Zechariah 1-6New Living Translation (NLT)
A Call to Return to the Lord
1 In November[a] of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord gave this message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo:
2 “I, the Lord, was very angry with your ancestors. 3 Therefore, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.’ 4 Don’t be like your ancestors who would not listen or pay attention when the earlier prophets said to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Turn from your evil ways, and stop all your evil practices.’
5 “Where are your ancestors now? They and the prophets are long dead. 6 But everything I said through my servants the prophets happened to your ancestors, just as I said. As a result, they repented and said, ‘We have received what we deserved from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He has done what he said he would do.’”
A Man among the Myrtle Trees
7 Three months later, on February 15,[b] the Lord sent another message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo.
8 In a vision during the night, I saw a man sitting on a red horse that was standing among some myrtle trees in a small valley. Behind him were riders on red, brown, and white horses. 9 I asked the angel who was talking with me, “My lord, what do these horses mean?”
“I will show you,” the angel replied.
10 The rider standing among the myrtle trees then explained, “They are the ones the Lord has sent out to patrol the earth.”
11 Then the other riders reported to the angel of the Lord, who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have been patrolling the earth, and the whole earth is at peace.”
12 Upon hearing this, the angel of the Lord prayed this prayer: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, for seventy years now you have been angry with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. How long until you again show mercy to them?” 13 And the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.
14 Then the angel said to me, “Shout this message for all to hear: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Jerusalem and Mount Zion is passionate and strong. 15 But I am very angry with the other nations that are now enjoying peace and security. I was only a little angry with my people, but the nations inflicted harm on them far beyond my intentions.
16 “‘Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I have returned to show mercy to Jerusalem. My Temple will be rebuilt, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and measurements will be taken for the reconstruction of Jerusalem.[c]’
17 “Say this also: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The towns of Israel will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem as his own.’”
Four Horns and Four Blacksmiths
18 [d]Then I looked up and saw four animal horns. 19 “What are these?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.
He replied, “These horns represent the nations that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”
20 Then the Lord showed me four blacksmiths. 21 “What are these men coming to do?” I asked.
The angel replied, “These four horns—these nations—scattered and humbled Judah. Now these blacksmiths have come to terrify those nations and throw them down and destroy them.”
Future Prosperity of Jerusalem
2 [e]When I looked again, I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 “Where are you going?” I asked.
He replied, “I am going to measure Jerusalem, to see how wide and how long it is.”
3 Then the angel who was with me went to meet a second angel who was coming toward him. 4 The other angel said, “Hurry, and say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem will someday be so full of people and livestock that there won’t be room enough for everyone! Many will live outside the city walls. 5 Then I, myself, will be a protective wall of fire around Jerusalem, says the Lord. And I will be the glory inside the city!’”
The Exiles Are Called Home
6 The Lord says, “Come away! Flee from Babylon in the land of the north, for I have scattered you to the four winds. 7 Come away, people of Zion, you who are exiled in Babylon!”
8 After a period of glory, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me[f] against the nations who plundered you. For he said, “Anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession.[g] 9 I will raise my fist to crush them, and their own slaves will plunder them.” Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me.
10 The Lord says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem,[h] for I am coming to live among you. 11 Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you. 12 The land of Judah will be the Lord’s special possession in the holy land, and he will once again choose Jerusalem to be his own city. 13 Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling.”
Cleansing for the High Priest
3 Then the angel showed me Jeshua[i] the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan,[j] was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.”
3 Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. 4 So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”
5 Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by.
6 Then the angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, 7 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here.
8 “Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets.[k] I will engrave an inscription on it, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day.
10 “And on that day, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.”
A Lampstand and Two Olive Trees
4 Then the angel who had been talking with me returned and woke me, as though I had been asleep. 2 “What do you see now?” he asked.
I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl of oil on top of it. Around the bowl are seven lamps, each having seven spouts with wicks. 3 And I see two olive trees, one on each side of the bowl.” 4 Then I asked the angel, “What are these, my lord? What do they mean?”
5 “Don’t you know?” the angel asked.
“No, my lord,” I replied.
6 Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 7 Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’[l]”
8 Then another message came to me from the Lord: 9 “Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me. 10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”
(The seven lamps[m] represent the eyes of the Lord that search all around the world.)
11 Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on each side of the lampstand, 12 and what are the two olive branches that pour out golden oil through two gold tubes?”
13 “Don’t you know?” he asked.
“No, my lord,” I replied.
14 Then he said to me, “They represent the two anointed ones[n] who stand in the court of the Lord of all the earth.”
A Flying Scroll
5 I looked up again and saw a scroll flying through the air.
2 “What do you see?” the angel asked.
“I see a flying scroll,” I replied. “It appears to be about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.[o]”
3 Then he said to me, “This scroll contains the curse that is going out over the entire land. One side of the scroll says that those who steal will be banished from the land; the other side says that those who swear falsely will be banished from the land. 4 And this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I am sending this curse into the house of every thief and into the house of everyone who swears falsely using my name. And my curse will remain in that house and completely destroy it—even its timbers and stones.”
A Woman in a Basket
5 Then the angel who was talking with me came forward and said, “Look up and see what’s coming.”
6 “What is it?” I asked.
7 Then the heavy lead cover was lifted off the basket, and there was a woman sitting inside it. 8 The angel said, “The woman’s name is Wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and closed the heavy lid again.
9 Then I looked up and saw two women flying toward us, gliding on the wind. They had wings like a stork, and they picked up the basket and flew into the sky.
10 “Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel.
11 He replied, “To the land of Babylonia,[r] where they will build a temple for the basket. And when the temple is ready, they will set the basket there on its pedestal.”
6 Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. 2 The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, 3 the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. 4 “And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.
5 The angel replied, “These are the four spirits[s] of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. 6 The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west,[t] and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.”
7 The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the Lord said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol.
8 Then the Lord summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit[u] there in the land of the north.”
The Crowning of Jeshua
9 Then I received another message from the Lord: 10 “Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua[v] son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the Lord. 13 Yes, he will build the Temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne,[w] and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’
15 People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.