The Gospel in Zechariah

This article is part of the Christ in All of Scripture series.

The Coming Branch

Zechariah’s prophecy begins with a cycle of vivid and complex visions, and it would be easy to get lost trying to explain all of the intricate details. Yet we are not left alone to try to understand these visions: the Lord sent an interpreting angel to Zechariah (and to us), and we can find the meaning of the visions explained in the angel’s comments. He repeatedly points us to the coming of “the Branch” (Zech. 3:8; 6:12), the messianic offspring of David promised in Jeremiah 23:5 and Jeremiah 33:15, who combines in himself the offices of king and priest (Zech. 6:13). This Branch will purify his people and remove their sin in one day (Zech. 3:9).

The righteous King was coming to bring salvation and to bring an end to war and suffering.

Writing to people who were discouraged by living, after the exile, in a “day of small things” (Zech. 4:10), when there seemed to be little progress toward the glorious future promised in the earlier prophets, Zechariah encouraged them to look forward to the day when the Lord would act once again. The righteous King was coming to bring salvation and to bring an end to war and suffering (Zech. 9:9–17).

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That coming would, strikingly, result in the piercing of God himself, which would be the means by which a cleansing fountain would be opened for sin (Zech. 12:10–13:1). The Good Shepherd would be struck for his sheep, who would continue to endure great suffering until the time of the end (Zech. 13:7–14:5). Yet the outcome of that time of suffering and pain would be the final victory of God and the vindication of his people (Zech. 14:9). Given all of these messianic themes, it is not surprising that the book of Zechariah is one of the Old Testament books most frequently quoted in the New Testament.

This article is adapted from the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible. Browse other articles in this series via the links below.

Old Testament

GenesisExodusLeviticusNumbersDeuteronomyJoshuaJudgesRuth1–2 Samuel1–2 Kings1–2 ChroniclesEzraNehemiahEstherJobPsalmsProverbsEcclesiastesSong of SolomonIsaiahJeremiahLamentationsEzekielDanielHoseaJoelAmosObadiahJonahMicahNahumHabbakukZephaniahHaggaiZechariahMalachi

New Testament

MatthewMarkLukeJohnActsRomans1 Corinthians2 CorinthiansGalatians EphesiansPhilippiansColossians1 Thessalonians2 Thessalonians1 Timothy2 TimothyTitusPhilemonHebrewsJames1 Peter2 Peter1–3 JohnJudeRevelation

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