The Prophecy of Zechariah
I. On that Day: A Faithful People
II. On that Day: A Grieving People
III. On that Day: A Holy People
III. On that Day: A Holy Temple
Quick Thought: Horse and Buggy’s and a True and Better Temple
In our study of Zechariah, which chronicles the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem upon return from exile, we have learned along the way that the temple pointed beyond itself to a greater temple that would be completed “on the day of the Lord” when the temple will fill the whole earth. But, if that prophecy feels far off for you, imagine how far off it felt in Zechariah’s day. To explain some of the ‘far-off views’ of the temple in the Old Testament hermeneutically, like in Zechariah, theologian Gregory Beale offers a helpful illustration (Gregory K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission (IVP, 2004)
“A father promises in 1900 to give his son a horse and buggy when he grows up and marries. During the early years of expectation, the son reflects on the particular size of the buggy he would like, its contours and style, its beautiful red-leather seat and the size and breed of horse that would draw the buggy. Perhaps the father even had knowledge from early experimentation elsewhere that the invention of the ‘horseless carriage’ was on the horizon, but coined the promise to his son in familiar terms that the son could readily understand. Years later, say in 1930, when the son marries, the father gives the couple an automobile, which has since been invented and mass-produced.
Is the son disappointed in receiving a car instead of a horse and buggy? Is this a figurative or a ‘literal’ fulfilment of the promise? In fact, the essence of the father’s word has remained the same: a convenient mode of transportation. What has changed is the precise form of transportation promised. The progress of technology has escalated the fulfilment of the pledge in a way that earlier could not have been conceived of fully by the son when he was young. Nevertheless, in the light of the later development of technology, the promise is viewed as ‘literally’ and faithfully carried out in a greater way than could have earlier been apprehended.”
Although the return of the Lord and the temple of the Lord covering the whole earth might still feel far off to us today as God’s people, however, we must realize the extraordinary privilege of living after the coming, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Let us eagerly expect the return of Christ and the establishment of a true and more incredible temple in all creation.
Life Group Study Questions:
- Who is the text addressed to?
- Zechariah wrote in the context of one coming – we of the new covenant know that Jesus has come once, incarnate Emmanuel, and will come again, triumphant King Eternal, in his second coming.
- Do you think Zechariah had any idea of the layers of this text?
- Who are the “faithful people”; the “mourning people”; the “holy people”?
- Why does the text say we will mourn on the day of victory?
- How do we see the value of Christ in the text? (Zech 12:10-11; John 19:33-36)
- What is sin?
- What is holiness?
- Do you grieve over your sin? If this is a new concept to you, ask the Lord to show you both your sin and his holiness; ask the Lord to help you understand the cost of your sin, and to help you grieve your heart over your sin.
- What is the fountain referred to in Zech. 13:1? (Living water; possibly also metaphorically a “fountain filled with blood”)
- Read Eph. 5:25-27 and Heb. 10:22 and take a few moments to meditate together on how Christ has washed you clean with his blood.
- We often and easily continue to sin when we see our Saviour pierced for us; we muddy the water of the pure fountain. What is the “antidote” to this?
- What does it mean for you personally to have renewed affection for our Saviour?
- Read Zech. 14:20-21
- What is the connection between the bowls in the temple versus the pots in a kitchen?
- Have you ever considered washing up (doing the dishes) a holy act of worship? Why or why not?
- Can you name a concrete way that the the Spirit has helped you grow in holiness? If you can’t think of anything, take some time now to ask him to help you grow in Christlike holiness.
- Consider how can we encourage each other more and more to live in holiness? Commit to praying for each other’s specific areas of struggle, and rejoice with each in areas of growth.
- What is the temple?
- Read Romans 12:1 – what does it mean for you to offer your body as a living sacrifice?