20 August 2016

Stone 32 - Haggai and Zechariah

A difference between Haggai, Zechariah and many of the other prophets we have looked at is that they are on the scene after the exile period has ended. Let's look at the message God has to say now.

Okay - flashback to the book of Ezra - Haggai and Zechariah both come and encourage the Israelites in order to keep them moving forward on the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 5:1-2). This is the same Haggai and Zechariah. Here we get a little more detail on them.

Haggai begins by getting after the Israelites for spending more time on their own houses and not enough time on God's house (Hag 1:4). In fact, Haggai lets them know that God is withholding until his house is done (Hag 1:9-11).

If we compare Haggai 1:1 and 1:14-15 we learn that a little over three weeks has passed. That seems pretty good to me.

About a month later, (Hag 2:1), Haggai shares a word of encouragement from the Lord (Hag 2:3-4).

While Zechariah did help Haggai encourage the people to rebuild, God had another message for Zechariah to share. He was to help encourage the people not to be like their ancestors (Zech 1:3-4). After that, Zechariah had several visions.

  1. Horsemen
  2. Horns and Craftsmen
  3. Surveyor
  4. High Priest and Branch
  5. Gold Lampstand
  6. Flying Scroll
  7. Woman in a Basket
  8. Four Chariots
The horsemen apparently patrolled the Earth and found all to be quiet. Amid the vision is a message that God intends to restore His people and bless them with prosperity (Zech 1:17).

The horns appear to represent the nations that came in and conquered Israel (Zech 1:19), while the craftsmen appear to represent those who would in turn scatter them (Zech 1:21).

The surveyor seems to head out and measure for the rebuild but is subsequently told that there will be no walls (Zech 2:4).

The high priest seems to represent Joshua who was wearing filthy clothes and being accused by Satan when God declares that he will be made clean (Zech 3:3-5). The branch is stated as being the servant (Zech 3:8)

The gold lampstand has seven lamps and it sounds like it is fed oil by its own channel from two olive tree. These are declared as being the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel and the two annointed ones (Zech 4:6, 14).

The flying scroll is said to be a curse that goes out to afflict every thief and person that swears falsely by the name of the Lord (Zech 5:3).

The woman in the basket represents the iniquity of the people and her name is Wickedness (Zech 5:6-8). Apparently a shrine is being built that the basket will be placed upon (Zech 5:10-11).

The four chariots seem to be headed out to patrol the earth just as the horsemen did in the first dream (Zech 6:7).

**I am no interpreter of dreams so I will go with the explanation we find in the video.

Of course, no account of the people would be complete without some sort of rebellion to be found in the hearts of the people.

Zechariah 7:3 tells of the people asking whether or not they ought to mourn and fast as they have in the past. Of course, God knows the hearts of the people (Zech 7:5-6) and He calls them out as the selfish people they were. However, God also promises to be good to the people (Zech 8:14-15).

Again, we also have the message of hope! The coming king! (Zech 9:9)

**All throughout the Old Testament we find pointers to Jesus. He came to be the shepherd of our lives. We are but sheep queued for slaughter without the protection of the shepherd. He seeks to cleanse us of our rebellion and steer us to safety. Consistently we are called away from rebellion and urged to seek the Lord, truth, and all that is good. It is not we who get to decide that which is true and good. God, as creator of everything, has determined this. Our lack of understanding does not change the reality of truth. Have we accepted the truth of our brokenness and need of a savior?

Please enjoy these videos on Haggai and Zechariah from the folks at Join the Bible Project.

Until next time when we take a look at the powerful conclusion of the Old Testament and the book of Malachi.

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