Of the twelve minor prophets, just two are mentioned by Jesus in the New Testament Gospels. Jesus refers to the sign of Jonah as a foreshadowing of the resurrection after three days in the tomb. And in his last confrontation with the religious leaders not long before Jesus was arrested, he holds them accountable for the murder of Zechariah the prophet.
And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Matthew 23:35
Zechariah, whose name means “The LORD remembers,” was both prophet and priest, common to the major prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai, plus both prophets are mentioned in Ezra 5 as contemporary with Zerubbabel, leader of the exiles who returned from Babylon, and Joshua the high priest. The main focus for all these leaders was encouraging the rebuilding of the temple.
Similar to Haggai, the first part of Zechariah is precisely dated. His ministry began in 520 BC in the fall of the year. The eight prophetic visions came on February 15, 519 BC. Almost two years later, December 7, 518 BC, Zechariah gave another message, calling the people to repentance and giving them hope of future restoration. The rest of the book is not specifically dated, but probably extended for some years, some suggesting that Zechariah was very young when his ministry began and perhaps some forty years older at the end.*
The book is mainly focused on the future, beginning with a series of eight visions, during the night I had a vision. These vision seems to be in uninterrupted flow, a continuous sequence. While the theme of judgment is present, the overall purpose seems to be encouragement, not only to build the temple in the immediate future, but the promise of a glorious future for the people of God.
What about the Gospel in Zechariah? Continue reading “The Gospel of Zechariah”