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Lesson 11: Visions of Hope *

Introduction: Zechariah is a fabulously interesting book! It is filled with symbols, complexity and great news about the gospel! We will spend this week and the next unraveling the stories that give us confidence in our Messiah and the message of salvation by grace alone. Let's plunge into our study to discover the lessons God has for us in the first half of the book of Zechariah!

  1. History

    1. Read Zechariah 1:1-4. What is God's historic call to His people? (To repent from evil and turn to God.)

    2. Read Zechariah 1:5. What happens to those who do not repent? Do we have forever to decide? (God says the opportunity to turn to Him is a limited time offer - limited by your life!)

    3. Read Zechariah 1:6. How did it turn out for God's people? (Ultimately, at least some of them got the message, accepted God's rebuke, acknowledged God's justice, and repented of their sins.)

  2. The Horse Vision

    1. Read Zechariah 1:7-8. How many colors of horses do we have? (Three: red, brown and white.)

    2. Read Zechariah 1:9-11. Who are these multi-colored horses (or humans riding multi-colored horses)? (They are God's agents.)

      1. Why do you think they are multi-colored? (This shows diversity among God's people.)

      2. To whom do they report? (The angel of God.)

        1. What is the report? (The world is at rest and at peace.)

        2. Good news, right! We have what every beauty pageant contestant wants: world peace.

    3. Read Zechariah 1:12-13. Is the angel challenging God? Is the angel questioning God's judgment?

      1. If so, how does God react? (It sounds like the angel is challenging God. God's response is "kind and comforting.")

      2. What is the lesson for us when we are challenging or questioning what God done?

    4. Read Zechariah 1:14-17. Was it good to question God? (It looks like it moved God to action! God explains that He was "jealous" that His people were not relying on Him.)

      1. Why would reports of world peace make God "very angry?" (These are people who do not rely on God at all. Why should they feel secure when they rely only on themselves?)

        1. Why would a loving God be unhappy about world peace and rest? (It tends to deprive the people of a motive to find real peace - the kind that only God can give.)

        2. What do we learn from this? (That peace in your life is not the highest goal. Reliance on God is the true goal.)

  3. Horse Vision Sequel

    1. Read Zechariah 6:1-3. What do we see that is the same as the first horse vision? (Multi-colored horses.)

      1. What is different in the sequel? (We have more colors. Plus, these are not just horses, they are horses hitched to chariots.)

    2. Read Zechariah 6:4. Does Zechariah think this is different from the first horse vision? (Yes, he does not understand it.)

    3. Read Zechariah 6:5-7. Last week we noted the Hebrew word "ruwach," which means spirit. What is God's Spirit doing? (The Spirit of God is going throughout the earth in power.)

      1. Is this easy? (Verse seven says they are "straining.")

      2. Let's take stock. God is unhappy with world peace and He sends into the world powerful horses with chariots (a state of the art weapon of war). Why? What do you think is God's goal? (If we are correct in thinking that God's goal is to get pagans to rely on Him, then the mission is the conversion of the world. God wants the entire world to rely on Him.)

  4. Flying Scroll

    1. Let's go back a chapter. I wanted to discuss the two horse visions together. Read Zechariah 5:1-2. Do we need an air traffic controller? We have flying horses with chariots and now a flying scroll! We might have to sound a collision alert!

    2. Read Zechariah 5:3-4. The scroll is a curse, according to the text. Would it destroy peace and rest? If so, why? (The text says the writing will destroy the houses of thieves and liars. Do you see a picture forming in your mind? God is unhappy with the world because it is at peace with its sins. God wants the world to turn to Him, therefore He puts His law in the sky and flies it into the homes of sinners!)

      1. What does this say to those who believe in righteousness by faith? (We need to draw some very precise lines on what God desires of us. Believing that we are saved by grace alone is not the same as tolerating sin. It is our consciousness of our sin that drives us to grace. We should not think it is loving to hide the "scroll" that drives us (and others) to repentance and grace! We should not hide the scroll that changes us from relying on self to relying on God.)

  5. Grace

    1. Read Zechariah 3:1-2. We have a trial scene. Joshua is "standing before," God. Who does Joshua represent; just himself? (No. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest represented the people. Symbolically, God's people are on trial before God.)

      1. Who brings the charges against Joshua? Have you ever thought that God is the One accusing you of sin? Who is the accuser here? (Satan. Revelation 12:10 tells us that Satan accuses us before God.)

        1. We discussed the role of the Holy Spirit living in us and leading us daily. We've discussed how the Holy Spirit can speak to us through our conscience. How can we distinguish between the Holy Spirit leading us and Satan accusing us?

      2. Who is our defender? (God. He rebukes Satan.)

    2. Read Zechariah 3:3-4. Are God's people sinful? (Yes. The filthy clothes represent their sins.)

      1. How are Joshua and the people made righteous? (God takes away their sins. God gives them "rich garments"(symbolizing righteousness).)

    3. Read Zechariah 3:5. What do you think this symbolizes? (The turban covers the head. God is covering the mind with righteousness, renewing a right spirit in His people. See Psalms 51:10.)

    4. Read Zechariah 3:6-7. What command does God give His people? (To obey and enjoy the blessings that follow.)

      1. Notice the order of things. Do the people obey to become righteous? Or does God make them righteous by His grace and then tell them to obey?

    5. Read Zechariah 3:8-9. What does all of this symbolize? Who is the "Branch?" (Read Jeremiah 23:5-6. The Branch is Jesus. Jesus modifies this symbolism slightly in John 15:5. The consistent picture is that Jesus is our connection to God.)

    6. Put these last few verses together. What is the message here? (The salvation of Joshua is a promise of the salvation through Jesus! Satan rightly accuses us of sin. Jesus takes away our sin and gives us the robe of His righteousness.)

      1. Let's get back to a question I asked earlier. How do we tell the difference between the nudging of the Holy Spirit and the accusations of Satan and his fallen angels? (If Jesus has forgiven your sins, then the accuser is Satan. The Holy Spirit guides us to right choices, Satan beats us up over past sins. We should be able to tell the difference and ignore Satan.)

  6. Holy Spirit Power

    1. Read Zechariah 4:1-4. Do you have an answer for Zechariah? What role do you think the two olive trees play? (They are the source of the oil which gives light.)

    2. Read Zechariah 4:5-6. What is God teaching us by this illustration of the trees, the oil and the lamp stand? (In other places in the Bible oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit. See, e.g., 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Matthew 25:1-13. God will deliver us, He will bring light into our lives by His Spirit. Might and power are not the answer. Holy Spirit power is the answer.)

    3. Read Zechariah 4:7. What is a mountain? (An obstacle.)

      1. What "mountains" do you have in your life? What is the answer to dealing with them? Might or power? (No! "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord Almighty.")

    4. Friend, will you be God's horse? Will you challenge the peace of pagans with your radical message of forgiveness, grace, obedience and mountain moving power through the Holy Spirit! Why not make that commitment today? It is a limited time offer!

  7. Next week: Heaven's Best Gift (Zechariah).
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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