Sunday, July 4, 2010

Zechariah 12

Salvation for spiritual Israel (vs. 1-9)—Zechariah begins a new section here, and the next two chapters are much easier. They refer to the Messianic age; of this there can be no doubt, for verse 10 applies to Jesus, John 19:37 being our witness. And since six times in this chapter Zechariah says “in that day” (and three more times in chapter 13), it is conclusive that this material applies, spiritually, to the third dispensation, the church age. Verse 1 establishes the authority of the message: “Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.” This declaration is from the all-powerful Creator of heaven, earth, and man. Jerusalem (the city of God, in this case, the church) will be protected. The “surrounding peoples” will “lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem” (v. 2), but “in that day I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples,” and they will be cut to pieces (v. 3). Verse 4 again reiterates “in that day,” as do verses 6, 8, 9, 11, 13:1, 2, and 4. And, once more, 12:10 (as well as 13:1 and 7) point directly to the Messiah. So many commentators miss that in their desire to have an earthly kingdom or some kind of future restoration of the Jews. The Lord only has to say something once for it to be valid, but in this instance, He says it nine times. It isn’t His fault if we miss the point. To conclude this section, our enemies will be confused in their battle (v. 4), our leaders will find their strength “in the Lord of hosts, their God,” (v. 5), and they shall “devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left” (v. 6). “Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem” (v. 6). The church, the holy habitation of God, will not be moved. Verses 7 through 9 have basically the same message. The Lord will “save the tents of Judah” and we will all be equal before Him (v. 7). He will defend us, even “the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David” (v. 8, "for he who is least among you all will be great," Luke 9:48), and “in that day” those who “come against” His people will be destroyed (v. 9).

The spirit of grace (vs. 10-14)—All of this will be because of “Me whom they pierced” (v. 10). Zechariah (God) beautifully writes, “I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication” (v. 10). Finally, the grace that we need has arrived. And not just in sprinkles; He will “pour” it on us. For the people of God, while the death of Christ is a wondrous thing, it is also a cause for mourning: “Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (v. 10). There would have been no cross without our sins. “Blessed are they that mourn” (Matt. 5:4). Hadadrimmon was in the valley of Megiddo and the location where the good king Josiah, probably the second greatest king Israel ever had, was killed in battle by the Egyptians (II Chron. 35:22-25). It was a place of mourning (figurative in the case of Zechariah 12:11). He concludes the chapter by picturing a universal mourning—the house of David (the king), the house of Levi (the priesthood), and “the family of Shimei” (vs. 12-13), and “all the families that remain” (v. 14). All of God’s people will mourn, “by themselves,” (v. 14), i.e., for their own sins. Regarding Shimei, there are 11 men in the Old Testament by that name. The two most famous were a grandson of Levi (by Gershon), and the man who cursed David when he was fleeing from Absalom (II Sam. 16:5-13). Not a good idea, and he came humbly to David, begging for pardon when the rebellion was over and the king was restored to his throne. David graciously forgave him, but Solomon had him executed. I write all that to say it is unclear which Shimei is meant, probably the grandson of Levi. That seems to be the consensus, thus “the highest and lowest of the priestly order” (as one commentator says) are mentioned.

Chapter 13 will continue this, the very first words being “in that day.”

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