November 25, 2021
“In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the Word of the Lord came to the prophet, Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo: The Lord was extremely angry with your ancestors.”
“In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the Word of the Lord came to the prophet, Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo: The Lord was extremely angry with your ancestors. So tell the people: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: ‘Return to Me’ – this is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts – ‘and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Don’t be like your ancestors; the earlier prophets proclaimed to them: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Turn from your evil ways and your evil deeds. But they did not listen or pay attention to Me’ – the Lord’s declaration. ‘Where are your ancestors now? And do the prophets live forever? But didn’t My words and My statutes that I commanded My servants the prophets overtake your ancestors? They repented and said: ‘As surely as the Lord of Hosts proposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so He has dealt with us.’” Zechariah 1:1-7
From the opening words of Zechariah’s prophecy, we notice that Zechariah and Haggai prophesied within two months of each other. Haggai had aroused the people’s consciences, and as a result, they began the work of rebuilding the Temple. Furthermore, Haggai encouraged the now-awakened people by directing their attention to the coming day of Messiah’s glory. In the following month, Zechariah was called by the Lord to prophesy: first, in a rousing call to self-judgment and repentance; then, later on to a remarkable description of Messiah that Haggai had only briefly outlined.
Interesting to note is Zechariah’s genealogy. “Zechariah” means “YHWH remembers”; “Berechiah” is “YHWH blesses”; and “Iddo,” “the appointed time.” So, when read through Hebrew understanding, we have: YHWH remembers, YHWH blesses at the appointed time.” Thus, when the set time to favor Zion has come, all the promises of the Lord will be fulfilled and carried out in blessing. That’s an encouragement for us, too!
Given such an encouraging pedigree, one would think the returning Babylonian exiles would have graciously received Zechariah’s exhortation/prophecy/encouragement…not so. Like so many of his predecessors, Zechariah died a violent death at the hands of his countrymen when spiritual decline had, once again, set in. Jesus mentioned this:
“So all the righteous bloodshed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of the righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. I assure you: All these things will come on this generation! Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing! See your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” Matthew 23:35-38
Jesus’ words are the “mirror image” of Zechariah’s prophecy: Indictment, prediction of Judgment, Restoration-through-repentance. Its message is still relevant for our generation: A reckoning is forthcoming – grab the grace and mercy while it’s extended.