“Same Ole” Testament: The Gospel According to Zechariah, Part 1

Zacharias_(Michelangelo)

It’s been awhile since we’ve dealt with, you know, the actual Bible on here.  As a remedy, I’m starting a 5 part series on one of the most beautiful, if overlooked, portions of the Old Testament.  I once had a professor (the brilliant Dr. John Sailhamer) who referred to the Old Testament as the “Same Ole” Testament, as in it teaches the same redemption as the New, namely that salvation is a work of God.  That truth is never more on display than in our subject passage, Zechariah 3:1-8.

It can be a bit of work to get off the beaten path in the Scriptures, but in my experience the Spirit will reward the effort.

So without further ado –

Part 1: Introduction

The Book of Zechariah is one of the most innovative, if not enigmatic, portions of the Old Testament Scriptures. The book’s apparent difficulties have spawned innumerable theories of authorship, unity, and especially interpretation for scholars both Jewish and Christian alike. The venerable church father Jerome, writing in the Fifth Century A.D. referred to Zechariah as the “obscurest and longest of the Twelve Prophets.” Rabbis of the Middle Ages fared no better, one bemoaned, “no expositors however skilled have found their hand in the explanation.” Even the renowned Rashi was content to wait, “until the teacher of righteousness” arrived for an interpretation.1 It appears however such obstacles were not as glaring to those living during Christianity’s genesis. The four authors of the passion narratives quote Zechariah more then any other prophet, save for one exception. If for no other reason, then, it is crucial for understanding biblical theology in the sense of those who walked with Christ.2

Zechariah is magnificent in scope, covering in a few short chapters many of the grand themes of the biblical metanarrative including the disobedience, judgment, and salvation Israel and all peoples alike, as well as God’s medium of accomplishing this end, the Messiah.3 Zechariah 3:1-8 in particular, perhaps more then any other passage in the Old Testament, reveals the intention of God in honoring his age old covenant with his people for the redemption of all tribes and tongues.

This project will examine the literary, theological, and historical basis of Zechariah 3:1-8 in order to responsibly discern its meaning and application for the modern day believer. Each section will begin with a broad sweep looking at larger contextual issues before narrowing in on significant particulars, with intentionality in explaining the passage’s place in the structure of Scripture. If God in his sovereignty has shaped this passage into the final canon, then its difficulty’s must not be allowed to stand in the way of allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through it.

Next time we will look at our passage from a literary standpoint.

Peace,

Ben

 

 

Sources:

[1] Ralph P. Martin, Micah-Malachi, ed., David A. Hubbard, Word Biblical Commentary (Waco, TX: Word Books Publisher, 1984),167.

[2] Ibid, 167.

[3] Eugene H. Merrill, Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2003), 558.

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