Zechariah 8 Visions Verses 1-8 | Let’s turn to Zechariah 8 in our Bibles.
The 8th chapter of the book of Zechariah is where we find the third response of the Lord to a question that the Jews asked earlier in chapter 7. The entire third response is found in verses 1-17. But we’re only going to be able to study the first part of this response in verses 1-8 today.
Now, the original question that the Jews asked the priests is this: “Should we keep fasting to commemorate and mourn the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 BC?”
And God’s first response could be summarized like this: “Your fasting wasn’t right, you did it for yourself, you did not love me with all your heart and (by implication) this is why your temple was destroyed which is why you have been fasting these 70 years in the first place.”
Then God’s second response was something like this: “Historically you people have been unloving to your neighbor and this is yet another reason why your temple was destroyed which is the reality that has caused you to fast.”
And now, we’re going to see the first part of God’s third response to the Jews’ question about fasting. As I said, the entire response is found in verses 1-17 of chapter 8. But we’re going to cover only the first 8 verses of this chapter.
Now, where God’s first two responses were essentially negative – focusing on the faults of the people – and especially the sins of the ancestors of these Jews of Zechariah’s day – this third response is very positive and focuses on God’s actions with a very heavy emphasis on the future.
So, let’s read Zechariah 8:1-17 in its entirety.
[Read Zec 8:1-17…]
Zechariah 8 Visions 8.1
Now, we notice that this is indeed a new response from the Lord because of what verse 1 says.
KJV Zechariah 8:1 ¶ [Again/Then/And] the word of the LORD [of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty] came to me, [saying/as follows],
And we’ve seen that this is how each of these four answers start – with the word of the Lord coming to Zechariah. So, this is the third of those four responses.
Zechariah 8 Visions 8.2
And here is how the Lord begins this third response to their question about fasting.
2 [Thus saith/X Says this/This is what X says] the LORD [of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty];
I [was/am/have been] [jealous for Zion with great jealousy/exceedingly jealous for Zion/very much concerned for Zion/very jealous for Zion],
[and I/yes, I/indeed, I] [was/am] jealous for her with great [fury/wrath]. [i.e., so concerned for her that my rage will fall on those who hurt her…]
So, the Lord begins by focusing on his emotions toward his chosen people. He is extremely jealous for his people – for what is his. Now, it’s immoral to be jealous for what is not yours – but it is completely acceptable to be jealous for what is rightfully yours.
And this jealousy of God for his people morphs into another emotion – that of anger – great anger. It’s an anger that we’ve heard about before in this book – an anger that will be unleashed on the enemies of God’s people.
Now, the Jews had been fasting since the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 586 BC until Zechariah’s day almost 70 years later. And what led to that destruction on a human level was the oppression of God’s people by the Babylonians.
Zechariah 8 Visions 8.3
And even though God had to send that nation to judge his people so many years prior to this – yet, he’s still very jealous for his people and now he’s going to promise to change his approach to them. Verse 3.
3 Thus saith the LORD;
I [am returned/have returned/will return] unto Zion,
and [will dwell/will live/dwell] [in the midst of/within/in] Jerusalem:
[and/then/now] Jerusalem shall be called [a city of truth/the city of truth/“truthful city”/a true city];
[and the mountain/“mountain] of the LORD [of hosts/who rules over all”/Almighty] [the holy/will be called the holy/“holy/a holy] mountain[”].
So, the Lord promises to return to Zion and Jerusalem – which is basically speaking of the same geographical location. And ultimately, it’s not just the land that God was concerned about – but it’s his people who inhabited that land that he was really focused on.
And even though this message would have been an encouragement for the Jews of Zechariah’s day that God was still interested in their welfare, yet I think the emphasis timewise here in this passage is the future.
The Lord did in a sense already return to Zion and Jerusalem. And yet, it seems that Jerusalem couldn’t in Zechariah’s day be called “a city of truth.” It certainly couldn’t be given that title a few hundred years later in Jesus’ day with all of the hypocrisy and religious corruption.
So, it seems that the reality in this passage will happen when the Lord Jesus Christ literally dwells in the midst of Jerusalem when he returns and reigns for 1,000 years.
So, when Jesus does come and rule on his throne, Jerusalem will be called a truthful city. There will be no lies. Lies will be swiftly punished.
Can you imagine the difference it would make if Washington, DC could truly be called a city of truth? What kind of legislation would come out of there? What kind of injustice would be squashed immediately? Can our current president make that city a city of truth? Can any man or woman make that city a city of truth? No – only the Lord Jesus Christ can transform a city – Jerusalem in this case – into a city of truth.
And it’s not just truth that God is concerned about. He also wants holiness. The mountain upon which Jerusalem sits will be called a holy mountain when Jesus returns.
Again, imagine the capital city of our nation, Washington DC. And imagine it being transformed to a place where the label affixed to it is “holy.” Set apart – unique – morally excellent.
Does Roe v. Wade happen in a holy city? Does so-called same-sex marriage get the endorsement of the highest court in the land that’s based in a holy city?
Do you see what Israel – and the whole world – has to look forward to when Jesus returns and reigns in Jerusalem and that city is transformed to the point where the two adjectives that adequately describe it are: “true” and “holy”?
Zechariah 8 Visions 8.4-5
And when that happens, that city will be populated with people – both old and young. Verses 4 and 5.
4 [Moreover…] Thus saith the LORD [of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty];
[There shall yet old men and old women dwell/Old men and old women will again sit/Old men and women will once more live] in the [streets/plazas] of Jerusalem,
[and every man/each man/each one/each] [with his staff in his hand/leaning on a cane/with cane in hand] [for/because of] [very age/age/advanced age/his age].
5 [And the/The] [streets of the city/city streets] [shall/will] be [full of/filled with] boys and girls [playing in the streets thereof/playing in its streets/playing/playing there].
And this was not really what the Jews of Zechariah’s day were experiencing. The population of Jerusalem was pretty sparse. The city was still full of rubble from its previous destruction around 70 years prior to this.
But that will all change. Some of that changed in Zechariah’s day and even in the time of Jesus’ first coming to Israel. There were old folks and children in the streets of Jerusalem. Even at this very time, if you were to visit Jerusalem you would see some of this.
Zechariah 8 Visions 8.6
But once more, we’re directed to the fact that this is something to come in the future, as verse 6 would lead us to believe…
6 [Thus/and’] saith the LORD [of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty];
[If/Though] [it/such a thing] [be/is/may seem to be] [marvelous/too difficult/difficult/impossible(LXE)] [in the eyes of/in the sight of/to/in the opinion of] the [remnant of this people/small community] [in/of/at] [these days/those days/that time],
[should/will/but will] it also [be/appear/seem] [marvelous/too difficult/difficult/impossible(LXE)] [in mine eyes/in my sight/to me]?
[saith/declares/asks] the LORD [of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty].
So, catch what the Lord is saying there. What he’s promised so far up through verse 5 is amazing to the point of seeming to be impossible.
Now, if these things had happened already to the Jews of those days, then this would not have been amazing. It would have just been the status quo – what they had been experiencing already.
But God is informing us that the people of that day were amazed by these promises – of the Lord being jealous for Jerusalem and his promise of coming and dwelling in their midst and transforming their capital city to one that’s full of truth and holiness. But these are promises to come – and not ones that they already had. Otherwise, if these promises had already been fulfilled in their day, then why would they be amazed by them?
But the fact is that these things were for a future time. And the people were amazed at these promises. And the people will be amazed at these promises being fulfilled and coming to pass when they actually do start taking shape when Jesus returns to reign on earth.
But there was one who was not amazed by the promises made. And that was God. For God, this was no big deal. He’s more than able to make anything happen according to his will. For with God, nothing is impossible.
Zechariah 8 Visions 8.7-8
Well, how is the Lord going to populate Jerusalem in the future when he decides to bring back his Messiah and have Christ reign for a thousand years? Here’s how – verse 7.
7 Thus [saith/asserts] the LORD [of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty];
[Behold, I/I] [will/am going to/am about to] save my people from the [east country/land of the east/lands of the east/countries of the east],
and [from the west country/from the land of the west/the west];
8 [And I/I] will bring [them/them back],
[and they shall dwell in the midst of/to settle within/to live in] Jerusalem:
and they [shall/will] be my people,
and I will be their God, [i.e., I will be their God in the following manner:…] in truth and in righteousness.
So, the Lord promises to restore the Jewish captives from all over the world and bring them back to Jerusalem.
And when he does that – when Christ returns to reign in Jerusalem – then the Jews will once again be God’s special people. And he alone will be their God.
And he won’t be a god like they’re used to with their idols. He will be true and righteous. That’s the kind of God that they can expect with the Lord Jesus Christ.
And so, the Lord will continue this third response to the Jews’ question about fasting to commemorate the destruction of the temple next time.