The Book of Zechariah
EVENTS SURROUNDING THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
1. We are now beginning the second burden (12:1; cf. 9:1), which will take us to the end of the book of Zechariah.
2. This is one of the most important sections in all of the prophetic Scriptures.
3. Notice the phrase “in that day” (12:3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11; 13:1, 2, 4, etc.). It is used 16 times in these three chapters and refers to “the day of the Lord,” when Christ comes back to earth to set up His millennial kingdom.
4. The great theme of chapters 12-14 is the day of the Lord. It is obviously not a literal 24-hour day for all of the events described by Zechariah and other prophets preclude the possibility of their happening in a 24-hour day.
5. The day of the Lord is a technical term, and in the context of Zech.12-14 it refers to the prophetic events surrounding the second coming of Christ. It will commence at the rapture and extend through the tribulation period and the millennial kingdom.
6. Some of the important prophecies taught in chapter 12 are:
I. THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON (12:2, 3, 9). Note “the valley of Megiddon” in 12:11.
II. THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL (12:7, 8). Jerusalem is mentioned 10 times in this chapter. David is mentioned 5 times.
III. THE REPENTANCE OF ISRAEL (12:10-14)
I. THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON (12:1-6)
1. This passage of Scripture is usually either ignored or dismissed. Most Christians are unfamiliar with it.
2. But the omnipotent God “which stretcheth forth the heavens” considers it very important (12:1).
3. A number of years ago, there was an English physicist, mathematician, and astronomer named Sir James Jeans. He advanced a theory that the universe was actually growing and had been stretched millions of miles in every direction (12:1).
4. The symbol of the cup of God’s wrath is found often in the Bible (12:2; cf. Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:22, 23; Rev. 14:10; 16:19).
5. The “cup of trembling” (12:2) is a goblet of wine that causes the people to stagger in confusion. They will attack Jerusalem but will discover that it is “a burdensome stone” that will cut them in pieces (12:3).
6. This is a description of the battle of Armageddon (12:2, 3; cf. Rev. 16:13-16). It is the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7), the great tribulation (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21).
7. Daniel describes four great alliances that will converge on Jerusalem (Dan. 11:36-45). This will culminate at the second coming of Christ (Zech. 14:1-4; Rev. 19:11-19).
8. This judgment concerns not only the city of Jerusalem. But all of Israel (note “Israel” in 12:1 and “the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem” in 12:2; cf. Rev. 14:19, 20).
9. The prophets always saw future battles in terms of contemporary weapons (12:4). 2,500 years ago no one would have understood aircraft carriers or guided missiles or nuclear submarines, etc.
10. God “will smite every horse” (twice in 12:4). When the horse goes blind and the rider is mad, you have utter chaos and confusion. The last days preceding the return of Christ will be marked by confusion and lawlessness – militarily, politically, morally, and religiously.
11. Zechariah uses two colorful similes to describe Israel’s victory over her foes: “like an hearth of fire among the wood” and “like a torch of fire in a sheaf” (12:6). Like a raging fire, Israel shall devour all of her enemies. This is because her strength will be “in the Lord of hosts their God” (12:5).
12. Despite attacks from the right and the left, “Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem” (12:6).
II. THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL
1. A number of years ago, one of my brothers moved into Manhattan. I was quite surprised to hear him make a snobby remark about “bridge and tunnel people.” When I lived down in Virginia, I met plenty of people who disliked “Yankees.” And of course, northerners are always looking down upon southerners, calling them “hillbillies, rednecks, hicks,” etc.
2. It was like that in Bible times too. God did not want the inhabitants of Jerusalem to “magnify” or exalt themselves against the rest of the people of Judah, so He saved the “tents of Judah first” (Zech. 12:7).
3. The Lord is going to defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem (12:8). They will not need the US or the UN or the European Market. In fact, these “fair weather friends” will double cross them and attack them (cf. Zech. 12:3; 14:2).
4. The result of God’s protection will be that even the feeble shall be like David, the great military hero (12:8). Up until fairly recently, the greatest leaders in world history have been great soldiers – Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, George Washington, Napoleon, et al. David was a great soldier and worthy to be listed with these mighty conquerors.
5. All the nations of the world will unite to fight against Israel. But the Lord “will seek to destroy” them (12:9). Today, He is here to “seek and to save,” but “in that day” He will “seek to destroy.”
III. THE REPENTANCE OF ISRAEL
1. First, Zechariah says that God will assemble all nations against Jerusalem. This seems to be in judgment because of their rejection of Messiah and reception of the antichrist, the “foolish shepherd” (Zech.11).
2. Then Zechariah describes how God will deliver Israel from her enemies (12:9). But in 11:6b, He said that He would “not deliver them.” What brought about this change?
3. The answer is found in the last five verses of chapter 12 and the first five verses of chapter 13 – repentance.
4. The chastened remnant will be saved through a vision of the crucified Messiah (12:10). There will be a national conversion (12:11-14).
5. Romans 11:26 and 27 says, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
6. “When they thus learn that He who was spurned as a malefactor and a blasphemer was really the Lord of glory, their grief and repentance will know no bounds” (H.A.I.).
7. This nation-wide repentance will result in a thorough purging of idolatry, demonism, and all false religion (13:1,2). Wouldn’t that be wonderful if we could see that happen here in our demon-crazed land?!
8. God will pour out His Holy Spirit “upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (12:10).
9. Ezekiel 39:29 says, “Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD” (cf. Joel 2:27-32).
10. Mourning for one’s “only son” signifies deep grief and mourning (cf. Amos 8:10).
11. This great mourning in Jerusalem is compared to the mourning when King Josiah died in the valley of Megiddon (12:11; cf. II Chron. 35:22-27).
12. Families will mourn together – repenting bitterly over their spiritual blindness in rejecting their Messiah (12:12-14).
1. This is an exciting prophecy concerning the second coming of Christ. The interpretation is for the Jews – but the application is for everyone.
2. The same word “look” (12:10) is used in Numbers 21:8. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”
3. That’s the look that saves. Our Lord said in John 3:14 and 15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
4. And the same thought is expressed in Rev. 1:7, where John says, “and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” Here the application and the interpretation are both for “all kindreds of the earth.”
5. Don’t wait until Christ comes back to repent. You might not have the opportunity to do so – do it now while God gives you the opportunity.