Zechariah 8:1-3 – Zechariah 7 dealt with the concern about keeping the fast days. While no direct answer was given Zechariah asked them questions that the Lord had given him. Why were these fasts begun because the Lord had directed them or did they institute themselves? Zechariah’s response from the Lord was that if you had listened to the Lord’s messengers, you would not have gotten into the difficulties that came upon you. Zechariah 8 continues to deal with the same problem but from a different perspective.
In chapter 8 He deals with it from a positive perspective. The message of Zechariah 8 concerns the great future the Lord has planned for Jerusalem. The pendulum is swinging from judgment to blessing. Jerusalem will be the center of the earth and will know the fullest blessing of the Lord. He will be there, pouring out His blessings in person. Zechariah 8:3 looks back to Zechariah 1:16 where the Lord’s promise was identical to the one given here.
A city with the Lord present can only experience blessing. This is something Israel has been praying for years. Jerusalem will be called “a city of truth” (Zechariah 8:3). The final portion of verse 3 tells about the mountain of the Lord. Isaiah spoke of this as did Micah in Isaiah 2:2-5 and Micah 4:1-2. Jerusalem will be the city of truth when Yeshua rules and reigns from there, for He is truth. Zechariah speaks about the topographical changes that will occur in Jerusalem when it will be lifted up above all others (Zechariah 14:10). Jerusalem will be the dwelling place of the Lord during the Millennium.
Zechariah 8:4-8 This passage gives a biblical description of peace and prosperity. First, long life will be the order of the day. With sin largely removed from the world, the consequences of sin, death, will no longer prevail. As a result, people will walk the streets of Jerusalem living the entire length of the Millennium. The only way someone will die will be by accident. Also children will play safely in the streets of the city. The millennial passages of the Old Testament contain many references to children. They will play with animals that are now deadly but will then be tame (Isaiah 11:8-9).
Zechariah 8:6 tells us that these children shall come from all the nations and return to Jerusalem to inhabit it. East and west are terms used here to portray a return from all parts of the earth. This passage speaks of a great regathering. We know that the Jewish people had not gone to the east and west at that point in their history. They had gone only to Babylon.
The Jews never went in those directions until the Roman invasion and the diaspora more than 500 years after the Book of Zechariah was written. The deliverance spoken of here would not take place for centuries. Verse 8 clarifies the point. It not only tells of the deliverance of the Jewish people and their resettlement in Jerusalem but qualifies it further:
This day of deliverance will occur when the Jewish people turn to the Lord nationally, which will be when they recognize the Messiah at His Second Coming. It will be a glorious day described in Zechariah 12:10.
Zechariah 8:9-10 The prophets never gave the promises of blessings in a distant future time without dealing with the problems of the day in which they were living. Prophetic truth always had practical application to the lives of those to whom the prophecy was given. The Lord commanded the workers to be strong and so He was telling the people of Zechariah’s day to get on with the construction of the Temple. Though they faced opposition from those who tried to stop them from building the Temple God’s people were not to listen to them.
They were to get on with the work. Before they accepted the challenge to build the Temple, the people worked in vain. A man worked his fields as long as he could, yet he received hardly any harvest for his efforts. In addition to the fruitless of their work they had no peace.
Because of affliction, their lives were in constant turmoil. During this period, foreign nations harassed them and old enemies renewed their attacks. The Lord used economic trials, along with unrest between neighbors and harassment by their enemies, to get their attention. Misunderstandings, hatred, animosity, and all kinds of trouble broke out within the Jewish community. Troubles and trials came from every direction.
But God’s command was to build the Temple and go on faithfully with Him. Then He would bless them in every phase of their lives. Neither the Lord nor man has changed. People often drift away from God, and He sometimes has to use trials to draw them back to Himself. So it was in the days before the Temple work resumed.
Zechariah 8:11-17 the tone of the prophecy changes completely, and God’s grace becomes evident once again. In contrast to judgment blessings are decreed. Once again, the prophecy moves from Zechariah’s day to the future for Israel in Zechariah 8:13. These descriptions are a fulfillment of the Lord’s promises given earlier in other portions of Scripture (Leviticus 26:3-4; Deuteronomy 28:11;Ezekiel 34:25-27). God promised agricultural blessings when Israel turns to the Lord.
These promises are for “the remnant of this people” (Zechariah 8:12b). Haggai was a contemporary of Zechariah, and he prophesied similar things (Haggai 1:10-11). This was the reason for the lack of crops and other problems (8:10). But God would not only remove the curse put upon their crops, but one day He will remove Israel’s plight as a curse among the nations.
He will deliver this remnant from their troubles and make them a blessing to the nations of the world. In Zechariah 13 Zechariah speaks of both the house of Judah and the house of Israel. The two are brought together again, just as the two sticks (Israel and Judah) were brought together in Ezekiel 37:15-28. The kingdom that was divided after Solomon’s reign will become a single nation once again.
The message of Zechariah 8 concerned the future the Lord has planned for Jerusalem. We considered the peace and prosperity coming and the blessings that God has for Israel’s glorious future. We now continue Zechariah 8:18.
Zechariah 8:18-23 closes with the joy God’s people will experience in the future. Israel and Judah will be joined by many nations as Jerusalem becomes “the place to be” in that day. Fasting will turn to feasting. Therefore, the Lord desires that His people embrace truth and peace above all else. His promises about the future should be the incentive to live a holy life in the present. Zechariah once again speaks of a time in the future where there will be a great turning to the Lord, as predicted also in Isaiah 2:1-4 and Micah 4:1-5.
People from every nation will travel to Jerusalem to “seek the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 8:21c). Jerusalem will be the center of worship in that day as seen in Isaiah 66:20, Micah 4:1-2, and Ezekiel 40-44. The desire will be so great that “ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (Zechariah 8:23). The Gentiles will be so persistent and intense because they have finally heard that the promises God made to His people are true.