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Zechariah, whose name means “whom Jehovah remembers,” is identified as the son of Berechiah, which means “Jehovah blesses,” and his father was the son of Iddo, which means “the appointed time.” Certainly this cluster of names with such rich meanings is suggestive of the encouragement given to the remnant that had returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity—God remembers and blesses at the appointed time.

Although the name Zechariah was common among the Hebrew people (twenty–eight Zechariahs are mentioned in the Old Testament), there are Bible teachers who identify the Zechariah of this book with the “Zacharias” whom our Lord mentioned in Matthew 23:35 as having been martyred. Many expositors discount this possibility, but it is interesting to note that the Jewish Targum states that Zechariah was slain in the sanctuary and that he was both prophet and priest. In Nehemiah 12:4 Iddo is mentioned as one of the heads of a priestly family. And the historian “Josephus (Wars, iv. 5, 34) recounts the murder of a ‘Zecharias, the son of Baruch,’ i.e., Barachiah, as perpetrated in the Temple by the Zealots just before the destruction of Jerusalem” (Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible).

Another interesting observation is that Zechariah’s prophecy practically closes the Old Testament—it is next to the final book—and the New Testament opens chronologically with Luke’s account of another Zacharias (meaning “Jehovah remembers”) and his wife Elisabeth (meaning “His oath”). Zacharias was a priest who was serving at the altar of incense when an angel appeared to him with a message from God after four hundred years of silence. So again God remembered His oath.

The prophecy was written in 520 B.C. Zechariah was contemporary with Haggai (see Ezra 5:1; 6:14), although he was probably a younger man (see Zech. 2:4).

This book has the characteristics of an apocalypse. The visions resemble those in the Books of Daniel and Ezekiel and Revelation. Daniel and Ezekiel were born in the land of Israel but wrote their books outside of it. Zechariah was born outside of the land down by the canals of Babylon, but he wrote in the land. It is interesting that Daniel, Ezekiel, and John were all outside Israel when they wrote. Only Zechariah was in that land when he wrote his apocalyptic visions. In the dark day of discouragement which blanketed the remnant, he saw the glory in all of the rapture and vision of hope. He has more messianic prophecies than any of the other minor prophets. This is therefore an important and interesting book.

Zechariah was contemporary with Haggai, but his book is in direct contrast to Haggai’s. They definitely knew each other and prophesied to the same people at the same period of time. Yet their prophecies are just about as different as any two could be. They are literally ages apart even though they were given to the same people at the same time.

Haggai was down there at the foundation of the temple measuring it. He really had his feet on the ground. Zechariah was a man with his head in the air. Anyone who has ten visions in one night is doing pretty well! He was entirely visionary, whereas Haggai was entirely practical. Yet they were both speaking for God to the same people at the same time concerning the same problem. Also they both speak to us today, but each in his own manner.

We need to recognize that these two types of men are still needed today. They fit together. We need the practical, pragmatic man to go along with the man who is visionary because there is a danger in the dreamer. Too often the dreamers are not practical. On the other hand, the practical man so often lacks vision. So when you put these two together, you have a happy combination.

(McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible Commentary, Vol. 32: Zechariah. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.)

Poems & Quotes

Zechariah 2:5-13

“The science to which I pinned my faith has failed, and you are beholding an atheist who has lost his faith.”
          –George Bernard Shaw

Zechariah 3:3-10

“A brand plucked from the burning.”
          –John Wesley, speaking of himself

Zechariah 9:4-9 and 9:10-17

The Conquerors

Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three.
One lived and died for self; one died for you and me;
The Greek died on a throne; the Jew died on a cross;
One's life a triumph seemed; the other but a loss.
One led vast armies forth; the other walked alone.
One shed a whole world's blood; the other gave His own.
One won the world in life and lost it all in death;
The other lost His life to win the whole world's faith.
Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three.
One died in Babylon, and one on Calvary.
One gained all for himself; and one Himself He gave,
One conquered every throne; the other every grave.
The one made himself God, the God made Himself less,
The one lived but to blast, the other but to bless.
When died the Greek, forever fell his throne of swords;
But Jesus died to live forever Lord of lords.
Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three.
The Greek made all men slaves; the Jew made all men free.
One built a throne on blood; the other built on love.
The one was born of earth; the other from above.
One won all this earth, to lose all earth and heaven.
The other gave up all, that all to Him be given.
The Greek forever died; the Jew forever lives.
He loses all who gets, and wins all things who gives.
          –Charles Ross Weede

Zechariah 9:9

"That crowd that followed Him, that said, 'Hosanna,' they never thought of Him as the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. But that same crowd that said, 'Hosanna,' one day, said 'Crucify Him' the next day."
          –Bishop Rule

Zechariah 11:7-17

"If the Methodists were just as afraid of sin as they are of holiness, they would be a better people."
          –Bishop Moore

"If you had a lion in a cage in your backyard, you wouldn't employ a guard to stay at the door of the cage to protect the lion from pussycats in the neighborhood. All you would need to do would be to open the door of the cage, and the lion would take care of himself."
          –Dr. Bob Shuler

Zechariah 11:15–12:3

"Woe! Worthless shepherd, forsaker of the flock! Let the sword be against his arm and against his right eye! His arm shall be completely dried up and his right eye shall be completely blind."
          –Dr. Merrill Unger, translating Zechariah 11:17

Zechariah 13:1-3

"Only a literal application of these prophecies to the restoration and conversion of the Jewish nation at the second advent of Christ can satisfy the scope of these prophetic disclosures. Other interpretations ignore the true scope of Zechariah's prophecy as a whole, violate the immediate context, resort to pointless mysticalizing and end up in a morass of uncertainty and confusion."
          –Dr. Merrill F. Unger, Unger's Bible Commentary: Zechariah