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Reference: Zechariah, The Book Of


The Jewish saying was, "the spirit of Jeremiah dwelt in Zechariah." Like Ezekiel and Daniel, Zechariah delights in symbols, allegories, and visions of angels ministering before Jehovah and executing His commands on earth. Zechariah, like Genesis, Job, and Chronicles, brings Satan personally into view. The mention of myrtles (representing the then depressed Jewish church, Zec 1:11) accords with the fact of their non mention before the Babylonian exile (Ne 8:15); contrast the original command as to the trees at the feast of tabernacles, "palms, and willows of the brook" Esther's name Hadassah means "myrtle". (See MYRTLE.) Joshua's filthy garments (Zechariah 3) were those assumed by the accused in Persian courts; the white robe substituted was the caftan, to this day put upon a state minister in the East when acquitted. Some forms and phrases indicate a late age (as 'achath used as the indefinite article).

Zechariah encouraged the Jews in rebuilding the temple by unfolding the glorious future in contrast with the present depression of the theocracy. Matthew (Mt 27:9) quotes Zec 11:12 as Jeremiah's words. Doubtless because Zechariah had before his mind Jer 18:1-2; 32:6-12; Zechariah's prophecy is but a reiteration of the fearful oracle of Jeremiah 18-19, about to be fulfilled in the destruction of the Jewish nation. Jeremiah, by the image of a potter's vessel (the symbol of God's absolute power over His creatures: Ro 9:21; Isa 45:9; 64:8), portrayed their ruin in Nebuchadnezzar's invasion.

Zechariah repeats this threat as about to be fulfilled again by Rome for their rejection of Messiah Matthew, by mentioning Jeremiah, implies that the field of blood now bought by "the reward of iniquity" in the valley of Hinnom was long ago a scene of doom symbolically predicted, that the purchase of it with the traitor's price renewed the prophecy and revived the curse. The mention of Ephraim and Israel as distinct from Judah, in chapters 10 to 14, points to the ultimate restoration, not only of the Jews but of the northern Israelite ten tribes, who never returned as a body from their Assyrian captivity, the earnest of which was given in the numbers out of the ten tribes who returned with their brethren of Judah from the Babylonian captivity under Cyrus. There are four parts:

(I.) Introduction (Zec 1:1-6), a warning resting on the previous warnings of Haggai (Hag 1:4-8).

(II.) Symbolical (Zec 1:7 to chapter 6), nine visions in one night.

(III.) Didactic (Zechariah 7; 8), answer to a query of Bethelites concerning a, certain fast.

(IV.) Prophetical (Zechariah 9 to 14).

In the second part, the interpretation of the visions is given by the angel who knows Jehovah's will, intercedes with Jehovah for Israel, and by whom Jehovah speaks (Zec 1:9), "the angel that talked with me," or "in me"; compare 1Pe 1:11, "the Spirit of Christ which was in the prophets." The Angel of Jehovah the Man upon the red horse among the myrtle trees, is apparently identical with the interpreting angel through whom Jehovah communicates with His servants (Zec 1:8,10-12). The Angel of Jehovah is the Second Person in the Godhead.

The first vision represents Jehovah' s messengers announcing that after walking to and fro through the earth they found it at rest (in contrast to and counterworking Satan who "walks to and fro upon the earth" to hurt the saints, Job 1:7); this secure rest of the pagan earth is the interceding Angel's plea for the desolate temple and Judah, and elicits Jehovah's great jealousy for Zion, so that He returns to her with mercies and with judgments on the pagan oppressor (Hag 2:20-23).

The second vision states how Jehovah will repair Jerusalem's breaches namely, as the four (the four cardinal points of the horizon marking worldwide extension) great world powers, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, scattered Judah and Israel, so four "destroying artificers" shall fray (strike terror into) and cast out the horns of the Gentiles which lifted up their horn over Judah (Ps 75:4-5; Eze 34:21; Lu 21:24). The third vision is the man with line measuring Jerusalem; Messiah, its coming Restorer (Eze 40:3; 41:26). Instead of Jerusalem's past limiting wall, her population shall spread out beyond into the open country and need no wall, Jehovah Himself being "a wall of fire round about, and the glory in the midst of her" (Zec 2:1-5; Eze 38:11).

The next two (fourth and fifth) visions (Zechariah 3-4) show Joshua the high priest's (representing Jerusalem) trial and vindication against Satan, being justified by Jehovah through Messiah the Righteous Branch, though unclean in himself (compare Ps 109:6,31; Lu 1:11; Jg 1:9,23; Ro 8:33-34; Isa 64:6; 61:10; 66:21; Re 19:8; Lu 15:22).

Jehovah saith "I have laid the (foundation) stone (as the chief architect) before (in the presence of) Joshua," by the hand of Zerubbabel, so that your labour in building the temple shall not be in vain. Antitypically, Christ is the stone (Ps 118:22; Isa 28:16; Da 2:45; 1Co 3:11; 1Pe 2:6-7).

The "seven eyes upon the one stone" are carved on it; not so much the eyes of the Father (the eye symbolizing providence, seven perfection) and of angels and saints ever fixed on Him (Zec 4:10; 1Ti 3:16; Joh 3:14-15; 12:32; 8:59), as His own sevenfold fullness of grace, and of the Spirit's gifts put "UPON Him" by God, so that "He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes" (Isa 11:2-3; 42:1; Joh 1:16; 3:34; Col 1:19; 2:9); He is the living stone who not only attracts the eyes of His people, but emits from Himself all illumination. Contrast the "little horn" with the "eyes of a man" (Da 7:8).

The fifth vision (Zec 4:1-9), the candlestick or chandelier with seven lights, fed by seven tubes apiece, borrowed from the tabernacle (Ex 25:31, etc.), implies that the real motive power in the work of God (as Zerubbabel's building of the temple)is God's Spirit. The seven times seven imply the manifold modes by which the Spirit imparts grace to the church in her manifold work of enlightening the world.

The "two olive trees" supplying oil to the "bowl" answer to the Holy Spirit supplying with infinite fullness Jesus the fount (bowl) at the head of the church, for the twofold function of bringing the grace of atonement as our Priest, and of sanctification and glorification as our King, Every mountain in Zerubbabel's way must yield; so, antitypically, the "destroying mountain" antichrist (Jer 51:25; Da 2:34,45; Mt 21:44; Isa 40:4; 49:11) must give place to the "stone cut out of the mountain without hands"; and the top stone shall crown the completed church "with shoutings, Grace, grace unto it."

The sixth vision (Zec 5) is the curse upon a flying roll, recorded against sin, over Judaea primarily and ultimately the whole earth; it shall extirpate the fraudulent and perjurers; compare in Zechariah's time Ne 13:10; Mal 3:5,8.

Seventh vision. The woman in the ephah symbolizes wickedness and idolatry removed for ever from the Holy Land to Babylon (from whence Israel is redeemed), there to mingle with kindred elements. The ephah, their instrument of fraud, shall be the instrument of their punishment; idolatry and sin shall cease from Israel (Isa 2:18; 4:4).

Eighth vision. Four chariots, symbolizing the fourfold dispensations of Providence as regards the contact of the four great world powers with Judaea, come out from between the two mountains Zion and Moriah (the seat of the temple, representing the theocracy) where the Lord is (Zec 2:10), and from whence He sends His ministers of judgments on the pagan; the red horses in one represent carnage; the black, sorrow and famine (Re 6:5-6); the white, joy and victory; the grisled or piebald, a mixed dispensation, partly prosperity, partly adversity; all alike working together for good to Israel.

The red go northward to bathe in blood, Babylon; the white go north after the red, to conquer Medo-Persia; the grisled go south to deal with Graeco-Macedonian Egypt; the bay or rather fleet "walk to and fro through the earth" to counterwork "Satan's going to and fro in the earth" in connection with Rome, the last of the four world powers (Job 1:7; 2Th 2:8-9; 1Ti 4:1).

Ninth vision. The double crowning of Joshua symbo

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Zechariah, The book of.

The book of Zechariah, in its existing form, consists of three principal parts, vis. chs. 1-8; chs. 9-11; chs. 12-14.

1. The first of these divisions is allowed by the critics to be the genuine work of Zechariah the son of Iddo. It consists, first, of a short introduction or preface in which the prophet announces his commission; then of a series of visions, descriptive of all those hopes and anticipations of which the building of the temple was the pledge and sure foundation and finally of a discourse, delivered two years later, in reply to questions respecting the observance of certain established fasts.

2. The remainder of the book consists of two sections of about equal length, chs. 9-11 and 12-14, each of which has an inscription. (1) In the first section he threatens Damascus and the seacoast of Palestine with misfortune, but declares that Jerusalem shall be protected. (2) The second section is entitled "The burden of the word of Jehovah for Israel." But Israel is here used of the nation at large, not of Israel as distinct from Judah. Indeed the prophecy which follows concerns Judah and Jerusalem, in this the prophet beholds the near approach of troublous times, when Jerusalem should be hard pressed by enemies. But in that day Jehovah shall come to save them an all the nations which gather themselves against Jerusalem shall be destroyed. Many modern critics maintain that the later chapters, from the ninth to the fourteenth, were written by some other prophet, who lived before the exile. The prophecy closes with a grand and stirring picture. All nations are gathered together against Jerusalem, and seem already sure of their prey. Half of their cruel work has been accomplished, when Jehovah himself appears on behalf of his people. He goes forth to war against the adversaries of his people. He establishes his kingdom over all the earth. All nations that are still left shall come up to Jerusalem, as the great centre of religious worship, and the city; from that day forward shall be a holy city. Such is, briefly, an outline of the second portion of that book which is commonly known as the Prophecy of Zechariah. Integrity. -Mede was the first to call this in question. The probability that the later chapters, from the ninth to the fourteenth, were by some other prophet seems first to have been suggested to him by the citation in St. Matthew. He rests his opinion partly on the authority of St. Matthew and partly-on the contents of the later chapters, which he considers require a date earlier than the exile. Archbishop Newcombe went further. He insisted on the great dissimilarity of style as well as subject between the earlier and later chapters and he was the first who advocated the theory that the last six chapters of Zechariah are the work of two distinct prophets.