He Came … He’s Coming … Keep Going [Rightly Understanding the Prophecies of Zechariah]

Zechariah was a 6th century prophet whose name means “Yahweh remembers.” He was born in Babylon to a priestly family who was exiled, but he later retuned to Jerusalem where he ministered to the fifty-thousand Jews who returned to their homeland. Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai (Ezra 5:1; 6:14), and together they encouraged and exhorted their countrymen. And as far as Zechariah goes, the primary unifying theme of his eight prophetic visions was the following:

Despite the past discipline, the current opposition, and apparent hopelessness over the near future, keep worshiping and laboring for God. For God will always preserve his remnant, and one day they will be fantastically blessed.

Sure, Zechariah was interested in the short-term, regional blessing of Israel. Alongside Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, he too longed to see Jerusalem’s revival, restoration, and the rebuilding of the physical temple. However, Zechariah was more interested in the eternal and international blessing of the True Israel — those Jews and Greeks who would pledge their allegiance to the Messiah and comprise the one Kingdom, one Flock, one Household, one Temple, one Peculiar People, one Holy Nation, one Elect Community, one Bride, or one Universal Church. And since this was Zechariah’s focus, he prophesied more on the Messiah than any other Old Covenant prophet, with the exception of Isaiah.

Zechariah saw Jesus Christ as the Shekinah Glory of God. Jesus would be the one coming to tabernacle with his people.

Zechariah 2:5     And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst.

Zechariah saw Jesus Christ as the Immanuel which means “God with us.” Jesus would be the one who would come to earth and make his abode in the midst of his covenant people.

Zechariah 2:10     Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord.

Zechariah saw Jesus Christ as the Servant who was the Vine-Branch. Those connected to him would bear great fruit that would prove to be very acceptable and delightful to the Father.

Zechariah 3:8     Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch.

Zechariah saw Jesus Christ as the Temple Builder. He would be the one who would construct a temple made without hands. Christ would declare himself to be the Chief Cornerstone, and his apostles would comprise the foundation stones. All his children would stand upon their shoulders and their doctrine, and they would be individual stones placed in order by the Promised Holy Spirit.

Zechariah 6:12     And say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.

Zechariah saw Jesus Christ as the Saving Warrior. He would be the Donkey-Riding-King who would save his people and build his multi-ethnic, international kingdom. His realm would encompass much more than merely Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The entire world would prove to be his Land of Promise.

Zechariah 9:9–10     Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Zechariah saw Jesus Christ as the Gentle Shepherd. He would come and know his flock by name, and they recognize his charitable voice. And when all was said and done, despite the roaring lion and wolves in sheep’s clothing, he would not lose one of those entrusted to his care by the Father. Like Jewels in his crown, they would one day shine and glorify their Shepherd.

Zechariah 9:16     On that day the Lord their God will save them, as the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land.

Zechariah saw Jesus Christ as the One of Little Worth. Strangely, Jesus would be valued at thirty pieces of silver by some. His estimated value would be that of a common slave. History would show him to be the one rejected by his own. Loud would be the cry from Israel, “Crucify him, crucify him!” He would be despised and rejected by men.

Zechariah 11:11–13     So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep traders, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter.

Zechariah saw Jesus Christ as the Pierced One who was lamented. Jesus would find his head pierced with thorns, his hands and feet pierced with nails, and his side pierced with a Roman spear. And after all of this, Jesus would bring sorrow to many in Israel. Despite their rejection, Jesus would not leave his ethnic brothers alone. Jesus caused them to mourn and repent, and history would show that Jesus would found his church on Hebrew saints. The early Apostles would be Jews. The first eight-thousand converts would come from the Hebrew race. Priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Jewish rulers would be drawn to confess their sin, repent of their willful ignorance, and call Jesus Christ “King of kings” and “Lord of lords.” Christ would not forsake those who pierced him. He would pour out upon his friends a spirit of grace and mercy.

Zechariah 12:10     “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

Zechariah saw Jesus Christ as the Baptismal Font. He was the one whose blood would wash away sins. And he was the one who would send his Holy Spirit to wash and regenerate the hearts of depraved individuals.

Zechariah 13:1     “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.

Zechariah saw Jesus Christ as the Scarred Friend of Sinners. He was the one who received wounds on his back from his own whom he came to save.

Zechariah 13:6     And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’

Zechariah saw Jesus as the Victorious Judge. He was the King who would outlast the Medes, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. He was the one whose Kingdom would come and have no end. And he was the one who would, in his own time, come again to gather his elect, right all wrongs, and damn all who would not bow the knee. The trumpet of the Lord would sound, and in the blinking of an eye, the current world order would come to an end.

Zechariah 14:3–21     Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses. And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction. Jerusalem shall dwell in security. And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. And on that day a great panic from the Lord shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other. Even Judah will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be collected, gold, silver, and garments in great abundance. And a plague like this plague shall fall on the horses, the mules, the camels, the donkeys, and whatever beasts may be in those camps. Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the Lord.” And the pots in the house of the Lord shall be as the bowls before the altar. And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day.

Therefore friends, rejoice that Jesus Christ came as he was promised. He was the Shekinah Glory, the Immanuel, the Vine-Branch, the Servant, the Temple-Builder, the Saving Warrior, and the Gentle Shepherd.

And rejoice that Christ endured a strange stoop of humiliation. He was the Undervalued One, the Pierced One, and the Beaten One who washes away the sins of the world.

And rejoice that Christ is the Victorious Judge who is coming as he promised. Friends, Christ sits on the throne above in glory, and under his providential rule kingdoms come and go. Under his dominion, righteousness and unrighteousness coexist and are tolerated for a season, but this is only for a limited time. For when his days of calling and gathering his elect are complete, and when he wishes to give final rest to his militant and battered church, Christ will put an end to the trials and persecutions endured by his beloved bride.

Therefore, despite the past discipline, the current opposition, and apparent hopelessness over the near future, keep worshiping and laboring for God. For God will always preserve his remnant, and one day they will be fantastically blessed.

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