The book of Zechariah takes post-exilic Israel from the founding of a new Jerusalem under Persia to its destruction under Rome. For the saints, however, for whom judgment is a blessing, the prophecy works from glory to glory, from Jerusalem below to the unshakeable one above, from an earthly Sabbath to an eternal one.
As a Covenant document, the book of Zechariah has five major parts. The prophet uses this structure to allude to the journey of Israel from Canaan to Egypt and back again to Canaan, that is, from promise to fulfilment. Since the practice of literary recapitulation is ubiquitous among the prophets, identification of this literary arrangement in Zechariah is a key to the meaning of the prophecy:
Genesis: A series of visions describes the “oikoumene” covenant – the foundation for the “new Jerusalem” of their contemporaries Ezra and Nehemiah – as a new creation. (Sabbath)
Exodus: The Lord chastises the people for the same hypocrisy that broke the Covenant. But as with Israel at Sinai, He renews the promise with a new set of “tablets.” This is the “new covenant” spoken of by Jeremiah.1See Jeremiah’s New Covenant. (Passover)
The central section has three parts which reflect the expansion of the Covenant Ethics into the Triune Office. They briefly describe from a Covenant perspective the history between the visions at the beginning of the book and those at the end:
The idolatry of the surrounding Canaanite nations is judged, and the Lord “encamps” at His house as a “guard,” the ultimate Levite, the gatekeeper-God. (Firstfruits)
As a conflation of Israel’s “mighty men,” David and Solomon, war and peace, the Lord preserves Israel from the corruption of Hellenism. (Pentecost)
Imagery including arrows of lightning, trumpets, whirlwinds and jewels (plunder and plagues) depicts a gathered Israel as the warrior bride, awesome as an army with banners. (Trumpets)
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|1.||↑||See Jeremiah’s New Covenant.|