Zechariah 002 – Introduction, Pt. 2Zechariah 1:1 • Dr. Andy Woods • September 22, 2021 • Zechariah
Zechariah 002 – Introduction, Pt.2
By Dr. Andy Woods – 09/22/2021
All right, well if you all could locate the book of Zechariah chapter 1, and verse 1 (Zech 1:1). So last time we weren’t here. We were supposed to be here with the Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics but Saint Nicholas interrupted that, so… was anybody able to catch… I know Laverne did, anybody able to catch any of that online? … I don’t know, you could go to the website, Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics website.
So, we started Zechariah then we got interrupted with that, and then the interruption got interrupted and now we’re continuing on. So we wonder why we’re all confused, amen? I’m confused but what I recall is we started a couple weeks ago the prophet Zechariah and we started with some introductory issues, does that ring a bell at all? So that handout that you have, what that is, is my personal book summary of the whole book of Zechariah. So that’s not something just for tonight, that’s something for the whole study. So you can bring that with you or you can kind of keep up with what we’re doing at home on that but with any book of the Bible, when you study it you want to look at the background of the book. The better you understand the background, the better you understand the contents and tragically, most Christians have never been taught how to study the background of a book and a lot of them really aren’t patient enough. They just want to rush into it to meet a quota for the day or whatever and we sort of miss what’s going on. So I always, when I teach a book, I like to stop and reflect upon the background and that involves asking and answering several questions. These are questions that you can apply to Zechariah and any other book of the Bible that you’re interested in studying. 2:36
- Place of writing
- Unique characteristics
- Christ in Zechariah
So the first thing we looked at was the title. The title of the book is? Anybody want to guess? Zechariah. Named after the principal spokesperson of the book, covered that. The second thing we looked out was the authorship of the book. Who wrote it? and of course the author would be… Zechariah and that’s the point of view of Hebrew, the Hebrew view point, the Jewish perspective and also Christian tradition. So we went over that in some issues related to that. The third thing you want to look at is the biography of the author and we introduced you a little bit to who Zechariah was from what the book says and what information outside the book teaches about Zechariah and as you recall, he was probably born during the Babylonian captivity, he was young when God called him into the ministry. Chapter 2, verse 4 seems to indicate that, and he was a priest, kind of like Ezekiel was a priest and Jeremiah was a priest. So that means he had to have been born through which tribe? Levi, and that explains his interest in the temple. He talks a lot about the temple because priests are into that kind of thing. 4:15
Uhm, from there we looked at the scope of the book, you know, what breadth of history does it cover? And there’s three recorded dates in the book of Zechariah. So the scope of the book would probably cover at least from 520 BC to 518 BC. From there, we looked at the date of the book, when was the book written and we think it was written pretty quick after Zechariah had these visions. So if you dated the book around 518 BC on the conservative side, you’ll be very close to the truth and from there, we looked at the audience, which is really important, you always want to ask yourself who, I mean, all of us were the audience in a certain sense but who was Zechariah writing to? Who was he prophesying to? Because if you understand that,, all the things he brings up in the book start to make sense and his audience would be the people that were in the captivity for 70 years, and under Persian rule they came out of the Babylonian captivity. They came back as we studied last time in three waves and Zechariah is probably prophesying to that group that came back in wave number 1. That first wave that came back is found in the historical book of Ezra chapters 1 through 6 (Ezra 1-6). Wave two is in the book of Ezra chapter 7 through 10 (Ezra 7-10) and wave three is found in the book of Nehemiah and bonus question… Does anybody recall what happened in between Ezra 6 and Ezra 7? Anybody recall what book of the Bible was written during that time period? Esther, Esther takes place at the end of chapter 6 but before chapter 7 starts. So that’s the way to sort of put all of post exilic history together and Zechariah is prophesying to that first group that returned. 6:40
Place of writing, we think because he mentions the temple so frequently, would be the city of Jerusalem and number 8, the occasion of the book is get building, that’s what I would call it, get building. Build the temple, why do they have to build the temple? Because Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed it 70 years earlier as the Jews, the Hebrews went into the captivity. So they had no functioning temple and when we talk about the temple, we are talking about temple number 2 because there’s four temples in Israel’s history, two past, two future. The first one was built by Solomon and that’s the one that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. Then they came back from the captivity and they’re going to rebuild the second temple and that’s an important temple because the Messiah, Jesus Christ is going to come to that temple according to prophecy. That temple is the temple that Jesus interacted with in his ministry, you know, when Satan took him to the pinnacle of the temple and said throw yourself off, that’s temple 2, that’s the rebuilt temple and Zechariah is having a role in encouraging the Jews to rebuild that second temple. That temple is ultimately going to be destroyed by the Romans in AD 70 and Israel hasn’t had a temple since but we know from Bible prophecy that they will rebuild temple number 3 in unbelief and that’s going to be the temple the antichrist will desecrate half way through the tribulation. That particular temple, I think is going to be destroyed with the seventh bowl judgement in the book of Revelation, where it talks about the greatest earthquake in history and that temple is going to be replaced by the glorious millennial temple that Zechariah is going to talk about in this book, that Ezekiel talks about in the millennium where the shekinah glory of God is going to re-enter it. So, the shekinah glory of God left the Solomonic temple just before Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it and we know that the shekinah glory of God is going to re-enter that 4th temple, the millennial temple but Zechariah’s book revolves around temple number 2 and the reason they needed encouragement with Zechariah’s ministry to rebuild this temple is they had push back. They were trying to build the temple and the people of the land resisted them and they got discouraged and they quit. Discouragement set in and the temple project was stalled for fifteen years. Uhmm.. and so Zechariah is really a book trying to motivate them to rebuild the temple and get back to business and get back to what God called them to do. 10:15
So, people say: Well, pastor, you teach all this doctrine and historical data, we want some application. Well, here is some application, are you ready? Whenever you try to do anything for God you’ll get resistance. Did you guys hear me on that? If you step up and do anything for God, you’ll get resistance from somewhere and the temptation is to think, Oh, I must be out of God’s will. No, most likely you are directly in God’s will because Satan doesn’t like what God is doing through you and the temptation is going to be to quit and one of the things to understand about God is He’s not into half-done projects. See, I can do things very halfway. I’ve got projects all over my house that are two thirds done, three quarters done, I’ve got books I’m trying to read, I get tired of the book, I put it away. God is not that way. The Bible is very clear that He who began a good work in you will what? Complete it until the day of Christ Jesus and if there’s something that God has called you to do and you quit on it, could be any number of things, God is going to send prophets into your life. I’m defining prophet in a certain way as an encourager or an exhorter to get you to finish what you’ve started because God wants to finish whatever it is, and Satan doesn’t want it finished and the people here that came back from the 70 year captivity, were just… it was just too big of a task for them, they were just overwhelmed and they started to get push back from the people in the land and the temple was stalled for fifteen years and that’s a problem because if they don’t rebuild the temple, how can Jesus come to the temple as predicted in… later on, the prophet Malachi. So, Zechariah has a ministry of exhorting them to complete the temple and he does that along with his contemporary Haggai from about 520 to 518 and their ministry was fruitful. The Jews finished the temple finally in 516 BC so that’s the occasion in which this book was written. 12:52
So, that much we’ve covered. Now, this is new ground. I’m going to try to finish Lord willing, numbers 9 through 15 this evening.
The ninth thing you look for when you study a book of the Bible is you try to figure out the structure of the book, the outline. Some of these books in the Bible are so big, you have to figure out a way to wrap your arms around it or else you’re just going to be lost in a sea of details and there are books of the Bible that lend themselves to a very clear outline. So you may not understand every little thing under every little book point in an outline but you can still see the big picture, you know, you got somewhere to hang your coat, so to speak, a hook to hang your coat on. So when you’re hearing a Bible teacher say turn to Zechariah 2 or 7 or whatever you have a mental Rolodex or you can kind of say, Okay! I know the general part that he’s speaking of. So here is the outline to the book of Zechariah, it has four parts.
- Introductory call to repentance (1:1-6)
- Eight-night visions (1:7–6:15)
- Question and answers about fasting (7–8)
- Two burdens (9–14)
Part 1 chapter 1, verses 1 through 6 (Zech 1:1-6) is the introductory call to repentance and the people that he is prophesying to, needed to repent because they had quit on God’s project rebuilding the temple. So the book starts off not by trying to make the audience feel good about themselves. Zechariah is not a seeker friendly preacher. He is calling them to repent in the sense that they need to finish what God told them to do fifteen years earlier. Then, part number 2 is the eight-night visions, chapter 1 verse 7 through chapter 6, verse 15 (Zech 1:7- 6:15) where Zechariah has eight visions, watch this now, in one night. I mean, if I had one vision from God at night that would be enough. He had eight of them, haha, and they are recorded in chapter 1, verse 7 through chapter 6, verse 15. You have well, I don’t know if I need to read them all because we’re going to be going through them but there they are: Eight-night visions, and then it concludes with the crowning of Joshua. Not the Joshua you are thinking of, the conqueror of the land that was a thousand years or so earlier, this is Joshua the high priest. So, this Joshua has nothing to do with the book of Joshua, that happened a thousand years earlier. 15:50
- Eight Night Visions – (Zech 1:7‒6:15)
- Riders & horses among the myrtle trees (Zech 1:7-17)
- Four horns & four craftsmen (Zech 1:18-21)
- Man with the measuring line (Zech 2)
- Cleansing of the High Priest Joshua (Zech 3)
- Lampstand & olive tree (Zech 4)
- Flying scroll (Zech 5:1-4)
- Woman in the basket (Zech 5:5-11)
- Four chariots (Zech 6:1-8)
- Conclusion: crowning of Joshua (Zech 6:9-15)
So, there’s a vision of the “Rider and the horses amongst the myrtle trees”, the vision of the “Four horns and the four craftsmen”, the vision of the “Man with the measuring line”, the vision of the “Cleansing of the High Priest Joshua” because God uses clean instruments, the vision of the “Lampstand and the olive tree” chapter 4, the vision of the “Flying Scroll” chapter 5, verses 1 through 4 and then my favorite and we may get out of it once we get into it is number 7, the “Woman in the basket”. In fact, I was just on the radio today, VCY Radio, talking about the woman in the basket. Jim Schneider was interviewing me on my Babylon book and he actually asked me a question about the woman in the basket and I said: Jim, let me tell you about the woman in the basket… and the poor guy didn’t have a chance to ask any other questions (hahaha). But it’s just an amazing prophecy about the future concerning Babylon so we’ll deal with that. Then there’s the vision of the “Four chariots” and then there’s the conclusion which is the “Crowning of Joshua”, the high priest.
Now, you say: Well, how do you know that there’s eight visions here? The thing to look for is the verb of perception. Whenever Zechariah says “I saw” or “I heard” God that same night is giving him a new vision. So, with that being said, take a look at chapter 1, verse 8 (Zech. 1:8) See it there? I saw at night… Aha, he’s starting a fresh vision there. Look at chapter 1, verse 18 (Zech 1:18) Then I lifted up my eyes… Aha, verb of perception, new vision. Chapter 2, verse 1 (Zech 2:1) Then I lifted up my eyes… He’s giving a fresh vision there. Chapter 3, verse 1 (Zech 3:1) Then He showed me… new vision. Chapter 4, verse 2 (Zech 4:2) He said to me what do you see?… See? When you study the Bible you look for these patterns and the reason this pattern keeps showing up in Zechariah is there’s a tip off of a new vision and then, let’s see, where was I? Chapter 4, verse 2. Chapter 5, verse 1 (Zech 5:1) Then I lifted up my eyes… and then, then there’s my vision that He gave to me here… Babylon Lift up your eyes… Chapter 5, verse 5 (Zech 5:5) and then you look at chapter 6 and you look at verse 1 (Zech 6:1) Now I lifted up my eyes… So, in that second major section of the book, pay attention to that verb of perception because that’s a clue that a new vision is coming. 18:57
That leads to part 3 of the book which is a question and answer session concerning fasting and that section starts in chapter 7, verse 1 and goes all the way through chapter 8 (Zech 7:1 – Zech 8) and there’s a question that they ask of God.
III. Questions & Answers Concerning Fasting (Zech 7‒8)
- Question (Zech 7:1-3)
- Four divine answers (Zech 7:4‒8:23)
- Condemnation of empty ritualism (Zech 7:4-7)
- Condemnation of past covenant failure (Zech 7:8-14)
- Prediction of Jerusalem’s restoration (Zech 8:1-17)
- Prediction of future blessing (Zech 8:18-23)
The question is, should we keep mourning over the temple that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar prior to the Babylonian captivity or at the beginning of the Babylonian captivity? Should we keep looking in the rear view mirror as we have a tendency to do, we have a tendency to live in the past as human beings. Should we keep looking in the rear view mirror and mourning over that temple that was destroyed 70 years roughly earlier? And they’re so busy looking in the rear view mirror that they are not seeing their future. You know, they’re so busy mourning over the past that they’re not seeing what God wants to do with this generation now, and so that question leads God through Zechariah, to kick them in the backside and get them focused on the present. You know, the past is the past. Focus on what you are supposed to do in the present and so what happens here, after that question is asked, chapter 7, verse 4 through the end of chapter 8 (Zech 7:4 – Zech 8) are four divine answers. Answer 1) God condemns their empty ritualism. You know, where these people draw near to me with their mouth but their heart is far from me. In other words, they are going through the motions of religion but they really don’t have a vibrant relationship with the Lord. Divine answer number 2) it’s chapter 7, verses 8 through 14 (Zech 7:8-14) is God condemns them for failing to honor his covenant, and then in chapter 8, verses 1 through 17 (Zech 8:1-17) you have God’s prediction of Jerusalem being restored, where not just the city is going to be restored but it’s going to become populous again. So obviously, if that’s going to happen, there has to be a temple which you people are building, and then you get to chapter 8, verse 18 (Zech 8:18) through the end of the chapter and God makes a prediction concerning future blessing. 21:48
Now, you might be asking how do you know there’s four divine answers here? That’s very simple. You just look for this phrase “the word of the Lord came to me”. Every time it says “the word of the Lord came to me” is a brand new answer. So, take a look if you could at chapter 7, verse 4 (Zech 7:4) The question is asked… Chapter 7, verses 1 through 3 (Zech 7:1-3) Shall we keep mourning over the temple Nebuchadnezzar destroyed seven years earlier?… Well, here comes God’s four answers. You see there in chapter 7, verse 4 (Zech 7:4) The word of the Lord of Hosts came to me saying… So that’s your tip off that we’re now into an answer, that’s answer number 1, and then look at verse 8, chapter 7 (Zech 7:8) The word of the Lord came to Zechariah saying… So there’s the same literary pattern so we’re getting answer number 2. Take a look at chapter 8, verse 1 (Zech 8:1) it says: The word of the Lord of Hosts came to me saying… So that’s answer number 3, and then take a look at chapter 8, verse 18 (Zech 8:18) it says: The word of the Lord of Hosts came to me saying… So that’s answer number 4. So you read through this and once you start seeing these literary patterns it is easy to start putting together an outline. So that’s what’s happening in this section: A question and four divine answers and then the last part of the book chapters 9 through 14 are two burdens.
- Two Burdens (Zech 9‒14)
- Israel’s postponed deliverance due to her rejection of her Messiah (Zech 9‒11)
- Israel’s future deliverance due to her acceptance of her Messiah (Zech 12‒14)
The first burden, and what I mean by a burden is something that God put on the heart of Zechariah to convey. Has anybody ever experienced that? When God puts something so heavy on your heart that you can’t ignore it? It’s kind of like, you know, Paul who says, you know, Woe unto me if I do not preach the gospel! There in 1st Corinthians, 9 (1 Cor 9) and it reminds me of Jeremiah who was flogged by the priest Pashhur. We think our lives are hard, I mean, think about being flogged by the religious authorities, you know, and then thrown into a pit and then he… when he is in the pit, he kind of has this pity party, you know, Gosh, Lord, every time I open my mouth I get into trouble but then he starts to talk about how he can’t help but open his mouth and speak because the word is like a fire in his bones. So that’s what’s meant by a burden and Zechariah has two burdens. The first one is in chapter 9 through chapter 11, the second one is in chapters 12 through 14. Now you say: How do you know there’s two burdens here? Well, take a look at chapter 9, verse 1 (Zech 9:1) The burden of the word of the Lord… so, that’s burden number 1, amen? and so that burden goes into chapter 9, chapter 10, chapter 11 and then look at chapter 12, verse 1 (Zech 12:1) The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel… so that’s burden number 2. So he’s just letting loose, you know, what God has put on his heart. 25:40
Now, why are there 2 burdens here? It relates to Israel getting it wrong the first time but getting it right the second time and that’s what you have to understand about Israel. Israel never, ever gets it right the first time. You see this in Stephen’s speech in Acts, 7 (Act 7). Stephen was one of the first deacons in the church and he stood up before the leaders of Israel and gave us a history lesson and one of the points that Stephen makes is, the nation of Israel never gets it right the first time. Look what they did with Joseph, remember? The brothers betrayed Joseph, they threw him into a pit, left him for dead and lied to their father about it. God works providentially in history and Joseph is elevated to second in command in Egypt and so the second time the brothers submit to Joseph. You know, things would be easier if they submitted the first time which they wouldn’t but they were willing to submit the second time and then Stephen starts talking about Moses. You know, how Moses, you recall, was announced as the redeemer of the nation and they basically rejected Moses the first time, they basically said: Are you going to kill us like you killed the Egyptian the other day? And so Moses goes in the Midian for 40 years, remember? And he comes back and the second time the nation submits to him. So when Stephen is making the speech in Acts, 7 he’s telling the Jewish leaders, you’re doing the exact same thing. You are rejecting your own Messiah, which later on in history you’re going to accept. So, you know, you’re falling into the same old trap, you know, where you’re getting it wrong the first time and you’re going to get it right the second time and let me tell you, those religious leaders did not like what they heard because they started to grind their teeth at him, that’s what Acts, 7 says and they threw so many rocks at him until he died. So, you know, people that want to be a deacon at Sugar Land Bible Church, I usually say: Well, you know, be careful what you ask for, the first deacon in church history got himself stoned to death so I can’t promise it’s going to be easy, but the nation always gets it right the second time. They do not get it right the first time, so that’s why Zechariah has 2 burdens here. 28:39
Chapters 9 through 11, burden number 1, is everything God wanted to do for the nation if they had simply accepted him as their Messiah the first time around. In other words, if you accept him, here’s what I’m going to do, here’s what I’m going to do, here’s what I’m going to do but the problem is you’re not going to accept him. You’re going to pierce him, he’s going to be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, etc… and so all of your blessings that I wanted to do through the nation will be postponed because you will not receive your Messiah, as a nation I’m speaking of, the first time around. Keep in mind Zechariah is predicting this five hundred years before it happened and that’s burden number 1. It stretches out through chapter 9, chapter 10, chapter 11. Then, beginning in chapter 12, as we talked about, he gives burden number 2 which is referring to all of the blessings God can and will do for Israel because they’re going to get it right the second time. At the end of the tribulation period they’re finally going to get it right and they’re going to recognize that their Messiah is not the antichrist, it was Jesus Christ that came 2000 years ago and they’re actually going to start to weep, you know, and mourn as one mourns for an only son and so, everything that God wanted to do the first time around which they rejected, he will do for them when they accept Christ as the Messiah the second time and so, that’s how to distinguish between those 2 burdens.
Burden number 1 to a large extent is focused on the first advent and the Messiah’s rejection by his own nation. That’s what John chapter 1, verse 11 (John 1:11) is speaking of when it says: Jesus came to His own but His own did not receive him. Burden number 2 is the blessings that are going to flood to Israel and the whole world when the nation embraces Him the second time around and that’s where you start to get a lot of prophecies about the second advent of Christ. Chapters 9 through 11 there’s a lot of prophecies primarily related to the first coming of Christ. So that’s where we have not 1 burden here but 2 because Israel needs to, because she always gets it right, not the first time but the second time, so hopefully that helps. So, basically you’ve got an introductory call to repentance, then you got the eight-night visions, then you got the questions and answers about fasting and then you have the 2 burdens and then the book ends. 31:32
Number 10, what is the message of the book? and this is sort of answering the “what” question. Every book of the Bible you want to be able to step back and give a sentence as to what it’s about. This is the problem with Bible Church Christianity. By the way, I love Bible Church Christianity. I’m a pastor in a Bible Church but let me give you the weakness of Bible Church Christianity. The weakness is you spend so much time studying the veins on the leaves of the tree that you lose sight of the forest, and I was in a church once where, you know, the people were asked what you want taught and they said anything but Ephesians. But why don’t you want Ephesians taught? Well, we’ve been in Ephesians for five years and this particular speaker asks the people, well, what was the book of Ephesians about? I mean, you’ve been there for five years, somebody tell me what the book of Ephesians is about? Not a single person could give an answer. So, they knew all these little details but they didn’t really understand what the big picture was. It’s like one of my friends that lives in the Dallas area, which is a very.. the Dallas area has a very strange freeway system, it’s.. there’s somebody nodding there… It takes a while to get used to and he’d lived there, I don’t know, for twenty years and he said, finally he was driving and he understood the whole thing because it dawned on him what the big picture looks like and once he saw the big picture, the little intricacies started to make sense. So we’re like that with the Bible, I mean, we all have our favorite verses we go to or whatever but we don’t really, for whatever reason, we don’t step back and synthetically look at the Bible and different books of the Bible. So, what is the message of the book of Zechariah?
The Messiah’s future restoration of Israel and millennial reign is depicted through various divine visions, responses, and burdens, and these are given to induce hope and obedience among the beleaguered remnant.
The message is as follows: The Messiah’s future restoration of Israel and millennial reign is depicted through various visions, responses and burdens. So visions, those are the night visions, responses, those of the four divine answers to the question and burdens, those of the two burdens at the end of the book, but what is it all about? It’s about the Messiah’s future restoration of Israel and millennial reign which is depicted through various visions, responses and burdens. Now, watch this… and these are given to induce hope and obedience amongst the beleaguered remnant. Why is God giving them all this information? Because He’s trying to show them through Zechariah their future. He’s trying to show them the significance of the temple. Jesus has to come to that temple and by the way, there’s going to be a temple in the millennium and you’re going to play a part in getting the whole project off the ground by obeying God and rebuilding it. So, He gives them a glimpse of their future and if you have a glimpse of the future and you understand that God is allowing you to play a role in preparing the way for the future, that then becomes a tremendous incentive for them to get busy and build the temple. So, Zechariah is not just giving them an end times theology, Hey! Let’s write a book on end times theology and let’s make some cool charts, and you guys know I love charts. I mean, I’ve got charts trying to explain other charts but that’s not why Zechariah is written. Zechariah is written to give them that information to induce obedience so they can play a role in what God wants to do in the future and so, it’s a wonderful thing when you look at this whole picture. 36:11
Ahm, Purposes of the book, this is the “why” question, why is this book written? Put very simply, it was to encourage the returnees to rebuild the temple.
- To encourage the returnees to rebuild the Temple
- To provide eschatological hope in the challenging post-exilic world
- To prepare the returnees for Temple worship
- To exhort the returnees toward covenant obedience
Can you turn with me for a minute over to the book of Ezra? Which is the historical book that takes place during the same time period? I mean, Ezra gives you the history, Zechariah gives you the predictions that were made during the history but if you look at Ezra 5, verses 1 and 2 (Ezra 5:1-2) you’ll see some familiar people there. It says: Then… this is the group that came back out of the captivity… Then the prophets, Haggai… does that ring a bell?… and the prophet Zechariah… that’s our guy… 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… So this is when the book of Ezra, excuse me, the book of Zechariah is taking place. Zechariah shows up in the historical book of Ezra to show us that Haggai and Zechariah are contemporaries and their whole prophetic ministry involves encouraging the returnees to get busy building. Look over if you could at Ezra chapter 6, look at verse 14 (Ezra 6:14) It says: And the elders of the Jews were successful in building… that’s the temple right?… in building through the prophesying of… who?… Haggai and the prophet Zechariah the son of Iddo. So had God not unleashed Zechariah and Haggai with their encouragement, the temple would have never been rebuilt. So these guys are basically very motivational. It’s not just a Bible study on the end times or whatever that they’re giving. It’s designed to motivate them to do something. So that becomes the purpose of the book. 38:39
So, Haggai and Zechariah are contemporaries. But they have different approaches, okay? Haggai is more in your face, you know, General Patton and it’s funny, somebody emailed me this week who was listening to the Bible Study online and I was talking about General Patton and I was talking about how George C. Scott played General Patton and she writes to me and she says: I’m the daughter of George C. Scott and I’ve never heard my father portrayed favorably in any sermon (hahaha) because I guess there’s a little bit of, you know, profanity or whatever in there but, I mean, I told her and I’ll tell anybody, when I get discouraged, I will go and listen to George C. Scott acting out Patton. That opening scene with the American flag, let’s see, do we have an American flag? We’ve got one right there. The American flag is in the background and he’s sending out these young men to war and he’s going to keep them marching without food or sleep leading the United States to victory and it’s sort of like… did you ever wonder what he said to those guys? I mean, that would be a tremendous… you know, if you’re fly on the wall, that would be a tremendous motivational talk to listen to and George C. Scott, you know, tries to emulate that and that’s sort of how I see Haggai. Haggai is like, get out there and get it done. Zechariah is a little bit different because if two people are exactly the same, one of them is unnecessary, right? That’s why God in the body of Christ has placed multiple gifts of the spirit. Okay, God doesn’t expect your ministry to be exactly like the person you’re sitting next to. God doesn’t expect Sugar Land Bible Church to be a replica of the church down the street. Every church is different, every pastor is different, every person is different, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are different because God has different ways of getting his points across. So Zechariah is not General Patton. Zechariah is, let me show you the future, and let me give you a glimpse of what the future is concerning this temple and how you can play a role in getting the ball rolling. 41:24
So, Haggai, I got this from Wilkinson and Boa, Talk Thru the Bible, which I recommend you get that book too, that’s a great book, background on every book in the Bible. Haggai is exhortation, Zechariah is encouragement. Haggai is more concrete, Zechariah more abstract. Haggai more concise, Zechariah is expanded. Haggai present concern, Zechariah future concern. Haggai take part, Zechariah take heart. Haggai is older, Zechariah is younger and so God uses old people, he uses young people, he uses people with different styles but it always revolves around God’s purpose, in this case it’s rebuilding the temple. So, it’s to encourage the returnees to rebuild the temple, it’s to provide an eschatological hope in the post exilic world where the people of God were quitting because they were getting push back. It is to prepare the returnees for temple worship and it’s to exhort the returnees towards covenant obedience. You need to repent and you need to get back to work and you need to press into the purpose that God has for you.
- Unique characteristics
Some major themes of the book, number 12 here.
- 1st and 2nd advents
- Israel’s Eschatology
- Israel’s elect status
- Covenant renewal
Some major themes would be the first coming and second comings of Jesus… we’ll talk about that in just a second… the temple, Israel’s future, the fact that Israel is the elect nation of God. That’s why Zechariah will say in chapter 2, verse 8 (Zech 2:8) concerning Israel: He who touches you, touches the apple of my eye… because God has a purpose for Israel. The first purpose was to give us Jesus and this book we call the Bible. The second purpose will be to give us the millennial kingdom, so God has chosen to bless planet earth through the Jewish nation. So Zechariah will deal with that and he’ll deal with the need for the people to get back and obey the covenant that God gave to Israel. I’m not sure if this is a good time to get into the covenants, I’ll probably postpone that for a later time. 44:13
- Unique characteristics
Some unique characteristics of the book, these are some things that make the book different.
- Unique Characteristics
- Interpreting angel
- Longest minor prophet
- Messianic prophecies
- Multiplicity of literary styles
- Times of the Gentiles
- Israel’s Eschatology
- Two burdens focused upon in the passion narratives
- Third most alluded to book in the Apocalypse
- Imputation (Zech 3:1-5)
- Summation of prophetic themes
You have the presence of an interpreting angel, frequently portrayed in the book. Zechariah, he is called a minor prophet, those are the shorter prophets. To me it’s an insult to call a prophet a minor prophet because most of them got their heads cut off or were stoned to death. I mean, I don’t plan on meeting Zechariah in heaven and saying: Oh, you’re just a minor prophet. I mean, we flippantly call them minor prophets because their books are shorter. So, of the minor prophets, Zechariah is the biggest, he is the biggest of the small I guess. The book is unique because it has a lot of messianic prophecy in it and even though Zechariah is a minor prophet, the only prophet that has more messianic prophecy in it… you know what we mean by messianic prophecy? Prophecy related to the first coming and the second coming of Jesus… Uhm, the only prophet that has more material on the Messiah, Jesus coming, is Isaiah. There’s lots of literary styles in this book, messages, burdens, oracles and visions and Zechariah talks a lot about a time period called the times of the Gentiles.
The times of the Gentiles is a period of time when Israel has no king reigning on David’s throne. That time period started when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed temple number 1 in 586 BC and he deposed a man named Zedekiah and ever since that period of time, a new time period has started, called the times of the Gentiles, when Israel would be trampled down by various Gentile powers. The times of the Gentiles will not end until the nation accepts Jesus as their savior at the end of the tribulation period and He comes back and He rescues them from the antichrist, sets up the Davidic throne in Jerusalem and reigns for a thousand years. So we are actually still in the times of the Gentiles, right now. Israel is being bullied by Gentile powers. So don’t expect Israel to get a fair shake from the governments of this world until the times of the Gentiles end because currently she’s the tail and not the head but the day will come when she will be the opposite, she’ll be the head and not the tail. So, as the current presidential administration mistreats Israel, it’s discouraging to see but it’s no big shock. You know, when two thirds of the United Nations resolutions go against Israel, it’s very discouraging to see but it’s no great shock because that’s what God said would happen during the times of the Gentiles which we’re still in. So as Israel is in that times of the Gentiles she’s trampled down by various Gentile powers. Daniel saw them all as a giant statue but there’s the head of gold, Babylon, the chest and arms of silver Medo-Persia, the belly and thighs of bronze would be Greece, the legs of iron would be Rome, the feet of iron and clay, the ten toes is the antichrist empire yet future and we’re living right between the shins and the ankles that’s the church age that the prophets couldn’t see, and then finally a stone will come, this is all out of Daniel 2 (Dan 2), cut without human hands that will destroy the antichrist’s empire in a nanosecond then grow and grow and grow till it fills the whole earth and then the times of the Gentiles will end. 48:44
So Daniel spells it all out with these visions, Zechariah is going to spell it all out but he’s not going to spend a lot of time on the head of gold. Why is that? Because by the time Zechariah prophesied, Babylon had passed and the new empire was now in place called Persia. So Zechariah is going to talk about Persia, he’s going to talk about Greece, he’s going to talk about Rome, He’s going to talk about the tribulation period and he’s going to talk about the conditions of the earth when the times of the Gentiles are over. What Daniel saw as a beautiful statue in Daniel 2 (Dan 2), is described in Daniel 7 (Dan 7) as four disgusting beasts. Beasts are used in Daniel 7 (Dan 7) because that’s the Jewish perspective. The times of the Gentiles ain’t fun. It’s like being trampled down by a bunch of wild animals. Daniel 2 (Dan 2) is describing it from the Gentile point of view. That’s why it’s a beautiful statue because they’re the ones on top doing the bullying.
So Zechariah is going to pick up on those themes and Zechariah is going to talk a lot about Israel’s eschatology. He is going to talk a lot about the two burdens. Now, when Jesus spent his last week on earth prior to his crucifixion, what section of the Bible does he keep talking about? He keeps quoting those 2 burdens. In fact, He quotes those two burdens more than any other source because those are the burdens that point to His rejection in His first coming. Particularly the first burden, right down to how many pieces of silver He is going to be betrayed for? So chapters 9 through 14 (Zech 9-14) are quoted more times in the passion narrative, that’s the final week of Christ life, than any other section of the Bible. So when it got down to it and Jesus was about ready to die, the part of the Bible that’s on His mind, that He talks about over and over again is Zechariah 9 through 14. Zechariah is the third most alluded to book in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation has 404 verses in it, 270 verses are references to the Old Testament, the book of Revelation quotes Daniel most frequently, Ezekiel second and third is our little book here, Zechariah. Zechariah has within it a clear explanation of the doctrine of imputation of Christ righteousness in chapter 3, verses 1 through 5 (Zech 3:1-5). I hope you understand that, that your standing before God is not based on your own righteousness, do we get that? Because if we don’t get that, we’ve sort of missed the point of the Bible. Paul says in Philippians 3, verse 9 (Phil 3:9), not having a righteousness of my own but that which comes from God through faith. At the point of faith, the righteousness of Jesus is positionally transferred to you and God looks at you as if you’re just as righteous as Jesus. Wow, pastor, you don’t really understand, you know, I sinned this week and last week and I did this and I did that. It doesn’t matter. If you stood before God on your own righteousness, it’d be a problem but you don’t stand before God in your own righteousness. You stand before God in what the Protestant reformers called “alien righteousness”, righteousness not your own, “imputed righteousness” which is transferred to you at the point of faith alone, in Christ alone. So the reason to live holy is so that your practice catches up with your position. It’s not to somehow make myself pleasing to God. So it’s not just a Pauline doctrine, transferred righteousness. You’ll see it in Zechariah 3, verses 1 through 5 (Zech 3:1-5) and Zechariah sums up a lot of prophetic themes which are disclosed earlier in the prophets. 53:36
- Unique characteristics
- Christ in Zechariah
Genre of the book, dare I bore you with this? Some would call this apocalyptic literature, meaning it has some characteristics that you can develop from within the canon.
- Dwight Pentecost – “Daniel,” in Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 1985), 1323.
“Apocalyptic literature in the Bible has several characteristics: (1) In apocalyptic literature a person who received God’s truths in visions recorded what he saw. (2) Apocalyptic literature makes extensive use of symbols or signs. (3) Such literature normally gives revelation concerning God’s program for the future of His people Israel. (4) Prose was usually employed in apocalyptic literature, rather than poetic style which was normal in most prophetic literature.”
“In addition to Daniel and Revelation, apocalyptic literature is found in Ezekiel 37–48 and Zechariah 1:7–7:8. In interpreting visions, symbols, and signs in apocalyptic literature, one is seldom left to his own ingenuity to discover the truth. In most instances an examination of the context or comparison with the parallel biblical passages provides the Scriptures’ own interpretation of the visions or the symbols employed. Apocalyptic literature then demands a careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture to arrive at a correct understanding of the revelation being given.”
Dr. Pentecost, my professor, says: Apocalyptic literature in the Bible has several characteristics: (1) In apocalyptic literature a person who received God’s truths in visions that he recorded and saw. (2) Apocalyptic literature makes extensive use of symbols or signs. (3) Such literature normally gives revelation concerning God’s program for the future of His people Israel. (4) Prose.. it’s just straightforward narrative… was usually employed in apocalyptic literature, rather than poetry which is normal in most prophetic literature. In addition to Daniel and Revelation, apocalyptic literature is found in Ezekiel 37 through 48 (Ezk 37-48) and Zechariah chapter 1 through chapter 7 (Zech 1:7–7:8). In interpreting visions, symbols, and signs in apocalyptic literature, one is seldom left… watch this now, because the post-modern crowd, the “I don’t know” crowd, the uncertain crowd, they’re uncertain of everything except their own uncertainty, that crowd, that’s post-modernity, it’s this idea that you can’t be sure of anything. The only thing you can be sure of is that you are not sure which is sort of a contradiction, isn’t it? Is like someone that says there’s no such things as this absolutes. Oh, so you know that absolutely, so they’re contradicting themselves as they’re talking. That’s postmodernism, you can’t know and so they love this category “Apocalyptic Literature” because they make it sound like, well, just a bunch of symbols and signs, nobody understands what it means. But look at what Dr. Pentecost says here: In interpreting visions, symbols, and signs in apocalyptic literature, one is seldom left to his own ingenuity to discover the truth. In most instances an examination of the context or comparison with parallel biblical passages provides the Scriptures’ own interpretation of the visions or the symbols employed. Apocalyptic literature then demands a careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture to arrive at a correct understanding of the revelation being given. In other words, this isn’t going to read like the book of Romans, which is a letter. This is not going to read like the gospel of John, which is a record of Christ’s life. This book, like the book of Revelation and like the book of Daniel has all kinds of symbols or signs in it, but here’s the thing to understand. When the Bible is using a symbol it makes it obvious and the Bible itself will interpret the sign for you, so you are not left to your sanctified imagination. So this idea that oh, the style of writing is different, therefore we can’t know what it says, nonsense, you can know what it says. It just requires a little bit more effort. By the way, the most symbolic chapter in the book of Revelation is Revelation 12 (Rev 12). Revelation 12 is the most symbolic chapter in the most symbolic book of the Bible and yet every single sign in Revelation 12, you can understand it because the context or the Old Testament will interpret it for you. That’s what the postmoderns, I call them “the pomos”, that’s what the pomos will not tell you. They’ll make it seem like : Oh, This is just so complicated, no one can understand what it means. Nonsense, God did not write a book to confuse everybody, even though the style of writing is different, it is all understandable following a few simple rules which I’ll be showing you. 58:21
- Unique characteristics
- Christ in Zechariah
The very last thing is Christ in Zechariah. Let me just kind of cruise through this stuff. I don’t have time to go into this because… I’m just trying to say here that Jesus fulfilled prophecy. Do we know that about Jesus? Do we know that Jesus is the only man that ever stepped into history that fulfilled the script that was written hundreds and thousands of years before He was born. Christ appealed to the script over and over again to prove to people who He was, so we believe in messianic prophecy. The book of Zechariah is loaded with messianic prophecy, some general messianic prophecy is there on the screen
Christ in Zechariah general
- the angel of the Lord (Zech 3:1-2)
- the righteous branch (Zech 3:8; Zech 6:12-13)
- the servant (Zech 3:8)
- the stone with seven eyes (Zech 3:9)
- the King-Priest (Zech 6:13)
- the cornerstone, tent peg, and the bow of battle (Zech 10:4)
but then there are prophecies about Christ’s first coming.
Christ in Zechariah first advent
- the humble king riding on a donkey (Zech 9:9-10; Matt 21:1-8; John 12:14-16)
- the rejected good shepherd sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zech 11:4-13; Matt 26:14-16; 27:9-10)
- the one the Jews pierced (Zech 12:10; John 19:37; 20:24-27)
- the smitten good shepherd (Zech 13:7)
Typically found in which burden? First or second? First one. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah. Oh my goodness! Zechariah said that would happen, five hundred years in advance. Jesus was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. Oh, my goodness! Zechariah predicted that one, five hundred years in advance. The prophecies predicted that the Messiah would be pierced, Oh my! Zechariah got that one right, five hundred years in advance. As the good shepherd, He’d be smitten, Zechariah predicted that one and then, there are a bunch of prophecies about His second coming.
Christ in Zechariah second advent
- the one who will be accepted by Israel (Zech 12:10–13:1; Rom 11:26)
- the one who cleanses Israel (Zech 13:1)
- the coming judge (Zech 14)
- the destroyer of Israel’s enemies (Zech 14:3, Zech 12-15; Rev 19:11-16)
- the one who will split the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4)
- the one who will reign from Jerusalem (Zech 14:9, 16; Rev 20:4-6)
Typically in which burden? Burden one or burden two? Burden two. He is eventually going to be accepted by Israel. Paul tells us that in Romans 11, 25 and 26 (Rom 11:25-26) but Zechariah tells us it, five hundred years before Jesus was born. He is going to cleanse Israel, He is the coming judge, He is the one that’s going to destroy Israel’s enemies. Oh, and I love this one. He’s going to come back one day, His feet are going to touch the Mount of Olives and what’s going to happen to the Mount of Olives? It’s going to split from east to west, Zechariah predicts that and when He rules one day, He will not going to rule the world from Washington DC but from which city? Jerusalem, Zechariah predicts that. In fact the nations, Zechariah 14, 16 through 18 (Zech 14:16-18) are going to have to travel to Jerusalem to worship the king and there’s going to be a bunch of them that are going to say: We won’t go… and the Lord says: Okay, fine you don’t get any rain this year. So there’s immediate justice during that millennial time period so it’s obvious that Jerusalem, you know, is the center piece. 1:01:20
So, anyway that’s a fast background of the book, title, authorship, biography, scope, date, audience, place of writing, occasion, structure, message, purposes, themes, unique characteristics, genre and looking for Christ in Zechariah as you can find Christ in any Old Testament book. So, Gosh, too bad I didn’t talk fast tonight and I didn’t want to do… I had to finish this because I didn’t want to do an introduction part 3. I mean, a 2 part introduction is bad enough. If it went to part 3, you guys would be saying this is as bad as the Genesis study. So, with that being said we’re going to look at, next week Zechariah chapter 1 verses 1 through 6 (Zech 1:1-6), the introductory call to repentance and if time permits, we’ll get into that first vision that he had. So you want to read for next week Zechariah chapter 1. So, for those, it’s 8:03, for those people that gotta take off and collect their young ones, this would be a good time to do that otherwise leave and if anybody wants to open it up…