Hope for the Future

Key Verse: “Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.”
—Zechariah 8:3

Lesson Scripture:
Zechariah 8:1-13

ZECHARIAH IS MENTIONED in Ezra 5:1 as one of the prophets who, with Haggai, “prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem.” (Ezra 5:1) In Zechariah 8:2, God is spoken of as “jealous for Zion.” This perhaps sounds strange compared to today’s use of the word, but it is used here and in other places in the Old Testament to stress that God demanded Israel’s sole allegiance—worship of no other gods could be tolerated. The sense of the word might best be communicated by the term zealous. God was burning with zeal to restore Jerusalem and its people, and to restore their worship of him as their God. As Zechariah prophesied of these coming events, it might seem on the surface that he was simply referring to the immediate work then taking place of rebuilding the Temple, and the restoration of its role in Jewish life. This did happen and was a limited fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy. Yet, there was to be a later, and much more comprehensive, fulfillment that wasn’t to be understood for many centuries.

Since Zechariah’s prophecy was recorded, the history of the Jewish nation has been very checkered. His prophecy speaks of a time, yet future, when, as the Key Verse says, God ‘will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth.’ This speaks of the time when God’s kingdom, through that leadership of his son Jesus, will begin. It is spoken of as having its beginning in Jerusalem, and quickly spreading to all the corners of the earth. The prophet Micah specifically identifies the origins of this kingdom. He says, “For the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Mic. 4:2) Zion will be the heavenly phase of this kingdom, consisting of Jesus and his faithful church of the present age. Jerusalem refers to the earthly phase, to be led and guided by the faithful fathers of old—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many others who lived prior to Jesus’ First Advent. Zechariah speaks of the wonderful blessings of the kingdom, a time when both the elderly and the young shall live in happiness, peace, and safety in Jerusalem. (Zech. 8:4,5) Further, he states that the people “shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”—Zech. 8:8

As Zechariah continues his prophecy, it is evident that he is not merely speaking only of Jerusalem, or Israel, but rather Christ’s kingdom. These blessings are to spread from Jerusalem and Israel to cover the entire world of mankind, Jew and Gentile. He says that as Israel has been a curse and a stumbling block to the other nations of earth in the past, they will now be a blessing to them. (vs. 13) Continuing, the prophet says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.” (vss. 20-22) This will be the joyous time spoken of by God to Abraham, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”—Gen. 22:18

Dawn Bible Students Association
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