God's Story in Scripture  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  39:56
0 ratings


As we saw briefly last week with Haggai, Zechariah is one of the three prophets who ministered in Judah after the exile. Ezra tells us that Haggai and Zechariah were prophets who challenged the people of Judah to rebuild the temple - though the book of Zechariah has less to do with the temple and more to do with God’s plan.
Zechariah as a book is quite challenging. It’s filled with fantastic visions and futuristic prophecies. Zechariah, of all the prophets, is quoted most often in relation to the passion narrative.
Many of the other prophets call out God’s people for their sinfulness - calling them to repent of their idolatry. Zechariah seems to be a bit different. His book is not quite as practical - but rather is filled with God revealing what he will do in the near and far term. But the big call that Zechariah makes is early on in the book. He calls the people to return to the Lord.
Zechariah 1:3 ESV
Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.
The people of Judah had been in exile - some for 50 years, others for 70 years - because of their blatant rebellion against the Lord. Now that they have been back in the land for nearly 20 years, the Lord, through Zechariah seems to be giving them a second chance - a second chance to walk in faithfulness, a second chance to live according to his word.
Today, as we consider the book of Zechariah, we are going to be launching from an outline the Mark Dever worked through on the book (Dever, 905). His outline seems to present the book in a way that is simple and succinct.
As we look at the book of Zechariah, we’ll see the book divided into three different sections as God presents before the people of Judah a second chance...
through His rule - chapters 1-6
through His word - chapters 7-8
through His son - chapters 9-14
So let’s look at he first section of the book as we see that...

“God will give a second chance through His rule (Zech. 1-6)”

In these first six chapters, God calls the people of Judah to return to Him, to turn from their evil ways and live according to the statutes that He has presented before them and not according to the ways of their forefathers.
Zechariah 1:3–6 ESV
Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets cried out, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, Return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.’ But they did not hear or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? So they repented and said, ‘As the Lord of hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so has he dealt with us.’ ”
As we read through scripture with sinful hearts and selfish intentions, we can look at the statutes of God and think that they are restrictive an onerous. God’s ways and rule can seem to be less free than the ways of the world around us. In some ways they are, but they are that way for our good and for God’s glory.
Rather than litigating and re-hashing all of the ways that the people of Judah had forsaken God’s rule, He communicates through Zechariah what the future will hold. He uses some fantastic dreams as a means of presenting a rule of peace.
Zechariah sees 8 visions or dreams at night (1:8). As you read them, they will seem rather fantastic and strange - much like our dreams. But, rather than being filled with random manifestations of subconscious thought, these dreams are filled with profound realities about the rule of God. They are presented to us in an orderly and systematic manner.
Let’s look at these briefly.
Vision 1: Horsemen on Patrol (1:7-17) - reporting peace in the world
Visions 2: Four horns and craftsmen (1:18-21) - God’s victory over his enemies (Assyria, rebellious Israel, Persia)
Vision 3: Measurement of Jerusalem (ch. 2) - A haven of refuge, God will dwell with his people.
Vision 4: Joshua the High Priest (ch. 3- Joshua seems to be a prelude to Jesus as he bears the sins of the people of Judah - courtroom litigation.
Vision 5: Golden Lamp stand (ch. 4) - chosen by God to lead - Zerubbabel - heir of David, Joshua - high priest.
Vision 6: Flying Scroll (5:1-4) - a message of judgment for those who rebel - a sort of measurement against God’s standard of holiness.
Vision 7: Woman in a basket (5:5-11) - reflection on Israel’s past sins and the exile (Bible Project).
Vision 8: Four chariots (6:1-9) - patrolling the earth and reporting peace in the north
These visions work together to tell a story of what God has done in the past and what he is doing into the future for those who return to Him. The two visions in the middle present the high point as Joshua - the High Priest - bears the sins of Judah - as represented by his filthy garments - and then is cleansed - presented with new Garments; Zerubbabel represents the political leader and heir of David’s line.
God seems to be communicating here that His rule will not be implemented like other rules - his is a new kind of kingdom.
Zechariah 4:6 ESV
Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
These two men together seem to be presented as forerunners of the Messiah - Jesus Christ. He will embody the purification for the sins of the whole world and a rule that will defy the confounds of conventional political wisdom. As we saw in the sermon on the mount - his is an upside down kingdom - of love, humility, justice, and peace.
Mark Dever summarizes the message of these visions in this way:
“In short, the eight visions present a picture of the world a peace under the rule of God’s anointed priest and king.”
“Which is who Christ is! Jesus Christ, the anointed one, would be the great high priest and king whose kingdom would not be of this world.”
(Dever, 908)
When we consider the condition of the world in which we live, we can see the ramifications of doing things our way. We can see the end result of humanity left to its own devices.
I believe we do have a hope for this life now as we wilfully submit to the rule of God on our lives, change will take place. I think this is some of what Jesus was getting at as He ministered on earth. You see, our salvation is not simply a salvation that brings us hope for eternity. It’s not simply a fire-insurance policy to keep us out of Hell. Our salvation is also a very practical salvation for here and now.
God had given Judah countless opportunities to follow His rule.
Now that they had returned from the exile, He was given them a second chance.
In many ways, these first chapters of Zechariah give us an opportunity to re-evaluate our conventional way of thinking about life and rejoice in the Sovereign rule of God - willingly seeking to live life His way.
These chapters close with a call for Zerubbabel to complete the building of the temple - to finish what had been started - reiterating much of the message that Haggai presented just a few months earlier.
So in these first few chapters, we get to see a glimpse of how God will give a second chance through his rule. In the next couple of chapters, we see how...

“God will give a second chance through His Word (Zech. 7-8)”

In these two chapters, God seems to be giving a message to Zechariah in response to some questions that people had regarding fasts that they had been observing over the previous seventy years. It’s likely that these fasts were fasts of mourning over the loss of Jerusalem.
Zechariah 7:2–3 ESV
Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men to entreat the favor of the Lord, saying to the priests of the house of the Lord of hosts and the prophets, “Should I weep and abstain in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”
And so God had Zechariah reply to the people in this way:
Zechariah 7:5–7 ESV
“Say to all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? Were not these the words that the Lord proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, with her cities around her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?’ ”
It seems as thought these fasts had become nonsensical rituals. There was no real purpose other than simply to do without. The ESV Study Bible suggests that this was “ritual without obedience and justice” which resulted in emptiness (ESVSB, 1759).
The religion that God desires, the rituals that God called the people of Judah to practice in their regular rhythms of worship were intended to be practically lived out. The rules and laws that God gave them in His word through Moses had very practical implications. Zechariah summarizes them here.
Zechariah 7:8–10 ESV
And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”
So now that they were rebuilding in the land after the exile, the people of Judah had a second chance to obey God’s Word and to live life according to the plan that God had presented before them.
In chapter 8, God reiterates his expectations for his people, the rituals, and their way of life.
Zechariah 8:16–19 ESV
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.” And the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.
So much of the book of Zechariah is filled with things that God’s people should know. This middle section clearly points some of the things that God’s people should do.
We should:
judge fairly and honestly
show kindness and mercy to others
not oppress those who are weak and in need
have pure motives
fulfill our promises
Beloved, how are we doing in regard to these things?
Are there things we need to confess to the Lord? Are there changes that we need to make in our attitudes? Are there changes that we need to make in our actions? Are there promises that we need to keep?
As God’s people who live according to the Word of God, we should be markedly different from the world.
So Zechariah presents the second chances that God gives through His rule and His Word, finally He helps us see that...

“God will give a second chance through His Son (Zech. 9-14)”

These final chapters of Zechariah have been a great source of debate among scholars because they are so drastically different from the previous chapters. But, in His Sovereignty, God has allowed what we read to be a whole unit attributed to Zechariah.
These last six chapters are essentially divided into two oracles - 9-11 contain the first oracle and 12-14 contain the final oracle (Dever, 916).
One of the things that you may have noticed in reading these chapters is that this is the part of Zechariah that some fo the gospel writers quoted from in regard to the Passion of Jesus Christ. So as the Gospel writers were looking back on Jesus life and ministry, they could look back even further to the book of Zechariah and other prophets and see these things being fulfilled.
If we were to go back and consider these final sections form the point of view of Zechariah’s contemporary audience, we would see a message of hope, a glimpse of this future anointed one, a picture of the Messiah.

The first oracle (Zech. 9-11) - judgment , restoration,and hope!

Where as in the past so many of the prophets proclaimed a message of judgment on Israel and Judah, here Zechariah seems to be talking about a judgment that God will present over other nations, over Israel’s enemies. Interspersed in the language of the judgment that God will rain down on these other nations are glimpses of this future hope - pictures of the coming Messiah.
In chapter 9, Zechariah talks about the destruction and devastation that will happen to several different nations and then inserts a picture of Jesus...
Zechariah 9:9 ESV
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
In chapters 10-11, Zechariah seems to present a picture of the Messiah as the good shepherd, a contrasting and better shepherd than the corrupt and sinful shepherds that are leading Israel.

The second oracle (Zech. 12-14) - Salvation and Eternity

In this second oracle, Zechariah seems to be looking even further out as he talks about more apocalyptic messages of salvation, judgment, and the eternal kingdom.
We read a bit earlier in the service regarding the mourning that will happen when people looking “the him whom they have pierced” - a clear reference toward Jesus and the suffering servant from Isaiah 52-53.
That future time will not be an easy time - getting there will be a time of conflict and struggle.
Zechariah 13:7–9 ESV
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the Lord of hosts. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones. In the whole land, declares the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”
But, eventually, there will be a day when all of the idols will be crushed - when everyone will have to face the truth that God is the one true God, that life is found in him, and he will reign over all things.
Zechariah 14:8–9 ESV
On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.
There is not much that Zechariah’s audience could do about the message that he shares in these final oracles. He is conveying things that will happen far beyond what they will live through. He is giving the knowledge and hope.

Concluding thoughts

Beloved - for us the events of passion week are behind us. We’ve seen some of Zechariah and the other prophet’s utterances come true in the first coming of Jesus, in his perfect life and example, in his substitutionary/atoning death on the cross, and his resurrection. The prophecies have been confirmed. Jesus sought to begin a new kingdom that filled the earth as God’s people from every nation, tribe and tongue would live according to God’s rule, God’s Word, and the salvation that is available through God’s Son. He has given us glimpses of hope into an eternal Kingdom that - when God’s reign will be fully realized. We can’t simply sit back and wait. We can’t simply go through the motions. I believe God is calling us to declare His goodness in the world.
Friend - if you’re not yet a follower of God, I pray that this message from Zechariah will ring true to you. You see, God provided the people of Judah a second chance - through His Rule - as they sought to once again be His people. He gave them a second chance to obediently follow God’s word - to fulfill the mandates and mission. He gave them a second chance at an eternal hope as He provided glimpses of His Son - Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The good news is that this second chance is before you today. Will you repent, return to the Lord as God called Judah to? Will you trust in Jesus Christ as your savior? Will you let His Kingdom rule be manifested in your life, in your sphere of influence?
Craigie, Peter C., The Old Testament: It’s Background, Growth, and Content (Abington, Nashville, 1987)
Crossway Bibles. The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008.
Dever, Mark, The Message of the Old Testament: Promises Made, (Crossway, Wheaton, 2006)
Longman III, Tremper; Raymond B. Dillard; An Introduction to the Old Testament, 2nd Ed. (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2006)
McConville, Gordon. Exploring the Old Testament: The Prophets. Vol. 4. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2002.
Wiersbe, Warren W. Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1993.
Willmington, H. L. The Outline Bible. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more