-Introduction: The purpose of Zechariah revolves around giving God’s people hope during the time of Judah’s return to the land following their captivity in Babylon by revealing His coming deliverance through the Messiah. He designs to establish spiritual priorities in the life of the returned community of exiles in Judea. Zechariah writes as a contemporary of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zerubbabel, Daniel, and Malachi. This is the period of rebuilding walls and the Temple in Jerusalem somewhere between the years of 520-430 B.C.. Zechariah’s message is one of comfort and encouragement as well as exhortation (Zechariah 1:13, 16-17; 9:9-10). He themes his Holy Spirit filled work around God’s jealousy, revival, the coming King, and God’s sovereign control and protection over His people. Enjoy this prophetic work as we can now look back on the first incarnation of Messiah Jesus and appreciate all the accuracy of the Word of God.
-Chapter one begins with a time peg for us to gravitate on to. The Word of the LORD comes to His prophet in the eighth month of the second year of Darius, king of Persia. He begins with how angry the LORD had been with the fathers of these contemporary Jewish inhabitants of the land that had returned from captivity. The message of “Return to Me” is forceful and direct for the purpose of Him returning to them now in this new generation (Zechariah 1:1-6).
-Then on the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat, still during the second year of Darius, another Word from the LORD comes to Zechariah. At night he sees a vision of a man riding on a red horse, and he was standing among myrtle tress in a ravine with red, sorrel, and white horses in back of him. Zechariah asked what they were and the messenger declared that “these are those whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth.” What they found was that the earth was at that time “peaceful and quiet.” Then the angel of the LORD said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which You have been indignant these seventy years?” Then the LORD answered the angel that was speaking with Zechariah, the prophet, with “gracious words, comforting words (Zechariah 1:7-13).” His Word was that He was exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion and that His anger was upon the nations who are at ease; “for while I (God) was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster (Zechariah 1:14-15).” Therefore, God tells him that He will return to Jerusalem with compassion and that His House will be built in it as a measuring line stretched over Jerusalem. His cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will once again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem (Zechariah 1:16-17). After these things were spoken, Zechariah looks up to see four horns and asked the angel what they were. The angel revealed that these were the horns that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. Then the LORD showed His prophet four craftsmen prompting Zechariah to ask what they were coming to do. The messenger said, “These are the horns which have scattered Judah so that no man lifts up his head; but these craftsmen have come to terrify them, to throw down the horns of the nations who have lifted up their horns against the land of Judah in order to scatter it (Zechariah 1:18-21).” These horns are purported by some to be Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Medo-Persia, whom God used to oppress His wayward people in an effort to draw them back to Him. Others lay the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome at fault for being the prophetic horns corresponding to Daniel’s message (Daniel 2, 7, 11). Horns in Scripture prophetically represent power and political national strength. The four craftsmen are left somewhat ambiguous intentionally. Instead of focusing on “What are these?” as Zechariah does in verse 19 with the horns, the prophet now asks, “What are these (the craftsmen) coming to do (Zechariah 1:21)?” The craftsmen come symbolically to “terrify” the horns (nations of power) according to the sovereign plan of God in destroying the destroyer (Revelation 11:18). Pastor Greg Allen attributes then the four craftsmen to possibly be: 1. Medio-Persia, which vanquished the tormenting Babylon, 2. Greece, who conquered Medio-Persia, 3. Rome, which overtook Greece, and 4. The Kingdom of God, which arose in the midst of the Roman Empire and still thrives today with the promise to eliminate future threats to the Kingdom of God (Daniel 2:34-35, 44, Psalm 110:1-2, see http://bethanybible.org/new/bible-study/pm/2010-12-08/four-horns-four-craftsmen, or Charles L. Feinberg, God Remembers: A Study of Zechariah [Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1979], p. 30.).
-*Application* Isn’t it nice to hear a gracious, comforting word from the LORD pertaining to your life and future. This is the hope that we have in Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. He will make all things new and everything works together for good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, Revelation 21:5). So stay strong in your faith. The battle is the LORD’s, and He proves victorious in the end!
Verse to Memorize: Zechariah 1:13