1 Again the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying,
2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.
3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.
4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.
6 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts.
7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country;
8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.
9 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built.
10 For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour.
11 But now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the LORD of hosts.
12 For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.
13 And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.
14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts, and I repented not:
15 So again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not.
16 These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:
17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.
18 And the word of the LORD of hosts came unto me, saying,
19 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.
20 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities:
21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.
22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.
23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
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The eighth chapter of the Book of Zechariah serves as a significant turning point in the narrative of the prophet Zechariah's visions and messages from God. This chapter presents a shift from the earlier chapters that were characterized by prophetic visions and symbolic representation, moving towards direct messages from God concerning His plans for the future of Jerusalem and the people of Israel. The primary themes of this chapter revolve around restoration, peace, prosperity, and the ultimate fulfillment of God's covenant promises. The chapter is filled with rich imagery, symbolism, and prophetic utterances that provide a deeper understanding of God's character, His plans for His people, and His expectations from them.
The chapter begins with the Lord expressing His passionate love for Zion and His burning jealousy for her. This strong emotional expression is a testament to God's deep concern and care for His people, despite their previous disobedience and failures. It also sets the stage for the promises of restoration and prosperity that follow. God promises to return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem, thereby restoring His divine presence among His people. The city, once deserted and desolate due to the consequences of sin, will once again be filled with joyous sounds of old men and women, children playing in the streets, indicating a complete reversal of its fortunes.
This promise of restoration is not limited to the physical and societal aspects alone but also extends to the spiritual realm. The Lord promises to bring His people back from the east and the west, signifying the gathering of the scattered Israelites. This gathering is not merely a physical reunion but a spiritual restoration, where the people are brought back into a right relationship with God. This restoration is also accompanied by a promise of prosperity, where the land will once again yield its produce, and the people will enjoy the fruits of their labor. The Lord assures that just as He had planned to bring disaster upon them because of their sins, He now plans to bless them abundantly, thereby demonstrating His merciful and redemptive nature.
In addition to restoration and prosperity, God also promises peace and security for His people. The city of Jerusalem, once a symbol of rebellion and judgment, will be transformed into a city of truth and righteousness. The Lord assures that He will save His people from their enemies and provide them with peace and security, a stark contrast to their previous state of constant fear and danger. The city will be renamed 'The City of Truth', symbolizing the transformation from a city of sin to a city of faith and holiness.
This promise of peace and security is not merely physical but also spiritual. It signifies the peace that comes from being in a right relationship with God, a peace that surpasses all human understanding. It also signifies the security that comes from being under the protection of the Almighty, a security that is not threatened by external circumstances. This peace and security are the fruits of obedience and faithfulness to God's commandments, as the Lord urges His people to speak the truth, judge with justice, and shun evil.
The culmination of this chapter lies in the promise of the fulfillment of God's covenant with His people. The Lord assures that the fasts that were once a reminder of their sins and judgment will be turned into feasts of joy and gladness. This transformation of fasts into feasts signifies the transition from a period of mourning and repentance to a period of celebration and rejoicing, marking the fulfillment of God's covenant promises.
Furthermore, the Lord promises that many nations will join themselves to Him and become His people, signifying the extension of God's covenant blessings to the Gentiles. This promise points towards the future coming of the Messiah, through whom all nations will be blessed. It also signifies the universal nature of God's salvation plan, where salvation is not limited to the Israelites alone but is extended to all who believe in Him.
The eighth chapter of the Book of Zechariah serves as a powerful testament to the transformative power of God's promises. It presents a picture of hope and reassurance in the midst of despair, a promise of restoration and prosperity in the midst of desolation, and a vision of peace and security in the midst of turmoil. It reaffirms God's unwavering commitment to His covenant promises, His relentless pursuit of His people, and His redemptive plan for humanity.
Furthermore, this chapter challenges us to reflect on our own relationship with God. It invites us to experience the joy of being in a right relationship with God, the peace that comes from trusting in His promises, and the security that comes from being under His protection. It urges us to live in obedience to His commandments, to shun evil, and to seek justice and truth. Ultimately, it calls us to be part of God's redemptive plan, to be instruments of His peace, and to be bearers of His love to the world.