Tagged: Zechariah and the angel of the Lord

Zechariah and the angel of the Lord

Zechariah’s prophetic ministry begins after Israel’s return from exile in Babylon. The first part of the Book of Zechariah covers the prophet’s early days in ministry in Jerusalem, from 520 B.C. until completion of the second temple in 515 B.C. During this time, Zechariah – whose name means “the Lord remembers” – encourages the Israelites to complete the temple, restore the priesthood, and purify the city. 

The later portions of his ministry, which some scholars date as late as 470 B.C., foretell the coming of Israel’s true king, the Messiah, who is to reign over Jerusalem. Zechariah outlines God’s future prophetic program for Israel from Messiah’s first coming to his second coming. He offers a message of hope, urging the people to look up. The Lord remembers his people and will come to deliver them in the last days.

The first six verses of chapter 1 come in the wake of Haggai’s challenge to the people to finish rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. Back in the city for nearly two decades, and having laid the temple’s foundation amid great fanfare, the Israelites have fallen prey to opposition and discouragement – so much so that they haven’t picked up a tool in sixteen years. Haggai’s primary purpose is to get the people to restart construction of the temple. 

Now, Zechariah urges the people to repent as well, for without spiritual renewal, a new temple is hollow tribute to their sovereign deliverer. Yahweh vows to return to his people if they return to him (1:3). The Israelites embrace God’s call, in contrast to previous generations that persisted in sinful rebellion (1:6). The stage is set, and the Lord is prepared to bless his people and restore the place where he has chosen for his name to dwell (cf. Deut. 12:5; 1 Kings 14:21; Neh. 1:9).

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