1. Did God want the children of Israel to follow the ways of their fathers?
No: “(1) In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, (2) The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. (3) Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. (4) Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD. (5) Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? (6) But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us” (Zechariah 1:1-6).
- This book starts off during the time Haggai was receiving the word of the Lord (Haggai 1:1; 1:15; 2:10). So, our timeline is back to the book of Ezra (Ezra 5:1). We read of Zechariah in the book of Nehemiah as well (Nehemiah 12:16).
- We can cheat on our studies of this book by reading Ezra 6:14: “And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”
- God was NOT pleased with their fathers (Ezra 5:12; cf. Deuteronomy 9:24, I Kings 14:22, II Kings 21:13-15, II Chronicles 21:5-7, II Chronicles 29:6, Ezra 9:6-7, Nehemiah 9:1-33, Nehemiah 13:18, Daniel 9:1-13, and Acts 7:52). Which is why they were in captivity to start with (II Chronicles 36:13-20).
- God did not hold them accountable to their father’s trespasses (Ezekiel 18:4; 18:20). Therefore, if they would turn to Him then He would do likewise allowing their relationship to be restored (Deuteronomy 4:30-31, Isaiah 55:6-7, Jeremiah 3:12-14, and Ezekiel 33:11) that had been destroyed because of sin (Isaiah 59:1-3).
- His instructions were to NOT be as their fathers because they did not hear the word of God (Jeremiah 6:13-17, Jeremiah 26:1-5, and Zechariah 7:4-14).
- A simple point… Your fathers died (Psalms 90:10, Ecclesiastes 12:7, and Hebrews 9:27)… But…
- …God’s word did not die (Psalms 119:89-91 and Isaiah 40:8).
2. What message was given to the angel of the Lord concerning the earth by those sent to walk to and fro the earth?
“(7) Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, (8) I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white. (9) Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be. (10) And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. (11) And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest” (Zechariah 1:7-11).
- A few months later… “I saw by night…” (Genesis 15:1, Numbers 12:6, and Daniel 7:13).
- What are these? The angel said “These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth” (Zechariah 6:5-7; cf. Job 1:6, Job 2:1-2, and Psalms 103:20-21). To better understand what this was like, see: Genesis 18:1-19:29
- They who were sent by the Lord to walk the earth said the earth sitteth still and is at rest [idle] (Zechariah 1:15).
- Context matters here… The earth was calm. Yet, Jerusalem was not rebuilt. The temple was not finished. The earth seemed not to care. God was not on the minds of the world. Think of how God looks at that (Zephaniah 1:12; cf. Jeremiah 48:11).
3. What question did the angel of the Lord ask the Lord of hosts?
“Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years” (Zechariah 1:12)?
- The angel [messenger] of the Lord inquires (Isaiah 63:7-9), after those seventy-years (Jeremiah 25:1-14), God’s mercy would not be upon Judah (Ezekiel 39:25-29).
4. Who were the beneficiaries of the Lord’s good and comfortable words?
The people of Jerusalem: “(13) And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. (14) So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. (15) And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. (16) Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.
(17) Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:13-17).
- Zechariah observed the Lord answering the angel with good and comfortable words. The word of God is good (Romans 7:12, I Timothy 1:8, and Hebrews 6:5). The word of God was/is comforting to the obedient (Psalms 119:49-50 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18). For, God is called the “God of all comfort” (II Corinthians 1:3).
- So, Zechariah was told to cry (Isaiah 58:1), in connection to comfort (Isaiah 40:1), that God was jealous for Jerusalem (Ezekiel 39:25 and Zechariah 8:1-3).
- God was displeased with the heathen that was at ease (i.e. Jeremiah 48:11-13).
- God said He was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. That is, God allowed the heathen to afflict His people (Ezekiel 31:10-11), but they took that too far (Ezekiel 36:1-7 and Joel 3:1-16).
- Mercy to Jerusalem (Psalms 102:13 and Jeremiah 33:10-12).
- The temple [His house] to be rebuilt (Ezra 9:9).
- Comfort in Zion (Isaiah 51:3).
- God’s cities (Psalms 69:35).
- Prosperity (Psalms 122:6-7).
- God choosing Jerusalem (Jeremiah 3:17 and Joel 3:17-21). *Not any more (Hebrews 12:22-23).
5. What were the four horns that Zechariah saw in a vision?
“(18) Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. (19) And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:18-19).
- Zechariah lifted up his eyes and saw a vision as he will again and again, etc. (Zechariah 2:1, 5:1, 5:5, 5:9; 6:1).
- Thankfully, we do not have to try to figure out what the four horns were. They were those that scattered God’s people (Jeremiah 50:17-18, Ezekiel 34:6, Joel 3:2, etc.).
6. What were the four carpenters going to do?
“(20) And the LORD shewed me four carpenters. (21) Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it” (Zechariah 1:20-21).
- The carpenters, as stated, were those that came up against the horns (ex. II Chronicles 36:20-23, Daniel 5:18-31, etc.).
© 2022 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.