by Sean Mills
In the beginning of chapter two (Zechariah’s third vision vv. 1-5), the prophecy predicts a day when Jerusalem will be overflowing with God’s people. In that day, God will be the glory within and protection around the city. Although Israel is under Persian rule, they were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild God’s temple (see Ezra 1: 1-4).
1. The rest of chapter two (vv. 6-13) calls for the remainder of Babylon’s exiles to make their way back to Jerusalem, promises divine retribution upon the enemies of God’s people and even suggests that ‘many nations’ will repent and become included among God’s people. In this passage, Israel is called God’s ‘most precious possession’ (v. 8). In some translations God says they are ‘the apple of my eye.’ What does it mean to be God’s most precious possession; the apple of his eye? Can the Church make such a claim? Why/why not?
2. In chapter three, we are given Zechariah’s fourth vision. Jeshua (or Joshua) the high priest was standing before the angel of the LORD and Satan (or the accuser) was standing beside him ‘making accusations.’ Jeshua is believed to represent the office of the Priesthood, which suffered during the exile. God rebukes Satan and assures Jeshua that all will be well with him and the Priesthood would be restored if he and his colleagues continue to serve the LORD (v. 7). The Scriptures attest that Satan, indeed, is the accuser of God’s people (see Rev. 12:10). Although different from the OT office, God’s people are called a ‘kingdom of priests’ (or a royal priesthood) see Ex 19: 5,6 and 1Pt 2: 9. Is there any significance to God’s rebuke of Satan when he was accusing Jeshua? What might it mean for Christians today?
3. Zechariah, like Jeremiah before him (see Jer 23: 5,6 and 33: 15,16), makes mention of the Branch of God. This person brings about God’s justice and mercy and is seen as the one to usher in Israel’s restoration. Images of peace and prosperity are evoked when the Scriptures speak of God’s Branch. For Zechariah, the Branch is connected to a time when the Israelites will no longer be at war with their neighbors but will coexist with them harmoniously. For Christians, who is the Branch of God? Does this person truly promise peace and prosperity? What is peace and prosperity? What isn’t it? When will it ultimately be realized?
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