Bible Book Summary
by Jay Smith
The book of Zechariah is Narrative History, Prophetic and Apocalyptic in genre. It is a post-exilic book, meaning it was written after (post) the return from captivity (exile) in Babylon. The prophet Zechariah wrote chapters 1-8 approximately 520-518 B.C. (Before the temple completed), and then wrote chapters 9-14 approximately 480 B.C. (After the temple is completed). Zechariah is among the most precisely dated books in the Bible. Key personalities are Zechariah, Zerubbabel and Joshua.
The purpose of this book is that Zechariah wrote to encourage the remnant, who had recently returned from exile. Their faith in God was weak and they were not motivated to build the temple. They needed to learn and conform to the law of God again.
• In chapters 1-8, Zechariah recorded his visions, encouraged the people to reinstate the priesthood, and other religious laws that were forgotten during the 70-year exile. Zechariah gives great hope and encouragement about the coming Messiah Jesus Christ, who will set up His throne and rule as the mighty Branch, the High Priest, who will offer up the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. “Then say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD. “Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices” (6:12-13).
• Chapters 9-14 are difficult passages to understand, many are prophetic and apocalyptic. Zechariah writes judgment against the neighboring enemies. Most importantly he declared the first coming of the Messiah who would be mounted on a donkey (9:9), His betrayal (11:12), and His crucifixion (12:10). Finally, he writes about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ descending from heaven the same way He had left in Acts 1:11, in the clouds. “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south” (14:4).