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July 1, 2018
The Word of the LORD
They will look on Me whom they have pierced …
The Coming of the Messiah (Zechariah 9:1-17)
The burden of the word of the Lord is now directed against the heathen nations which were neighbors to Israel. The Lord will camp around His people to protect them while all this is taking place about them.
The Messiah will come—the faithful should rejoice. His humble entrance into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey signaled within itself an important difference between the character of His kingship from that of others who come in pomp and royalty. He will lead no armed revolt, but speak peace (Ephesians 2:17; 2Corinthians 10:3-5). The extent of His reign would be world-wide; His dominion would be to the ends of the earth.
Salvation will come of the Lord. Because Zechariah often blends the material situation of his day with the spiritual hope of the Messianic era, it is difficult always to pinpoint how and when each prophecy is fulfilled. However, the Israelites were physically preserved from extinction so that through Abraham’s seed God could spiritually bless all families of the earth with forgiveness and salvation. This prophecy is ultimately fulfilled during the glorious reign of the Messiah over His Kingdom (Galatians 3:26-29).
The Lord Shall Redeem His People (Zechariah10:1-12)
Zechariah exhorts—“Ask of the Lord.” They must ask for the showers of God’s blessing during these latter years of the Mosaic dispensation in order that God’s harvest may be realized in the coming of the long-awaited Messiah. God’s anger was kindled against spiritual leaders (shepherds) and civil leaders (male goats). He punished both them and those who followed them after false gods. A different leadership will come. From Judah will come: 1) the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20); 2) the tent peg (Isaiah 22:23-24); 3) the battle bow (Psalm 45:4-6; Revelation 6:2); 4) every ruler (Psalm 110).
The Lord would whistle for His people, calling them away from far countries such as Egypt and Assyria. While this literally came to pass when Israel and Judah returned from captivity, the prophecy is also fulfilled in the Messianic age wherein God’s people have been called from all countries. The Lord will be with His people, delivering them in time of distress and bringing down their oppressors.
Allegories of Physical Israel (Zechariah 11:1-17)
The rejection of the Good Shepherd: The people were oppressed by rulers who bought and sold them like sheep. This is the condition of physical Israel by the time of Jesus. Wicked rulers were in control who had no pity on the flock but thought foremost of their own position and prosperity. Although they appeared to be religious they proved their hypocrisy toward God by their rejection of His Son. Even as they showed no pity, God would have no pity on them.
Zechariah responded to the Lord’s instruction to feed the flock. Zechariah became disgusted and cut off three shepherds in one month. They “abhorred” Zechariah (who represents the Good Shepherd, John 10:11), therefore he would no longer try to feed them, but left them to themselves to reap what they had sown (Matthew 23:37-39).
Zechariah broke the staff called “Favor,” which signified that the covenant with the flock was broken. The poor realized that the termination of this covenant was according to the word of the Lord. That this allegory is prophetical of the treatment that Jesus—the Good Shepherd—would receive is made certain by the quotation of it in Matthew 27:9-10.
Zechariah breaks the second staff, “Union,” which symbolically indicated the dissolution of the brotherhood of Judah and Israel. When the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah they brought upon themselves the curse of being rejected by God. Jeremiah prophesied that Judah would be like an earthen bottle which was shattered so that it could never be made whole again (Jeremiah 19:1,10,11; 18:6-10). When the temple was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans, the religious system of Judaism crumbled; the tribal identities were lost; animal sacrifices ceased; and the nation has been in remnants ever since.
The foolish shepherd: Zechariah is now instructed to play the role of a foolish shepherd who fails to properly care for the sheep. Following the crucifixion of Christ, the nation of the Jews had no leader who really cared for their welfare: their prophets had been cut off from inspired revelation; the priests were no longer ordained by God; and the “Herods” were powerless puppets of Rome. The nation fell along with its foolish shepherds.
In That Day (Zechariah 12:1-14:21)
Spiritual Jerusalem delivered (Zechariah 12:1-9): The expression “in that day” occurs seventeen times in these last three chapters and points to the same period as indicated by four earlier references (Zechariah 2:11; 3:9-10; 9:16; 11:11). Zechariah consistently uses this term in a Messianic context in which Christ serves as king and priest, and when people become the children of God under a new covenant (Hebrews 8:6-13). Enemies who have tried to destroy or abolish this spiritual Jerusalem have found it as “a cup of reeling” (v. 2), “a heavy stone” (v. 3), and “bewilderment” has filled their hearts (v. 4) because the enemies go reeling in defeat. The mighty Roman Empire could not destroy the kingdom of Christ although Rome was backed by Satan and all the forces of spiritual wickedness. God’s people have been and shall continue to be victorious with Christ who is “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).
A fountain for salvation will be available (Zechariah 12:10-13:6): The Lord will pour upon the house of David the spirit of grace. This divine unmerited favor will cause them to look to Him and seek that which His grace provides (Romans 2:4; 3:23-26). They “pierced” Him through rejection of Jesus Christ, but upon conversion they will mourn over His death and the suffering they caused Him by their own sin (Isaiah 53:3-6). This prophecy is quoted in John 19:37 and is specifically applied to Christ. Forgiveness of sin is made possible by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, therefore a fountain “for sin and uncleanness” will then be opened.
False prophets will be easily recognized. After the gospel is fully revealed there would no longer be a need for latter day revelation; all who claim to have a prophecy from God during those days would be speaking lies (Galatians 1:6-8; 1John 4:1).
The people of God will be refined by persecution (Zechariah 13:7-14:21): The shepherd is smitten and two-thirds of the flock are given up to death. Jesus quoted this and applied it to the scattering of His disciples (Matthew 26:31-32; Mark 14:27). This is another proof that “in that day” is talking about an era of time beginning with the coming of Christ rather than to a point in time at the end (as premillennialists say).
The people of the Lord will be besieged, mistreated, and many killed, but though the whole world makes assault against them, a residue will always stand (Hebrews 12:28). “Living waters will flow out from Jerusalem” symbolizes salvation which would flow even in a time of heaviness and distress (John 7:37-38). The Lord will reign as “King over all the earth.” He will be the only one who reigns and His name will be magnified universally as the Lord of all.
A plague will fall on those who have sought to destroy Jerusalem. The enemy nations which have warred against spiritual Jerusalem shall suffer defeat and destruction. Conversions to Christ will take place from among those that are left, and these shall come up to worship God. Those who refuse to worship will not receive the spiritual blessings available to the faithful (Ephesians 1:3). “In that day” everything will be holy to the Lord. Everything that pertains to the kingdom of God will be devoted to the Lord, and that which is unclean shall not be found in the house of the Lord (Ephesians 5:26-27).
What about today?
One of the lynch-pins of spiritual success is sorrow for sins leading to repentance as seen in Zechariah 12:10. Can we learn a lesson from Israel of old? Do we truly mourn for our sins that resulted in the piercing of our Savior’s side (Matthew 5:4)?
Finally, as seen in Zechariah 13:9, we ought not to think it is a strange thing that the world hates those who live righteously. The world hated the Lord, and the enemies of God will also persecute those who serve the Lord (John 3:19-21; 2Timothy 3:12; 1Peter 4:12-16; James 1:2-3).
Let us live every day with sorrow for our sins, knowing that the one whose side was pierced suffered and died for us. the LORD alone provides that grace. He understands what He asks of His people. The LORD and His people alone will be victorious.