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Zechariah 1:13-14,16-17 KJV

[13] And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. [14] So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. [16] Therefore thus saith the Lord ; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. [17] Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

Zechariah 8:1-3 KJV

[1] Again the word of the Lord of hosts came to me , saying, [2] Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. [3] 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.

The first passage is part of a vision Zechariah received in the "second year of Darius" (chapter 1:7). The second passage is part of a prophecy God gave to Zechariah in the "fourth year of Darius" (chapter 7:1). However, in the second passage, God repeats the same words he spoke in the vision he gave to Zechariah two years prior (i.e Zechariah 1:14,16 & Zechariah 8: 1-3). It seems that chapters 1-6 are visions given to Zechariah in the 2nd year of Darius. The book then fast forwards 2 years where he is then not prophesying in visions, with an angel mediating with him and God (Zechariah 1:13, 14), but directly from God: it is Zechariah speaking to the people, not God in the vision to Zechariah.

In context, is there any way of interpreting the visions of Zechariah in the second year of Darius (i.e chapters 1-6) as visions of things to come (e.g "I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies" 1:16) and his prophecy in Darius' fourth year being the fulfilment of those visions?

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  • It's a little unorthodox to view one prophecy as the fulfillment of another. Usually some event in history is viewed as the fulfillment of a prophecy. Or do you mean that an event in history described in chapter 8 is the fulfillment of a prophecy in chapters 1-7? If so, can you specify the passages referring to the event in chapter 8 and the prophecies you belive the event fulfills?
    – Robert
    Feb 11, 2021 at 9:55

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The fact of one prophecy coming from an angel and another directly from God does not substantially alter the idea that both represent divine oracles given through the prophet. The two prophecies echo each other, rather than one being the fulfillment of the other. Both portray God as turning or having turned toward Jerusalem (as opposed to turning away from it when God allowed the Temple to be destroyed).

In terms of context, Haggai ch. 2 shows the foundations of the Temple being laid in the 2nd year of Darius. So far so good, if the Temple were complete by the 4th year. But the context in Zech ch. 8 argues against the OP's thesis:

Let your hands be strong, you who now hear these words which were spoken by the prophets [see Haggai 2:18] when the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid] for the building of the temple... Just as I intended to harm you when your ancestors angered me—says the Lord of hosts—and I did not relent, so again in these days I intend to favor Jerusalem and the house of Judah; do not fear.

Note the clear sense of the Jerusalem favor being in the future. The Temple's foundation has been laid but it has not yet been rebuilt. (Ezra 6:15)

Admittedly it is difficult to know the exact order of the prophecies in the Book of Zechariah. Some scholars understand chapter 1 to be written as an introduction. Whether this is so or not, God's "return" to Jerusalem in ch. 1 represents a kind of Alpha to ch. 8's Omega. They echo each other, rather than one fulfilling the other.

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