Zechariah Chapter Twelve


Read Zechariah 12:1-2 – A Cup of Trembling


v.1The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.”


            God now turns from the destruction of physical Jerusalem and the removal of the Jewish nation to consideration of his care and protection of its spiritual replacement.  First he declares the unlimited nature of the power behind his word, much similar to that described by Isaiah:


Isaiah 42:5Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:”


Through Isaiah, God had assured Judah that a day would come when his wrath brought by the “BURDEN” of the word or law of God upon Israel would be lifted:


Isaiah 57:16For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.”


He is the father of our spirits, the inner man that he provides for every one of us as the Hebrew writer records in Hebrews 12:9 and he is a benevolent father to those who are his people.


v.2Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.”


            It is the content of this verse that tells us that this chapter pertains to spiritual Israel not the physical city or country.  This again parallels words previously recorded by Isaiah:


Isaiah 51:22-23Thus saith thy Lord the LORD, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again:  23But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.”


            Now we know that there never was a time, nor would there be a time in the history of mankind that occurred after this writing that physical Israel or Jerusalem would be a source of trembling for any nation or people.  They served as vassals to the Medes, Greeks and Romans and eventually were destroyed in AD 70.  But, on the other hand, spiritual Israel, the kingdom of heaven, has always been a force feared, persecuted, trod down by nations of men and yet never destroyed.  It has been under siege since its beginning and still is today.  Why do you think that men who oppose the ways of God work so hard to remove any and all of the references to God in our society that they can?  Is it not because they fear the power of His influence?


Read Zechariah 12:3-5 – A Burden to Her Enemies


v.3And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it


            Spiritual Israel will be a “BURDENSOME STONE” for all people.  Even though they will come against it, they will be “CUT IN PIECES”, they will not be able to overcome it.  We see this also in the prophecy of Daniel:


Daniel 2:44-45And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.  45Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”


v.4In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.”


            In the day of this writing, the nation with the most horses, chariots and warriors usually overcame and ruled others.  But God will protect spiritual Israel.  It will be as though he will strike the, “horses” of their adversaries with fear and their riders with madness, making them uncontrollable for any concentrated purpose.  He will keep his eyes on Spiritual Israel.  Those that come against her will be as those who have gone to war and their war horses have been struck blind; they will not be overcome God’s spiritual kingdom.


v.5  And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be [are]my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.”


            In that day the “GOVERNORS” or “CHIEFTAINS (ASV)” of Israel will recognize that their strength and the strength of the people they oversee is “IN THE LORD” or from God.  Who are the governors or chieftains of God’s people in Spiritual Israel?  Those that God has given the responsibility of their spiritual well-being:


Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”


Under God’s New Covenant there will be new shepherds, shepherds that will replace those condemned in chapter 11, serving under the Chief Shepherd, Jesus the Christ.


Read Zechariah 12:6-8 – Will be Victorious


v.6 “In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.”


            Again we emphasize that physical Judah and physical Jerusalem was destroyed, never to be restored in God’s sight, even though there is a political entity there today that men have created.  There will be no thousand year reign of Jesus from the physical throne of David because Christ will never return to this earth:


I Thessalonians 4:16-18For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”


So just as wood or a sheaf of straw cannot overcome fire, those who come against God’s spiritual kingdom will not be able to overcome the church and will destroy themselves in their efforts to overcome it.


v.7  The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.”


            God will “SAVE THE TENTS OF JUDAH” first.  This parallels a prophecy of Amos;


Amos 9:11In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:”


But both Amos and Zechariah are writing about a spiritual house or temple of God; not one that is physical.  When we consider that the gospel, the good news, concerning the coming of Christ was preached first to the Jews, just as Paul records:


Romans 1:16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”


Even in the very beginning the gospel was preached to Samaria and to the Ethiopian treasurer before it was preached to Cornelius.  Se we see further and even stronger evidence that Zechariah is writing about spiritual Israel, the church.


v.8In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.”


            In the days of God leading Israel from slavery to the land of Canaan he promised to the seed of Jacob he assured them:


Leviticus 26:7-8And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.  8And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.”


And in these things written “WRITTEN AFORETIME”, “FOR OUR LEARNING” we see the nature of God in caring for his people.  The words of the prophet Zechariah continues to assure all men that in the time of the coming of the Messiah and the creation of the kingdom of God that will not change.  Even the feeble, even those who are physically weak, or advanced in age will be as strong as David when he faced the Philistine giant.  We who are growing older can readily see that most often our spiritual strength continues to grow even when age and infirmity robs our physical body of its strength.  We can be as strong as David because the angel of the Lord goes before us and protects us.


Read Zechariah 12:9-14 – They Will Repent and Turn to God


v.9  And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”


            Again the prophet is not writing about physical Jerusalem because it was to be destroyed, removed from the face of the earth.  But God will destroy all nations, all people who come against his spiritual kingdom.  Remember again the words of Daniel concerning the “STONE MADE WITHOUT HANDS”:


Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”


And the words of Jesus:


Matthew 16:18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”


Even the gates of hell, or if you have the more accurate translation, the gates of hades, the abode of the death; will not be able to overcome the church, the kingdom of God.  We can be assured that no matter how bad it gets, how strong our spiritual enemies become; God will not allow His kingdom to disappear; just as it did not disappear during the darkest ages of man’s history.


v.10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”


            God will pour out on “THE HOUSE OF DAVID”, is this another name for the church?  Yes, it is.  Jesus was a descendant of David, we are spiritual descendants of David therefore we are of the house of David, spiritually speaking.

            What is being poured?  It is “THE SPIRIT OF GRACE”, the spirit that God gave by his grace to those who were tasked for carrying out the establishment of the spiritual house of David, the apostles:


Acts 2:2-4And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”


            They will look upon the one that has been pierced.  Again a reference to Christ confirmed by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle John:


John 19:36-37For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.  37And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.”


            And they shall mourn for him.  As children of God how do we mourn for him today?  Through our remembrance of his death:


Luke 22:19-20And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  20Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”


v.11In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.”


            Now the words of the prophet shift from the day of mourning for the death of Jesus to the mourning that will come upon the world at the end of time.  There will be a great mourning in spiritual Jerusalem yes, I fear, even in among those who once became a part of the kingdom of God through obedience to the commandments necessary to have become his children.  This because:


Matthew 24:30-31And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”


The reference to the mourning in the “VALLEY OF MEGIDDON” simply refers to the mourning of Judah for their good king Josiah.


v.12-14And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;  13The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;  14All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.”


            Indeed at that day, the day of the coming of Christ for the second and final time there will be mourning; Jesus teaches his disciple many times lesson such as we find in:


Matthew 8:11-12And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.  12But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


William L. Schwegler, Sunday Morning Adult, Sunset church of Christ, Shreveport, Louisiana; November 8, 2009