About a month after Haggai's second message, in which he had encouraged the people who were in danger of being disheartened by the memory of the past, Zechariah uttered his first prophetic word. He gave them another view of the past, intended to warn them. He reminded them that Jehovah was sore displeased with their fathers, and warned them not to walk in the same sins. Thus Haggai encouraged them by looking on to the new spiritual glory, while Zechariah exhorted them by looking back to the past of disobedience.
Two months after Haggai had delivered his last message, Zechariah delivered his great message consisting of eight symbolic visions.
Under the figure of the myrtle trees Israel is described as "in the bottom," or, far better, as the margin reads, "in the shady place." It is the day of her overshadowing, but she is still watched. The whole earth is sitting still and at rest. The angel watcher appeals to Jehovah on behalf of Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, and is answered with "comfortable words."
These words declare Jehovah's determination to deliver and re-establish His people. This vision, therefore, is a picture of Israel as she long has been, and still is, outcast from privilege and position, yet never forgotten by Jehovah, who declares His determination ultimately to return to her with mercies, and to restore her to favor.
The second vision of horns and smiths, while indefinite as to detail, yet carries its own explanation. The horn is a symbol of power, and the four stand for the powers which have scattered the chosen people. The smiths are the symbol of that which destroys power, and stand for those who are to break the power of the horns.
The vision thus foretells the ultimate overthrow of the enemies of the purpose of God, and therefore stands in immediate and striking contrast to the one preceding it. As we have seen, there the chosen people are in the shady place, cast out, without influence or power among the nations. The second, while not entering into any detailed account of the instrument to be used, does, nevertheless, symbolize that ultimately those who have oppressed the people of God will be broken in power, and thus the oppressed people be delivered.