Zechariah’s ministry began towards the end of Haggai’s in the year 520 B. C. The son of a priest and descendant of one of the original group of Jews who returned from the exile (Neh. 12:4, 16; Zech. 1:1) Zechariah was both a man of the spoken word and visions. His message agreed with Haggai’s. It was time to complete the Temple whose reconstruction had been initially met with enthusiasm, but after 18 years had only its foundation to show for all the effort while the Israelite homes surrounding it were complete and functional. Haggai, now in his golden years was a powerful speaker and motivator. His young contemporary possessed the same qualities and they made a great team, much like the Dynamic Duo of cartoon fame Batman and Robin.
The book contains four messages, the second being the most fascinating as it is comprised of eight visions. The first message is a call to repentance (1:1-6). The second, with its eight visions can be divided as follows: 1:7-17 (horsemen among myrtle); 1:18-21 (four horns and craftsmen); 2:1-13 (a man with a measuring rod); 3:1-10 (the cleansing of the high priest Joshua); 4:1-14 (the golden lampstand); 5:1-4 (the flying scroll); 5:5-11 (the woman in the ephah); and 6:1-8 with 6:9-15 (four chariots of divine judgment and the symbolic crowning of Joshua). The third message appears in 7:1-8:23 and covers the topics of fasting and the far future. The final message (9:1-14:21) is delivered after the Temple has been rebuilt and is divided into two prophecies. The first prophecy addresses the overthrow of worldly kingdoms and Israel’s deliverance (9:1-10:12), and two shepherds (11:1-17). The second prophecy concerns Israel’s victory over worldly kingdoms (12:1-13:6) and the final victory of the Messiah-King (13:7-14:21).
While much can be said about the continued themes of repentance and a call to obedience that Zechariah speaks forth like Isaiah, Daniel and all the other prophets have done before him, what struck me at this time is the significance of Zechariah’s name and the certain outcome of his prophecies. His name means, "The Lord Remembers" and it bears on all aspects of Israel’s history (and all history for that matter). The Lord remembers the promises He has made in the past (Gen. 3:15; 12:1-3; 49:8-10; Ex. 12:1-14; 2 Sam. 7:1-17; Is. 53; Ezk. 37:1-14; Mic. 5:2-5 and more!). He is fulfilling some of those promises in the "post-exilic" period ( Ezr. 3). And if this is so, then He will remember and fulfill the things that have yet to be (Zech. 12). The people are also exhorted to remember. They are to remember God’s commands and to obey them; not just through outward ritual, but with a proper inward attitude as well (Zech. 7). They are to remember their commitment to rebuild God’s House and they are to remember that as God has fulfilled both promises of blessing and chastisement before, so He will fulfill them again (Hag.1:8; Zech. 1:16). And as icing on the prophetic cake (so to speak!), each vision serves to remind the people in a pictorial way the sum total of all the things God will remember or has remembered. Therefore it is imperative that the people do their own part in remembering (Zech. 1:3-6).
I am a person who loves to remember. My house is full of pictures, scrapbooks, and cherished mementos. My husband often teases me by saying that no matter what you pick up in my house there is a story behind it which I am happy to tell! But Zechariah’s "remembering" is not like that. It is more like our attempt to recall the directions to the mechanic's house but with much better results (Zech. 14). Zechariah encourages me to remember that God remembers! Although I am focused on directions, He is concerned with the destiny of His people. And while the world seems to be on the brink of disaster these days with an even more ominous outcome, God will not forget His people (Rom. 11:1-27) and He will not forget me (Mt. 7:7-11; Jn. 10:11, 14-15; 1 Cor. 15:50-58).
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
Week of 8/9/2015