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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 12

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-14

Chapter 12

Now, we're out of the fog and into the clear day. Out of the haze and smog. Into the glorious pure age, as this final vision of Zechariah tells us about the glorious new age that God is going to establish, the Kingdom Age upon the earth. Over and over in these last three chapters you are going to be reading the phrase, "In that day," and that is the preface to the declaration of many of the fascinating aspects of the Kingdom Age, and that great judgment that will immediately precede the Kingdom Age.

So this is the burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the spirit of man within him ( Zechariah 12:1 ).

Francis Schaeffer said that it is important that we not just talk about God today, or to just use the term God without defining the term, because the term God represents so many things to so many people. They really don't know what God you are talking about. So he said when we refer to God, we need to give sort of a defining qualifications. And thus, we should say, "The eternal God, the Creator of the heaven and the earth." Then they know what God you're talking about.

Now it is interesting that the Lord doesn't just say, "The Lord," but He gives sort of a defining of Himself. "The Lord which stretched forth the heavens and laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the spirit of man within him." Now I know who you're talking about. You see. He is the Lord over all. He is the divine Creator. He stretched forth the heavens. He created the earth. He created the capacity in man to know God and to fellowship with Him. Thus, the Lord identifying Himself declares,

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it ( Zechariah 12:2-3 ).

I would like to suggest to you that this condition is existing today in Israel. Number one, Israel as a nation is a burdensome stone to all the nations around it. They are totally surrounded by antagonistic forces. There has been a peace treaty made with Egypt, but it is extremely tenuous. But when Israel became a nation, the day they became a nation, she was immediately attacked by Syria, by Jordan, and by Egypt, who grabbed off great chunks of territory. When Israel was declared a nation, a state, by the U.N. resolution.

Since that time, in subsequent wars, when the little nation of Israel was surrounded by enemies of vastly numerically superior forces, Israel came forth from these skirmishes, looking almost invincible. In 1967 when Israel took on both Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, they were able to push Egypt clear back to the Suez Canal. They were able to take the entire Golan Heights. They were able to take from Syria and the entire West Bank from Jordan in just six days of fighting. Jerusalem was a cup of trembling to all the people round about her. Those who were in siege against Jerusalem and Judah, Jerusalem became a burdensome stone. Those that burdened themselves with them were cut off, cut in pieces.

These victories were the result of God working with them. Now, the Jews did not recognize that after 1967. But they developed through the victories of 1967 a very cocky attitude. More or less a attitude of, "We are invincible." If you would tour the land, they were very proud to tell you of their brilliant military strategies of their battles, and of their fighting powers and what they had done. Any suggestion that God maybe helped them was sort of scoffed at. And yet, who can deny the hand of God? In taking, say, the Golan Heights. For when they were pressing for a cease-fire, and the tide of battle... of course, they had already taken the Sinai clear down to the Suez, and they were moving their sources. And they had taken the West Bank, and they were now moving to Syria, because they wanted to now capture the Golan Heights to get the advantage of the upper positions, military position. So though there was a big cry for a cease-fire, they knew that they were going to establish the lines of the cease-fire at the... you know, the border would be established at the time the cease-fire went into effect. So they were stalling for the cease-fire. Because they were wanting to get as much as the Golan Heights as they could. But Syria, beginning to realize that the tide of battle was going against them, was pressing and urging the world for an immediate kind of a cease-fire. And in order to press, impress the world, Damascus radio began to broadcast that the Israeli troops are fighting in the streets of Damascus. All of the commanders out in the Golan Heights listening faithfully to their Damascus radio heard all of these propaganda lies all over the radio in Damascus that Israel had moved to Damascus and was fighting in the streets of Damascus, though that was not the case. But yet, for propaganda purposes, the Damascus radio was publicizing this and broadcasting this. The tank commanders and all began to leave their tanks, and the Israeli planes, the observers saw all of these troops fleeing towards Jordan. Left all their tanks and everything in place, and they were all fleeing toward Jordan because they'd been listening to Damascus radio, that Damascus was falling. They thought, "Oh, man. We've been cut off; we've had it." So they just left, and they were all fleeing to Jordan. So the planes reported that, "Hey, the guys are fleeing." So that's why Israel stalled the cease-fire for one more day, and they were able to take over a thousand square miles of the Golan Heights in just one day. Because Syria abandoned it, and so they sent in their paratroopers to the lines that they wanted, and they took it. The cease-fire was claimed, and they had all of this territory as far out as the paratroopers had gone.

Now you read in the Old Testament how the Lord had brought confusion upon their enemies. You say, "Well, that's the God of the Old Testament." Hey, it's happening today. It happened in 1967.

In 1973 war was a little different. Vastly different, in fact. The Arabs were better equipped and better trained. Russia had sent thousands of officers and millions of dollars worth of equipment, armament and all to Syria, to Egypt, and trained them for the battle of annihilation. Russia was directing the 1973 war against Israel, attacking on Yom Kippur. They had dramatic initial successes. They almost, almost destroyed Israel in 1973. There were a few days there where the fate of the nation was just in delicate balance. Israel received some initial setbacks, severe setbacks. Along the Suez Canal they had established these concrete bunkers, and the Bar Lev line which was considered to be impregnable, much like the Maginot line in France that the German panzers overran in World War II. It was supposed to be a strong bulwark of defense, and surely they'll not be able to conquer the Bar Lev line, but they did.

Up in the Golan Heights, the Syrians had some initial advantages and breakthrough, and they came within one mile of the Golani headquarters. After 1973 the attitude of the Jewish people changed dramatically. They no longer felt invincible. They realized that they were almost destroyed. They realized that their nation, their dreams had almost come to an end. After 1973 there was a much more subdued attitude among the people. We noticed a dramatic change in people that we knew that we had talked to before the 1973 war, and then talked to after the 1973 war. Suddenly this whole feeling of invincibility was gone, and they were afraid. Yet, how God did protect them, and how God did give them victory in 1973.

Now it is interesting to me and significant that the Lord here declares, "Though all of the people of the earth be gathered together against it." Have you heard the U.N. resolutions in the last few years? How that the whole world stands in a resolution to condemn Israel. Even the United States has been voting in some of these resolutions against Israel, condemning them for certain actions, for establishing settlements in the West Bank, for attacking the nuclear reactor in Iraq, and things of this nature. "Though the whole world be gathered together against it." Really, Israel almost stands alone against the world.

The United States, from the time of President Truman, well, even before, has been a staunch ally of Israel. But after the 1973 war, the Arabs found a new weapon, and that was the oil. They began to use it as a political tool for blackmail. They began to influence the foreign policy of the United States dramatically with the threat of an oil boycott. They gave us a sample of what it would be like in 1973 after the war. When we were waiting in the long lines at the gasoline pumps, and they demonstrated to us the power that they had with their oil to bring us to a grinding halt. Since that demonstration, they have been using their oil, raising the prices constantly creating this worldwide inflation and economic woe, and causing us to dramatically alter our relationship with Israel, with the threat that if we support Israel, then they will cut off our oil supplies. We know that the threat is legitimate. We know that if they should cut off the oil supply, it does mean war. Because to survive, we will have to send our forces into the Middle East to take the oil and to force the supply to continue to come.

So the whole thing has changed, and thus, the United States has even moved so many times of late in the world opinion against Israel. So the prophecy is fulfilled, "Though the whole world be gathered together against them." In much of our policy towards Israel we have had to alter the policy, not from our conscience, what we feel is right, but what we are being pressured to do because of the necessity of continued oil supply out of the Middle East.

Now in that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open my eyes upon the house of Judah, and I will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength and the LORD of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like a hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem ( Zechariah 12:4-6 ).

In 1967 that came to pass. Jerusalem was inhabited again in her own place. Jerusalem came again under the authority of the nation of Israel. No longer a divided city, no longer half under the control of the Jordanian government, and half under Israel, but Israel was united and inhabited. And of course, they have since then just expanded the borders and the boundaries of Jerusalem. Even now you go out towards Jericho, after you get past Bethany, and ten miles down the road towards Jericho a huge, vast new housing settlement, part of Jerusalem, and the city of Jerusalem now. Part of it. And they have established over towards Bethlehem all in the territory of what is known as the West Bank. Huge, vast new apartment complexes and industries and all, as they are expanding their hold upon that land. It's all a fulfillment of prophecy.

Now it's hard to... many times when you talk about these things, there are times, unfortunately, that people of Arab extraction feel, "Oh, you're anti-Arab?" No, you're just pro-Bible. You're just saying what the Bible says is going to be. Because I get excited when the Bible is coming to pass doesn't mean that I hate all Arabs, or I am against Jordan, or I'm against any group of people. It just means that I get excited when I see scripture being fulfilled. It doesn't mean that I am justifying Israel in all that she does. I'm just saying that what God said was going to be is happening. I just find that very exciting and fascinating.

The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, and the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah. In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, and as the angel of the LORD before them ( Zechariah 12:7-8 ).

So, again, he speaks of the power that God would give to them as a fighting force. The least of them would be as David. Now David was almost invincible conquering over his enemies. The least of them as David. And the house of David will be as God, and the angel of the Lord will be going before them.

In Deuteronomy, prophesying of this same time, it said, "And one shall put a hundred to flight. And ten shall put a thousand to flight." There's a very interesting book by Chaim Herzog called "The War of Atonement." There's another author Lance Lambert who has written a fascinating book on the Yom Kippur war. I forget; he's written the book it's published in England under one title, and the United States under another title, and I forget the titles of either, but Lance Lambert. But Chaim Herzog, this book "The War of Atonement" goes into great detail concerning many of the battles during this 1973 Yom Kippur war. He tells how that the Syrian armored division had come within one mile of the Golani headquarters, and suddenly stopped their advance. He relates how that when they stopped one mile from the Golani headquarters, there was only one operational tank to defend the Golan Heights against the Syrian advance.

A young twenty-seven year old lieutenant, who, when he heard that the Syrians had attacked, hitchhiked up to the Golani headquarters. He went in and he reported to the C.O. and he said, "I am a tank commander, and if you'll give me some tanks," he said, "I'll go out and see what I can do against this Syrian armor brigade." The C.O. said, "I only have one tank that's operational. If you'll wait for an hour, we ought to be able to get two others ready to go." Zvika helped them to take some of the dead bodies out of the other tanks; they loaded them with fuel, and loaded them with armament. He started out with three tanks, and just about a half mile from the Golani headquarters as they came around the bend, here they saw this whole armored Syrian brigade of about a hundred tanks, thirty personal carriers, and here's Zvika with three tanks. He began to fire, exploding some of the Syrian tanks. He was ordering the tanks on either side which ones to fire at. He was on his headphones and he was directing the battle, and pretty soon he noticed that he wasn't getting much support on either side. So he popped the hatch and looked, and found out that both the tanks that he had had were wiped out, that is, on his flanks. And he was left alone against this whole Syrian armored brigade. So he thought, "This is no place for me." He headed up over the top of the hill.

Now along the tap line route up there in the upper Golan are all these little hills, just rolling hills, and on the other side, sort of a valley. So Zvika began to race his tank up and down on the other side of these hills. He'd come over the top, pick off a Syrian tank, back down, and then race up to another hill, come over the top, pick off another tank, back down. He was racing back and forth behind these hills that go along the tap line, picking off one tank after another, reporting back on his radio, "Zvika's brigade just got another Syrian tank! It's up in flames!"

Back in the Golan headquarters, they were listening to these radio transmissions from Zvika out there, and they thought, "Man, he's got a whole brigade of tanks going out there." They didn't know that he was all alone.

Finally, the Syrians figured he must have had a whole brigade too, because he kept coming over different hills, and they began to retreat. One put a hundred to flight! The least of them was like David. There are stories after stories of things like this that took place. One man in a gun position near Kanitra was accredited with over a hundred Syrian tanks from his stationary position. He held off the whole brigade up in this one section of the Golan near Kanitra.

I went out in the field and I climbed up in these T-62 tanks that scattered all over the field. And the interesting thing to me, right in the center of the armor plate on each of these tanks were these melted metal, the holes that were made by these heat type of projectiles that when they first hit, they just have such tremendous heat they melt the metal, and then they have the second impact that goes inside. They were so powerful they would pop the turrets, and the turrets would be sitting topsy-turvy. Inside the tanks you'd see the uniforms and the helmets, and the glasses and everything else. The guys were just... but this guy, I mean, he was hitting bull's-eyes in every shot. I mean, he wasn't just coming in. I mean, he was hitting dead center on every shot. It's absolutely uncanny to go through that field of tanks out there, and to see these bull's-eyes on every shot. He accounted for some 114 tanks. "I will make the least of them like David, and the house of David like God, and the angel of the Lord before them." Such was the case in 1973 and in 1967.

Such may be the case very soon once again. Israel has a master troops on the Lebanese border. General Itan has warned the PLO that they are ready to strike. Any provocation and they're gonna move in. Of course, there's high tension right now as these Israeli troops are in readiness up in the area of Metulla. I told you this a few weeks ago that this was what they were planning. One division is gonna move up into the Elah Valley to wipe out those san missile sites; the other one is gonna go over to the coast to trap all of the PLO that are in the area of Tyre and Sidon and in southern Lebanon there. They're planning to drive the PLO out of Lebanon. They're planning to drive the PLO on over to Jordan. They are planning, actually, to drive both the Syrians and the PLO out of Lebanon, and then they're gonna turn Lebanon over to the Lebanese people. They're gonna say to the Lebanese leaders, "Here is your nation. You're now free of the PLO. You're now free of the Syrians. Let's shake hands and let's be friends. We're giving you your nation back to you again." That's their plan. Then they plan to make Jordan a Palestinian state and usher over to Jordan all of those Palestinians over in the West Bank who want their own state. Say, "You want it? You can have it. Go over to Jordan and get it." They plan to then annex the West Bank as they did the Golan Heights, and that will comprise the nation of Israel today. If Egypt doesn't like it, they'll take the Sinai back again.

The Lord declares,

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour out upon the house of David ( Zechariah 12:9-10 ),

Now this is going just a little further in the future.

I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one that mourns for his only son, and it shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn ( Zechariah 12:10 ).

So God is gonna pour out His Spirit upon the nation Israel. When is that gonna happen? In Ezekiel chapter 39 it tells us it's gonna happen when God destroys the invading Russian army.

Now I believe, I believe that when Israel moves against Lebanon and drives the Syrians out of Lebanon, that it will bring a full-scale war between Syria and Israel. I believe that a full-scale war between Israel and Syria will bring the involvement of Russia into the Middle East. That Russia will take that as their time to move into the Middle East, and that your whole scenario set for you in Ezekiel 38:0 will be fulfilled at that time. Of course, the interesting thing is that at that time could be very soon as the troops are now amassed. It is not at all impossible that this could happen within the next month or so. That's the thing that just sort of causes you to catch your breath and look at your priorities again. The very fact that the Israeli troops are massed now, they're on the border, they've called up two reserve units. They're poised ready to strike at the first provocation. They've more or less said, "Knock the chip off the shoulder. I dare you." I mean they're ready. It could, it could conceivably all come down, that which the Bible has predicted. For when Russia moves in and God destroys Russia, then the Lord said, "I will pour My Spirit out again upon Israel."

Now here Zechariah tells of the pouring out of the Spirit. Joel tells us of the pouring out of the Spirit. "And I will pour out upon the house of David, the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit, the spirit of grace and supplications."

Now notice that when God pours out His Spirit, the witness of the Spirit is always of the crucified Lord. "They shall look on Him whom they have pierced." Jesus said, "And when the Spirit is come, He will testify of Me." He's not gonna testify of Himself. But, "He will testify of Me." It is the Spirit of God that is constantly pointing people to the cross as their only hope of salvation. The work of the Spirit in your heart is to bring you to the cross of Jesus Christ, to point you to the cross. "And they will look on Him whom they have pierced." In looking at the cross, the Spirit then brings us to repentance, and the mourning for our sins. They shall mourn as for an only son, the firstborn who had been killed, or who had been slain. The great mourning and grieving when the nation Israel realizes that they have rejected the Messiah. When God by His Spirit, opens their eyes to the truth and they realize, "We missed the real Messiah." That mourning, that grieving that will take place within their hearts. For God by His Spirit will open their eyes, and suddenly they will realize the blunder of crucifying the Lord of glory.

So in that day there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon ( Zechariah 12:11 ).

This was when Josiah the king, beautiful popular king, and a very successful king, when he was killed by the Pharaoh Necho in the battle up in Megiddo. There was a tremendous mourning of the people because he was such a popular and successful king. So there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning that took place when Josiah was killed by the Pharaoh Necho there in the battle near Megiddo.

And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan, and their wives; And the house of Levi; and the family of Shimei apart, and their wives; And the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart ( Zechariah 12:12-14 ).

Now this is interesting to me, the family of David. Did you know that there are people today, Jews who are descendants of David living here on the earth? Now they don't know who they are. They don't know that they have descended from David, because the genealogical records have all been lost, or they're no longer kept. It wasn't necessary to keep them after Jesus was born, because once Jesus was proved to be from the line of David, that's all that was necessary. But there are Jews today who actually have descended. Now, God knows who they are. "In the house of David apart, in the house of Nathan." There are descendants of Nathan the prophet who came to David." There are descendants from this guy Shimei, who when Absalom drove David out of Jerusalem was throwing rocks at David, and throwing dust in the air, and giving David a bad time. There are some of his descendants alive today, throwing rocks and giving people bad times. They put blockades up there in Jerusalem, and they have these piles of rocks on the Sabbath day. If you dare to drive by, they'll throw rocks at you. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Zechariah 12". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/zechariah-12.html. 2014.
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