JIV NOTE: Before we explore chapter 8 of Zechariah for understanding, for those who need the reminder, Zion is a synonym for Jerusalem. However, it can also be used in different contexts. As we venture through the remainder of Zechariah, and depending upon the translation one uses, the names Zion and Jerusalem refer to the same.
This chapter as is the bulk of Zechariah is Messianic. This means it is about Christ and Israel. Yes, an Old Testament book about Christ as Messiah. Chapter 8 is a dividing chapter within the content of Zechariah; chapters 1-8, then chapters 9-14.
Zechariah 8:1 & 2 Here is where the casual reader may go astray due mostly to the use of the word “jealous”. Let us offer some insight. Is God jealous of his chosen, for his chosen, the enemies of the chosen people, or the city itself? A careful look at this passage could hint any of the options just mentioned. God authorized some enemies of Israel to capture or rule over them from time to time, but each oppressor over did their allowance by God. Here is where translations can be part of the problem. The original KJV states *“jealous” where as the NKJV uses *“zealous”. What an initial understanding issue this presents to the reader.
*There is no hard “J” sound in Hebrew. The “J” usually has a U or Ya sound when pronouncing names like Jesus, Jerusalem, Judah. There is a transliterated letter for the English “Z” sound but not the hard “J”. Transliteration is more an art than a science, and opinions on the correct way to transliterate words vary widely. Therefore, Zealous is more correct than is Jealous.
Since the New King James Version and the Young’s Literal Translation are very literal, the correct word should be “zealous”. This is the translated word they use in this passage.
Zechariah 8:3 states that at the time of Christ’s return and God restoring Zion (Jerusalem), it will become the global center for truth. This will not be mankind’s truth, but the truth of God himself. In society today with the cultural norms and political correctness, some can no longer distinguish between what is spoken or their understanding of the perceived truth and the actual truth. This is one’s reality in conflict with actuality. Remember that the Bible itself addresses this in Acts 5:3. We deceive one another at the same time as we lie to the Holy Spirit. We want what we saw to be perceived as the truth.
Zechariah 8:4,5 is why we know this passage is Millennial Age prophecy. Joy in the streets with children playing without fear and old people enjoying long life, that is old age and still enjoying it. This is not true today so it must be a future yet to be seen. The YLT states “abundant days”. The NKJV states “great age”. We do not know as to what amounts abundant days or great age, but we understand what it means. This same passage also says “staff in hand” so this time is not without some human factors.
What might this have meant to a small group of returned exiles? Zechariah was preaching at a time the Temple was not yet rebuilt, the walls of Jerusalem did not exist, and the city was still in rubbles from the Babylonian’s utter destruction in 587 B.C. It is probably beyond comprehension. Even today a message like this is difficult to imagine…total peace with prosperity? [Sars2 Covid 19?] Verse 6 of Zechariah 8 emphasizes this point. It is asking, just because men think this impossible should it also be so with God?
Zechariah 8:7 does not come without denominational commentary differences. Who precisely are “His people”? We cannot understand verse 7 without including verse 8. In the NKJV it reads:
Verse 7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west
Verse 8 I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people And I will be their God, In truth and righteousness.’”
The often-discussed question is who are “My People” in this passage. Up to and after these two verses the Zechariah passages are about Israel. Consider verse 8. “Bring them back” to where? Jerusalem. This is Israelis who were dispersed from Israel by their own migrations and forced exiles by Assyria, Babylon, and Rome. One cannot be brought back to a place they have not been. Many children were born in exile. Jerusalem was not even a personal memory to them. God said in Zechariah 2:6, 7:14, and 10:9 that he will scatter them, my people Israel, to all nations. This verse is the gathering in of the scattered chosen people of Israel. These are the ones in verse 2 for which God says I am zealous.
Zechariah 8:9 is a change of subject directions. He says the people, as few as they were at this time in His-story, should put their shoulder to the plow for good times are coming. The wording should help us understand this is a future tense. Zechariah identifies the words as from the old prophets i.e. a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. Zechariah is saying become focused on the end and goal, not the present and the past. This passage too is not without *denominational differences.
*This is one major reason this website commentary believes denominations divide believers. It does not unite them.
“in the day the house of Jehovah of Hosts is founded, the temple is to be built” [Zechariah 8:9b]
Some see this as identifying the yet to be completed Temple of that time. Not as the Temple of built during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. The verse itself indicates it was not yet that time. Others take this as a reference to the house of Jehovah meaning the End Time and Millennial Temple. This latter thought is based upon verses 10 and 11.
Zechariah 8:10 For before these days There were no wages for man nor any hire for beast; There was no peace from the enemy for whoever went out or came in; For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor.
Zechariah 8:11 But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ says the LORD of hosts [NKJV].
Note the end of verse 10. “For I set all men, everyone, against his neighbor. Everyone was not then and is not now set against his neighbor. That is End Time prophecy meaning the time of the Tribulation [Luke 12:53]. Also note verse 11; “But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days”. He identifies this people as His People in the future adding descendants. These future descendants of who Zechariah is addressing will not be treated as in the former days of persecuted Israel. Israel is persecuted even at the writing of this article in 2020. The U.N. majority is not their allies. But everyone has not yet turned on their neighbors.
The evidence of this conclusion continues in the next verse; Zechariah 8:12. This verse proclaims the prosperity of the people and the land; a prosperity to this very day that is not yet evident in Israel. God’s prosperity is not survival, but a prosperity of overabundance. Philippians 4:19 talks about prosperity according to God’s abundance. Surely that is not man’s idea of abundance. No eye has seen, nor ear has heard and neither has mind conceived what God has in store for his people [1 Corinthians 2:9 paraphrased].
Zechariah 8:12 is also emphatic. For the seed shall be prosperous – Ye shall be a holy and peaceable people; and God will pour down his blessing on yourselves, your fields, and your vineyards [paraphrased].
Zechariah 8:13 adds to this future prophecy by reverting to verse 9. Let your hands be strong. Why? The house of Judah and the house of Israel are both included in verse 13. Neither existed at this time in Zechariah’s time. The House of Israel has not been around since 722 B.C. almost 200 years earlier. The House of Israel is still mostly missing in 2020.
Zechariah 8:14-17 list conditions for their prosperity. Zechariah explains precisely what God’s chosen must do or, in fact, will do upon the Kingdom of God being on earth.
At verse 18 we get a time change. The verse begins with the word “then” meaning a sequence or a future event. A moment in time. It is emphatic to verse 19. Up to the End Time, fasting festivals of Judaism were little more than memories of misery and rooted in self-pitying fasts. The fast of the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 10th month are over past bad times in Israelite history, all based around Jerusalem events.
- Fast on the 4th month was for the taking of Jerusalem as noted in Jeremiah 52:7
- Fast on the 5th month was in memory of the loss of the Temple per Jeremiah 52:13
- Fast on the 7th month was Judeans fleeing from Jerusalem after the assassination of Gedaliah who was hated by the Judean Jews. He was appointed governor over Judah by Nebuchadnezzar II. This is not the Nebuchadnezzar of Daniel’s time.
- Fast on the 10th month commemorated the siege of Jerusalem by their soon-to-be captor Nebuchadnezzar of Daniel’s time.
These self-pity fasts had nothing to do with the God of Israel. They all evolved out of the 70-year captivity in Babylon of the Judeans of Judah. During the Millennial reign of Christ, God will make these fasts times of celebration and festivities. They will be times of joy and not sorrow.
The balance of Zechariah 8 shows the dynamics of these celebrations. There will be so much joy coming out of Jerusalem. People from all nations will try to find a way to get passage to join in. How do we KNOW it is global? The final verse in Zechariah 8 says “men out of all languages and nations” will beg to join the greatness in Israel [Jerusalem].This has yet to happen so it solidifies this chapter being a reference to the Millennial Reign.
Rev. Dr. Jstark – 2020