Morning Bible Study
The background to Zechariah, like that of Haggai, is
found in the book of Ezra.
After having been captive in Babylon for seventy years, the Jews are given permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild
their Temple in Jerusalem.
When the Temple construction is stopped, it was Haggai
and Zechariah who began to prophesy and encourage the people to finish the
Temple. (Ezra 5:1-2)
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
The prophecies of Zechariah are given during the
years of 520-518 BC.
One of the key distinctions of the book of Zechariah is the amount of
prophecy about the coming Messiah.
Chapter 7 started our current section with a prophecy that came as an
answer to an envoy sent from the city of Bethel to ask whether
or not they should keep performing the national “fast” in the fifth
month. The answer continues…
1:1-23 Zion’s Future
:1 Again the word of the Lord of hosts came, saying,
:2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; With
great fervor I am zealous for her.’
:2 I am zealous for Zion
God uses the same word (zeal) three times, and even adds the word “fervor”.
The words describe God’s passion for Jerusalem.
When Zechariah receives this from the Lord, the Temple is still two years
away from completion.
The city is in ruins. It will still
be another sixty years before Nehemiah shows up to rebuild Jerusalem.
In Zechariah’s day, Jerusalem was still a dangerous place to live.
Think of the pictures you’ve seen of European
cities that were bombed during World War II.
Does God care about Jerusalem? Yes
And you have forgotten the exhortation
which speaks to you as to sons:Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;And scourges every son whom He receives.”
:3 “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will return to Zion, And dwell in the midst of
Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the Lord of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’
:3 I will return to Zion
Early in the Babylonian captivity, the prophet Ezekiel had a vision of the
glory of God departing from the Temple and leaving Jerusalem. (Eze 10:18; 11:22-23)
Then the glory of the Lord
departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.
the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside
them, and the glory of the God of Israel was high above them. the glory of the Lord
went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain, which is
on the east side of the city.
Now God promises that there will be day when He will return to Jerusalem.
This will be fulfilled when Jesus returns and
rules and reigns over the earth from Jerusalem.
:3 (Jerusalem shall be called) the City
truth – ‘emeth – faithfulness, truth; reliability
Pay attention to this word in our passage.
See how many times it shows up (5)
If Jerusalem is going to be known as a city of
“truth”, what kind of people do you suppose will live in it?
People of truth.
:3 The Mountain of the Lord of hosts
Jerusalem sits on mount Moriah. It will be known
as God’s mountain.
:3 The Holy Mountain
It will be known as a “holy” mountain, a place
that is pure.
:4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Old men and old women shall again sit In the
streets of Jerusalem, Each one with his staff in his hand Because of great age.
:5 The streets of the city Shall be full of boys
and girls Playing in its streets.’
:4 Old men and old women
Not all old people “sit” in the streets.
Some even drive
The place will have been settled and secured so much that people will be
able to safely grow old in the city, and children will
play in the streets.
“No more shall an infant from there live but a few
The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
:6 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant
of this people in these days, Will it also be marvelous in My eyes?’ Says the Lord hosts.
:6 If it is marvelous
Even though the people of Zechariah’s day might think this was all too good
to be true, it is not impossible for God.
What might seem “too marvelous” in the people’s eyes was not “too
marvelous” for God.
Not too hard
What may seem to be “too hard” for you, is not “too hard” for God.
When God was telling Jeremiah that the land would one day
be repopulated, Jeremiah responded:
(Jeremiah 32:17 NKJV) ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have
made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There
is nothing too hard for You.
“Behold, I am the Lord,
the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Jesus told His disciples,
(Luke 18:27 NKJV) But He said,
“The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
I’m not here to fill your mind with wild dreams of
things that God might not intend for your life.
But we will be talking about the kind of people
God wants to be, and frankly some of us have started to think it’s impossible.
There are bad habits we think we can’t change.
There are sins we think we can’t stop.
Nothing is impossible.
:7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land
of the east And from the land of the west;
:8 I will bring them back, And they shall
dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My
people And I will be their God, In truth and righteousness.’
:7 from the land of the east … west
God is promising that one day He will be bringing Jews back to Israel from
all over the world. That’s
For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down,My name shall be great among the Gentiles;In every place incense shall be offered to My name,And a pure offering;
:8 In truth
He will be their God “in truth” and righteousness
This is the same word used for “truth” in verse 3. (second
:9 “Thus says the Lord of
hosts: ‘Let your hands be strong, You who have been hearing in these days These
words by the mouth of the prophets, Who spoke in the day the foundation
was laid For the house of the Lord
of hosts, That the temple might be built.
:9 by the mouth of the prophets
Haggai and Zechariah were the prophets that had been speaking to the people
at this time.
:10 For before these days There were no wages for man nor any hire
for beast; There was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came
in; For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor.
:10 no peace from the enemy
After the foundation had been laid for the Temple,
the enemies of the Jews worked hard to stop what was being done. (Ezr. 4:4-5)
Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people
of Judah. They troubled them in building,
:10 no wages for man
When the people stopped building the Temple, God slowed down their
economy. He let the stock market
crash. Haggai said …
(Haggai 1:6 NKJV) “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat,
but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe
yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
:11 But now I will not treat the
remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the Lord of hosts.
:12 ‘For the seed shall be prosperous, The vine shall give its
fruit, The ground shall give her increase, And the heavens shall give their
dew— I will cause the remnant of this people To possess all these.
:13 And it shall come to pass That just as you were a curse among
the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, So I will save you, and you
shall be a blessing. Do not fear, Let your hands be
:12 For the seed shall be
Now that the people are obeying God and have begun rebuilding, God promises
to turn the economy around.
:14 “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Just as I determined to punish you When your
fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ Says the Lord
of hosts, ‘And I would not relent,
:15 So again in these days I am determined to do
good To Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear.
Before, God was determined to chastise the people.
Now God is just as determined to bless them.
:16 These are the things you shall do:
Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; Give judgment in your gates for
truth, justice, and peace;
:17 Let none of you think evil in your heart
against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath. For all these are
things that I hate,’ Says the Lord.”
:16 These are the things you
There are some very practical things that the people
should be doing.
:16 Speak each man the truth to his
This is that old word for “truth” from vs. 3 (third time)
Living in Truth
If we are going to live in the “City of Truth”, following the God “of
truth”, then we need to be people of truth.
God is all about truth.
(John 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth,
and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
The New Testament word translated “truth” means literally
The “truth” is what you see when you pull off all the
layers hiding the truth. Truth is what
things really are. Jesus has the
absolute truth about God. He is God.
Truth is one of the qualities that defines the
Christian. Paul talks about the true
Christian nature and actually quotes Zechariah:
(Ephesians 4:25 NKJV) Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each
one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one
If we claim to be children of the God who is “Truth”, then
we need to stop pretending to be what we aren’t.
Stop covering up things in your life.
Truth is the key to growing up.
(Ephesians 4:15 NKJV) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up
in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
Sometimes I need to speak up and confront something that I
see in another person’s life.
Believe me, that doesn’t always
go over so well.
Sometimes living in truth means that I have to admit that I’ve got flaws in my own life.
I’m never going to be able to
move past those flaws until I’m willing to own up to them.
Sometimes at church we act like little
school kids, pretending to be in fifth grade, when in reality we’re just in
You don’t get to be in fifth
grade until you do the work and pass your tests in second, third, and fourth
grades. You don’t
get to be in fifth grade by just pretending.
God help us to be honest and stop pretending.
:16 Give judgment … for truth, justice,
truth – Again this is that word for “truth”
from vs. 3 (fourth time)
When I think of the state of our justice system, I wonder if anyone could
pull off this truth, justice, and …
These are actually qualities that God wants in all His people.
These are qualities that reflect who God is.
The challenge here is that we learn to make decisions that
reflect God’s truth, justice, and peace.
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
:17 Let none of you think evil in your heart
against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath. For all these are
things that I hate,’ Says the Lord.”
:17 Let none of you think evil in your
heart against your neighbor
It’s not hard to become cynical in this
world. People let you down.
I’ve heard it said that if you assume the worst of
people, you’ll never be disappointed.
But God wants us to assume the best of people and
only accept the worst when we’re faced with overwhelming evidence.
One of my favorite TV shows is “NCIS”.
Since it’s a show about the “Navy” Criminal
Intelligence Service, there is a bit of a “pro-Navy” and “pro-Marine” slant to
Spoiler Alert: 9 out of 10 times,
even if at the beginning it looks as if the bad guy is
the Marine in custody, Leroy Jethro Gibbs will usually end up proving that the
Marine was the good guy doing the right thing.
In our justice system we call it “innocent until
Paul calls it “love”. Paul said that
(1 Corinthians 13:7 NKJV) … believes
I think that means that we believe the best, if possible.
:17 do not love a false oath
A false oath is a fake promise. When
a person swears that they are telling the truth, when they are in fact lying
and have no intention of doing what they promise.
This goes back to the “truth” stuff.
:18 Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying,
:19 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, The fast
of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy
and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth
:19 The fast of the fourth … fifth …
seventh … tenth
These are the fasts we mentioned in the last chapter,
and they all commemorated various parts of their defeat by the Babylonians.
All of these fasts will one day be turned to
feasts. This happens when Jesus returns.
To console those who mourn in Zion,To give them beauty for ashes,The oil of joy for mourning,The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;That they may be called trees of righteousness,The planting of the Lord,
that He may be glorified.”
:19 love truth and peace
Again, the word for “truth” from vs. 3 (fifth
time). Is God concerned that we
understand “truth”? Absolutely.
:20 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Peoples shall yet come, Inhabitants of many
:21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to
another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord, And seek the Lord of hosts. I myself will go also.”
:22 Yes, many peoples and strong nations Shall
come to seek the Lord of hosts in
Jerusalem, And to pray before the Lord.’
:22 Shall come to seek the Lord
It is kind of interesting to think that this
entire prophecy started back in chapter 7 with envoys from the city of Bethel
coming to ask whether or not they should keep fasting in the fifth month.
After Jesus comes back, it won’t just be people
from Bethel coming up to Jerusalem, but people from all around the world.
:23 “Thus says the Lord of
hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp
the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that
God is with you.” ’ ”
:23 God is with you
Being a light
God intended Israel to be a light to the world.
But instead of living lives that demonstrated God’s
truth, the people had rebelled against God.
Now God challenges them to live right and represent Him well.
These are the things you shall do:Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;
We need to be God’s light to others.
We need to tell people about God’s love.
We need to tell people that God loved them so much that He
gave His only Son to die in their place so they could be
But like Israel, when our lives don’t match our words,
nobody wants to listen.
When your life DOES match the words, you will find times when people will
grab you by the sleeve and say, “Let me go with you, I
hear you know God…”
(Matthew 5:14–16 NKJV) —14 “You
are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a
lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your
light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your
Father in heaven.
The light in your life is connected
with the kind of life (good works) you live.
:9 Let your hands be strong
The message was for the people building the Temple.
They hadn’t finished the work yet.
God doesn’t give us glimpses of the future just so
we can add to our knowledge of Bible Trivia.
The future Kingdom of God is meant to keep us focused on where we’re headed.
It’s easy to get discouraged, put the hammers and
chisels down and just quit. Yet several times in this chapter the message has
come through, “Be strong”.
“Thus says the Lord
Do not fear,
And so God paints a picture for them of the
He gives them a picture of what they’re making.
He shows gives them a glimpse of the city of the future.
A man came to a construction site, where stonemasons were working. The man
said to one, “What are you doing?”
The first stonemason said, “You can see, I’m chipping a stone.”
The man walked over to another mason and said, “What are you doing?”
He answered, “I’m building a wall.”
The man walked over to a third mason and said, “What are you doing?”
This mason answered, “I am building a cathedral.”
All three were doing the same thing, but what a difference
God has plans for you. He has things for you to build.
Your goal in life might be to find a spouse.
Your goal in life might be to get a promotion.
Your goal in life might be to retire.
Those are all fine goals, but I hope that’s not
where you stop. You need to think
bigger. You need to think in terms of
Friends, keep your eye on the big picture, eternity. Don’t quit.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of
evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of
God in Christ Jesus.