Who God Remembers
The Prophecy of Zechariah is the longest and most
complex among the minor prophets. His name means "God remembers." Just as
our dreams are sometimes a swirling of images, without regard for time and
sequence, this work is a kaleidoscope of visions. Among the predictions
about Jerusalem are precious messianic promises that find their
fulfillment in Christ.
Two months after Haggai preached his first sermon and
the work began on the Temple God spoke to Zechariah. God is not limited in
the number of vessels he can fill nor of those he can pour out. The
rebuilding of the Temple was accompanied with a great outpouring of Godís
Spirit and where there is faith there is also the Word.
The calamities that fell on Israel and Judea were a
display of Godís anger. It is as if Zechariah is saying, "learn from the
mistakes of others, and donít repeat their folly." We too were told that
the scriptures were given to us as examples. "Now all these things
happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition,
upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh
he standeth take heed lest he fall." (Heb. 10:11-12). "Be not like
your fathers," said the sage. (Zec.1:4).
His visions include colored horses like the Apocalypse
of John. There are angels and myrtle trees and even a glimpse of the Devil
himself. There are flying scrolls and stones with eyes, there is judgment
and justice. These visions are smoke and fire and fury. The fourteen
chapters are full of symbols, and signs, lightning and thunder. No one
fell asleep during Zechariahís sermons. His oracles still shake heaven and
Nations are seen swallowing up nations and then being
crushed by another. When Zechariah spoke of Egypt, Assyria (already
reduced to subservience), Philistia, Syria, Tyre and Sidon he was speaking
of all that dared to touch the "apple of [Godís] eye." 2:8. Woe to
all who had a part in ill-treating Godís chosen. The LORD will shake his
hand upon all who were unkind to Israel.
The work of Zechariah and Zerubbabel was only a shadow
of another day when God will say "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" 1:16. In that day a
servant shall appear who is called the BRANCH. Then God says through his
prophet, "I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day."
While this speaks of a day yet to come, one can only shudder to think of
what that might mean in light of the crucifixion of the BRANCH.
Zechariah speaks of the restoration one moment and then he is
predicting destruction the next. He is rejoicing and then he seems to be
lamenting. He speaks of Godís forgiveness and pity and then next moment is
telling again of Godís wrath. The reason for this is that this restoration
of the temple was to be temporary. Once again it shall be in ruin and God
abandon her. Zechariah himself had no idea Rome would
one day rule the world and destroy the city yet again. He had no idea when
he spoke of the gathering of Jews from the far corners of the earth that
he was speaking of Ben Gurion and the founding of a modern Jewish state
(8:7), but these things have come to pass as he predicted.
The fulfillment of prophecy is not proof of the
veracity of Godís word. The believer needs no proof. However, when
incredible events come to pass Christians cannot help but find comfort in
the accuracy of the Bible. The fall and utter destruction of Tyre was
foretold (9:4). For centuries this promise laid dormant, then in 332BC
Alexander the Great accomplished what the Assyrians and Babylon found
impossible (Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to it for more than a year, but in
vain). The Macedonian tore down the city and overpowered the sea fortress
killing all the inhabitants and selling 20,000 into slavery.
The prophet spoke of things he could not have
understood. Little did he know who would be riding on the colt, the foal
of an ass (9:9) nor who would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver
(11:12). Neither did he realize the depth of the mourning that shall come
when Israel looks upon that awesome "me whom they have pierced"
Zechariahís vision included a rending of the earth when
the Mount of Olives shall break in two. "And 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 to the south"
(13:4). It was upon this mountain that the Lord Jesus ascended and
mesmerized his disciples until the angels once again animated the startled
followers of Christ saying, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up
into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven,
shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts
This difficult book is a labyrinth for the even the
most learned and astute among scholars. It is filled with much mystery yet
its fear and fury ends with a triumphal note of hope and joy. It looks
forward to that coming day when "the LORD shall be king over all the
earth" (14:9a). And in that day the bells on the horseís bridle shall
ring calling attention to the "HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD" (14:20).