“In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, That is mine!” -Abraham B. Kuyper
Zechariah is one of the most challenging books in all of Scripture. The earlier chapters speak to a context that is less known to most of us (the post-exile era) and the latter chapters are a matter of debate in the game of “pin the tail” on the prophetic donkey of fulfillment. The latter chapters (such 11-14) are a matter of such speculation as fill the pages of premillennial/dispensational fantasy novels.
Setting of Zechariah - We saw that Haggai addresses this post-exilic remnant. The Jews had been exiled in Babylon for 70 years (Jer. 25:11f.) through a series of deportations, starting in 606 B.C. with the final destruction of the temple in 586. Just as was promised (Jer. 25:12, Hab. 1:11), the Persians defeated the Babylonians in 539. Good emperor Cyrus released the Jews and following him, in 538 Darius decreed that the Jews could return to their homeland and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1-3). Haggai sees the expansion of the House:
2:6 “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. 2:7 ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts. 2:8 ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the LORD of hosts. 2:9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the LORD of hosts.”
The name “Zechariah” means, “Yahweh has remembered.” Zechariah was a priest as well as a prophet (Neh. 12:16) during the days of Haggai. Zechariah’s first prophecy is only 2 months after Haggai’s prophecy in 520 B.C. We read of the background in Ezra 4:24–5:2: “Then work on the house of God in Jerusalem ceased, and it was stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. 5:1 When the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them, 5:2 then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them supporting them.”
Sections of Zechariah - Zechariah is divided into two main sections, chapters 1-8 and 9-14. Chapters 1-8 clearly address the days of the rebuilding of the temple (the second temple), in such visions as: The Horses Patrolling the Earth (1:7-17), The Four Horns and Four Craftsmen (1:18-21) dealing with four empires, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome; The Measuring Line (2). The Filthy Garments of Joshua the High Priest Removed (3), The Lampstand and Two Olive Trees (4). The Flying Scroll (5:1-4), relating to stealing and swearing; The Flying Basket (5:5-10); The Four War Chariots (6:1-8); The Symbolic Coronation of Joshua the High Priest (6:9-15), The Question of Fasting (7-8), fasts shall become festivals. The second section, Chapters 9-14 are some of the most difficult prophetic passages in Scripture. Generally, the first section (9-11) address the Restoration of Judah and Destruction of Her Enemies. These include Damascus, Tyre and Sidon, Philistia (9:1-8) and Egypt, Assyria (10:3b – 11:3). Many detailed Messianic prophecies are found in these chapters: “humble and riding upon a donkey” (9:9-10), “30 Pieces of Silver” (11:12) prophecy. The second portion relates to God’s Intervention on Behalf of His People (12-14) and includes the texts, “They shall look on Him whom they have pierced...” (12:10), “a fountain will be opened...for sin and for impurity” (13:1). “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered” (13:7), etc.
Success of Zechariah - Like Haggai, Zechariah finally addresses the glory of Zion in the last passage (14:16-21). In the time of gospel fulfillment (which take to be the new covenant era), the nations will “go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths . . . In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “HOLY TO THE LORD.” And the cooking pots in the LORD’S house will be like the bowls before the altar. Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the LORD of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them. And there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts in that day.” This passage shows the lev