Thursday, January 1, 2015

Zechariah, the Old Testament Revelation

I love the minor prophets, also known as the book of the twelve.  Not only do they contain some of the best prophecies pointing forward to the coming of Jesus, but they also take you through the fall of Jerusalem to the return from exile.  They remind you, often by negative example, how God's people should behave, not only amongst themselves, but also toward the broader society.  In addition, I never read them without something new attracting my attention.

As I was studying them last year, I began seeing a connection between the prophecy of Zechariah and the book of Revelation.  Most Bible scholars understand the close connection between Revelation and the Old Testament, however I had never seen one book with as many uses in Revelation as Zechariah.  I haven't run exhaustive data for this assertion, but I propose that as a percentage of the book, God alludes to more of Zechariah than any other Old Testament book.  I submit the following list.

Vision of horsemen - 1:7-17 (Revelation 6:1-8)
Vision of horns - 1:18-21 (Revelation 9:13)
Vision of the measuring line - 2:1-13 (Revelation 21:15-21)
Vision of the high priest - 3:1-10 (Revelation 3:4, 5, 18; 6:11; 7:9-14)
Vision of the lampstand - 4:1-14 (Revelation 11:1-13)
Vision of the scroll - 5:1-4 (Revelation 10)
Vision of the woman in the basket - 5:5-11 (Revelation 17)
Vision of the four chariots - 6:1-8 (Revelation 6:1-8)
“Branch” - 6:9-15 (Revelation 5:5)
The worship of the nations - 8:20-23 (Revelation 21:22-27)
Bowls of wrath - 9:14-17 (Revelation 16)
Looking at the pierced one - 12:10-14 (Revelation 1:7)
Day of the Lord - 14:1-21 (Revelation 6:17; 16:14; 18:8)

Along with these clear allusions, the of the return from exile, the blessed state of God's people, and the defeat of God's enemies appear in the pages of Zechariah.  This wondrous book also contains great prophecies fulfilled in Jesus.  "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered."  "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

As you consider how you will conduct your spiritual growth in the new year, let me encourage you to consider something outside the familiar.  If you are more familiar with the New Testament, if you have spent more time in the epistles and gospels, perhaps it is time to become more familiar with the Old Testament, the minor prophets, or the unfamiliar stories in Kings.  Let one of our resolutions be to delve deeper into those parts of God's word still obscure to our understanding.

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