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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary
Zechariah 12

 

 


Verses 1-14

HAVING THUS plainly predicted the rejection of the true Messiah and Shepherd, and the consequent raising up, in God's governmental wrath, of the antichrist — the worthless shepherd — the following series of predictions concerning the Jews and Jerusalem, are presented as a 'burden' in the first verse of chapter 12. And indeed a burden must rest upon the spirit of the reader as we begin that chapter. The way Jehovah presents Himself is very remarkable. The heavens, the earth, and man himself, have all been formed by Him: and in particular, 'the spirit of man', for that is the highest part of man's composite being — the part where man's sinful rebellion against God is most sadly manifested. In the end of the prophecy we shall find man's spirit subjugated and restored.

Here however Judah and Jerusalem are in question, and we learn how they will come into prominence and all the nations of the earth be involved in the controversy; for the word 'people', occurring three times in verses Zechariah 12:2-3, is really in the plural — the peoples or nations. As we write the earth is full of disputes, yet there is no darker spot of contention than the little land of Palestine. Many worldly observers fear it may yet become 'the cockpit of the nations.' That it will become just that, is plainly declared in these two verses.

When that hour arrives, God's dealings with Jerusalem will reach their climax, as the opening of Zechariah 14:1-21 declares; but here the point is that the nations will come under judgment. When they besiege it, they will find it a cup of 'trembling', or 'bewilderment', for nothing will proceed as they vainly imagine. It will also be a 'burdensome' stone, far beyond their power to lift or to carry. At last God will be acting for and with His people, and so the whole situation will be transformed. Verse Zechariah 12:3 begins, 'And in that day... ' Another 'day' is going to dawn, and the phrase, 'in that day', occurs again in verses Zechariah 12:4, Zechariah 12:6, Zechariah 12:8, Zechariah 12:9; Zechariah 12:11. It is the 'day of the Lord', of which other prophets have spoken.

In that day God will act in judgment upon the nations, but will open His eyes upon Judah, just as Jesus turned and opened His eyes upon Peter, after his sad denial, which started the work of repentance in his heart. Later in our chapter we shall find a very deep work of repentance produced in Israel. But for the moment what the prophet brings before us is the fact that in spite of all the failure and faithlessness that had been marking the people, God would at the end make good His word in their deliverance and blessing. This is ever His way, as we may realize with thankfulness. All the evils that have marked the professing church, and the failures that have marked us, who are true saints of the Lord, will not hinder Him, in making good His purpose.

So, as verses Zechariah 12:5-8 declare, God will do a remarkable work in Judah, making them like a fire in the midst of the nations, and giving them precedence over the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The reason for this may be that the people of Jerusalem were always inclined to pride themselves on their privileges, with the temple in their midst, as we see in such Scriptures as Jeremiah 7:4, and Micah 3:11. All false pride will have to be brought low in that solemn hour. Yet God will look upon them in power and blessing, as verse Zechariah 12:8 declares. In that day truly, 'the house of David' will be 'as God'; for He who came 'of the seed of David', by His incarnation, is none other than the Son of God, as Romans 1:3 so plainly states, and He will be manifested in glory.

As a result of this the nations that come against Jerusalem in that day will be destroyed, and His glorious manifestation will produce the great work of profound repentance that is foretold in the closing verses of the chapter. It will come to pass when, 'they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced', and have their eyes opened to discover who He is. This explains how it will come to pass that as Psalms 110:1-7 says, 'Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power.' They were unwilling and rejected Him in the day of His poverty, of which the closing verses of Psalms 109:1-31 speak: nor have they been willing in the day of His patience, with which Psalms 110:1-7 opens. In the day of His power they will see in glory the One whom they pierced, with tremendous result in their consciences and hearts.

Repentance, as ever, is an intensely individual matter. 'The spirit of grace' will move them, and all thought of deserving anything as under law will be abandoned. A century or so before they had mourned deeply in the 'valley of Megiddon' over the untimely death of Josiah, but now there will be a mourning extending over the whole land, and of such depth that everyone has to be in solitude before their God. Of old, Nathan had to come to David and convict him of grievous sin, saying, 'Thou art the man!' but now the house of Nathan has to be apart in their own sorrowful self-judgment. Simeon and Levi once were brethren, acting together in an act of cruelty, as Genesis 49:5 indicates, but now their families will be apart, bowed in self-judgment before their God.

Repentance always precedes blessing. It is so as the Gospel is preached today. This fact, we fear, has hardly had its due weight with many of us today. Our commission is that, 'repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations' (Luke 24:47). Have we too lightly skipped over the 'repentance' in our desire to arrive at the 'remission of sins'? By all means say frequently, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' But always remember that was the brief word that Paul gave to a repentant man, and not to a careless sinner.

 


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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbh/zechariah-12.html. 1947.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 25th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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