The Old Testament Presents... Reflections of Christ
by Paul R. Van Gorder
The book of Zechariah has often been called the ''Revelation'' of the Old Testament. The 14 chapters are largely given over to prophetic symbols of the future. The historical setting of the book is identical with that of Haggai [cp. Ezra 5:1]. Zechariah is concerned almost exclusively with the Jew and the Messiah. Haggai was written chiefly with the temple and the religious state of God's ancient people in mind, but Zechariah took a broader view. He unfolded the future of Israel and the Gentile nations, to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the establishment of His millennial kingdom.
The church is not pictured in Zechariah. Looking down through the centuries, the prophet saw the humility and glory of Messiah, but he did not see the time between the first and second comings of Christ.
  1. Eight Visions about Israel's Future (ch. 1-6)
  2. Detailed Prophecies of the Endtime (ch. 7-14)
It is impossible, in one brief chapter [of Paul Van Gorder's book], to explain all the various symbols in this book. In the first six chapters, the prophet recorded eight visions he had seen-- all of them about Israel.
The remnant had returned to Jerusalem, but it was only a handful compared to the days before the captivity. They were discouraged, and they needed a message from God. These visions were given to the prophet to encourage Israel in one of her darkest hours.
Chapter 8 of Zechariah closes with one of the most remarkable statements in all of Scripture. ''Thus saith the Lord of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you'' (v.23). How different from the experience of Israel through the centuries! Knowing that a time like this would come should have given great encouragement to God's people in the land.
Second only to Isaiah, the prophet Zechariah gives us one of the most complete pictures of the Messiah in the Old Testament. Look at what he foresaw.
  1. The humility of Israel's Messiah (9:9).
    What a peculiar prediction this was! That Israel's king was coming was neither peculiar nor a surprise; it was the expectation of the nation, for the prophets had spoken of it. But the Jews were looking for Him in gorgeous array, with dashing steeds and golden chariots, perhaps coming down from heaven. Zechariah, however, predicted that He would come ''lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass'' (9:9).
         Half a millennium had passed before the Lord Jesus said to His disciples one day, ''Go into the village opposite you, in which, at your entering, you shall find a colt tied, on which never man sat; loose him, and bring him here'' (Luke 19:30). Christ entered Jerusalem amid the plaudits of the crowd, riding upon a colt in exact fulfillment of prophecy. Oh, the accuracy of the minute details in the Word! What other book would dare risk such predictions? [cp. Mat 21:1-11]
  2. He foresaw His betrayal (11:12,13).
    How Zechariah must have pondered these words, expressed centuries later by Judas! The prophet probably could not understand. Peter told us that ''the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify, when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow'' (1Peter 1:10,11).
         Zechariah recorded, ''So they weighed for My price thirty pieces of silver'' (v.12). That was the price of a slave. If an ox gored a slave, the owner of the ox had to pay the slave owner 30 pieces of silver [Ex 21:32]. Our Lord took the place of a slave. The word ''redemption'' means ''to deliver by paying a price.'' This prophecy is quoted in Matthew 27:9,10 when Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, and when the chief priest took that silver and bought the potter's field, [for] a place of burial.
  3. Zechariah portrayed scenes from the night of Christ's betrayal (13:7).
    ''Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man who is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts; smite the shepherd, the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn Mine hand upon the little ones.'' The fulfillment is recorded in the gospel of Matthew. The disciples were with Jesus on the Mount of Olives when He said, ''All ye shall be offended because of Me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad'' (Mat 26:31). ''Then they spat in His face, and buffeted Him; and others smote Him with the palms of their hands'' (Mat 26:67). When Jesus spoke of that awful hour (Mat 26:31), He harked back 500 years to this prophecy. The shepherd is the same as described in Zechariah 11:4-14.
         The word used for ''fellow'' in Zechariah 13:7 is the [Hebrew] word amithi. The only other place it appears is in Leviticus, where it refers to laws about injuries inflicted upon close relatives. It is used interchangeably with the word ''brother.'' Zechariah uses it here to refer to the Messiah, who is connected with God in His very essence. ''No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him'' (John 1:18). When the Lord Jesus said, ''I and my Father are one,'' the Jews took up stones to stone Him [John 10:30-33]. This One to whom Zechariah referred could only be the Son of God.
  4. Zechariah foresaw the main events related to the second coming.
    He saw Israel regathered and the tribulation period.
    He presented the scene in the first 9 verses of chapter 12.
    • ''Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the peoples round about...'' (v.2).
    • ''And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone...'' (v.3).
    • ''...all the nations of the earth [will] be gathered together against it'' (v.3).
    • ''Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place'' (v.6).
    • ''The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first...'' (v.7).
    • ''In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem'' (v.8).
    • And it shall come to pass, in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem'' (v.9).
    Chapter 14 begins with the climactic events that lead to the return of Christ.

    Zechariah was given prophetic insight concerning Israel's repentance. Chapter 12, verse 10, declares, ''And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.''

    Zechariah graphically portrayed God's judgment upon the nations at the battle of Armageddon.
    Verses 12-15 of chapter 14 speak of the ''the plague with which the Lord will smite all the peoples that have fought against Jerusalem.''

    If Zechariah were not writing under inspiration, his predictions would be those of a fool. But, borne along by the Holy Spirit, he was speaking of Christ's millennial reign when he said, ''And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one'' (14:9). Jerusalem will be the center of our Lord's reign over this earth.

    What a scene of peace, tranquility, and holiness is described in the closing verses of this prophecy! Zechariah wrote, ''And it shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles'' (14:16). The prophecy of Zechariah is filled with references to Jehovah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Himself said, ''They spoke of Me.'' [John 5:39]

See the Book Notes on Zechariah for a verse by verse study of this book.

Return to table of contents for ''The Old Testament Presents... Reflections of Christ,''
written by Paul R. Van Gorder, Copyright 1982 by RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI.
Used by permission [within The Book from].
Further distribution is not allowed without permission from RBC.

For another brief look at this book of the Bible,
see the related chapter in Christ in All the Scriptures, by A.M. Hodgkin.

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