Zechariah was the son of Berechiah and grandson of Iddo, who himself was a prophet (Zechariah 1:1). He was a priest who went to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel (Nehemiah 12:1, 4, 16) at the end of the Babylonian captivity. He and Haggai were contemporaries and worked together to urge the people to rebuild the temple of God in Jerusalem (Ezra 5:1; 6:14). The message he bore to the people from God was, “Return to Me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you” (Zechariah 1:3). Evidence of their return would be the rebuilt temple (4:6-10) and their ongoing obedience to the Lord (7:4-7).
Though Zechariah rebuked and exhorted his own generation, he also focused on the Messiah and His kingdom (Zechariah 2:10-12; 3:8-9; 6:12-13; 9:9-10; 11:10-14; 12:10; 13:1-2, 7-9; 14:8-9).
Zechariah had a series of dreams or visions from chapter 1 to 6. These revelations are arranged in a symmetrical design.
Vision #1 (1:8-17) and #8 (6:1-8) focus on four horses or chariots who patrol the earth. They speak of peace, and restoration, and of a coming king.
Visions #2 (1:18-21) and #7 (5:5-11) both look at the past sins of Israel, of the judgments against her, but also at the punishment of the nations used to judge her.
Visions #3 (2:1-13) and #6 (5:1-4) picture a man with a measuring line and a flying scroll respectively. They speak of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, but also the promise of the New Jerusalem.
Visions #4 (3:1-10) and #5 (4:1-14) focused on two leaders, Joshua the High Priest and Zerubbabel, the governor and a descendant of David. Pictured is the cleaning from sin among God’s people and the Lord’s blessing upon His people so long as they will rely upon Him and follow His word.
Another vision in 6:9-15 draws upon visions 4 & 5. It pictures the High Priest being given a crown, representative of the Messiah who would come.
The prophet urges God’s people to prepare themselves for the coming of the Messiah. He doesn’t identify when He will come, but gives assurance that it will happen. In the latter chapters, he pictures the coming king (9-10), rejected by His people (11) and put to death (12), but would be risen from the dead (13) and establish His kingdom (14).