says the LORD: I will return to Zion, and will
in the midst of Jerusalem”…
Zechariah: Minor Prophet with a Major Message
God’s word to encourage the returned Jewish exiles to take heart amidst
uncertain circumstances and finish rebuilding the Temple, because the Lord
plans to establish the Temple as the center of His Kingdom when He personally
returns and glorifies His city, Jerusalem. This will result in the fulfillment
of all covenant promises, the final deliverance of His people, Israel, and
their employment to facilitate the universal worship of the Lord.
The book of
Zechariah, although a prophetic work of singular importance in developing an
understanding of Biblical eschatology and the role of the promised Messianic
King, is one of the most overlooked and least studied of the Old Testament
books. This, despite being one of the most quoted and alluded to Old Testament
works within the New Testament corpus. The New Testament authors directly quote
or allude to Zechariah’s content on some forty separate occasions.
In fact, because of the diminutive size of Zechariah’s book, it could be argued
that it is the most quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament, pound for
pound (or shekel for shekel). Yet in perusing the computer index of the
dispensational journal par excellence, Bibliotheca
Sacra, from 1955-1995, not one article on Zechariah’s book or specific
subject matter could be located.
It is not as if
the content of Zechariah is lacking relevance or profundity for Bible prophecy
scholars. Students of the book of Revelation will readily recognize certain
symbols and motifs strewn throughout this book. Additionally, Zechariah reveals
more about the coming Messiah than all the other minor prophets combined. He is
truly the minor prophet with the major message. Within the pages of Zechariah
are found many of messianic prophecy’s “greatest hits”.
In the emphasis of its subject matter on the restoration of Jerusalem and the
coming Messianic King to His people, it is tempting to informally think of
Zechariah as Isaiah, Jr.
As with the
message of Isaiah, it has become common practice within some circles to
challenge the unity of this book and propose a Deutero-Zechariah. The
demonstration of Zechariah’s authorial unity has been well defended by others
and goes beyond the purpose of this argument. Zechariah’s unity will therefore
be a presupposition of this argument.
backdrop to the vibrant and encouraging message of this prophet is the
tremendous discouragement the returning Jewish exiles had experienced in the
sixteen years they had been back in their land. The previous glory of Judah
and, particularly, Jerusalem could not be recaptured, and the rebuilt Temple,
although sixteen years in the works, was unimpressive and still unfinished. Yet
until the completion of the Temple and the full restoration of covenantal
Levitical worship, neither the glory of Jerusalem nor the prosperity of the
Jewish people could be reestablished.
discouragement and passivity is the ambiance which links all the post-exilic
works together and especiallypermeates the work of Zechariah and
his contemporary, the prophet Haggai. Haggai, whose ministry has a one month
overlap with Zechariah’s, having begun to motivate the people to once again
take up the task of rebuilding the Temple, exits the spotlight of Jewish
history, but not before passing the motivational prophetic baton to Zechariah.
Zechariah, whose name means, “the one whom the Lord remembers”, is first
mentioned in the list of the 50,000 returning Jewish exiles given in Ezra 5:1,
6:14. He was born in the Babylonian exile, of priestly descent, and thus is the
third in the trinity of prophet/priests surrounding the Babylonian exile:
Jeremiah, whose ministry was pre-exilic; Ezekiel, whose ministry was exilic;
and Zechariah, whose ministry was postexilic. He is careful to date his
prophecies, which begin in late 520 BC.
The body of
Zechariah’s message is divided into three main portions. Uniquely, each of the
three divisions comprises a separate prophetic genre. The first section,
chapters 1-6, is considered apocalyptic and is filled with eight visions
containing numerological, chromological and zoological symbolism along with
accompanying angelic interpretations. The second, and briefest, section,
chapters 7-8, is an example of ethical prophecy, or exhortation, the sort of “forth-telling”
which was most prophets’ “stock-in-trade”. The third and final section,
chapters 9-14, is predictive future prophecy, the “fore-telling” that commonly
comes to mind when one thinks of prophetic ministry.
There are two
specific emphases in this book upon which everything else is peripheral. The
first is that of the powerful appearance of the Lord to destroy the enemies of
His people Israel and, once all is subjugated under His control, to personally
dwell among His people. The second is the specific election and glorification
of His city, Jerusalem, the home of His Temple and the center of Israel’s and,
eventually, the world’s worship. Jerusalem and its synonym Zion
are mentioned some fifty times within the fourteen chapters of Zechariah’s book.
Clearly, the restoration and supernatural glorification of the city of the
Messianic King is a central focus of this prophet.
Zechariah continually chooses on some fifty occasions to refer to God by the
specific title, YHWH Sabbaoth, traditionally translated as the Lord of Hosts
(NASB, KJV, et al) or the Lord Almighty (NIV). A more nuanced translation is
the “sovereign Lord who leads armies”.
This is a fitting divine appellation within a book that emphasizes the coming
conquering King Messiah.
This section is
the introduction to the short but potent message of Zechariah. The date is
October/November 520 BC. As Zechariah relates the word of the Lord, acting as
His approved spokesman, the returned exiles are reminded that their ancestors
had purposefully ignored the stipulations of the Mosaic covenant and thereby
incurred God’s wrath. The not so subtle implication of this message is for this
generation not to repeat their fathers’ grave mistakes. They have the
opportunity to incur God’s blessings through their obedience to God’s covenant
and reestablishment of a personal relationship with Him.
In this section,
the first of three major divisions of the prophet’s message, Zechariah details
a series of eight supernatural visions the Lord reveals to Him over the course
of one evening, February 15, 519 BC.These
visions are apocalyptic in nature and are communicated to encourage the people
to finish rebuilding the Temple, which at that point was five months into
reconstruction. Additionally, these visions are given to relay hope for the
people’s future status and the future status of the city of the Temple,
are given sequentially and have a chiastic structure.
The first is connected to the eighth, the second is connected to the seventh,
the third is connected to the sixth, and the fourth and fifth visions are
connected in climactic fashion. Each vision loosely follows a general pattern:
Zechariah relays the vision itself, he asks for clarification of the meaning of
the vision, is given clarification by an angelic companion, and then the Lord
delivers a message/oracle.
The first vision
(1:7-17) consists of four angelic riders on four horses of various colors. One
angelic rider, the angel of the Lord,
dismounts his horse in the middle of a grove of myrtle trees. Although
Zechariah asks his interpreting angelic companion the meaning of this vision,
it is the angel of the Lord who responds. The horses and riders have been sent
throughout the earth by the Lord to survey his dominion and have found
everything peaceful. This elicits a direct question from the angel of the Lord
to the Lord as to when the punishment of Jerusalem and Judah, which had lasted
seventy years in accordance with the prophetic word of Jeremiah,
would end. The Lord responds to this question with a declaration of passionate
love for Jerusalem and promises of renewed mercy and prosperity for the city
within which He has chosen to dwell personally. Conversely, His anger has been
transferred to the nations who have gone above and beyond their call of duty as
too-enthusiastic instruments of God’s justice upon Israel.
vision (1:18-21) builds on one motif of the previous vision, that of the Lord’s
anger toward the nations which have proven hostile to the Jewish people, and
makes it the theme. This vision communicates that the Lord will send his
supernatural representatives to overthrow these nations for their hostility and
instrumentality in the dispersion of the Jewish people from their land. The
vision is brief and consists of Zechariah’s seeing four animal horns, which
represent the power of the particular nations which have, or will have in the
future, actively persecuted the Jewish people.
These are immediately followed by four craftsmen, presumably wielding the
instruments of their craft, who are elucidated to be supernatural agents of
God’s justice and will be individually employed by Him to destroy these four
The third vision
(2:1-5) establishes that Jerusalem will again be the epicenter of God’s
protective presence and provision for His people. This vision’s message was to
foster hope within the hearts of the Jewish people as they worked to rebuild
the Temple which was to house the Lord Himself. In this vision, Zechariah sees
a surveyor who is concerned with measuring the geographic proportions of
Jerusalem in order to ascertain and restore the ancient city boundaries. The
Lord declares that this is unnecessary, as the future population of Jerusalem
will be so prosperous as to greatly overflow the ancient borders. At some
imminent period, the Lord Himself would personally inhabit Jerusalem and
provide prosperity and security for the city. His manifest glory will be
visible to all. Certainly, this would be prove reassuring to Zechariah’s
contemporaries, for whom the city’s security was an ever-present concern.
next (2:6-13) is the application of the preceding three visions. The Lord
commands that all the remaining exiles, who chose to remain in foreign
captivity, return home to their land, in preparation for the judgment the Lord
is about to pour out on Babylon. The wrath of God is promised to be poured out
upon all the nations which have participated or will participate in the dispersion
of the Jewish people. The full scope of this judgment must clearly point beyond
Zechariah’s contemporary situation toward some future universal dispersion of
the Jewish people.
specific eschatological timeframe of this coming judgment, the reason for it is
clear. By persecuting the Jewish people, the guilty nations have personally and
painfully abused the Lord with Whom the Jewish people are bound in covenantal
timeless Abrahamic promise of Gen. 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you and
curse those that curse you”, is clearly in effect.
Yet when the Lord takes up residence in Israel,
specifically, in the city of Jerusalem, and fills it with his protective glory,
great numbers of Gentiles will join the Jewish people in their relationship to
the Lord and worship together with them.
vision (3:1-10), the first of the two messianic “centerpiece visions” in the
series, communicates the trial of the High Priest, Joshua, who represents the
Jewish people before the Lord. This vision demonstrates that, although the
people are unclean and thereby unworthy to worship the Lord, as a sovereign act
of elective grace He will make His people clean and bless them. The vision
opens with Satan, the angelic adversary, before the Lord in the Temple Courts
standing ready to condemn Joshua, the High Priest, because of the filthiness
of His clothing. While the accusation would have been true that the ritual
impurity of Joshua’s clothing would disqualify him from serving as High Priest,
the Lord Himself rebukes the accuser and provides clean, royal robes for Joshua
to wear. Joshua, as the representative of the Jewish people, specifically of
the remnant now laboring in Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, is declared worthy
of the Lord by a sovereign declaration of His grace. The Jewish people and
their leaders could be fully confident that the Lord would accept their
The Lord charges
Joshua to faithfully execute the responsibilities of his priesthood and
encouraged him with the promise of the coming Messiah who will bring a period
of prosperity and blessing. The Lord reveals that Joshua and his priestly
colleagues are symbols of this coming Messiah, called here the Branch, a term
fraught with royal Davidic connotation. This Messianic figure is also
designated here as an omniscient foundation Stone. This Messianic Davidic ruler
would serve as High Priest and remove the Jewish people’s sin, thereby
inaugurating a period of tremendous blessing for the people and their land.
The third and
final portion of Zechariah’s message is distinctively different from the two
antecedent sections. These exhilarating yet challenging chapters are comprised
of predictive prophecy and must be understood from a future perspective.
Specifically, Zechariah relates two associated divine oracles concerning the
future of Jerusalem and the events surrounding the coming of the Messiah to
deliver the city from its national enemies. While the previous sections are
specifically dated and, for the most part, are written to encourage the Jewish
people within the context of their contemporary situation, this last section is
undated and pertains to the events immediately preceding and including the
establishment of the impending Messianic Kingdom. Of particular note throughout
the division is the repeated eschatological designation, “in that day,”
firmly establishing its future timeframe. One should conclude that these
oracles are intended to revitalize the zealous expectancy of each generation of
God’s people until the realization of the prophesied events.
chapters there is significant ambiguity concerning the specific affiliation
between the return of the Lord to His people and the coming of the Messiah.
Throughout this final section, the Lord acts through the chosen representative
with whom He closely affiliates, the Messiah. The Lord and His Messiah are so
closely associated that, at certain points, their identities appear to merge.
This, of course, comes as no surprise to the New Testament believer.
The Lord, who
throughout the message of Zechariah has characteristically been presented as
the sovereign who commands the cosmic armies,
now musters His power and personally enters into battle on behalf of His
besieged covenant community. The Lord’s conclusive victory leads to ultimate
blessing for His people, the establishment of His kingdom and the final
fulfillment of all covenant promises. This would prove to be tremendously
heartening for Zechariah’s post-exilic community as well as for every
generation of God’s people since the prophecy’s original pronouncement.
The first half
of the last section (9:1--11:17) chronicles God’s systematic deliverance of
Judah from surrounding national enemies and the coming of the Messiah to
establish His kingdom. In contrast to other contemptible leaders of Judah,
Zechariah explains God’s desire to serve as a shepherd to His people and proves
His abilities by rescuing His people from their worldwide dispersion. However,
the majority of the covenant community rejects His agent of loving leadership,
the Messiah, which results in His judgment on those who have rejected Him. The
disastrous results of rejecting the Lord’s leadership would serve as an
admonition for the Jewish people to submit themselves to their covenant God.
relates the Lord’s personal defense of Jerusalem and conquest of the Jewish
people’s traditional enemies (9:1-8), notably Syria, Phoenicia and Philistia,
which extends Israel’s northern and western national borders to their ideal
After the Lord has eliminated the hostile threat to His people, the survivors
from these nations will be assimilated into the covenant community and serve
reveals the arrival of the Lord’s representative agent, the Messiah (9:9-10),
who is to rule for the Lord as the righteous and victorious King of Israel. The
Lord Himself performs the introduction of the Deliverer to His people. He
describes the Messiah as humble and conveying a kingdom of peace, as designated
by His entering Jerusalem on a donkey, not a war-horse.
To augment the previous section’s assurance concerning the expansion of
Israel’s national borders (9:1-8), it is clarified that not only will the
Kingdom of Israel’s borders fully expand in all directions to their promised
extent under their Messiah’s righteous and peaceful reign, but that the King of
Israel will actually reign over the whole earth.
throughout Zechariah’s message, the promise, based on God’s covenantal obligations,
of final restoration of the Jewish people to their land from wherever they have
been dispersed is reiterated (9:11-13). When the Lord establishes His kingdom
through the Messiah, Israel will be richly blessed with both fertility and
prosperity. The Jewish people themselves will participate in the judgment of
the Lord over their national enemies, being led into holy war by their
supernaturally enabled Messianic King (9:13-17).
The next section
(10:1-12) begins a new theme related to the previous chapter’s revelation of
the Messianic King, that of the subjects of the Kingdom. Zechariah contrasts
the excellent leadership of the Lord over his people with the inferior
leadership they have chosen for themselves. Although the Lord is the source of
all blessings, the people are being led astray by their leaders to consult
household idols and soothsayers. This leadership is so paltry that the Lord
wrathfully declares that it is as if the people had no guidance at all. He
proclaims judgment against the leading authorities and promises to personally
lead and invigorate the entire covenant community (10:1-3). As noted earlier,
the perspective of this final division is eschatological. The contemporary
leadership of Zechariah’s day, notably Zerubbabel and Joshua, cannot be in view
here considering their earlier commendation (3:1-4:14; 6:9-15).
employs royal imagery to further describe the mission of the coming Messiah; as
a Davidic King, He will proceed from Judah and, with strong and secure
leadership, will force out Judah’s worthless leaders (10:4-5). In relation to
the establishment of the messianic reign must come the repopulation of the
Messianic Kingdom. In fulfillment of covenant obligation, the Lord promises to
restore His people from worldwide dispersion (10:6-7). Although the Jewish
people are pictured as being scattered in every direction of the compass, as
symbolized by Assyria (north and east) and Egypt (south and west), the Lord
knows just where to find them, for it was He who placed them there. The return
of the exiles from this worldwide dispersion is vividly described as a second
exodus. So numerous will the returning exiles be that they will swamp the land
and Israel’s northern and eastern
national borders will need to be expanded, as previously noted (9:1-8;10), to
accommodate the swollen population (10:8-11). The Lord will bless the renewed
population of Israel and they will worship Him (10:12).
What follows in
chapter 11 contains arguably the most interpretively difficult passages in the
entire Old Testament. Questions arise as to the intended timeframe, content and
means of conveyance of the message.
Concerning the content, one verse in particular (11:8), has carried the
hefty burden of at least forty different interpretations.
Concerning the transmission, there is a well-established dramatic genre within
the Hebrew prophets, wherein they “act out” a message as a creative means of
communication (Ez. 4:1-3;5:1-12; Jer 27:2-11, etc.). However, this message goes
beyond that genre in requiring the participation of a whole “troop” of fellow
actors. We must therefore assume that the message Zechariah conveys is one that
was only dramatized on the stage of his own mind, either through vision or
imagination. As to the
timeframe depicted, consistency within this entire final division of
Zechariah’s work dictates that the events are future.
strikes a somber contrast with the glories related in the previous portion
(9:1-10:12) as he relates the events preceding, and effectively delaying, the
Messianic Kingdom’s inauguration. The devastation of the entire land of Israel
and the surrounding geographic area is recorded, as symbolized by the
incineration of its most verdant areas (11:1-3). The reason for this vast
desolation is given as the rejection of the Lord’s chosen shepherd of His
people, their Messiah (11:4-17). Zechariah returns here to the theme of the
nation’s leadership, embodied now in the representative shepherding of the
commands Zechariah to portray the role of a shepherd of a flock of sheep which
was condemned to slaughter because of the delinquent care of their previous
shepherds (11:4-6). Through this dramatic presentation, Zechariah is
standing-in for, i.e., impersonating, the Lord’s representative, the Messiah.
His doomed flock represent the Jewish people, and their delinquent shepherds
are their leaders who have oppressed them by collaborating with Gentile powers.
Zechariah is aware that, although he represents the Lord’s Messiah, the people
will reject him, which will serve to corroborate their fate with the Lord’s
the Messiah, shepherds with two symbolic staffs: one called “favor”,
symbolizing the external condition of peace between the nations and the Jewish
people; and the other designated “union”, symbolizing the internal condition of
peace within the covenant community (11:7).
Although Zechariah’s care of the people is exemplary, as expressed by his
ability within a short period of ministration to depose, i.e., render
powerless, the previously mentioned loathsome and abusive shepherds,
the people reject his leadership. He, in turn, rejects them, relinquishes his
position as shepherd and abandons his people to their doom. The people are
destined to suffer dreadfully on account of their repudiation of God’s chosen
As a public
expression of his termination of leadership, Zechariah, as the Messiah, breaks
the first staff, “favor” (11:10-11), which removes the Lord’s restraint of the
nations against Israel, creating an opportunity by which nations may freely act
on their hostility toward Israel. He then breaks his second staff, “union”
(11:14), which removes the harmony within the Jewish community, creating an
opportunity for gross division and discord within the nation at their moment of
greatest peril. When Zechariah asks to be compensated for his efforts, the
people disgrace him by paying their Messiah the value of a slave’s lifetime
wage (Ex. 21:32), thirty pieces of silver. This demonstrates their utter
contempt for the Lord’s Anointed, although there is a small remnant who
recognize His worth (11:11). As indicated by the sarcasm of the Lord’s
interjection at this point on being valued at that “exorbitant” price, He
clearly takes the insult personally. God then commands Zechariah to return the
people’s disdain by tossing away the insulting wages to the potter, i.e., the
recycling bin in the
Temple courts (11:12-13).
concludes with the Lord then summoning Zechariah to portray a different role,
that of a corrupt shepherd whom the Lord would first appoint over the Jewish
people and then destroy because he had sought to prey on the people in his
charge (11:15-17). The identity of this corrupt leader is ambiguous, as is so
much in this chapter, but should be classified as the eschatological antichrist
(Dan 9:27;2 Thes. 2:3-4;1 Jn. 2:18, et al).
The second half
of the final third of Zechariah’s prophecy (12-14) reveals the harrowing yet
exhilarating circumstances immediately preceding the ultimate victory of the
Messianic King and the establishment of His Kingdom. Although the description
of these triumphal events is placed in seeming contrast with the previous
chapter’s pessimistic revelation, this section actually provides the narrative sequel
to the events of chapter 11. With a creative device reminiscent of a cleverly
composed present-day film or a complex symphonic composition, the prophet
juxtaposes situations and motifs previously described in chapters 9-10, such as
the arrival of the Messianic King, the Jewish people’s second exodus, and the
Lord’s final judgment on the nations, and elaborates on their details, building
to a grand climax of universal scope. As noted above, the prophet’s repeated
choice of the eschatological phrase par excellence, “in that day,”
firmly anchors this final third within the temporal future.
this message of cosmic import by reminding his audience that the reliability of
His message is ensured by its source, the Creator of the Universe (12:1). This
section develops the holy war motif of 9:13-17. The Lord declares that He will
imminently employ His city, Jerusalem, as a mechanism to wage judgment on the
nations. The time is at hand when every nation will make war against the Jewish
people, and their capital, Jerusalem, will be besieged on every side. However,
the Lord will intervene on behalf of His people and incapacitate their enemies,
whom Zechariah portrays as staggering and retching as with intoxication, and as
herniating themselves by trying to lift too heavy an object for their capacity
(12:2-3). Although Jerusalem’s enemies will be blinded by the Lord, His vision
will be crystalline (12:4).
In order to
reach Jerusalem, the nations will also have to assault the surrounding
territory, Judah. The Lord will supernaturally energize the defenders of Judah,
beginning with the outlying Judean settlements, and Jerusalem, enabling them to
defeat their enemies. The people’s natural capabilities will be supernaturally
heightened as they are energized by the Lord to do battle (12:5-9). For one
final time, the devastating fruit of the Abrahamic promise of divine
retribution toward the enemies of the Jewish people (Gen.12:3) will be
When the threat
posed by Israel’s national enemies, upon their comprehensive defeat, is finally
defused, the Lord will infuse the Jewish people with spiritual conviction and
contrition. He will enable the Jewish people to perceive their need for divine
forgiveness and the entire nation will repent. The reason for their repentance
will be their prior rejection of the Messiah, the representative agent of the
Lord’s loving leadership. It is unmistakable in this passage that Zechariah is
depicting the Lord’s identity as being integrated with the Messiah’s. He declares
that when the Jewish people see the Lord they will suddenly comprehend that in
mortally wounding the Messiah it was as if they had physically pierced the Lord
Upon this realization, their grief will be so enormous that it must be compared
to a parent’s bitter grief at the death of an only child and the consequent
termination of family lineage (12:10). It is also compared (12:11) to the
national mourning which attended the untimely death of a beloved Jewish king,
Josiah (2 Chr. 35:22-27). The mourning for this messianic Jewish King will not
only yield public national anguish, but private, intense, individual grief, led
by the Jewish political and spiritual leadership (12:12-14).
period of grief and repentance, the Lord will forgive His people for their
rejection of His leadership and will superintend their spiritual purification
(13:1). He will direct the eradication of false worship throughout Israel,
specifically eliminating idols, false prophets and their evil motivating spirit
(13:2). The remaining remnant of false prophets in
the land will bring such disgrace on their families that their own parents will
execute them in
obedience to the covenant. These false prophets will be ashamed of their
activities and for fear of judgment will seek to cover them up on the pretense
of being merely farmers, but the self-inflicted chest lacerations
characteristic of their office betray them (13:3-6).
This explicates the concise false prophet motif of 10:2.
follows this with a prophetic tapestry which weaves together the theme of the
rejected leader (10--11), the pierced Messiah motif (12:10), and the final
siege of Jerusalem (12:1-9). Zechariah portrays the Lord ordaining the murder
of His representative, the Messiah (13:7). Again, there is an emphasis on the
close affiliation between the Lord and His Messiah, so much so that their
identities appear to be fused together.
As a consequence of the Messiah’s death, the Jewish people will suffer
worldwide dispersion. Yet, at some eschatological point they will reenter their
land, and it is there that two thirds of the Jewish people will be slain. The
survivors of this genocidal decimation, although undergoing the persecution and
previously discussed international siege of 12:1-9, will be purified through
their suffering and will worship the Lord within the parameters of covenant
lifestyle, as revealed in 12:10-13:1.
final chapter (14:1-21) attention is returned to Israel’s final hour, the
international siege of Jerusalem. Elaborating on that which had previously been
summarized (9:1-8;12:1-9), including the massacre of the Jewish people (13:8),
the prophet supplies fresh and vivid details of Jerusalem’s final defense prior
to the Lord’s intervention (12:4; 14:3), including the fact that the
international assembly at Jerusalem was orchestrated by the Lord Himself
(14:2). Zechariah’s narrative of this onslaught picks up at Jerusalem’s most
desperate moment, when it appears that the nations which have united against
the city will completely overrun it. By this point,half the population of the city have already been taken captive
and deported, and the remainder have seen their possessions despoiled and their
women brutally raped (14:1-2). When it seems that the nations will complete
their victory with a “final solution,” the Lord enters the battle and engages
the nations on behalf of His people (14:3).
The Lord arrives
just east of the city on the Mount of Olives in the person of the Messiah, His
chosen representative, accompanied by angelic armies at His command.
In the closing pericopes of his message, Zechariah’s preferred choice of divine
designation, “YHWH Sabbaoth”, is visibly corroborated (14:4-5). Taken together
with previous intimations of the nature of the Messiah’s close affiliation with
the Lord (9:9-10;12:10 ), the weight of revealed evidence now demands that the
Messiah is in fact the manifest Lord Himself. Upon His appearance the Mount of
Olives divides in two, reminiscent of the parting of the Exodus waters,
creating a valley which serves as a shielded escape route from Jerusalem to
changes perspectives momentarily and takes leaves of the action of the final
conflict. He describes additional topographical as well as meteorological changes
accompanying the Messiah’s appearance, including the eruption of a river within
Jerusalem, an event signifying divine blessings of fertility on a city in which
water was traditionally the scarcest of commodities. As the Messiah’s capital,
Jerusalem will be topographically elevated and the surrounding geographic area
lowered in contrast (14:6-11).
perspective now returns to the Messiah’s encounter with the enemy armies. With
His brutalized people now removed from the conflict and out of harm’s way, the
Messiah confronts His enemies in this second stage of battle. Those vast armies
which would have butchered the Jewish people are now themselves decimated by a
plague which rots their flesh. Panicking in their desperation to escape this devastation,
they slaughter one another. Additional aid in their defeat comes from the
residents of the surrounding Judean countryside who, together with the
now-secure survivors of Jerusalem, plunder those who had plundered them
Following the Messiah’s
final triumph, the whole earth will recognize the Lord, and His covenant
community will expand accordingly (14:9).
Although their armies have been devastated, the nation’s survivors will all
worship the Lord with the Jewish people in Jerusalem at the Temple, the
location of His manifest presence. Those who formally opposed God will now
surface to appease God. Ambassadors from all nations will make annual
pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, the great holy
day related to the appeal for blessings of fertility, specifically, for rain,
the public reading of the Torah and covenant renewal. Those nations who neglect
to send an ambassador will suffer a lack of fertility, specifically, no rain,
as divine punishment for their lack of covenant allegiance (14:16-19). In the
culmination of the Messianic Kingdom all distinctions between the sacred and
profane will be eradicated, for everything will be sacred; the most mundane
materials and the most unlikely Gentile subjects will all be dedicated to the
 The researcher’s
own non-systematic, casual perusal of the NT yielded 35 such references or
allusions to Zechariah.
 For example,
the Messiah entering Jerusalem on a donkey (9:9); Messiah betrayed for thirty
pieces of silver (11:12-13); the Jewish remnant mourning for Him Whom they have
pierced (12:10); strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter (13:7); Messiah
returning to the Mount of Olives (14:4), etc.
 See Eugene
Merrill, An Exegetical Commentary:
Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. (Chicago: Moody, 1994) 74-88 and Joyce Baldwin,
Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi: Tyndale
Old Testament Commentary Series. (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity, 1972)
recorded ministry ends on 24 Kislev/December 18, 520 B.C.E. (Haggai 2:10) and
Zechariah’s ministry begins approximately one month prior in Heshvan/November
 See W.
Howard Mare, “Zion.” The Anchor Bible
Dictionary, (New York: Doubleday,1992) 6:1096.
 See Dr.
Robert B. Chisholm’s masterful translation of Isaiah 1:9 (specifically, the Heb. twaob;x]
hw:hyÒ ) in The NET Bible (www.bible.org: Biblical Studies Press, 1996).
 i.e. the Lord’s plaintiff “return to me…and
I will return to you” (Zech. 1:3).
 In this
vision it is apparent that the angel of the Lord and the Lord Himself are two
separate individuals. In subsequent visions their individual identities appear
to be interchangeable. See F. Duane Lindsey, “Zechariah.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament,(Wheaton: Victor, 1986.) 1550
accordance with the parallel prophesies of Daniel 2, 7-8, these nations are
Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome, as per Charles L. Feinberg, The Minor Prophets, (Chicago: Moody,
 Zech. 2:8.
The Jewish people here are likened to the Lord’s pupil, the most sensitive part
of the eye, into which the nations have artlessly poked their finger. This is
an offense which the Lord feels personally.
 Thanks to
Eugene Merrill (123) for a reminder of this timeless principle.
 Referred to
in Zech. 2:12 for the first and only time in the Bible as “the holy land.”
 Heb. µyaiwxo
µydigÉB] i.e. clothing stained
with excrement (Zech. 3:3).
interpretation of the design of the golden menorah has occasioned much debate.
This researcher has opted for the most reasonable and least convoluted
interpretation. But see Merrill (147-149) and Baldwin (119-120).
 Thirty feet
by fifteen feet. See Merrill (166).
enough to contain five gallons. See Baldwin (128).
 ibid. 305.
 For an
informative analysis of the chiastic structure of these two chapters and Zechariah’s
word plays in chapter 7 see Robert B. Chisholm, Interpreting the Minor Prophets, (Grand Rapids: Academie, 1990)
 ibid. 221.
 Heb. aWhh'
µwYœB' Zech. 9:16: 11:11; 12:3,
4, 6, 8, 9, 11; 13:1, 2, 4; 14:3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 20, 21. Note the particular
concentration within the 45 verses of chapters 12-14.
 ref. note
Baldwin’s discussion (165-66).
 Merrill (260-261)
cautions against using the reference to Greece (Javan) in Zech. 9:13 to move
the historical composition of the work at a later date, contemporaneous with
Alexander’s conquests.. Greece is simply here as representative of the great
nations. Evidently, Greece was perceived in Zechariah’s day as the
up-and-coming world power on the horizon.
 For an
fascinating alternative translation of 10:12, see Merrill (282).
 ibid 327-
but see Merrill (295) for an alternative.
 To the
extremely difficult text of 11:8, Baldwin (183) offers a compelling alternative
to the fruitless attempt to identify the three deposed shepherds. If Zechariah
is employing apocalyptic literature’s devise of the symbolic use of numbers,
then in this context the number three might simply stand for the number of
completion and signifies the removal by the shepherd of all opposing
(298) includes an interesting discussion.
 Ref. Note
C.F. Keil, Commentary on the Old Testament: Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1986) notes that the Heb. Wrq;D; iindicates
“pierced or thrust through to death” (388).
We see here that Satan, the ultimate
source of idolatry, will be dealt with at this point by God Himself. See Kenneth
L. Barker, “Zechariah,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand rapids:
Zondervan, 1985) 685.
The same word is used as in 12:10, Wrq;D, “to pierce through”. See note 37, above.
often interpreted and quoted as a prophecy concerning the coming Messiah, see
Merrill (332) and Barker (686) on why 13:6 cannot be a messianic prophecy.
 To the
researcher, the conclusion is unmistakable that Zechariah means us to grasp
some manner of divine personification within the Messiah’s identity. See Barker
(686). Also, see note 9, above.
 See notes
6, 26 above.
 Zech. 14:9
seems to contain an explicit reference to the “Shema” ( Deuteronomy 6:4) – “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God the
Lord is One,” -- the great traditional rallying creed of the Jewish people,
thus signifying the ultimate establishment of universal worship of the one true