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                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

              Zechariah - I Am Zealous For Zion (1:1-3:10)


1. Following 70 years of Babylonian exile, Israel was allowed to return
   a. Precipitated by the decree of Cyrus, they returned to rebuild the
      temple - Ezra 1:1-5
   b. The first group of exiles were led by Zerubbabel - Ezra 2:1-2
   c. While they were quick to build the altar and the foundation of 
      the temple, resistance by adversaries soon resulted in a long
      delay - Ezra 4:1-5
   d. To encourage Zerubbabel and the others, God sent two prophets:  
      Haggai and Zechariah - Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14-15

2. Our previous study looked at the book of Haggai; now we begin our 
   study of Zechariah...
   a. Concerning the MAN
      1) His name means "Whom Jehovah Remembers"
      2) At least 27 men bear this name in the Old Testament
      3) Like Ezekiel, he was of priestly descent
      4) He was also called to be a prophet, to stir up the people in
         building the temple
   a. Concerning the MESSAGE
      1) He prophesied around 520-518 B.C. - cf. Zech 1:1,7; 7:1
      2) In view of these dates, his book can be thought of as a sequel
         to Haggai's book
      3) His book is the longest and most obscure of "The Minor 
         a) Considered by some as the most difficult in the O.T.
         b) Apocalyptic in nature; filled with symbolic visions, like
            Ezekiel and Daniel
         c) Very messianic in nature; comparative to Isaiah
         d) Should certainly be approached with humility
      4) The basic message and theme seems clear enough:  I Am Zealous
         For Zion - cf. Zech 1:14

[As we read through the book, we must keep in mind that the primary
purpose of Zechariah's preaching was to encourage the people in 
building the temple.  This will be especially helpful later on, when we
get into the "visions" of Zechariah.  But we notice that the book 
begins with...]


      1. Dated in the 8th month of the second year of Darius (520 B.C.)
         - Zech 1:1
      2. This places his prophecy between Haggai's 2nd and 3rd 
         prophecies - Hag 2:1,10
      3. Comparing this prophecy with Haggai's third suggests that 
         while the temple was being rebuilt, some repentance was still
         necessary - cf. Hag 2:14

      1. The Lord has been angry with their fathers (e.g., Babylonian
         captivity) - Zech 1:2
      2. The people need to return to the Lord to gain His favor - Zech
         1:3; cf. Jm 4:8
      3. Don't be like their fathers, who ignored the prophets - Zech
         1:4; cf. 2Ch 36:15-18
      4. Learn from their fathers, who learned things the hard way 
         - Zech 1:5-6

[The first message is certainly clear enough, and seems to complement
Haggai's third message. Then three months later, Zechariah had a series
of eight visions that occurred in one night...]


      1. Zechariah sees a man riding on a red horse among myrtle trees
         in a hollow, followed by red, sorrel, and white horses - Zech
      2. The horses are explained as sent by the Lord to walk 
         throughout the earth, who report (or perhaps those on them) 
         that the earth is resting quietly - Zech 1:10-11
      3. The "Angel of the Lord" asks how long will God not show mercy
         on Jerusalem and Judah - Zech 1:12
      4. The Lord responds with comforting words, which Zechariah is 
         told to proclaim - Zech 1:13-17
         a. Words describing the Lord's zeal for Jerusalem and Zion
         b. Words conveying God's anger at the nations 
      5. So while the nations may appear "at ease", their judgment is
         forthcoming and God will show mercy to Jerusalem
      -- The purpose of this vision (and the one to follow) appear to 
         confirm the promise made to Zerubbabel by Haggai - cf. Hag 2:
      1. Zechariah sees four horns that are identified as that which 
         scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem - Zech 1:18-19
      2. He is then shown four craftsmen, who will cast out the horns
         (nations) that scattered Judah - Zech 1:20-21
      -- This vision appears to confirm the promise made in the first
         vision; both visions designed to comfort the people who were
         building the temple!

      1. This vision appears to develop further the thought expressed
         in Zech 1:16c
      2. The FIRST PART of the vision indicates that Jerusalem would be
         inhabited to overflowing, and protected by the Lord - Zech 2:
      3. The SECOND PART calls for the dispersed Jews to return - Zech 
         a. To flee from Babylon
         b. For the Lord is against such nations
      4. The THIRD PART proclaims the future joy of Zion and many 
         nations - Zech 2:10-12
         a. Fulfilled in part soon after the completion of the temple?
         b. Fulfilled in part with the coming of the Messiah?
      5. Finally, a call to all to be silent, for God is aroused (i.e.,
         is about to act!) - Zech 2:13
      -- This vision also appears designed to encourage the building of
         the temple!

      1. In the first part of the vision... - Zech 3:1-5
         a. Joshua, the high priest (cf. Hag 1:1), stands in filthy 
            garments before Satan and "the Angel of the Lord"
         b. Satan is rebuked, while Joshua is forgiven and clothed with
            rich robes, as "the Angel of the Lord" stands by
      2. In the second part of the vision... - Zech 3:6-10
         a. Joshua is admonished by "the Angel of the Lord"
         b. He is given conditions for serving as priest before God
         c. Joshua and his companions (the restored priesthood?) are a
            1) Of the coming Servant, the "Branch" 
            2) I.e., the coming Messiah - cf. Isa 11:1-2; Mt 2:23
         d. A stone is laid before Joshua
            1) Upon which are seven eyes
            2) Upon which the Lord will engrave its inscription
         e. The Lord promises the removal of iniquity, describing
            prosperity "in that day"
      -- This vision seems designed to encourage the re-establishment 
         of the priestly service in the temple, and it certainly has
         Messianic overtones


1. Remember that the context of these visions is the work of Zechariah
   and Haggai, who were sent to stir up the people to complete building
   the temple
   a. Exhorting them through messages calling the people to repentance
   b. Encouraging them by proclaiming the visions the Lord had revealed

2. This is not to discount the fact their messages and visions often
   had Messianic connotations...
   a. As so much of what happened in the Old Testament was a type of 
      what was to come
   b. And even these prophecies of Zechariah often appear to have a
      double fulfillment
      1) A fulfillment pertaining to the people of that day
      2) A fulfillment that was realized with the coming of the 
         Messiah, Jesus! - cf. Zech 3:8b

3. But we must be careful in seeking to understand these visions...
   a. Unless we have an inspired interpretation provided for us in the
      New Testament...
   b. We should use caution and humility in interpreting them outside
      of their context

We shall resume our study of Zechariah in the next lesson, in which we
will consider the remaining four of eight visions seen in one night...
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