May 17, 2011

Minor Prophets XCV: They Will Look On the One They Have Pierced

We see a mood swing between Zechariah 12:1-9 and Zechariah 12:10-14.

Zechariah attempts to encourage God’s covenant people in v.1-9 by first contrasting or showing judgment with ultimate deliverance and blessing. “In that day…” is littered all over this introduction to chapter 12. The oracle focuses primarily on the siege of Jerusalem and the Messiah’s return to destroy or hammer Israel’s enemies thereby establishing His kingdom. This sets the stage for what remains in the book of Zechariah. This needs to be understood as physical deliverance that will happen.

When we move to the latter portions of this chapter we see a state of mourning or lament. We move now to a spiritual deliverance. We see Zechariah deliberately using duplicity with imagery to prove illustrate a picture of for the people and us as a reader of the oracle. Anthropomorphic language is used when the Lord promises a profusion of His Spirit on the covenant people. The recipients will be the royal leaders and people of Jerusalem. We then see that they will “look on me, the one 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”. There will be sadness as they will not have realized their error.

In Zechariah 12:10 we see a famous verse from the Bible used here and in the New Testament.

John 19:37: “…and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

Roman soldiers and Jewish believers were involved in the Lord’s burial. It was not uncommon for victims to linger and hold onto life for days. So the Jewish leaders did everything they could to expedite the death of Jesus and the two thieves. Of course it was really Jesus who was in control. He sent the Spirit away in the ninth hour. The Roman soldiers did not do as commanded which was break Jesus’ legs which would’ve sped up the dying process. Because of Passover. What they did do they did according to the will of God. They pierced the savior. In this way they actually fulfilled two prophecies. No bones were broken when Jesus was crucified and they pierced his side. It is at this point we must leap forward to what appears to be the second advent when God’s people, the Jews will look upon their Messiah and finally recognize Him for who He is. Their Messiah.

We see here in John that the person changes from the first person in Zechariah to the third person Him/One. This mourning will evidently not be because of what happened to Jesus as much as they will probably be convicted of their sin. As it will take the power of the Holy Spirit for them to “come around” the Spirit will more than likely convict them of their sin. The blood and water proved beyond a doubt Jesus’ humanity. He had died a human death. In the Zechariah application it is referred to as the nation’s action of piercing Him or “rejecting” Him.

This phase is also used in Revelations 1:7, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him…”

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