Zechariah: A Prophecy Full of Christ

Zechariah: A Prophecy Full of Christ

Zechariah’s Prophecy is full of Christ, a precious mine for study concerning our Lord and Saviour. George L. Robinson, a Bible scholar, called Zechariah ‘the most Messianic, the most truly apocalyptic and eschatological, of all the writings of the Old Testament’. The Lord through Zechariah was encouraging His despondent and disheartened people, who had returned from the Babylonian Exile, by raising their vision to consider in glowing terms the future glories of their coming Messiah and the wonderful glory and blessing into which He will one day bring them to enjoy forever. Predictive prophecy is certainly intended to have this present stimulating practical effect upon God’s people in every age. It certainly had this good effect on the discouraged remnant of Jews who had ventured to return to their former city of Jerusalem in order to re-establish the worship of their covenant Lord in a proper manner worthy of Him. Both the temple and eventually the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt as a result of the ministry of both Haggai and Zechariah.

Zechariah’s visions and predictive prophecies embrace both the first and second comings of Christ, although the emphasis is largely upon the second coming of Israel’s Messiah, since the nation would reject Christ at His first coming. Certainly, Zechariah was one of the Old Testament prophets concerning whom Peter wrote that they searched diligently to understand “what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). To them there appeared to be a contradiction in their messages between a suffering and reigning Messiah which they were unable to understand. Only with the benefit of hindsight can we see clearly how these two aspects of Christ’s ministry are reconciled. Christ’s first coming fulfilled the predictions concerning His great sufferings, while His glorious second coming will fulfill the remainder perfectly. The Old testament prophets were unable to see the great valley which lay between the first and second comings of Christ, since the New Testament Age of the Church of Jesus Christ was then a mystery hidden in God from previous ages prior to the formation of the one body of Christ at Pentecost by the Holy Spirit and the revelation of this mystery given later to the apostle Paul.

Turning, therefore, to consider the varied predictions concerning Christ in this short prophecy, we will first consider Him as the Man riding a red horse among the myrtle trees in a lowly hollow in chapter 1 verse 8. This Man is identified as the Angel of the Lord in verse 11, and is there a Christophany, or appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ in human form. This vision of Christ was intended to be an encouragement to the Lord’s downtrodden people Israel, who were truly in a lowly hollow in their present experience in the world. He was standing identified with them there in all their affliction and despondency. He was not happy about the complacency of the Gentile nations around them who had subjected them to captivity any more than they were, and He was about to act on His people’s behalf to help them in their weakness. It is in this context that the Lord, in verse 14, state that He was jealous for Jerusalem and all its citizens, His own earthly people Israel. He had not finally given them up, nor ever will do so. The Lord loves and cares for Israel still, in spite of all their waywardness and disobedience in the past.

Again, in Zechariah’s third vision in chapter 2 of the Man with the measuring line, who was going to measure Jerusalem, and thus claim it for God, this may again be a Christophany, a vision of pre-incarnate Christ. Nevertheless, in chapter 3 in connection with the fourth vision, there are several different descriptions of Christ. Verse 8 speaks of Him as “My servant the Branch”, renewing the spiritual life and fortunes of His people Israel, growing out of the felled tree stump of the house of David. Then verse 9 refers to Christ as the Stone, the foundation stone of the temple building. On it were engraved seven eyes, which symbolize His omniscience and infinite intelligence. Again, in chapter 6 verse 12, Christ is referred to as the Branch who will build the temple of the Lord. Here the reference is not so much to the second temple, which Zerubbabel was then building, but to the Millennial Temple in a day still future to us. In the same passage Christ is predicted as the future King-Priest on the restored throne of David. The two offices of king and priest will then be united in Him for the first time in Israel’s history.

Zechariah’s first burden in chapters 9-11 traces Christ’ rejection at His first coming in humiliation and grace. In chapter 9 verse 9, the Lord through Zechariah tells Israel to rejoice greatly, because their King was going to come to them in justice and lowliness, bringing them salvation and riding on an ass, the symbol of peace, not war, and on a colt, the foal of an ass, as Matthew’s gospel chapter 21 verses 4-5 records in the fulfilment at Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem before His crucifixion. Verse 10 then jumps forward in time to the beginning of Christ’s Millennial reign at His second coming in glory, when he will rule in peace over the whole world. As often in Old Testament prophecy, there is no mention made of the intervening prophetic gap of the present Church Age. Chapter 11 verses 12-13 then predict Christ’s betrayal for the derisory sum of thirty pieces of silver, the value of a gored slave, and how these would then thrown into the temple in remorse by His betrayer, Judas Iscariot.

Zechariah’s second burden in chapters 12-14 predicts Christ’s eventual acceptance and glory at His future second coming. Chapter 12 verse 10 predicts that all Israel who survive the Great Tribulation will mourn bitterly when they see Christ returning to deliver them, because he will still be bearing the wounds which they inflicted on Him and with which they pierced Him on the cross at His first coming in grace. Then in chapter 13 verse 1, He and His precious blood are symbolized by the fountain of water which will be opened to cleanse Israel’s sin and uncleanness, and thus make them fit for His presence. Christ’s unique Deity and Humanity are referred to in chapter 13 verse 7, when the Lord calls Him both ‘My Shepherd’ and ‘My fellow’, whom He must smite in His vicarious sacrificial death. Christ referred to this verse when He was about to be forsaken by His disciples at His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane; see Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27. By contrast, chapter 14 predicts Christ’s second coming in glory and power to save Israel from all their enemies and to reign as universal king. Chapter 14 verse 5 identified Him as ‘the Lord my God,’ when He returns with all His saints, who include both church believers and holy angels. Verse 9 again identifies Christ as ‘the Lord’ who will personally be King over the whole earth.

Zechariah’s predictions and descriptions of Christ are thus very wide-ranging and comprehensive of both His first and His second comings. Only Isaiah’s prophecy contains a comparable revelation of prophetic truth concerning both His Person and work.

– An excerpt from the book “When The Lord Remembers His Own”

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