James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.Zechariah 9:1-14:21
END THE AGE, OPEN THE MILLENNIUM
It was stated that the first part of the book, chapters 1-8, referred chiefly, though not entirely, to the prophet’s own time. The basis of all the prophecies in that part had a historical relation to the period then present. They were uttered, to encourage the people in rebuilding the temple. And yet there is not one of them that did not take cognizance of the far future. The discourses of this, the second part, deal almost entirely with the future.
It will aid in the understanding of these chapters if we recall a few historical facts. At the date of this book the Medo-Persian was the world- power to which the Jews were subject.
It was followed by the Greeks, and the Greeks by the Romans. During the Roman regime our Lord was crucified and Jerusalem destroyed. The present (i.e., our own time), is an interregnum so far as Jewish national history is concerned, which will continue till Israel is once more in Jerusalem, in covenant with Antichrist and about to pass through the tribulation prior to her final deliverance and blessing. Here are three periods in Jewish history which we may call, the Grecian, the Roman and the final periods. Zechariah, it is believed, treats of each of these in the chapters following.
THE GRECIAN PERIOD (Zechariah 9-10)
You will recall from Daniel that this period begins with Alexander the Great, the notable horn between the eyes of the he-goat. When he crossed from Greece into Asia he swept down the Phoenician and Palestinian coast of the Mediterranean, besieging and capturing Damascus, Sidon, Tyre, Gaza and other cities in south Philistine country. But he passed Jerusalem more than once without harming it. The Jewish historian Josephus explains this by a dream the great monarch had, which was fulfilled by the appearance to him at Jerusalem of the high priest and his train. However this may be, Zechariah 9:1-7 give us the prophetic outline of his career at this time. For the deliverance of Jerusalem which occurred, read Zechariah 9:8.
But now we come to a further illustration of the law of double reference, for the verse which speaks of the deliverance of Jerusalem from Alexander, speaks evidently of another deliverance which can only find fulfillment in the latter times. What shows that this deliverance, thus foreshadowed, is connected with the coming of Christ (Zechariah 9:9)? When were these words fulfilled at least in part? (Matthew 21:5). What shows that their complete fulfillment is reserved for the latter times, or Christ’s second coming (Zechariah 9:10-11)?
Zechariah 9:13-17 are obscure, but thought to refer to the period of the Maccabees who delivered their people for a while from the yoke of the tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes 170 B.C., or thereabouts, while the Grecians represented by him were still in power. However this may be, it is evident from what follows that, as in so many other instances, this deliverance foreshadowed a greater and final one to come.
THE ROMAN PERIOD (Zechariah 11)
Greek supremacy is at an end, and we have reached the Roman period culminating in the rejection by the Jews of the Son of God. The eleventh chapter opens with a scene of judgment (Zechariah 11:1-6). Then follows the cause of it (Zechariah 11:7-14). In Zechariah 11:4 the prophet is commanded to do a symbolic act, and in Zechariah 11:7 he is in the performance of it. What was this act? There will be little doubt after reading the context, that in this act he is the type of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Compare Matthew 9:36, and John 10. What does the Shepherd carry with Him to guide and protect His flock? There is difficulty in the meaning of theses staves unless we adopt that hinted at in Zechariah 11:10 and Zechariah 11:14, where “Beauty” seems to refer to the divine covenant, and “Bands” to the union between the ten tribes and the two.
Who are “cut off” (Zechariah 11:8)? It is supposed that these “three shepherds” stand for the three classes of rulers that governed Israel, priests, prophets and lawyers (Jeremiah 2:8; Matthew 16:21). Our Lord pronounced woes against them (Matthew 23), and when the city was destroyed their rule came to an end. What portion of the flock paid attention to and were fed by the shepherd (Zechariah 11:11)? Compare Matthew 5:3; Matthew 11:25 and 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. How does Zechariah 11:12 point to the rejection of the Shepherd by the flock? What is foreshadowed in the next verse? Who is the prophet commanded to impersonate (Zechariah 11:15)? What person yet to come will answer the description in Zechariah 11:16-17. Can this be any other ultimately than the Antichrist? Read John 5:43.
THE FINAL PERIOD (Zechariah 12-14)
The prophecies in this section of the book are to be fulfilled at the end period frequently referred to. It is the time when Israel is once more in Jerusalem in the national sense, though at first in an unconverted condition.
We saw in Daniel that the Antichrist would at this time enter into covenant with Israel, and afterwards (in the middle of the last seven years), break that covenant. Then “the time of Jacob’s trouble” begins, the nature of which will in part be the combination of the Gentile nations, i.e., the Roman world, against it. Antichrist will be at the head of this combination if we may judge from a comparison of Daniel with Revelation. It is at this point, when the nations are besieging the Holy City, that the “burden of the Word of the Lord” begins (Zechariah 12:1-2).
We cannot outline these chapters in detail, nor is it necessary for those who have perused the earlier prophets in connection with these lessons. A hint here and there will suffice. For example, in this siege Jerusalem will for the first time be victorious (Zechariah 12:2-3); the victory, however, will be of a supernatural character (Zechariah 12:4-8 RV); the conversion of the nation will accompany it (Zechariah 12:10), also Zechariah 13:1, and it will take place coincident with the great tribulation (Zechariah 13:8-9; Zechariah 14:1-3); Christ shall appear to them (Zechariah 14:4); the earth will rejoice (Zechariah 14:9); and especially Judah and Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:10-11); their enemies will be punished, and the millennium will have begun (Zechariah 14:16 if).
1. With what period chiefly, does this lesson deal?
2. Name the world powers of which these chapters treat.
3. Give the story of Zechariah 9:1-8.
4. What illustration of the law of double reference is here shown?
5. Who is suggested as a type of Christ in chapter 11?
6. For whom do the three shepherds stand?
7. To what time do chapters 12-14 refer?
8. Give an outline of their application.