We saw yesterday that the two oracles that conclude the book of Zechariah follow a very similar trajectory, with one major difference. While the first oracle (chapters 9–11) ends with a prophecy of Messiah rejected, the second oracle (chapters 12–14) ends with a prophecy of Messiah reigning.
We noted also yesterday that these chapters contain some of the most concentrated messianic prophecies in the entire prophetic corpus. The first oracle contained at least two direct prophecies of Christ. The second oracle contains at least two more direct prophecies.
In 12:10, we find a prophecy of the crucifixion: “When they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” In 13:7, Zechariah prophesies the disciples abandoning Jesus at his arrest: “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones.” Quite aside from the direct prophecies, however, the oracle is decidedly Christ-focused.
Yesterday, we noted the words of Warren Wiersbe, who observed that Bible scholars are divided in their interpretations of the prophecies in these chapters. That is perhaps nowhere truer than when it comes to chapter 14. After warning Israel’s enemies of coming judgement (12:1–9), he promises that Messiah will come (12:10–14) and then prophesies Israel’s restoration through Messiah (13:1–9). This restoration will be accomplished through Messiah’s own death (13:7–9). But, unlike the first oracle, Zechariah does not leave things there.
Zechariah 14, as I have suggested, is one of the most hotly debated prophecies in all Scripture. It speaks of a coming day of the Lord in which God will gather nations against Jerusalem to battle, to disastrous effect: “the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped.” But then “the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle” (vv. 1–3). God will come in judgement to the defence of his people “and the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one” (v. 9).
Though many understand this as a prophecy of Christ’s second advent, it is at least as plausible, if not more than plausible, to view it as a prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70. Regardless, the primary thrust of the prophecy is clear: “The LORD will be king over all the earth.” The Messiah, rejected by the world and crucified, would reign. His piercing would not be the end. His resurrection, and his ascension to his throne, is implied in this prophecy.
But it is to the posture of the reigning king that I wish to direct attention this morning. In vv. 1–3, we find the Lord, first, fighting against Jerusalem before, second, fighting against the nations that he brought against Jerusalem. The fascinating principle here is that the Lord is not on Israel’s side in an unqualified way. He is as willing to fight against them as he is to fight for them. When they submit to his reign, he will fight for them. When they rebel against his reign, he will fight against them.
A similar theme is found in Joshua 5, where Joshua encountered the commander of the Lord’s army. When he asked whether the commander was an ally or an enemy, the commander replied, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD” (Joshua 5:13–15). He was emphasising that he would fight for those on the Lord’s side—Jewish or otherwise—and against those opposed to the Lord—Israelite or otherwise. The same truth is communicated in Zechariah 14. And how do you know whether you are on the Lord’s side? By how you submit to his reign.
This final oracle places before us a challenge: Will we submit to the Lord’s reign? If we will, he will fight for us. If not, he will fight against us.
As you meditate this morning on Zechariah 12–14, ask yourself a simple question: Am I for or against the Lord? Do you submit to his reign? If so, rejoice that he is for you. If not, beware that he is against you. Submit to him today and embrace him as your ally rather than your enemy.