Dear Church Family,
This past Sunday, we concluded out Sunday school study using a video series called “He Gave Us Prophets,” combined with teaching and discussion, in order to better understand, interpret, and apply the prophets of the Old Testament. If you’re interested in reviewing the video lessons that were used for this class, you may find them online here: https://thirdmill.org/seminary/course.asp/vs/HGP. Also, if you’re interested in reviewing the summaries that I’ve been writing in these weekly emails, you may find those on the HCPCA church website here: https://www.hillcountrypca.org/pastors-blog/category/he-gave-us-prophets.
Concluding these reviews, here is a summary of some of the things that we learned and covered in our final class.
Having concluded the video series lessons of our study, in our final class we reviewed the lessons that we had learned over the course of this entire study. Then, we sought make application of what we learned with a brief analysis of one chapter of a prophetic book: Zechariah 14.
Here are the summary points of each of the eight lessons in this study:
Lesson #1 – Essential Hermeneutical Perspectives
Lesson #2 – A Prophet’s Job
Lesson #3 – People of the Covenant
1) Those outside covenant with God
2) Those in covenant with God
3) Those redeemed in covenant with God
Lesson #4 – Dynamics of the Covenant
Lesson #5 – Historical Analysis of Prophesy
1) Assyrian judgment
2) Babylonian judgment
3) Restoration period
Lesson #6 – Literary Analysis of the Prophets
The literature of the writing prophets can be divided into three categories:
1) Historical Narrative (biographical or autobiographical)
2) Communications with God (laments or praises)
3) Communications with people (blessings or judgments)
Lesson #7 – The Purpose of Predictions
Lesson #8 – Unfolding Eschatology
Historical and Literary Context: As is proper of any study of Scripture, we began by setting the book of Zechariah in its historical context. The book of Zechariah contains early prophecies (1:1-8:23) which were dated between 520 and 518 B.C. and later prophecies (9:1-14:21) which were not dated. The final composition of Zechariah probably finished between 516 and 460 B.C. We also reviewed the basic literary structure or outline of the book of Zechariah:
Chapters 1-9 – Zechariah’s message about the Temple Reconstruction
1:1-6 – Oracle
1:7-6:8 – Symbolic Visions
6:9-15 – Symbolic Ceremony
7-8 – The Bethel Visitors
Chapters 9-14 – Zechariah’s message about Future Trials and Restoration
9-11 – First Oracle or ‘burden’: Announcement of Zion’s King
12-14 – Second Oracle or ‘burden’: The Destiny of the People of God
Then, we read Zechariah, chapter 14, and analyzed its structure and meaning:
The Great Battle in ‘That Day’ (vv. 1-15)
1-2a – Yahweh will judge His people through the nations
2b-5 – Yahweh will keep a remnant, defend them, provide an escape, and come with His holy ones
6-9 – ‘That day’ will be unique: cosmic upheavals and living waters (John 7:37-39); Yahweh is made king over all the earth (Philippians 2:9-11; Matthew 28:18; Acts 2:36)
10-13 – The territory outside the city will be laid waste, all Jerusalem will be safe (Galatians 3:13); Judgment in war and nature
14-15 – Judah will receive the spoils; the enemies of God will be spoiled
The Feast of Booths, punishment, and extended sanctification
16 – People from the nations will come to worship Yahweh (feast of Booths) (John 7:37-39)
17-19 – No blessing, but curse and punishment for those who do not worship Yahweh (feast of Booths)
20-21 – No distinction between sacred and secular, the house of the Lord will be pure (John 4:19-24)
While our study of Zechariah 14 was not exhaustive, we sought to understand the application of this portion of Scripture through the lens of the unfolding eschatological view of the New Testament. That is to say: the prophecies of Zechariah 14 were fulfilled at the first coming of Christ, are being fulfilled now, and will be ultimately fulfilled at the second coming of Christ.
This last Sunday was the final lesson of this study. We have now on a summer break, with plans to resume Sunday school in the fall. I hope you will join us!
The Lord be with you!
– Pastor Peter M. Dietsch