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Morrish Bible Dictionary
Zechariah, Prophecy of
Nothing personal is revealed concerning the prophet except that he was the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet. The dates mentioned are the eighth and eleventh months of the second year, and the ninth month of the fourth year of Darius, answering to 519 and 517 B.C., Zechariah 1:1,7; Zechariah 7:1 . Haggai's prophecy was in the second year of the same Persian king, so the two prophets were contemporary, and, according to Ezra 5:1; Ezra 6:14 , they both roused and encouraged the Jews to go on with the building of the temple. Zechariah's prophecy is much occupied with the great Gentile kingdoms under which the Jews were placed: there is also much respecting Jerusalem, and it reaches on to the time of the Messiah and His rejection, and to the last days when Israel and Judah shall be blessed in the land.
Zechariah 1 . The introduction calls upon the people to turn to the Lord: not to be like their fathers who refused to hearken to the warnings, but who when God's punishments had fallen upon them, had been forced to acknowledge the truth of the prophet's words. The point of the chapter is that Jehovah had returned to Jerusalem with mercies, and God's providential ordering of the nations would favour the building of the city. The first vision is in Zechariah 1:7-17 . A man, the angel of Jehovah, on a red horse (the horse is a symbol of the energy of God's providential government in the earth) stands in the shade among the myrtle trees, and there were other horses, red, speckled, and white, as symbols of God's agency in the government of the earth: cf. Zechariah 6:5 . "The powers that be are ordained of God" and were used by Him. If the 'red' horse signifies Persia (having the same colour as the horse of the angel, possibly because Persia was at that time ruling and was favouring God's people), doubtless the 'speckled' and the 'white' point to the two nations that were to succeed the Greek and the Roman. All were under the control of God. Babylon is not seen here: it had received its punishment.
God was angry with the surrounding nations that were at ease when Israel was being punished. The seventy years of indignation (not here the seventy years' captivity, though both periods partially synchronised) had then run their course, and a remnant of the Jews had been in grace restored, as seen in the book of Ezra; but that was only a few drops of the shower of blessing that was to descend upon them.
Zechariah 1:18-21 refer to the four kingdoms as horns, so fully prophesied of in Daniel the Babylonian, the Median and Persian, the Greek, and the Roman. These nations, used as instruments of discipline upon God's people, were to be subdued in due time by God's 'carpenters' or 'artificers.' Notice that Judah and Israel are both mentioned in Zechariah 1:19 .
Zechariah 2 . concerns the city and the deliverance of God's elect people, reaching on to the future. Jerusalem is to be measured with the end in view of its being enlarged and inhabited as towns without walls without limits: Jehovah will be a wall of fire round it, and will be the glory in its midst: cf. Isaiah 49:19,20 . "After the glory" of Jehovah has been manifested on the earth (Zechariah 2:8 ), He will send to the nations and make a spoil of them that have spoiled Israel, whom He values as the apple of His eye: cf. Deuteronomy 32:10 . Jehovah will dwell in the midst of His people, and many nations will be joined to the Lord: Jerusalem will be His earthly centre. All flesh is to be silent before the Lord, Israel were to know that though He providentially ordered things in the earth, yet that the prophet a figure of Messiah was the sent one of Jehovah. It is perfectly clear that nothing answering to this has taken place since the captivity.
Zechariah 3 . This chapter sets forth the sanctuary and active grace: in order however for Jerusalem to be thus blessed the people must be cleansed. They are represented in Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, Satan standing to resist him. God takes up the defence of His people: Satan is rebuked, the filthy garments are taken away, the iniquity is removed; Joshua is clothed with festive robes, and a pure tiara or diadem is set upon his head: cf. Isaiah 62:3 . He then is in a position of responsibility: if he is faithful he shall judge Jehovah's house, and have a place in His presence. The restored remnant is blessed, but left under responsibility till the time when Christ will make good God's counsels in the last days. The rest of the chapter refers to those days.
In Zechariah 3:8 Joshua is typical of Christ as the branch: cf. Isaiah 11:1 . Zechariah 3:9 . A stone is laid before him, also typical of Christ with the full divine intelligence for government: cf. Zechariah 4:10 and Revelation 5:6 . The iniquity of the land will be taken away in one day, and each shall repose under his own vine and his own fig-tree. Peace shall reign.
Zechariah 4:1-3 present symbolically the divine light and order of the future kingdom. Zechariah 4:6-10 give the then state of the returned remnant, the Spirit with them, and the providential (not yet direct) government of God for them. Thus the prophet was to assure Zerubbabel that he would be able to finish the house that had been begun (Zechariah 4:7 ): this was also typical of the future: cf. Zechariah 6:12 . Zechariah 4:11-14 . The royalty and priesthood of Christ will maintain by the power of the Spirit (golden oil), a perfect display of God's light and glory in connection with Israel. In principle this was to be seen in the remnant returned from Babylon. It will be also in the remnant of the last days: cf. Revelation 11:4 .
Zechariah 5:1-4 . A flying roll brings judgement (according to the holiness of God's sanctuary, 20 Ã— 10) upon the 'land' (rather than the 'earth'), and into the houses of those that sin against God (swearing falsely), and against their neighbour (stealing), that is, the mass of the Jews. Zechariah 5:5-11 . Their wicked and corrupt state is represented by a woman sitting in an ephah (one of the dry measures) upon which a weight of lead, as if to restrain her, is cast. Subsequently two women (emblematic of commercial covetousness) come forth (doubtless typical of twin forms of the development of evil), and carry it to the land of Shinar, where Babylon, the mother of idolatry, was built, there to build the ephah a house. It doubtless points to the apostasy of the Jews in the last days: its character is Babylonian. Revelation 18:4,5 .
Zechariah 6:1-8 introduce the administrative spirits of God's providential government connected with the four Gentile empires as horses: the red (Babylon), the black (Medes and Persians), the white (Greek), and the grisled and bay (Roman), the latter probably having two horses because of the double character of its government, relics of which exist in various forms until revived again before the Lord comes to reign. (Some translate 'strong,' as in the margin, instead of 'bay,' in Zechariah 6:3 and Zechariah 6:7 . The Hebrew is not the same as that translated 'bay' in Zechariah 1:8 margin. ) These are called "the four spirits of the heavens which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth" (Zechariah 6:5 ), because during the time of the Gentiles these nations are the instruments of God's providential governing power in the earth. The empires run on in some form, notwithstanding their failures, till God by Christ overrules, no longer providentially but in direct government. In Daniel 2:45 it is said that the Stone will break "in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold." More detail as to these powers themselves, and what they accomplish, is given in Daniel. Zechariah 6:6 probably refers to the battle of Actium (B.C. 31, the date of the establishment of the Roman empire), and Zechariah 6:8 to the fall of Babylon.
Zechariah 6:9-15 . Christ as the Branch is again introduced. He will build the temple of Jehovah, will sit upon His throne as ruler and priest. He will reign in His Melchisedec character of King and Priest. Apparently the three men mentioned in Zechariah 6:10 brought gold and silver on their return from captivity, of which crowns were made for Joshua; and these crowns were hung "for a memorial in the temple of Jehovah." They should know that the prophet had been sent to them, but all depended on their obedience: comp. Zechariah 1:2-6 .
Zechariah 7 . From this chapter onward the prophecy has a distinct bearing upon the consciences of the people, the Messiah is introduced, and the consequences of His rejection. The people are challenged as to whether they had been sincere in their fasts during the seventy years: the fast "in the fifth month" was in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem, 2 Kings 25:8; and in the "seventh month" for the murder of Gedaliah. Jeremiah 41:1,2 . God had scattered them for their sins and because of their refusal of the former prophets.
Zechariah 8 . God however returns to Zion in grace and in such blessing as will be only fully realised in the millennium. Israel and Judah are both embraced in the blessing, Zechariah 8:13 . Their fast days should be turned into feasts: the fourth month doubtless refers to the time when Jerusalem was taken, and the tenth month to when the siege began: cf. Jeremiah 52:4,6; and Zechariah 7:5 .
Zechariah 9 , Zechariah 10 . Here the 'burden' is announced, God's vengeance that will come upon the nations in order that Israel may have possession of Syria. Zechariah 9:3-8 had a partial fulfilment by the instrumentality of Alexander the Great. Zion is called upon to rejoice, for Messiah her King cometh riding upon an ass. This passage is quoted in the Gospels: but it is only cited there as far as was true at that time, omitting the judgements that are to be fulfilled when Christ comes again, and which will result in great prosperity and blessing: the harvest and the vintage shall make them flourish. This is continued in Zechariah 10 , where again all Judah and Israel are included in the blessing. Hindrances shall be removed, and the pride of their enemies be brought down. They shall be strong in Jehovah and walk in His name.
Zechariah 11 treats of the rejection of the Messiah; its commencement is a great contrast to the end of Zechariah 10 . Here the people are under Gentile rule. The whole flock (nation) is given over to slaughter, and Jehovah takes up their cause, for their own shepherds (scribes, elders, rulers, priests) did not pity them. He raises up the true Shepherd, who feeds the remnant (the poor of the flock).
The two staves represent His authority, as gathering all the nations; unto Him (Genesis 49:10 ), and binding Judah and Israel together (Ezekiel 37:15-28 ). The stave BEAUTY is cut asunder, and He renounces His covenant with the nations (the peoples in Zechariah 11:10 ): cf. John 12:20-24 . It is in Israel He will take possession. The faithless shepherds in Israel are cut off: cf. Matthew 22:15-46 , and the poor of the flock have intelligence as to what God is doing. The Messiah is valued at thirty pieces of silver, as related in the Gospels.
The other staff, BANDS, was then broken, and the reunion of Judah and Israel was for the time postponed. The true Shepherd having been refused, Jehovah speaks (Zechariah 11:15-17 ) of the false shepherd, Antichrist, thus passing over unnoticed the whole of the present period, which makes it evident that the church is not alluded to in Zechariah: cf. John 5:43 .
Zechariah 12 . Following the rejection of Christ and the acceptance of Antichrist, this chapter introduces the events concerning Jerusalem in the last days. The nations that molest God's earthly people will find Jerusalem a burden that will crush them. Judah will see and acknowledge that the One they crucified was their true Messiah, and great sorrow will pierce their hearts: comp. Zechariah 12:11 with 2 Chronicles 35:22-25 . Each family will mourn apart and their wives apart: the king (David), the prophet (Nathan), and the priest (Levi), with whom is associated Shimei. Perhaps this should be Simeon as in the LXX, the Syriac, and the Arabic versions, as representing the most cruel: cf. Genesis 49:7; or possibly Shimei, the enemy of David, as representing the basest of the people, may be referred to.
Zechariah 13:1-4 . A fountain is opened and all is cleansed. All idols and false prophets are banished. Zechariah 13:5 . Christ's was the humble place of a husbandman, a slave to man, and no humanly accredited prophet. Zechariah 13:6 . His rejection by 'his own' is evidenced by the wounds in His hands, which He received when among His friends. Zechariah 13:7 . Jehovah owns Him as His Fellow, but His sword smote Him, and the sheep (the nation) were scattered, while the remnant were blessed. Matthew 26:31 . Zechariah 13:8,9 . In the last days Judah will be brought into judgement, and a third part, after being refined in the fire, will be owned as God's people, and they will own Jehovah as their God. Israel, as not having been immediately guilty of the death of their Messiah, will be dealt with differently: cf. Ezekiel 20:34-38 .
Zechariah 14 announces the day of the Lord. All nations will be gathered by God against Jerusalem, the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and half the inhabitants go into captivity. Then Jehovah will go forth and fight against those nations. The feet of Jehovah-Jesus shall stand on Mount Olivet, from whence He ascended, and the mount will cleave in two, causing great fear. The latter part of Zechariah 14:5 begins a sentence, Jehovah will come with all His saints. Zechariah 14:6 is obscure (see margin ), and the MSS differ: it may signify, "There shall not be light; the shining [or luminaries] shall be obscured." The next verse shows that it will not be an ordinary day, but light will be at evening time.
Living waters will issue from Jerusalem, part going to the east sea, and part to the west sea; and there will be physical changes in the land. The enemies will be consumed, and Judah will share the spoil. Those of the nations who survive will go up to Jerusalem to worship the king, Jehovah of hosts, or, if they fail thus to worship, they will be punished. "Holiness to the Lord" will be on the bells of the horses, and all in Jerusalem will be sanctified. There will be no 'Canaanite,' or trafficker, in God's house, as there were when the Lord was on earth.
The whole prophecy concerns God's earthly people, and is full of detail with respect to their punishment; their blessing; their Messiah, and their rejection of Him; also their future reception of Him, and His glory in their midst. It will be noticed that Jehovah, and their Messiah (in whatever way prefigured), are often spoken of as one and the same.