Zechariah 12 | National Israel Returned

Zechariah 12 | National Israel Returned

Note: It is very difficult to interpret passages like these, whereby it is uncertain whether they speak of events already happened, events still to come or are speaking figuratively of spiritual realities. My best and current interpretation is that they speak of national Israel at the second coming of Christ.

1A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel.
The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: 2“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.

  • The God who is strong enough to stretch out the heavens and lay the foundation of the earth and wise enough to form each human spirit is going to flex his muscles and reveal his strength to national Israel and all nations.
  • As always with how God works with his people, he will work through them and use them, even to reveal his strength and judgment to those not for Him.

3On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.

  • These events also seem to be described in Chapter 14, however the focus here is on the people of Israel
  • There will come a time when all nations are gathered against national Israel, she will be like a bullied kid in the corner.
  • According to statistics, to this day Jewish people seem to be some of the hated people in the world and are often the victims of hate crimes
  • God will gather all nations against Jerusalem so that he can display his might and power before their eyes. The nations will crash against Jerusalem as waves crash against a rock.

4On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. 5Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’

  • ‘strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness’ – God will strike the weapons and vehicles of war when they make their advances
  • The people will recognise that the Lord Almighty is God, that He is the one who is protecting them and fighting for them, even for a people that are no longer His people.
  • God will effectively turn the hearts of the people towards Him and they will ascribe glory and honour to Him

6“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place. 7“The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. 8On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. 9On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

  • God will honour the humble and lowly people of the land (Judah), those who dwell in the countryside, above those who dwell in the city or who are from the noble house of David.
  • God will strengthen the feeblest of the people so that they will be like David, like a burning torch
  • God will pour out his judgment against those that seek to destroy life and set themselves up against God

10“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

  • After these events, there will be a ‘revival of repentance’ amongst the people
  • They will be given a spirit of supplication (asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly) and so will turn to God in conviction and repentance
  • They will look upon Jesus standing in their midst (see Zech 14:4), and recognise that He is God and the very same Jesus that their ancestors rejected  and killed on the cross (pierced)
  • They will mourn and grieve for their own sin and the sin of their ancestors

11On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14and all the rest of the clans and their wives.

  • The great weeping will be the conviction of sin but also the joys of salvation
  • Ezra 3 – when the foundation of the Temple was laid, there was great weeping and shouting and none could tell the difference


Even though God’s original people had continually rejected Him, and God had opened up the doors of salvation to the Gentile nations, He will still be faithful to His people. At the end He still shows up to save a remnant of them, both physically and spiritually. Romans 11:24 “…how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”

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