Christ in All the Scriptures
by A.M. Hodgkin
- V. Christ in the Prophets
18. Zechariah --
- We have already seen the connection of this prophet with Haggai. He was probably a priest as well as a prophet. (See Neh 12:12,16).
His first prophecy [1:1-6] occurred just after the time of discouragement, when the people had begun to rebuild the Temple [cp. Ezra 4:23,24], and he warns them not to disappoint God, as their fathers had done. He has a special word of encouragement to the ruler Zerubbabel, who must have been conscious of his own weakness, and that it was indeed a ''day of small things.'' ''Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts'' (Zech 4:6-10). He promised that the mountains of difficulty should be removed, and that he who had laid the foundation should have the joy of bringing forth the headstone with rejoicing, crying, ''Grace, grace,'' unto it.
Christ is both the Foundation-stone and the Headstone of the corner. [1Cor 3:10,11; 1Pet 2:6-8]
- Eight Visions.
- Zechariah's second prophecy consists of eight visions concerning God's final dealings with Israel.
- First [1:7-17], of Myrtle Trees, a picture of Israel today, outcast but never forgotten by Jehovah.
- Second [1:18-21], of Horns and Smiths (ie., carpenters, or carvers), foretelling the overthrow of Israel's enemies.
[A 'horn' is the symbol of a Gentile king (Dan 7:24; Rev 17:12). The four horns are four world-empires which have ''scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem'' (v.19; Dan 2:36-44; 7:3-7). The four 'carvers' that 'fray' (ie., carve), in the sense of diminishing, or enfeebling the great Gentile world-powers, may represent the ''four sore judgments'' of Eze 14:21, and the four horses of Rev 6. (adapted from ScofRB).]
- Third [chapter 2], of the Measuring Line. This shows the future prosperity of Jerusalem. The presence of Jehovah, as a wall of fire round about His people, will make walls unneccessary, the extent of the city will make them impossible.
[The measuring-line (or reed) is used by Ezekiel (Eze 40:3-5) as a symbol of preparation for rebuilding the city and temple in the kingdom-age. Likewise, Zechariah's vision looks forward to the restoration of the nation and city during the reign of the Messiah.
The order of fulfilment is:
- The LORD in glory in the midst of Jerusalem (v.5; Mat 24:29,30),
- The restoration of Israel (v.6; Mat 24:31),
- the judgment of Jehovah upon the nations ''after the glory'' (v.8; Mat 25:31,32),
- the full blessing of the earth in the Kingdom (v.10-13).
(adapted from ScofRB).]
- Fourth [chapter 3], of Joshua, a picture of Israel cleansed and restored to the priestly position of access to God. [The new raiment and the ''fair mitre'' of v.5 speak of priestly holiness (cp. Ex 28:36,37; 39:30,31; 1Pet 2:7-9).]
[This vision shows the change from self-righteousness to the righteousness of God (Rom 3:22). Paul's experience (Php 3:1-9) illustrates and foreshadows the conversion of Israel. The Jews were blinded, to the presence of the BRANCH in their midst at His first advent, by their refusal to abandon self-righteousness for the righteousness of God (Rom 10:1-4; 11:7,8). But at His second coming, the righteous remnant will be ready to receive Him (Rev 7:13-17). (adapted from ScofRB).]
[The "man who is the BRANCH" is also "the stone with seven eyes" (v.8,9; cp. Zech 4:10; Rev 5:6.]
- Fifth [chapter 4], of the Candlestick, or, as it should be, ''lampstand,'' [picturing] Israel as God's light-bearer. The two olive-trees in this vision refer, in the first place, to Zerubbabel the ruler and to Joshua the priest, and thus through them to both offices fulfilled in the person of the Messiah.
[The prophecy of v.11-14 looks beyond Zerubbabel and Joshua to the two future witnesses of Rev 11. Empowered by the Holy Spirit (cp. v.6; Rev 11:3,4) against great opposition, they will proclaim Christ as the Priest-King.]
- Sixth [5:1-4], of the Flying Roll, [representing the written Word of God, which is the basis for all] government of the earth. [Because of his sinful nature, wherever man is found, he is under the curse of the law (v.3; Gal 3:10-14).]
- Seventh [5:5-11], of the Ephah [ie., a measuring container, similar in size to a bushel basket], [symbolizing the] restriction [and the fullness] of wickedness.
[Symbolically, a ''measure'' (or ''cup'') stands for something which has come to the full so that God must judge it (2Sam 8:2; Jer 51:13; Hab 3:6,7; Mat 7:2; 23:32). Symbolically, a ''woman'' represents that which is religiously out of place (cp. Mat 13:33; Rev 2:20). Religious Babylon, the apostate church, is symbolized by a woman drunk with her commercialism (Rev 17:1-6; 18:3,11-20).
- - In Zechariah's day, the Jewish people exhibited a lust for commercial gain (acquired during their captivity in Babylon) which prevented them from serving the Lord (cp. Neh 13:15-22). Such commercialism was out of place in God's people and land. Symbolically, God judged them as belonging to Babylon (in the land of ''Shinar'') and as worshipping in the temple of worldly gain.
- - Prophetically, the application to the Babylon of the Revelation is obvious. At that time, the professing Gentile church, condoning every iniquity of the rich, embracing doctrinal ''confusion'' ('Babel'), and corrupted to the core by commercialism, wealth, and luxury, falls under the judgment of God (Rev 18). (adapted from ScofRB).]
- Eighth [6:1-8], of the Chariots, [picturing] the administrative forces of righteousness. (Dr. Campbell Morgan, Westminster Record for September 1907).
[These are angellic beings which exercise God's power in judgment upon the earth (cp. v.5; Rev 7:1-3; 9:14,15), especially upon the Gentile nations north and south of Israel in the Day of the Lord (Isa 2:10-22; Rev 19:11-21). The 'quieting' of God's Spirit (v.8) refers to the satisfaction of His righteous wrath (cp. Eze 16:42).]
Then follows the symbolic act of crowning the High Priest (6:9-11). By this act, the two great offices of priest and king are united in his person, [which is] a type of the person and work of the Man whose name is the Branch (6:12; 3:8), who shall sit on His throne of glory as a Priest, the Builder of the eternal Temple of the Lord, and ''bear the glory'' [6:13-15; cp. Mat 16:27; 24:30; 25:31]. [Note that the promise is for a yet future time. Christ, our High Priest, is presently seated on His Father's throne (Heb 9:24; Rev 3:21). He has not yet received His earthly Kingdom. "The crowns made for the symbolical crowning of Joshua were to be laid up in the temple as a memorial to keep alive this larger hope of Israel (cp. v.14; Isa 4:2)'' (ScofRB). ]
- [The Question of the Fasts.] Zechariah 7 - 8.
- [''They'' (in 7:2) refers to those of the captivity in Babylon. The mission of these Jews of the captivity concerned a fast day instituted by the Jews in commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem (which took place in the ''fifth month'', 7:3; Jer 52:12-14). This fast had been instituted wholly of their own will, and without warrant from the word of God. In the beginning, there was doubtless sincere contrition in their observance of the day; now it had become a mere ceremonial. The Jews of the dispersion would be rid of it, but seek authority from the priests in Jerusalem. The whole matter, like much in modern pseudo-Christianity, was extra-Biblical, formal and futile. Jehovah takes the occasion to send a divine message to the dispersion. That message is in five parts:
- Their fast was a mere religious form; they should rather have given heed to the ''former prophets'' (7:4-7; cp. Isa 1:12; Mat 15:1-10);
- They are told why their 70 years' prayer has not been answered (7:8-14; cp. Psa 66:18; Isa 1:14-17);
- They are reminded of the unchanged purpose of Jehovah, and His promise of blessing upon Israel in the kingdom (8:1-8; cp. a similar order in Isa 1:24-31 with Isa 2:1-4);
- The messengers of the captivity are exhorted to hear the prophets of ''these days,'' ie. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi (their contemporaries), and to do justly; then all of their fasts and feasts will become gladness and joy (8:9-19);
- They are assured that Jerusalem is yet to be the religious center of the earth (8:20-23; cp Isa 2:1-3; Zech 14:16-21).
(adapted from ScofRB).]
- ''Thy King cometh unto Thee.''
- More than any other of the Minor Prophets, Zechariah foretells the Saviour.
- Twice, He is announced as the Branch; God speaks to Him as ''My Servant'' (3:8; 6:12,13).
- We have the prediction of His entry into Jerusalem, riding upon an ass's colt (9:9). [Mat 21:1-11]
- In contrast to the false shepherds, we see Him as the Good Shepherd, saving His flock, caring for the poor of the flock (9:16; 11:11). [John 10]
- We see Him as the Smitten Shepherd, with the sheep scattered (13:7). [cp. Mat 26:31,67]
In the words ''Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts,'' we have a specially clear revelation of Christ, both in His Divine and human nature; the Man, the Smitten Shepherd, is spoken of by God as His fellow, on an equality with Him and yet distinct in His personality.
Zechariah speaks of ''the blood of the Covenant'' (9:11), which our Lord applied to His own blood. ''This is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many unto remission of sins'' (Mat 26:28, R.V.). We have the prophecy of His betrayal by Judas for thirty pieces of silver, even to the fact that the money was ''cast to the potter in the house of the Lord'' (11:12,13) [Mat 26:14,15; 27:3-10].
Zechariah prophesies the conversion of his people to the Lord in the day that the Spirit is poured out upon them, when they shall look on Him whom they have pierced, and the sin of the nation shall be washed away through that fountain opened through their Messiah's death on Calvary (12:10; 13:1) [cp. John 19:33-37]. He speaks of the wounds with which He was wounded in the house of His friends (13:6) [cp. John 20:24-29]. The third part of the remnant shall be brought through the fire and purified in the time of Jacob's trouble (13:9).
The last chapter foretells the Great Day of the Lord, which is always associated with the coming of Christ to [exercise] judgment. He who ascended from the slopes of Olivet shall so come in like manner as those who watched Him saw Him go [Acts 1:9-11]. ''And His feet shall stand upon the mount of Olives. . . and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. . . It shall be one day which shall be known unto the Lord. . . at evening time it shall be light. . . And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be One Lord, and His name shall be One.''
- [Additional notes on Chapters 9 - 14.]
- [The notes below are adapted from the Scofield Reference Bible.]
- Zech 9 - The Lord's commitment to ''encamp about mine house'' to protect it
- from the ''oppressor'' has been illustrated at various times in history. The advance and return of Alexander, after the battle of Issus, who subdued the cities mentioned in v.1-6, and afterward returned to Greece without harming Jerusalem, may be in view in v.8 and 13. But this passage finds ultimate fulfillment in the last days.
- The present Age of Grace is hidden from view, though it separates events "a" and "b" below.
- Zech 9:9 - The King presents Himself to the nation. But as the New Testament shows, the nation rejects Him. The crowd that welcomed Him with cries of ''Hosanna,'' cried ''Crucify Him,'' only a few days later. Messiah, the Prince, who should have been King, was "cut off, but not for Himself" (corresponding to the end ''the 69th week'' of Daniel's prophecy, Dan 9:25,26a).
- Zech 9:10-17 - The King returns to defend Jerusalem, to ''cut off'' His foes, and to establish His Kingdom (corresponding to the destruction of the false messiah-prince at the end of Daniel's ''70th week'', Dan 9:26b,27).
Though God has provided an intervening period of Grace so that gentiles might be saved, His purpose with regard to Israel remains on His perfect schedule.
- Zech 10 - The latter rain - (v.1)
Compare Hos 6:3; Joel 2:23-32; Zech 12:10. There is both a physical and spiritual meaning: Rain as of old will be restored to Palestine, but, also, there will be a mighty effusion of the Spirit upon restored Israel.
- Zech 11 - Beauty and Bands - (v.7)
The scene belongs to the first advent [of Christ].
Beauty and Bands -- literally ''graciousness and union'';
- - the first signifying God's attitude toward His people Israel, in sending His Son (Mat 21:37);
- - the second, [signifying] His purpose to reunite Judah and Ephraim (Eze 37:15-22).
Christ, at His first advent, came with grace (John 1:17) to offer union (Mat 4:17), and was sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zech 11:12,13). ''Beauty'' (ie., graciousness) was ''cut in sunder'' (v.10,11), signifying that Judah was abandoned to the destruction foretold in v.1-6, and fulfilled in A.D. 70. After the betrayal of the Lord for thirty pieces of silver (v.12,13), ''Bands'' (ie., union) was broken (v.14), signifying the abandonment, for the time, of the purpose to reunite Judah and Israel. The order of Zechariah 11 is,
- the wrath against the land (v.1-6), fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem after the rejection of Christ (Luke 19:41-44);
- the cause of that wrath in the sale and rejection of Christ (v.7-14);
- the rise of the ''idol shepherd,'' the Beast (Dan 7:8; Rev 19:20), and his destruction (v.15-17).
- Zech 11:7 - The Poor of the Flock -
The ''poor of the flock'': ie., the ''remnant according to the election of grace'' (Rom 11:5); those Jews who did not wait for the manifestation of Christ in glory, but believed on Him at His first coming, and since. Of them, it is said that they ''waited upon Me,'' and ''knew'' [eg., Simeon and Anna, Luk 2:25-38]. Neither the Gentiles nor the Gentile church, corporately, are in view: only the believers out of Israel during this age. The church, corporately, is not in O.T. prophecy (Eph 3:8-10).
- Zech 11:15-17 - The idol shepherd -
The reference to the Beast is obvious; no other personage of prophecy in any sense meets the description. He who came in His Father's name was rejected: the alternative is one who comes in his own name (John 5:43; Rev 13:4-8).
- Zechariah chapters 12 - 14 --
Zech 12 - 14 form one prophecy, the general theme of which is the return of the Lord and the establishment of the kingdom. The order is:
- The siege of Jerusalem preceding the battle of Armageddon (12:1-3);
- the battle itself (12:4-9);
- the ''latter rain'' in the pouring out of the Spirit and the personal revelation of Christ to the family of David and [to] the remnant in Jerusalem, not merely as the glorious Deliverer, but as the One whom Israel pierced and has long rejected (12:10);
- the godly sorrow which follows that revelation (12:11-14);
- the cleansing fountain (13:1) then to be effectually ''opened'' to Israel. [The cleansing fountain has been available to all who would believe, ever since Christ's death and resurrection (v.6,7; John 1:11-13; 1Joh 1:5-9).]
- A Summary of Prophecy regarding the Lord's Return --
Zech 13:8 now returns to the subject of Zech 12:10. Verses 8,9 refer to the sufferings of the remnant (Isa 1:9; Rom 11:5) preceding the great battle.
Zech 14 is a recapitulation of the whole matter. The order is:
- The gathering of the nations, v.2 (to ''Armageddon,'' Rev 16:14; 19:11-19);
- The deliverance, v.3;
- The return of Christ to the Mount of Olives, and the physical change of the scene, v.4-8;
- the setting up of the kingdom, and full earthly blessing, v.9-21.
See the Book Notes on Zechariah for a more complete discussion of these truths.
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For another brief look at this book of the Bible,
see the related chapter in OT Reflections of Christ, by Paul Van Gorder.
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