The Visions of the Future Zechariah 9-14, cont’d.
Zechariah 9:1-11:17-Events Leading to the First Coming of the Messiah (Rejected by the People), cont’d.
Zechariah 10:1-12-The Ministry of the Messiah
In these verses, Zechariah describes the ministry of the Messiah (Jesus).
Zechariah 10:1-God tells the people that they can ask Him for anything and He is able to provide it.
Zechariah 10:2-3a-We might translate the word, “For”, as “On the other hand”…because God is going to compare what He can do with what false teachers and their gods can do. Why does He do this? Because the people have stubbornly refused to come to Him…instead, seeking help from other sources. The "teraphim" were household gods used by those seeking to determine future events, etc. In verses 2-3, God says that the "shepherds" (worldly leaders) give "comfort in vain"...they give false hope, and false truth...just positive thinking and reinforcement. They do not have a word from God. They are not able to provide the things that the people ask for. As a result, the people wander like sheep that have no shepherd to protect them. This angers God and he is going to punish those that are responsible.
Zechariah 10:3b-4-So, God is going to send them a leader. These verses say that God is going to send a Messiah from the “house of Judah”. He will be like a “cornerstone…tent peg…battle bow...every ruler”.
Though God is displeased with Israel's shepherds, He will raise up the perfect shepherd from and for Judah.
- Jesus is the cornerstone: the foundation, measure, and standard (Isaiah 28:16, Psalm 118:22-23, Matthew 21:42, Acts 4:11, 1 Peter 2:4-5).
- Jesus is the tent peg: holding all things securely (Isaiah 22:23-24).
- Jesus is the leader over every ruler of His people (Revelation 19:16).
Zechariah 10:5-12-God says that He will use Israel to overthrow those who have oppressed them (:5). He will gather the remnant of Israel from all of the lands where they have been dispersed (:6-8). He will restore Israel to glory that exceeds the past (:9-10). The Messiah will dwell in their midst and they will follow Him (:11-12).
Zechariah 11:1-17-The Rejection of the Messiah
Zechariah 11:1-3-Some interpret these verses as a continuation of the prophecy concerning the destruction of the nations as mentioned in 10:5. Others interpret them as a description of the destruction of Jerusalem that will follow the coming of the Messiah.
In dark and figurative expressions, as is usual in the scripture predictions of things at a great distance, that destruction of Jerusalem and of the Jewish church and nation is here foretold which our Lord Jesus, when the time was at hand, prophesied of very plainly and expressly. We have here,
- Preparation made for that destruction (v. 1): "Open thy doors, O Lebanon! Thou wouldst not open them to let thy king in-he came to his own and his own received him not; now thou must open them to let thy ruin in. Let the gates of the forest, and all the avenues to it, be thrown open, and let the fire come in and devour its glory.' Some by Lebanon here understand the temple, which was built of cedars from Lebanon, and the stones of it white as the snow of Lebanon. It was burnt with fire by the Romans, and its gates were forced open by the fury of the soldiers. To confirm this, they tell a story, that forty years before the destruction of the second temple the gates of it opened of their own accord, upon which prodigy Rabbi Johanan made this remark (as it is found in one of the Jewish authors), "Now I know,' said he, "that the destruction of the temple is at hand, according to the prophecy of Zechariah, Open thy doors, O Lebanon! that the fire may devour thy cedars.' Others understand it of Jerusalem, or rather of the whole land of Canaan, to which Lebanon was an inlet on the north. All shall lie open to the invader, and the cedars, the mighty and eminent men, shall be devoured, which cannot but alarm those of an inferior rank, v. 2. If the cedars have fallen (if all the mighty are spoiled, and brought to ruin), let the fir-tree howl. How can the slender fir-trees stand if stately cedars fall? If cedars are devoured by fire, it is time for the fir-trees to howl; for no wood is so combustible as that of the fir. And let the oaks of Bashan, that lie exposed to every injury, howl, for the forest of the vintage (or the flourishing vineyard, that used to be guarded with a particular care) has come down, or (as some read it) when the defenced forests, such as Lebanon was, have come down. Note, The falls of the wise and good into sin, and the falls of the rich and great into trouble, are loud alarms to those that are every way their inferiors not to be secure.
Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Zechariah 11,
Zechariah 11:4-17-God instructs Zechariah to perform a drama. Keep in mind…this is a drama that portrays the First Coming of the Messiah, Jesus…the ministry He will provide and His rejection by the people. Zechariah is to play the part of a shepherd to Israel. As such, he represents the Messiah. As their shepherd, he is good to them...but they ignore him…continuing to show their disdain for Him by the way that they treat each other (:5-6). He made two staffs which represented his good intentions as a shepherd and named them “Favor” (meaning that he will bless them) and “Union” (meaning that he would keep them together, :7). Despite the efforts of the shepherd, the people reject Him. In response, He “annihilated the three shepherds”…
- I dismissed the three shepherds in one month: We know that Zechariah is acting prophetically, but it is hard to identify these three shepherds whom Zechariah hated, and they hated him.
- "The best explanation is probably the oldest, which sees the three shepherds not as three individuals but as three classes of individuals, namely: the prophets, priests, and kings of Israel." (Boice) The offices of prophet, priest, and king were taken away from Israel after the Roman conquest of Judea and have never been restored - because they are now fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
- I will not feed you. Let what is dying die: In bringing judgment by letting the dying die, God merely withdraws His hand of protection. At one time God had a covenant with all the peoples, preventing them from attacking His people Israel. When God decides to break the covenant, His people will be attacked.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Zechariah 11,
He also ended His “covenant” (agreement) with them to protect them…since He was no longer their shepherd (:9-11). This was done symbolically when he broke the staff named “Favor”. Finally, he told them to pay him what they thought his care for them had been worth. They paid him “thirty shekels of silver as my wages” (:12). God instructs him to throw the silver to the “potter in the house of the LORD” (:13).
- Give me my wages: Zechariah is "play-acting" this prophecy, employing himself as a shepherd over a flock. Now he asks his employer for his wages, and they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
- That princely price they set on me: Zechariah speaks sarcastically here. Thirty pieces of silver was not an insignificant amount, but it was the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32). It was the lowest they could pay, and it said to Zechariah "we think of you as a slave."
- This speaks prophetically of Jesus, who was contemptuously betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15 and 27:3) - the price of a slave.
- Matthew 27:9-10 says: Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me." This is a problem because clearly Zechariah records the passage mentioned in Matthew 27:9-10. There are generally three solutions offered for this problem:
- Some think it is an error but not by Matthew - an early copyist made a mistake. Perhaps Matthew wrote Zechariah, but an early copyist put Jeremiah instead.
- Some think that Jeremiah spoke this prophecy and Zechariah recorded it. This may be the word spoken by Jeremiah, but recorded by Zechariah.
- Some think that Matthew refers to the scroll of Jeremiah, which included the book of Zechariah.
- Threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter: Curiously, Zechariah says that the thirty pieces of silver were thrown into the house of the LORD but that they were also given to the potter. This is an exact fulfillment of what Judas did with his thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 27:3-10).
- The money to betray Jesus - His purchase price - went to buy a potter's field (Matthew 27:7). A potter's field was a piece of useless land where he threw his broken, damaged, and rejected pots. Jesus really did purchase the potter's field - the place where broken, rejected, and useless people like us are scattered.
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Zechariah 11,
The next thing that Zechariah did in this drama was to break the second staff, “Unity” in half (:14). This represented the breaking up of the nation of Israel by the Romans and the scattering of the Jews after their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah.
Finally, God tells him to pose once again as a “foolish shepherd” (:15). This represents the shepherds (the government, rulers of earth) that Israel will be subjected to after they reject the Messiah, the shepherd sent by God. Until the day when the Messiah returns at the Second Coming…Israel will largely be under the control of secular governments, world powers (shepherds)…not under the protection of the Shepherd sent by God. These shepherds have no concern for Israel (:16). They use Israel for their own benefit. They have neither the wisdom (“eye”), nor the power (“right arm”) to provide for Israel (:17). Israel’s existence will be tenuous until the Second Coming of the Messiah.
Zechariah 12-14-Events leading to the Second Coming of the Messiah (Received by the People)
Zechariah 12:1-9-The Messiah Returns to Israel
Zechariah now leaps ahead into the distant future. He refers to that time in the future as, "In that day". It is a phrase repeated sixteen times in these three chapters (12:3,4,6,8,9,11; 13:1,2,4; 14:4,6,8,9,13,20,21). It refers to the day when the Messiah will return at the Second Coming (:10). At that time, Israel will recognize Jesus as the Messiah...they will mourn over the fact that they had previously rejected Him…and receive Him as the Messiah.
Zechariah 12:1-This is going to be a word of “burden”…extreme importance. Zechariah reminds them of its importance by clearly identifying that it came from God…and by reminding them that God is sovereign over all things, from the stars in the sky, to the bedrock of the earth, to the very spirit of man.
Zechariah 12:2-9-God is going to use Jerusalem as His instrument of judgment on the very nations of the earth that have been her enemies.
Zechariah 12:10-14-The Messiah is Received by Israel
Zechariah 12:10-14-At that time, Israel will realize that Jesus was the Messiah and that they were responsible for His death. There will be great mourning…from the most significant people in Jerusalem (“Nathan” was David’s son) to the most insignificant (“Shimeites”, cf. Numbers 3:18).
Prayer: Father, it disturbs me to think it is possible for me to deceive myself. For me to convince myself that I am serving You, and following You…when in reality, I am doing what I want. Holy Spirit, please give me clarity. Help me to have Your perspective of me. And then give me the faithful obedience to do what You desire…not what I want You to desire.