Description
Zechariah sees Jesus coming as king, both at his first coming in humility and at his second coming when he comes as a mighty warrior. He delivers Israel, defeats the surrounding nations, establishes his kingdom, and rules in peace throughout the earth.
Commentary
This chapter presents Jesus coming as king, both at his first coming when he comes in humility, riding on a donkey, and at his second coming when he comes as a mighty warrior. He delivers Israel, and then, together with the armies of Israel, defeats the surrounding nations. He establishes his kingdom, and rules in peace throughout the earth.

In verses 1 to 8, the judgments pronounced against cities in Syria, Lebanon and Philistia were at least partially fulfilled in history through the conquests of Alexander the Great in 332 BC. However, their ultimate fulfilment will be completed through Jesus in the end times.

In verses 1 to 2 the eyes of all humanity, especially of Israel, Syria and Lebanon, are directed towards the Lord (Jesus). Hadrach (v1) is the region of Syria from Aleppo to Damascus. The reason Damascus directs its gaze towards the Lord is not stated. It could be that like Israel they look to the Lord for deliverance (v16), or that like Tyre and Sidon they look to the Lord in anticipation of judgment (v3-4). Jeremiah 49:23-27 and Amos 1:2-5 pronounce God's judgment against Damascus, and it is likely these three passages are talking about the same end-time judgment. Verse 3 describes Tyre's fortifications being shoved into the sea, which was fulfilled historically when Alexander the Great conquered the city. In its end-time context, Tyre and Sidon probably just represent Lebanon, which falls before Jesus the mighty one according to Isaiah 10:34. The purpose of God's judgment on Lebanon may be to liberate it from the Antichrist, as it seems to be one of the countries he occupies (Habakkuk 2:17). Ashkelon, Gaza and Ekron were Philistine cities, and likely represent modern-day Gaza and the Palestinians. They will be greatly humiliated (v6), but those who survive this end-time judgment will be incorporated into Israel, like a clan of Judah (v7). This is also portrayed in Psalm 87:4, and includes the people of Tyre. God promises to surround and guard his temple from the oppressor (v8). Historically, when Alexander the Great approached Jerusalem, God caused him to spare the city. God gave supernatural dreams to both Alexander and to the Jewish high priest. In obedience to his dream, the high priest lead a delegation to Alexander, and Alexander recognised the high priest from a dream that he had also had. As a result Alexander spared the Jews and their city (see Jewish Antiquities by Flavius Josephus, 11:8:3-5). From an end-time perspective, the oppressor is the Antichrist who sets up the abomination in the temple and declares himself to be God (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:4). Jesus will deliver Jerusalem and be installed there as king (e.g. Psalm 2).

Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem at his first coming is portrayed in verse 9 (see Matthew 21:1-11 and John 12:12-15). The establishment of his eternal dominion and peace over the entire earth is presented in verse 10. In verse 14, he appears in the sky above the nations at the blast of a trumpet. He 'will sally forth on the southern storm winds', which is consistent with him coming from his Edom campaign (Isaiah 34:6, 63:1-6, Micah 2:12 and Habakkuk 3). In verse 11, God says to Zion, "because of our covenant relationship secured with blood, I will release your prisoners from the waterless pit". This covenant is the new covenant, secured with the blood of Jesus. When God first announced the new covenant in Jeremiah 31:33, he said, "But I will make a new covenant with the whole nation of Israel after I plant them back in the land". Although God opened the doors of salvation so that the Gentiles could benefit from the new covenant (e.g. Acts 10), it is primarily a covenant with the twelve tribes of Israel. The prisoners released from the waterless pit may be the Jewish exiles who flee Jerusalem when it falls to the Antichrist at the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Ezekiel 38, Zechariah 14), and end up in a desert safe place (Revelation 12:6) that the Micah calls 'Bozrah' meaning a 'sheepfold' (Micah 2:12). Or they may be the Jewish prisoners who remain in occupied Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2). Alternatively, they may be Israelites who are resurrected from the dead and transformed into a mighty army (Ezekiel 37).

In verse 12, God tells these released prisoners to return to the stronghold (i.e. Zion) with hope. The picture of dry bones in Ezekiel 37 is a picture of Israel having been lost beyond all hope, and yet God resurrects them (whether literally or figuratively) and restores their hope. In verse 13, Jesus musters his army of Jewish and Israelite soldiers and stirs them up against Javan. Javan is translated as Greece in most bible translations, but it also referred to the coastal region of western Turkey which was colonised in ancient times by the Greeks. So Javan could be a reference to Turkey, home of Gog the Antichrist (Ezekiel 38:3) who is the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal (Turkey).

After raising an Israelite army (v13-14), Jesus guards (protects) them, and they prevail over Javan (Turkey) - the empire of the Antichrist. The people of Israel (including the northern tribes) are delivered as the flock of God's people and are portrayed as precious stones in Christ's crown (v16). Prosperity is restored to Israel (v17). This chapter is one of many passages that prophesy God's end-time restoration of all Israel (see Romans 11:26), including the lost tribes of the north who are referred to as 'Ephraim' (v13).
Tags
Places: Hadrach, Damascus, Syria, Tyre, Sidon, Lebanon, Gaza, Philistia, Zion, Jerusalem, Judah, Ephraim, Israel, Javan, Greece, Turkey
Symbols: Judah as a bow, Ephraim as arrows, Zion like a sword, Jews as flock of God, Jews as precious stones in his crown
Tags: Jesus as a mighty warrior, Last trumpet, Jesus delivers Israel, Jesus musters an army, Israel fights alongside Jesus, Restoration of Israel and Judah, Hope for a Palestinian remnant, Israeli-Palestinian conflict solved, First and second comings, Jesus fights muslim nations, Weapons of Jesus, Jesus as Messiah, Jesus as king of Israel, Antichrist as the oppressor, New covenant
The Coming of the True King
1 This is an oracle, the Lord’s message concerning the land of Hadrach, with its focus on Damascus: The eyes of all humanity, especially of the tribes of Israel, are toward the Lord,
2 as are those of Hamath also, which adjoins Damascus, and Tyre and Sidon, though they consider themselves to be very wise.
3 Tyre built herself a fortification and piled up silver like dust and gold like the mud of the streets!
4 Nevertheless the Lord will evict her and shove her fortifications into the sea – she will be consumed by fire.
5 Ashkelon will see and be afraid; Gaza will be in great anguish, as will Ekron, for her hope will have been dried up. Gaza will lose her king, and Ashkelon will no longer be inhabited.
6 A mongrel people will live in Ashdod, for I will greatly humiliate the Philistines.
7 I will take away their abominable religious practices; then those who survive will become a community of believers in our God, like a clan in Judah, and Ekron will be like the Jebusites.
8 Then I will surround my temple to protect it like a guard from anyone crossing back and forth; so no one will cross over against them anymore as an oppressor, for now I myself have seen it.
9 Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! Look! Your king is coming to you: he is legitimate and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey – on a young donkey, the foal of a female donkey.
10 I will remove the chariot from Ephraim and the warhorse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be removed. Then he will announce peace to the nations. His dominion will be from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.
11 Moreover, as for you, because of our covenant relationship secured with blood, I will release your prisoners from the waterless pit.
12 Return to the stronghold, you prisoners, with hope; today I declare that I will return double what was taken from you.
13 I will bend Judah as my bow; I will load the bow with Ephraim, my arrow! I will stir up your sons, Zion, against your sons, Greece, and I will make you, Zion, like a warrior’s sword.
14 Then the Lord will appear above them, and his arrow will shoot forth like lightning; the Sovereign Lord will blow the trumpet and will proceed in the southern storm winds.
15 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies will guard them, and they will prevail and overcome with sling stones. Then they will drink, and will become noisy like drunkards, full like the sacrificial basin or like the corners of the altar.
16 On that day the Lord their God will deliver them as the flock of his people, for they are the precious stones of a crown sparkling over his land.
17 How precious and fair! Grain will make the young men flourish and new wine the young women.
(NET)