Zechariah - The Visionary Prophet

  • The prophet Zechariah was a Levite born in Babylon (Nehemiah 12:1, 16). He was the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo the priest (Zechariah 1:1). Ezra and Nehemiah referred to him as “a descendant of Iddo” (Ezra 5:1, 6:14; Nehemiah 12:4, 16), implying perhaps that his father had died young and Zechariah became the successor of his grandfather (Nehemiah 12:4,16).
  • Zechariah returned to Jerusalem from Babylon with almost fifty thousand other Jewish exiles. He was probably a relatively young man at the beginning of his prophetic ministry (2:4) while Haggai might have been considerably older.
  • This book is named after its author, Zechariah, who was a contemporary of Haggai the prophet, Zerubbabel the governor, and Joshua the high priest. Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel before him, Zechariah was both a prophet and a priest.
  • Zechariah was a younger contemporary of Haggai and continued the ministry that he began. Both men ministered to the same people, but from different perspectives. Haggai reproved the people for their failure to rebuild the temple, while Zechariah encouraged the people by presenting them prophecies concerning Christ.
  • Zechariah was one of the most devotional writers of the Old Testament. He dwelt more completely on the person and work of Christ than any of other prophetic writings.
  • Zechariah was probably born in Babylon during the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. After these seventy years, the people had been granted the king’s permission to return to their land and rebuild their beloved capital city, Jerusalem (Ezra 1:2-3). However, many of them felt very comfortable in Babylon and did not want to risk leaving that land for pioneer work.
  • As a result, only a minority had returned under the leadership of Zerubbabel, but this returning remnant was filled with burning enthusiasm. Within seven months they had rebuilt the altar, and soon afterward they had started to rebuild the temple.
  • The theme of the book is rebuilding the temple and the nation of Judah. It also covers the Lord’s return.

A suggested outline for the book is:

  1. Pictures: Eight visions (chapters 1-6).
  2. Problems: Four messages (chapters 7-8).
  3. Predictions: Two burdens (chapters 9-14).