I Have Returned to Zion

The people had been scattered, the land at rest for seventy years. Now, God says, “I have returned” and as they were blown away by the wind, they will return. This happened in Zechariah’s day and this is also a word for our day as the descendants of Israel return home. The people are told to be strong, just as in the exodus, Joshua was told to be strong when he entered the land. God is with them and their work will prosper. They all work together even though they still have opposition.

If you read more, you will find those who fasted mourning were those that “refused to listen, and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears from listening”. God reminds them, the fasts are in Isaiah 58: 3-5 “to release the bonds of injustice, to untie the ropes of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free” and here in Zechariah 8:19 for “jubilation and joy and merry festivals”.

Did You Really Fast For Me

Zechariah 7:1–7
The exiles had returned, the altar had been built and now in Zechariah 7:1-3 these people of the land come asking if they should continue to mourn in the fifth month and adds “as I have done for these many years”. By this, he is saying how pious he has been or how hard it has been or maybe to gain favor with the prophet Zechariah. These were “Jews who have risen to positions of leadership in Babylon, or possibly Persian leaders who have become proselytes, have been questioning the need, now that the temple is almost rebuilt, to keep the fasts which commemorated the fall of Jerusalem.”1

So when God responds, he asks who they were fasting for? In Zechariah 7:4-7 he mentions not only the fast of the fifth month but also the fast of the seventh month and then goes on to remind them of the words of the prophets, like these in

Isaiah 58:5-6 Is the fast I choose like this, a day for humankind to humiliate himself? To bow his head like a reed, and make his bed on sackcloth and ashes; you call this a fast and a day of pleasure to Yahweh? 6 Is this not the fast I choose: to release the bonds of injustice, to untie the ropes of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and tear every yoke to pieces?

I Scattered Them With A Wind

Zechariah 7:8–14
Zechariah 7:8 continues the response to those questioning the fast in the fifth month. In Zechariah 7:9-12 he says it isn’t the fast that matters, it isn’t about mourning the destruction of the temple or of Jerusalem. God is asking them to “Judge with trustworthy justice, and show steadfast love and compassion to one another. 10 You must not oppress the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, and the needy. You must not devise evil in your heart against one another. Then he says, in Zechariah 7:12-14 they would not listen, they hardened their hearts so, “I scattered them with a wind among all the nations that they had not known; the land was made desolate behind them”.

In our day, the land where Israel now is, was swamp and desolate until it again became a nation. Now the land is prospering. 

The Holy Mountain

Zechariah 8:1–8
Now the Lord says in

Zechariah 8:2–3 (LEB) “Thus says Yahweh of hosts: ‘⌊I am exceedingly jealous for Zion⌋; I am jealous for it with great wrath.’ 3 Thus says Yahweh: ‘I have returned to Zion, and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem will be called the faithful city, and the mountain of Yahweh of hosts will be called the holy mountain.’

This has always been, and will always be God’s desire, that He abides with his people in Jerusalem. There were many that returned in Zachariah’s day and was also prophetic for our day as many are beginning what they call Aliyah.

Zechariah 8:7–8 (LEB) Thus says Yahweh of hosts: ‘Look! I am going to save my people from the land of the east, and from the land of the west, 8 and I will bring them and they will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They will be my people and I will be their God in faithfulness and in righteousness.’

“The dispersion under Nebuchadnezzar was only to the east, namely, to Babylonia. The restoration, including a spiritual return to God (Zec 8:8), here foretold, must, therefore, be still future (Is 11:11, 12; Ez 37:21; Is 11:11, 12, Am 9:14, 15; also Zec 13:9; Je 30:22).”2 

Let Your Hands be Strong

Zechariah 8:9–15
The Lord says in Zechariah 8:9 “let your hands be strong” because this is not just a spiritual work in the heavens and it is more than just the words spoken, it is hands-on natural building of families, communities, and economy and a nation. Jerusalem had been desolate, in Zechariah 8:10 “no wages … no safety … each person against one another”.

Zechariah 8:11–12 (LEB) But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ declares Yahweh of hosts. 12 ‘For there will be a sowing of peace; the vine will give its fruit, and the soil will give its produce, and the heavens will give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things.

Now, there is God’s blessing, everything will produce, everything will flourish so set your hands to work!

These Are The Things That You Must Do

Zechariah 8:16–23
Here is what God requires, Zechariah 8:16-17 “speak truth … practice trustworthy judgement … do not devise evil” which is very much like what we heard in Zechariah 1:9-10 where they asked about the fast for mourning. Here in Zechariah 8:19 the fasts are for “jubilation and joy and merry festivals”. Then in Zechariah 8:20-23 he describes the homecoming ‘In those days ten men from the nations of every language will take hold of the hem of a Judean man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you!” ’.

Today, Operation Exodus is helping Jews return home and taking groups of people from all nations to Israel to inquire of God.

Now The Prophets Prophesied

Ezra 5:1–6
As we go back to Ezra, we find construction moves forward, in

Ezra 5:2 (LEB) Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak set out and began to build the house of God that is in Jerusalem. And with them the prophets of God were helping them.

We have Zerubbabel representing the government, Jeshua representing the priesthood, Haggai and Zechariah the prophets all working together as it says in Ezra 5:1 “in the name of the God of Israel who was over them”. And now, when they are challenged, they just keep working. 

We Are Servants of The God of Heaven and Earth

Ezra 5:7–12
Those that challenged the work sent a letter to Darius the king and included the statement from the leaders of Israel which would have been inflammatory to any king. It said, in

Ezra 5:11b “We are servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are building the house that was built formerly many years ago, which a great king of Israel had built and finished.”

No king wants to hear that his subjects serve another king.

Operation Exodus

is helping Jewish people return to their homeland. You might fund one that desires to go home. http://operationexodususa.org/Overview

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Zechariah 7:1-14
  • Zechariah 8:1-23
  • Ezra 5:1-12


  • 1. Baldwin, J. G. (1972). Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 28, p. 153). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • 2. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 725). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.