Reading through the Bible together
Zechariah 9 may be divided into 4 parts: 1) judgment upon the nations (9:1-8); 2) first coming of the messianic King (9-12); 3) second coming of the messianic King (13-15); and 4) the blissful state of the redeemed people (16-17).
In the first part, the prophet delivers God’s message of warning to the nations. He lists cities such as Damascus, Tyre, Sidon, etc, representing the nations of the world. They will enrich themselves with silver and gold, but the Lord will consume them with fire.
In the midst of His verdict upon nations, there will be the remnant of these people who will return to the Lord, and will be like Judah and Jerusalem to Him. How amazing! Here we have a glimpse of the heart of God, who yearns for all the nations to come to Him. His promise that oppressors will never trample upon the redeemed is encouraging (vs. 8).
In the second part, verse 9 is quoted by Matthew and John as they depict the scene of Messiah’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Imagine Jesus riding on a donkey’s colt as He enters into Jerusalem. Imagine that in a few days He will be crucified. Imagine the spring breeze of Jerusalem around the Passover time and the multitude spreading the Palm branches and shouting Hosanna. He is the King of kings, but He did not ride on a horse or chariot as a kingly figure, but on a donkey, a symbol of Israel’s king.
Next, Zechariah says that the Lord will rescue us from the waterless pit (vs. 11). The “pit” is where Satan will be confined during the millennium (“bottomless pit” in Rev 20:3). The Lord frees us from the grasp of Satan. He does it through the blood of His covenant. The “prisoners of hope” (vs. 12) refers to the spiritual people of Israel turning toward the heavenly Jerusalem, not just the exiles coming back to their geographical land.
Some Jewish commentators were perplexed because the Bible gives two pictures of Messiah. In Dan 7, it pictures the messianic figure coming on the clouds of heaven. In Zech 9, the Messiah is humble riding on a donkey. Thus, they explained, if Israel is worthy, He will come on the clouds of heaven, but if Israel is unworthy, He will come as the humble person (see the Jewish Talmud Sanh 98a). However, we believers in Jesus understand it correctly as the first coming of Christ and His second coming (Matt 24:30).
The last part of Zech 9:13-15 describes the second coming of the Messiah. The Lord will appear, blow the trumpet, and come with the whirl wind. He will encompass His people and defend them. In that day, they will dwell in peace, quietly as His flock in His presence. We will shine like jewels in His crown! Nothing is greater than His goodness!
We want to thoroughly turn to the Lord. He will come and fulfill these promises, just as He came to fulfill His promise at His first coming, so at His second coming His dominion will be from sea to sea and to the ends of the earth (vs. 10). His reign will cover the entire universe where the evil will be no more. Amen!
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea