Today we will take a brief look at the Book of Zechariah. Tomorrow we will finish our look at the Old Testament. Then, the excitement really begins as we explore the New Testament. Yes, I have enjoyed the Old Testament, and I hope you have as well. But for now lets look at Zechariah.
"The Lord was very angry with your forefathers. Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Return to me, declares the Lord Almighty, and I will return to you..."(Zech. 1:2-3)
Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai. His prophecy took the shape of visions and dialogues with God. The book is divided into two parts. Zechariah is concerned with two things; the religious purity of the people and the morale of Jerusalem's leaders.
Zechariah attempts to inspire the people. In the eight visions found in the book Zechariah gives glimpse of the coming changes. He sees four horsemen patrolling the earth in anticipation of the punishment of the foreign nations and return to peace for Jerusalem. He then envisioned four horns which represent the world powers and four horns that represent the blacksmiths that will destroy those other horns. Then there was a man who was measuring Jerusalem for the rebuilding of the wall. All these visions and more anticipate the great day of the Lord when the Lord will achieve victory. But, as the above passage reads; this will happen as the people are faithful to Yahweh.
"Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, 'The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! In not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?' Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, 'Take off his filthy clothes.' Then he said to Joshua, 'See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you." (Zech. 3:1-4)
This is such an interesting passage. In Revelation 12:10 we find something similar: "For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down." We have already discovered that Satan has his place within the heavenly council. Apparently, based on everything we have read, his role was equal to that of a prosecuting attorney. We see here that God is willing to shed his grace upon his people.
There is another passage that I want to look at just for a moment. "See your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding in a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zech. 9:9) This passage anticipates the time in which the triumphant king rides in on a donkey and the evil shepherds would be removed from office and Jerusalem would be a holy place and a city of peace. Of course, we may be more familiar with this passage in another way. The Sunday before Easter Sunday is referred to as Palm Sunday. (Some churches believe it or not pay this no attention. Which is sad) Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday remembers the moment in which Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people gave him a parade. They shouted Hosanna....Then, by week's end they cried out "Crucify Him!" Now, first of all, Jesus is acting out Zechariah 9:9. Jesus riding into town on a donkey is a living parable. Now, we unfortunately often equate the people turning on Jesus as simply being an example of human fickleness. That is not why they turned on Jesus. No, when they saw Jesus riding into town on this donkey, they believed that the messiah had finally come. They believed that he was going to overthrow the Roman oppression and restore Jerusalem to being the Holy City and a city of peace. Just like Zechariah had promised. As Jesus made his was to the temple I believe they followed him and when he threw the moneychangers out the people were ecstatic. I can just hear them: "Get um, Jesus! Over there. there's one over there! That's it! Let 'em have it! Jesus! Jesus! He's our man! If he can't do it, nobody can!" Then, just like that Jesus said (my loose translation) "I'm tired and hungry. Let's go boys." He then left for Bethany. Then when he returned he told some parables and got arrested, whipped up on...and...the people had to wonder: "Who is this guy? He's apparently not who we thought he was. Crucify him! Crucify him!"
Well, the book clearly anticipates the day when victory will come for God's people. When victory does come it will be a day like no other day we have seen. Tomorrow, we will look at the last book of the Old Testament. I hope you can join me. -Pastor Rick