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Zechariah Overview


Author:   The author identifies himself as Zechariah, son of Berechiah, son of Iddo (his grandfather), the latter being mentioned in Neh. 12 as one of the priests who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel, and Neh.12:16 specifically indicates that Zechariah succeeded Iddo as head of that priestly family.  The name in Hebrew translates to "YAHWEH remembers." 

Date:    Classified as a post-exilic prophet, "the 8th month of the 2nd year of Darius" in 1:1 reflects Zechariah began writing the book in 520 B.C., but the flow of events in its 14 chapters suggests it covers about 50 years (to 470 B.C).   Zechariah was relative young when he first received God's call (see 2:4) and a contemporary of Haggai who prophesied to the remnant during the same timeframe.

Purpose of Writing:  Zechariah wrote the book to encourage and give hope to the Jewish remnant recently returned from exile.  Since their faith in God was weak, they had little motivation to rebuilt Jerusalem and needed bring their lives into conformity with the Law of Moses.  In short, they had much to re-learn about God. 

Summary:  The book of Zechariah teaches that salvation may be obtained by all and foresees people coming from all parts of the world to worship God.  It's not a doctrine of "Universalism"-that all people would be saved-but teaches that God desires all people to worship Him and will accept those who follow Him.  Zechariah's message further indicates that God is sovereign over the entire earth despite the great evil we see abounding around us, and the prophet's visions shows that God, with utter certainty, will bring human events to the end a time of His choosing.    

Foreshadowings:  Christ is the central theme of the book, from the promise the Messiah would come and dwell in our midst (2:10-12) to the symbolism of the Branch and the Stone (Zech. 3:8-9), and finally, the promise of His Second Coming where they who "pierced Him" (i.e., the Jews) would look upon Him and mourn  (Zech. 12:10).  Christ will be the Savior of Israel, a "fountain" whose blood will cover the sin of all those who come to Him for salvation (Zech. 13:1).


• Part 1 (Zech. Chapters 1-8)                        

   (1) A Call to Repentance (1:1-6)                     

   (2) The eight visions (1:7-6:8)                        

   (3) The crowning of Joshua (6:9-15)              

   (4) The question of fasting (7:1-3)

   (5) The four messages (7:4-8:23)

• Part 2 (Zech. Chapters 9-14)

(1) The two burdens (9:14-14:21)

(2) The Advent and Rejection of the Messiah (9-11)

(3) The Advent and Reception of the Messiah (12-14)       

Application:    As with the remnant of Zechariah's time, God expects honest worship (i.e., in Spirit and Truth) and moral living of humankind today, and this certainly pertains to 21st century Christians.  We need to follow Zechariah's example of breaking through national prejudices to reach out and extend God's invitation of salvation to peoples of all national origins, languages, races, and cultures.  We need to proclaim that salvation is only available through faith in Jesus Christ, and that there are no works nor any other paths by which we can be reconciled to God-"There is no other name under heaven by which men are saved" (Acts 4:12).