DATE: 520-518 B.C.
Zechariah's father, Berechiah, probably died when his son was young, making Zechariah the immediate successor of his grandfather, Iddo (Neh. 12:4). Iddo was a priest who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel and Joshua and was, according to tradition, a member of the Great Synagogue (the governing body of the Jews before the Sanhedrin). The name Zechariah (used in the Old Testament of 27 other people) means "Yahweh remembers." This Zechariah was a contemporary of the prophet Haggai (Ezra 5:1; 6:14).
Background and Purpose
During the reign of Cyrus, more than 50,000 Jews returned to Palestine from Babylon in 538 B.C. They laid the foundation of the Temple in 536, but opposition stalled the work for about 15 years (Ezra 1:1-4; 4:1-5). Darius Hystaspes (1:1), who came to the throne in 521, confirmed Cyrus's decree, and Zechariah, like Haggai, encouraged the people to finish the Temple (which they did in 516).
Christology of the Book
Zechariah predicted more about Messiah than any other prophet except Isaiah. Prophecies concerning His first coming include Zech. 3:8; 9:9, 16; 11:11-13; 12:10; 13:1, 6; and prophecies to be fulfilled at His second coming include 6:12; 14:1-21.
The book is one of consolation and hope, beginning with a call to repentance and concluding with prophecies concerning the return and reign of Christ.
Outline of Zechariah
The Call to Repentance, 1:1-6
The Visions of Zechariah, 1:7-6:15
The Vision of the Horses and Riders, 1:7-17
The Vision of the Four Horns and Four Carpenters, 1:18-21
The Vision of the Surveyor, 2:1-13
The Vision of Joshua the High Priest, 3:1-10
The Vision of the Golden Candlestick, 4:1-14
The Vision of the Flying Scroll, 5:1-4
The Vision of the Woman in the Ephah, 5:5-11
The Vision of the Four Chariots, 6:1-8
The Crowning of Joshua, 6:9-15
The Questions Concerning Fasts, 7:1-8:23
The Fasts, 7:1-3
The Failure of the People, 7:4-14
The Future for Jerusalem, 8:1-23
The Oracles Concerning the Future, 9:1-14:21
The First Oracle, 9:1-11:17
The victories of Alexander the Great, 9:1-8
The comings of the King, 9:9-10
The victories of the Maccabees, 9:11-17
The blessings from Messiah, 10:1-12
The rejection of the Shepherd, 11:1-17
The Second Oracle, 12:1-14:21
The Lord's care for Jerusalem, 12:1-14
The Lord's cleansing of Jerusalem 13:1-9
The Lord's second coming to Jerusalem, 14:1-21
Zechariah 1:1-6 Breakdown
Zechariah 1:1 In the eighth month of Darius’ second year, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah, son of Berechiah son of Iddo, as follows:
Darius was the King of Persia. Persia had conquered Babylon and was the new world power. Israel was a vassal state to Persia.
This prophecy was written in 520 B.C. by the prophet Zechariah. Zechariah was the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo. Zechariah means “Jehovah remembers.” Berechiah means “Jehovah blesses”. Iddo means “time.’ Together, this genealogy means “Jehovah will remember and Jehovah will bless in his time.”
2 The Lord was very angry with your ancestors.
Israel was called by God to become priests to all of the nations. Instead, they began worshipping demons. This made Jehovah very angry, because Israel had more light than the other nations.
3 Therefore say to the people: The Lord who rules over all says, “Turn to me,” says the Lord who rules over all, “and I will turn to you,” says the Lord who rules over all.
Jehovah called Israel to leave the worship of demons and return back to Him.
4 “Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the former prophets called out, saying, ‘The Lord who rules over all says, “Turn now from your evil wickedness,” ’ but they would by no means obey me,” says the Lord.
Jehovah commanded the post-exilic generation to not be like the pre-exilic generation.
5 “As for your ancestors, where are they? And did the prophets live forever?
Jehovah asked some questions to this new generation. First, where are your ancestors? The answer was that many of them died in unbelief and they are located in hell.
Israel responds, “Did the prophets live forever?” Israel is complaining that the prophets died and their messages died as well.
6 But have my words and statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, not outlived your fathers? Then they paid attention and confessed, ‘The Lord who rules over all has indeed done what he said he would do to us, because of our sinful ways.’ ”
God responds, “Did the messages of the prophets outlive your fathers?” The answer is yes. The messages of the prophets were still in written form for anyone to read.
Israel responded with a confession, “We sinned. The words of the prophets all came true.”
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