Zechariah means ‘God remembered’. He writes in the time of Haggai, when the people of Israel had returned from Babylon to rebuild the temple. This work had not been completed and both Haggai and Zechariah sought to encourage them in this task. The book of Zechariah tells of a God who is at work and who will accomplish his plans not by might, nor by power, but by his spirit (Zechariah 4:6). This God will live again with his people, but they must first repent and turn again to him. Zechariah does not tell a clear organised story. It does contains a lot of apocalyptic writing - writing which is seen to unveil what is as yet unknown and is full of visions of the end of the age. Zechariah has more messianic prophecies than the other 11 minor prophets, and tells of a message of the suffering, death and resurrection of the coming Messiah. ‘Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem. See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth’ (Zechariah 9:9-10).
Malachi means my messenger. Malachi is the last of the minor prophets and is written, as are Haggai and Zechariah, after the return of the people to Jerusalem. Whereas Haggai and Zechariah encouraged the people to finish the temple building, the key themes of Malachi are: God’s love; the sin of priests and people and the coming of the Lord. Malachi seeks to show the people their sin and to encourage a restored relationship with God. ‘But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves’ (Malachi 4:2).