Holy Writer

Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Zechariah was also a priest. His grandfather, Iddo, is mentioned in Nehemiah 12:1-4 as one of the priests and Levites who returned with Zerubbabel and Joshua from Babylon. “Now these are the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, Shechaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah, the Elkoshite.” Nehemiah also tells us that Zechariah succeeded his grandfather, Iddo, as head of that priestly family (Nehemiah 12:16).

Zechariah must have been quite young when he began his ministry because in chapter 2:4 we hear Zechariah called a “young man.” Zechariah was called by the LORD to proclaim a message to His people at the same time as the prophet Haggai. Just like the prophet Haggai, Zechariah was concerned with the reconstruction of the temple, but also pointed to the future glories for God’s people through the coming Savior. Zechariah began his ministry two months after the beginning of Haggai’s as we are told in Chapter 1:1. “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying....”. See a chart detailing the Chronology of the work of Haggai and Zechariah (pdf).

Form and Content

The book of Zechariah can be divided into three different types of messages. There are general messages of encouragement from the LORD to His people, similar to what we saw in the book of Haggai. But most of the book comes in the form of prophetic visions like those in Ezekiel or Daniel, and oracles or ‘burdens’ of judgment and salvation like those in Isaiah.

The book opens with the LORD’s call for His people to repent, and not be like their fathers before them, who continued in their evil deeds and did not listen to the LORD. “‘Return to Me,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will return to you,’” (1:3).

Much of the book is apocalyptic like the book of Revelation in the New Testament, as it uses pictures to describe future events. In the second section, we are introduced to an angel who helps explain eight visions of the LORD to Zechariah.

Finally the LORD points to Joshua the High Priest as a picture of the coming Savior, once again called the “Branch.” Once again the LORD emphasizes the inclusion of the Gentiles, “Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the LORD. Then you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you” (6:15).

Chapters seven and eight demonstrate the results of hypocrisy and rejection of the LORD by looking at the lesson left by their fathers and to learn from those mistakes. We also see the peace and prosperity which awaits His people as a result of the return from captivity and the birth of the Messiah. Once again we are told, “Yes, many peoples and strong nations Shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, And to pray before the LORD” (8:22).

In the second part of the book, the LORD speaks a ‘burden’ against the surrounding nations and even His own people, but also encourages them through many passage which point them to the Savior from their sins. It portrays Christ as the ultimate sacrifice for all sin, and comforts believers with the hope that He will return again to take us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.

Christ in the book of Zechariah

Among all of this predictive prophesy concerning what lay in the future for God’s people, Zechariah inserts many direct prophesies of the coming Savior. The Messiah is portrayed so often that Zechariah falls second only to the prophet Isaiah in the number of Messianic prophecies mentioned. These Messianic prophecies are so clear that Luther called Zechariah, “One of the most comforting of all the prophets.”

Christ is seen in the book of Zechariah as -


  • Part 1 (Chapters 1-8)
    1. A Call to Repentance (1:1-6)

    2. The eight visions (1:7-6:8)

    3. The crowning of Joshua (6:9-15)

    4. The question of fasting (7:1-3)

    5. The four messages (7:4-8:23)

  • Part 2 (Chapters 9-14)
    1. The two burdens (9:1-14:21)

    2. The Advent and Rejection of the Messiah (9-11)

    3. The Advent and Reception of the Messiah (12-14)

    Note: This study was prepared for the Bible Class at Zion Lutheran Church, Lawrenceville, GA by Pastor Nathanael Mayhew