Category: Book of Zechariah

 The “daughter of Zion” is  mentioned several times in the Old Testament, usually in prophecy and once in  poetry. “Zion” meant Jerusalem and, later, Israel as the people of God.  “Daughter of Zion,” then, does not refer to a specific person. It’s a metaphor  for Israel and the loving, caring, patient relationship God has with His chosen  people.

As a representation of the people of Israel, the daughter of  Zion is described in several different situations:

2 Kings 19:21: A people  confident in the deliverance of their God. When Assyria threatened Jerusalem,  King Hezekiah went to the Lord. In response, God sent Isaiah to reassure  Hezekiah that Jerusalem would not fall to Assyria, and God considered the  threatening insult to “the virgin daughter of Zion” as a personal affront to  Himself.

Isaiah 1:8: A  hut, abandoned after judgment came to an evil family. Here, Isaiah compares the  rebellion of Judah to a sick body in a devastated land. The daughter of Zion is  left as a lone remnant—a shelter hidden in the vineyard or a hut in a cucumber  field that barely escaped destruction.

Jeremiah  4:31: A woman in labor, helpless before attackers. The steadfastness of  Hezekiah was rare in Judah—most kings encouraged rebellion against God instead  of loyalty to God. Jeremiah warns that if the nation does not turn away from  evil, God will punish them severely. And the people will be helpless against  it—as helpless as a woman in labor.

Isaiah  62:11: A people awaiting salvation. After the punishment of exile, God  promises restoration to Israel. He will rejoice over His chosen people again.  And in verse 11, he promises the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes;  behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.”

Micah 4:13: A bull that threshes his enemies. In verse  10, God warns that the daughter of Zion will suffer as much as a woman in labor.  But in verse 13, He promises vengeance. The weak, powerless woman will become a  bull with horns of iron and hoofs of bronze that will crush its  enemies.

Zechariah  9:9: A land awaiting its king. This prophecy promises Israel’s enemies will  be destroyed, but also speaks about a more permanent solution to the problem of  sin. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Should in triumph, O daughter of  Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; he is just and endowed with  salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a  donkey.” Despite the consistent rebellion of the daughter of Zion against her  Father, He promises to restore her and present her with a Deliverer-King in the  form of Jesus.

“Daughter” infers that God is a loving father. He  cherishes and loves His people, even while they reject Him. By using the  metaphor “daughter of Zion,” God showed how He felt for the rebellious  Israelites: frustrated, angry, but always with an eye to the future when the  relationship would be restored, and He could once again return to them and  welcome them into His arms (Zechariah  2:10).

Author: Zechariah  1:1 identifies the author of the Book of Zechariah as the Prophet  Zechariah.

Date of Writing: The Book of Zechariah was  likely written in two primary segments, between 520 and 470  B.C.

Purpose of Writing: Zechariah emphasized that God  has used His prophets to teach, warn and correct His people. Unfortunately,  they refused to listen. Their sin brought God’s punishment. The book  also bears evidence that even prophecy could be corrupted. History shows  that in this period prophecy fell into disfavor among the Jews, leading to the  period between the Testaments when no lasting prophetic voice spoke to God’s  people.

Key Verses: Zechariah  1:3, “Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says:  ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the  LORD Almighty.”

Zechariah  7:13, “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not  listen,’ says the LORD Almighty.”

Zechariah  9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!  See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding  on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Zechariah 13:9, “This  third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them  like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They  are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'”

Brief  Summary: The Book of Zechariah teaches that salvation may be obtained  by all. The last chapter depicts peoples from all over the world coming to  worship God, who desires that all people follow Him. This is not the  doctrine of universalism, i.e., that all people would be saved because it is  God’s nature to save. Rather, the book teaches that God desires that all  people worship Him and accepts those who do, regardless of their national or  political expressions, as in the freeing of Judah and Jerusalem from their  political enemies. Finally, Zechariah preached that God is sovereign over  this world, any appearance to the contrary notwithstanding. His visions of  the future indicate that God sees all that will happen. The depictions of  God’s intervention in the world teach that ultimately He will bring human events  to the end He chooses. He does not eliminate the individual’s freedom to  follow God or rebel, but holds people responsible for the choices they  make. In the last chapter, even the forces of nature respond to God’s  control.

Foreshadowings: Prophecies about Jesus Christ  and the messianic era abound in Zechariah. From the promise that Messiah would  come and dwell in our midst (Zechariah  2:10-12; Matthew  1:23) to the symbolism of the Branch and the Stone (Zechariah 3:8-9, 6:12-13; Isaiah 11:1Luke  20:17-18) to the promise of His Second Coming where they who pierced Him  will look upon Him and mourn (Zechariah  12:10; John  19:33-37), Christ is the theme of the Book of Zechariah. Jesus is the Savior  of Israel, a fountain whose blood covers the sins of all who come to Him for  salvation (Zechariah  13:1; 1 John  1:7).

Practical Application: God expects sincere  worship and moral living of us today. Zechariah’s example of breaking through  national prejudice reminds us to reach out into all areas of our society. We  must extend God’s invitation of salvation to people of all national origins,  languages, races and cultures. That salvation is only available through the shed  blood of Jesus Christ on the cross, who died in our place to atone for sin. But  if we reject that sacrifice, there is no other sacrifice through which we can be  reconciled to God. There is no other name under heaven by which men are saved  (Acts 4:12). There is no time  to lose; today is the day of salvation (2  Corinthians 6:2).

Zechariah  14:4 predicts, “On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east  of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west,  forming a great valley, with half of the Mount shall move north and half moving  south.” “That day” is a reference to the Day of  the Lord, and the One who stands on the mountain is the Lord Himself. So,  yes, this passage predicts the second coming of Christ.

The opening of  Zechariah 14 speaks of a future day when Jerusalem will be plundered by its  enemies. Verse 2 prophesies that all nations will gather against Jerusalem and  capture and ransack the city. Half of the citizens of Jerusalem will flee the  devastation, but the other half will remain. This will be one half of the one  third of the Jewish population still alive in Jerusalem after the Tribulation  (13:8). Then, Zechariah says, the Lord Himself will go forth and engage these  opponents in battle (14:3). Verse 4 speaks of the Messiah standing on the Mount  of Olives, a hill near Jerusalem on the east. The mountain will split, creating  an enormous valley. Since none of this has taken place yet, the prophecy points  to a future time.

A parallel passage tells of the Battle  of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-21). Revelation 16:18-21 predicts horrible events at the end  of the Tribulation when the seventh bowl is poured out:

“Then there came  flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No  earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous  was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the  nations collapsed. . . . Every island fled away and the mountains could not be  found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon  men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague  was so terrible.”

The earthquake in Revelation could very well speak of  the event described in Zechariah when the Mount of Olives splits in two. Jesus  the Messiah will cause an earthquake at His second coming that will serve as  part of the destruction of God’s enemies. The outcome of this battle is never in  doubt: Christ will be the victor, Israel’s enemies will be destroyed, and the  beast (Antichrist) and false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:11-21).

 Yes, in fact there are many Old Testament prophecies about Jesus Christ.  Some interpreters place the number of Messianic prophecies in the hundreds. The  following are those that are considered the clearest and most important.

Regarding Jesus’ birth—Isaiah 7:14:  “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child  and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is  given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are  small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be  ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Concerning Jesus’ ministry and death—Zechariah  9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!  See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding  on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Psalm  22:16-18: “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me,  they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare  and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my  clothing.”

Likely the clearest prophecy about Jesus is the entire 53rd  chapter of Isaiah. Isaiah  53:3-7 is especially unmistakable: “He was despised and rejected by men, a  man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their  faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our  infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God,  smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was  crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,  and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of  us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us  all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led  like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so  he did not open his mouth.”

The “seventy sevens” prophecy in Daniel  chapter 9 predicted the precise date that Jesus, the Messiah, would be “cut  off.” Isaiah 50:6 accurately describes the beating that Jesus endured. Zechariah 12:10 predicts  the “piercing” of the Messiah, which occurred after Jesus died on the cross.  Many more examples could be provided, but these will suffice. The Old Testament  most definitely prophesies the coming of Jesus as the Messiah.