Scripture reading – Zechariah 1-4


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The prophet Zechariah was a contemporary of the prophet Haggai. Both prophets ministered in Jerusalem during the post-exilic era (Ezra 1:1-2). Zechariah was a young prophet with the same task as Haggai: To challenge and encourage God’s people to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

While Haggai’s prophecies focused on encouraging the Jews to finish the construction of the Temple, Zechariah’s prophecies had a far-reaching context. The latter’s prophecies applied not only to the Jews of his day but also to all believers who anticipate the Second Coming of Christ when He returns as the Messiah King.

This is the first of two Bible studies for today.


Zechariah 1


Zechariah’s Commission (Zechariah 1:1-6)

Zechariah announced with exactness the date his ministry as a prophet began in Jerusalem, for it was “in the eighth month, in the second year of Darius” (520 B.C., Zechariah 1:1), and two months after the commencement of Haggai’s ministry (Haggai 1:1). Born in Babylon during the captivity, Zechariah’s ministry was to convey to the Jews the LORD’s displeasure for neglecting His house (the Temple, Zechariah 1:2). Their failure provoked God’s wrath; however, the LORD was longsuffering. He commanded Zechariah to say to the people, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 1:3).

The LORD appeared to Zechariah in eight nighttime visions to enlighten His prophet. The visions gave the prophet a glimpse of future blessings and the LORD’s promise to pour out His glory on His people if they repent of their sins and turn to Him. The first and second visions are recorded in Zechariah 1.

A Vision of Horsemen in a Grove of Myrtle Trees

A Vision of Horsemen in a Grove of Myrtle Trees (Zechariah 1:7-17)

Zechariah saw a “man riding upon a red horse…among the myrtle trees…and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white” (Zechariah 1:8). While the number of horses is not given, we notice the horses had riders (Zechariah 1:10-11). I believe the man on the red horse was “the angel of the LORD” (Zechariah 1:8-12) and a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. Zechariah 1:11 revealed the vision occurred at a time when the nations of the world were at peace (the Persians having subdued the nations of the Babylonian empire). The Jews, having lived in Babylonian captivity for seventy years, were home but not at peace (Zechariah 1:12). 

Indicating that a season of judgment would come upon the Gentile nations for their harsh treatment of His people, Zechariah cried out against the nations. He declared for the LORD, “I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease [peace] (Zechariah 1:14-15).

Then, the LORD promised to show mercy and prosper His people if they would rebuild His Temple (Zechariah 1:16). What a joy it would have been for the impoverished Jews to hear Zechariah prophesy, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:17).


A Vision of “Four Horns” that Represented Four World Powers (Zechariah 1:18-21) 

In previous Bible studies, we noted that horns were symbols of strength, power, and authority. The horns in this vision represented four Gentile nations that had and would “scatter Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:18-19).  

Historically and prophetically, we know those nations were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (reminding us of Nebuchadnezzar’s image representing the same nations in Daniel 2). In the vision, the LORD sent “four carpenters” [builders] who were to “cast out” or cut off the “horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it” (Zechariah 1:21).

The four carpenters were not identified, but we are reminded that the LORD had not forgotten His people or the wrongs they suffered. He was waiting for the Jews to repent of their sins so that He might defeat their enemies and overwhelm them with His blessings. David’s heart should be the heart attitude of every believer when he prayed:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” (Psalm 51:10-12)

A Vision of a Surveyor

Zechariah 2

It has been observed that Zechariah is to the Old Testament what the Book of Revelation is to the New Testament. The prophet’s visions embraced an imminent implication and a far-reaching application, giving a glimpse of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.

A Vision of a Surveyor (Zechariah 2:1-13)

Zechariah’s third vision was of “a man with a measuring line in his hand” (Zechariah 2:1). Seeing the man, the prophet asked, “Whither goest thou?” (Zechariah 2:2a) The man answered, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof” (Zechariah 2:2).

Who was the man with the measuring line? Zechariah identified him in verse 3 as “the angel that talked with me” (Zechariah 2:3). As in Zechariah 2:1, I believe he was a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. A second angel then appeared in the vision. The first angel commanded him, saying, “Run, speak to this young man” (whom I believe was Zechariah, Zechariah 2:4). The second angel was the bearer of good news for Zechariah and foretold, “Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein” (Zechariah 2:4).

Though the city was desolate then, the angel foretold a future day when Jerusalem would be a bustling city “without walls” (i.e., dwelling in peace). Its population would overflow its boundaries (Zechariah 2:4b). It is evident that the reference to Jerusalem in this passage is still future, for that city today is surrounded by hostile nations that desire to destroy the Jewish State. Yet, there is coming a day when Jerusalem will not need walls, for the LORD promised He will be to that city “a wall of fire round about” (literally, a ring of fire, Zechariah2:5). 

A Warning to the Jews Dwelling in Babylon (Zechariah 2:6-9)

There is some debate about the timing of the vision, and some suggest it predated the Jew’s return from exile. Nevertheless, the warning is for anyone who would presume to live safely in Babylon. So, the Lord warned them to get out, saying, “7Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon” (Zechariah2:7). The Gentile nations who oppressed and spoiled Judah and Jerusalem would be judged and learn that God’s people are “the apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8), and precious in His sight (Psalm 103:13; 116:15).


The Second Coming and the Millennial Kingdom (Zechariah 2:10-13)

Zechariah’s third vision concluded with the LORD calling the people of Jerusalem to “Sing and rejoice,” for He promised to “come…and dwell in the midst” (Zechariah 2:10). In that day, not only the Jews but “many nations” will celebrate Christ dwelling “in the midst.” All would know the God of heaven, “the Lord of hosts hath sent” Him to reign on the earth (Zechariah 2:11).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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