Zecharia


Refugees had returned from a prisoner-of-war camp and for sixteen years they had tried to make a life for themselves in their ruined city of Jerusalem.
The time was 500 years B.C. Zechariah, with his colleague the prophet Haggai, stimulated the people to start to rebuild the Temple, and with it the beginnings of a national life once again.
Zechariah went much further, because it was not simply a temple he wanted built, but a people who would be something like ‘God’s kind of nation’.
The book divides into two unequal parts.
Chapters 1-8 which consists mostly of eight visions, and the second part chapters 9 -14 which is written in the same code language as the book of Revelation, which draws history in pictures, cartoons and dream symbols.
The book starts as they begin to urge the people to rebuild the Temple. Zechariah tells them they must go much further than merely rebuilding the old. They had to learn the lessons of the past to find out what destroyed the first Temple and for they themselves to become a living Temple?
How on earth was he going to get across to people, who had no newspapers, radio or television, these hard-to-grasp ideas and complicated lessons?
His answer was to paint pictures for them – Word pictures.
At the beginning of the year 519 B.C. he gave them eight night visions such as ‘The four horseman’ – a man with a measuring line planning the new Jerusalem The picture of the Minora (the seven branch candlestick)
And the Two Olive Trees The unrolled parchment flying through the air like a flying fortress, and the four chariots.
By these pictures Zechariah, whose name literally means ‘Jehovah remembers’, reminds his people about:
The reality of their sin.
The need for forgiveness.
The power of God to clean up the mess.
To give them power over it
To accomplish his purpose
To create a people, a city, a nation,
In Short………………………………A kingdom for God.

If you dig into these visions, the fourth one in chapter 3 verse 1 is a marvellous picture of Satan leering over Joshua the High Priest acting as the counsel for the prosecution and the angel of God successfully defending Joshua, and sending him out in superb new robes with the authority of the courts to anoint the governor Zerubbabel as king. Zerubbabel was, after all, the grandson of the last king but one, and, as his name im¬plies, was to start a new branch of God’s ruling family.

The first half of this book ends not with the Ten Commandments but with the ten oracles of the new order. One of which says:
‘Old men and women will sit again in the streets of Jerusalem each leaning on a stick because they have lived to such a ripe old age’.
Meanwhile the streets of the city will be full of boys and girls play¬ing.
The second part of this book, chapter nine to the end, is painted in that vivid picture language of the book of Revelation, the style of which is called apocalyptic.
There are some marvellous pictures within it. How about the picture of the Prince of Peace which contains these words?
“Rejoice greatly 0 daughter of Zion, shout aloud 0 daughter of Jerusalem. Lo your king comes to you triumphant and victorious is He, humble and riding on an ass.”
Have you ever seen the picture in this book, of the rejection and murder of the Good Shepherd? It actually talks about the thirty pieces of silver and talks about the shepherd being struck and the sheep scattered.

The last verses of this book, picture superbly the end of the division between the sacred and the secular, and even the harnesses of the horses have inscribed upon them “Holy to the Lord”.
And all the pots and pans of the city are holy as those on the altar of the Temple.

The book of Zechariah – it takes some reading – but it’s worth the effort.

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