Zechariah’s dreams - part 1 

Homework for May 26th:  Read the first and last of Zechariah’s dreams, 1:7-17 and 6:1-8.  It would also be very helpful to read the book of Haggai (only three pages) to see his perspective on what was happening in Jerusalem at this time.  

Lesson for May 26th.

Zechariah’s eight dreams can best be understood by reviewing them in pairs.  The first and the eighth make a pair.  Then the second and the seventh are a pair.  Also the third pairs with the sixth, and the fourth with the fifth.  The Bible Project video on Zechariah does an excellent job explaining this.  

We know from our own experience that dreams are strange. Zechariah is no exception.  But in his case, God enclosed messages inside these bizarre dreams.  These messages were meant for the people of Israel, to encourage them to be obedient to God’s commands.  

In the days of Zechariah, God had provided “rest” to the nations by establishing the Persian Kingdom over the land of Israel, and eastward. This kingdom kept the peace.  There was no war in the Middle East at that time. This was the “rest” Zechariah referred to in his first dream (1:11).  But the Jews who had returned to their homeland with the permission of Cyrus, endured great difficulty rebuilding their city and establishing themselves back in Jerusalem.  It wasn’t until they became obedient to the teaching of Haggai and Zechariah, and finished rebuilding the temple, that Israel found rest.  

introduction to Zechariah

Homework for May 19th:  

Read the book of Ezra.  You can skip the sections where Ezra cataloged the families that returned to Palestine with him (2:1-67, 8:1-14, 10:20-43).  

Lesson for May 19th

 Background on Zechariah

In 538 BC King Cyrus of Persia released the Jewish people to return to their homeland.  They gradually moved back, with one of the first migrations led by the prophet Ezra. They immediately began to rebuild the temple, but quickly became distracted and temple construction halted for many years.  

Two prophets returned with the people.  Haggai and Zechariah were leaders among the people and shared God’s prophecies with the Jews (Ezra 5:1, 6:14).  Haggai bluntly announced that they struggled because they had neglected reconstruction of the temple (Haggai 1:3-8).  Zechariah called the people to obedience, proclaiming their submission to God’s commands were a condition for receiving His favor.  Under the leadership of Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah, the Jews finally finished reconstruction of the temple about 20 years after they had started.  

As Zechariah’s writing continues, he shares with his readers the blessings awaiting God’s faithful servants.  God will establish His kingdom, and they must be prepared to become citizens of this new kingdom, or be left behind.