Devotional Commentary on Zechariah 1


It is a sad fact that August Köhler, who is such a great help with data surrounding prophets, actually in the footnotes supported slightly higher criticism and from time to time in 1860 already, one can see how he is saying there is some discrepancies in the text. Even though Luther and Calvin solved the discrepancies by saying that the prophet’s father had two names Berechia and Jojada (Köhler 1860: 13 footnote 2). Unfortunately Calvin was also willing to say that Matthew made errors. The writers of the Bible did not make errors but was working with sources and many times the people had two names.

Zechariah was murdered (2 Chronicles 24:20-22 and Jesus mentioned it. He was murdered near the offering altar. For Jesus it was a painful experience since He was to die as the Lamb of God Himself of which that very altar was the type. Christ was the antitype.

Adventists worked with a harmonistic synthesis of variant data, a situation that is analogia entis not impossible.

He prophesied two years later than Haggai but also in the time of Darius Hystaspis (Köhler 1860: 14).

Adventists also selected the same time.

“It is almost certain that Zechariah was born in Babylonia. He began his ministry some 16 years after the return from the Captivity, that is, in 520/519 B.C. If he had been born subsequent to the return, his call to the prophetic ministry would have come at a very early age. The latest date given in his prophecy is the 4th year of Darius (ch. 7:1). However, it is most probable that the prophet Zechariah lived to see the completion of the Temple a few years later, in 515 B.C. . . . His messages, dealing with the work of God and the divine plans for the restoration, were designed to bring encouragement to the flagging zeal of the Jews. As a result of the inspiring messages and leadership of Haggai and Zechariah the Temple was soon completed (Ezra 6:14, 15)."-The S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1085.

In the 8th month of the second year of Darius came the Word of the Lord to Zechariah. Rabbi Rashi in the 12th century talked about the visions of Zechariah that his visions are enigmatic. “We cannot ascertain the truth of its interpretation until the Teacher of Righteousness comes”. Adventists claim that we can only know future predictions as fulfilled when history proves them to be so.

The message of Zechariah at this stage before the construction started was that they should convert to God (verse 2-3).

This is the essence of the whole building saga. It is a relationship dilemma not so much a materialistic ergative issue.

They should not be like their ancestors who did not return after asked to do so (verse 4).

Where are the fathers? God is asking Zechariah. He wants to know if prophets live forever? (verse 5). The answer is in Romans 5:12 and Luther misunderstood Romans 7:21-26 it as simul iustus et peccator when it is actually simul iustus et mortalis. At the same time mortality with justification. Not in line with Augustine and the earlier Vetus Latina that it is at the same time sinner with justification. Luther supported an oxymoron here since the theology of the Bible does not support this even Paul in Romans. He was carried away.

The Word and decrees that the Lord commanded His servants “did they not overtake your fathers?” (verse 6). Yes. They were so wrapped-up with the Grace of God that they pledged to do whatever God commanded.

In the same year but on the 24th day of the 11th month in the second year of Darius came another vision.

He saw the horses. “A man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtles that were in the pool, and after him were red, black and white horses. The man in the myrtles spoke and interpreted the vision to Zechariah (verse 10). “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro on the earth”.

As will be seen in chapter 6 with a similar extended vision there, with horses and chariots, also red, black, white and spotted horses that these are the four empires of the world: Babylon = red horse; followed by the Persian empire as a black horse; followed by the Greek empire as a white horse. Jerome and Cyril also wanted to see these horses as empires (Delitzsch 1884: 232).

The man who was riding on a red horse became a man standing among the myrtles and now in verse 11 He is the angel of the Lord standing among the myrtles. This interpreting angel was sitting on the red horse or Babylon. He was then finished riding and stood in the myrtle thus the empire is passed. The Persian period was current for Zechariah. It is the black horse. But it does not say the angel rode it also. He stood and interpreted. The earth was quiet in the time of the Persians since peace came to the region.

“We have walked to and fro on the earth, and behold! All the earth sits still and is at rest” (verse 11).

Each empire that Nebuchadnezzar saw in chapter 2 of Daniel was “switched on” by God and His angels. That is what is at stake here. There are angels at each wind-direction of the earth holding the events of the nature and peoples in place at God’s command. We need to know that and stop trying to analyze CNN and FOX news as if they will tell us the future. It was already embedded in the prophets. Analyze the prophets rather.

The Angel of the Lord said to the Lord: “O Lord of Hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and upon the cities of Judah, upon whom You are wroth seventy years already?”

Despite mentioning the three empires that will follow in succession until the Greeks the angel wants to know a question that is uppermost in Haggai and Zechariah’s mind: How long?

Think about this question. It is not applicable to the day of Haggai and Zechariah because from 586-516 BCE is 70 years. But from 597-538/7 is also 70 years. The seventy years of the display of the Grace of God through Cyrus is passed already in 538 and 536 BCE. The angel admitted that it is passed “already” (verse 12).

But there is an extended “not mercy” of concern here. It is the “not mercy” running forth through the empires of Babylon, Persia and Greek in the future that Zechariah is seeing and this angels too. God will not be merciful in the future until 60 BCE when the Romans will take over. That is the concern here.

God spoke consoling words to this angel asking the question (verse 13).

“I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion – great jealousy” (verse 14). This is not earthly Jerusalem and earthly Zion but heavenly Jerusalem and heavenly Zion.

God is angry with the nations that are at ease for they helped to do harm (verse 15).

The Lord answered the angel that He has returned to Jerusalem with mercy, “My house shall be built there” (verse 16). Is this the Herodian temple since Jesus drove out the moneychangers and then said that “You are making My Father’s house a den of thieves and robbers”.

Is this the heavenly abode of Christ after the Hell event when the heaven and earth shall be created anew?

“My cities shall yet spread out with prosperity and the Lord shall yet console Zion and yet choose Jerusalem”.

Somehow I do not think that this refers at all to the earthly Jerusalem or earthly Zion but to the New Jerusalem and Heavenly Zion which will only be consoled when He is able to bring the saints at the Second Coming to it.

Mezudath David came to this verse 17 and said: “Afterwards, with the future redemption, God will again console Zion and choose Jerusalem”.

The three `od particles that is used in this verse is “yet” and points to a future event. Köhler 1860 wants to make it like Jerusalem was in the past but that is not the case here. The Garden of Eden is a past that God will want to return to when He walked and talked with Adam and Eve. In their midst.  

Delitzsch said in typical Adventist thinking: “The promise embraces the whole of the future of the kingdom of God” (1884: 237).

Then another vision was shown to Zechariah of four horns.

He lifted his eyes and saw four horns. Normally horns mean kingdoms of power. What are these? Zecahariah asked the interpreting angel (verse 2). “These are the horns that scattered Judah and Israel and Jerusalem”. So it would be Babylon, Persia, Greece and the Romans who would scatter Jerusalem in 70-73 CE.

Four craftsmen then appeared in the vision (verse 3). These horns scattered Judah so that no one raises their heads and that was fulfilled after the Roman empire when the country of Judah was utterly in chaos. The craftsmen came then to cause them to quake, to cast away the horns of the nations that bear a horn against the land of Judah. Every empire had a contra-power that took it down and they are the craftsmen mentioned here. The contra-power had a good influence every time the evil past power was removed.

Ellen White said of this section in the Sabbath School Lesson of 1944 on the prophet Zechariah, page 25, “The four horns represented the enemies on all sides who had gored and harassed Israel; and the four carpenters represented the agencies used by the Lord in restoring His people and the house of His worship.” Ellen White in Prophets and Kings, page 581.


Dear God

We learn from Zechariah that You have a direct influence in all world historical events and that returning to You is our best option. We want to rely totally on You for our future. In Jesus Name. Amen.