Zechariah: The God Who Remembers and Renews
Zechariah 12:10-12a; 13:1 (ESV) “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land shall mourn, each family by itself . . . 13:1 On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
Zechariah’s Context: The two major divisions in Zechariah (1-8 & 9-14) leave open the possibility that the book covers two distinctly different contexts. The first part of the book unfolds before the Temple was constructed. Conversely, the Temple is either completed or functionally operational in the second section. This division indicates that the early chapters were written by Zechariah and the later chapters were possibly written or edited by one of his disciples. The context of the first section runs concurrently with the ministry of Haggai. Like Haggai, who proclaimed the central role of the Temple in worship, Zechariah envisions the Temple at the center of a renewed Jerusalem. The second section of the book, however, unfolds with the Temple standing (9:8; 11:13-14; 14:21). The prophetic ministry in the second section is directed at a people who are called to look beyond the Temple to the coming savior who will dwell in Zion.
Zechariah’s Message – Theological Theme(s): Of the Minor Prophets, Zechariah presents the most significant challenges for interpreters. The prophet uses a variety of styles (genres) in his writing: visions, symbolism, oracles, poetry, prose, and apocalyptic speech. The use of different genres coupled with the immense challenge of interpreting the obscure visions has caused commentators proverbial fits. It has been widely recognized that the prophecies of Zechariah are so obscure that even the most skilled expositor will struggle to interpret and understand the prophet’s oracles.
Notwithstanding these challenges, the book of Zechariah provides the reader with a few discernable themes. Before considering these themes it is important that the reader take note of the overarching message that is implicit throughout, namely, the centrality of the Kingdom of God.
1st God will renew Jerusalem. This renewal is centered around a rebuilt and fully functional temple. Likewise, a Davidic king will rule from Jerusalem.
2nd God will dwell among His people. This promise would find its ultimate fulfillment in both the incarnation of the Son of God and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the church.
3rd God promises the people both renewal in the present and a full and complete restoration in the future.
Significance of Zechariah’s Message for Christians:
1. Renewal and restoration (revival) are solely the work of God.
2. The promise of a shepherd-savior and righteous king were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
3. God’s promise to dwell among His people was fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and continues through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Zechariah in the New Testament:
Zechariah New Testament
3:2-3 Jude 9
8:8 2 Corinthians 6:16
8:16 Ephesians 4:25
9:9 Matthew 21:5; John 12:15
11:12-13 Matthew 27:9-10
12:10 John 19:37
13:7 Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27
The theory that Zechariah is the work of two authors or an editor does not negate the doctrine of inspiration or infallibility. God’s work of inspiration is not limited to one author, nor is it limited to human speculations on authorship. Cf. Luke 1:1-4 where Luke acknowledges that he used multiple sources and acted as an editor.