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Communion Presbyterian Church ARP

On That Day, I Will Protect Jerusalem - Zechariah 12

1. The “siege” of Jerusalem                  12:1-4

2. The “strength” of the Lord of Hosts     12:5-9

3. The “pouring” and the “mourning”     12:10-14

 

Zech 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel:

à Don’t want to be a burden to you going through Zechariah! But, each week we’ve discussed how difficult it is to interpret these passages, And each week, I have an interpretation!  AND IT’S THE RIGHT ONE!

à So I know that in treading through this portion of God’s word, you’re not going to get many “skills for life” sermons here – but what you will learn are some interpretive skills that you can carry over to all the prophetic books of the Old Testament and which also has relevance to many New Testament passages.

à So let me rehearse with you 3 items for which to anticipate as you read through the prophetic books of the OT.

à The prophetic motif = warning judgment of cov peopleà remnant

Zechariah 8:14 For thus says the LORD of hosts: "As I purposed to bring disaster to you when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the LORD of hosts, 15 so again have I purposed in these days to bring good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; fear not.

à The Jewish Eschatological Hope = 4 aspects

à The Messiah! – all through our reading of Zechariah, we’ve seen pictures and images of the Messiah in every chapter!  And now we’ve come through a very eclectic book, where the first part is vastly different than the last – BUT – thematically, they still deliver the PM, The JEH, and the M!

à Chapter 12 begins the last extended section that takes us to the end of the book in chapter 14.

 

Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:

à So no attack upon the earthly powers of the world, or the neighbors of Judah;  Just an establishment of God’s rule over everything…

à SIDEBAR:  If you are looking for the Biblical construct for what makes mankind unique, we do read an echo of the creation account of God’s spirit=ruach being placed with man=adam.  Humankind, both male and female posses a uniqueness from every other created being in that we bear a unique attribute that makes us spiritual – and attribute of the image of God.

 

2 "Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah.

à Now, we just saw destruction destined for rebellious shepherds and sheep.  Then if anyone dared mishandle Israel, such as a foreign shepherd – they would get hurt by God.  But now, the place of God’s passion, Jerusalem is going to come under siege; and the question for prophetic interpretation is this:  What siege are we talking about here?  Is it the Roman siege of 70 AD?  A lot of people think this works!  Is it Some future siege by the armies of the anti-christ? Some folks like that too.  A past siege by the Babylonians?  Why not?  How about the Greeks with Antiochus Epiphany?  Why not the 6 Day War?  How about the theory proposed by Gary DeMar?  He makes the case that King Ahasuerus in the book of Esther, made a decree to “kill all the Jews and take all their stuff in one day” Day?

à In a moment we are going to read about a place called Megiddo – which is the location of that famous “end times” battle called, Armageddon.  It’s also where Bill Mahr’s movie crashed and burned… During the past 4000 years, at least 34 bloody conflicts have already been fought at the ancient site of Megiddo and adjacent areas?   Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Midianites, Amalekites, Philistines, Hasmonaeans, Greeks, Romans, Muslims, Crusaders, Mamlukes, Mongols, French, Ottomans, British, Australians, Germans, Arabs and Israelis have all fought and died there – maybe Armageddon has already happened?.

à I SAY, Why not embrace the most consistent Old Testament theme of the Jewish Eschatological Hope model which seems to work every time and for every Biblical period?  But will have it’s final fulfillment with the Messiah   

3 On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves.

à Jewish word for Hernia (J/K) Actually it means they’ll cut themselves.  It is the notion that no longer will any nation come to send the Jews into exile again as they did in Babylon.  

 

And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.

à I just read it right there!  The nations are going to gather.  They are going to surround the Jews to destroy them.  The enemies seem oppressively strong and capable of accomplishing their desires against the weakness of the Jews – but God intervenes and says, “If you try to move the rock on which my city is built, you’re going to carry a load of pain!”

4 On that day, declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. 5 Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, 'The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts, their God.'

à Again, the apparent weakness of the Jews becomes the very place where God demonstrates His strength – not by their might, not by their power, but by God’s Spirit!

à Now the horse commentary mixes everyone up trying to unravel when this specific event happens.  I’ve heard people who believe this describes the future saying that technology will disable mechanical vehicles like tanks, and so future battles will have to be fought on horseback again… theory!

à Why not see it as a replay of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, that other famous moment of gathering for judgment and salvation?  But not as a literal horse and rider battle; but as an expression of God coming to the aid of his elect on the final Day of the Lord?

 

 6 "On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem.

à Everything is going to burn all around Jerusalem  -- and what will fill the place of the areas burned?  A bigger Jerusalem!  We’ve read that God would have to become the walls for the city because it would be so expansive one day in Chapter 2 = 4 Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. 5 And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.'"

 

à 2 Peter 3:7 … the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 3:13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

à So those destined for judgment, they will encounter the fires of God’s wrath and hell!  For those destined for salvation, it is the purifying fires of healing and salvation – people being made whole – which is the true definition of the word = Jerusalem!

 

 7 "And the LORD will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah.

à Judah is the primary tribe of the returning remnant from exile and is the family line of King David which must be preserved so that the Messiah may come from this line…

 8 On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them.

à Let the weak say, I am strong in the strength of the Lord.  And did you notice that parallelism?  The Angel of the Lord is like God?  This Old Testament manifestation of God’s presence leading and defending the people of God toward victory and promise?

à When Jacob blesses his sons, he mentions the angel of the Lord which accompanied Him with grace and protection!

 9 And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

à One of the most popular sermons posted on our sermon site was the message entitled, “Were you there when they pierced him in the side?”  I commend it to you!  It was in this sermon that we outlined the struggle that it is for the Jews to at one point receive grace and mercy from their victorious Messiah and then weep over him because he has been pierced.  The Apostle John references this passage in Zechariah twice: once in his gospel and again in the book of Revelation, and claims that this pierced one is Jesus Christ.  As I read it again and again, I too, see it as fulfillment of those who desire grace and mercy will recognize that it comes at the price of Jesus’ death upon the cross!

à  But this awkward!  We’ve just read about the victory of David -- even the weakest Jew will take part and contribute to victory, and now we are mourning the loss of an individual with the status of “firstborn” who has been pierced?

à There is debate related to the pronouns used in this passage – it reads as though God is pierced Himself, and then later, it discusses a “him.”  There is speculation that Zechariah is describing a real person of his day.  There is rabbinic literature advocating two Messiahs – a suffering one and a victorious one. 

à One acceptable option is to recall another great son of David who was pierced in battle.  King Josiah, who took an arrow and died during the ministry of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet.  We even have the location where Josiah was slain in verse 11…

 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

à When Josiah was pierced by an arrow on the plains of Meggido, and later died as a result, what was the reaction?  Bitter weeping!  The people were pierced with sorrow.  They had concern for the lineage of David because a potential Messiah, son of David was now dead.

à and just as there are repeated battles on the plain of Megiddo that could be Armageddon, here we see a two sons of David pierced – Josiah, and then finally, the true son, Jesus Christ, who moves people to repentance…

 

12 The land shall mourn, each family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves.

à we read of some important names there.  Names of the Royal line of David and names of the priestly tribe of Levi.

à  We read in Jer. 33 that 17 David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”  Here, both of these names are being preserved by Zechariah to again announce God’s promises to establish his remnant people as the inheritors of Israel’s blessings.

à The mentioning of Nathan is fabulous.  Nathan was a son of King David.  And while the kingly line extended through King Solomon’s line, which was later cursed of God due to rebellious sons.  The line of Nathan brings to us a young mother named Mary.  She would give birth to Jesus.  (David had other sons too… How did Zechariah know that Nathan would be important for a future virgin who would bear the Hope of Israel?)

à Jesus Mother Mary was also told that her soul would be pierced as with a sword because her son would be opposed – her son would be responsible for the rising and falling of many.

à it is a rather difficult reality to embrace about the Christian life, that God might actually accomplish something for our greater good, even though it might bring about unbearable pain.  That victory in the Christian life – even described from the book of Zechariah – could only be known through Christ’s weakness and death.  As disciples of this Savior, we must anticipate our own days of trouble; our own days of sorrow and piercing, so that we might be raised to an eternal victory

 

So amidst a certain victory for Israel comes another prophetic twist.  The victory of the Lord comes as a result of the piercing and death of a first born son; but that son, a prophesied son of King David, will rise again and announce certain triumph for all the citizens of a New Jerusalem, and as we continue Zechariah next time, we will see the extent of His final victory for his people – Built upon Zechariah 13:1 "On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.

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