description of the Millennium, when Jesus rules and reigns on the earth.

(Micah 4:4 NKJV)  But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.



Perhaps you feel like Joshua, being accused by Satan while you stand their in your filthy clothes.
God wants to cleanse you and restore you.
God wants to use you.