BibleProject - Old Testament - Lesson 40

Zechariah - BibleProject

In this lesson, you'll explore the Book of Zechariah, which is set within the historical context of post-exilic Judah, as the people returned from Babylonian captivity. You'll learn about the authorship and dating of the book, as well as its structure and use of apocalyptic language. As you dive deeper into the text, you'll uncover major themes such as restoration and renewal, the coming of the Messiah, and God's sovereignty. Lastly, the lesson will discuss the significance of Zechariah in the Old Testament, including its impact on the original audience and connections to the New Testament.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject - Old Testament
Lesson 40
Watching Now
Zechariah - BibleProject

BP100-40: Zechariah

I. Introduction to the Book of Zechariah

A. Historical Context

B. Authorship and Date

II. Structure and Literary Features

A. Overview of the Content

B. Use of Apocalyptic Language

III. Major Themes in Zechariah

A. Restoration and Renewal

B. The Coming of the Messiah

C. God's Sovereignty

IV. Significance of Zechariah in the Old Testament

A. Impact on Original Audience

B. Connections to the New Testament

  • By watching this video, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament, including its literary design and flow of thought. You will learn about the different sections of the Old Testament, including the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. You will also gain insights into the stories, themes, and messages of each of these sections and how they contribute to the overall narrative of God's relationship with humanity.
  • By studying Genesis, you will gain a deeper understanding of the Old Testament and its key themes and characters, as well as the literary features of the book, such as its structure, style, and genre. The creation story is a key part of the book, as are the stories of Abraham and the patriarchs, the fall and sin, the flood and Noah, and God's covenant with Israel. Additionally, Genesis introduces readers to the Old Testament and sets the stage for the Pentateuch and Books of Moses, while also introducing many themes and motifs that continue throughout the Bible.
  • Discover the captivating stories of the patriarchs in Genesis Part 2, exploring themes of covenant, God's sovereignty, human responsibility, faith, and obedience.
  • Explore the Bible's book of Exodus to gain insight into God's rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the significance of the covenant and law, and its connection to the New Testament.
  • Gain insight into the book of Exodus and its themes of salvation and redemption, revealing God's character through his interactions with Israel, with significant influence on Jewish and Christian traditions and connections to the New Testament through its foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
  • By studying Leviticus with The Bible Project, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical and literary context, themes, and structure of this important book in the Old Testament. You will also learn about the significance of Leviticus for understanding the Torah and its relevance for Christians today.
  • By studying The Bible Project's lesson on Numbers, you'll comprehensively understand its structure, themes, and significance, gaining insight into the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness, God's guidance, rebellion, priesthood, and offerings, as well as its historical, theological, and contemporary relevance.
  • Explore Numbers' authorship, context, structure, and theology to gain a comprehensive understanding of its significance to the Pentateuch and the Old Testament, as well as its relevance to the Christian faith today.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the book of Joshua, including its historical context, literary genre, and summary. You will learn about the book's themes, such as God's faithfulness, obedience, and judgment, and its significance in foreshadowing Christ's work and providing historical and theological implications.
  • Explore the historical and cultural context, literary design, and theological significance of the book of Judges in the Old Testament, and learn how it fits into the broader biblical storyline, including its relevance for today.
  • Explore the Book of Ruth to understand its historical context, literary features, themes of loyalty and faithfulness, redemption, the kinsman-redeemer's role, and its Old Testament significance.
  • Studying the Book of Samuel provides insight into the rise of the Israelite monarchy, the lives of Saul and David, and the importance of obedience to God, covering themes of leadership and kingship with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • By exploring the story of Absalom in 2 Samuel and the broader context of the Old Testament Historical Books, you will gain insight into the themes and messages of these books, as well as their historical and modern-day significance.
  • Through the study of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, you will gain a deeper understanding of the history of Israel and Judah, as well as valuable spiritual lessons from these Old Testament books.
  • By studying this lesson, you understand the historical and literary aspects of 1 and 2 Chronicles, emphasizing God's sovereignty, covenant faithfulness, worship, and obedience.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the historical context, key themes, and modern applications of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, enriching your understanding of faith, community, and commitment to God's Word.
  • You will gain an understanding of the book of Esther, a narrative in the Hebrew Bible that tells the story of a Jewish woman named Esther who becomes queen in the Persian court and, with the help of her cousin Mordecai, saves the Jews from genocide orchestrated by the villain Haman. The story highlights God's sovereignty and providential care, and the feast of Purim celebrates the Jews' victory.
  • By studying the Book of Job, you will explore the complexities of human suffering, the search for divine wisdom, and the tension between God's sovereignty and human limitations within a unique literary structure.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Psalms, including its background, structure, authorship, and theology. You will also learn about the various themes and motifs present in the Psalms, which will help you better understand and appreciate this important book in the Old Testament.
  • By studying Proverbs, you will understand the definition and purpose of wisdom, the fear of the Lord, and the personification of wisdom in the book. You will also gain insights into the literary structure of Proverbs and the themes of the book, including the importance of listening to wisdom, the power of words, and the value of hard work.
  • In the Ecclesiastes lesson, you gain insights into the book's structure, themes, and significance, while exploring the search for meaning, vanity, and the importance of fearing God and enjoying life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the literary features, interpretation, theology, and application of the book Song of Songs, including its authorship, historical and cultural context, allegorical and literal interpretation, and its teachings on God and human love, sexuality, and relationships.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Isaiah's historical context, literary features, major themes, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover how Isaiah's prophetic message of judgment and hope for Jerusalem evolves, as it predicts the fall of Israel's kingdom and envisions a new, purified Jerusalem where God's kingdom will be restored through a future messianic king, uniting all nations in peace.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain understanding of the book of Jeremiah, including its historical and cultural context, literary features, major themes and message, and significance in the Old Testament.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the Book of Lamentations, its structure, themes, and the role of God in the midst of suffering and divine judgment, while ultimately highlighting His faithfulness and mercy.
  • In the book of Ezekiel, you follow the story of a priest named Ezekiel who has a vision of God's glory riding on a royal throne chariot, and is commissioned by God to accuse Israel of rebellion and warn them of their impending destruction due to their covenant violations and rampant social injustice, while also providing a small glimmer of hope for the future.
  • By viewing this lesson on Daniel, you will gain understanding of its structure, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, gaining knowledge about living as faithful exiles in a hostile culture, God's sovereignty and faithfulness in times of trial, and remaining faithful to God even in difficult circumstances.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the complexities of Hosea, discovering the book's themes, messages, and its role in the Old Testament, emphasizing the relationship between Israel's unfaithfulness and God's unwavering love.
  • By studying the book of Joel, you will gain insight into the historical and cultural context of Judah, the literary features of prophetic literature, and the themes of repentance, restoration, and the Day of the Lord. Joel's prophecy also has significance in the New Testament as it is quoted by Peter at Pentecost, emphasizing the fulfillment of Joel's vision through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
  • In the Amos lesson, you explore its historical context, literary features, and themes, enhancing your understanding of justice, the Day of the Lord, and God's sovereignty within the Old Testament.
  • By studying Obadiah, you will gain insight into the historical context and literary features of this prophetic oracle. You will learn about the pride of Edom, their judgment, and the hope for Israel. Through understanding the significance of Obadiah in the Old Testament, you will have a deeper appreciation for the themes and message of this book.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jonah's themes, including God's mercy, human rebellion, repentance, and the significance of mission, while also understanding its connections to other biblical narratives.
  • Studying the book of Micah will give you an understanding of its historical context, literary genre, prophetic message of judgment and restoration, and insights into God's character and how He interacts with His people.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the historical context, structure, and themes of the book of Nahum, learning about God's sovereignty, justice, and the relevance of these concepts in today's world.
  • Studying Habakkuk will deepen your understanding of how to wrestle with difficult questions about God's character and the problem of evil and respond with faith and trust in God's sovereignty.
  • In this lesson, you explore the book of Zephaniah, gaining insights into its background, context, literary features, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, including the central message of the Day of the Lord and the promise of future hope.
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Book of Haggai, including its historical and cultural context, literary structure, purpose and themes, individual sections, and theological significance in relation to the Exile, Restoration, and Messiah.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into Zechariah's historical context, structure, themes of restoration, the coming Messiah, God's sovereignty, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover the last book of the Old Testament and its themes, such as God's love for Israel, the importance of worship, and the coming of the messenger and the day of the Lord, as well as its connection to the New Testament, which prophesies the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus and calls for a return to God.

BP100-40 Zechariah

The book of the prophet Zechariah. The book is set after the return of the exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem and we´re told in the book of Ezra that Zechariah and Haggai together challenged and motivated the people to rebuild the temple and look for the fulfillment of God's promises. Now long ago Jeremiah, the prophet, had said that Israel's exile would last for seventy years and that afterwards God would restore His presence to a new temple and bring his kingdom and the rule of the Messiah over all nations. The dates at the beginning of this book tell us that those seventy years are almost up. But life back in the land was hard, and it seems like none of these promises were going to come true. why? And the book of Zechariah offers an explanation. It has a fairly clear design, there is an introduction, which sets the tone for a large collection of Zechariah´s dream visions and that's concluded by chapter 7 and 8. And then this is followed by two more large collections of poetry and prophecy let's just dive in and see how the book works. It begins with Zechariah´s challenge to his generation to turn back to God and not be like their ancestors who rebelled and refused to listen to the earlier prophets Which landed them in exile And so now the returned exiles respond positively to Zechariah they repent and humble themselves before God or so it seems. The next large section is a collection of eight nighttime visions that Zechariah experiences and just to prepare you, these are full of very bizarre strange images, a lot like your dreams. The idea that God communicates to people through symbolic dreams is very old and goes back to the book of Genesis The dreams of Jacob or Joseph or Pharaoh, these gave meaning to current events at the time, but they also gave a window into the future and so Zechariah has his own dreams now and they've been arranged in this cool symmetrical design. The first and the last visions are about four horsemen each they are like rangers patrolling the world on God´s behalf and it's a representation of God's attentive watch over the nations the report is that the world is at peace and in Zechariah's day this refers to how God raised up Persia to conquer Babylon and bring peace. And so the question now arises, the seventy years of Israel's exile are almost up is now the time for the messianic kingdom in Jerusalem and God responds by saying that He is determined to fulfill those promises but He leaves the question of timing unanswered the second and seventh visions are paired because they're both reflections on Israel's past sin, that led up to the exile. So, the second vision is about these horns, that symbolize the nations that attacked and then scattered Israel. Assyria and Babylon But then these horns or empires are themselves scattered by a group of blacksmiths an image for Persia. The seventh dream is about a woman in a basket and we are told she is a symbol of the centuries of Israel's covenant rebellion and then this woman is carried off to babylon by other women who carry the basket flying with stork wings this is so strange. The third and sixth visions are paired as they're both about the rebuilding of a new Jerusalem so a man is measuring the city, it's an image of God's promise that Jerusalem will be rebuilt and become a beacon to the nations who will join God´s people in worship and then the sixth dream is about a scroll that flies around the new Jerusalem punishing thieves and liars the idea being that the new Jerusalem is a place that´s purified from sin by the scriptures the fourth and fifth visions are at the center of these collection, and they're about the two key leaders among the returned exiles so Joshua, the high priest, and then Zerubbabel the royal descendant of David. So Joshua, had been symbolically wearing Israel´s sin in the form of theses dirty clothes but then those are taken off and he's given new clothes and a new turban, a symbol of God's grace and forgiveness. and then an angel tells Joshua that if he remains faithful to God, he will lead his people and Joshua will become a symbol of the future messianic king The other vision is about two olive trees that supply oil to this elaborate gold lamp which itself is a symbol of God´s watchful eye over his people and these two trees symbolize the two anointed leaders: Joshua and then Zerubbabel who's leading the temple rebuilding efforts and God says that success will not come to this new temple if it's the result only of political maneuvering rather these two leaders must be dependant upon the work of God´s spirit The visions come to a close with a bonus vision from the prophet and it picks up the themes of the central fourth and fifth visions it's Joshua the high priest again and he's given a crown and presented as a symbol of the future messiah who will also be a priest over God's kingdom and then Zechariah closes it all out saying that all of these visions will be fulfilled only if the current generation is faithful to God and obeys the terms of the covenant. And so altogether these three visions emphasize how the coming of the messianic kingdom is conditional upon this generation being faithful to God which leads to the conclusion of the dreams it's another challenge from Zechariah and a group of Israelites come and they've been mourning over the former temple´s destruction for nearly seventy years and they ask him:" is it time to stop grieving? I mean it's God's kingdom going to come very soon?" and Zechariah again reminds them of how their ancestors rejected God's call through the prophets which led to the exile, and so he challenges them too. He says:"this generation will see the messianic kingdom only if they pursue justice and peace and remain faithful to the covenant So, in other words Zechariah reverses their question. He asks are you going to become the kind of people who are ready to receive and participate in God´s coming kingdom and that question is left just hanging there, the people don´t answer and the book just moves on And so we come to the final sections that are very different from chapters one to eight Each section is a kaleidoscopic collage of poems and images about the future messianic kingdom so the first one chapters nine to eleven, describe the coming of the humble messianic king who's riding a donkey into the new Jerusalem to establish God's kingdom over the nations but then, all of a sudden, this king, he is symbolized as a shepherd over the flock of Israel, and then he´s rejected first by his own people, but then also by their leaders who are also symbolized as shepherds and so God hands Israel over to these corrupt shepherds and it raises the question will Israel's rejection of their king last forever? and the final section, chapters twelve to fourteen say no. It´s another mosaic of poems and images about the future messianic kingdom and they depict the new Jerusalem as place where God's justice will finally confront and defeat evil among the nations. it´s very similar to the same themes in prophet Joel or Ezekiel But then God also will confront the rebellion within the hearts of his own people He´s going to pour out His spirit on them. He says, so that they can repent and grieve over the fact that they have rebelled and rejected their messianic shepherd The final chapter concludes with the new Jerusalem. That´s the gathering point for all of the nations And then this city becomes a new garden of Eden, and there´s a river of living water flowing out of the temple bringing healing to all of creation and that's how the book ends. And so Zechariah just leaves you to ponder the connection between chapters one thru eight and nine to fourteen and the point seems to be that this future messianic kingdom of the book's second half will only come when God's people are faithful to the covenant the point of the first half. Reading the book of Zechariah is a wild ride. These visions and poems are full of starling imagery and they do not follow a linear flow of thought and that's part of the point. It´s like history and our lives, it doesn't always fit into neat orderly patterns but the prophet offer us glimpses of God's hand at work guiding history towards His own purposes and so ultimately Zechariah invites us to look above the chaos and hope for the coming of God's kingdom which should motivate faithfulness in the present and that's what the book of Zechariah is all about.