As one of the lesser known books of the Bible, Zechariah stands alongside Malachi at the end of the Old Testament. With fourteen chapters of prophecies and poems, there is much we can learn from reading this minor prophet’s words.
If you are looking for a “time stamp” to place onto Zechariah, then these writings take place as the people of Israel are returning from their exile in 538 BC, and are rebuilding their walls and city (see Ezra and Nehemiah for more context). During this period of time, we read Zechariah and Haggai are prophesying to the returning Jews, spurring them on towards obedience to God. God sent the Jews into exile for their sins, and the two prophets are reminding the people not to repeat their father’s mistakes. During this prophesying, Zechariah has multiple strange visions that all speak to God’s present and future reign over His people. The visions are extremely odd, yet once read, we see a beautiful depiction of God’s hand over us.
I cannot stress enough the importance and beauty found in Zechariah 3. Simply put, we see God forgiving the iniquity of Joshua while Satan stands next to him accusing him of all his sin. Zechariah 3:4 has God taking away his iniquities and setting him up as priest over Israel. It ends with a Branch (Jesus) coming from God to accomplish His will. Read the full chapter for yourselves to see what Jesus accomplished for us.
In chapters 9-11, we see poems and prophecies uttered by Zechariah towards the Israelites. With the primary message being one of hope towards the coming King, we may read it today and take comfort that God has fulfilled His promises towards us. The book ends with words of encouragement and anticipation to the people of the coming of the Lord. Peace will be spread through the land, all the people will turn to God.
So the question is asked, “why should I read this book?” There are multiple answers to this question, but consider this: Zechariah shows us all that Jesus has accomplished through His ministry. He has forgiven our sins and accomplished God’s will (Zech. 3), He will be king over all the earth (Zech. 14), and He has brought about salvation (Zech. 12). Furthermore, it offers us Christians a great and confident hope in the rule and reign of Christ. Please know that the prophet’s words have been fulfilled! Jesus has come to save His people. As we turn the pages of Zechariah’s words, we can do so with a smile because we are able to see the work Christ has accomplished on behalf of God the Father for His bride, the Church.