ZECHARIAH-SERIES NR 16
Theme : ON THAT DAY
What would you think or say if you should discover that NOTHING foretold in this chapter, has ever taken place historically?
Well, I can tell you straight out: it has not taken place.
Ever since the Holy Spirit spoke these words through the prophet Zechariah, 5 centuries before the coming of Christ – until today – 2000 years after Christ – there has never been an event like this that involved the nation Israel and the city of Jerusalem. You will not find anything like this in the history books.
Take note: In chapter 12 the Lord promises that there is a great conflict on the way. Jerusalem will defeat all the nations. Jerusalem will be besieged by all the nations. All the nations will gather AGAINST Jerusalem, but they will not prevail. It shall be mounted powers opposing each other: Horses. The horses of the nations shall be blinded. All the nations shall be consumed, but Jerusalem will remain standing! The house of David shall be victorious! The house of David will be like the angel of the Lord. Nations will fall, but Jerusalem will remain standing.
And take note: Everything shall happen ON THAT DAY. Those words run throughout like a refrain: ON THAT DAY. Everything shall happen on one specific day. Somewhere in the future.
When was there ever a conflict as described here? Answer: Never.
Did God then say/promise something and did not keep His word? It is impossible. It is HE who created everything! Almighty. Surely He can bring to fulfilment what He has promised. Right at the beginning, He was the One who stretched out the heavens, who laid out the foundation of the earth (figure of speech of course). The point is: He created everything with immeasurable power and intelligence. That is what it says in verse 1.
Also in verse 1: He forms the human spirit inside of each and every foetus conceived in the womb. The coming together of physical entities is not able to create the SPIRIT. HE places the human spirit inside every unborn baby (see also Eccl 11:5). With each and every conception – a miracle of God takes place: the foetus receives a human spirit. A spirit and soul who can know God. Something no animal has.
If He is the Creator of the universe AND the Creator of the spirit of every human – how on earth then can He not bring His promises to fulfilment?
The answer is that He certainly did bring the promises of chapter 12 to fulfilment and will bring it to a further fulfilment in the future. But not concerning the literal city of Jerusalem and also not in the way we think it should happen.
To understand that, we must find the answer to two questions: 1 > Who/what is this city “Jerusalem“ spoken of here, and 2 > What is meant with ON THAT DAY? What day is it and when will it be?
In everything we know that the NT provides answers to most questions. The Scriptures interpret the Scriptures.
JERUSALEM > It is clear that it is not the literal city in the Middle East that is spoken of here. Also not about all the Jews who live there. That is why it will be in vain to search for – as it is foretold here – a historical moment where all the nations will gather for war against Jerusalem.
We know for example that Jerusalem is part of Judah, but here Judah and Jerusalem are in opposition to one another. Indeed – in the very first sentence of chapter 12 it says that what follows is an Oracle CONCERNING Israel. And yet Jerusalem will remain intact all the way. Why does it not say FOR Israel?
That then brings us to question seriously WHO this Jerusalem and the house of David is?
The answer is in verse 5. It is everyone who place and look for their strength in God Almighty. In other words: It is all truly saved believers who place their hope in the promises of the Lord.
The words in verse 5 must have sounded very odd to the Jews of that time. It says here: The leaders of Judah will say in their hearts: “The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God”. Therefore: the people of Jerusalem are not the same as Judah – not synonymous with the ethnic Jews! Very strange.
But then, who ARE the people of Jerusalem? Answer: Those who can honestly call the Lord Almighty their God!
This Jerusalem – spoken of here – is not a literal city. It is PEOPLE. But not all people. Only the true believers. The saved! And they are intimately connected with the house of David, which points to the Messiah. David was the prefigure of the coming Messiah. The Messiah is the “greater David”.
Zechariah 12 therefore makes a difference between JERUSALEM (all the saved in the Messiah) and the LEADERS AND PEOPLE OF JUDAH (ethnic Jews).
Although the ethnic Jews (people of Judah) are also included in God’s plan. Yes, it is JERUSALEM (the saved who are in the Messiah) that will remain intact all the way, but the people of Judah will also be saved (verse 7).
Ethnic Jews remain part of God’s Divine Plan to the end. He has not forgotten them. Romans 9-11 makes it very clear that among the Jewish nation there are chosen ones who will come to faith and salvation in Christ. And the people of “Jerusalem “ (that is all the believers) must not be superior towards the ethnic Jews. They do not RECEIVE GREATER honour (verse 7). ALL who belong to Christ will be saved. EVERYONE. From the Jews and from the non-Jews. And the Lord gives His Godly protection to this “Jerusalem “ – that is nothing else but His NT Church! And this protection is indispensable, because this Jerusalem is in conflict with the nations. There is no unity. There is resistance and conflict. Because light and darkness do not mingle.
Should one look at this chapter as a whole then it becomes clear: The Lord is predicting a battle, a conflict, a struggle. The nations (unsaved world) AGAINST Jerusalem (the saved in the Messiah). But the victor is already announced. It shall be Jerusalem.
The mistake people make – those who think that Zechariah is talking about the literal city of Jerusalem – and of a literal war of all the nations who will somewhere in the future rise up against Jerusalem – is that they somehow miss the fact that the prophet speaks in irrational terms about Judah, Jerusalem, David etc. He speaks in higher categories than only the literal Judah and Jerusalem and David and so on. It is spiritualized – in the sense that it is spoken about here of a completely different future conflict than an earthly kind of conflict. It is spiritual powers that will come together in opposition to each other. And the victor is already documented here!
How do we know that it is true? We know it from the testimony of the New Testament. Because remember: The New Testament gives – by the power of the Holy Spirit – commentary on the Old Testament.
Keep in mind that this conflict described in Zechariah 12 will take place at a particular TIME. Often it says ON THAT DAY. If we could understand when ON THAT DAY is, we will know when that conflict will take place.
The New Testament tells us exactly when ON THAT DAY is. The NT quotes Zechariah 12:10 twice and give us TWO interpretations that shows us that ON THAT DAY is actually TWO occasions that are separated by at least 2000 years! It is ONE event separated by at least 2000 years and is therefore TWO events!
Verse 10 is the key verse: The Lord God foretells that He will bring a spirit of grace and supplication over specifically the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: They will look on the One whom they have pierced and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child – and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. ON THAT DAY the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad-Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
Literally in the Hebrew text is says: THEY WILL LOOK ON ME THE ONE THEY HAVE PIERCED AND MOURN FOR HIM.
Very important to have the translation correct here, because look at how wonderfully precise the Holy Spirit gave it to Zechariah. Look what is written there. God (Yahweh – God the Father) – who has been the spokesperson from verse 1 – is saying: They have pierced ME and will mourn for HIM (one single male person).
They have pierced YAHWEH, but they mourn for HIM (pointing to someone else)! The One who is pierced, is Yahweh, but calls Himself MY and HIM. It can only be if there are two persons with the Name Yahweh, and secondly if the piercing of the one is the same as the piercing of the other!
Here we see the mystery of the Divine Trinity – where the Lord Jesus is the One who is pierced – but it is as good as if God the Father is pierced. They are ONE God – Yahweh. And yet two separate persons.
How do we know that the HIM spoken of in verse 12 is the Lord Jesus? Because the NT says so.
We read it in John 19:30-37:
“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished”. With that He bowed His head and gave up His Spirit. Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of His bones will be broken“, and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced”.
John 19:3, under the guidance of the same Holy Spirit who had 5 centuries before used Zechariah as mouthpiece, applies Zech 12:10 to the crucifixion of Christ.
And then Revelation 1:7 comes with a further application of Zechariah 12:10 when he refers to the second coming of Christ saying: “Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him”.
Zechariah 12:10 therefore has two fulfilments: a) Christ’s death on the cross b) the second coming of Christ on the clouds of heaven.
Now we have a better idea when “ON THAT DAY” of Zechariah will be and when the conflict between the nations and Jerusalem will take place.
The NT clearly tells us that Zechariah 12:10 is fulfilled at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. Jesus is the HIM of verse 10. The HIM who is also Yahweh and yet someone different from Yahweh. When the Lord Jesus was pierced, God the Father’s heart was pierced. For the salvation of the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. That is everyone who has started to fully place their hope in the Lord Almighty, as it says in verse 5. They will start to place their hope in Him for their eternal salvation by prostrating themselves before Him with repentance and remorse. God himself brings THAT spirit over them (verse 10). It is not something that any unsaved person can come to unless God himself does it all.
The ON THAT DAY therefore does not end at the death of Christ on the cross. It continues all the way to the second coming. The completion of the centuries. When the Greater David appears on the clouds.
ON THAT DAY the nations, peoples, tribes, languages will suddenly realize and know that they have been mistaken all the time. They will SEE Who it is they have pierced with unbelief and scorn and a lifetime of unrepentant disdain. And there will be terrible weeping. Indescribable. But, alas, too late. Proverbs 1:24-28 says that there will come a day and time when people will call to the Lord, but there will be no answer. They will seek, but not be able find.
To summarise: Zechariah 12 is the promise of God about how the true Jerusalem – the NT Church – will be built up and simultaneously be assailed – from Jesus’s death on the cross until His second coming. And God makes this promise 5 centuries before Jesus’s crucifixion. That is how accurately it is foretold.
And an even greater miracle: The entire book of Revelation describes how Zechariah 12 would be fulfilled, because Revelation is nothing other than a description of the conflict between light and darkness – the conflict between the true church and the depraved godless world system. And once more: The winner is already made known. Revelation 17:14 sums up the entire book of Revelation and world history: “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers”. It is particularly THEY who are the true Jerusalem. And Revelation 21 confirms it. The New Jerusalem is PEOPLE. The saved in Christ. Exactly as Zechariah 12 foretold it.
When we therefore read in Zechariah 12 of all the nations that will rise against Jerusalem and the resulting conflict and Jerusalem that will remain intact, we must not look for the fulfilment of it in some historical war, but in the book of Revelation that describes how the Red Dragon (satan) and his helpers – the two beasts and Babylon the prostitute and the kings of the earth and everyone who bears the mark of the beast (that is all the unsaved without Christ) – unceasingly make war against Christ and His church. And how the second coming of Christ will end it all and the dragon and his angels are all cast into the fiery furnace. It is a conflict and end-result which is already documented in Zechariah 12.
The individual and church who uncompromisingly and inexorably take sides with Jesus of Nazareth and the inerrant Word of God, SHALL experience “the nations that rise up against you”. The Red Dragon and his helpers will take notice of you. But, be comforted, you are in the winning team, because the enemy’s end is already documented. Whoever is in Christ, is safe for ever. Even if you have to die a martyr.
Christ is the pierced Messiah. And it is MAN who pierced Him, not the Roman soldiers. And all, all, all, all people are going to grieve over it at some time or another. Grieve bitterly. Some grieve to salvation and others grieve to ruin and hell. But grieving there will be. Zechariah 12 shall be fulfilled to the last letter.
All lost people who end up in eternity without Christ, shall weep and grieve over Christ – because they and their sin have pierced Him and they are then receiving the eternal wages for it. If we believe any of the truth of this, HOW can we not go out and warn people about this?
But there are also those who grieve timeously. BLESSED are those who mourn, Jesus said. Those who realised during their time on earth: “It is I who pierced Him. How I weep over my forlorn state. What didn’t my sin do to the Son of God?“
It is SUCH a person who receives salvation in time and is part of the true Jerusalem, the winning team. May it be true of each one of us.
Translated by Marthie Wilson