By Edward Dennett
In the book of Ezra we have the general statement that "Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo,1 prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel." (Ezra 5:1) Zechariah, however, did not commence his ministry (as far as has been recorded) until two months after the first prophecy of Haggai, though the first prophecy of Zechariah was at least a month before the last two of Haggai. They were therefore contemporaneous, and both alike laboured for the encouragement of the children of the captivity in building the temple. (See Ezra 5:2) But Zechariah takes, under the guidance of the Spirit, a far wider range of vision than Haggai. The latter deals mainly with the moral state of the people in relation to the purpose for which they had returned from Babylon; viz., to build the Lord's house, while, for their encouragement, he unfolds the glories of the future when the kingdom should be established. Zechariah includes in his prophetic vision the Gentile kingdoms to whom the Jews were in subjection, the establishment of the Messiah as a Priest on His throne, who should build the temple of the Lord, and "bear the glory." (Zech. 6:13) He also deals with the rejection of the Messiah and its consequences, together with the final siege of Jerusalem by the nations, and its deliverance by the sudden appearance of the Lord Himself. Thereon the remnant, as he points out, are humbled to contrition as they look on Him whom they had pierced; and their enemies are destroyed. Moreover, the prophet exhibits Jehovah as king over all the earth, and all nations ascending yearly to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. Finally, he depicts holiness to the Lord as marking every detail of the daily life of the people in Jerusalem and Judah. These several points, with their important links and developments, will come before us in our examination of the book. The book divides itself into two parts: Zechariah 1-6, which contain, after the first six verses, a series of prophetic visions vouchsafed to Zechariah; and Zechariah 7-14, which comprise the messages he received for the instruction and encouragement of the people. The first part may be therefore termed apocalyptic, while the second partakes of the ordinary prophetic character.
1) Zechariah, as is stated in the first verse of his prophecy, was the son of Berechiah. Iddo was his grandfather, and inasmuch as Zechariah succeeded Iddo in the priestly office, Berechiah must have died during the youth of his son. Zechariah thus united in himself the offices of prophet and priest.