In my view, Zechariah is the most challenging of the Minor Prophets. Its difficulty lies in its uniqueness. It is not written like anything within our normal experience. It is full of “visions” (which require interpretation) and “oracles” which, frankly, are supposed to be different from the rest of the book but just sound the same.
And yet, in the gospel story of the end of Jesus’ life, Zechariah is the most referred to literature of the Bible. Ancient people loved it.
Ezra tells us that about the year 520 B.C., Haggai and Zechariah, two prophets of the Lord, rose up and encouraged the people to complete building His temple. Haggai offers God’s criticism against Judah for improper priorities – they’ve given attention to every worldly thing, and not a moment’s consideration to God. The command of the Lord is plain: “Get the temple rebuilt.”
Zechariah likewise calls on the people to rebuild the temple, but mostly, his is an assurance that the temple will be rebuilt. It will involve the efforts of His people, but it will be accomplished by His power. This was to be an encouragement to Judah.
A month before Zechariah began his work, God had promised through Haggai to upset the nations around Judah and cause her to be admired and exalted. It was a huge promise. A month later, nothing had happened. There were plenty in Judah wondering if God’s promises weren’t just false hopes on their part. Throughout Zechariah, the focus is on the assurance of the fulfillment of the promises of God. Not only will the temple be rebuilt, but the city of Jerusalem, still in ruins, would be rebuilt as well.