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Zechariah, whose name means “Yahweh remembers,” or “Remembered of the LORD,” had an enthusiastic message of encouragement for the men who were working at restoring the Temple after the Babylonian exile. He was one of the exiles who saw Jerusalem for the first time when he arrived with the returning exiles in 520 B. C. God used the inspired preaching of Zechariah and his passion for the restoration of the Temple to see the building through to completion.
An important part of that message of encouragement is the Messianic component. He interprets the meaning of the Temple to the people of Yahweh. Messianic interpretation dominates the book. No other Old Testament book is as Messianic as Zechariah. There is a deep flowing messianic theme in his message that gave him confidence in proclaiming God’s future and purpose for the nation. The fulfillment of those hopes depended on the completion of the Temple.
Zechariah’s picture of the coming Messiah provokes the soul to God. This great Messiah King is to come as the vindicated and victorious Prince of peace (9:9-10). He comes triumphantly and yet in the humble pursuit of peace. Instead of riding a warhorse he rides a humble beast used by kings and notables on missions of peace.
We cannot miss the powerful imagery of the Messiah King and the Good Shepherd which clearly look forward to the life and ministry and death of our Lord (John 10:11-18). The great conflict will end in a glorious victory when the King Messiah comes in glory. He will put all of His enemies under His feet and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Cor 15; Rev. 19).
THE PROMISED PEACE (1:11-17)
Israel has been punished for her sins of idolatry by being carried into Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C., which lasted for seventy years. Zechariah writes at the end of the exile in 520 B. C. as the exiles return to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple (1:1). The Temple was rebuilt and completed in 516 B. C. (v. 16). The LORD punished Israel for her sins and she repented (vv. 2-4).
There is a time of peace coming when God restores His people (v. 11). The Babylonians went too far in their punishment of Israel and God will deal with them (vv. 14-15).
Zechariah saw a man with a measuring line who has come to measure Jerusalem (2:1ff). He envisions a city “without walls” (v. 4). Another angel came up to the first angel and said to him, “Run, speak to that young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle within it. For I,’ declares the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’ ” (vv. 4-5). In the time of peace there will be no need for protecting walls surrounding Jerusalem. It will be a time of perfect peace.
The LORD will be Jerusalem’s protection without and ‘glory within’ (cf. Isa. 60:19). It will take place when the Lord reigns as the Messiah in the millennial kingdom on the earth (Rev. 20:1-10; Ezek. 43:2-5; Zech. 2:5, 12; 14:20-21).
The Shekinah glory of Yahweh will be Israel’s protection. “I will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst” (v. 5). Israel will be able to say, “I saw God do it!”
Keil and Delitzsch write: "Jerusalem is in future to resemble an open country covered with unwalled cities and villages; it will no longer be a city closely encircled with walls; hence it will be extraordinarily enlarged, on account of the multitude of men and cattle with which it will be blessed (cf. Isa. 49:19, 20; Ezek. 38:11). Moreover, Jerusalem will then have no protecting wall surrounding it, because it will enjoy a superior protection. Jehovah will be to it a wall of fire round about, that is to say, a defense of fire which will consume every one who ventures to attack it (cf. Isa. 4:5; Deut. 4:24). Jehovah will also be the glory in the midst of Jerusalem, that is to say, will fill the city with His glory (cf. Isa. 60:19)."
In verses eight and nine it is Yahweh Himself as the Angel of the Lord or Messiah who speaks. It is a difficult Hebrew phrase in which NIV translates, “after He has honored me and has sent Me.” The KJV reads, “After the glory hath He sent Me.” The NASB reads, “For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches, touches the apple of His eye’” (v. 8). The meaning is probably that God will send the Messiah who will judge the nations that have plundered Israel. He will display His glory at the judgment of the Gentiles at the Second Coming of Christ (Matt. 25:31-46).
As a result of God’s deliverance and protection the people break forth in praise to Him. Verses 10-13 are a grand time of worship. “Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord. Many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. The Lord will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”
The Hebrew scholars Keil and Delitzsch write: "This dwelling of Jehovah, or of His angel, in the midst of Zion, is essentially different from the dwelling of Jehovah in the Most Holy Place of His temple. It commences with the coming of the Son of God in the flesh, and is completed by His return in glory (John 1:14; Rev. 21:3). Then will many, or powerful, nations attach themselves to Jehovah, and become His people (cf. 8:20, 21; Isa. 14:1). This kingdom of God, which has been hitherto rejected to Israel, will be spread out and be glorified by the reception of the heathen nations which are seeking God (Mic. 4:2). . . . This appointment of Israel to be the possession of Jehovah will become perfect truth and reality in the future, through the coming of the Lord."
It is a time when God has prepared the earth for Christ’s triumphant reign. It is a call to praise to the LORD as the King of Jerusalem. The Prince of Peace has arrived! This will be the time when the Messiah will come to rule on the throne of David. The emphasis is on the Second coming of Christ when God’s blessings to Israel will over flow to the Gentile nations. Yes, it is possible that both of Christ’s advents are in view here. In the Millennium people from many nations will worship the LORD (Zech. 8:20-23; 14:16; Isa. 2:3-4; Micah 4:2). The entire human race will bow in awe before the LORD God! This prophecy of glory intended for Israel (8:18-23) is still unfulfilled because of the blindness in part to Israel regarding the Messiah. The fulfillment began in the first appearance of Christ and will be consummated when He returns (Phil. 2:8-11).
E. G. Hengstenberg in his Christology of the Old Testament says, “In this reply the prophet embraced the whole of the blessings of salvation intended for the covenant nation, and the full meaning of his declaration was first realized in Christ. The conclusion (8:20-23) relates exclusively to the manner in which the kingdom of God would be glorified by Him, and as a still further expansion of Micah 4:2; Isa. 2:3; Jer. 31:6, it contains a description of the eagerness with which heathen nations would strive for admission into the kingdom of God.”
How interesting to compare this prophesy in Zechariah with an experience centuries earlier in the life of the Hebrew prophet Elisha and his servant who were surrounded by the enemy army with horses and chariots. His servant cried out, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” The old prophet said, Ah, no sweat. “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Yeah, but where are they? Then Elijah prayed, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Strike this people with blindness, I pray.” So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17-18).
“I will be a wall of fire round her, and I will be the glory in her midst” (Zech. 2:5). The Son of God, Yahweh our righteousness said, “I am with you always” (Matthew. 28:20). Just as He dwelt among His people visibly, even so He remains with His people today invisibly and will visibly return in glory and be with them forever. This presence of Yahweh, the greatest glory imaginable to the human mind, will be the crowning splendor of the city of God and its inhabitants (Rev. 21:3). Yahweh of hosts who came in the person of His incarnate Son and dwelled visibly among His people (John 1:14), and invisibly with His Body the church to the end of time, and will return from heaven in eternal glory. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
The highest possible glory is conferred upon Jerusalem because the Lord Himself takes up His abode there. The whole announcement is Messianic. “The essentially Messianic character is especially apparent from what is said in vv. 10-11, of the Lord dwelling at Jerusalem, and the heathen nations flocking thither in consequence, as a splendid demonstration of the mercy of God, which according to v. 13, was to fill all nations with overpowering amazement” (Hengstenberg).
The prophecy of Zechariah closes with a picture of all nations being gathered by the LORD against Jerusalem. They will take the city and plunder it (14:1-2). Then the Lord will take charge of His people and will appear on Mount of Olives, and by splitting this mountain, prepare a way of safety for the rescue of the remnant and come with all His saints (vv. 3-5) to complete His kingdom. From Jerusalem will flow a stream of salvation and blessing over the whole land (vv. 6-11). The hand of the LORD will destroy the enemies (vv. 12-15). However, a remnant of Gentiles will turn to the LORD and believe.
It is my prayer that you will let Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the Messiah become the desire of your heart. He will give you His perfect peace right now is you will believe on Him. If you need help in knowing Him in an intimate personal relationship here is A Free Gift for You.
Title: Zechariah 1:11-17; 2:5-6 Yahweh Remembers and Brings Peace
Series: Christ in the Old Testament
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2008. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.
Unless otherwise noted “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries for ten years. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Honduras.
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