A SIMPLE GUIDE
ZECHARIAH A Message Of Hope
By Henry Jaegers
The book of Zechariah is the second of three prophetic books written after Israel returned to Jerusalem after serving seventy years in Babylon. Both the books of Haggai and Zechariah were given at the same time while Israel had spent close to 15 years in neglect of building the house of God. Both of these prophets were raised up at the same time with two totally different messages.
As we read in Haggai, it was a message of encouragement, with the purpose of motivating the people to begin once again to finish the work to which they were called, that of rebuilding the Temple. But in studying the book of Zechariah, we see a totally different message, spoken at the same time with a different purpose.
The prophet Zechariah, was raised up to help the people of Israel to see beyond the present destruction and understand the great purpose of the future that God had for the work in which they were now engaged. It seemed that the temptation to think, “what is the use of all this work? What future is there for us in spending all this time on that which might be destroyed once again”? Although we are not told that this is how the people were reasoning, it seems probable through the contents of the message. Zechariah's purpose was to help them to see beyond the present. For now, it all looked like a waste of time and effort with not much hope of there being any great purpose for it all.
Zacharia’s message was a message from God concerning the future that he had for this work for which they were now engaged. His message was to help them to see that what they were doing now had a glorious future purposed by God. Here is a simple division to help us to get a clearer message of the book.
As we continue, we will consider a term that is used throughout the book which is of great importance. It is the term "Jehovah of hosts". It was first used during the time when Israel rejected the Lordship of God and chose an earthly king. The significance was that although they had an earthly king, the Lord of hosts was still in charge of what was to take place in the nation of Israel.
What is significant, is that the term is used 53 times in the book of Zechariah alone. Perhaps the details of this book are more clearly seen in of the places where this title is given. Perhaps we might attempt to give this book a simple outline in this manner:
the book contains a series of eight visions, each of them as having a sequence and order. But perhaps, the thing that is most significance is a promise that God gives to these people as they progressed forward in doing the work of God in the temple.
The book begins by reminding them of the past failures of their fathers and the consequence of that failure, but attach to that God gives a promise of encouragement.
Next, we see the first vision given which deals with the present time. It speaks of unseen things that are taking place presently performing the purposes of God.
The next thing we notice is the anointing of Zerubbabel and Joshua. This vision is a confirmation of God's Spirit being poured upon them as leaders of God's people.
From there, we see the first promise of the leader that will arise called “the branch”. As we progress throughout the book, we see the life of Jesus being projected and his suffering for the people.
The third part is the promise of the work that would continue under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is not through the work of men and their ideas that the kingdom of God would be established. but through the might supplied by God himself to bring it to pass.
Finally, in the last chapter, we see the future kingdom that shall arise when the Messiah stands upon the Mount of Olives and begins the reign of his eternal kingdom.
All of this is set forth with the purpose of lifting their eyes beyond what they see now, to the greater purpose of God for the future concerning what they are now doing. Its purpose is to bring hope that their work will not be in vain because it is a work of God, empowered by his spirit, with the glorious future that lies ahead.
That is a simple outline and message pertaining to the book of Zechariah.
1. In chapter 1, verses two and three, discuss the past problem in Israel and God's solution.
2. In chapter 1: 7-20, discuss this first vision and the meaning behind it.
3. In chapter 2:1-4, discover the encouragement found in these verses concerning the man with the measuring line in his hand.
4. From verses 5-13, discuss the great blessing promised by God for his people.
5. In chapter 3, discuss this prophecy as it pertains to Joshua. Take note of the Satanic opposition and God's power to overcome.
6. Read chapter 5 and discuss the anointing of Zerubbabel to be governor over the land and the authority given to him by God.
7. Read through chapter 8 and discuss the blessings promised by God for Jerusalem and the response that God expects as a response to these blessings.
8. In chapter 6, verses 12 through 14 attention is given to a person called "the branch". Discuss what do these verses tell us about him and who do you think this person is?
9. In chapter 9 verse nine discuss further, the ministry of the branch the joy he that he will bring to the people of God.
10. In chapter 14, attention must be given to this chapter because it deals with the future kingdom to which the present work leads. Discuss the glorious reign of Christ as seen in this chapter.