ZECHARIAH 12  


 

ZECHARIAH 12

The book of Zechariah has THREE points of focus.
1. The period of the restoration of Judah from the Babylonian captivity during the 2nd to 4th year of the reign of Darius (520-518 BCE/3605-3607 AH).

Zechariah 1:1; 7:1.
   A. Encouragement to the Jews concerning the building of the
      temple in Jerusalem, which will be accomplished in just a few
      years (516 BCE).Verse 1:16-17, “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion;
       My house will be build in it, declares Yahweh of Hosts.”
      “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and Yahweh
       will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”

   B. Promise of judgment on the nations that oppressed
Israel
      during their time of discipline.
      Zechariah 2:6-7
      “Ho there! Flee from the north, for I have dispersed you as
      the four winds of heaven. Ho Zion! Escape you who are living
      with the daughter of
Babylon. For thus says Yahweh of Hosts,
      After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder
      you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.
      For behold, I will wave My hand over them, so that they will be
      plunder for their slaves.
     Then you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent me.”

 This will occur in just two years (in 518 BCE) when Babylon is devastated after revolting against Darius.

2. The first advent of the Messiah.
    Before there can be a SECOND coming, there must be the FIRST coming.
    Zechariah 9:9, the first advent
    Zechariah 9:10, the second advent and kingdom.
    Zechariah 11:1-14, Messiah’s arrival, betrayal and the judgment on the temple
                      (Verses 15-17, the false prophet during the tribulation)

3. The second advent of the Messiah and the Armageddon campaign
    Zechariah 2:10-13, Arrival and kingdom
    Zechariah 3:9-10, Restoration and kingdom
    Zechariah 8:3-8, Restoration and kingdom
    Zechariah 10:8-12, Re-gathering and kingdom
    Zechariah 12-14, Second advent, Armageddon and Kingdom.

As with all the prophets, the FOCUS shifts from contemporary issues to the second advent, with quite often, only a subtle indication that the shift has been made.

Chapter 12 looks to the end-times at the end of the 70th week of Daniel when Israel will be invaded by many nations seeking material resources.

The switch to prose from the previous section provides a natural break, and a change of focus.

Chapter 11:1-3 looks to a yet future destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

This seems the best understanding, even though Zerubbabel’s temple is still 4 years to being completed. It is written in poetry and is separated from chapter 10 by a natural break, even though chapter 10 is also in poetry.

Chapter 11:4-16 shifts to prose and gives us a change of focus.

Verses 4-7 look to the destruction of the nation at the hands of Rome in 70 AD.

Verses 8-11 look to the divine rejection of the nation of Israel during Messiah’s first advent. The “three shepherds” might very well refer to the three bodies of religious authority in the nation; the Pharisees, the Saducees and the Scribes.

Verses 12-13 refer to the nation’s rejection of God’s messenger to them; the Messiah. It provides a prophecy of the nation’s failure and destruction. Mat. 27:9-10.

Verse 14 states the future destruction of the nation and dispersion of the people.

Verses 15-17 then skip over the entire time of the world-wide dispersion and looks to the man who will be instrumental in deceiving the nation during the great tribulation and the time of Jacob’s distress; the false prophet.

There is another shift from prose to poetry at verse 17 to indicate a unique change in focus. Verses 15-16 are in prose, but seem to find application only to the future time of Jacob’s distress. And it seems that the shift to poetry in verse 17 is designed to jar the reader into making that future application.

Zechariah 12:1
”The
burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.”

The prophet gives us three aspects of God’s creative power that focus not only on THAT POWER, but also on the creator AUTHORITY that the power gives Him over His entire creation.

God has the POWER of having created the heavens, the earth, and the life essence of man. And by virtue of that power and act, He likewise has TOTAL AUTHORITY over all three.

See Topic: God’s Power
See Topic: God’s sovereignty

ZECHARIAH 12:2-8

THE BATTLE OF JERUSALEM

There are three STAGES to the second coming of the Messiah.

(1) His arrival in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory: This arrival will be in the sky ONLY. From his position in the clouds or ON THE CLOUD (Rev. 14:14) He will pour out the judgments from God’s wrath through the trumpets and bowls recorded in the book of The Revelation.  There four phases to it.
    (A) The SIGNS phase. Joel 2:30-31; Mat. 24:29-31; Rev. 6:12-14; Isaiah 13:10, 13;
    (B) The arrival phase.
          Mat. 24:30;
16:27; Rev. 6:15-16; Isaiah 30:27-30; 60:1-2; Ps. 96:13.
    (C) The rapture phase.
          Matthew 24:31-44; John 14:1-3; 1Thes.  4:14-17; 1Cor.
15:51-52
    (D) The judgment phase. Rev. 6:15-17; 1Thes. 5:1-2.

(2) The second stage is His physical descent TO the earth at which time He will personally confront the armies of the world that are gathered into Palestine to loot and destroy the people of Israel. Through His physical descent to the earth He will rescue the Jews and prepare for His earthly kingdom.
There are four phases to it.
    (A) The descent to Edom. Isaiah 34:6; 63:1-6; Hab. 3:3
    (B) The descent to Jerusalem. Isaiah 63:1; Zech. 14:4; Joel 3:16.
    (C) The descent to the Valley of Megiddo (Armageddon). Joel 3:9-16;
    (D) The separation phase: when all unbelievers will be removed from the earth
        and only  believers will be left alive to dwell on the earth in Christ’s kingdom.
          Ezek. 34:17-22; Mat. 25:31-46.

(3) The KINGDOM stage when Jesus sets up His 1000 year earthly reign.
There are four phases to it.
    (A) The cleansing phase: Ezek 39:9-16.
    (B) The building phase: Isaiah 60:4-11; 61:4; Ezek. 43:10-18; Dan. 8:15-26.
    (C) The reigning phase: Isaiah 9:7; Jer. 23:5-6; Ezek. 37:24-28; Dan. 7:13-14.
    (D) The completion phase: 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 20:7-10.

The Old Testament prophets viewed the second coming and the arrival of the DAY OF THE LORD as having one starting point. They
did not make a distinction between the Messiah’s initial arrival IN THE CLOUDS and His subsequent PHYSICAL descent to the earth. They viewed the second coming as a physical descent to the earth that will begin the Day of the Lord.

Sometimes the prophets focused on the inception of the day of the Lord; sometimes on some aspect of the judgment that will happen DURING the day; and sometimes on the kingdom blessing that follows the judgment.

The reader/interpreter needs to be very diligent to recognize the context in each of the passages.

But it is not until the New Testament teaching by Jesus and the apostles that we learn that Jesus will FIRST arrive in the clouds of the sky.

Verse 2  

"Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah.”

Toward the end of the 70th week of Daniel and during the DAY OF THE LORD judgments, there will be an advance of the king of the North throughout the world and into Palestine. This is portrayed at the 6th trumpet judgment of Revelation 9:13-21.

The Northern alliance will be comprised of many nations as listed at Ezekiel 38:2-6.

This invasion of Palestine and specifically the city of Jerusalem by the king of the North, will be an attempt to gain economic resources since the judgments from God will have prevented the king of the west from fulfilling the terms of beast worship and operation “mark.”  Ezekiel 38:10-12; Revelation 13:15-17.

The movement of the king of the North will trigger the gathering of the other nations into Palestine. This will then lead to the final confrontation in the valley of The Verdict, when Jesus will destroy all the invading armies at Armageddon.

The advance of the King of the North is described at Jeremiah 25:15-38; Joel 2:1-11 and Ezekiel 38-39.

The gathering of the other nations into Palestine is described at Joel 3:2, 9-14; Revelation 16:12-16 and Revelation 19:17-19.

Verse 2 is looking specifically to the invasion into the city of Jerusalem and sets the stage for THE BATTLE OF JERUSALEM.

Verse 3

“It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.

The term, “in that day” refers to the general time period of the second coming.
The specific event in view is determined by the context.
At verses 3, 4, 6, and 8, the context is the battle of Jerusalem.
At verses 11 and 13:1-2 and 4, the context is life in the Messiah’s kingdom.

The phrase, “all the nations” is hyperbole, but indeed, it will be the large majority of nations that gather at that time in order to gain for themselves economic security in view of the devastating effects the day-of-the-LORD judgments will cause.

There will be,

FIRST: The king of the North and the nations aligned with it. Ezekiel 38:1-12.
SECOND: The kings of the East will gather. Revelation 16:12-16
THIRD: The king of the West, which will already have a presence there, will move to protect itself. Daniel 11:40-45.

FOURTH: The king of the South “will collide with” the king of the West in the Palestinian area. Daniel 11:40.

Specifically, in and around Jerusalem, the armies of the Northern Alliance will afflict the people. It is stated in more detail at chapter 14:2.

“For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, and the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city will be exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.”

But at some time during this invasion, the king of the West will set up his camp between the Mediterranean Sea (the seas) and the city of Jerusalem (the beautiful holy mountain). Daniel 11:45a
"And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain."

This effectively splits the Northern army into 2 sections according to Joel 2:20. And in this condition the invading troops in the city will perish as Israel fights against them in the battle of Jerusalem.

"But I will remove the northern {army} far from you,
And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land,
And its vanguard into the eastern sea,
And its rear guard into the western sea.
And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up,
For it has done great things."

The half that is driven west will likely be among those who gather in the Valley of the Verdict at Armageddon (Joel 3:9-14). There they will be destroyed by the power of Jesus as He pours down upon them “a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” (Ezek. 38:22). Ezekiel 39:4, 17-20; Revelation 16:21; 19:21.

And the foul smelling corpses will be food for all the birds of prey.
Revelation 19:17-18; Ezekiel 39:4, 17;

The half that is driven east will be in Jerusalem at the north end of the Dead Sea (“the eastern sea”). These will be defeated by the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the clans of Judah.

Shortly after the king of the west divides the northern army, Jesus will descend to the Mount of Olives, causing it to split down the middle and form an East/West valley extending for 6 miles West of Jerusalem to Azel (Zech. 14:4). As a result the Northern army will be greatly restricted and be unable to escape.

The physical descent of Jesus onto the Mount of Olives will also produce a huge earthquake that is mentioned in other passages that deal with this judgment on the nations. Ezekiel 38:18-20; Revelation 16:17-18.

This arrival of the Lord will serve as a catalyst for the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the clans of Judah, outside the city, to fight the invaders.

The battle of Jerusalem can be put together by combining the information in chapters 12 and 14.

Verse 5
"Then the clans of
Judah will say in their hearts, 'A strong support for us are the inhabitants of Jerusalem through the LORD of hosts, their God.'

Verse 14:14
Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance.”

The gathering of the plunder will be explained at verse 14:1.

Verse 12:4
"In that day," declares the LORD, "I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will
watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.”

IN THAT DAY: The context is still the battle of Jerusalem.

Verse 14:12-15
”Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will
rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. It will come about in that day that a great panic from the LORD will fall on them; and they will seize one another's hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another.

So also like this plague will be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey and all the cattle that will be in those camps.”

The exact nature of this plague cannot be determined with certainty, but it appears to be some kind of biological weapon, since it will affect the animal life in the area as well, as seen at verse 14:15.
”So also like this plague will be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, the donkey and all the cattle that will be in those camps.”

It also seems to be selective, since there will still be many who will be fighting even though many will be blind and panic-stricken.

Verse 12:6

"In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem.

IN THAT DAY: The context is still the battle of Jerusalem.

Verse 12:7
"The LORD also will
save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not be magnified above Judah.

It appears that the plague will first affect the invaders who are outside the city, so that the clans of Judah will be able to defeat them and move into the city to rescue it from the invading troops that are still there.

Verse 12:8

"In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them.

IN THAT DAY: The context is still the battle of Jerusalem.

The clans of Judah will move into the city and be the Lord’s instruments of victory as they fight like David the warrior.

Verse 12:9
"And in that day I will
set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

IN THAT DAY: The context goes beyond the battle of Jerusalem and looks to the end result of the entire period of the second advent.

It introduces a summary statement to indicate the final result of the invasion of Palestine.

Revelation 19:21
“And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.”

Verse 10

The prophet jumps immediately into the kingdom.
The unbelievers have all been removed via
1. The separation of the fat and lean sheep of the Jews: Ezekiel 34:17-22.
2. The separation of the sheep and the goats of the Gentiles: Matthew 25:31-46.

Only believers will be alive to go into the Messiah’s kingdom, and the blessings promised to Abraham concerning both his seed and the Gentiles will be fully realized. Genesis 12:2-3; 2 Samuel 7:16

At that time, at the start of the kingdom, there are THREE things that will happen to Israel.
1. The pouring out of the Spirit: Verse 10a.
2. The full realization of what the nation did to Jesus the Messiah: Verse 10b.
3. The national mourning because of failure to recognize Him: Verse 10c.

FIRST
Verse 10a
"And I will
pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication.”

At that time, God will give the indwelling Holy Spirit to the people of Israel.
Joel 2:28-29;
Ez. 39:29; Is. 32:I5a; 44:3b; 59:21

1. GRACE: recognizes that everything they have is based on God’s character and not on human merit.
2. SUPPLICATION: The Hebrew word is, tachanun. It refers to a confident but grace-motivated appeal to God for acceptance. A good example is with Daniel at Daniel 9:18.

“We are NOT presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.”
The confidence is expressed at verse 19 by “O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

This then refers to the influence from the Holy Spirit that encourages the believer to trust God and appeal to Him in total confidence for mercy from His love and compassion.

This seems to be restricted to just
Israel.
Even Joel’s “on all flesh” is explained by “YOUR,” referring to
Israel only.
Joel 2:28-29

The Scripture is thus silent about whether the Gentiles share in this special indwelling presence of the Spirit.

The outpouring of the Spirit will occur AFTER the defeat of the invading armies and AFTER they have come to fully realize -

“that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am Yahweh your God
And there is no other.”
Joel 2:27

SECOND

Verse 10b
“And they will look on Me whom they have
pierced.”

This should not be translated as “so that” as with the NASB.
It is another simple connective (and, wav in the Hebrew), and should be translated as an additional thing that will happen.

It is misleading to translate it “so that,” because that implies that it is the result of the indwelling Spirit that they “recognize” Jesus. But they will have already recognized Jesus as their Lord after His arrival and descent and defeat of the armies.

This simply indicates that Israel AS A NATION will fully understand that Jesus is their Messiah. They will LOOK upon Him in full recognition and realization of their national failure at His first coming.

THIRD

There will be a FORMAL national mourning for the past failure to recognize Jesus at His first coming.

Verse 10b-14
”And they will mourn for Him, as one
mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

"In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.

"The land will mourn, every 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; 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; all the families that remain, every family by itself and their wives by themselves.

IN THAT DAY: The context moves beyond the battles and looks to life in the newly established kingdom of the Messiah.

The reference to Hadadrimmon refers to the mourning for King Josiah after his defeat and death in the battle of Charchemish. He was such a righteous and popular king that the people mourned greatly at his death. 2Chron. 35:20-27.

This national mourning will not happen prior to the kingdom. There is no “time” or “opportunity” for the formal mourning of the nation, as is described by Zechariah, to occur prior to the defeat of the invaders and the establishment of the nation as secure on its own land.

Chapter 13:1-6 continues with information about life in the kingdom.

The structure is still prose until verse 7 and there is no break in the subject from chapter 12:13.

Once again, the term, “in that day” refers to the general time period of the second coming. The specific event in view is determined by the context.

Verse 1: personal sin must still be dealt with as everyone will still have an sin nature.
Verse 2: All idolatry will be shut down. All idols will be removed. All the false prophets will be removed. And all the demons will be removed from the earth.
Verses 3-6: As time goes by, many of the people born will grow up as an unbeliever and return to false doctrine and become false prophets.  The society will deal with these false teachers as they are discovered.

Verses 7-9: This section looks to the first coming of the Messiah, the nation’s rejection of the Messiah, and the judgment from God that results from that rejection.

This section is separated from the previous 6 verses by shifting back to poetry.
 

 
 

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