“…Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts." Zechariah 4:6
Who was Zechariah?
Zechariah was a young priest who was also a prophet. He was the son of Berachiah, the son of Iddo. Zechariah was the grandson of Iddo, who had returned to Jerusalem from Exile sixteen years previously (Nehemiah 12:4-16). Zechariah was a contemporary with the prophet Haggai. When Haggai had been preaching for two months, and the work on rebuilding the Temple had already started, Zechariah began his ministry.
Judah had been conquered. Jerusalem burned. The Temple demolished. The people led away into captivity to Babylon (2 Kings 24-25). In 538BC, Cyrus, the king of Persia, freed the captives from Judah to return to their land and resettle in the land surrounding Jerusalem, to rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:1-4 and 3:1-4:5). After seventy years of Babylonian captivity, about 50,000 exiles were permitted by king Cyrus to return to their land to rebuild the Temple. After Cyrus, king Darius ascended the throne of Persia. However, despite his kindly disposition toward the people in Judah, the work on the Temple ceased. Opposition, indifference and apathy caused the work of rebuilding the Temple to be abandoned (Ezra 4:24). Sixteen years later (Ezra 5:1-2), Haggai, and later Zechariah, were commissioned by the Lord to command the people to rebuild the Temple. As a result the Temple was completed four years later, in 516BC (Ezra 6:15).