“What’d He say? Who’d He say it to? How soon? What do we need to do?”
It’s in the book of Zechariah.
“Oh great! The most confusing book in the Bible!”
“When I even try to read it, I don’t get anything out of those mysterious visions.”
Zechariah—the 11th of the 12 Minor Prophets, the second of the three Postexilic Prophets—started writing in 520 B.C. just two months after his contemporary Haggai quit. Minor refers to book size, not importance of message. God divulges a lot about what’s coming through this prophet/priest, and that time increasingly looks to be just ahead!
For those who think of prophecy as only gloom and more doom, Zechariah is called the
Prophet of hope
That makes him counterpart to Peter in the New Testament, the Apostle of Hope.
“[Zechariah’s] book is filled with references to Christ. Messianic references include … His second coming (14:4), His glorious reign (9:10, 14), and His establishment of world peace (9:9-10, cf. 3:10). In few Old Testament books do we find such constant attention given to the coming Saviour” (Bible Reader’s Companion, introduction to Zechariah).
God sees to it that His servants have names that teach. Zechariah means “YHWH Remembers,” his father Berekiah “the Lord blesses,” and his grandfather Iddo “the set time.” Put together, it’s quite a meaning: “the Lord remembers and blesses at
The set time”
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36). Is the Father sitting on the edge of His throne, anxiously divining the right moment to pull the trigger? The Bible indicates He knows exactly when and will make it happen then (Isa. 46:9-10).
“But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations. You will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, yes, the set time, has come … He shall appear in His glory (Psa. 102:12-15).
The Father knows which day will fulfill all the conditions of ending 6,000 years of man’s rule under satan, starting a Jubilee year, cutting time short, and making scoffers think Jesus delays His coming. It’s “the proper time” (Psa. 75:2). It’s “the appointed time” (Dan. 8:19). Yes, God “has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained” (Acts 17:31).
We work diligently to hasten that day—the coming of the Lord!
“Return to me”
Zechariah opens with a call to repentance, always the first step from where we find ourselves. “Return to me,” says the Lord of Hosts, “and I will return to you … Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds” (Zech. 1:3-4). Even long-time Christians must regularly and continually examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5), especially during these two months leading up to Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread this April 19-26 (1 Cor. 11:28).
“The Lord of Hosts” [YHWH Sabaoth] is the name God uses more than 80 times in the three Postexilic books. The Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament says “the Almighty.” No argument here because one reason God is the Mightiest is that He directs a host of angels mentioned often in this book who serve as His eyes on earth (Zech. 1:11).
Judah and Israel had gone into captivity because they hadn’t listened to the prophets (vs. 4-6). We’d better pay attention because the 12 Tribes of Israel are going to go into captivity in the End Time, and the time of Jacob’s trouble is going to be the worst that’s ever occurred (Jer. 30:7).
If that doesn’t hit home and motivate you, it’s because you don’t know the whereabouts of the lost Tribes of Israel. This knowledge is a major part of the Key of David which God gave His Philadelphia-era Church of God (Rev. 3:1).
That’s why we must heed a Post-exilic book—so we will be spared or rescued from the exile coming!
This book is called apocalyptic, not only because of its tie-ins with the book of Revelation, but because of its visions—sometimes counted as eight, but the sixth and seventh seem to be one, making seven [a great Bible number of perfection and completion]. In them God promises to comfort Jerusalem, and they especially apply to the End-time restoration of Israel and the millennial temple by Jesus Christ.
Regarding the first vision, “In Revelation 6:4 the red horse … is associated with a sword, the instrument of war and death … myrtle trees, which are evergreen, are associated with the Feast of Tabernacles for making booths; and in Isaiah 41:19 and 55:13 they are included in a description of messianic kingdom blessing…. At the foot of the Mount of Olives are myrtle groves in the lowest part of the Kidron Valley” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary). The Messiah’s feet will stand on the Mt. of Olives (Zech. 14:4) and He will war with the Gentile nations who God used to punish His people but they enjoyed themselves a little too much (1:15).
“I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it … My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The Lord will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem” (vs. 16-17).
Charles Feinberg in The Minor Prophets [1952, p. 275] observes that “all eight visions form a unit, and the first is the key to all of them.”
Next post we’ll see what else God has to say to us about what’s coming soon in the other visions and chapters. If you really want to benefit, your homework assignment is to read the book of Zechariah!