Zechariah 12

The New Jerusalem

Zechariah here begins a new division in his prophetic works. He sets this portion off by the words, “The oracle ('burden') of the word of Yahweh concerning Israel." In the previous chapter, national Israel had been rejected, and in this section, spiritual Israel is in Zechariah's crosshairs. It is Yahweh Who created heaven and earth, stretching the heavens seemingly into infinity, placing the earth on a solid, potentially everlasting foundation, and then finally forming a body for humans to house a spirit. All creation should lean in and listen to Yahweh (1).

The City Under Siege (1-5)

Zechariah begins by showing the city of Jerusalem under siege, but showing it differently from before—he shows the city secure. Those who attack her imagine Jerusalem easy to conquer, and her spoils could make them drunk with luxury—an easy take. Indeed, the entire nation of Judah is seen as an easy target (2).

On the day the nations of the world sought to destroy God's city and God's people, they would find their mission to be a much "heavier stone" than they could have ever planned for. To try to lift the stone of destruction against God's people would be to inflict personal injury on oneself. Any nation who tried such a foolish feat would learn their lesson. Even so, all nations would gather against God's people, seeking to lift the heavy stone of True Israel's destruction, and find the stone too weighty (3).

On the day of attack, Yahweh would intervene. He would throw all into confusion and anxiety. Neither the system (horses) nor the managers (riders) who plotted against God's people would be able to see straight. Yahweh, in the midst of all the confusion, would keep His vision fully straight (4).

Obviously, Zechariah is not prophesying about national Israel but spiritual Israel, who will claim Yahweh as their strength on the day the world would seek their destruction. True Israel was viewed here as being composed, confident, strong, and safe. Zechariah is looking down through the ages and seeing the age of spiritual Israel and the church (5).

Israel Defended (6)

When attacked, True Israel would be like a pot of fire lighting up the wood, or a flaming torch setting harvested grain on fire. When the world sought to destroy True Israel, they would discover that they had set off their own demise, their own destruction, and their own judgment. True Israel would find safety in their city of peace, as the world seeking their destruction would be set on fire (6).

Yahweh's Three Promises of Defense (7-9)

1. All Protected

Yahweh would save those outside the city, as well as those within the city. Yahweh would not allow the defenseless outside of the city proper to be destroyed. Those who could offer no resistance to the attack would be saved by Yahweh. Both the prominent and the distant would experience God's saving power (7).

2. All Empowered

On the day when the world would seek to destroy True Israel, Yahweh would supernaturally empower His people. The feeble among them would be heroic. They would be saturated in the Goliath-defeating courage of David. True Israel would wield the power of Yahweh and be as fierce as the angel who went before Israel when they conquered Palestine under Joshua (8).

3. All Destroyed

Every nation seeking to destroy True Israel would, in the end, be destroyed themselves (9).

Becoming True Israel (10-14)

Zechariah then describes how Yahweh would form, out of the natural and national, the True Israel, Spiritual Israel of God.

1. Outpouring (10)

Yahweh pours out His Holy Spirit upon the citizens and the leaders of True Israel. In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit was poured out on leaders only, but under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit is poured out on all.

The Holy Spirit is called the "Spirit of Grace" because He persuades hearts not to seek to earn a relationship with Yahweh. He is all gift. He is called the "Spirit of Pleas of Mercy" because He convinces the hearts of men and women to cry out for mercy from the One Whom they have pierced.

2. Looking

Those to experience this new covenant would do so by "looking on the One they had pierced." This means they would look on God Whom they had slain and look until they recognized Him. They would look upon God until they recognized that in killing Jesus they had killed Yahweh.

The One who said, "I will pour out," and, "They will look on Me," is the same Person. When it changes to the third person, "They shall mourn for Him," it is not indicating another person, but at the same time it does imply a different person. This is all masterfully written to point at Yahweh and His Son, Jesus, also God. This is an amazing way for Zechariah to present what could never enter into the thoughts of man. The eternal God could find a way to die for the world He loves. The new covenant people are made so by looking until they see Yahweh in the Person of Jesus Christ.

3. Mourning

They were then to mourn the death of the One they had killed as the death of an only child or the death of their family heir, the Firstborn. This was not like mourning the death of an aged patriarch; they were to mourn the death of a special Child cut down in His prime. They were to mourn like someone mourning the end of a kind and benevolent dynasty (10).

The mourning would be so great that it would rival the mourning for the great King Josiah who was mourned in Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. Josiah was the last of the good, God-chasing kings of Judah (11).

Mourning was to touch all, no matter how great or small someone felt himself to be. They were to look until they recognized Whom they had pierced, and they were to look until they were brought to mourning. Every family was affected—the family of the great King David, the family of the great prophet Nathan, all the families of the priestly tribe of Levi, all the families within the tribe of Levi, like the Shimeites—none was to be left out. All were to look and see Whom they had pierced. No one is too good to say, "But I didn't kill Jesus" (12-14).

Those who were to experience the new covenant were to look at Jesus until they could see:

  1. Jesus, God's Son

  2. Jesus, the One Whom they had killed

  3. Jesus, the One Who brought them to a place of mourning