Zechariah joined Haggai in rousing the people from their indifference, challenging them to resume the building of the temple. Haggai’s primary purpose was to rebuild the temple; his preaching has a tone of rebuke for the people’s indifference, sin, and lack of trust in God. He was used to start the revival, while Zechariah was used to keep it going strong with a more positive emphasis, calling the people to repentance and reassuring them regarding future blessings. Zechariah sought to encourage the people to build the temple in view of the promise that someday Messiah would come to inhabit it. The people were not just building for the present, but with the future hope of Messiah in mind. He encouraged the people, still downtrodden by the Gentile powers (1:8–12), with the reality that the Lord remembers His covenant promises to them and that He would restore and bless them. Thus the name of the book (which means “The LORD remembers”) contains in seed form the theme of the prophecy.
This “apocalypse of the OT” as it is often called, relates both to Zechariah’s immediate audience as well as to the future. This is borne out in the structure of the prophecy itself, since in each of the 3 major sections (chaps. 1–6,7,8,9–14), the prophet begins historically and then moves forward to the time of the Second Advent, when Messiah returns to His temple to set up His earthly kingdom. The prophet reminded the people that Messiah had both an immediate and long-term commitment to His people. Thus the prophet’s words were “good and comforting” (1:13), both to the exiles of Zechariah’s day as well as to the remnant of God’s chosen people in that future day.
This book is the most messianic, apocalyptic, and eschatological in the OT. Primarily, it is a prophecy about Jesus Christ, focusing on His coming glory as a means to comfort Israel (cf. 1:13,17). While the book is filled with visions, prophecies, signs, celestial visitors, and the voice of God, it is also practical, dealing with issues like repentance, divine care, salvation, and holy living. Prophecy was soon to be silent for more than 400 years until John the Baptist, so God used Zechariah to bring a rich, abundant outburst of promise for the future to sustain the
faithful remnant through those silent years.