Book of Zechariah

Introduction to the Book of Zechariah

Book of Zechariah
Zechariah by James Tissot. Culture Club / Contributor / Getty Images

Book of Zechariah

The book of Zechariah, written 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, foretold with uncanny accuracy the coming of a Messiah who would save the world from its sins.

But Zechariah didn't stop there. He went into great detail about Christ's Second Coming, providing a treasure trove of information about the End Times. The book is often difficult to understand, packed with symbolism and vivid imagery, yet its predictions about a future Savior jump out with crystal clarity.

The eight night visions in chapters 1-6 are especially challenging, but a good study Bible or commentary can help unravel their meaning, such as judgment upon the wicked, the Spirit of God, and individual responsibility. Chapters 7 and 8 follow the visions with exhortation, or encouragement.

Zechariah wrote his prophecy to inspire the remnant of ancient Jews who returned to Israel after the exile in Babylon. Their task was to rebuild the temple, which had fallen into disrepair. Both human and natural obstacles discouraged them and progress stalled. Zechariah and his contemporary Haggai urged the people to finish this work to honor the Lord. At the same time, these prophets wanted to rebuild a spiritual renewal, calling their readers to return to God.

From a literary standpoint, Zechariah is divided into two parts that have sparked debate for centuries. Chapters 9-14 differ in style from the first eight chapters, but scholars have reconciled those variations and conclude Zechariah is the author of the entire book.

Zechariah's prophesies about the Messiah would not come to pass in his readers' lifetimes, but they served to encourage them that God is faithful to his Word. He never forgets his people. Just so, the fulfillment of Jesus' Second Coming lies in our future. No one knows when he will return, but the message of the Old Testament prophets is that God can be trusted.

God is sovereign over all and his promises come true.

Author of the Book of Zechariah

Zechariah, a minor prophet, and grandson of the priest Iddo.

Date Written

From 520 BC to 480 BC.

Written To

Jews returning to Judah from exile in Babylon and all future Bible readers.

Landscape of the Book of Zechariah

Jerusalem.

Themes in the Book of Zechariah

  • God is jealous for his followers' faithfulness. He demands exclusive worship, condemning idolatry in every form. Prophets often warn against false teachers.
  • Rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem was a step in God's plan of salvation. God empowers his people to do things that are not humanly possible.
  • The Messiah, Jesus Christ, was coming to save his people from their sins. After doing that, he will come again to wipe out evil from the earth once and for all and to reign forever.

Key Characters in the Book of Zechariah

Zerubbabel, Joshua the high priest.

Key Verses in Zechariah

Zechariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (NIV)

Zechariah 10:4
From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.

(NIV)

Zechariah 14:9
The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. (NIV)

Outline of the Book of Zechariah

  • Introduction (1:1-6).
  • Zechariah's eight visions in the night (1:7 - 6:8).
  • Zechariah crowns Joshua, son of Jehozadak, high priest (6:9-15).
  • God rules on fasts, promises blessing for Jerusalem (7:1 - 8:23).
  • The Messiah is coming but will be rejected (9:1 - 11:17).
  • The Messiah will come again, be accepted, and will rule (12:1 - 14:21).