Zechariah Overview | The King is Coming
The Gospel in 8 Visions
We find the Israelites at the end of their exile in Babylon and God’s call to them was what it had been for generations ‘return to me, and I will return to you’. God is now going to turn the tables, bring back his people and pronounce judgment on the nations that feel secure in their own strength
God’s plan and intention is to dwell with his people again as their God and King. God is going to gather his scattered people from the lands where they have been exiled and bring them back, together with believers from all across the world too, to live in harmony with them.
The question may arise from chapter 2, “how can God dwell with a people that are so sinful”, to which the answer is “he is going to deal with their sin and wash them clean”. Out of his grace and mercy, God is going to wash clean his people, forgive their sin and restore them to their position with him.
God always intended his people to be a light and example to the nations, for what he was doing with his people was an example of what he would do with humanity. In their sin and rebellion, the people of Israel lost that light, but God promises to restore and establish it forever, supplying the oil himself.
As God will establish his people once more to be a light to the nations (chapter 4), he will convict the world of sin and iniquity. God will allow sin and rebellion to endure under his restraint until the time is ready to deal with it once and for all, when he will reveal his judgment against evil and bring everlasting peace.
Zechariah makes a crown and sets it on the head of Joshua the high priest. This is symbolic of the messiah who would sit on his throne, as a priest with a crown on his head. A messiah who is a great high priest and saviour king. This is showing us that Christ will eternally fulfill the two great roles of the old covenant, priest and king.
God’s 4 Messages to His People
The returning Israelites question Zechariah whether they need to keep mourning and fasting since their future is now looking more positive. Zechariah responds with a question, asking them whether their hearts are truly for God or only for their own self-interest. Zechariah calls them to return their hearts to God and live with justice, compassion and love.
God is burning with jealousy for his people and so has committed to bless them, and that their being blessed would be a blessing to other peoples. Through Jesus, God will not just save people of Jewish heritage but from nations all over the world, and gather them to himself to be blessed eternally.
The true king is going to come to bring peace and justice. He will defend his people, humble the mighty and purify the nations when he comes. This passage pictures both the first and second coming of Jesus and how ultimately his rule will extend over the whole earth.
God will show care and compassion towards his people who are oppressed at the hands of their leaders. He will honour his people and raise up a cornerstone, the Messiah for them, who will signal to them and gather them in from distant nations to live in peace and security.
The King is Coming (2 times)
Zechariah plays the role of the messiah who will come to shepherd his people, but who will be rejected by them. Because God’s people will reject the messiah, God will hand them over to other nations and raise up a worthless shepherd to oppress the people.
Even though God’s original people had continually rejected Him, and God had opened up the doors of salvation to the Gentile nations, He will still be faithful to His people. At the end He still shows up to save a remnant of them, both physically and spiritually.
When Christ comes again, a spiritual fountain will be opened to national Israel to cleanse them from sin and impurity, and he will do away with idolatry and prophecy. But before that God will refine in the fire his people who rejected the messiah when he first came.
Christ will come again when the nations are gathered against Jerusalem, and he will pour out judgment on those that oppose him. He will establish his kingdom on earth for all those that belong to him and ultimately Christ will be king over all the earth and his name the only name. All things in his kingdom, from people to pots and pans, will be holy to the Lord.
Sequence of the 8 Visions
Throughout Zechariah 1-6, there are 8 prophetic ‘night’ visions. In sequence they provide a picture of God’s salvation through the gospel culminating with Christ being appointed Priest and King.
VISION 1: Horses among the Myrtle trees
- God is going to turn the tables, bring judgment on the nations that feel secure, and bring back his people.
VISION 2: Four horns and four craftsmen
- God is going to raise up four craftsmen (empires) in judgment against the horns (nations) which scattered the people of Israel.
VISION 3: Man going to measure Jerusalem
- God is going to bring his people back to dwell with them once more and for all eternity
VISION 4: High Priest Joshua in filthy clothes
- God is going to deal with the sin of his people by washing them clean and restoring them to their position
VISION 5: Gold lampstand and two olive trees
- God is going to establish his people as a light to the nations, and he will be their sustenance forever
VISION 6: The flying scroll
- God is going to convict the world of sin through his word
VISION 7: The woman in the basket
- God is going to allow sin and wickedness to endure on the earth under his restraint
VISION 8: Four chariots
- God will unleash his judgment against the sin of the world to restore peace
BONUS VISION: Joshua crowned Priest and King
- God will appoint a great high priest and king forever, our Messiah, Jesus Christ.