There are several men in the Old Testament who had the name Zechariah. But the Zechariah who wrote this book of Zechariah was both a prophet and priest (Zc 1:7). He was the grandson of Iddo, who was one of the priestly families of Israel (See Ne 12:4,16). Both he and Haggai possibly returned to Jerusalem as young men with their parents when the first captives were permitted to reestablish Israel under the authority of the Persian king, Cyrus. This first return was led by Zerubbabel and took place in 536 B.C. It was not until sixteen years later in 520 that God called them to stir up the people to rebuild the temple which had been allowed to remain in ruins since the return in 536 B.C. Though the first returnees restored the foundation, opposition from the local residents led to discouragement, delay and indifference.
Zechariah 1:7 – 6:8 is a series of visions that are climaxed by the crowning of Joshua as a symbol of the Branch/Messiah who would build a future spiritual temple and reign as priest and king (6:9-15). In the section of 9:1 – 14:21, Israel’s enemies are judged with the coming of the Prince of Peace (9:1-17). The evil shepherds that led Israel to spiritual ruin, would give way to God’s leader (10:1-12). The Good Shepherd would be rejected by the flock, and then, He would suffer from the attack of an evil shepherd (11:1-17). Jerusalem is then in distress, and subsequently, looks to the One who was pierced (12:1-14). Prophecy is terminated when the Good Shepherd opens the fountain that cleanses sin (13:1-9). The series of visionary exhortations is then concluded by the judgments of the kingdoms of the world by God (14:1-21).
A. Historical/social background:
s with the call of Haggai, so was the purpose for the calling of Zechariah. Zechariah was called to encourage the people because of great things that were yet in their future. His was a series of visions that portrayed the glory of Israel if they completed their task of rebuilding the presence of God in Israel.
The first return of the remnant occurred in 536 B.C. Work started on the reconstruction of the foundation of the temple, but it soon ceased once the locals opposed their efforts. Their reconstruction efforts were idle for sixteen years until God called both Haggai and Zechariah in 520 B.C. to reignite the flame to work. So with the encouragement of the two prophets, and the leadership of Zerubbabel, the temple was completed in only four years after the people went to work.
[Zechariah preaches tomorrow.]