Voices for Revival – Study of Minor Prophets (Post-Exilic Period)
– Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi
Book Studies – Zechariah
Zechariah (14 Chapters)
So, Jesus was the one who comforted the Israelites who returned from exile. He used very deep mysteries; that poses great challenges for us. But his message is simple: ‘Return to Me and I will return to you’ (Zech 1:3).
The name Zechariah means “God Remembers”. This thought must be most comforting to the Israelites who have suffered so much and for so long. They must have wondered many times if God remembers them. God assured them that He remembers them, He is faithful, and He gave them hope of a Messiah and Messianic kingdom.
Zechariah was born during the exile. He was a fairly young man when he volunteered to come back. He was the son of Berechiah, this means he came from a priestly family (Neh 12:4,16). Therefore, he was a priest and a prophet. This also explains his emphasis on temple and priestly matters in the book.
Condition of the People
For 16 yrs, the task of rebuilding the temple was half-completed. The Israelites were also trying to rebuild their shattered lives, their future was uncertain and bleak. They were depressed and discouraged.
God wanted Zech to encourage the people to finish the temple. Rather than scolding them, he encouraged them by reminding them of the future importance of the temple. The temple must be built, for one day the Messiah’s glory would inhabit it. But such future blessing depended on their obedience right now. The people were not merely building a building; they were building a future. With this encouragement, they continued the building project wholeheartedly, for they knew their Messiah would come.
Out of all the 3 books and even the whole OT, Zechariah is most difficult (or most “shiong”) and also the most profound. Why?
This sudden outburst of prophecies had to happen because God had so much to tell the nation of Israel about the future before the Old Testament ends.
The a/m slide shows an overview of the book. The 1st and 2nd column show prophecies that were given “during building” the temple. They are from chapters 1 to 8. The 3rd column shows prophecies given “after building”; from the remaining chapters.
||Direct References to Jesus
Secondly, it contains the most prophecies about Jesus Christ. In fact, this book alone contains more prophecies about Jesus than, listen to this, all the other 11 minor prophets combined. Isn’t that impressive?
In this slide, you can see ‘direct references’ to Jesus as the coming King, the Rejected Good Shepherd, and the Slain Shepherd.
||Indirect References to Jesus
In this slide too, you can see more references to Jesus, this time as ‘indirect references’.
||Titles of Christ
This slide shows you some more references to Jesus. This time, it’s the ‘Titles of Christ’. Examples such as: the Branch, King, Shepherd.
Thirdly, Zech has the most messages of comfort as seen in this slide. In his visions, the messages are:
1) God is going to be merciful to Jerusalem
2) Their enemies would be judged and punished
3) The Messiah will come to save His people
But the most comforting message is the last 3 chapters; the message is that the nation of Israel will be restored fully and finally in the End-Times.
Look at Middle East Conflict now. Jerusalem is the centre of it all: the “cup of trembling”, “a burdensome stone”. In the future, “all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” and you know what would happen? They “shall be cut in pieces” by the Lord Himself. This will happen in the End-times.
Nobody would have believed that when this was written around 510 BC, when Jerusalem was so insignificant, so pathetic, and in ruins, would one day (like now) be the centre of world politics! What God has prophezised He will fulfill.}
The last 3 chapter contains the most prophecies about the end-times. In order to help you in your study, we have come out with an original chart. Detailed notes given in Appendix II.
Let me explain briefly. This chart is divided into 2 halves: Top Half and Bottom Half
A. Top Half
Let’s look at the top half first. It’s the Dispensational Pre-Millenninal View of End-Times (or also called the Pre-Millennium & Pre-Tribulation View). When we believe in the literal interpretation of Bible prophecies, we will end up with this view.
The Time-Line is divided into 4 periods:
– Age of Israel 1
– Church Age
– Age of Israel 2
– Messianic Age
Please note that this chart is NOT drawn to scale. As you can see, the Tribulation period is 7 years, and the Millennium period is 1000 yrs; in the diagram the Tribulation is actually drawn longer than the Millennium. The aim of the chart is to show you the different periods.
Age of Israel 1
Starts from Genesis and goes all the way to Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers, it was also after Jesus has ascended to heaven.
Starts from Acts 2 and goes all the way to the Rapture (1 Thess 5:2-3), this time all believers will go to heaven. We are somewhere here *
Age of Israel 2
This is actually a continuation of Age of Israel 1. It was interrupted by the Church Age after the Jews rejected Christ.
Church Age will end with the Rapture. It’s time for God to redeem the Jews again. This period is also called the Tribulation period (“the time of trouble for Jacob” Jer 30:7). In Zech 12, you will learn more about this. This period ends with the 2nd Coming of Jesus at the Battle of Armageddon.
It means the Age of Messiah. It includes the Millennium Age, which is 1000 yrs. In Zech 14, we learn that Christ will rule in this period with his saints (incl us). Satan will be locked up for this period of 1000 yrs. It will end in a Final War when Satan is released (Rev 20). This physical world will end with fire (2 Peter 3:10-11)
Also called the Great White Throne Judgment. God will open 2 books to judge: ‘Book of Life’ and the 2nd book contains our conduct & deeds.
The finale. This is heaven
Are you looking forward and excited at Zech already?
B. Bottom Half
It shows the time-line of God’s temples from beginning to end.
Just want to draw your attention to only 2 temples:
The temple that Haggai and Zech wanted the people to build is the 2nd Temple. It was completed in 516 BC, and it’s called the Zerubbabel Temple.
About 500 yrs later, it had a major repair and renovation for many years. Under king Herod it was called Herod’s Temple. Jesus first went to this temple at 12 yrs old. During his life time, he taught there, chased the money-changers out (Matt 21), prophesized that it would be destroyed (Matt 24). It was destroyed in AD 70. This was never recorded in the Bible, It happened a few years after Paul’s death but certainly before the writing of epistles John 1, 2, 3 and the book of Rev.
You see a cute human figure on this temple. In real life, he is not cute, he is evil. He is the Anti-Christ. He will deceive the world “proclaiming himself to be God” and “he sits himself up in God’s temple” (2 Thess 2:4). But he would be destroyed.
What I have said is all in the Bible, it’s not some action movie story or somebody’s imagination. We live in a very exciting time. The Bible says this world will come to an end, it won’t go on forever.
There is so much we can learn from the Bible about what is going to happen in the future. Very sad to say, many of us don’t know our Bible well enough. From today, let’s start to dig deeply into our Bible.