THE BOOK OF ZECHARIAH
The Jews Will Finally Repent
Zechariah 12 5/8/11 SCC
Yesterday Justin Verlander had his second no-hitter of his young career. Imagine throwing a 101 mph fastball in the eighth inning no less. He was just dominating. He had the batters off balance the entire game. They batted defensively throughout trying to hit his earlier pitches knowing that with 2 strikes they most likely were sitting ducks for him. One day Jerusalem is going to dominate the entire world. In spite of her foolish and wicked leadership throughout her ancient history which brought about her exile; And in spite of that foolish leadership continuing in the future climaxing in her evil shepherd who will violently persecute and destroy her flock; all of the Gentile nations will be entirely overthrown and every single Jew will repent and the nation will be redeemed. Then Jerusalem will rule the world! She will dominate all the governments of the world and Jerusalem will finally have her place in history.
HOSTILE GENTILE NATIONS WILL BE OVERTHROWN BY JERUSALEM 1-9
A description of God’s Ability v 1
These are words concerning ‘Israel’. From Zechariahs vantage point Israel was a thing of the past. The northern tribes had been exiled for two centuries and never returned. So to speak of Israel and not Judah is to speak of that which has disappeared coming back to life again—a word about the future. God is able to make the nation alive again since he originally ‘stretched’ out the heavens as a superstructure referring to God as creator. God also ‘lays’ the foundation of the earth speaking of the basis upon which things rest. This is describing the totality of God’s creation. He also ‘forms’ the spirit of man speaking of God’s craftsmanship from useable materials. So He is the omnipotent creator and He creates new things in order to redeem. On the brink of this new age the same God who brought all in to existence in the 1st place will be able to usher in the new creation of a restored people in a renewed, universal and dominant kingdom.
Jerusalem is a cup of judgment v 2-3
“In that Day” all the surrounding nations will ‘drink’ of Jerusalem. She will be a cup of ‘reeling’ as these nations line up against her hostile and destructive. Jerusalem and Judah by extension will cause the same reaction. Like a cup that inebriates so the nations will become drunk with hostility bent on destruction against Judah and Jerusalem. The siege they lay against her will be aggressive. “In that Day” v 3 God will make Jerusalem a ‘heavy stone’ of a rough burden for this hostile enemy. God’s people are likened to booty being carried off by the victors but it is booty that will scrape and lacerate their legs and shoulders so heavy and jagged it will be—possibly referring got the construction of the siege works. The point is that in spite of these pains all the nations will still gather around and against Judah and Jerusalem bent on her destruction!
Jerusalem is supported 4-5
“In that Day” drunk and scarred already these hostile nations are in for further judgment v 4. Their horses and cavalrymen will become confused. God will blind their horses and at the same time open the eyes on behalf of the house of Judah. This will bring the realization that the people with Gods help are their greatest asset and guarantee for the nations survival. What a contrast to their shepherd kings and prophets who had betrayed them time and time again and had no compassion for them.
Jerusalem is a firepot 6-7
“In that Day” the clans of Jerusalem now encouraged by God v 6 will become a source of divine judgment against her enemies They are compared to a ‘firepot among sticks’ and a ‘flaming torch among sheaves’ making the enemy highly combustible utterly consuming them like a fiery conflagration. The nations on the left and right are consumed and the people of Jerusalem will secure the surrounding territory and settle down as their rightful place. Right now it is disputed and it looks like that will remain so until this ‘day’ takes place. This will result in the restoration of the ‘tents of Judah’ first so the clans settle down and secure the land around Jerusalem. Then, after these outlying villages have been delivered the splendor of the city and the royal palace can be enjoyed. We learn here that in the kingdom there will be an even-handed distribution of God’s favor so that the glory of the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be magnified above Judah. You will remember that this very issue was what caused the breakup between the northern ten tribes and the southern tribe of Judah.
Jerusalem is defended 8-9
“In that Day” God will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem in a powerful way that will make even the weakest like
the warrior David (1 Sam 18:7). These feeble ones will be renewed with God’s strength v 8. Using hyperbole the ‘house of David’ is like God. This statement is qualified with ‘like the angel of the Lord before them’. This refers to the manifestation of God leading them in the past. So God is the One who empowered the nation and its leaders. With God’s power the weak become stronger and the strong become more powerful as God Himself. Here in v 9 then is a summary of the power and redemption of God. He will become the nations security bringing about the destruction of Jerusalem’s enemies just as described in vv 1-8.
LESSON: There is a sense in which the Bible is a tale of two cities—Jerusalem and Babylon (Zech 2; Rev 18). Babylon represents the world; its people and their achievements. “In that day” Babylon will fall and Jerusalem will become the dominant city in the world. The “in that day” roots this in the last days of history—in the prophetic future. Here begins a fitting conclusion in the next 3 chapters of a prophet who lived among the tiny, disappointed, and pessimistic community of post-exilic exiles living in Judah. From these small beginnings and undertakings, is a glory incomprehensible, which will come to fill the Temple and the entire earth! God moves everything along on a timetable. 7 years and then 1000 years first leading to a tribulation, an anti-Christ, repentance and then a 2nd coming and then a kingdom.
THE ENTIRE SOCIETY OF JUDAH WILL REPENT 10-14
With the nation secured, God will effect a change within His people possibly encouraged by His grace and power displayed to them. True repentance will result.
God’s Grace is poured out 10-11
God will persuade the people to take a course of action. This means that there is divine motivation to repent. The spirit of grace and supplication has to do with the favorable disposition between God and his people that results from God extending His grace to them. This then prompts the people to seek God in prayer for repentance and forgiveness v 10. How will we know that Gods grace has moved the people? When these that have rejected and spurned God’s favor throughout their history and even today (Rom 10-11) will then look on Him, the one they have pierced, will cause the people to break out in lament for Him, the one over whom they will grieve as they would the death of the first-born son. Interestingly, this is the same message preached by Peter at Pentecost in Acts 2. There he concluded ‘let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ—whom you crucified.’ The result ‘now when they herd this they were pierced to the heart’ saying ‘to Peter and the apostles “what must we do?” ‘Repent…’. So in this day to come the entire nation will be pierced to the heart about the piercing of this One. Unfortunately for Israel, the repentance of Pentecost never took place on a larger scale. In some way they see God as having been pierced as Jn 19:37 indicates of Jesus crucifixion.
When the people see what they have done in their spiritual blindness they will be heartbroken v 11 enabling them to see the generations of waywardness producing great sorrow within them. Such sorrow is a sign of genuine repentance. Their sorrow will be like Hadad-Rimmon with the violent and premature death of Josiah at Megiddo when he foolishly inserted his tiny army between the more powerful Egyptian and Assyrian ones (2 Kings 23:28-30). That must have been great mourning similar in a way to the mourning of the US when John F Kennedy was assassinated. God looked upon this mourning favorably.
Israel’s Lamentation 12-14
Each clan will lament by itself v 12. This suggests that community repentance is not sufficient. Each person is culpable and must individually give an account before God. Even wives cannot depend upon the repentance of their husbands (mentioned 5 times). This individual mourning begins at the top down. The clan of David is not exempt. With few exceptions these leaders failed to discharge their shepherding of the people. Nathans House, the 3rd son of David, through whom the royal line was traced instead of Solomon, is not exempt. Neither is the clan of Levi the entire priestly or religious side of Israel’s life—just as the clan of David spoke of the political. The clan of Shimeites were the dominant clan of Levis in the postexilic times. The purpose here is to suggest a general repentance embracing the totality of the political and religious life of Israel. Both parties were culpable and so both entities must individually repent. V 14 summarizes by including all of the rest of the individuals—the entire society of Judah who in the day of God’s coming repent of their sins as they face up to God’s incomprehensible salvation of His people opened up to them buy the pouring out of His grace upon them!
LESSON: “In that day” has no number so it is not a 24-hour day. It refers to the time when God takes hold of history and leads it toward the establishment of His Kingdom. It begins with the beginning of the tribulation period and goes through the end of the 1000 kingdom. Sometimes called ‘the day of the Lord’ it is a time when God brings about the end of history. God is always in charge of history and everything is within the sovereign control of God. But at this time God is taking history to a particular goal. For most of history we do not know exactly what God is doing in establishing and taking down nations. Starting with ‘In that day’ we know why He I doing it and the direction it is going. Prophecies are given in various ways—figures of speech, metaphor, and hyperbole—but they are always fulfilled literally.
True repentance is felt personally and emotionally and it leads to bitter weeping. Those convicted by the Holy Spirit weep bitterly—those corrected by society seek therapy.