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Home Group – Zechariah

by | Thu, Feb 28 2013

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Zechariah (Zekh’ar’yah)

Zechariah is made up of 2 elements, the last portion is an abbreviation for Yahweh and the first means to think about, meditate upon, remember, recollect, declare, recite, proclaim…basically it means remembrance. So Zechariah means ‘Yahweh Remembers’ or ‘the Remembrance of Yahweh’.

 The book of Zechariah is another short book with 14 chapters in total and is therefore counted among the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. The name Zechariah was very common through Biblical times and there are 29 men in the Bible with this name, but Zechariah the prophet was no ordinary man because he was both a prophet and a priest like 2 other OT prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. (Neh 12:12-16) Jewish tradition believes he was a member of the Great Synagogue, a council of 120 who originated with Nehemiah who were presided over by Ezra, this group eventually developed into a group of ruling elders for the nation that was collectively called the ‘Sanhedrin’, so Zechariah was a founding member of the Sanhedrin.

 

Zechariah was born in Babylon after his family had been taken captive as part of God’s judgement against Judah. Scripture says Zechariah returned to Jerusalem with his grandfather Iddo, who was the High Priest at one point, and Zechariah was often called the son of his grandfather, and it’s for this reason it’s believed his father Berechiah died quite early before he himself had the opportunity to become the High Priest, this resulted in Zechariah being raised by his grandfather. They returned to Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest at that time (Neh 12:4) and Zechariah lived and ministered at the same time as the prophet Haggai; it’s believed their ministry years lasted about the same length of time.

 

Zechariah’s first prophetic words are dated from 520 BC which was the 2nd year of Darius I. In 538 BC, Cyrus the Persian freed the Jewish captives and allowed them resettle to in their ancient homeland and about 50,000 made the decision to return and they immediately began the task of rebuilding the Temple despite a great deal of opposition from the locals. Both Zechariah and Haggai were commissioned by God to stir the people up to remain committed to God and zealous in rebuilding the Temple regardless of the opposition they faced.

 

Zechariah challenged the people against their indifference and urged them to resume their task when they stopped mid process because of the difficulties from local opposition and persecution, he also rebuked the people for their indifference to sin and their lack of trust in God who had proven Himself faithful to His Word yet again by restoring them to their land after their 70 year exile in Babylon, so repentance was a very important ingredient in his preaching.

 

Zechariah wanted his countrymen to take a clear and analytical look at their history to determine who they could trust; the false prophets and corrupt leaders who constantly led them into sin and wickedness but promised never ending prosperity, and who ultimately led them to their destruction and exile. Or God, who had called them to repent time after time after time and ultimately delivered severe judgement and exile, as He said He would, but who promised on His own name that He would bring them back into their land. He was in effect telling his people to judge the trustworthiness of God by looking back on their history to see how God proved Himself by keeping His promised of both blessing and judgement.

 

Zechariah 1:5-6, ‘”Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your fathers? Then they repented and said, ‘As the Lord of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so He has dealt with us.’”’

 

What God told them would happen, happened!

 

A major theme of Zechariah’s prophesies was the importance of rebuilding the Temple, that it be built in readiness for the Messiah when He came which actually happened…Yeshua was born when the 2nd Temple had been built by Zerubbabel and completed by Herod; he also encouraged his countrymen to turn their hearts to trust in the Lord despite the fact that they were still under the occupying force of Gentile powers, because regardless of what their circumstances were like at the time, God always keeps His covenant promises to His people.

 

The book of Zechariah can be put into 2 fairly distinct categories; chapters 1-8 are very much written with the return from the Babylonian exile in mind and the future cleansing of the Jewish people with regard to their restoration while chapters 9-14 are very much eschatological in nature looking toward the future and the last days although eschatological prophecies do appear throughout the earlier chapters as well.

 

Some of the most striking prophecies Zechariah gave are in fact coming to pass during our lifetime which indicates to us that we are in fact in the last days.

 

What is the most contested piece of real estate in the world today? Wall St in New York, the hub of world trade and finance? The United Nations building in New York; the site of all the nations of the world coming together for the betterment of humanity and the planet? No! The most contested piece of real estate in the entire world today is the city of Jerusalem in Israel. It’s a small city, it has no harbour, it is not on a major trade route; it has no natural resources within its borders to speak of, and by comparison to other international capital cities, has a very small population.

 

Then entire world is endeavouring to be involved with the future destiny of this city to which they have absolutely no rights or connections, making demands on the Israeli government wanting them to divide Jerusalem…something other governments would never tolerate or entertain if pressured in the same way. The whole world is beginning to gather against Jerusalem and it’s becoming extremely antagonistic toward Israel and are infuriated over the fact that Israel will not divide its ancient capital and give east Jerusalem to the Arabs. This is what Zechariah had to say about Jerusalem in the last days.

 

Zechariah 12:2-3 God said, “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. (Capital of the nation and the nation as a whole) It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”

 

We are seeing this gathering of all the nations of the world against Jerusalem even now, not physically as yet, but verbally and ideologically to be sure. Jerusalem’s status is so contentious that all the foreign embassies that reside in Israel are not situated in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital as they should be and as they are in all other nations, foreign embassies in Israel are situated in Tel Aviv instead. The UN – the voice of representation of the combined nations of the world – has passed more resolutions against Israel than any other nation on earth. The UN hasn’t passed any resolutions against Iran or Syria or Saudi Arabia and we know the kind of human rights abuses that these nations are guilty of, but Israel, which is the ONLY free democracy in the entire Middle East is singled out repeatedly.

 

During the 104th Congress of the USA a law was passed on October 23, 1995 which required America’s embassy which is situated in Tel Aviv be relocated to Jerusalem the capital of Israel, this law also called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city. The embassy relocation was supposed to be completed by May 31, 1999. This law has never been implemented and each sitting President since this law passed – Clinton, Bush and Obama – have all claimed the presidential waiver citing national security issues to renege on this move. When this bill passed, it passed with a majority; 93 – 5 in the Senate, and 347 – 37 in the House.

 

Currently there are NO foreign embassies in the Capital City of Jerusalem which is a monumental insult to the Jewish people. How would Australians feel if foreign nations decided they wouldn’t establish their embassies in our nation’s capital or even recognise the legitimacy of our capital, the very seat of our government and sovereign rule, because of past perceived offenses to members of our society but instead, established their embassies in Sydney or Adelaide? What if something similar happened in the USA because of their past historical treatment of the American Indians, or the UK because of British colonialism and their treatment of millions of people within the British Commonwealth over several centuries which is very well documented and verified. The difference between Israel and Australia, the UK and the USA and a majority of other nations, is that Israel HASN’T done the majority of what she’s been accused of, actually the opposite is true.

 

Zechariah also contains some of the most extraordinary and detailed prophecies regarding Yeshua and His first coming.

 

Messiah would enter Jerusalem on a donkey

Zechariah 9:9, ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’         Fulfilled in Matthew 21:1-9; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-38; John 12:12-16

 

Messiah betrayed for 30 Pieces of Silver and it would be cast to the Potter in the House of the Lord

Zechariah 11:12-13, ‘I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.” Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord.’         Fulfilled in Matthew 27:1-10

 

Striking the Shepherd and the Sheep Will Scatter

Zechariah 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man, My Associate,” declares the Lord of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; and I will turn My hand against the little ones.”          Fulfilled in Matthew 26:31, 55-56; Mark 14:27, 48-50.

 

The Messiah is often identified as ‘The Branch’ (also described as ‘shoot’, ‘stem’ & ‘My Servant’) in the Old Testament, particularly by both the prophet Isaiah and Jeremiah (Isa 4:2, 11:1, 42:1, 49:3-5, 52:13, 53:2, 11, Jer 23:5, 33:15; Eze 34:23-24) and so does Zechariah. At the time Zechariah lived, the High Priest’s name was Joshua, the name Joshua is basically the same as Yeshua and it means ‘Yahweh Is Salvation’; we also know that Yeshua the Messiah is also our High Priest. Zechariah had a prophetic message for the then High Priest at that time whose name means Salvation, and God’s message was prophetic for the entire nation both then and for the future; He told Joshua and the men with him that they were a symbol of what was to come.

 

Zechariah 3:8, ‘”Now listen, Joshua (Yahweh is Salvation) the High Priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you – indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant, the Branch. For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua (Yahweh is Salvation); on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.”’

 

There’s a lot of Jewish symbology in this verse with a reference to a ‘stone’ which is another term for Messiah and the ‘seven eyes’ is referencing the wisdom of God the Holy Spirit that see and know everything within the realm of men. Chapter 4 of Zechariah goes on to add more symbolism and finally an explanation for the eyes…v 10, “…these are the eyes of the Lord which range to and fro throughout the earth.”

 

The final phrase of “…and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day” is of course referring to Yeshua’s ultimate sacrifice for the defeat and forgiveness of sin which He accomplished in one day when He was nailed to a cross and died upon it. There is of course still sin in the world, but its power over those who repent and come to faith in Christ has been utterly shattered and destroyed because of that singular event we call Calvary.

 

Zechariah 6:12-15, ‘Then say to him, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the Lord. Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Lord, and He who will bear the honour and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices. Now the crown will become a reminder in the Temple of the Lord to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen the son of Zephaniah. Those who are far off will come and build the Temple of the Lord.’” Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And it will take place if you completely obey the Lord our God.’

 

There are several 8 really interesting identifying elements of Messiah in this portion of prophecy;

 

  1. 1.The ‘Branch’ would come from where He is; since Israel is being addressed this means Messiah will come from Israel. (v12)
  2. 2.He will build the Temple. This is not talking about the physical Temple of that day because it was built by Zerubbabel and later increased and improved by Herod the Great. It’s not talking about the End Time Temple that will be defiled by anti-Christ, rather it’s talking about the Millennial Temple from which He will rule. (v12b,13a)
  3. 3.He will be a King. A king is a ruler of people, a nation, a kingdom, an empire. (v13)
  4. 4.He will be a Priest. A priest is a mediator for the people before God and a mouthpiece of God to the people; a ‘go-between’. (v13)  This is quite extraordinary because in the OT, the role of kings and priests were rigidly separated and neither one was allowed to fill the roles of the other. However, in the case of the Messiah, He will be both. He will rule His people from His throne…a throne represents a political position of authority and power. He will be a Priest, a Mediator who would provide sacrifices and offerings to God on behalf of the people and bring the Words of God, His direction and instruction and encouragement to the people. Something Yeshua has done. 
  1. 5.He will make peace. Peace between God and men, peace between men and men, and peace within the individual through forgiveness and reconciliation with God. (v13)
  2. 6.He will open the Kingdom of God to the Gentiles, calling all those who are “far off”. (v15a)
  3. 7.He will confirm God’s Word as absolute Truth because what God has said has been fulfilled. (v15b)
  4. 8.He will demand obedience as is His due. (v15)

 

Once again we see that the Bible…every word of it…is speaking about and pointing to Yeshua as the Messiah just as He Himself declared to the Pharisees.

 

John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.”

 

Shalom

Mandy

 

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