“Rejoice greatly . . . see, your king comes to you”.

We are now in the season of Advent in the Christian calendar, and the words in the title above, from Zech 9.9, sum up the meaning of the season.  Advent – the word means, “to come” or “to arrive” – is popularly thought of as the countdown to Christmas, when we celebrate Jesus Christ’s coming to us, being born to the virgin Mary by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.  But in Advent we also remember that Jesus promised to return – his second coming – and at that coming he will take his throne in Jerusalem as king over the whole earth.

Zechariah ch 11 to 14 contains prophecies of both Christ’s first and second coming.  His focus is on God’s historic people Israel and their physical and spiritual restoration, of which he had received a taste in the return to Jerusalem of some of the Jewish exiles from Babylon and their rebuilding the temple.  He foresaw that the people would reject the shepherd that God would send to them,  that is Jesus Christ at his first coming.  But as this age closes and Jerusalem is attacked by all the nations, the people would realise whom they had pierced – Jesus in his crucifixion – and would come to real repentance, faith in their Messiah, and spiritual cleansing.  Chapter 14 closes with the Lord’s coming to Jerusalem, to deliver the city and its people and to reign as king over the whole earth – a detailed prophecy of Christ’s second coming.

But Zechariah’s message is not for the Jews, God’s historic people, only.  It is for all of us, whatever our racial origin.  Will each of us reject the Shepherd – guide, leader and Saviour – he has sent us, whose coming we celebrate this Christmas?  If so, awful consequences await us as they did them.  Or will we welcome him as our Lord and Saviour as his second coming draws near and be among those who will rejoice when he returns to earth to reign as King?

To explore Zechariah’s message in more detail, click the link below.

Zechariah commentary ch 11-14 v2

JIM SHAW

(A member of Findern Methodist Church, Derby)

4 thoughts on ““Rejoice greatly . . . see, your king comes to you”.

  1. VG

    “But then a second shepherd is prophesied (11.15ff), but in contrast a foolish, i.e. wicked, and worthless one, who will afflict further the flock, i.e. the people of Israel.”
    Jim, Disappointing that you affirmed that the flock is the people of Israel without taking into account our Lord’s words “…there shall be one flock and one shepherd” and Paul’s “Consequently, you (ie gentiles) are no longer foreigners and aliens but fellow citizens with God’s people”. The Jew/gentile wall has been demolished by Christ. Let us not try to rebuild it. Vic

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Vic. I agree with your reference to Jn 10.16 that the Lord Jesus views his flock as those who believe that He is the Messiah and who follow him, and that includes Gentiles as well as Jews. The day will come, according to Paul, when “the full number of the Gentiles has come in”, that, “all Israel will be saved”, through faith in Jesus their Messiah; but we are not at that point yet, which may not be until just before or even as Christ returns (see Zech 12.10-13.1).
      As I see the Bible, since the birth of the Church at Pentecost, God throughout this age works out his purposes for mankind through the Church (called from both Jews and Gentiles) AND through Israel – the Jews, his historically called and chosen people. This is because, in my view, God’s promises to Israel remain valid despite most Jews’ refusal to believe in Jesus as their Messiah. See the argument in Rom 9.4f and 11.4-32. Whilst most of the NT, from Acts onwards, is concerned with God’s work through the Church, we see glimpses in the NT of his work in/through Israel, as follows:
      – in the prophesied fall of Jerusalem to the Romans, fulfilled in 70 AD (e.g. Mt 23.37ff; Lk 13.34f; 19.41-44; 21.20-24)
      – in the sufferings of the Jewish people from that time until the end of the age (Lk 21.23f);
      – then at the end of the age in the sufferings of those in Judaea as the “abomination that causes desolation” prophecies are fulfilled (Mt 24.14-21; Mk 13.14-20; 2 Th 2.3f);
      – In the last 3 1/2 years until Christ returns, God’s work in Israel is described by John in Rev 11.1-13; 12.6, 13-17;
      – Finally, there is the mass turning of Jews to faith in Christ at the end of the age so that “all Israel is saved” (Rom 11.25f).
      But it is in the OT Prophets that we are told far more about how God will discipline, refine and ultimately restore his people Israel right down to Jesus’ second coming. This includes Zech ch 11, I would argue. Ultimately, the “one flock, one shepherd” of Jn 10.16 is fully realised at the end of the age when “the full number of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom 11.25) and Christ has brought in the totality of “the other sheep that are not of this sheep pen” (Jn 10.16).
      I have no intention of rebuilding the wall of division between Jew and Gentile that Paul refers to in Eph 2.14 as being demolished by Christ’s work on the cross. Individual Jews and Israel as a whole can only be saved through faith in Christ, under the same gospel as the Apostles preached to Jews and Gentiles alike, under which “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom 10.4, ESV).
      I have put onto the website a revised version of my commentary on Zech 11 to 14 which explains in more detail why I have interpreted 11.4-17 as referring to Israel throughout. I also give in it alternatives for the interpretation and fulfilment of 11.15ff, including on the basis that “the flock” is interpreted in the later NT sense of the Church (Jew and Gentile). However, I still consider that my interpretation of Zech 11.4-17 is fully justified, both from its context in Zechariah, from the other OT Prophets (see especially Ezekiel ch 34) and from how the NT views the promises to Israel.
      Thanks for prompting my further thought and work on this issue.

      JIM SHAW
      23.12.19

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  2. VG

    Jim, You say that H the G divided his kingdom between his 3 sons and his sister. Were the 4 tetrarchs not Archelaus, Antipas, Philip and Lysanias, all males?

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  3. Thanks, Vic, for spotting this error. I’m not sure how it arose. I’ve looked in a different source and according to the New Bible Dictionary (2nd Ed, IVP) p 481, the article on the Herodians) Herod the Great bequeathed his territories to three of his sons: Judaea and Samaria to Archelaus, Galilee and Peraea to Antipas, and his NE territories to Philip. The will was ratified by the Roman emperor Augustus. I’ve amended my note on Zach 11.1 (“Bashan”). The NBD informs me that Lysanias (recorded by Lk 3.1 as Tetrarch of Abilene) was not a beneficiary of the division of Herod the Great’s territories under his will. I understand that Abilene was an area of land NW of Damascus.
    JIM SHAW
    26.12.19

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