Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


The Book of Zechariah
Zechariah was taught by Dr. James Modlish


Lesson Eleven
(Chapter 7:1-14)

Approximately two years have elapsed since the night visions have been given describing the whole future of the nation Israel, including the subjugation of her enemies, her regathering to the land of Palestine, her cleansing, restoration to high priestly witness, and establishment as a theocracy. The result of these apocalyptic visions was that the people gave heed to the warnings and encouragements of Zechariah's prophecies and Haggai's teaching, and had begun to build the temple, which was probably already more than half completed.

It is now 518 B.C. As the edifice arose before the people's eyes, with every obstacle removed to the completion of the structure by the decree of Darius confirming the original decree of Cyrus (Ezra 6:1-14), the situation looked promising. Although the walls of Jerusalem were still in ruins and some quarters of the town still in utter desolation, the city began to take on a prosperous look as private homes began to be erected and some fine residences completed (Haggai 1:4). With this new upsurge of prosperity, the question pressed to the fore whether it was necessary or not to observe the solemn seasons of mourning by which the people had commemorated the calamitous events of their former history, especially the anniversary of the burning of the city and the temple by the Babylonians on the tenth day of the fifth month. Accordingly a message of inquiry was sent to the priests and the prophets at Jerusalem to which the Lord through Zechariah granted a full and satisfying answer. - Merrill F. Unger



A delegation went to the house of God to inquire about the tradition of keeping the fast. The two men who came still have Babylonian names, which were undoubtedly given to them while they were still in exile, even as Daniel and his Hebrew friends. Sherezer means "protect the king!" Regem-melech means "king's friend". They came to the temple and spoke to the priests and prophets because they were evidently recognized as the real spokesmen for the Lord.

When the people apostatized from the Lord, incurring His chastisement, God had periodically issued a call for a national period of fasting (cf. Joel 1:13,14). But such exercises were not meant to become set mechanical seasons of humiliation or annual fasts. The only injunction in the Mosaic law actually enjoining mourning was in connection with the day of atonement, and then only by implication. "Ye shall afflict your souls" (Leviticus 23:27). These fasts, accordingly, were not God-ordained in their establishment, hence not divinely required, nor God-honoring, except as heart and life were expressing themselves in true spirituality by their observance.



The problem of observing or not observing a "man made" fast was in itself inconsequential. It is interesting to note that the question "to fast or not to fast" is never really directly answered. God's desire was that His people examine their motives and answer the question - "Why did you fast these past 70 years?"

The sinful attitude revealed by the question of the fast was that it was not observed for God's glory (vs. 5), but purely for self (vs. 6). It was, therefore, mechanically formalistic and external. It was empty ritualism powerfully denounced by Isaiah in his day (Isaiah 1:10-15).

Orientals, being very demonstrative, will wail and lament with profuse tears and loud crying (Micah 1:8). Such self-humiliation may have been profitable if it had been done with the attitude that Paul described in (1 Corinthians 10:31) "whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

After turning the search light on them Zechariah then comments on the words (vs 7). He reminds them that the words that they are being commanded to obey are not new words but old ones uttered by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Amos, Micah and others. Things are very much the same in 1982--- the issue is the words (Proverbs 30:5,6) versus tradition (Colossians 2:8).



The basic mistake of the pre-exiled Israel had been the failure to obey the word of God. The same mistake was being made by the restoration community

A. The command to put the word of God into practice (7:8-10) -

This command involves four parts:

[1]. Execute true judgment - (Isa. 1:17; Jer. 21:12; Matt.23:23)
[2]. Shew mercy and compassion - (Mic. 6:8; Matt. 23:4)
[3]. Oppress not the widow, fatherless, stranger, and poor - (Ex. 22:21; Pro. 22:22; Matt. 23:14)
[4]. Do not imagine evil against your brother in your heart - (Ex. 20:16; Matt. 22:36-40)

B. The refusal of the pre-exiled people to obey the word of God (7: 11,12) -

[1]. Pulled away the shoulder - Nehemiah 9:29. God did not pull away his hand (Isa. 59:1) but man pulled away from God.

[2]. Stopped their ears - (Jer. 2:2; 7; 24; 26; Pro. 21 :13)

[3]. Made their hearts as stone - (Eze. 3:7-9)

B. The results of refusing to obey the word of God (7:13,14) -

[1]. Powerlessness in prayer - (Isa. 1:15; Jer. 11:11,14; 14:12; Pro. 1:27,28)

[2]. Scattered with a whirlwind - (Deut. 28:36; Jer.. 16:13)

[3]. The land shall be made desolate - (Ps. 106:24; Lev. 26:22; Jer. 12:11)

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