Zechariah was a postexilic prophet, a spokesman for God to the people of Israel fresh from the return from exile in Babylon. The underlying and undergirding question of the book is, “God has allowed us to come home, but, will the relationship be the same? Can we still count on Him to do miracles as He did for Moses, Joshua, David, and the other Biblical heroes, or, are we forever tainted by our past sins?”
This is very much the same issue we all deal with when coming to Messiah. Adonai’s forgiveness is so magnanimous, but, is it really as all-encompassing as it sounds?
Zechariah’s beginning is so encouraging. He lists his own name, which means “the Lord remembers”. Then, he gives his father’s name, Berechiah , “the Lord blesses”. Then comes the prophet’s grandfather’s name Iddo, “timely”. The Lord remembers to the extent that He blesses in a timely manner.
After reminding the people of their past rebellions, the Lord shows Zechariah angelic patrols of the earth. The report from the patrol is that all is peaceful and quiet . While we might assume this to be good news, we are surprised to read that anger results . The oppressors of Israel are at peace while Israel is traumatized. Adonai states that “while I was a little angry, they furthered the evil”, meaning He intended the nations to be a means of discipline, but they turned it into abuse. He then promises punishment for those nations, while restoring Israel.
All this further reinforces the concept of the power and thoroughness of God’s Covenant and forgiveness. The tone is set that if Israel cannot count on God’s provision for atonement to make her secure in her relationship with Him, then, no one is safe. As this wonderful book unfolds, we will see what great security there is in God’s promise and provision .
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler is on the Board of HaShomer and also Rabbi of Sha’arey Yeshua in Indianapolis, IN.