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Welcome to the book of Zechariah. Exactly two months after Haggai’s last prophecy, Zechariah is shown a series of eight graphic visions, not unlike those shown to Daniel. This book is difficult to understand because you will find references to people and events that are hard to interpret. A commentary can be a great help, clarifying the meaning of these details. For historical background of Zechariah’s times, reread Ezra chapters 1 – 6.
- The first 6 chapters offer eight symbolic visions, which were meant to encourage the builders of the temple.
- Chapters 7 and 8 address the quality of life God wants His renewed people to enjoy. These words contain many encouraging promises to Israel.
- The last 6 chapters are packed with puzzling references to the struggles Israel must endure in becoming what God wants.
Zechariah is the prophet and priest who was born in exile and returned from Babylon to Judah in 538 BC. He is specific as to the year, month and day of the messages recorded in chapters 1 – 8. They span the years from 520 to 518 BC. The date of his final prophecy (chapters 9 – 14) is uncertain, though it was probably not given until some 40 years later (after 480 BC). It was through the ministry of Zechariah (along with Haggai) that the rebuilding of the temple began (see Ezra 5:1 and 2). He was younger than Haggai and was an apocalyptic visionary, while Haggai was a practical doer.
1. What physical traits (eyes, hair coloring, etc.) did you inherit from your ancestors? What traits seem to have skipped a generation?
2. What social skills (outgoing-type, shy-type, etc) were passed along to you?
3. In what one respect are you most like your parents?
4. What “word of the Lord” came to Zechariah in October-November, 520 BC?
5. Why is God so angry with Israel’s forefathers? What were they like (verses 4 – 6)? What impact did the call to repentance have on them? What’s the object lesson in that?
6. The second word came three months later in audio-visual form (verses 7 – 17). What did Zechariah see? Hear? Ask?
7. Are the horsemen ‘s words alarming or comforting?
8. What connects the Lord’s mercy, jealousy and anger? What is He most angry about “these seventy years” (verse 12)?
9. What is meant by the “measuring line” in God’s plans for Jerusalem?
10. What does Zechariah say about the consequences of returning and of disobedience for God’s people, then and now?
11. In matters of faith, what did you inherit from your ancestors? How have you rebelled? Returned?
12. What vision for your life have you received through studying God’s word? How does that affect your day-to-day decisions? Your long-term decisions?
13. How is your life similar to Jerusalem?
- feeling the pressure of the enemy?
- dry or desolate like a desert?
- needing restoration and comfort?
- restful and peaceful?