Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.II. The Second Burden of Zechariah (12-14)
1. Jerusalem’s conflict and victory (Zechariah 12:1-9)
2. The vision of the pierced One and its results (Zechariah 12:10-14)
Zechariah 12:1-9. The second burden begins with this chapter. It is wholly unfulfilled with the exception of the prophecy at the end of chapter 13 concerning the Shepherd who was smitten. The great future events recorded in these closing chapters of Zechariah are the following: The victory of Jerusalem, the overthrow of the hostile nations from the west (the nations which constitute the revived Roman Empire), the outpouring of the Spirit upon the remnant, the appearing and the vision of the Pierced One, the national repentance, the cleansing of the people, the invasion from the north, the appearing of Christ standing upon the Mount of Olives, the establishment of the kingdom and the glory of Jerusalem. Historically no such gathering of all nations against Jerusalem can be located. It is all prophetic, and so intensely interesting in the days we write, for these things are “about to come to pass.”
Behold, I make Jerusalem a cup of reeling To all the nations round about: Upon Judah also shall it be, In the siege against Jerusalem. And it shall come in that day, I make Jerusalem A burdensome stone for all the peoples; All that are burdened with it shall be wounded; All the nations of the earth shall gather against it.
This does not take place till the end of the age is reached, the end which begins after the true Church is taken to glory. Then the nations satanically blinded will form the confederacy which in prophecy is the reconstruction of the Roman Empire, seen in the second chapter of Daniel under the symbol of the two feet and ten toes, and in Daniel 7:1-28 under the symbol of the ten horns with the little horn. In Revelation 13:1-18 it is the beast with the ten horns. The Jews will have to return first, at least a goodly number of them, and repossess the city.
In 1899 the author wrote as follows: “An exodus of Jews will take place, the land will become theirs, and the well laid plans and schemes of the present time will be carried out. Political combinations will be their chief hopes for success.” This anticipated return is now a historic fact as one of the chief results of the great war (WWI). When finally the Jews think that they have reached the goal of their fleshly, unbelieving hopes, their greatest trouble begins. There is yet to appear the beast who makes a covenant with them. But according to Daniel’s great prophecy Daniel 9:1-27 the covenant will be broken in the middle of the seventieth week. Then the beast heads the armies of the nations to come up against the land and against Jerusalem (see Revelation 19:19). They will lay siege to the city, but the Lord announces that these nations shall be cut to pieces. It is the time when the stone strikes the feet of the prophetic image in the second chapter of Daniel, the great battle of Armageddon. Zechariah 12:4-9 describe that day. Jehovah will smite these nations and all these hostile forces will be overthrown.
Here also is given the order of how the Lord will save the remnant of His people. Those who live in tents outside the city will be saved first; Jerusalem comes next. The purpose is that the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not exalt themselves over the rest of Judah. The house of David in this vision is mentioned five times. We have the glory of the house of David in verse seven, the strength of David and the supremacy of it in verse eight. The spirit of grace and supplication is given to the house of David, and the family of the house of David will mourn. Jews have a tradition which states that the last descendant of the house of David died in Spain centuries ago. There are no genealogies at present to prove that the kingly house of David is extinct or not, but the prophecies like the one we have in consideration, and many others which speak of the prominence of David and the house of David in the day when Jehovah will be manifested, make it very clear that among the wandering sons of Israel there are yet lineal descendants of the house of David. If they do not know it themselves, Jehovah knows it, and they will know it through Him. The feeble ones, literally the stumblers, among His people in that day of manifestation will be like David. What a hero David was! A man of war and strength conquering always and never conquered. And now the stumbler in Israel, the weakest one, will have strength and courage like David. And David shall be as God, as the angel of Jehovah before them.
Zechariah 12:10-14. This is another great Messianic prophecy mentioned in the New Testament. In John 19:37 it is written, after the blessed side of our Lord had been pierced, “And again another Scripture saith, They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” It is significant that the Holy Spirit speaking in the preceding verse, “that the Scripture be fulfilled,” avoids this well known phrase in the verse we quoted and does not say that the looking on Him has been fulfilled. It was not then fulfilled, nor is it fulfilled during the age of Gospel preaching, but its fulfillment comes in the day which is prophetically described in the verses before us. Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7 refer also to this portion of our chapter.
We do not follow the rationalistic reasonings of the school of criticism on this passage, nor do we mention the many question marks which these modern infidels have put over against this great prophecy. One of the mildest critics, Canon Driver, says: “The passage is, however, one of those which our ignorance of the circumstances of the time makes it impossible to interpret as a whole satisfactorily or completely. As the text stands the speaker must be, of course, Yahweh, and it is, no doubt, true that the Jews had pierced Him metaphorically by their rebellion and ingratitude throughout their history.... ‘They pierced Him literally as the crowning act of their contumacy, in the Person of His Son on the cross’ (T.T. Perowne; quoted by Driver), but these considerations do not explain the passage here.” The New Testament quotations as given above are to any believer sufficient evidence that the Lord Jesus Christ is meant, and therefore explain the passage fully.
What a day it will be when the Spirit of grace and supplication comes upon the remnant of His people, when He appears in the clouds of heaven, when they shall see Him and know Him by the pierced side. The great vision of Saul on the road to Damascus will then be repeated; the young Pharisee saw Him as one “born out of due season.” He was in his experience the earnest that the remnant of the nation to which Paul belonged would some day pass through the same experience. (See Studies in Zechariah, pp. 120-125.) A great mourning follows. It will be like the mourning in Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddon 2Chronicles 35:22-27; 2Chronicles 35:1-27 :2Kings 23:29. What a day of repentance it will be when this takes place.