Today’s passage goes along with chapter seven of yesterday as a continuous revelation from God through Zechariah. As negative as yesterday’s passage was, this one takes on an opposite tone. Yesterday spoke of the results of rebellion, today speaks of the blessings to come through God’s grace and restoration.
God’s message is that He was going to return to Jerusalem with His blessing upon that city. The near fulfillment of this passage related to the ongoing work of building the temple – the place that would be the centralized location of God’s presence among His people. The farther, and greater, fulfillment will be the time when Christ will once again return to earth to rule and reign for the millennial kingdom. This will be centralized out of Jerusalem and will be marked by peace as never before. The people of Israel will be re-gathered there, and peoples from around the world will come to enjoy this place of peculiar blessing.
The people of Zechariah’s time would experience upon the time of the temple’s completion a sort of peace and local prosperity none of them could have imagined in their recent memory and history of the captivity. And likewise, just as we today cannot see Jerusalem (which means the city of peace) as fulfilling its moniker; imagine how unique it will be just after the horrors of the tribulation. It is not now a city of peace, nor will it be in any short term, but in the end, it is the location of greatest peace and blessing
By application, the people of that time were told that their fasts would be turned into feasts, and that God was going to do a great work. It was not yet happening, but it was coming. What they should do is serve one another and complete the task at hand of building the temple.
Though we do not live in horrific times compared to some other ages of human history, neither do we live in a time of blessing such as God has promised will yet come. What are we to do? The same thing – work in kindness and service to one another by building the church of Jesus Christ until he comes or calls us home.
The Lord Promises to Bless Jerusalem
8:1 The word of the Lord Almighty came to me.
2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.”
3 This is what the Lord says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.”
4 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. 5 The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.”
6 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvelous to me?” declares the Lord Almighty.
7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. 8 I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.”
9 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Now hear these words, ‘Let your hands be strong so that the temple may be built.’ This is also what the prophets said who were present when the foundation was laid for the house of the Lord Almighty. 10 Before that time there were no wages for people or hire for animals. No one could go about their business safely because of their enemies, since I had turned everyone against their neighbor. 11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as I did in the past,” declares the Lord Almighty.
12 “The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people. 13 Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing.Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.”
14 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, 15 “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. 16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.
18 The word of the Lord Almighty came to me.
19 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”
20 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.”
23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”