Please refer to “Background” of Haggai regarding the rebuilding of God’s temple by the captives returning from Babylon. “The work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem…ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo (易多的孫子), prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.” (Ezra 4:23-5:2)

Zerubbabel started the rebuilding work around the 2nd year of King Cyrus of Persia (538 BC). Due to opposition from the enemies, the work ceased till the 2nd year of King Darius (520 BC). At this time, God complained by the word of Haggai that the Israelites cared only for their “ceiled (天花板) houses” but ignored His temple. (Hag 1:3-4) God’s complaint was pretty straightforward, pointing to the reconstruction of the Holy Temple. In the book of Zechariah, by sharp contrast, the Lord began with complaining their evil ways and admonished them to repent from the evil deeds: "Turn ye unto me…and I will turn unto you." "Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings." (1:3,4) Zechariah warned them not to follow their fathers’ disobedience: “The Lord hath been sore displeased with your fathers.” “Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried.” (1:2,4)


Zechariah received a lot of visions from the Lord, all from Chapter 1 to 6:

(vision of horses)

In the vision, Zechariah saw “a man riding upon a red horse”, who was actually an angel. Behind him were red, speckled (黃) and white horses, which represent the angels sent by the Lord to the earth and watch over all the nations of the earth. The angel asked the Lord, “how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years (i.e. 70 years)?” The Lord answered, “I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction (因我從前稍微惱怒我民,他們就加害過份). Therefore…I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it…and a line (準繩) shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.” He further promised, “My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad.” (1:7-17) This is a comforting message for the Israelites. Not only the temple shall be rebuilt but the whole nation of Israel shall prosper again.

(vision of four horns and four carpenters)

Four horns stand for the nations that “have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head (使人不能抬頭).” Four carpenters stand for the nations that “cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.” In other words, the Lord will take revenge upon those nations that have scattered the people of Israel everywhere by the hands of other nations. (1:18-21)

(vision of measuring Jerusalem)

Zechariah saw an angel with a measuring line (準繩) in his hand to measure the size of the city of Jerusalem. Another angel stated that “Jerusalem shall be inhabited” with “the multitude of men and cattle”. And the Lord said, “I will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.” The Lord urged His people to come out of Babylon. He will “shake mine hand” upon the nations that spoiled Israel and they shall become spoil instead. The Lord once again comforts Israel and says, “Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee.” (2:1-13) The whole land of Israel and her people shall be blessed again with the presence of the Lord.

(vision of Joshua (Jeshua) the high priest and Satan)

Zechariah saw Joshua standing before an angel and Satan resisted (作對) Joshua. The Lord rebuked Satan on one hand, and cleansed Joshua’s iniquity on the other hand. He commanded the angels to change his “filthy garments” and put on “a fair mitre (潔淨的冠冕) upon his head”. The Lord also charges Joshua, “If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge (可以管理) my house, and shalt also keep my courts (看守我的院宇).” He said, “I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH (我必使我僕人大衛的苗裔發出)…I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” (3:1-10) Those who get ready to serve in the temple of God shall be purified by taking away their iniquities. The Branch refers to Jesus Christ who shall remove our sins on the day of his sacrifice.

(vision of golden candlestick and two olive trees)

Zechariah saw “a candlestick all of gold” with “seven lamps” and “two olive trees” on each side. The angel explained to Zechariah, “This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit,’ (「不是倚靠勢力,不是倚靠才能,乃是倚靠我的靈方能成事」) ” The Lord further said concerning Zerubbabel, “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house (殿). His hands shall also finish it.” (4:1-10)

The two olive trees with two olive branches refer to “the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” (4:11-14) They might refer to Joshua and Zerubbabel, who were assigned to finish the work of rebuilding the temple of the Lord.

(vision of a flying roll (飛行的書卷))

The flying roll represents “the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth” that cuts off “every one that stealeth…and every one…that sweareth falsely by my name (指我名起假誓).” (5:1-4)

(vision of an ephah (量器), a talent of lead (鉛), and a woman)

An angel cast a woman into the midst of an ephah and said that the woman is “wickedness”. He then cast a talent of lead upon the mouth of the ephah. Zechariah saw two women, and the wind was in their wings (翅膀中有風). The two women lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. The angel said about the two women: “To build it an house (為它蓋造房屋) in the land of Shinar (示拿地); and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base. (等房屋齊備,就把它安置在自己的地方).” (5:5-11)

(vision of four chariots of horses)

Zechariah saw 4 chariots coming out from between two brass mountains. They were chariots of horses in colours of red, black, white and grisled (有斑點), one after the other. The angel said that they were “the 4 spirits of the heavens”. The Lord told Zechariah to take gold and silver from three captives who were back from Babylon and make crowns and set on the head of Joshua the high priest, and say to Joshua, “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, ‘Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH (那名稱為大衛苗裔的); and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne.’ ” (6:1-15) “The BRANCH”
is mentioned again as in 3:8 where the Lord also gave word to Joshua. The prophesy here refers to Jesus Christ building the church and serving as the high priest in the kingdom of the Lord. Apparently, Joshua the high priest points to Jesus Christ in a figurative sense.

Comforting messages from the Lord

From Chapter 7 on, the Lord spoke to the people of Israel by the mouth of Zechariah. Here are the Lord’s messages:

The Lord complained to the people and the priests that during the past 70 years of captivity, they did not hear His words. Their fasting during those years were not fasting to the Lord. (7:1-7)

The Lord said that before the captivity, he had sent the former prophets to urge the people of Israel to:

  • execute true judgment and show mercy and compassion to each other;
  • do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the stranger and the poor;
  • do no evil against each other.

However, they did not listen to him and as a result, out of the Lord’s wrath, they were scattered among the nations and the pleasant land became desolate. (7:8-14)

The Lord brings them comforting news: “Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth (誠實的城); and the mountain of the Lord of the hosts the holy mountain…I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.” (8:1-8)

The Lord encourages the people, “‘Let your hands be strong…that the temple might be built…For the seed shall be prosperous…as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel, so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong…Fear ye not.” (8:9-15)

The Lord then tells them what they should do:

  • speak the truth;
  • execute the judgment of truth and peace;
  • imagine no evil in the heart;
  • love no false oath, “for all these are things that I hate.” (8:16-17)

The Lord says, “Many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.” (8:22)

Tyrus, a strong city, shall be cast out by the Lord and “shall be devoured with fire”. (9:3-4)

The Lord will “cut off the pride of the Philistines”, including Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron and Ashdod. (9:5-6)

The Lord tells the people of Israel to “rejoice greatly” for the coming of their Savior. “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass (就是騎著驢的駒子)…he shall speak peace unto the heathen (列國); and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” (9:9-10) “And the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people.” (9:16)

Zechariah beseeches the people, “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain (春雨); so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” (10:1)

“They shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle; and they shall fight, because the Lord is with them.” (10:5)

“I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them.” (10:6)

“And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord.” (10:7)

“I will hiss (發嘶聲) for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased (如從前加增一樣). And I will sow them among the people (播散他們在列國中); and they shall remember me in far countries…And I will strengthen them in the Lord; and they shall walk up and down in his name (一舉一動必奉我的名).” (10:8-12)

Symbolic action

The Lord said to Zechariah, “Feed the flock of the slaughter (要牧養這將宰的群羊).” (11:4) The Lord will have no pity on the shepherds who sell the flock to the buyers who in turn slay the flock. Zechariah responded, “I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock.” He then took “two staves (兩根杖); the one I called Beauty (榮美), and the other I called Bands (聯索)”; and fed the flock. After some time, he refused to feed the flock anymore and said, “I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die (要死的,由他死); and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another (餘剩的,由他們彼此相食).” He took the staff called Beauty and broke it apart, “that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people”. Then he said to the people, “If ye think good, give me my price (給我工價); and if not, forbear (罷了).” “So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver (於是他們給了三十塊錢,作為我的工價).” The Lord said to Zechariah, “Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. (要把眾人所估定美好的價值丟給窯戶)” “And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.” Then he cut the other staff called Bands, “that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel (表明我要廢棄猶大與以色列弟兄的情誼).” The Lord said to Zechariah, “I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off (不看顧喪亡的), neither shall seek the young one (不尋找分散的), nor heal that that is broken (不醫治受傷的), nor feed that that standeth still (不牧養強壯的), but he shall eat the flesh of the fat (吃肥羊的肉) and tear their claws in pieces. Woe to the idol shepherd (無用的牧人) that leaveth the flock (丟棄羊群)! The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye.” (Zech 11:4-17) For those shepherds who fail to assume their duties to take good care of their sheep, they will have no good ending.

The Lord’s doing “in that day”

The remaining chapters (12-14) are concerned with “the burden of the word of the Lord for Israel (論以色列的默示)”. All the messages refer to the Lord’s doing “in that day”:

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone (重石頭) for all people. (12:2-3)

In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire (火盆) among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf (如火把在禾捆裡); and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. (12:6)

In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. (12:8)

In that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications (懇求): and they shall look upon me (或譯「他」) whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn (為我愁苦,如喪長子). (12:9-10)

In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon (哈達臨門) in the valley of Megiddon (米吉多). And the land shall mourn, every family apart (境內一家一家的都必悲哀). (12:11-12)

In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness (洗除罪惡與污穢). (13:1)

In that day…I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land…for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord. (13:2-3)

In that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive. (13:4)

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow…smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones…in all the land…two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein (這全地的人,三分之二必剪除而死,三分之一仍必存留). And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. (13:7-9)

Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled (被搶奪), and the women ravished (玷污); and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst (從中間分裂) thereof toward the east and toward the west (自東至西), and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal (亞薩): yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (14:1-5)

In that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark. (14:6)

In that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea (往東海流), and half of them toward the hinder sea (往西海流): in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth. (14:8-9a)

In that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one (獨一無二). All the land shall be turned as a plain…and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place…And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. (14:9b-11)

This shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet. In that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them (耶和華必使他們大大擾亂); and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor (彼此揪住), and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor(舉手攻擊). And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. (14:12-14)

Every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. Whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain…there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. (14:16-18)

In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein (凡獻祭的都必來取這鍋,煮肉在其中). (14:20-21a)

In that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. (14:21b)

All of the above messages “in that day” have to do with the events that will occur at the end of the world.

Some of the messages in Zechariah’s symbolic action and “in that day” are concerned with the treatment done on Jesus, such as:

“So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.” (11:12)

“And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.” (11:13)

“they shall look upon me (或譯「他」) whom they have pierced” (12:10)

“smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered” (13:7)