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Lowell Brueckner

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The Introduction to Zechariah


An expositional Bible study

How privileged we are! God has surrounded us with divine riches for our good! The treasure over all others is His Word, for which He has endowed us with the supernatural faculty to be able to grasp it. He has given us the mind of Christ, which is governed and guarded by the Holy Spirit. To be illuminated concerning spiritual, heavenly things is a great work of the triune God. We also have the opportunity to learn mutually from each other, sharing what we have received, and for me it would be a pleasure to leave you with some things that I have learned while studying the first verses of the book of Zechariah. Would you like to study this book verse by verse? There is simply no question that an expository study is the most profitable approach to studying the Word and the best way to deliver a Bible study is to explain verse by verse what the Scripture presents. We really do not have enough of that kind of teaching.

The name Zechariah means “the Lord remembers” and that name would serve as title for the book. Israel has been in captivity for 70 years and now the Lord is bringing them out of that situation and helping them to return to their land. Zechariah was the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo. He may have been only an infant when he returned from Babylon with his grandfather. We know nothing of his father. Possibly, he died when Zechariah was very small, but his grandfather, on the other hand, is mentioned in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ez.5:1; Neh.12:4, 16). Often in the Bible a grandfather is presented as the father of a certain person, so that it is not unusual that Zechariah is sometimes called the son of Iddo.

Haggai and, Ezra were contemporaries of Zechariah. Esther was queen some years later than the events that took place in this book,  and Nehemiah rebuilt the walls still later. Lastly Malachi prophecied. Zechariah, as his grandfather Iddo, was a priest, but to become a prophet is not something, which can be inherited from ancestors or from belonging to a certain tribe; it only happens to someone to whom the Word of God has come.

Chapter one

In the month of November of 520 B.C., during the time of the Persian Empire in the reign of Darius, the Word of God came to Zechariah (v.1). That was the moment when he began his prophetic ministry. This is the only means to qualify a man for the profession. With the exception of Isaiah, this is the prophet, who has most to say about the coming Christ.

For the most part, he has a very positive message, but he cannot ignore the wrath of God. He reminds Israel of His indignation against their fathers (v.2)… and indignation that carried them to 70 years of captivity (v.12). If you want to know something of the intensity of that wrath, you only have to read the book of Lamentations. There you will see the sad calamities that occurred at the hand of the Babylonians.

The gospel of the New Testament does not ignore the wrath of God. It reminds us that we all were subject to it and that in the present time, unbelievers are sons of wrath. The book of Hebrews tells us that it is a horrendous thing to fall into the hands of the living God. However, nowhere else in the entire Bible is there a book like Revelation, in which more is said about the wrath of God and the Lamb and of the unhappy end of those who do not surrender to Him.

Let me give you a list of verses from the New Testament, which speak of the wrath of God:
Mt.3:7; Lc.3:7; 21:23; Jn.3:36; Ro.1:18; 2:5,8; 3:5; 5:9; 9:22; 12:19; 13:4; Eph..2:3; 5:6; Col.3:6; 1 Th.1:10; 2:16; Heb.3:11, 4:3; Rev.6:16, 17; 11:18; 14:10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19; 19:15.

Also, Jesus, who perfectly represented the person of the Father upon this earth, became angry with His disciples, because of their attitude towards those who brought children to Him for His blessing (Mk.10:14). In the temple, he became indignant upon seeing the hardness of heart of the Jews, who could not rejoice over the healing of a man with a withered hand, because their interpretation concerning keeping the Sabbath was more important to them (Mk.3:15). Besides these occasions, I think all of us know of the day, when Christ entered the temple and observed the people negotiating in the place dedicated for worship to God. He was incited to anger and chased them all out with a whip, turning over the tables and spilling the money on the floor (Jn.2:13-17).

Now in our text, Zechariah speaks to the Jews of the new privilege that they have to enjoy another opportunity and that they should be careful not to follow their fathers (v.3). God, in absolute wisdom, knew that 70 years in captivity, not one day more or less, were necessary to break the stubbornness of His people; His mercy did not allow that one day too many would pass above that which was needed.

And now it was time to invite them to return to the Lord and to tell them that the Lord was ready to return to them. The name of God that is repeated throughout the book is the “Lord of Hosts”. He will come for the good of His people, fighting for them with all His armies. This expression appears various times in this chapter alone (v.4, 6, 14, 17, and 26) and many more times in the rest of the book.

Zechariah tells a little of the history of the Jews, reminding them of God’s demand for repentance from their fathers, but they paid no attention (v.4). Then, with His wrath ignited, He came against them with his forces. See how a prophet can make an impression upon his listeners or his readers. He not only gives a message, but he does it in a manner, that will most likely draw their attention. If anyone has a call from God to preach His Word, he must find and cultivate this way.            

Zechariah emphasizes human limitations (v.5), in contrast to the Word of God. The fathers that disobeyed were dead, he told them, and the prophets who had warned them also were fallible and dead; but the Word of God is infinite, permanent, sure and without fail is fulfilled (v.6). The disobedient fathers came to recognize it, during those 70 years of dark trial in Babylon and now, their children can testify of the same. There is recognition that the Lord of Hosts has been faithful to His Word.

The best way to apply these six verses, inspired by the Holy Spirit through the mediation of a God-called prophet, to our lives, is by paying the closest attention to this warning. You and I will die, as this inspired prophet died, but the Word of God has come to us into the 21st Century and most surely will be fulfilled in our lives.


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