About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Chapter - Chapter 1
Commentary On The Book Of Zechariah
commentary is based on the 1984 edition of the New International Bible.
Chapter titles in this commentary correspond with chapter titles
in the NIV which make for easy study purposes.
was a prophet that spoke the Word of
the Lord to Israel
around 520 BC. His
prophecies were meant to be a comfort to
Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Zechariah was a priest who became a prophet due to
1 tells us that the Word of the Lord first came to Zechariah in the 8th
month of the second year of king Darius.
Darius was king of Persia. The Jews were subject to the Persian king.
The 8th month would be our September.
2 simply states that God was very angry with the Jews forefathers.
That is why they were led away as captives by Nebuchadnezzar into
Babylon. This shows us that God does chasten, and even punish His children.
tells Zechariah to tell Israel
to “return to Him and then He will return to them”.
This is the message of the gospel.
It’s always been the message from God’s lips.
Repent, and God will come to you.
We often think the gospel is in New Testament times only, and
there is a sense of rightness to this, yet the message of repentance and
faith is found in Old Testament times as well. Thus was the case here.
verse 4 God through Zechariah reminded Israel
that prophets long ago spoke a similar word to their forefathers.
They were told to turn from their evil ways, but they did not
hear God’s message and they continued in their evil ways and evil
practices, and they were judged accordingly.
verse 5 God asks, “where is your forefathers, and where are the
prophets that spoke to them.” The
answer is obvious. Both were
long gone. Yet even though those men were dead, the Word of the Lord
remains valid. It even
remains valid in our day today, and in every generation that lives on
the face of the earth.
question is asked in verse 6. God
asks, “did not my decree overtake your forefathers?”
God’s decrees outlived
in verse 6 we read, “then they repented…”
The question is asked, “who does the word ‘they’ refer
to?” It’s either one of
two groups. It either refers
to the forefathers or the men and women that Zechariah is speaking to.
I think the word “they” is in reference to the people living
in Zechariah’s day. The
NIV has this sentence in a new paragraph that suggests to me a new
thought, a new group of people.
verse 7 we note that Zechariah’s first vision came on the 24th
day of the eleventh month. That
would be our Nov. 24th.
8 tells us that this vision came at night.
We need to understand that this was a vision, not a dream. Just
because the even took place at night doesn’t mean it was a dream.
vision begins with a man riding a red horse.
There were other red, brown, and white horses behind him. There
is no mention of men on these other horses, but I believe we can assume
there is from the context. The
man on the red horse apparently got off his horse because the text
states the he was standing among the myrtle trees.
Myrtle trees are small evergreen shrubs.
They don’t grow very tall.
verse 9 we see that along with this vision there was an angel talking
with Zechariah, giving him certain explanations of what these things
meant. So Zechariah asked
this angel what this meant and the angel told him that he’d explain.
10 says, “then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained”.
This is where things are a little confusing and there are
differing explanations. Because
the rider on the horse was standing among the myrtle trees as seen in
verse 9, you might think the man spoken of here in verse 10 is him, but
it’s not. This man is the
angel explaining the vision to Zechariah.
then see that God had sent these riders throughout the earth.
The King James Version states that these are they that walk “to
and fro” throughout the earth. We
know from other Biblical passages that the devil himself walks “to and
fro throughout the earth” as seen in the case of Job.
Some might think that these are demons because of this.
I don’t think so. Because
God has sent these riders, I believe they are angels themselves, and
that might well be why the angel talking with Zechariah is in the
11 says that “they reported to the angel of the Lord who was standing
among the myrtle trees.” The
word “they” refers the riders on horses. This angel is not the angel
who has been explaining the vision.
He is another angel. He
is specifically called “the angel of the Lord”. He
in fact is the man on the red horse.
The other riders went throughout the earth to see what they could
last part of verse 11 states what was reported by the riders on the
horses to the angel of the Lord. They
told the angel of the Lord that the nations of the earth were at “rest
verse 12 the angel of the Lord gives his response to this report.
His response is actually a prayer to God.
He asks God how long He will withhold mercy from
verse 13 the angel who is explaining these things notes that God spoke
“kind and comforting” words to the angel of the Lord. These words
were to be an encouragement to Israel, who at this point were pretty discouraged.
verse 14 the angel who was doing the explaining spoke to Zechariah and
told him what to say to Israel. The angel said, “this is
what the Lord Almighty says”. So
this angel heard from God, repeats it to Zechariah so Zechariah can
repeat it to
is the first thing God says. He
says, “I am very jealous for Jerusalem
my opinion that God is still jealous for His people, and in these New
Testament times His people are both Jews and Gentiles who have given
their lives to Jesus, the Messiah. It’s
also my opinion that God is still jealous for the city of Jerusalem.
may think that jealousy is a negative characteristic,
but we know that God does not have negative personality traits.
This jealousy in fact is a righteous jealousy.
That’s really why God has destroyed Jerusalem
more than once. The last
destruction was in 70 AD and was a major event in Jewish history.
This event then was a demonstration of God’s wrath, anger, and
verse 15 God says that he is angry with the nations that feel secure. Israel
is not among these nations. The
nations that God is speaking about here are those nations who as already
noted were at rest and peace in verse 11. God said that He was only a
little angry with them but He is even more angry since they’ve done
further things to make Him angry.
continues to speak in verse 16. He says that He will return to Jerusalem
with mercy and His temple will be rebuilt.
Then He says that His measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem. The measuring line speaks
of the reconstruction of the city. So
we have both the
restoration of the city of Jerusalem
and the temple.
last thing that God says in this vision is that His towns will overflow
with prosperity, and that He will comfort
sum up the vision at this point. You
have a man riding a red horse with other men behind him riding horses.
Most scholars feel the man on the red horse is Jesus.
The red horse might be symbolic of Jesus’ blood.
The man on the red horse is called the angel of the Lord in this
vision, and every time you see this term mentioned in the Old Testament,
that speaks of pre-incarnate Jesus.
There is an angel in the vision explaining the vision to
Zechariah. God tells these
horsemen to go throughout the earth to see what they can see.
They report back to the angel of the Lord, or Jesus, that the
earth is at rest and peace. Because
of their answer, the angel of the Lord asks God how long He will
withhold mercy from
what does all this mean? First
of all there are two figures in the vision who we know for sure.
When the text speaks of “the Lord Almighty”, He is God.
When it speaks of “the angel of the Lord”, that is Jesus.
There is no real discrepancy among Bible teachers on this point.
here on out, we have to deduct who the riders on the horses are behind
the lead rider who is Jesus. I
suggest they are angels, or ministering spirits as the writer of Hebrews
angels go out through the earth and note that the nations are a peace
and rest, which reminds me of what Paul says – when there is peace and
rest there is no real peace and rest.
I believe this is a reference to the end of this age when the
anti-christ brings peace to the world.
response to this false peace that the anti-christ can muster up, Jesus
asks God how long He will be angry at Israel. Will it only be for the
seventy years? To make
God’s answer simple, He
says that He will have mercy on Israel
again at some future point. We
do know that God’s anger did not depart from Israel
for good in Zechariah’s day. As
a matter of fact, His anger is still present over Israel. The day has not yet
come when God’s glory will be seen in Israel
as the text states here.
with God’s anger being removed from Israel, this text states that God will be very angry at those nations who
claim to be at peace and rest. God
will destroy these nations at the last and great battle as seen in the
book of Revelation. So this
is the meaning to this part of the vision, as I see it.
also says that the towns of Israel
and the temple will be rebuilt and His people the Jews will find
prosperity. This is the end
result of Israel
as also seen in Revelation and elsewhere.
the end of this age many nations will attempt to destroy
the meaning of this vision is all about the end of the age, and what Israel
will end up to be. It also states the future
of Israel’s enemies. All this is
meant to encourage the Jews in Zechariah’s day.
God is telling them that a day is coming when He will no longer
be angry at them.
second vision begins in verse 18 where he sees four horns.
In verse 19 he asks the angel that has been explaining the
visions to him what these four horns meant. The angel replies by saying
that the four horns are the horns that have scattered
is important to note that in the Old Testament the word horn refers to
nations with power and authority. We
know the four empires that had scattered the Jews.
Zechariah saw the four horns, in verse 20 he then sees four craftsmen,
and so he asks who these are.
angel explaining these things says that these four craftsmen are
actually four horns themselves that have displaced the four horns who
have scattered Israel. For example,
are some people that tend to see these four horns as the four horsemen
found in Revelation 6, but at the moment, I don’t see it this way.
even though someone takes
noted the four horn empires above that scattered Israel. They were