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Bible: What Does Zechariah 9-11 Teach Us About the First and Second Comings of the Messiah?

Updated on September 23, 2016

Syria and Israel




Judgment Upon Syria and Philistia

Zechariah 9

Now the man of God mentions specific cities against which God directs His word of judgment: Damascus (in Hadrach), Hamath, and Tyre and Sidon (vv. 1-2).

Tyre's apparent greed will meet with divine rejection and fiery destruction (vv. 3-4).

Far away in Philistia, the news will have its effects; fear, sorrow, and disappointment will lead to political shake-up and a severe depletion of population (v. 5). In a word, judgment will befall Philistia (v. 6).

God will abolish ritual impurity in that land, and those who remain (possibly, survive) will become part of the people of Yahweh (v. 7).

The LORD will protect Jerusalem from her would-be conqueror and his army (v. 8).

Messiah Jesus Enters the City on a Donkey


The First and Second Comings of Messiah

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The First and Second Comings of Messiah

At this point, the prophet reintroduces the Messianic King, the Lord Jesus, who will appear on the scene (vv. 9-10).

An historical development—His rejection at the first advent—separates verses nine and ten into accounts of both comings.

In other words, a parenthesis of time, of which the Jews were unaware, exists between the verses.

The ninth verse pictures the righteous Messiah on the Monday before His resurrection as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

His worldwide kingdom of peace (described in the tenth verse) would have resulted had the Jews accepted Him as their God and Ruler.

Speaking now to His people, God declares His intention to free and bless them "because of the blood of your covenant" (vv. 11-12).

Employing a united Israel as both bow and arrow, Yahweh will defeat "Greece" (v. 13).

[When did this victory occur historically, or is it a reference to some future salvation]?

The LORD will mightily defend His people and cause them to enjoy abundant prosperity (vv. 14-17).

[As always, it is important to remember the context and the sequence; the Jews will be freed, participate in the judgment of "Greece," and then prosper in Messiah's kingdom].

Objects of Punishment

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Zechariah 10

Having had various false shepherds, diviners and idolaters mislead them, Judah now needs Zechariah to teach them how to petition Yahweh for "rain," so that they might have "grass," i.e., spiritual food (truth).

Without His blessing, Israel wanders aimlessly and in the dangerous paths of idolatry (vv. 1-2).

Consequently, He will punish those entrusted with the oversight of His flock when He "visits" Judah.

The people will afterwards receive power over their enemies; with God's enablement, they will be victorious (v. 3).

Yahweh compares Judah's exploits to those of His "royal horse" and those of ''mighty men" (vv. 3b-5).

The LORD's mercy will restore and unite Judah and Joseph in covenant relation (v. 6).

As God gathers Ephraim, redeems him, and makes him fruitful, great joy will issue from this people (vv. 7-8).

Yahweh's plan to "sow" Israel among the Gentiles seeks to remind His people where He had scattered them (Egypt and Assyria), and thus cause them to return (v. 9).

When they arrive home, Gilead and Lebanon will welcome the multitudes (v. 10).

God ("He") will work mightily on Israel's behalf to rescue him from those dominating empires and to strengthen him in Himself (vv. 11-12).

Zechariah 11

As he calls "trees" to mourn the ruination of the "thick forest," the "glory" of shepherds, and the "pride of the Jordan," the man of God draws a scene of destruction (vv. 1-3).

[All of these metaphors, constrained by the parallelism, seem to be synonyms].

The "trees"—cypress, oaks, and cedars—all must represent nations; Zechariah calls the first pair to wail because the "forest" of cedars has come down.

Joyce Baldwin points out that Ezekiel 17 used the cedar as “a symbol of the royal house of Judah” (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, 177); Ezekiel 31 speaks of Assyria as a cedar, and Egypt as another proud tree.

Zechariah's Two Staffs

Yahweh next delivers another prophecy to His spokesman, instructing him to "feed the flock for slaughter" (v. 4).

["Feed" here must mean protect as well as provide spiritual nourishment].

"Owners" and "shepherds" of the flock mistreat it and enrich themselves from it (v. 5).

The flock—the inhabitants of the land—will therefore not survive the onslaught of its enemies (v. 6).

Zechariah obeys God's directive by taking to himself two staffs (v. 7).

Given divine authority, he removes three faulty shepherds from their positions of leadership, but not without having to endure their hatred (v. 8).

[Baldwin engages in an extensive discussion of who these "shepherds" might be, but she comes to no firm conclusion as to their identity (181-3)].

Apparently, Zechariah refused to assist the people, thus leaving them to their destruction (v. 9).

His one staff, Beauty (Grace), symbolizing the covenant, he breaks (v. 10).

Judas Betrays Jesus


Betrayal and Death

The "poor of the flock" [Baldwin refers to them as "traffickers in the sheep," 184] recognize this action as God's word to them (v. 11).

They pay the prophet thirty pieces of silver for his services, but Yahweh directs Zechariah to throw the coins into the temple for the potter (vv. 12-13).

This payment shows that the "poor" had rejected God, too.

[New Testament writers employ this prophecy in relation to Judas' betrayal of Jesus. See Matthew 27:3-10; Acts 1:16-19].

Zechariah's staff, Bonds (Unity), cut in half, symbolizes the separation of Judah and Israel (v. 14).

The last section records God's command to the prophet to model a foolish shepherd whom He will raise up for the people.

This man will severely mistreat and show no love for them, but Yahweh will mete out his reward (vv. 15-17).

[Who is this foolish shepherd?]

© 2014 glynch1


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