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“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced... (Zechariah 12:10 NKJV)

The New Testament states this was fulfilled on the day Jesus was crucified:

For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.“ (John 19:36-37 NKJV)

As it was fulfilled there is a "real time" aspect to what is described: people present at the time actually saw the fulfillment on the day of the crucifixion of Jesus the Nazarene.

The fulfilled passage in Zechariah is placed between other events:

Before: The LORD will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (Zechariah 12:7-9 NKJV)

After: ...Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves. (Zechariah 12:10-14 NKJV)

The events in 12:7-9 were not fulfilled at the time of crucifixion and there remains a part of the prophecy in Zechariah yet to be fulfilled.

The unfulfilled nature of Zechariah raises questions:

  1. As the New Testament stops in the middle of 12:10, how much of what follows (to 12:14) was fulfilled at the time of the crucifixion?

  2. Even though not fulfilled are there aspects of Zechariah 12:7-14 which are connected to people seeing what was been fulfilled: "looking on Me one whom they have pierced."

My question is: Does an understanding of what has been fulfilled in Zechariah 12:10 also support "Looking on Me whom they have pierced," being a part of the future fulfillment? For example, Catholic churches have the body with a banner above the head on the cross as a focal point inside the building and the focal point of the service is Communion an act remembering the death, resurrection, and Second Comming of Jesus Christ. Also movies such as The Passion of The Christ can bring about mourning for the one who was pierced.

  • Please specify the translation you are quoting. I think that in the title you are quoting a translation that has made a different textual decision than the one you quote in the body of the question. (See How can we understand differences between the NWT and Latin/Hebrew/Greek on Zechariah 12:10?.) This is a little confusing. Since that difference is not the focus of this question, it might be better to be consistent. – Susan May 5 '15 at 17:33
  • Relevant question: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/2043/… Also, I never thought it was saying the house and the wives were apart, but rather clarifying that it is INCLUDING the wives as part of the houses that are each mourning (AND their wives). Maybe answers should dive into the "apart" meaning? And yes, translations matter here because ESV reads it as "by itself". – Joshua May 7 '15 at 1:54
  • Agree the word apart is significant to the overall passage. It is used 11 times in 12:11-14. Strong's says that when the word is preceded by the preposition "le" it means alone. That is the case for each of the 11 uses and why it is translated as alone. The idea of separation is how the Tanakh translates the word as well. Ex: "The land shall wail each family by itself: The family of the House of David by themselves, and their womenfolk by themselves." (12:10 Tanakh JPS 1999) – Revelation Lad May 9 '15 at 14:31
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The Idea in Brief

The passage of Zech 12:10 is messianic in both the Christian and Jewish understanding of this verse. That is, the New Testament perspective correlates Zech 12:10 with Jesus of Nazareth, who embodied the eternal life of his Father in heaven, but was crucified and died on the cross. According to the New Testament, Jesus possessed the same eternal life of his Father, and so the New Testament views him and his father as "one" (compare John 14:10-11 with John 17:5).

The Jewish view from the perspective of rabbinic and apocalyptic Jewish literature correlates Zech 12:20 with the future Messiah (Meshiach ben Joseph) who comes from the diaspora as an international leader, who views God as his father, who rebuilds the Temple in Jerusalem, and then is killed there. He is then resurrected by the national and religious leader of Israel (Meshiach ben David).

Discussion

The passage of Zech 12:10 is historical for mainline Christianity, because Jesus of Nazareth was crucified in the past; however, rabbinic and Jewish apocalyptic literature take this verse as predictive prophecy to be fulfilled by the Messiah who is yet to come (Meshiach ben Joseph).

Christian View

The Christian New Testament translates Zech 12:10 to refer to Jesus of Nazareth (John 19:37 and Rev 1:7). Because Jesus possessed the same eternal life as his father, Jesus was one with him (compare John 14:10-11 with John 17:5). In this respect, Zech 12:10 would then be an allusion to the crucifixion of Jesus, who is "one" with his father.

Jewish View

The Jewish view starts with Jewish apocalyptic literature from the First Century BEFORE the current era from the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. That is, the future Messiah (Meshiach ben Joseph) appears in Fragment 4Q372, and he refers to God as his father. David C. Mitchell provided his able and erudite scholarly opinion of Fragment 4Q372 in the light of rabbinic and other Jewish apocalyptic literature that this Meshiach ben Joseph was not an ideal or notion of the lost 10 tribes, but (according to page 17 of Mitchell's monograph) is a recognized leader who will appear in the city of Rome. Please click the image to enlarge the English translation of Fragment 4Q372.

enter image description here

The dating of this fragment to the First Century BEFORE the current era would indicate that the predictive prophecy of Meshiach ben Joseph included references to God as his father. That is, this fragment predates Jesus of Nazareth, and therefore Meshiach ben Joseph would appear as the "original" prophecy of the Jewish Messiah who had made the first explicit "original" reference to God as his father. Mitchell relates in his monograph survey of rabbinic and Jewish apocalyptic literature that as the Jewish leader emerging from the diaspora he will call Jews to return to the land of Israel, where he will then be recognized with authority over Israel (and also be killed).

The Babylonian Talmud also indicates that Meshiach ben Joseph (emerging as a leader in Rome) will appear with Meshiach ben David (emerging as a national and religious leader from within the land of Israel). The following excerpt comes from b. Sukkah Folio 52A [5:1d, II.3.A]. Please click the image to enlarge.

enter image description here

According to this excerpt, Meshiach ben Joseph (Messiah emerging from the diaspora) falls prey to some sexual weakness (which is the so-called "Evil Inclination" as noted in other portions of Talmud), because of which he is killed. Meshiach ben David (Messiah emerging from the land of Israel) resurrects him to life.

Conclusion

Christian and Jewish tradition both interpret Zech 12:10 in direct reference to the suffering Messiah. In the former case, the Messiah is Jesus of Nazareth; in the latter case, the reference is to the leader who will first emerge on the European Continent (Meshiach ben Joseph). As the patron of the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, he will be killed there, but then will be resurrected by Meshiach ben David, who will have already emerged as the national and religious leader of Israel. That is, Meshiach ben Joseph will be the resurrected Messiah, who was "pierced" in Jerusalem because of sin (in fulfillment of Zech 12:10).

  • Thank you. Do you think this could be fulfilled by seeing an image or replica of the pierced one? – Revelation Lad May 9 '15 at 14:33
  • The rabbinical teaching of two different messiahs led to two different names, Mesiach ben David and Mesiach ben Joseph. This is interesting since Jesus will fulfill both titles. He will return as Mesiach ben David; He was crucified as Mesiach ben Joseph (His earthly parent). – Revelation Lad May 9 '15 at 14:44
  • @RevelationLad - I think that today whenever any Christian partakes of the Lord's Table they are "seeing" the pierced one, because the bread represents his broken body and the cup represents his blood. – Joseph May 9 '15 at 15:22
  • @RevelationLad - The Mishnah and subsequent Talmud appeared after the closing of the New Testament canon. What is somber and causes much reflection is that the eschatological "Meshiach ben Joseph" appears to be a candidate for the Antichrist, and the "Meshiach ben David" the candidate for the False Prophet, if and when we read the Revelation of John, the Book of Daniel, and portions of 1 and 2 Thessalonians as "futurist" predictive prophecy. – Joseph May 9 '15 at 15:27
  • @RevelationLad I would add that Jesus corrected the men in the road to Emmaus by saying that he had to suffer before he could enter in his glory. They expected ben Joseph first but one could argue that ben David, the suffering Messiah came first. Ben Joseph was supposed to reunite and redeem Israel politically as they thought in Luke 24:21. But Jesus reversed the order. He came first as the son of David and will be a national/political leader as promised in his second coming. The death and resurrection part was incorrectly attributed to ben Joseph. We see here in Zech 12 it should be David. – Joshua May 12 '15 at 11:40
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I have read this question a couple of times to try and grasp properly the question. I am guessing you are not a Roman Catholic to be asking this question, and also I am assuming that the Roman catholic example scenario is an example and not a specific or total fulfilling of the words of Zechariah.

I know very little about this OT prophet, but one word of caution I always apply to this kind of thing is to look first to the initial purpose of that prophecy, I very much doubt it sat dormant for hundreds or thousands of years until the scenarios we can imagine today became possible. So please have a think and research that point.

Secondly, the Zechariah passage points to the grieving for the speaker himself, which is a little different to the Revelation passage: and they shall look upon ME. This ME is quite surprising and one on which I am sure trinitarians will happily speculate. The Hebrew for this "me" seems to be used in a variety of different ways (see http://biblehub.com/hebrew/elai_413.htm). I have a friend who has a doctorate in Biblical Hebrew and will ask her for more clarification.

This "ME" is the only thing that I can see in this passage you mention that actually implies that there was a happy ending after the piercing in the Zechariah passage. So I think the short answer to your question is "no" if we can show that "me" is the right translation, as I think you are alluding to a "still-crucified" and not just a "still-pierced" Messiah. Is that about right?

  • I will be interested to hear what your friend says. According to the Tanakh commentary the Hebrew is ambiguous. Also it goes from me to him - they will look upon me...mourn for him. So the JPS renders it: "they shall lament to me for those who are slain." Which makes some sense except it removes "pierced" which is how the word is almost always rendered. As I considered this more, it occurred to me that if this could be fulfilled by an image, a movie like "The Passion" would also qualify. – Revelation Lad May 9 '15 at 14:52
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Zech 12 is yet another mistranslated and thence misinterpreted passage.

Inversive-vav theory is defective

You also have to note that the inversive-vav hypothesis has been too frequently broken, and that many passages were translated ignoring the so-called inversive-vav hypothesis.

Furthermore, biblical Hebrew is a rather primeval language, without tenses, much like modern Indonesian/Malay. They are sequential-tense languages. Linguists tend to postulate the existence of two classes of languages, synthetic and analytic, and their hybrids. However, they seem to ignore the obvious existence of sequential-tense languages.

Let me give you an example of sequential-tense language, exemplified in English:

She comes to my house last week. And she says she wanted to kill her husband, and/but she says she doesn't want to kill her husband now. She took knife and/but she gives knife to me. And/but today, she comes to me, and asks for knife. And regretting saying, how good she killed her husband and/but she did not. But/and I shall(should) not give her the knife.

My example illustrates why inversive-vav theory sometimes works and frequently doesn't.

A more plausible theory is the subjunctive-vav theory. And the vav is a temporal-continuation, so that all completed-action is either subjunctive, or completed before that temporal continuation.

In fact, we should not even care about all these modern trappings and terminology of Linguistics and simply follow the temporal sequence of the Hebrew.


12:9

והיה ביום ההוא
And it would be on that day

אבקש להישמיד
I shall seek to exterminate

את כל הגוים הבאים
at all nations coming

על ירושלם
upon Jerusalem

12:10:

ושפכתי על בית דויד
so I would pour on the house of david
(1stP completed action = שפכתי)

ועל יושב ירושלם
and on those residing in Jerusalem

רוח חן
spirit of giving-favour (grace?)

ותחנונים
and shall-receive-favour
(note:
חנונ = חנון = plural 3PF passive of חן
חנונים = M plural of חנון )

והביטו אלי
And they would look towards me
(3rdP plural completed = הביטו)

את אשר דקרו
at(about?) whomever they stabbed/hurt
(the dative-indirection את prevents the target of the stabbing from being the narrator)

וספדו עליו
and they would mourn over him

כמספד על היחיד
like as mourning over an only begotten

והמר עליו
and embitter over him
(sequential-vav continuation of previous subjunctive frame)

כהמר על הבכור
like as embitter over a firstborn.

12:11

ביום ההוא יגדל המספד בירושלם
on that day, shall be great the mourning/wailing in Jerusalem

כמספד הדד רמון בבקעת מגדון
like the wailing of Haddad-Rimmon in the Meggido valley


The passage in plain English:

The day would come when I will exterminate all nations that come to (claim?) Jerusalem. (This verse quite threatening to those religions that claim to absorb Jerusalem, who claim to inherit Jerusalem from Jews.)

I would pour on the house of David the spirit/attitude of giving and receiving favour. So that they would look towards me, of those they hurt. So that if they hurt anyone, they would mourn over him as like mourning over an only begotten, and be embittered over him like being embittered over a first-born.

On that day shall be great wailing in Jerusalem, like the wailing of the devotees of the fertility god Haddad in the Meggido valley.


I am sorry to inform ya'll that there is nothing messianic about this passage, except for that coming day. Provided you read it in Hebrew.

Rimmon = pomegranate = fertility symbol.

Haddad was a deity active in the Meggido valley area. Whereas Rimmon the town is too far south, to be related to Haddad.

Wailing/ululation is a form of ancient worship. That is, the mourning will be so loud and pervasive, that it would sound like the worship sessions of Haddad.

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    Mod notice: <Many comments deleted.> Please do not use comments for extended discussion and bickering. If you want to chat, go to Biblical Hermeneutics Chat. – Susan Jun 9 '15 at 17:38
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One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out. According to John (19:37) that act fulfilled the Scripture which says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced” (Zechariah 12:10). For anyone who believes the New Testament is the inspired Word of God, what is written in John is sufficient proof that what is written in Zechariah was fulfilled. However, as one answer stated believers in the New Testament may mistranslate and therefore misunderstand the Scripture, which when properly translated is not a passage about Jesus. Instead, the entire passage in Zechariah remains unfulfilled until the future day described in 12:7-9 when the LORD will destroy all nations that have come against Jerusalem.

According to John, the fulfilled nature of Scripture came with the specific act of being “pierced” (not the crucifixion in general) focusing attention on a specific act not the total suffering Jesus experienced. To understand how this singular act fulfilled the Scripture requires understanding the meaning of the word “pierced.” The Hebrew word is Stong's #1856 transliterated daqar. Outside of Zechariah 12:10 and 13:3, the word is used 9 times and each use is relevant to how Zechariah’s prophecy was fulfilled.

First Use: While Israel was staying at Shittum, the people profaned themselves by whoring with the Moabite women, who invited the people to the sacrifices for their god. The people partook of them and worshipped that god. Thus Israel attached itself to Baal-peor, and the LORD was incensed with Israel. The LORD said to Moses, “Take all the ringleaders and have them publicly impaled before the LORD, so that the LORD’s wrath may turn away from Israel. So Moses said to Israel’s officials, “Each of you slay those of his men who attached themselves to Baal-peor.” Just then one of the Israelites came and brought a Midianite woman over to his companions, in the sight of Moses and the whole Israelite community who were weeping at the entrance of the Tent of the Meeting. When Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw this, he left the assembly and, taking a spear in his hand, he followed the Israelite into the chamber and stabbed (daqar) both of them, the Israelite and the woman, through the belly. Then the plague against the Israelites was checked. (Numbers 25:1-8 Tanakh JPS 1985)

The word describes being pierced by a spear and the setting is one of the most Messianic in all Scripture:

  • The High Priest replaces Moses in bringing judgment and stopping the plague.
  • The High Priest is given an everlasting covenant of peace (by the LORD) for making atonement for the Israelites (Numbers 25:12-13).
  • The atoning death was an Israelite man and there was no animal sacrifice or other ritual performed.
  • The Israelite man first came before the whole community.
  • He was killed in his own tent.
  • He and the Midianite woman were pierced at the same time.
  • Additional aspects of Numbers which are found in the Zechariah passage: mourning and each person being in the own tent.

Comparisons to Jesus:

  • Jesus was an Israelite who presented Himself to the whole Israelite community.

  • Jesus was an Israelite man whose death made atonement for Israel.

  • The high priest initiated the action.

  • Jesus was pierced after His death (He was in His own tent).

  • The wound was through His rib cage, the location from which the first women was taken.

Based on Numbers the word means: pierced to make atonement for those who have worshipped other gods. Also, a belief in the New Testament would extend the meaning from Israel to the whole world. While it is true that the death of Jesus was an event which took place in Israel, it is also true that event can be understood as having significance to the whole world.

Used in the context of a man who assumed the position of king of Israel: But a woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and cracked his skull. He immediately cried out to his attendant his arms-bearer, “Draw your dagger and finish me off, that they may not say of me, ‘A woman killed him!’” So his attendant stabbed (daqar) him, and he died. When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, everyone went home. (Judges 9:53-55 Tanakh JPS 1985)

  • Abimelech means the king is my father or father of a king. The people wanted to make Gideon king (8:22). He refused. After his death, Abimelech, his son by a concubine in Shechem, killed all but one of Gideon’s sons then proclaimed himself king (9:1-6).

  • Abimelech’s stabbing is the second wound to ensure he is dead.

  • There is a focus on the woman. Abimelech does not want people to say “A woman killed him.”

  • Prior to being wounded: “…Taking an ax in his hand, Abimelech lopped off a tree limb and lifted it onto his shoulder…” (9:48)

  • After Abimelech’s death, everyone went home, paralleling Zechariah.

  • The passage is messianic pointing to Jesus. Like Abimelech Jesus carried a piece of His cross before his first wound; like Abimelech Jesus was pierced after He had received His fatal wounds and to ensure His death; Abimelech’s name parallels what Pilate posted above His head; Jesus journey to death started in the Garden of Eden with the woman.

Used in the context of the death of the first king of Israel: The battle raged around Saul, and some of the archers hit him, and he was severely wounded by the archers. Saul said to his arms-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through (daqar), so that the uncircumcised may not run me through (daqar) and make sport of me.” But his arms-bearer, in his great awe, refused; whereupon Saul grasped the sword and fell upon it. When his arms-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. (1 Samuel 31:3-5 Tanakh JPS 1985)

  • As with Abimelech, the wound was a second wound.

  • Saul’s arms-bearer refused to inflict the wound so it was self-inflicted.

  • Saul’s concern is what will happen to his body.

  • The passage is messianic pointing to Jesus. Like Saul Jesus’ wound was self-inflicted (He chose to die); like Saul, the piercing was after he had received a previous mortal wound; how the bodies would be handled is the reason for the second wound.

  • The events of Saul’s death have an added detail not found in Abimelech’s. Seeing Saul’s actions, his armor bearer chose to die in the same manner. Therefore the NT teaching: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NKJV) is foreshadowed by the actions of Saul’s armor bearer.

Used in the context of the death of the first king of Israel: The battle raged around Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded by the archers. Saul said to his arms-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through (daqar), so that these uncircumcised may not come and make sport of me.” But his arms-bearer, out of great awe, refused; whereupon Saul grasped the sword and fell upon it. When his arms-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died. (1 Chronicles 10:4 Tanakh JPS 1985)

  • Repeating the use in 1 Samuel 31:4.

Used in the context of judgment before the destruction of Jerusalem: Even if you defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans that are fighting against you, and only wounded (daqar) men were left lying in their tents, they would get up and burn this city down. (Jeremiah 37:10 Tanakh JPS 1985)

  • The ones who were wounded (pierced) and left lying in their tents will get up and execute judgment on the city.

  • The passage is messianic pointing to Jesus: even though Jesus was pierced and left lying in the earth, He rose.

  • The passage can also be seen as foreshadowing the resurrection of the dead.

Used in the context of judgment after the destruction of Jerusalem: “The ‘Babylon’ pronouncement, a prophecy of Isaiah son of Amoz. Raise up a standard on a bare hill, cry aloud to them; wave a hand, let them enter the gates of nobles! I have summoned My purified guests to execute My wrath.” (Isaiah 13:1-3) …Then like gazelles that are chased, and like sheep that no man gathers, each man shall turn back to his people, all who remain shall be pierced through (daqar), all who are caught shall fall by the sword. (Isaiah 13:14-15 Tanakh JPS 1985)

  • Isaiah begins his prophecy describing the day of the LORD (13:9) where the world will be requited of its evil (13:11) before getting to the judgment of Babylon brought by the Medes (13:17-22)

  • The opening follows the description of the crucifixion: “raise up a standard on a bare hill.” Jesus was raised up with Pilate’s banner over His head.

  • The passage is Messianic pointing to events after being pierced (crucifixion and resurrection): those who remained will either be pierced (they will become like Jesus) or they will perish.

Used in the context of judgment after the destruction of Jerusalem: Let them fall slain in the land of Chaldea; pierced through (daqar) in her streets. For Israel and Judah were not bereft of the God the LORD of Hosts, but their land was filled with guilt before the Holy One of Israel. (Jeremiah 51:4-5 Tanakh JPS 1985)

  • The ones sent to Chaldea were pierced; Jesus was sent from heaven to earth where He was pierced.

  • The judgment occurred in Israel where the land was filled with guilt before the Holy One of Israel, Christ Jesus.

  • God, the LORD of Hosts was with them both in Israel and Chaldea. Jesus never left nor forsook His people.

Used in the context of judgment after the destruction of Jerusalem: Better off the slain of the sword than those slain by famine, who pined away [as though] wounded (daqar), for lack of the fruits of the field. (Lamentations 4:9 Tanakh JPS 1985)

  • The uses with Abimelech and Saul each describe a second wound which brought a quick death. Here pierced is from lack of fruits of the field resulting in a slow death of famine.

  • When Jesus was pierced His blood and water poured out on the ground. The first fruit from the earth following of this event was His resurrection. It is possible to starve to death from lack of this fruit.

Every use points to what the New Testament says the crucifixion means and by specifically pointing to Zechariah 12:10, John is inviting a study of Scripture that shows what was written about the manner of the death of Jesus.

The word pierced is placed throughout the Bible beginning with Moses and continuing with the prophets and the writings. The word is not used in the Psalms:

Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25-27 NKJV)

On the road to Emmaus Jesus explained what the Scriptures said concerning Himself. Later that day He would appear to those two and other disciples:

Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45 NKJV)

The first lesson did not include the Psalms; the second one did. After that lesson:

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23 NKJV)

This event fulfills more of what Zechariah wrote:

And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication… (Zechariah 12:10 NKJV)

Understanding the fulfilled portion of Zechariah 12

In Hebrew, a fulfilled prophecy requires fulfillment through a pattern. To the Greek mind, which looks simply at prophecy and fulfillment, any fulfillment is acceptable. In Hebrew, failure to follow the pattern is essentially an unfulfilled prophecy. Since Jesus did fulfill the prophecy, the pattern described in Zechariah is an important aspect to fulfillment of the Scripture.

The crucifixion took place during the time of Passover. The Passover is an annual reminder of what occurred in Egypt:

And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. (Exodus 12:7 NKJV)

Individual families mourning separately are the main element of Zechariah 12:12-14. This is following the pattern of The Passover where each family entered their house and ate the Passover. Zechariah states men and women are separated. This is not how the first Passover was observed. While it is possible in the times Jesus died, some men and women ate separately, the New Testament makes it clear that Jesus and His disciples ate the Passover meal before the crucifixion. It also states the men and the women were staying in separate houses after the crucifixion:

Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. (John 20:8-10 NKJV)

Zechariah’s prophecy ends describing events which followed Jesus being pierced.

Recognizing the significance of the Passover in Zechariah’s prophecy helps draw together other elements of the prophecy:

…Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10 NKJV)

Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again. (Exodus 11:6 NKJV)

And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. (Exodus 12:29-30 NKJV)

The mourning in Zechariah recalls the first Passover where all Egypt cried for their first born and Pharaoh mourned for his son. Moreover, in remembering the Passover, the remembrance is that no Israelites died that night; their houses were passed over and there was no mourning. The death which brought freedom was the death of Pharaoh’s son. Thus both elements are present at the crucifixion. The great mourning was from the disciples in particular; the death of Jesus is the death of God’s son which brings about release from slavery to sin and from the god of this world.

Zechariah describes specific groups who mourn:

And 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; The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. (Zechariah 12:12-14 KJV)

Each of these families can be understood in the context of the crucifixion of Jesus:

The house of David: refers to Joseph’s other children, the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

The house of Nathan: refers to Mary and the disciple whom Jesus loved: “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. (John 19:26-27)” In other words, in the same way David’s biological family connection to Jesus was through Nathan (Luke 3:31), Jesus continued a family connection passed on through this disciple.

The house of Levi: refers to the relatives of John the Baptist (both parents were Levites - Luke 1:5). It is possible this also applies to Mary as one of her parents was a brother or sister of Elizabeth’s parents. (Mary could have family ties to both the house of David and Levi.)

The house of Shimei: refers to Peter who cursed and swore that he did not know Jesus, just as Shimei cursed David.

Some scholars believe that the current Masoretic translation of Hebrew Scriptures is so structured that events can be put in a correct sequence simply by following the temporal sequence of the language. As one answer shows, when this is done, the Messianic nature of Zechariah’s prophecy as it pertains to Jesus vanishes. This is a consequence of the Masoretic translation (developed in a world influenced by Greek thinking) and not necessarily a meaning of the original text. For example, Zechariah writes about mourning. The Hebrew tradition for mourning consisted of three periods of time. The first seven days; followed by a 30-day period and in some cases (usually for parents) there is a final period which ends before a year. Because the central idea is about mourning, it is impossible to apply the Greek model to what is written in this Scripture.

Moreover, Zechariah specifically writes about mourning of a son even a first born. The Scripture records events which mourning may not be due to death. For example, Cain the first born killed Abel. No doubt his parents mourned over both sons and the mourning over the action of the first born and his banishment would last longer than a single day.

The instruction on a Passover remembrance has this same element:

And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.” Thus all the children of Israel did; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. And it came to pass, on that very same day, that the LORD brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their armies. (Exodus 20:48-51 NKJV)

Obviously this statement cannot be put into a rigid timeline within the text (either the Masoretic translation or the Greek model) as the Israelites were in their homes in Egypt on the Passover and did not get out of Egypt for several days. In terms of the Passover in Egypt, Pharaoh’s mourning turned to anger and he went after the Israelites; he was destroyed at the Red Sea. Then Israelites finally came out of bondage to Pharaoh's successor when they entered into a covenant at Mount Sinai. The full release from Pharaoh included becoming God's people.

The tradition of Shavuot is that it corresponds to the time the Law was given to Moses at Mount Sinai. Seeing the pattern taken from the Passover helps understand how additional aspects of Zechariah’s prophecy were fulfilled. After the crucifixion, on the day of Shavuot, the Holy Spirit was poured on the first disciples and Peter preached:

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart… (Acts 2:36-37 NKJV)

The first preaching of the Gospel included reminding those in Jerusalem they had recently participated in the crucifixion of Jesus. Then they were cut to the heart. We can see that just as a remembrance of the Passover would involve elements serving as a reminder of the original event, a remembrance of the one who was pierced would likewise remind people of the original event. So just as those present at Shavuot when the Holy Spirit was poured could “look upon Me whom you have pierced” even though He was not physically present, all people today could do likewise.

Finally,

In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. (Zechariah 12:11 NKJV)

Meggiddon is used in the New Testament as har-megiddon, or Armageddon. This verse could be part of Zechariah which is yet to be fulfilled.

The New Testament states that there is a coming day in which all the people of the earth will mourn:

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7 NKJV)

In Egypt, before the Passover the LORD demonstrated to Pharaoh and all of Egypt that He is the one bringing judgment by bringing different plagues. As the events went on most people recognized divine intervention:

Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?” (Exodus 10:7 NKV)

There will be a time in the future when the events described in Revelation begin and just as in Egypt, there will be some people who recognize what is happening. Many will be saved before He comes by remembering He was pierced for all creation.

  • Nice summary, really liked the connection to Passover for the "firstborn". I'm wondering if you find any significance in WHO is listed specifically as mourning? Also, you have a lot of material dealing with daqar and I'm maybe just not familiar with the technique, but you seem to be placing more than just word study importance on it. Do you see it's prior uses not just as literary examples of the word's usage, but almost like prophetic types? You apply the setting of past usages to Jesus. I'm just unfamiliar with taking word studying to quite that extent. – Joshua Jun 15 '15 at 2:16
  • If Scripture is truth from God, then it is truth as God knows it. He knows He will have Zechariah write what will be fulfilled by the soldier at the cross and ensures there is no doubt (in Scripture or in fact) it was fulfilled. In this case a question how it was fulfilled is answered in the meaning of the word and the actions. God ensured all of the uses are placed in specific events (before Zechariah writes) which are also meaningful. It can be seen as prophetic types since it is tied to the prophecy. I think it is more of purposely ensuring every detail brings greater meaning/truth. – Revelation Lad Jun 17 '15 at 4:20
  • @Joshua Bigbee I added the information on who is listed as mourning to the answer. – Revelation Lad Jul 1 '15 at 5:17

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