Last Updated on May 7, 2023 by David H Mercer
Zechariah encouraged the people to put away the sin in their lives and to 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.
Besides encouragement and hope, Zechariah’s messages were also a warning that God’s 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. We too may face much sorrow, disappointment, and distress before coming into Christ’s eternal kingdom.
The first eight chapters frequently allude to the Temple and encourage the people to complete their great work on the new sanctuary. As they build the Temple, they are building their future, because that very structure will be used by the Messiah when He comes to bring salvation.
Writer, Date, and Historical Setting
Most conservative scholars agree that the entire book of Zechariah was written by the prophet of that name, who identifies himself in the book’s introduction as the “son of Berechiah” (1:1), although some scholars insist the second major section of the book, chapters 9 – 14, was added by an unknown author 30 or 40 years later. Most likely, these prophecies were delivered and then reduced to writing over a period of about 45 years – from 520 to 475 B. C.
Zechariah probably was a priest as well as a prophet – an unusual circumstance because most of the prophets of Israel spoke out against the priestly class. He was probably born in Babylon while the Jewish people were in captivity and returned with his family with the first wave of captives who reached Jerusalem under Zerubbabel about 530 B. C.
Theological Contribution of Zechariah
One of the greatest contributions to the Book of Zechariah is the merger of the priestly and prophetic elements in Israel’s history, a preparation for the understanding of Christ as both priest and prophet. Zechariah is also noted for his development of an apocalyptic-prophetic style – highly symbolized and visionary language concerning the events of the Endtime. In this, his writing stands apart from the Books of Daniel and Revelation.
Special Considerations of Zechariah
Zechariah 12:10 is a remarkable verse that speaks of the response of the nation of Israel to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. It describes a day in the future when the Jewish people (the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem) will recognize the significance of the death of Jesus, and be saved. But the most startling thing about Zechariah 12:10 is the phrase “Then they will look on Me whom they have pierced.” In speaking through the prophet Zechariah, the Lord identifies Himself as the one who will be pierced.
Click here to download or print the Bible outline “Zechariah – Prepare for the Messiah“.