18 Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, 19 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’
Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying,
Verses 18-23 are divided into sections by an affirmation of what Jehovah said.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month,
The question raised by the Bethel delegates in Zechariah 7:2-3 is finally answered in this passage. They wanted to know whether they should observe commemorative fasts. The Jews had kept the following fasts for 70 years (Zech 7:5-7).
The “fourth month” fast commemorated Nebuchadnezzar’s breach of the walls of Jerusalem (586 BC; 2 Kgs 25:3-4; Jer 39:2). The month of Tammuz is our months of June and July.
The fast of the fifth,
The fifth month is Ab, which is our late July and early August.
The fast of the seventh,
The seventh month is Tishri, which is late September and early October. This fast was to commemorate the murder of Gedaliah, the governor that Nebuchadnezzar placed over Judah (2 Kg 25:82-25). A remnant fled to Egypt as a result of this event (2 Kgs 25:26).
And the fast of the tenth,
The 10th fast (Tebet), which is our December and January, is related to the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem (588 BC; 2 Kgs 25:1-2; Jer 39:1).
Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah.
Days of fasting will turn to days of joy (Isa 35:10). The whole gamut of fasting should be passe to people whose heart is right.
Therefore love truth and peace.’
Instead of mere external worship and formalism, a renewed people carry an attitude of loving truth and peace.
When Christ comes back again, fasts will be turned into feasts.
The time following Christ’s Second Coming will be occasions of joy.