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II. Visionary Revelation of God's Purposes (1:7–6:15)

This unit contains a “book of visions.” The verb “see” (rā'āh, variously translated “I had a vision,” 1:8; “I looked up,” 1:18; “I see,” 4:2; et al.) may be taken as a technical term in this type of literature for receiving a revelation (cf. Isa 30:10). These visions remove the scales from the prophet's eyes so that he may observe the normally unseen spiritual world in which God is gradually accomplishing his purposes.

Each of the eight visions follows a set pattern: introductory words, description of the vision itself, Zechariah's inquiry about its significance, and an explanation by an interpretive angel. For the chiastic structure of the visions, see introduction above. The date in v. 7 (February 15, 519 b.c.) was probably the occasion for all eight visions that occurred during that night. This was three months after the oracle in 1:1-6.