Book of the Week 38: Zechariah

Hebrew Name: Zachar’Yah

Human Author: Zechariah son of Berechiah                      

OT or NT: Old Testament

Number of Chapters: 14

Basic Facts

  1. Zechariah is the thirty-eighth book of the Bible.
  2. In terms of literary genre, Zechariah is classified as a book of prophecy.
  3. The Hebrew name for the book of Zechariah is Zachar’Yah, which means, “Yah remembers” or “God remembers.”
  4. Zechariah was a prophet to the returned exiles of Judah during the Persian period.
  5. Zechariah receives revelation from God in the form of several visions.

Story of the Book

The book of Zechariah opens with God giving Zechariah a series of visions. These visions include: the nations around Judah being at ease, the vision of four horns, a man measuring the wall of Jerusalem, accusations against the High Priest, a vision of the lampstand, the vision of the flying scroll, a woman in a basket, and finally a vision of four horsemen and four chariots. Through these visions, God is pronouncing judgment upon the nations which have oppressed Israel/Judah. Next, God offers words of encouragement to Zechariah and tells him that God will bless Jerusalem and see the Temple rebuilt if the people (and especially Joshua the high priest) diligently obey Him. The rest of the book is recorded after the Temple is completed. It tells of the coming of a king who would bring salvation to Israel/Judah and that God will bring judgment and destruction upon the nation’s enemies. God closes the book with a promise of cleansing, saying there will no longer be a merchant in the Lord’s Temple.

Jesus Foreshadowed in Zechariah

According to some Biblical scholars, the book of Zechariah contains more prophecies concerning the person, work, and coming glory of Jesus Christ than all of the other minor prophets combined. There are too many prophecies concerning Jesus in Zechariah to list them all here, but here is a list of a few of them: the coming king of Israel would bring salvation and would arrive on a donkey and a colt (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:5, John 12:15), the house of David will be like God by having a king who is both God and the Lord’s anointed (Zechariah 12:8; possibly connected to the divinity of Christ in passages like John 8:58), the people will look on the one they have pierced and mourn for him like a firstborn son (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34,37), a fountain will be opened to the line of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem which will cleanse from impurity and sin (possibly referring to the words of Jesus) (Zechariah 13:1; John 7:38), God will allow the shepherd to be struck and the sheep will scatter (Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:31), and the LORD will be king over the whole earth and His name will be the only name (Zechariah 13:9; Revelation 11:15). In many ways, Zechariah foretells the coming of the Messiah who would bring salvation in ways that are only partially revealed in his day. It is not until Jesus Christ came and fulfilled each of the passages above that it became clear that Jesus is the messiah who brings salvation to all who believe in Him. Zechariah is given these revelations concerning the Messiah after the Temple is completed. At this point in history, the stage was beginning to be set for the time when the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, would appear.