Morning Bible Study
The historical background to Zechariah, like that of Haggai, is found in the book of Ezra.
Zechariah lived during the time that the Jews had begun to return from
Babylon and rebuild their Temple.
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.
We now begin a new section in Zechariah, when he gives a series of prophecies
that look far into the future.
:1 Ask the Lord
for rain In the time of the latter rain. The Lord
will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers
of rain, Grass in the field for everyone.
:1 Ask the Lord for rain
Rain in Israel comes during two seasons of the year, the former rain (Sept.-Oct.),
and the latter rain (March-April).
Both were necessary to allow the crops to grow properly.
The question is, what do you do to cause the rain
to fall? Do a “rain dance”? Who do you call for help? Do
you resort to asking the various idols?
Our state is in the middle of a massive drought.
I appreciate the passing of “Prop. 1” that will somehow help us with future
droughts, but what we really need to be doing is turning to God and asking Him
:1 the time of the latter rain
Some have suggested here a hint about the Holy Spirit.
The prophet Joel talked about both rain (Joel 2:23) and the Holy Spirit.
Be glad then, you children of Zion,And rejoice in the Lord
(Joel 2:28–29 NKJV) —28 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I
will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old
men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My
menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted Joel to explain the Holy Spirit being poured out on the disciples.
But Joel went on to say,
(Joel 2:30–31 NKJV) —30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in
the earth: Blood and
fire and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon
into blood, Before the
coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
Some have suggested that the “early rain” of the Holy Spirit came on the
day of Pentecost, while the “latter rain” would be an outpouring of the Spirit
during the time just before Jesus comes back.
God says through Zechariah that we ought to “ask the Lord for rain”.
We ought to be praying for a fresh, overwhelming
outpouring of the Holy Spirit on us and on the world.
:2 For the idols speak delusion; The diviners
envision lies, And tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. Therefore
the people wend their way like sheep; They are in trouble because there
is no shepherd.
:2 idols – [email protected] –
a kind of idol
used in household shrine or worship, often used in “divination”, trying to
figure out the future.
interesting that the word teraphim
is derived from the Arabic word tarafa, meaning “to live in comfort”.
Teraphim were worshipped as the source of earthly prosperity.
:2 They comfort in vain
There are all sorts of things that we turn to in times of need or times of
trouble. The problem is that some of them
I don’t offend you, I don’t know the name of the
karate fellow in the commercial, but frankly, if you were acting like that in a
beauty salon, I’d think you were an idiot.
And I guess the message of the commercial is
that when you’re drinking “Southern Comfort”, you “don’t care”.
There are all sorts of things that we look to for “comfort”, but what they
really give us is a fake.
turn to alcohol. Others
to drugs. Some
to sex. Some to
food. Some try to forget their
troubles by going to a movie, or some form of entertainment.
Some of those “comforts” are better than others.
But ultimately they all fall
1:3–5 NKJV) —3 Blessed be
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of
all comfort, 4
who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to
comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves
are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation
also abounds through Christ.
My friend, as far-fetched as this sounds, God has
the ability to give you “comfort” like no other. Do we really believe that?
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have
tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
:3 “My anger is kindled against the shepherds, And
I will punish the goatherds. For the Lord
of hosts will visit His flock, The house of Judah, And
will make them as His royal horse in the battle.
:3 shepherds …goatherds
Because of this, the leaders of Israel are often referred to as “shepherds”, and the nation as “sheep”.
The “goatherds” might be referring to the foreign leaders ruling over the Jews.
:3 make them as His royal horse
The southern kingdom of Judah will become God’s battle horse.
:4 From him comes the cornerstone, From him the
tent peg, From him the battle bow, From him every ruler together.
:4 From him comes
From the tribe of Judah – three things that speak of the
:4 the cornerstone
The cornerstone is the key piece to the foundation of a building.
Peter quotes several Old Testament passages (Is. 28:16; Ps. 118:22; Is.
8:14) when he writes,
Therefore thus says the Lord God:Whoever believes will not act hastily.
The stone which the builders
He will be as a sanctuary,
(1 Peter 2:4–8 NKJV) —4 Coming to Him as
to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and
precious, 5 you also,
as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to
offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Peter is talking about how we as believers are a sort of “temple”, a place
where God is worshipped.
it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by
no means be put to shame.”
When you put your trust in Jesus, you become part of God’s building, and you will never be put to shame by God.
to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone
which the builders rejected Has become
the chief cornerstone,”
Peter is quoting Ps. 118:22. Jesus
was rejected by the Jewish leaders, but He was in fact the very One that God’s
work was built upon.
8 and “A stone
of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
For those who reject Jesus, He is something that causes them to stumble, to
“trip”. They fall on their face in God’s
:4 the tent peg
A better translation would be a “nail”.
The word is used to describe a faithful man
(Isaiah 22:23–24 NKJV) —23 I will fasten him as a peg in a secure
place, And he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house. 24 ‘They will
hang on him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the
posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers.
There are a lot of valuable things that hang on a
nail today – masterpieces of art, costly clothing, valuable objects.
Everything important “hangs” on Jesus.
:4 the battle bow
Jesus is the ultimate warrior.
(Exodus 15:3 NKJV) The Lord
is a man of war; The Lord is
When Jesus returns, He will deal with His enemies…
NKJV) And the rest
were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the
horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
:4 every ruler together
A better translation of the Hebrew would read, “from Him will depart every oppressor”.
The idea is that He will expel everyone who oppresses His people.
:5 They shall be like mighty men, Who tread down their
enemies In the mire of the streets in the battle. They shall fight because
the Lord is with them, And the riders on horses shall be put to shame.
:5 They shall be like mighty men
God promises to one day empower the army of Israel.
Why would anyone want to come against the army of Israel?
It also reminds me of our own armed forces and those who have served our
Do we have any veterans with us today?
Would you stand?
:6 “I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I
will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, Because
I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; For I am the Lord
their God, And I will hear them.
:7 Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty
man, And their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall
see it and be glad; Their heart shall rejoice
in the Lord.
:6 Judah … Joseph
Judah is the southern kingdom.
“Joseph” is another title for the northern kingdom.
The southern kingdom isn’t the only one that God
will be restoring and blessing.
:8 I will whistle for them and gather them, For I
will redeem them; And they shall increase as they once increased.
:9 “I will sow them
among the peoples, And they shall remember Me in far countries; They shall
live, together with their children, And they shall return.
:8 whistle for them and gather them
God gathering Israel from the nations.
:9 I will sow
them among the peoples
The population of Jews will grow because they will have been scattered
around the world where they will have grown in number.
The Assyrian and Babylonian captivities have already passed in Zechariah’s
God is hinting that there will be another future dispersion of the Jews, as
they were scattered by the Romans in AD 70.
:9 they shall remember Me in far
No matter where the Jews have been scattered, they have remembered God. They have retained their identity as a people
who worship God.
:10 I will also bring them back from the land of
Egypt, And gather them from Assyria. I will bring them into the land of Gilead
and Lebanon, Until no more room is found for
:10 Egypt … Assyria
These were two places where the Jews had already been
held in bondage.
They represent the places in the world where the Jews would
be oppressed and scattered.
:10 Until no more room is found
There will be a LOT of Jews.
We’ve mentioned this many times before, but a
miracle has been going on for the last sixty years as millions of Jews have
come from all around the world to make Israel their home. They call this immigration “making Aliyah”
:11 He shall pass through the sea with affliction,
And strike the waves of the sea: All the depths of the River shall dry up. Then
the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, And the
scepter of Egypt shall depart.
:12 “So I will strengthen them in the Lord, And they shall walk up and down
in His name,” Says the Lord.
:11 the River shall dry up
The word for “River” is one used exclusively for the Nile River in Egypt.
:11 pass through the sea with affliction
These are all pictures of how God brought the Jews out of Egypt into their
Promised Land, but it is now being spoken of as
happening in the future.
God will remove all the obstacles that would keep them from coming home.
I wonder if there might not even be a hint of how the Jews would survive the
Holocaust and establish the nation of Israel as a result.
:2 …They are in trouble because there is no
:2 because there is no shepherd
The people are like wandering sheep because they ask their idols for help
instead of asking God.
As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his
scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and
deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark
Jesus noticed something similar.
(Matthew 9:35–38 NKJV) —35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and
villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom,
and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He
saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were
weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He
said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers
are few. 38 Therefore pray the
Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
I appreciate that some of you might say that I’m
The title “pastor” means “shepherd”.
But to be honest, the best I can ever be for you
is an assistant shepherd.
Peter wrote to elders, to pastors, and said,
Peter 5:2–4 NKJV) —2 Shepherd the flock of God
which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not
for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples
to the flock; 4
and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of
glory that does not fade away.
Jesus is the “Chief Shepherd”.
(John 10:14–15 NKJV) —14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the
Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay
down My life for the sheep.
God spoke through Zechariah that the people were “in
trouble” because there was no “shepherd”.
As great as a pastor as you think I am, I am flawed. There will be times when I will actually let
Jesus is the shepherd who will NEVER let you down.
Make sure that your goal in life is to follow Jesus.
I will do my best to set a good example, but ultimately
Jesus needs to be the one that you are looking to.