1In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,
Zechariah is contemporary with Haggai, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the latter part of Daniel’s life. This is the time when the Jews are back in Jerusalem. Zechariah is given a prophecy of warning to these people who are not of the generation taken into captivity, but their children and grandchildren. The warning is that of looking back at the foolishness of their ancestors and a command to turn to Jehovah as God alone. If not, Zechariah prophesies what will be the end of the Jewish nation altogether for there will be no more captivities, no more chances.
2The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. 3Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. 4Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD. 5Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? 6But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.
Here the warning is given, the example of previous generations laid out. When we see the Jews in Jesus day (e.g. Matthew 23), they have no heeded this warning.
7Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, 8I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. 9Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. 10And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.
Here we see the use of the image of a red horse, and red horses. There are a couple of things to note about this rider on the red horse and those who follow him. We’ll see later in this book that the horses are representative of armies in general, but red especially is symbolic of the bloodshed in war. The most important point here is that the rider on the red horse was sent by Jehovah and is His servant to enact His will among the people of Judah (the earth). I believe this to be the archangel, Michael, the pre-incarnate Christ.
11And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest. 12Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?
In contrast to the wars that plagued Judah and Jerusalem through much of its history, something has changed. The rider on the red horse and his followers are among these myrtle trees, merely watching. They observe now that Judah is at rest, at peace. The red horse is held at bay. We see through this image the devastation that Jehovah has wrought against the surrounding nations He has used to punish Judah. Throughout the pre-captivity prophets we read of the impending doom against other nations. Now those nations are spent, are no more in the face of the onslaught of the four world empires: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Nebuchadnezzar and Persia after him conquered everything. With Cyrus and later Darius (not the Darius of this book) being empathetic to Judah, Jerusalem saw years of relative peace. In this time they were to rebuild, especially the temple.
13And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. 14So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. 16Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. 17Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.
Jehovah will now protect and provide for the Jews who have returned from captivity. The heathen nations had helped carry out Jehovah’s punishment against the Jews, but no more. Only the Greeks will cause any amount of disturbance followed by Rome as per Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 and his own visions in Daniel 7-12.
18Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. 19And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. 20And the LORD shewed me four carpenters. 21Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.
These four horns are four leaders, kings, or persecuting powers that have come against the Jews. The four carpenters have come to repair the damage done. The four horns are the nations surrounding Judah that harassed her: Egypt, Assyria, Moab, and the Philistines. The four carpenters are akin to the four metals or the four beasts of Daniel: Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome.
1I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. 3And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, 4And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein: 5For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
At first this chapter may appear to be a look at the Jews after captivity, but the measuring line is that of someone who is laying out a foundation in preparation for building a building. In this chapter Jerusalem is pictured without walls and without need of them for the amount of prosperity it will have. Jehovah will be Jerusalem’s protection as a wall of fire.
6Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. 7Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.
In this cryptic passage we have allusion to this new Jerusalem (the church) fleeing from the land of the north (fleeing the Romans when they came to destroy old Jerusalem). The church would then spread across the entire world (like the four winds). At that time, the church (Zion) would be centered in the daughter of Babylon, old Jerusalem, which is called this for several reasons. The Jews came out of Babylon, and in the time period now spoken of, were like Babylon in all their ways.
8For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. 9For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me. 10Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. 11And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. 12And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. 13Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.
Thus the identity of the Jerusalem of this chapter is firmly established. Many nations will be joined to the Lord, not just the Jews, in that day. Thus the church is the apple of Jehovah’s eye and He will protect them. In that day, God will choose Jerusalem again, the new Jerusalem.
1And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. 6And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, 7Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. 8Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. 9For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.
Zechariah now sees a vision of the high priest of his day, Joshua, set forth as a type pointing to the coming BRANCH, which is Christ. In this chapter we see a prophecy of the coming high priest who will take on all the filth of the sin of the world in a single time. Christ will be that sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world and gives new robes to the body of Christ, robes that indicate being cleansed of sin. Verse 10 is another reference to all nations being a part of this new Jerusalem, the vine and the fig tree. (See Romans 11).
1And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. 2And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: 3And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? 5Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 6Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. 7Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. 8Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 9The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. 10For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth. 11Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? 12And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? 13And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the LORD of the whole earth.
Zechariah sees a vision that the angel translates as a prophecy indicating that Zerubbabel will be the one to finish the Temple whose foundation he has already lain. The two anointed ones are Zerubbabel (governor) and Joshua (high priest), chosen by Jehovah to complete the Temple and return the Jews to proper worship and service to Him.
1Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. 2And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. 3Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it. 4I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.
This roll is not a piece of bread, but a scroll like we see in other books of prophecy. It contains a long list of sins. That it goes over the face of the “earth” and its connection to the Law of Moses shows that this scroll is a list of the sins of Judah.
5Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. 6And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. 7And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. 8And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. 9Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. 10Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? 11And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.
This image of a woman within an epah (a standard measuring size like for grain, this is likely a barrel that holds an epah of grain) and a lead cover represents the wickedness of Judah. It would be carried away from them for a while. The last verse is a reference to the foundation, the reestablishment of the wickedness of Judah after it had been carried away. The house in the land of Shinar is a reference then to Jerusalem as Babylon in the days of the New Testament, when the wickedness of the Jews would take hold once more (under the Herods).
1And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. 2In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; 3And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.
Zechariah presents to us chariots with four different kinds of horses in them. Red, black, white, and dappled (which are usually pale grey except for the spots). These horses have significance to us in that they will be used as symbols again in Revelation 6. In these horses we see the will of God carried out through the armies of other nations. In this context, the four chariots are four different empires (the familiar four of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome).
4Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? 5And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the LORD of all the earth.
Again, these four horses (and their riders in Revelation) are servants of Jehovah! They are not servants of Satan as millennialism claims.
6The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country. 7And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth. 8Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.
Note here that the first set of horses, the red, are not mentioned. Babylon with its penchant for war (red) is no more having been conquered by Persia (black horses). The glory of Alexander the Great (conqueror) and his Grecian Empire is embodied in the white horses. The dappled horses (the grisled and bay) are the Romans who reached farther than any other empire but was made up of a mixture of different peoples and cultures (iron mixed with miry clay).
9And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 10Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; 11Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;
The riches of the Temple that had been taken into Babylon are to be returned. The Levitical priesthood and proper worship reestablished in Joshua. That Joshua was given a crown as well, sets him as a type pointing to Christ who would not only be high priest but king.
12And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: 13Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. 14And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD. 15And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.
Jesus will come out of the line of David (the lineage of kings) and build the true Temple, the church. Jesus will be a priest upon his throne (which could not happen under the Mosaical Law). Even the Gentiles (those that are far off – Acts 2:39) will come and be a part of the new Temple (the church). There will be peace then between kingship and priesthood as the two will be reconciled in one person, not over a physical kingdom and a physical religion, but a spiritual one.
1And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;
A couple of years have passed now since Zechariah began prophesying.
2When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD, 3And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?
Jews come from those who remain in Babylon to ask if they should keep the rites of mourning for Jerusalem that those in captivity had been keeping for 70 years.
4Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying, 5Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? 6And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? 7Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain? 8And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying, 9Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: 10And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. 11But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. 12Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. 13Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts: 14But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
Jehovah’s response through Zechariah is that they should instead return to the Law of Moses that their ancestors shunned, which is what got them sent into captivity in the first place. Continuing to fast and mourn when God has brought them out of captivity is missing the point.
Here we get a better image of the whirlwind symbol, not only as an invading army, but a symbol representing the force that scatters people abroad.
1Again the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, 2Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. 3Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain. 4Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. 5And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. 6Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts. 7Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; 8And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. 9Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. 10For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour. 11But now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the LORD of hosts. 12For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong. 14For thus saith the LORD of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts, and I repented not: 15So again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not. 16These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: 17And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD. 18And the word of the LORD of hosts came unto me, saying, 19Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.
In this passage, Jehovah reiterates a return to keeping the Law of Moses. He also explains that having brought the Jews out of captivity He will make them prosperous, will provide for their every need so long as they remain obedient. They are therefore to turn their times of fasting and mourning into feasts and times of joy.
20Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: 21And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. 22Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. 23Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
1The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD. 2And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise. 3And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. 4Behold, the LORD will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire. 5Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. 6And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. 7And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite. 8And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.
Jehovah has returned the Jews from captivity and promises protection from any and all who would come against her until the purpose of the Jews is fulfilled. Remember, this is a prophesy with specific duration because the promise that “no oppressor shall pass through them any more” ends after the Jews crucify Christ and the Romans come 37 years later and destroy Jerusalem.
9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
A direct prophecy of the coming of the Messiah, the final King who brings salvation. He will come as one who is lowly, riding not a great and powerful horse (red or white or any other color), but on a donkey and a donkey’s young. The Jews, in a time of repentance and faithfulness to God were given a sign they should have recognized. Many did (John 12) but most did not.
10And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
When the Messiah comes, He will speak peace to all and establish His Kingdom over the entire world. His Kingdom will spread through peaceful means, not through warfare.
11As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.
For the Jews, the blood of the Abrahamic covenant rendered in every sacrifice since Abraham’s time typify the coming sacrifice of Christ. The pit trap which causes those who have fallen in to thirst will release its prisoners. Those who thirst after water (the living water which is the gospel) will find release in the coming of the gospel which comes with the Messiah. It is the method to obtain true salvation by the blood of the antitypical sacrifice.
12Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; 13When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. 14And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the LORD God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. 15The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. 16And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. 17For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.
This is a representation of the spread of the gospel rather than a physical war. We see the new Israel spreading the gospel to the Greeks (as representatives of all Gentiles) throughout the NT (Acts 14:1; 18:4; 19:10, 17; 20:21; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:22-24; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11). We also see here an identification of the third world Empire in the Old Testament which is not mentioned elsewhere, allowing for the full interpretation of Daniel 2, 7, and other places that speak of four empires without naming all.
1Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
This represents the time of refreshing. The rain is the gospel the grass are those who need it, individuals.
2For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. 3Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. 4Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together. 5And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded.
In the times past, idols were worshipped. The nation of Judah was lead away by its leaders (shepherds) into idol worship. Jehovah punished them for it. Through that punishment, Judah was refined and from the Jews, salvation would come and the world would be conquered for Jehovah (as the church).
6And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them. 7And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD. 8I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.
The salvation of Joseph and Ephraim can only be within the church as the northern tribes were prophesied never to return from Assyrian captivity as a nation. Therefore this prophecy continues to be about the time of the Messiah.
9And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again. 10I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them. 11And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away. 12And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.
Bringing them out of Egypt is a reference to the time of Moses; out of Assyria a reference to the captivity of the northern tribes. Essentially Zechariah is saying they will be brought out of bondage, but in this case the bondage of sin (see Gal. 4). Verse 11 is important as an allusion to the Red Sea which God dried up to save the Israelites from bondage. Jehovah in the time of the Messiah will likewise be drying up the sea, in essence removing the separation between the Jews and the Greeks (Gentiles) allowing all the nations to be saved from bondage.
Reading through the entirety of this chapter we come across a prophecy of Judas, who betrayed Jesus the Messiah. The thirty pieces of silver, which are given to the potter (the potter’s field bought by the high priests to bury Judas after he hung himself), is the blood price paid to the betrayer. This provides the timing of the target of this prophecy.
1Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. 2Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.
The trees in the first few verses are the people of the land, the Jews, in general. Their shepherds, their leaders, would not tend the common folk in the time of Jesus. Instead, they would take advantage of them and allow them to be abused by those outside the Jewish nation.
3There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled. 4Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter; 5Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not. 6For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour's hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them. 7And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock. 8Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 9Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.
The flock then is the common people of the nation. The three shepherds are the rulers of that time, the king (the Herods), the priesthood (Caiaphas and Ananias), and the Sanhedrin council who turned on one another at the end.
10And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. 11And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.
The breaking of the staff was symbolic of the end of God’s covenant with Judah. They had betrayed and rebelled against Jehovah so often that the time for the fulfillment of Lev. 26 and Deut. 28 would come. When the Jews fulfilled their purpose, to bring about the Messiah which was the blessing to all nations as promised to Abraham, then God no longer had use for such a willful, evil people.
12And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 13And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
Judas betrayal of the Messiah that led to the crucifixion of Jesus profited him 30 pieces of silver which he used to buy a potter’s field to hang himself. Even the casting in the house of the Lord, the Temple, is prophesied. Judas cast the silver at the feet of the chief priests then went and hung himself. Since they did not want to put blood money into the treasury, the chief priests bought the potter’s field and buried Judas in it.
14Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
The breaking of the second staff is a breaking of the brotherhood of Judah and Israel, an end to the importance of their genetic lineage. Instead, there would be a new Israel that would encompass all people of all nations. There would only be one blood and being a Jew or of Israel (Samaritan later) would not matter. This was done at the cross when the Law of Moses was nailed to it along with the Messiah whom the wicked Jews crucified.
15And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. 16For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. 17Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.
The wicked shepherd is the Herodian line of kings.
1The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
Zechariah proclaims a new prophecy from Jehovah who he names as Creator. Like Isaiah 42:5, we see again the idea that God “stretched forth the heavens” which gets into how the universe is very young yet with light that is coming from millions and even billions of light years away. This is more physics and apologetics so I will leave it at that for now and move on with the main purpose of this study, the symbols.
2Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. 4In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. 5And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. 6In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
7The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. 8In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.
One from the house of David and like him will rise up. He will be as God, and as the angel of Jehovah (the archangel). This is Jesus Christ who is God and who is the archangel, Michael, the angel of Jehovah who has always been the mediator between man and God throughout scripture. Through him the tents (the common people) will be saved and the new Jerusalem founded.
9And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
A prophecy of the crucifixion of Christ (John 19:37), the outpouring of the gospel (grace) which started in Jerusalem, and a defense of the New Jerusalem which is the church.
11In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. 12And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; 14All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
The valley of Mediggon is where good king Josiah died. It is a place of great sorrow for the Jews. The prophecy here then is of a return to that level of sorrow, of a tearing apart of the nation. This valley has a name in the NT, it is called Armageddon.
1In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. 2And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.
13 is a continuation of 12. In that same time, the fountain of the gospel, the words of life will come from Jesus Christ to wash away sin. There will be an end to false prophets and unclean spirits (demons).
3And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. 4And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:
The false prophets, those who claim to follow Jehovah but don’t, will be destroyed. This is a direct reference to the wicked priesthood who led the people to crucify Jesus, the Pharisees and Saducees who claimed to follow after God but taught their own traditions as if they were God’s commands. It also speaks to those who would be part of the church before the destruction of Jerusalem who were Judaisers attempting to lead Christians back into the Law of Moses.
5But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth. 6And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. 7Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. 8And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
This prophesies of the coming destruction, especially with regard to the refining of the church. We see in this passage especially a parallel to the parable of the talents and similar parables. That those in the church would be tested by the tribulation. Those that remained faithful would be refined, stronger, and would live on to proclaim the name of Jehovah God. All others would be cast out and destroyed along with the Jews.
1Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
A continuation of 12-14. Note here that we have the day of the Lord, the coming of that day, but it has nothing to do with the end of the kosmos. I keep reiterating this because there are some, even within the church, who don’t get this point.
2For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Jerusalem would fall to the Roman Empire whose army was made up of people from every nation.
3Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
Jehovah would then turn on the Romans who took up persecuting the Christians under Nero.
4And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Mount Olivet is a place of events in the New Testament. Here Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in Matthew 24-25 and its parallels. From here Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:12). Here Titus historically set up his officer’s camp to oversee the destruction. We see then Jehovah pictured as standing on that mount overseeing the destruction of the wicked city of Jerusalem.
5And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
Time and time again Jesus claims that He will come with His holy angels. Each time it is an account of the destruction of Jerusalem.
6And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: 7But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
Darkness is associated with ignorance specifically and we see it throughout the NT as a symbol associated with the fall of Judaism.
8And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. 9And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. 10All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. 11And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
The living waters are the gospel (again) and they will go out from Jerusalem as commanded in Acts 1 and seen in Acts 2. Jesus will be King of the Jews then and here He is called Jehovah because Jesus IS God! Jerusalem will no longer be in danger of destruction ever again because it is the New Jerusalem, the spiritual Israel, the pure bride of Christ. All men of all nations will be allowed into it just as was promised to Abraham.
12And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. 13And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. 14And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. 15And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.
The Jews and the Romans (Nero) would face severe consequences for their part in attacking the Christians.
16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 20In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
All nations of the world will flow into Jerusalem to worship the King, Jesus, Jehovah of Hosts. The keeping of the feast of tabernacles (tents) was to represent the coming out of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Here the keeping of that feast is a symbol of the coming out of the bondage of sin. It is not a prophesy of the literal keeping of that feast by Christians. There would be no more Canaanite in the house of Jehovah is an allusion to the fact that the Jews never did fully cleanse the land as they were supposed to, which led to their corruption. Under the New Covenant and the rule of God the King, there would be no Canaanite because 1) Genitles could be Christians too, and 2) No unclean thing can enter the church for only those things washed in the blood of Christ through NT immersion could enter the NT Temple, the body of Christ, the church.
In Truth and Love.