Today we begin a new study as we look at the Old Testament minor prophetic book of Zechariah.
Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai and Ezra and served as a prophet to the leaders and people of Israel during the reconstruction of the Temple.
Zechariah was a common name in ancient Biblical times. Scholars note that there are approximately 30 different people with the name “Zechariah” found in Scriptures. The Zechariah whom we are studying is the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo.
Zechariah was born in Babylon as a exiled refugee; he came to Jerusalem as part of the group sent to rebuild the Temple and re-establish Jewish worship.
The author of Zechariah for the first eight chapters is clearly Zechariah, as he often refers to himself in the first person, or he is named in the text. The authorship of the second part of the book is not as clear but scholars generally attribute Zechariah as the author.
The literary style of the book of Zechariah is generally considered both prophetic and apocalyptic. The prophetic style is applicable to the first eight chapters, while the apocalyptic (end times) style is applicable to chapters 9 through 14.
The major messages of the book are as follows:
- Restoration of the Temple (chapters 1 – 8)
- Coming of Messiah first. and then His Eternal Kingdom (chapters 9-14)
There are a lot of important topics and key verses in this book. The overarching theme, however, is the nations’ desire to know the One True God:
20 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.”
23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”
(Zechariah 8:20-23 NIV)
In this minor prophet, we see the major message of Israel’s restoration of their relationship with God, and the world’s longing to know Him, the Lord of all.
May our longing to know God more deeply and to be in abiding relationship with Him be our desire as we study the book of Zechariah.
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