The Book of Zechariah
ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 8
1. Last Wednesday night we studied Zechariah 7. With the seventh chapter of Zechariah, we came to the beginning of our second division (chapters 7 and 8) of the prophecy. Since the night Zechariah received his visions, two years have elapsed (7:1; cf. 1:1).
2. Apparently the effect of those apocalyptic revelations was that the people rallied to the call to rebuild the temple, which was possibly more than half completed at that time (cf. 8:9).
3. The situation looked quite promising in 518 BC as the temple went up and all the obstacles were removed for its completion by the decree of King Darius, which confirmed the original decree of King Cyrus (cf. Ezra 6:1-15).
4. With things now going so well, some of the Jews who had returned from Babylon (“they” – 7:2) wondered whether it was still necessary to observe the solemn seasons of mourning and fasting commemorating the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.
5. The Jews were becoming ritualistic. Prayer and fasting was becoming a burden because their heart was not in it.
6. This forms the background to Zechariah, chapters 7 & 8. When we left off last week at the end of chapter 7, we saw that the Lord did not directly answer their question regarding the fasts, but as we move ahead into chapter 8, we will see that He does eventually answer their question (cf. 8:19).
I. THE LORD IS JEALOUS FOR ZION (8:1, 2)
1. The word Zion occurs twice in this chapter and refers to the city of Jerusalem. Second Samuel 5:7 says, “Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.”
2. Psalm 2:6 says, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.”
3. The city of Jerusalem is specifically referred to six times in this chapter and always refers to the literal city of Jerusalem. When God says Jerusalem, He means the literal city of Jerusalem, not the church, not NYC, not Rome, et al (cf. Zech. 1:14-17).
4. (We are not speaking now of the “New Jerusalem,” referred to in Hebrews 12:22 and Revelation 21.)
5. God moved “with great fury” (8:2) against those who attacked Israel, and God moves with great fury against those who attack His church.
6. Just as God is jealous for Israel, He is jealous for His church (cf. II Cor. 11:2-4).
7. God’s principles do not change. Exodus 20:5 says, “for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”
II. THE LORD IS RETURNED UNTO ZION (8:3-6)
1. This prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. There was an immediate application to the people of Zechariah’s time (“this people in these days” – 8:6), but the complete fulfillment will not take place until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to set up His kingdom.
2. God is so determined to return to Zion in blessing that He speaks of it as though it has already been accomplished.
3. Today, God is not in their midst (8:3). The glory of the Lord has long departed (cf. Ezek. 11:23).
4. When Jesus Christ returns, “Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth” (8:3), but not today (cf. Rev. 11:8; Isa. 1:21).
5. When the Lord returns, Jerusalem will be a safe city (8:4-6). Physical peace will follow spiritual peace. The streets of the city will be full of playing boys and girls. Wars will not cut off the lives of her people in their youth. Her population will reach advanced age.
6. Long life and abundant offspring are promised for obedience throughout the O.T. (cf. Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:1,2; Deut. 4:40; 5:16, 33; 6:2).
7. The streets now represent danger – crazed terrorists and suicide bombers blowing up innocent people, running down the streets with knives stabbing innocent women and children, rockets killing people and destroying homes, -guns going off like firecrackers, and so on. But when Jesus returns the streets will be safe.
III. THE LORD WILL BRING HIS REMNANT BACK TO ZION
1. The remnant will return “from the east country, and from the west country” (8:7); in other words, from every quarter of the earth. From worldwide dispersion God will bring His people back to the land. We are only seeing the preview of this today.
2. Today the children of Israel are in unbelief – they have rejected their Messiah. Today, God is now working through the church. The local church is God’s program for this dispensation.
3. First Peter 2:9 says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
4. First Timothy 3:15 says, the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth.”
5. But God is not through with Israel (8:8).
6. God raised up “the prophets” Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people to rebuild the temple, and the people responded to their encouragement (8:9).
7. The people needed the encouragement for the work was difficult. For example, there were the annoying and obnoxious Samaritans who tried to hinder God’s work (cf. Ezra 4:4-7; 5:1, 2).
8. When you try and do something for the Lord there will always be troublemakers trying to wreck the work, but God is in control.
9. When the Israelites were not right with God, there were unemployment problems, economic depression, and strife (8:10).
10. Isaiah 57:21 says, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”
11. But when Israel repents, God will pour out His blessings (8:11, 12; cf. 12:10).
12. God will save them and then they “shall be a blessing” (8:13). Part of God’s judgment upon them was that their name would be a curse among the heathen (8:13a; cf. Jer. 24:9; 29:18, 22). But when Christ returns, they will be a blessing (8:13-15).
13. It has been pointed out that many of the most hostile opponents of the Christian faith have been Jewish. Many of them are also strong promoters and supporters of all the moral filth prevalent today (pornography, abortion, homosexuality, etc.).
14. The leaders of Hollywood and the wicked entertainment business, the ACLU, the left-wing politicians and labor leaders, the liberal judges, school teachers, and media pundits are often Jewish.
15. Karl Marx, the founder of communism, was Jewish. Millions have been murdered by brutal communist regimes since Marx started his communist movement.
16. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, was Jewish. Only the Lord knows how many lives have been destroyed through his weird, perverted theories.
17. So today they are a “curse among the heathen (Gentile nations)” (Zech. 8:13); but they will be a blessing when Christ returns.
18. Another way Israel is a curse today is they are “a burdensome stone for all people” (Zech. 12:1-3). This too will continue until Christ returns (cf. 12:10; 14:1-4).
19. All throughout the Bible God condemns lying (8:16, 17). Unfortunately, lying is a way of life for most people today – the politicians, the news media, the business people, even many so-called “Christians” (Rev. 21:8; 22:15).
20. God hates lying. And if you love the truth, you too will hate lying. Despite what some mixed up people think, there are certain things God hates (Pro. 6:16-19).
21. This brings us now to the question asked back in 7:3. God had told them that He never instituted their fast days, but He will turn them into feast days (8:18, 19).
22. The fast of the fourth month mourned the capture of Jerusalem (II Kings 25:3-7), the fast of the fifth month marked the destruction of Jerusalem (II Kings 25:8-10), the fast of the seventh month mourned the murder of Gedaliah, the governor (II Kings 25:25), and the fast of the tenth month mourned the siege of Jerusalem (II Kings 25:1).
23. The final four verses of chapter 8 deal with Jerusalem’s prominence as the capital of the earth, both religiously and politically. When Israel gets right with God, the whole earth will be converted (cf. Ps.67).
24. Displaying godly zeal and concern for others, the peoples and inhabitants of many cities will invite one another to go up “speedily” to pray in Jerusalem (8:20-22; cf. 2:11).
25. Ironside points out that “Jew is but a contraction of Judah, which means praise. Note how the apostle interprets the name in Rom. 2:28, 29” (cf. Zeph. 3:20).
26. Ironside also makes a good application for Christians today – he says when we are walking with the Lord, the unsaved will take notice and be attracted to Him. Then they will seek us out saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus.”
1. Will these amazing prophecies be fulfilled? Certainly! Look at how many times God says, “thus saith the Lord of hosts” (vss. 2, 3, 4, etc.).
2. Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps. 122:6).