Zechariah Chapter Nine

 

Read Zechariah 9:1-8 – God Will Defend His Kingdom

 

v.1-2The 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.  2And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise.”

 

            The word “BURDEN” in this context represents judgment.  The judgment of the “WORD OF THE LORD” will be brought upon the cities and regions that are named.  Hadrach, Damacus (a location we readily recognize) and Hamath all refer to locations in the country of Syria.  Syria was the original home of the Hittite people, later the Syrians and had been an enemy of Israel for centuries.  It was basically destroyed by Assyria about 200 years previous to the writing of this book but would be destroyed again at a future time.  We find further proof of this in the prophecy of Jeremiah:

 

Jeremiah 49:23Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.”

 

            Tyrus and Zidon refer to the two Phoenician cities located just north of the original boundaries of Israel.  We have no scriptural record of enmity between either Tyre or Zidon and Israel, in fact they were allies of David, Solomon and Ezra furnishing materials for the building of both the first and second temple.  This is probably the reason that they were considered to be “VERY WISE”.  However, perhaps due to their pagan idolatry or perhaps due to their potential danger to Judah they would suffer God’s judgment as prophesied in both Zechariah and Ezekiel.

 

Ezekiel 28:21-22 Son of man, set thy face against Zidon, and prophesy against it, 22And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon; and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her.”

 

v.3And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets.”

 

            The people of Tyre and Zidon were the Phoenician peoples, the merchants, seamen and traders of the Mediterrean Sea.  Consequently they had accumulated great wealth and had few enemies.  Tyre, or Tyrus had indeed built a stronghold on an island in their harbor and Joshua calls it a “STRONG CITY” (Joshua 19:29) even at the time of the Exodus.  Their stores of silver were like the dust of the earth and their fine gold was a plentiful as the “MIRE OF THE STREETS” of a great city.  They provided much of the gold and silver used in the construction of Solomon’s temple (I Kings 10) and Ezekiel describes them this way:

 

Ezekiel 27:33When thy wares went forth out of the seas, thou filledst many people; thou didst enrich the kings of the earth with the multitude of thy riches and of thy merchandise.”

 

v.4Behold, the LORD will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.”

 

            Tyrus or Tyre would see her sea power destroyed and then would be burned.  The prophet Ezekiel, who prophesied to the Jews in captivity in Babylon records that:

 

Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.” Ezekiel 28:18

 

Secular history records that Tyre was destroyed by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, about 200 years after the time that Zechariah is writing.  The island upon which the principle city was built was heavily fortified and stood for seven months before being taken.  Alexander had to build a causeway from the mainland to the island in order to capture her.

 

v.5-6Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.  And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.”

 

            Who/what were Ashkelon, Gaza and Ekron?  They were cities of the Philistine nation, arch enemies of Israel located between Judah and the Mediterrean Sea.  Early in our study we should remember the prophecy of Amos that declared that these cities would be destroyed, Gaza by fire (Amos 1:6-8) and we find this warning repeated by Zephaniah:

 

Zephaniah 2:4-54For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.  5Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.”

 

They would be ruled by someone who was not a Philistine or someone that was only part Philistine because the power of the Philistines would be broken.  At the time that Philip preached to the Ethiopian “THE WAY THAT GOETH DOWN FROM JERUSALEM UNTO GAZA WHICH IS DESERT” tells us that even at that time this area was not heavily populated and was “DESERT”.

 

v.7And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite.”

 

            This country of Philistia was destroyed but during and following the time of Christ there were again cities in this region.  Joppa, where Cornelius sent for Peter, is located just north and a little west of Ekron.  After going down toward Gaza, the southern most of these cities and the conversion of the Ethiopian; Philip is found at Azotus which is the first century name for the city of Ashdod.

 

Acts 8:40 “But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.”

 

So we’re told that Philip preached in “ALL THE CITIES” of that region and apparently through his efforts many were converted to Christ.  Hence the prophet can foretell that God “WILL TAKE AWAY HIS BLOOD OUT OF HIS MOUTH” and that “HIS ABOMINATIONS” would be removed and “EVEN HE” or even these who were once enemies of God “SHALL BE FOR OUR GOD.”

 

v.8And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.”

 

            As we noted at the beginning God will protect and defend his kingdom against all enemies both carnal and spiritual.  It will be as though God is camped around the mountain of Zion, the city of Jerusalem, the seat of the new kingdom given to his son Jesus Christ.  Zechariah has written earlier that:

 

For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.”  Zechariah 2:5

 

Isaiah writes that”

 

“In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” Isaiah 54:14

 

And the prophet Joel in his chapter concerning God’s judgment:

 

Joel 3:17So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”

 

Read Zechariah 9:9-11 – Rejoice; The Christ is Coming

 

v.9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

 

            Now the prophet enters into one of the plainest and most understandable prophecies of the coming of Christ that can be found.  A king is coming unto Zion, unto Jerusalem just as David prophesied calling him “MY LORD”, one who would also be a priest after the order of Melchizedek:

 

Psalms 110:1-4The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.   2The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.   3Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.   4The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”

 

He will be the “JUST” one:

 

Zephaniah 3:5The just LORD is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.

 

He will be meek and lowly at heart, humble a servant to all mankind:

 

Isaiah 57:15For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

 

His entry into Jerusalem to become our passover sacrifice would be made in triumph.  And it was a triumph.  We remember the account of this entry of Jesus into Jerusalem with the multitudes cheering and spreading palm fronds before him.  It is even remembered by people in today’s world by a special religious holiday called Palm Sunday.

 

John 12:12-14 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.  14And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,”

 

 

v.10And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.”

 

            The means of finding ultimate peace will be brought to the earth, the peace given by God through his grace to his people will become available to all men if they would but chose to accept it and:

 

And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.” Haggai 2:22

 

“AND HE SHALL SPEAK PEACE UNTO THE HEATHEN”, all nations will be brought together under his rule:

 

Micah 4:2And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

 

He will rule over all of the earth from sea to sea and from the deepest river to the highest mountain; as David prayed that Solomon would enjoy:

 

Psalms 72:8He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”

 

God will no longer rule over his people directly, as in the times of the patriarchs and the prophets; taking them to carnal warfare and intervening in their physical activities.  God people will not constitute a physical nation but rather a spiritual nation or people.  A spiritual kingdom ruled by the law of Christ, the New Testament, by his Son from His right hand in heaven.

 

v.11As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.”

 

            “BY THE BLOOD OF THY COVENANT”; throughout the history of mankind blood has been required to seal a covenant with God, to atone for sin under the old law, to provide remissions of sins under the new.  That was true under the old law:

 

Exodus 24:8And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.”

 

            The blood of a perfect lamb was required to provide this cleansing under the new covenant:

 

Hebrews 9:14-15How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  15And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. “

 

And what is the “PIT WHEREIN is NO WATER”?  The pit of hell were the devil is bound and his followers will reside in eternity, that pit that is such that even in Hades before Judgment the rich man begged:

 

And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Luke 16:24

 

Those who are sanctified by the Blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ will be removed, taken from or kept from that “PIT WHEREIN is NO WATER.”

 

Read Zechariah 9:12-17 – Victory in Jesus

 

v.12Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;”

 

            The prophet says “TURN YOU TO THE STRONG HOLD”, where or what is the “STRONG HOLD”?  It is Zion, fortified by the presence of God as described in verse 8.  In Joel we read:

 

The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength (a stronghold, ASV) of the children of Israel.” Joel 3:16

 

How are they or we “PRISONERS OF HOPE”?  Hope is our anchor. Hope, fortified by faith, is that by which we have bound ourselves to Jesus Christ.  If we are truly committed to God and faithful we are as prisoners bound with no intent or desire to escape but only to remain such throughout eternity.  Look the words of the Hebrew writer:

 

Hebrews 6:18-19That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:  19Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;”

 

As children of God we have double blessings.  We have the providential blessing that God provides to all of his creation and we also have the spiritual blessings of being his chosen people, his royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).  Isaiah described the blessings of being in Christ:

 

Isaiah 61:6-7But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.  7For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.”

 

v.13When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.”

 

            The double blessings promised to the children of God will come about “WHEN I HAVE BENT JUDAH”, when God has “FILLED THE BOW WITH EPHRAIM” and “RAISED UP THY SONS” of Zion.  These will then be sent against the “SONS” of “GREECE”.  Understanding that these are words of prophecy; they are symbolic in nature because we know that Judah never successfully rose up against Greece nor were they able to sustain themselves for very long against any other world power.  They did gain some measure of independence under the Maccabees but only because the Greek empire had come apart and the Roman Empire was yet to be established.

            Consequently this verse relates to the coming of the kingdom of Christ.  A parallel is found in a psalm to the “Chief Musician”, a portion of which reads:

 

Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.  3Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.  4And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.  5Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.“ Psalms 45:2-5

 

The sword and arrows that are described here are the same two edged sword we find in:

 

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 

v.14-15And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the LORD God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.  The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar.”

 

            God will be over them, just as God had earlier promised to be as a wall around Zion, the power of God will keep his children.  If danger arises God will sound the alarm and “GO WITH THE WHIRLWINDS OF THE SOUTH.”  In the history of Israel these whirlwinds were symbolic of the wrath of God coming against them. 

 

Isaiah 21:1The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.”

 

But in Zechariah it is representative of the wrath of God coming against those who oppose the kingdom of Christ.

 

v.16And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.”

 

            The crowning blessing that God will provide through the victory of Christ over the world is salvation.  God’s grace and salvation by their obedience will be given to all men just as Isaiah prophesied:

 

Isaiah 11:11-12And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.  12And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

 

Those who are saved are depicted as jewels in the crown of Christ, those that God will spare from certain destruction from his enemies:

 

Malachi 3:17And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.’

 

 

v.17For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.

 

            Zechariah is recording in prophetic language the goodness and greatness of God.  In the words of David:

 

Psalms 31:19Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!”

 

And as recorded by Joel:

 

Joel 3:18And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.

 

God through his power will indeed provide for his people far beyond what man’s finite imagination can devise or picture.  Just as Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 64:4 and Paul repeats in his first letter to the church in Corinth:

 

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Corinthians 2:9

 

William L. Schwegler, Sunset church of Christ, Shreveport, Louisiana; September 13, 2009