Visions That God Gave Zechariah
– Zechariah One –
The book of Zechariah is a book filled of visions. Many of the same visions can be found in the books of Zechariah, Daniel and other prophetic books. In the past God had used His prophets to warn and correct His people. Sadly, many would not heed their message. Their rebellion brought God's punishment as His people spent seventy years in captivity. This book is a history, but it is in like manner a book that is prophetic and apocalyptic in nature. The book of Zechariah was written after the return from the captivity in Babylon. The first eight chapters of the book were written before the Temple was completed and the last of the chapters after it was finished. The main characters in the book are Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Joshua. The key verse in Zechariah one is Zechariah 1:3, "Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Return to me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you,' says the LORD Almighty."
In this book Zechariah recorded his visions. He encouraged the people to reestablish the religious laws and practices that had been forgotten during the seventy years in Babylon. The things to be reinstituted would certainly include the priesthood and temple service. Zechariah wrote to provide much hope and encouragement for the people of his day. He likewise gave even more hope through prophesies concerning the coming Messiah. He wrote of Jesus saying, "Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." (Zechariah 6:12-13) The book of Zechariah teaches that salvation may be obtained by all. We learn that peoples from all over the world can come to worship God. It is His desires that all people follow Him. God does not eliminate the individual's freedom to follow Him or rebel, but holds people responsible for the choices they make.
A call to return to the LORD -- Zechariah 1:1-6: Zechariah was contemporary with Haggai. He wrote this book beginning about 520 B.C. The book deals with the same subject as the book of Haggai. It deals with how the Jews had been negligent in rebuilding the Temple. Through a study of the book of Ezra we learn of the struggles of rebuilding and of the courage of the prophets as they challenged the people to rebuild. Zechariah, like other Bible books was inspired by God, "the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah."
The prophet reminded the returned remnant that God had been very angry with their fathers. He pleads with those present day Jews to return to return to the Lord and enjoy his presence and blessings. One of Zechariah's favorite statements is "Lord of hosts" or "Lord all-powerful." Think of the resources that are available to God to use in assisting His people. The Jews had previously been warned by God's former prophets to turn from their evil ways. Those warnings went unheeded. These people are admonished to do better. The prophets died in favor with God, but their fathers of these people had died in disgrace. In days past the words of the prophets were fulfilled and the punishment came as predicted. Those lessons should be learned by all.
A vision of a horseman -- Zechariah 1:7-13: Zechariah received ten visions from God. They all came in one night. This vision was that of riders under myrtle trees. The myrtle trees were evergreen shrubs, which in ancient times were symbols of fertility and renewal. The rider upon a red horse became a spokesman. The angel of the Lord was involved in this conversation. The message was that even though the Gentiles ruled the world they had little concern for the desperate state of the Jews so now was the right time to build the Temple. God, many times in Scripture, used the angel of the Lord in communicating his message to man. In the vision the horses were used as God's messengers to go to and fro upon the earth. The Jews were free physically. The Babylonians no longer ruled. The Persians were now the world rulers. They had granted the Jews their freedom. Sadly, the Jews were still slaves in their own minds and living in fear. The Lord gave the angel a message of good words and comfortable words to be delivered to the people.
Cry out over Jerusalem -- Zechariah 1:14-17: God is jealous for Jerusalem. His is concerned that the nations are indifferent to His city. Even when the nation was in sin God continued His love and compassion for them. God loved and preserved this nation because it is through them that the Messiah would be born. God had now returned to Jerusalem. He was furious, because the Gentile nations had made things worse for Jerusalem and they were not the least bit concerned about the plight of the holy city. It is observed in Romans 3:29 that God is the God of both the Jews and the Gentiles. Other Jewish cities would also be blessed by God. He said, "I also promise that my towns will prosper--Jerusalem will once again be my chosen city, and I will comfort the people of Zion.”
A vision of horns and craftsmen -- Zechariah 1:18-21: In another vision Zechariah saw four animal horns. A horn represents languages or governments. This is the same as the four living creatures of Ezekiel 1:5-6. These are four world powers. The gentile world powers are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. "These horns are the nations that scattered the people of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem, and took away their freedom." These four kingdoms represented the powers that were among mankind to scatter our Lord's people. These four represented the powers that would later be removed from among the people. Zechariah said the Lord showed him four carpenters. These craftsmen are God's instruments, who with their hammers would break these strong horns which would overthrow the work of God. What mankind must learn is that God has a hammer to break in pieces any kingdom. Those to be broken are "the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it."
Our all-powerful God expects sincere worship and moral living from people today. Zechariah's example of breaking through national prejudice reminds us to reach out into all areas of our society with the gospel. We must extend God's invitation of salvation to people of all national origins, languages, races and cultures. The fountain has been opened for all. "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." (Zechariah 13:1) This fountain that is opened to all is filled with the blood of Jesus. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism follow Jesus in faithfulness as He leads you home to heaven. (Revelation 2:10)