The word of the LORD which Zechariah receives in response to the people’s question about the fast of the fifth month, forms a chiastic structure:
1A) Zec 7:1-3, The people sent to the house of the LORD;
1B) Zec 7:4-7, Did you fast for Me, or eat and drink for Me?;
1C) Zec 7:8-14, Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother;
1D) Zec 8:1-3, I will return to Zion;
1E) Zec 8:4-5, Jerusalem will again be filled with old and young;
CENTRAL AXIS) Zec 8:6, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, will it also be marvelous in My eyes?’ says the LORD of hosts;”
2E) Zec 8:7-8, My people shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem;
2D) Zec 8:9-13, Let your hands be strong that the temple might be built; Judah and Israel will be a blessing;
2C) Zec 8:14-17, Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor;
2B) Zec 8:18-19, The fasts shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts;
2A) Zec 8:20-23, Many people shall come to the house of the LORD.
The central axis is so interesting. It does not seem like an earth shattering or central revelation at first glance. So often, in working out the chiastic structures, the central axis’ do not turn out to be what one would expect.
But in thinking about this central axis, the first scripture that came to my mind, that was similar in wording to this one, was this:
“Have you not even read this Scripture:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the LORD’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Mar 12:10-11
This is the Lord Jesus speaking, about the chief priests and pharisees rejecting Him, while He turned out to be the chief cornerstone. Now, what is He the chief cornerstone of? The builders are building something, and rejected Him as a building stone. He is the chief cornerstone of the temple, which the LORD is building. the dwelling place of His presence.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
“Let your hands be strong, you who have been hearing in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who spoke in the day the foundation was laid for the house of the LORD of hosts, that the temple might be built.” Zec 8:9
The focus of this prophecy is the building of the temple of the LORD of hosts. In the 1A pair, the Jewish people sent to inquire at the house of the LORD, the second temple; and in the 2A pair, the LORD tells Judah that all peoples will likewise come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, for they will have heard that GOD IS WITH THEM, which is, Emmanuel, God With Us. That is the Third Temple.
The LORD is not speaking of a third building, a physical building of mortar and stone. The chief cornerstone is a Person, and the other building stones, are persons, living stones (1 Pet 2:4-5).
To be included in this Living Temple which the Lamb is building, who is Himself, His Body, we must pay attention to the LORD and His ways. We must speak truth, give just judgment, do not think evil in our hearts, of our brothers, or neighbors … or parents, spouses, children … any man whom we have seen (1 Joh 4:20-21). These are the things the LORD hates. These are the things that will separate His sheep from the goats, not denominational affiliation or doctrinal positions or mental affirmations of belief or any other thing.