But now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the Lord of hosts. For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the Lord of hosts, and I repented not: So again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not. These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord.(Zechariah 8:12-17)
In the previous chapter, a delegation had been sent from Bethel to Jerusalem, with an inquiry of the Priests and Prophets of the temple, which was being re-built, “Should we yet observe the Feast of Mourning, Tisha B’Av? Now that the new temple is nearly functional, is it necessary to observe the mourning?”
Instead the Prophet Zechariah called upon the delegation and all of Israel for all time, to deeply and personally repent, softening their hearts towards the LORD and seeking his power to amend their ways. This would be much preferable than an annual day of ritual mourning.
Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.(Zechariah 7:9-11)
Zechariah chapter eight is the positive answer to the question of the delegation, for it reveals God’s desire and purpose towards Jerusalem,Israel and Judah, should they heed the message of repentance, and truly be restored to God.
The LORD is the one who laid upon his disobedient people the terrors and humiliation of the seventy year captivity, and furthermore, He is the one who would eventually deal even more harshly with them, destroying the Temple again in 70 ad and scattering the nation from one end of the earth to the other, to endure a long night of centuries of pogroms,holocausts,exile,persecution,rejection and banishment.
He “sought to do evil to them” and thus he did.
But the same LORD who justly punished Israel for her apostasy as He promised he would, will soon “seek to do Good to them”, with the same zeal and care as in the scattering.
Jerusalem has a glorious future, it shall teem with Jewish life, and the peoples of the world will one day stream into her to hear the Word of the LORD, as Isaiah and Micah also agreed would happen,
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.(Zechariah 8:20-23)
God will literally turn her fasting into feasting, the rough garment shall be put off and the Bride shall adorn herself with Jewels again! Awake,Awake, come up out of the dust Zion, for God will favor you yet again, you shall live and not die, and declare the good works of the LORD!
Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts.(Zechariah 8:3-6)
The Gentiles will indeed gather, they will assemble to destroy her once and for all, but God remembers his people and will save them from all of the places where the flock has been scattered,
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country;…And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the Lord of hosts, and I repented not:(Zechariah 8:7,13-14)