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Notes on Zechariah
By Richard Gunther
book contains EIGHT VISIONS which divide naturally into 3 groups. 1 -3 are about
the rebuilding of the Temple. 4 and 5 are about Joshua and Zerubabel. 6-8 are
about the spiritual transformation of the people.
Angelic Horsemen (1:8 - 17)
Four Horns and Four Carpenters (1:18 - 21)
The Measuring Line (2:1 - 13)
Joshua is dressed (3:1 - 10)
Candlesticks and Olive tress (4:1 - 14)
Flying Roll (5:1-14)
Woman in an Ephah (pot) (5:5 - 11)
Four Chariots (6:1 - 8)
book, in summary:
- 15 The symbolic crowning of Joshua
The question and answer about fasting
10 prophecies about Jerusalem's restoration
- 17The downfall of the nations, and regathering of Israel
-12 Blessing for Judah and Ephraim
The 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem
withdrawal of restraint on the surrounding Gentile nations The cruelty of the
invaders of Jerusalem, symbolised by the cruel and worthless shepherds
- 14 The prelude to, and deliverance of Jerusalem, v.l gives the tremendous
showing the involvement of Israel as well as the Judah section of God's
The 2nd Advent and the simultaneous Jewish revival
The judgement on and the purging of the Jewish nation from 70 AD on.
The destruction of Jerusalem the city
- 21 The 2nd Advent deliverance of the city and the people
ends with a description of the final stages of the southern kingdom of Judah as
it goes into captivity. For 70 years the captives were prevented from returning
until Cyrus gave the decree that as many as wanted to, could return and build
the "house", which meant the Temple - 2 Chron.36:20 -23. Jeremiah had
already predicted this decree (25:11 - 13). He pointed out that it was the
prelude to judgement on Babylon.
records, in his history, a list of those who came back from Babylon - called
Jews. Ezra 2:2, 3:2, names Joshua and Zerubabel. The exile's efforts to rebuild
were frustrated, after the foundation stone was laid (Ezra 3:10) and for years
very little progress
was made. At last, Darius the Persian came to the throne. (Darius Hystaspis, BC
522 - 486, ruler of the Modes and Persians). Ezra 4:24.
was at this time that Haggai and Zechariah began their work (Ezra 5:17) and a
letter was written to Darius asking him to find the decree made by Cyrus (Ezra
5:17) which was found (Ezra 6:2,3) and so the building went on.
book of Zechariah is a compilation of the prophet's inspired words during the
short - about seven years - partnership with Haggai, as the two prophets tried
to encourage the Jews.
years later Malachi gave the last prophetic words to the people, and then the
400 years between Malachi and the Messiah passed. Daniel predicted the coming of
the Messiah, using the time of the decree as a starting point - see Dan.9:23 -
wrote the words of this book some 18 years after the Jews returned from Babylon.
with most of God's predictions, there is a mixture of judgment and mercy
throughout. The book of Zechariah is no exception. Balanced with predictions of
severe punishment for Judah, there are many glorious promises of restoration and
deliverance. God never forgets his people. He punishes them in measure, and
brings them low for their sins, but he never abandons them, or transfers his
promises to another nation, or to the Church. The same people who are judged,
are also restored.
nine. The downfall of the nations and the salvation of Israel. Various burdens
upon the nations surrounding Palestine. Hadrach, Damascus and Hamath (cities of
Syria) will be judged, so also Tyre and Sidon. This prophecy was fulfilled some
200 years later with the last two named. Philistine cities are also named
"the king shall perish from Gaza" - v.5.Earlier conquerors had left
the native rulers in nominal charge of their realms as long as they were
submissive. This was not the policy of Alexander the Great.
The burden of the prophecy shall rest in Damascus. The reference to eyes is
prophetic language for an expectation that God will render to every man
according to what they have done - Jer.32:19,20.
Other leading Philistine cities. Ashkelon was one of the leading cities, and it
was not until 1270 AD that Zechariah was proved right, when the Sultan Bibars
reduced it to ruins and filled the harbour with stones.
speaks of the idolatrous worship and blood sacrifices of the Philistines which
were to be cut off. But in this verse is also the promise that the faithful will
be saved and be in the governing body. “Ekron as a Jebusite = The Philistines
will be as bond-servants”
2nd Advent build up. Moffat says "I will camp round my house like a guard,
to let none march across it." This prophecy of freedom from invasion and
oppression is being fulfilled before our eyes today. Every effort the
surrounding nations have made to subdue or destroy the Israeli nation has been
The coming King and ultimate deliverance. Insight: The 1st and 2nd Advents are
like two great mountain peaks on the horizon, which, from such a distance appear
to be so close as to almost appear as one mountain, but a great valley lies
between the two peaks. The two comings of Jesus were not understood by the
prophets - lPet.l:10,ll.
An exhortation to look to the Lord for the promised blessing, and not to idols
or soothsayers. This verse is first of all literal - Deut.ll:13 - 17. When a
nation obeys God, He blesses them agriculturally. Spiritualised, this verse
means that when we seek God for renewal and revival. God sends the Holy Spirit
to us, like rain to a dry land.
Therefore they (my people) went their (the diviners) way like a flock of goats.
God's anger against the bad rulers, or he-goats.
the "him" first of all refers to Judah. God is saying that even though
Judah is following diviners, He made Judah as his goodly (war) horse, and then
further gracious acts are given to Judah. Jer.30: especially 21 - governors, and
rulers would come from Judah. Out of Judah also came the Messiah, and the
Cornerstone -Is.28:16, the Nail - Is.22:22,23, the Battle Bow.
- 12 This was written some 18 years after a remnant of Judah returned from
Babylon, yet the division of the seed of Jacob is still clearly taught. The
mercy to the returned exiles was promised to them and no-one else - Jer.29:10,
2Chron.36:20,21, Ezra 1. The full restoration of the "house of Joseph"
is part of this prophecy. Today, in Palestine, it is easy to see the Judah part
of the prophecy being fulfilled, but, logically, the other part of the prophecy
must also be fulfilled, even though it may not be so obvious. God cannot break
his word, nor can he only partially keep his promises.
shows that "Ephraim" was still scattered in far countries, even as
destruction of the Jewish nation by the Romans is here depicted. They were
destroyed because nationally, they rejected their Messiah. Not only that, but
they refused, nationally, to listen to the Spirit as He spoke through various
prophets over the 70 years. (Up to the time of Titus, the Roman general, who
laid seige to Jerusalem).
- 3 The wrath of God
- 7 The reason for this wrath : the Rejected Shepherd.
should have happened, was that God's restraint should have kept all the nations
off His nation and City, and Judah should have joined with Israel to worship and
obey the Messiah. The parable pictures Graciousness and Union being broken - a
disconnection which must wait until around the time of the 2nd Advent for
restoration. The Temple, built of cedars, is devoured by fire - which literally
happened in 70 AD, and spiritually, God’s fiery judgement fell on the nation
then. The money was cast into the furnace (not to the potter), and in the same
sort of way Jesus was treated with contempt. Zechariah came as a type of a
Messiah and was paid for his words, but God told him to throw the money away -
in the same way the Jewish nation rejected the words of their Messiah.
God presents His credentials. He also shows how Israel will be involved in the
end-of-age events - as well as Judah and Jerusalem. "The burden ... for
Cup = usually means displeasure - Is.51:17.The peoples, or nations, which come
against Jerusalem, are mentioned by other prophets, i.e. Ez.38, 39. The cup
which Judah was to drink is now put into the hands of other nations –
Jer.25:15 -18. In the last few years we have seen the city delivered. In
1917 General Allenby. 1948 the first and second seige broken. 1967 the Zionist
flag hoisted over the city.
When the Jews, prior to the 2nd Advent, and enjoying invincibility in war, find
themselves preserved so wonderfully by supernatural aid, they will say to
themselves ("in their heart") the strength of the dwellers (or
inhabitants) in Jerusalem lies "in the Lord of hosts" their God.
Read - "as at the beginning" (Sept.) or, as in former days. Because
Israel went into captivity first she finished her time of judgment before Judah.
This is why the 18th century saw the British expanding into a mighty, prosperous
Commonwealth before the Jews regained their former prosperity. The Times of the
Gentiles have run out, but their "fullness" has not yet come - Luke
21:24 and Rom.ll:25.
This mourning is a reference to the nation-wide sorrow of Judah for king Josiah,
who was slain in battle with the king of Egypt - 2Chron.35:22 - 25.
-14 Depicts national as well as individual repentance. Verse 10 makes it very
clear that the Jewish nation will be converted when it looks upon Him whom it
has pierced, and that will be around the time when the Messiah comes. Even today
many Jews are acknowledging that Jesus truly is the Messiah, and so, in that
sense, they are "looking on Him" and understanding that it was their
people who pierced the Messiah.
This fountain has always flowed, but even more so now that Jesus Christ has
come. On the day of His return, the Spirit is to be poured out on ALL Israel
-Ez.36:25 - 38,37 ;14. Cleansing is depicted in Eph.5:26
Depicting the intense enthusiasm for the truth. The Law is alluded to -Deut.l3:6
People will admit that they were, in fact, not prophets at all, and turn to
other occupations for which they are better fitted.
This is part of verse 5. It is a further questioning of the false prophet. The
words “in your hands" = between your hands, signifying wounds on the
chest It was customary for false prophets to inflict wounds on themselves - 1
Kings 18:289 so the suspect here is asked to explain the scars on his body. He
attributes them to chastisement received in the house of his relatives.
The sword = death. Although the people were responsible (Acts 3:14,15,
lThess.2:15) yet at the same time what they did was part of the will of God. It
was the way redemption was accomplished - Acts 2:23, Is.53:10. Jesus used this
verse (Mat.26:31,32) but its wider fulfillment depicts the scattering of the
When Titus came, 70 AD, 1,500,000 Jews died by sword, pestilence, and famine.
Jesus, who knew this was coming, also spoke about it - Luke 19:42 - 44,
Mat.23:28,29, and prophesied about it to his disciples - Mat.24, Mark 13, Luke
21:20 - 24. As with Zechariah, Jesus also placed two similar events close
together: the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the age. Many of
His disciples thought the 2nd Advent was going to occur immediately after the
fall of Jerusalem.
Depicts a remnant of Jews will survive the long and devastating times of
persecution - today we see the "one third back in their land again.
held out for five months, but at the cost of 1,500,000, through famine, sword,
and pestilence. Some factions within the city attacked each other, and burned
the food, thus hastening the end.
No chapter division. 13:8 should flow through to 14:2. The two judgments
-that of the People, and that of the City, go together. "The day" = a
day. Purposely indefinite, as also in Is.2:11,12, 13:6. A DAY for Jehovah is a
time selected by Him for the accomplishment of His purposes. There have been
many "days" through the centuries.
All nations - of the Roman Empire - Luke 21:24. The Romans enlisted, as never
before, men from every nation, to fill the ranks of their army and navy.
Jerusalem fell, the soldiery went from house to house plundering and burning
everything. The wealth of the Temple was taken, and, in spite of a strict order
NOT to burn it, someone set it on fire. The heat melted the gold, which ran into
the cracks. In their greed, the soldiers pulled the Temple apart to get at the
gold, thus fulfilling Mat. 24:2. (An arch depicting the robbing of the City -
the 'Arch of Titus' - is still to be seen today).
residue of the people” - here is a prophecy that in contrast to the mass of
Jews carried captive, a remnant would be able to return. In Luke 21:20,21 Jesus
warned his disciples to flee the City when they saw the approaching armies.
Josephus tells how, in AD 66, Cestius Gallus came up against the City, and then,
without any reason at all, called it all off for the time being. Josephus says
"After this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the
Jews swam away from the City, as from a ship when it is going to sink". No
doubt, at the same time, many Christians also escaped, and many would return to
preach and witness.
Paragraph break. The Sept. begins "And", not "then". 2nd
Advent time. The Lord promises to fight against the nations. If "then"
is allowed (an alternative view), this verse is yet another example of having
two events separated by a minute punctuation mark. (See also Is.9:6) However 3 -
15 is clearly a sequence, beginning with a sudden, mighty intervention by the
2nd Advent language. We meet the Lord in the air, above the earth, when He
returns - lThess.4, Acts 1:1 - 9, Rev.l:7, Mat.24:30.
"you shall flee" = you shall be blocked up. Sept, "And the valley
of My mountains shall be closed up; and the valley of the mountains shall be
joined to Jasod and shall be blocked up ..." The K.J. Hebrew
is the Massoretic text, which has the word "venastem", which means
"shall be blocked up", while other texts say "venastim"
which means "shall flee".
us be reasonable here. Is it likely that God would open a path of deliverance
for His people, and then bombard it with falling rocks, water, and splitting
chasms? The people need no escape plan anyway, since God has already promised to
defend them. The most logical rendering of the verse is "venastem"
which means "blocked up".
says, on Uzziah "When Uzziah went into the Temple to offer incense... a
great earthquake shook the ground... and before the city of Jerusalem, at a
place called Eroge, half the mountain broke off from the rest on the west and
rolled itself 4 furlongs, and stood at the east mountain, till the roads, as
well as the king's gardens were spoiled by the destruction."
to end of chapter. The sequence seems to be: the destruction of Gog, (a symbolic
name for Satan’s forces. Not Russia) the earthquake, the water appears, then
follows the judgment on the earth, and the inauguration of the reign of Jesus -
Is.24, Mat.24:29,2Thess. 1:7-9.
Extra note on 14:12. "Have fought" probably refers to the 2nd WW and the Turks, as well as the Arabs since then, and the Egyptians, and the PLO. The power of the anti-Zionists is weakening and decaying, or dissolving away.
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