This post is in response to recent and past questions about whether or not the prophecies of Zechariah 12 have been fulfilled. At a later time I may do my own in-depth study of this passage, but this post draws on a few studies done by others who believe that Zechariah 12 was fulfilled in the first century AD. Here are a couple of questions to consider regarding Zechariah 12-14:
1. Did Zechariah speak of only earthly Jerusalem throughout these three chapters, or did he shift at any time to speaking about the new/heavenly Jerusalem?
2. Did Zechariah possibly have a glimpse of the revelation that Paul had in Galatians 4:21-31, when he spoke of two Jerusalems; one that was in bondage and ready to be cast out, and one that was free and is the mother of God’s people? Isaiah had this revelation to some degree (see Isaiah 65:17 – 66:24).
A. In the first study I’d like to present, Don K. Preston discusses Zechariah 12 in conjunction with Revelation 1:7, a related passage, and gives some historical and contextual background for Zechariah 12:
It seems to have escaped the notice of those who offer Revelation 1:7 as proof of a yet future coming of Jesus that this verse is taken directly out of the book of Zechariah; and as we shall see Jesus also uses this verse in the great eschatological discourse of Matthew 24. Surely the Bible student will want to be fully aware of how the verse is used in those contexts.
In Zechariah 12:10 the Spirit is speaking of a time which he designated as “in that day.” This little term is used extensively by the prophet and is a limiting factor for everything which he discusses. Some of the “in that day” statements are confessedly enigmatic; but enough of them are sufficiently specific as to subject or time that there can be no misunderstanding.
1. “In that day” was to be when God would “break my covenant made with all the people” (Zech. 11:7-11). This is undeniably when the Old Covenant would pass.
2. “In that day” would be “when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and Jerusalem” (12:1).
3. “In that day would be when “there shall be great mourning in Jerusalem” (12:11).
4. “In that day” would be when “there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David…for sin and for uncleanness” (13:1).
5. “In that day” would be when God would “cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land” (13:2).
6. “In that day” would be when the shepherd would be smitten and the sheep scattered (13:6-7).
7. “In that day” would be when only a remnant would be saved (13:8).
8. “In that day” would be when God would “gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle,” (14:2).
9. “In that day” “living waters would go out from Jerusalem” (14:8).
10. “In that day” there would be only one God and one Lord (14:9).
… Is it not patent that all the above… happened in one generation? How then can one divorce the appearance of the Messiah, when they would look on him whom they had pierced, from that same fateful generation?
Interestingly, John the author of Revelation used Zechariah 12:10 on another occasion. In John 19:37 as Jesus hung on the cross the Lord’s favorite apostle records the event as fulfillment of Zechariah’s words. This application of a single prediction to two events is not unknown in scripture… For John, Zechariah 12:10 was applicable to Jesus’ crucifixion; but it would receive final fulfillment when “all the tribes of the earth” would mourn when they looked on him whom they had pierced. To John this would be when Jesus returned in the clouds of glory.
Jesus and Zechariah 12:10
As shown, Zechariah 12:10 is the background for Revelation 1:7 and the context demands the event be in the first century generation. But our Lord also employed the language of Zechariah/Revelation in such a way that all controversy as to WHEN it would happen should be dispelled. In the famous apocalypse of Matthew 24 our Lord predicted the destruction of Jerusalem…
In Matthew 24:29-31 Jesus adopts the classical style of Jewish apocalyptic literature in describing the fall of the Theocracy. In verse 30 Messiah quotes Zechariah 12:10 as occurring when the Son of Man would be seen “coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Now notice the emphatic time statements. In verse 32 Jesus tells the parable of the fig tree. When the predicted events began to be seen by the apostles and disciples they were to “know it is near, even at the doors.” He then [states] in positive terms, “Verily, I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, until all these things shall be fulfilled” (v.34). Our Lord has specifically told us when he would come with the clouds, cf. Rev.1:7, when he would be seen by all those who pierced him. It would be in his generation.
In confirmation of the time frame of his coming with the clouds in judgment one needs to examine Matthew 16:27-28 and compare Revelation 22:12. There is absolute harmony and unity between all these verses. In Matthew 16:27-28 Jesus promised to return in judgment with the angels in the lifetime of his disciples. In Matthew 24 he promised to come and be seen by those who had pierced him and it was to be in that generation. In Revelation he would be seen by those who had pierced him and, “Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me to give to every man according as his work shall be,” Rev.1:7; 22:12.
How can one objectively examine these texts and ignore the time frame so inextricably woven into the text? Upon what basis can one say that while Jesus in Matthew 24 cited Zechariah 12 as to be fulfilled at his return in Jerusalem’s fall, that in Revelation, although it emphatically tells us it would shortly come to pass (l:l-3) it has not yet been fulfilled?
…Notice the correlation between the theme of the three texts. In Zechariah we are dealing with a time when Jerusalem would be surrounded and besieged, 12:2,11; 13:8ff; 14:2. In Matthew 24 the subject is the destruction of Jerusalem, 24:1-3. In Revelation the theme is the destruction of the great city “where our Lord was crucified,” 11:8. In all three texts you have the coming of the Lord, Zech.14:3-5; Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 1:7. In each of the texts those who pierced him would see him, Zechariah 12:10,Matthew 24:30, Revelation 1:7. And of course at the risk of being repetitious, all three [accounts of this event] were set in a specific time frame – “in that day.” Zech.12; “this generation shall not pass away,” Matthew 24:34; and “the time is at hand,” Rev.1:3…
B. The second article I’d like to share is on one of Don K. Preston’s websites, but features the writings of Frank Speer and Ed Stevens as they address an article by Thomas Ice titled “Preterism and Zechariah 12-14.” Frank Speer lists some of the “difficulties that arise from taking a yet future approach to Zechariah chapters 12-14”:
• The battle described in these chapters is waged on HORSEBACK (12:4) with SWORDS! (13:7) Is that how the COMING 21st century Great Tribulation is to be fought?
• Modern Jews do not and will not live in “TENTS” (12:7).
• Modern Jewish people CAN NO LONGER BE divided by their 12 ancestral tribes (12:6-14) since those tribes have long since been genetically diluted – the Jewish peoples of today simply CANNOT be equated with ancient, biblical Israel.
• Zech 13:1 is clearly speaking of “The Cross of Christ” (i.e. a first century event). Has there been no Messianic “fountain” of forgiveness available to the Jewish people since the cross?? Have they been made to wait all this time and then some (until Messiah’s STILL FUTURE RETURN) to have access to divine forgiveness of sin?
• The modern Jews do not and will not worship then “many Idols” mentioned in (13:2) – today’s Jews are mostly atheistic.
• There are no modern Jewish “prophets” (13:2) – nor will there be.
• (13:4) – Will false Hebrew prophets wearing “HAIRY ROBES” soon appear in modern day Palestine in order to deceive a mass of Jewish peoples? …
• (13:3) – The modern Jewish peoples do not obey these ancient “Mosaic Laws” (parents killing children for false predictions etc)!
• (13:4-5) – Will “SLAVERY & AGRICULTURE” once again become COMMON PRACTICE for 21st century Palestinians and ALL NATIONS OF THE WORLD??
• Is the modern Palestinian Economy…based on GOLD, SILVER, FABRIC, HORSES, MULES, CAMELS, DONKEYS AND CATTLE?? (14:14-15)
• Notice that the “ALL NATIONS” of 14:1 are QUALIFIED later by “all the SURROUNDING nations” in 14:14. There is no mention here of ALL THE MODERN NATIONS OF THE 21st CENTURY WORLD! These ancient “Middle Eastern nations” surrounding ancient Israel were the same constant thorns Israel dealt with through their entire history!!
• (14:16) Will the modern Jewish peoples, under Messiah, be keeping all of the Old Covenant “feasts” when the N.T. writers (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) clearly state that such things were merely TEMPORARY TYPOLOGICAL TUTORS intended to lead Israel to Christ??
Will Christ then, in the future, lead the “modern Jewish Christians” and ALL THE NATIONS OF THE MODERN WORLD backwards – to those ancient and “rudimentary things” ( Gk: “stoicheion” – Col 2:8, 20; 2 Pet 3:10) that only served to point to Messiah, the cross, the resurrection, etc.???
The N.T. writers tell us that a RETURN to the Mosaic Economy (the OLD covenant system) would be to apostatize from Christ and to INVALIDATE the cross of Christ!!
• (14:16) – Will “all the nations” [of the entire modern world] soon be “GOING UP” to the modern city of Jerusalem each year to celebrate the Jewish feasts?? How will we all FIT??
Will ALL THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD soon SUDDENLY become AGRARIAN BASED in order to begin THE ANNUAL PLANTING AND HARVESTING CYCLE necessary to keep the feast of booths (tabernacles) yearly? Because, if we do not, God is going to bring PLAGUES upon all those wicked nations and destroy their crops by withholding rain on their crops. (14:17-20)
• Is modern Israel under Messiah going to return to bloody ANIMAL SACRIFICES (the NT says that would be nothing short of “blasphemous” – (study the Book of Hebrews)?
Don K. Preston then quotes from Thomas Ice, who argues that Zechariah 12-14 shows Israel being rescued, not judged, and therefore this passage can not be speaking of events related to the Jewish-Roman War of 66-73 AD. According to Ice, those who say that Zechariah 12-14 has been fulfilled teach “in essence…that the Church had replaced Israel.” He says that preterists have made two errors:  believing that Zechariah speaks of “God’s judgment at the hands of the Romans in AD 70 upon Israel,” and  failing to see that “Zechariah 12-14 clearly speaks of a time when Israel is rescued by the Lord from an attack by ‘all the nations of the earth,’ not just the Romans” (Ice, of course, should realize that the Roman Empire did absorb many nations and made up most of the known world at the time).
Ed Stevens then responds to the arguments of Thomas Ice:
Mr. Ice…assumes that ALL preterists (partials and fulls) are guilty of “replacement” theology (when in fact, almost all full preterists, as far as I know, are teaching “remnant” theology). We believe that God did not cut off ALL Israel from his Olive Tree. There was a righteous remnant left who did accept Jesus as their Messiah. Into that righteous remnant of True Israel (the Spiritual Israel) the Gentiles were grafted, in order to make the Jews jealous and entice them to be grafted back into their native Olive Tree and save some of them. Together with the engrafted Gentiles and the re-grafted Israelites, this righteous remnant became the ALL ISRAEL that inherited the promises.
He assumes that the Jerusalem mentioned in Zechariah is the physical city of Jerusalem (when in fact it is talking about the New Heavenly Jerusalem mentioned in Hebrew 12 and Revelation 21-22).
He assumes that the references to “Israel” in Zech are the physical nation of Israel (when in fact it is talking about the New True Spiritual Israel that Paul refers to in the book of Romans 2, and chs. 9-11, as well as the allegory in Gal. 4).
He forgets about the Neronic persecution (AD 64) when both Rome and the Jews combined forces against the Church to destroy her and wipe her off the map. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that unless those days had been cut short, they would have succeeded. Sure enough, two years later (AD 66) the Jewish War broke out and Rome turned its attention away from hunting Christians, to attacking the Jews.
He forgets that by the first century the Hebrew people had become a melting pot of ALL NATIONS, especially in the Diaspora (Persia, India, Africa, Turkey, Greece, Rome, France, Spain, Britain, Germania, Scythia, Armenia, etc.). Just look at the description in Acts 2 of all the nations where “Jews” came from. There were Jewish communities scattered all over Europe, Asia, and Africa. When the Neronic persecution broke out, every Jewish community in the Diaspora (among “all the nations”) took advantage of the opportunity to wipe out the Christians, and used Roman authority to do it. They were just like the wicked Haman of the book of Esther who plotted to wipe out all the Jews. That was when “all the nations” (Diaspora Jews) came against God’s people (the Christians, the New Jerusalem, the true Spiritual Israel) in the Neronic persecution (AD 64). But God turned the tables on the Hamanites. Less than two years later (AD 66) the Jews revolted, and God brought the Romans to wipe out “all the nations” (Diaspora Jews) who had come up against His true spiritual people.
Because Tommy Ice does not know his history nor understand prophetic language, he does not realize that “all the nations” which came against the True Israel and the New Jerusalem, really were destroyed by the Romans. In AD 66, when the war broke out, Diaspora Jews were forced to flee from “all the nations” where they had been scattered and take refuge in Israel. When they got back to the land, they joined the revolt and ended up being killed and enslaved afterwards.
[I don’t agree with Stevens’ final paragraph and did not include it here.]
C. Don K. Preston has another article on this topic titled, “Was Zechariah 12:3 Fulfilled in AD 70?” I’ll quote just a couple of portions from that article:
Our understanding of Zechariah is aided by the prophet’s references to “in that day.” These temporal parameters place fulfillment within the borders of a single generation, the first century generation. There are, if my count is correct, some 19 references to “in that day” in Zechariah. Space forbids an extensive examination of the “in that day” references. However, notice that the “in that day” references of chapter 12 take us directly back to chapter 11. In chapter 11 we find the betrayal of Jesus at the hands of Judas, who was paid the thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13). This in turn would be when YHVH would abandon His covenant “with both houses of Israel” (Zechariah 11:6-10), when they would eat their own flesh in the siege that was coming.
This is confirmed by Jesus’ application of Zechariah 12:10 to the fall of Jerusalem in Matthew 24:30, 34, and by John’s application of the same verse to the time when “those who pierced him” would look on him and mourn, in the destruction of the city “where the Lord was slain” (Revelation 1:7; 11:8)…
Please note: This judgment that is described, when the citizens of Jerusalem would eat the flesh of their own children, was to be part of the Mosaic Covenant provisions of wrath for violation of the Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 28:52-57). Here is what is so critical about this fact: All dispensationalists agree that the Mosaic Covenant has been abrogated!
Thomas Ice affirms that the Torah was “forever fulfilled and discontinued in Christ” (Prophecy Watch, Eugene, Or. 1998, 258)! He acknowledges of the AD 70 catastrophe: “Those first century days are called the ‘days of vengeance’ for Jerusalem is under the divine judgment of covenantal sanctions recorded in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. Luke notes that God’s vengeance on His elect nation ‘is in order that all things that are written may be fulfilled.’ Jesus is telling the nation that God will fulfill all the curses of the Mosaic Covenant because of Israel’s disobedience. He will not relent and merely bring to pass a partial fulfillment of His vengeance” (Thomas Ice/ Kenneth Gentry, The Great Tribulation , Past or Future? Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1999).
…Here is the issue: All millennialists say the Law of Moses has been abrogated. Yet, Zechariah’s prediction of the assault on Jerusalem would be the fulfillment of the Mosaic Covenant… Zechariah had to be fulfilled at a time when Torah was still in effect.
ROME WAS NOT ALONE!
When our millennial friends take note that Zechariah 12 mentions “all the nations of the earth” it is perfectly justified to ask if they mean “all”? Do they mean that America will fight against Jerusalem? If not, why not? Do they mean that the 17 smallest countries in the world, most of which have no armies, will join the battle? If, after all, one is going to insist that “all the nations” means literally, every nation on earth, then to be consistent, one must argue that every South American country, the USA and every other country on the globe will join in…
In fact, Josephus records that Titus had ten cohorts of auxiliary troops from kings of different countries, such as Arabia, Syria and other countries (Wars, Bk. 4, chapter 4, Whiston, p. 642). In other words, it was the kings of the earth that gathered against literal Jerusalem!
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
It is critical to honor the fact that in Zechariah (and other OT prophetic books), there is what I call the doctrine of Two Jerusalems… What this means is that in some texts there is a seeming conundrum. On the one hand Jerusalem is destroyed, and yet in the same texts, Jerusalem is delivered! This apparent difficulty is resolved by understanding that Old Covenant Jerusalem was to perish, while the heavenly Jerusalem would be delivered. Galatians 4:22f; Philippians 3; Hebrews 12, and Revelation are some of the NT texts that teach this. This suggestion well explains the situation in Zechariah. The Old Jerusalem would indeed be desolated, in the final outpouring of Mosaic Covenant wrath. Yet, the Jerusalem that is above, the True Jerusalem, would be delivered, and it would be in her that deliverance, the fountain for sin would be opened for salvation (Zechariah 13:1f)…
Zechariah’s prophecy demands that it was fulfilled in the first century, “in that day” when Judas betrayed the Lord. The context demands that the prophecy was fulfilled at a time when the Mosaic Law was still in effect. The judgment described is Mosaic Covenant Wrath. The “kings of the earth” did in fact support Rome’s assault. Finally, the doctrine of the Two Jerusalems demands the passing of the Old Jerusalem, but the deliverance of the New Covenant Jerusalem. This happened in AD 70.
What do you think? Does the idea of two Jerusalems, one earthly and one heavenly, help to explain Zechariah’s prophecy? Is Zechariah 12 more clear when it’s viewed in relation to the two passages where it’s quoted – Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7? In the near future, I also plan to post a 3-part study by Gary DeMar on Zechariah 14.
29 thoughts on “Zechariah 12 Fulfilled”
Merry Christmas! Thanks for getting the discussion started on these important chapters, they will truly bring out the differences in our views and allow people to “choose this day” which view they will make their own. These chapters will not leave any room on the fence. “In that day” is an incredibly important scripture that is tied to a resurrection of Daniel and other saints. It is tied to a time when Jesus takes his seat on David’s throne in Jerusalem. “This application of a single prediction to two events is not unknown in scripture…” I love it when I can find something that I totally agree with. Indeed this is the case, unfortunately there is no time when Zechariah 14:16-19 has happened (16 Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. 17 And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18 And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain;[f] there shall be the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. 19 This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.) so the people you are quoting are forced to give arguments as to why these verses never will happen, in order to make them “fit” into their theology and understanding of scripture they are forced to say, “Has God really said…” hummmm that sounds familiar. Instead I CAN picture a day in the future when Israel goes to war and decimates their enemies, when part of the treaty that is signed at the end of that war allows the people who desire a “new temple” to build one, and begin sacrifices again (to absolutely no avail, but begin again never the less.) And I can see a “commemorative” feast of booths happening in millennial Israel (after a terrible time of Jacob’s trouble) as a “lesson” for the nations and as a ‘sign post’ pointing to the God who has acted in history. Also all the scriptures referred to as impossible are very possible in my belief system that includes Jesus reigning on the earth over a deeply repentant and converted nation from Jerusalem, thus fulfilling NOT NEGATING ALL THE PROPHECIES THAT SPEAK OF THIS DESTINY FOR THAT PHYSICAL NATION AND PEOPLE. Sorry, I know I speak in disconnected thoughts and sentences, but “let the games begin.” I just wanted to smack the first serve back over the net!!
Merry Christmas to you too, Chuck! And you’re welcome.
By the way, Jesus is sitting on David’s throne right now (Psalm 89:3-4, Isaiah 9:7, Isaiah 16:5, Zechariah 6:12-13, Acts 2:29-36, Acts 15:13-21).
I probably don’t have a very polished answer about Zechariah 14:16-19. I also haven’t seen anyone claim that this will never happen. We can certainly, however, find older commentaries declaring that this is fulfilled in Jesus and His church, as God’s people “worship in spirit and truth” and “neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father” (John 4:20-24). I imagine that “rain” in Zechariah 14:16-19 represents spiritual blessings, as it seemingly does in the book of Joel, and that Zechariah prophesied of a day when spiritual blessings would be the inheritance of those who were citizens of heavenly Jerusalem.
In any case, it’s quite clear that God’s people today are not bound in any way to celebrate the Feast of Booths or any of the other feasts in the way that ancient Israel did when they were obligated to keep the law of Moses. It’s also clear that God doesn’t, and won’t, require us to travel to the earthly city of Jerusalem in order to worship Him, under threat of a rainless drought if we fail to do so.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Dear Chuck, I appreciate your concerns for taking all of Scripture seriously, even verses which comprise “problem texts” for theological systems. I hope we can all admit that every system has problem texts. While you certainly take the text seriously what I would object to is your assigning them to a millennial period. Revelation 20:4-6 does not mention a Jerusalem throne. It could be that the John the writer included this passage in his book to be a place for prophecies he considered unfulfilled. But as a reader of the book, I don’t think that was his concern. Rather it is vindication of the martyrs. Just as the death of Jesus required vindication so do the deaths of those who suffered for Christ. The passage is a hypox and is considered by many to be the most disputed text in the history of interpretation. There is no mention of feasts or any of the Zechariah particulars. Theologically I find your “lesson to the nations” and “sign post” argument less than convincing. I don’t get it. I can’t see Jesus administrating a feast program as king and that objection has nothing to do with a system I think it is a generic Christian response. The passage is also small world–simply put the discovery of the New World makes for serious problems for futurist interpretation.
There is I think, 3 Jerusalems that can be part of the interpretation here. It is what makes Zechariah so interesting and hard to figure out. Zechariah was written when Darius allowed the Jews to go back and rebuild Jerusalem. So some of the prophecy has to do with the Jews returning and they would set up temple worship with all the feasts and sacrifices. Is it necessary to assume that Zechariah’s prophecies are in chronological order?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As far as the entire book of Zechariah goes, I don’t personally assume that all the prophecies are in chronological order, meaning that they would be fulfilled in the order given. I also agree with you that earlier in the book God spoke about the return to the land from Babylonian/Persian captivity.
What I am hearing is, Zechariah 12 and Zechariah 14, (clearly promises to a physical people in a physical land, that have not happened at any time in the past) are “interpreted away” by randomly assigning different parts of it to one of 3 Jerusalems or by declaring them fulfilled by Jesus and His church. Both of these options leave the promises to a specific people in a specific land lying in the dust, unfulfilled. Promises that were not kept, but adjusted or changed. If you say you are coming to my house today at 4pm. And you don’t show up, you did not keep your promise period. Showing up later, or going to someone else’s house at 4pm, or saying that the word “house” could actually have another deeper meaning like community I live in, would not change the fact that you did not keep your promise. Has God really said?
Chuck, I believe you’re simply looking at these prophecies through the lens of your presuppositions. Have you examined the parallel passages where Zechariah 12:10-14 are mentioned (Matthew 24:30 and Revelation 1:7), and the time statements associated with those passages? Have you considered that the prophecy in Zechariah 13:1 (a fountain to wash away sin and uncleanness for the house of David) pertains to Christ’s work on the cross, and that this fountain has been flowing now for 2000 years? Have you considered the Biblical revelation (in Isaiah 65-66, Galatians 4, Hebrews 12, etc.) that New Jerusalem enjoys the favor of God while earthly Jerusalem doesn’t, and how that revelation might shed light on Zechariah 12-14? I’m asking because, from your responses, I can’t tell that you’ve given thought to these and other things presented in this post.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for asking, I will take up one topic at a time. Zechariah 12:10-14 awaits a yet future more full fulfillment, not sure when in history the Son of Man or His sign have appeared in the sky or the clouds. The coming of the Son of Man that is spoken of in Matt. 24:27 is as “the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west”. I would think such an event would have been spoken of by some historian. The “time statements” that you refer to are an obvious point of difference with our views. I can see “that generation” as belonging to a yet future or possibly this generation, your view keeps it back in 70 AD in spite of the fact that “all” of the things spoken of in Matthew 24 have not taken place. 70 AD was a partial fulfillment but it did not meet the Lord’s extravagant statements. “33 so, you too, when you see ALL these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until ALL these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” That last verse is key to my understanding, ALL of His words must be fulfilled, literally, physically just as He said, and when they are, then THAT is the generation He was speaking of.
Zechariah 13:1 Praise God for the fountain, but due to a partial hardening from God, for the purpose of bringing in bunches of gentiles, and one day bringing a national day of salvation for the jewish people “in that day”, The house of Judah and Jerusalem have not yet been brought through the ultimate fire that will consume two thirds of them and bring one third that remains to a national repentance and salvation. (the remainder of chapter 13) My view allows for that to be yet future, your view has to make it not apply to the people it was spoken too. So to be clear, I totally agree the fountain is open and efficacious for all who are drawn by the Father and brought to the place of salvation, but the literal ultimate fulfillment of this chapter is yet future.
Isaiah 65-66 I see the mixture of New Jerusalem and current Jerusalem in these verses. I see geographical countries mentioned (Sharon Achor Put Lud Tarshish etc.) and I see New Jerusalem mentioned also, but it is definitely not cut and dried that the whole section refers to New Jerusalem. Galatians 4 is speaking of the passing away of the Law of Moses because Christ fulfilled those statutes, and speaks of Isaac as a son of promise, promises that then went to Jacob and out to the 12 tribes, promises not involving the law of Moses that have yet to be totally, completely, ultimately, nationally, fulfilled. Galatians 4:25 “25 Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.” But it should be noted that twice Paul mentions going up to this “present Jerusalem” to consult with the elders there. So he was not saying that God had permanently cast aside His promises to this physical land. His ecstatic praise at the end of Romans 11 is due to seeing how God worked it all out. Hebrews 12 is again noting the passing of the Mosaic law, not the covenant promises to Abraham and David, the heavenly Jerusalem is indeed what we have to look forward to, but there is the little matter of a promised 1,000 year reign that needs to yet be fulfilled in physical literal Jerusalem. (I don’t much care if the number 1,000 is only mentioned once, once is good enough for me, and I would never say, “Has God really said….” if God did indeed really say, 1,000 years!)
Lastly an honest reading of the 25 mentions of “in that day” in Zechariah will show plenty that has not taken place yet.
I congratulate you and your ministry for the clear understanding of this prophecy. Without any doubt all the utterances of the Old Testament found the fulfillment in the first century and the New Testaments teachings of Christ and his apostles are the clear evidence of this. No everybody do understand the prophecy of the Old Testament, specially that of Zechariah. I am Juan Carlos Peña Marrero a pastor in Bayamón Puerto Rico. I had studied eschatology for 35 years and my conviction is that Jesus came providentially to judge the apostate Israel and to save the believers of the new Israel that had borne from the gospel. This is the Jerusalem from above. Now the tabernacle of God is with the men. His presence and Parousia is real and forevermore. Blessings to you and your family.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Blessings to your ministry. Amen
Thank you, Pastor Juan. It’s a blessing to hear from you in Puerto Rico, and to learn a little bit about your journey and to know that we share this understanding of Bible prophecy. I so agree with you that Jesus came, as He promised, to judge apostate Israel, and that we are citizens of New Jerusalem and members of the Israel of God. Blessings to you and your family as well, and on your ministry there in Puerto Rico.
There are very clear indications that Zechariah 12:10-14 was fulfilled in the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem. Just this past week it struck me what the significance was for the particular tribes mentioned that are mourning in Jerusalem in that day. It points directly to a dissolution of the entire Judaic system by the end of AD 70.
Zechariah singled out for special attention 4 families: those of the house of David and of Nathan of the tribe of Judah, the families of the tribe of Levi, and the family of Shimei. This last family is what always puzzled me. We never hear anything special about Shimei. It was so unusual that I dug up what I could find in the OT about Shimei. Apparently Shimei was the son of Gershon, who was the son of Levi (Numbers 3:18). The honorable task given to the Gershonites in the wilderness wanderings was to transport, on a couple of wagons hauled by oxen, all of the curtains, draperies and hangings, the skins of the coverings, and the cords that connected them all together to form the walls of the tabernacle (Numbers 4: 22-26).
The following is why I believe all these families are mentioned as having a reason for their intense mourning. First of all, Shimei’s family would be mourning in Jerusalem because they would be seeing the structure of the Jerusalem temple being totally destroyed before their eyes, down to the last stone, so that not one stone would be left upon another. Their ancient charge of caring for what made up the walls of the physical tabernacle was dissolved in that day. It was finally sinking in that they had lost their job. Christ was making evident to them that He was the foundation of the true temple made with living stones.
Second, the families of Levi would be mourning because the priesthood system was being visually dissolved also in that day. They, too, were realizing finally that they had lost their job as well. Christ was making visually evident to them what was already an existing fact – that He was the only high priest necessary.
As to the families of David and Nathan from the tribe of Judah, their mourning was because they saw that the branch of any future, royal, genetic line was cut down (Mal. 4:1) and also that the lawgiver tribe was not needed any more – “Shiloh” had come, and the “gathering of the people” of Israel had occurred in a physical resurrection by that point, as I believe Jacob’s prophecy in Gen 49:10 intended. Christ was making evident to them that He was the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.
All these 4 families would also share in mourning for another reason common to them all – they were left in the disintegrating city – they “remained” behind (Zech. 12:14), in those final months of AD 70 after a Pentecost resurrection. Christ had said that there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth when they would see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and themselves thrust out (Luke 13:28). At that point, the resurrection would have happened, and the “door ” would have been shut, leaving them on the outside of it.
LikeLiked by 2 people
These are excellent and enlightening observations about the significance of why those four families were mentioned by Zechariah. I hadn’t considered/realized several of those points. Thank you so much.
Patricia or Adam, would you like to share how Zechariah 12:7-9 have been fulfilled in history, because I cannot see it?
It’s good to hear from you. Zechariah 12:7-9 is part of what would happen “in that day.” I believe it has been well-established in this post that this time frame was the first century AD. I believe the Jerusalem that was “a very heavy stone for all peoples” (Zech. 12:3) was New Jerusalem (Galatians 4:21-31, Hebrews 12:18-29, Revelation 21:1-22:5). The attempt to “heave it away” (Zech. 12:3) was seen in the very noteworthy campaign of persecution led by Nero (64 – 68 AD) and instigated by the religious leaders of Israel.
That attempt failed, and God even granted refuge to the believers residing in earthly Jerusalem when they fled to Pella (in modern Jordan) and not a single one perished, as Josephus records. Regarding the nations that came against New Jerusalem, the Roman Empire fell into great upheaval immediately after Nero’s death in June 68 AD and almost collapsed, according to Roman historians. Israel and (earthly) Jerusalem fell two years later in 70 AD.
“In that day” living waters also flowed from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:8), as they do today. That Jerusalem was/is New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:1-22:5 identifies and describes New Jerusalem, and Rev. 22:1 specifically speaks of living water in New Jerusalem. This is an echo of Zechariah’s prophecy (and of Ezekiel 47). Whether or not you agree that Zechariah 12-14 prophesied about 1st century events, this at least makes it clear that New Jerusalem is seen in these chapters, right?
The text says this, Zechariah 12:9 “9 And in that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” You said, ” the Roman Empire fell into great upheaval immediately after Nero’s death in June 68 AD and almost collapsed, according to Roman historians”. Do you see the word “almost” in your reply? That is the crux of my objection to your view of scripture. You are content when the word of God is “almost” fulfilled. I look for a day yet to come when it will be fully, totally, every jot and tittle, fulfilled. As always I am grateful for the chance to express this thought on your blog and will allow you to have the last word. May we all come to know Him.
You are correct to insist on a full, total fulfillment of what “all the nations” means. But check your definition of the “nations” against the way scripture uses the term.
It’s easy for our 21st century mindset to stumble when it comes to our definition of what Zechariah meant by “all the nations”. Zechariah is a book that is heavily layered with allusions to past events in Israel’s Old Testament history. The accomplished destruction of “all the nations” coming against Jerusalem is to be understood in the manner used by Zechariah 14:21 to characterize it: “There shall be no more the CANAANITE in the house of the Lord.” In other words, the successful eradication of everything considered “Canaanite” in God’s eyes is how the destruction of “all the nations” is to be understood.
What was the bane of Israel’s Old Testament existence in the promised land? It was the corrupting influence of the Canaanites that were left among them because the Israelites did not completely drive them out, as God instructed. It was a snare to them (Judges 2:1-5) and a constant source of temptation, which they unfortunately succumbed to on many, many occasions. It was the primary cause for the many judgments passed upon them by God.
Read Joshua 23:3-10 to get a feel for how “all the nations” should be defined. “And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto ALL THESE NATIONS because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you. Behold, I have divided unto you by lot THESE NATIONS THAT REMAIN, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with ALL THE NATIONS that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. And the LORD your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you….” Psalms 78:55 LXX gives a testimony to the same thing; “And he cast out THE NATIONS from before them, and made them to inherit by a line of inheritance and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.” God kept His part of the bargain.
But as for Israel’s part? By the time we get to the beginning of the first century, the “Canaanite” influence had infiltrated even the priesthood and the temple system itself. Read Zechariah 11:11-13 in the LXX and see how the caustic label of “Canaanite” is attached to those who gave the price of 30 pieces of silver for Christ’s betrayal. The priesthood system itself was aligned against the Savior throughout His earthly ministry. In judgment for this, Luke 12:49 said that the purging fire had already been kindled in Christ’s day. It would continue to smolder until it broke out into the Lake of Fire/Second Death judgment on Jerusalem in AD 70, when God would “throughly purge His floor” by burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire (the “floor” being a direct reference to the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, the site of the temple’s construction). The First Death of Jerusalem’s temple, of course, had occurred when it was burned down in the Babylonian invasion, and its “Second Death” was when it was burned down on the same day of the year under the Roman invasion.
Zechariah 14:3 said that God would fight against “all the nations” in the same way that He had fought in the day of battle before. This harks back to the day of Joshua’s battle against the king of Jerusalem’s 5-king coalition in Joshua 10, when God stopped the sun at Joshua’s request, and rained hailstones upon these kings’ armies near Beth-horon. Not a man of them would be able to stand before Joshua, God promised. Do we have God raining hailstones on “all the nations” in AD 70? Yes, in Rev. 16:21, with the use of the catapults by the Romans, which God called “HIS armies” in Matt. 22:7. Some of “all the nations” were INSIDE Jerusalem, as well as outside, fighting each other as much or more than they were fighting the Romans. It was civil war for most of the AD 66-70 period, with the city finally splitting internally into 3 main factions, as in Rev. 16:19. God also would plague these warring factions inside Jerusalem with starvation so abrupt and intense that they would be consumed with it while they stood upon their feet (Zech. 14:12).
I am of the opinion that the Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39(particularly 38:21) is nothing more than a description of this same AD 70 “brother against brother” conflict between the sons of Shem and the sons of Japheth. The LXX version of Numbers 24:7-9 has Balaam defining the “kingdom of Gog” as being the one that God led out of Egypt. Balaam’s prophecy was concerning what would involve the children of Israel in the “last days”, which I believe is directly related to first-century Israel and its eventual fall in AD 70.
Much of the confusion in Zechariah when we try to understand just who is fighting against which side results from not considering this intense level of infighting among the Jews themselves. And, as Adam’s post has already brought out, to complicate things further, there are also definitely TWO Jerusalems being discussed in Zechariah, with the death of the physical Jerusalem being necessary to establish the preeminence of the spiritual Jerusalem. “He taketh away the first that He may establish the second.”
Zechariah goes to some lengths to describe this fraternal warfare that would persist in this period. Zech. 11:9 has “the rest eating every one the flesh of another” – a literal fulfillment at the most wretched point in the starving city in AD 70. In Zech. 11:16 LXX, even the “foolish shepherd” over the flock of Israel would prey on his own flock and “devour the flesh of the choice ones, and wring their necks.” Also, Zech.11:14 has the prophet breaking his rod called “Bands” to illustrate the breaking of the brotherhood between Israel and Judah – a brotherhood that existed ever since the post-exilic fulfillment of the “two sticks becoming one” in the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:19. (Many of the promises of restored peace for Israel apply to the post-exilic period of revival under Ezra and Nehemiah’s time – NOT as mistakenly supposed for a modern-day fulfillment.)
When this brotherhood between Israel and Judah was broken in the AD 66-70 era, it would result in taking “THE peace” from the earth/land of Israel (Rev. 6:4), so that “they should kill one another.” This particular phrase – “THE peace” doesn’t refer to the Pax Romana. It refers to the “covenant of peace” for post-exilic Israel prophesied by Ezekiel 37:26 and 34:25. The breaking of Ezekiel’s prophesied covenant of “THE peace” is shown by Zechariah’s rod named “Beauty” being broken in Zech. 11:10, and would come to fulfillment in the AD 66-70 era. Those who were clamoring for rebellion against Rome became more and more determined to eliminate those who were trying to preserve a stable co-existence with Roman authority. Civil war was the inevitable result. In Zech. 14:13,14, this escalating division between the Jews themselves would finally culminate in hand-to-hand combat in Jerusalem, with even Judah, the lawgiver tribe, fighting against Jerusalem.
This participation of Judah warring in Jerusalem is where your Zech. 12:7 LXX verse comes in; “And the LORD shall save the tabernacles of Juda AS AT THE BEGINNING, that the boast of the house of David and the pride of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not magnify themselves against Juda.” You have to ask yourself, “What ‘beginning’ is being referred to here?” This “beginning” is found in Judges 1:1-4, 19. Joshua had just died, and Israel still had Canaanite nations left to conquer, so they asked God who should go up FIRST to fight with the Canaanites. God answered, “…Judah shall go up; behold I have delivered the land into his hand.” We then have Judges 1:8, where Juda is fighting against Jerusalem and burning it with fire – a precursor to the Zech. 14:4 prophecy of “Juda also shall fight against Jerusalem.”
History would repeat itself, in both a literal and a spiritual sense. By the end of Zechariah though, we have a complete elimination of anything that would be called “Canaanite” in the house of the Lord. The corrupt priesthood and the sacrificial rituals, which had disintegrated into idol worship in the temple by ignoring Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, would no longer be around to offer a feeble competition to Christ’s finished work. The New Jerusalem now “dwells securely” (Zech. 14:11 LXX), because you can’t tear down a temple made of living stones.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wow Patricia, that was a lot of words. I prefer the translation of Zechariah14:21 that uses “merchant” in place of Canaanite, but it could be that they are both true. I noticed that you avoided the verses from Zech. 14:16-19, they are very hard to exegete using a 70AD paradigm. I think it requires quite a bit of “interpretation gymnastics” to make everything that Zechariah puts in the frame of reference as “in that day” as happening in 70AD. Again this is why I favor a yet future fulfillment. Even in the LXX I do not read Numbers 24:7-9 as saying that the “kingdom of Gog” as being the one that God led out of Egypt. That is frankly a gigantic stretch of interpretation that I doubt that Adam M. would support. As for Ezekiel 38 and 39, you can hardly grab 38:21 out of that and say, “see that means this is a brother against brother conflict”. It just seems you are working very hard to make things fit into your system of thought, but some stuff just doesn’t fit. If you explain hailstones as catapults then why are they mentioned directly after torrential rain, I prefer to think in the context hailstones are supernaturally large hailstones that God is using to war against the enemy and vindicate Himself as Yahweh, the God of Israel. (Ezekiel 38:22,23). Bottom line, a yet future fulfillment of these passages flows easily and literally and an AD 70 fulfillment is like trying to stuff 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound bag, it does not work. Peace to you, you may have the last word, and may God reveal the truth to all of our hearts.
I appreciate the exchange of thoughts here. Apologies for my long-winded comments – I have yet to master the art of brevity as others have.
The version you mention which translates Zech. 14:21 as “merchant” might be one of the versions I also have which gives either “trader” or “Canaanite” as acceptable. This just bolsters the point I’m trying to make, though. In Rev. 18:11, 15, when the great city Babylon/Jerusalem is burnt up, the “merchants” of the earth (land of Israel) weep and mourn for her because their business dealings with her have also gone up in smoke. The list of their merchandise which follows in this Rev. 18 context includes items typically featured one way or another with temple worship in Judea. These items would depart from the city and would be “found no more at all” in her after her destruction in AD 70.
You will remember how Christ drove out those who were marketing for personal profit on the temple grounds in His day. The Sadducees, particularly those of the high priest House of Annas, were making an exorbitant income from their market booths which profited from the offerings of temple worshippers. Corruption of temple practices abounded under their control, so that even the Talmud pronounced a curse on the House of Annas for its greed. Once the temple of Jerusalem had burned to the ground in AD 70, and her priesthood had been dissolved, the “merchants” of the temple goods, would be found no more in the New Jerusalem, including the high priesthood, who had abused their position of authority. At that point, all in the city of New Jerusalem would have direct access to the one-and-only necessary high priest – Christ Jesus Himself. Just as Zech. 14:21 said, there would be “no more a Canaanite/merchant in the house of the Lord” when God had thoroughly purged His “floor” of those who had made it a den of thieves.
I had not included a comment on Zech. 14:16-19 earlier since I was trying to stay on target with your Zech. 12 observations. Adam has another post where I have already submitted my understanding of these Zech. 14:16-19 verses.
This particular section of Zechariah isn’t recommending or commanding a return to the Levitical sacrificial system of feast celebrations. Neither is the blessing of “rain” promised in these verses referring to literal water droplets, since Egypt mentioned in verse 18 & 19 is a nation with practically no annual rainfall, anyway. A judgment of literally “no rain” for that literal country would be a meaningless threat. Instead, “rain” is a metaphor in scripture for a blessing resulting from righteous living, or the blessing of righteousness itself. Check out Isaiah 45:8, “Drop down ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness…” Or try this one in Hosea 10:12, “Sow to yourselves righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”
All through Deuteronomy, the blessing of rain in due season for the early and latter rain was promised if the Israelites would diligently follow the Lord’s commands. The withholding of rain was also promised as a curse if they failed to do so.
Ever since Israel entered the land of Canaan with Joshua, their worship system was programmed by God to revolve around the seasonal harvest feast celebrations. Three times a year their males, as representative of the entire family, were required to arrive in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. These three harvest feast celebrations were God’s method of picturing for all mankind how He intended to harvest the physical bodies of men from the grave in three stages throughout history. The timing for these three resurrections would fall on these very same festival times on the Jewish calendar.
Two of these resurrections have already taken place. The first was Christ’s resurrection in Passover week in AD 33, along with the group of Matthew 27:52-53 saints who rose with Him. The second resurrection at Pentecost in AD 70 was predicted by Daniel 12:11-13, and included the whole house of Israel, the just and unjust. We are now waiting for the third bodily resurrection in our future, which should fall on the calendar at the time when the Feast of Tabernacles would ordinarily have been celebrated under Levitical law. God was highlighting the date for us in Zech. 14:16-19. It’s not so much the feast itself that He was emphasizing there – it’s the TIMING of it He wants us to remember. Christ will return for a third coming at that season of the year in our future, to fulfill the OT type of the final Jubilee when we will “return to our possession” in a glorified, incorruptible, resurrected body.
All of the “in that day” references in Zech. 12-14 are indeed already fulfilled. They are all linked in time with the prophesied destruction of AD 70 Jerusalem found in Zech. 12:2 and 13:1,2, which necessarily includes the second physical coming of Christ in Zech. 14:4-9. There is a reason that any mention of the required attendance at the Passover and Pentecost feasts is conspicuously absent in Zech. 14:16-19. Why? Because at the close of AD 70 and the destruction of the temple, these types for the first and second resurrections would have already been fulfilled, in AD 33 and AD 70 respectively, leaving only the Feast of Tabernacles to remind us of the third, final resurrection at the end of human history.
As for the Gog/Magog reference, yes, Adam has got the Numbers 24:7-9 LXX text mentioned in his 4 Views of Gog and Magog post, so he is probably not unfamiliar with it. Others before me have considered this text of Balaams’s prophecy as relevant for identifying the kingdom of Gog, so it’s not a unique invention of mine. Since Adam treats this Gog/Magog subject elsewhere, perhaps to keep things focused, it’s best not to combine that topic with this one here. If you ever read and comment on that post of Adam’s, I’ll try to respond there with some observations of my own, such as they are, that would show you my scripture foundation for a Gog/Magog warfare involving brother against brother.
Thanks for this insight. The passage concerning Judah is a bit confusing and I had never studied it out the way you have but it makes sense as the factions in Jerusalem and Judea were made up of ‘Jews’ (a religious term for one who kept the laws of Moses regardless of his physical heritage.).
The Alexandria area of Egypt gets 7.2 inches of rainfall per year, so yes it would matter if they got “no rain”, and yes it is a literal statement, of a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ. Partial or spiritualized fulfillment is not good enough for me and that is where we diverge. May God reveal His truth to our hearts.
I would agree with you that the millennium is a literal 1,000 years in length, not a symbolic number. Rev. 20:7 makes that very clear when it says that the millennium “expires”, which tells me that a literal time clock was ticking down to the very end of it. But I am bewildered as to where you are finding it mentioned in Zechariah. If you could bring up the verses in Zechariah which you believe are referring to this, then at least I’ll know where you are coming from.
On my part, I find this literal 1,000 years to be ENDING after Christ’s resurrection in AD 33. The “remnant of the dead” – the small portion of the dead in Rev. 20:5 – is the group of Matthew 27:52-53 saints raised along with Him in this First Resurrection. There is one, and can be ONLY ONE, First Resurrection event, and that is the one in which Christ was raised as the Firstborn. If the millennium is a literal 1,000 years, (ending in AD 33), you back the calendar up a literal 1,000 years from that point in time, and you arrive EXACTLY at the year Solomon’s temple foundation stone was laid, according to Menander of Ephesus’ record in Josephus. You could label this time period by the title of “the millennium of PHYSICAL temple worship”. It was a type leading up to the anti-type of the True Temple Foundation being laid down by Christ’s finished cross-work and His ascension (I Cor. 3:11, I Peter 2:4-7). Christ the “living stone” became the foundation of a spiritual temple made of other living stones built upon His foundation. After His finished work, the physical temple became a competing idol – an outmoded, defunct operation, simply waiting for its final annihilation in AD 70.
Satan was bound during the period of physical temple worship by the written and spoken ministry of God’s prophets, many of whom were martyred by their own people. It does not necessarily follow that knowledge of the God of Israel had to become a SAVING knowledge for those who heard it. This binding of Satan continued through Christ’s earthly ministry in which He and the disciples cast out devils. The nations were NO LONGER DECEIVED during this entire period as they were in the previous “times past of this ignorance” that Paul talks about in Acts 17:30, when God “suffered all nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16). During the millennium they may have still acted in a sinful manner, but they could no longer claim ignorance as an excuse.
King David’s prophecy in Psalms 72:4 (LXX) says that Solomon would “bring low the false accuser”. This is none other than Satan, the “accuser of the brethren” being bound. “In his days, (Solomon’s), shall righteousness spring up; and abundance of peace…” (Ps. 72:7 LXX). Solomon’s wisdom and the knowledge of the God of Israel went all over the known world at that time. His reign initiated a golden age of Israel as a people. It was a fulfillment of God’s promise to King David that He would give His people rest from their enemies, and allow David’s son, a man of peace, to build a temple for Him.
I find that much of the common perception of millennium conditions, mistakenly applied to our future, is inflated and idealized without any scripture to support it.
These are just a few more observations I’ve noticed about these later chapters of Zechariah 11-13, along with a question of my own thrown in. I am basing this on the foundation that the “burden for Israel” in Zechariah 12-14 is devoted to the AD 70 era’s days of vengeance for Israel.
In Zechariah 11:15-17, just prior to Zechariah 12 predicting Jerusalem’s siege conditions, the prophet mentions a particular “foolish shepherd”, and describes his neglectful ministry. A “shepherd” of Israel is a high priest over God’s “flock”. This “foolish shepherd”, or foolish high priest would not bother to visit the flock, heal the broken, seek the young one, or feed anyone. Instead, he would “eat the flesh of the fat and tear their claws in pieces”; a predatory kind of high priest, preying on the rich, with no sympathy for the weak, vulnerable, or injured ones in Israel.
I believe we can know the name of this particular “foolish shepherd” by the record of Josephus. The very last high priest serving in Jerusalem from AD 67-70 was named Phannias, as you are aware. The Zealots chose this man by casting lots. In doing this, their purpose was to forever cast aside and totally dissolve the old order of high priesthood succession. In Wars 4.3.8, Josephus described Phannias as “…a man not only unworthy of the high priesthood, but that did not well know what the high priesthood was, such a mere rustic was he!” (Sounds as if the “foolish shepherd” description fits Phannias.) “Yet did they hale this man, without his own consent, out of the country, as if they were acting a play upon the stage, and adorned him with a counterfeit face; they also put upon him the sacred garments, and upon every occasion instructed him what he was to do.” This made Phannias a manipulated puppet of the Zealots; a high priest who from then on was obligated to comply with their plans and assist them with their wicked endeavors out of debt for their conferring the high priesthood position upon him. These Zealot villainies could then be attributed to Phannias as well, since he was acting as their tool. Which is why we have Zechariah 11:17 pronouncing a judgment of woe upon this foolish shepherd. “Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” It doesn’t sound as if Phannias the “foolish shepherd” was going to prosper after AD 70, if he wasn’t killed outright by then.
Adam, there is another passage about the high priests in Zechariah 11 that I wonder if you or anyone has a solid interpretation for. Zechariah 11:8 is a statement that God would “cut off” three shepherds in ONE MONTH. It’s quite possible this was a literal one month period of time when three high priests were done way with during that same month, given the volatility of those last years of the Judaic age. But to which point in that Great Tribulation period this applies, I’m not sure. And which particular group of three high priests would have been cut off? Josephus mentions several we could pick from, but it’s not altogether certain. Perhaps someone has some historical information that would help on this verse. Ananias, Ishmael, and 1 other in AD 66, perhaps? The two witnesses, (Ananus and Joshua), and 1 other in the Idumean attack, perhaps? Or was this the group of priests sent to Nero in AD 63 for committing some minor offenses, after which Josephus went to arrange for their release from the empress Poppaea? The chronology would fit just prior to the “foolish shepherd” Phannias being selected to serve in AD 67, followed by Zech. 12’s siege of Jerusalem. Still chewing on this one.
Also, I’d like to propose an alternate interpretation of Zechariah 13:1 that differs from the usual “fountain” of cleansing translations. This is a verse that has a sense of judgment about it – not blessing. The LXX version reads this way: “In that day,” (the same “day” of Jerusalem’s citizens mourning apart from each other), “every place shall be opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for removal and for separation.” This same “separation” had just been spoken of in Zechariah 12:12-14, with every family separated from each other , as well as each of those families’ wives also being separated apart from them.
In AD 66-70 Jerusalem, conditions were so vile with dead bodies lying everywhere unburied, that the entire city was defiled with uncleanness, according to the strict Mosaic laws about contact with a dead body. Plague was also rampant in the city, causing even more uncleanness, for which Mosaic law also demanded physical removal and separation for the afflicted persons. So much bloodshed was soaking Jerusalem in those days, that the entire city was like the uncleanness of a “removed woman” who was set apart for her monthly cycle. So widespread was this uncleanness of Jerusalem that truly, “EVERY PLACE” was opened up as a location of separation and removal for unclean persons.
Compare this Zech. 13:1 discussion of “removal and separation” with Ezekiel 36:17-18. God told the prophet, “Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings” (prior to the 70-year Babylonian exile). “Their way was before me as the uncleanness of a REMOVED woman. Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for THE BLOOD THAT THEY HAD SHED UPON THE LAND, and for their idols with which they had polluted it.” (AD 70 Jerusalem also had its own type of idols to answer for in those days, according to Zech. 13:2.)
This bloodshed taking place inside AD 70 Jerusalem was actually a fulfillment of an old Mosaic law in Numbers 35:33-34 (LXX). “So shall ye not pollute with murder the land in which ye dwell, for this blood pollutes the land, and the land shall not be purged from the blood shed upon it, but BY THE BLOOD OF HIM THAT SHED IT.” That means the AD 70 bloodshed of civil war in Jerusalem was retribution for the murder of the prophets and of Christ being exacted upon that generation, as Christ promised in Luke 11:49-51.
So, the rampant bloodshed universally covering the ENTIRE city of Jerusalem between AD 66-70 had opened up “every place” within its walls as being a location for removed, separated, unclean persons – not just a few locations. Wives and husbands were equally defiled with the city’s bloody uncleanness, which is why Zech. 12:12-14 repeatedly listed all those families’ members as mourning APART from each other.
Another reason why I don’t think we can interpret Zechariah 13:1 as the blessing of a “fountain” being opened up to wash away our sin-guilt is that the timing of this would be off: Christ’s shed blood offered in heaven on the morning He ascended in John 20:17 is the day a New Covenant fountain of Christ’s shed blood could officially and legally be applied by our great high priest for our benefit. Believers did not have to wait until AD 70 to have this New Covenant “fountain” available to them. So, even though the LXX differs from most translations on this verse, I believe the context indicates that the LXX has the more appropriate meaning in this case.
To Chuckabean and others, which is more important: to have the “physical” types and shadows or the “spiritual” — just as real — substantial fulfillment of God’s promises?
In Hebrews 12:22, the writer makes plain that ALL who are in covenant, especially the “hebrew” believers to whom the letter is focusing on, “have come” (not will come) to Mount Zion, Spiritual Jerusalem. Once one has arrived at and IN the promised eternal Jerusalem which will never suffer earthly invasion or heavenly shaking, why would we ever look back to earthly types and shadows?
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels…” Hebrews 12:22 NKJV
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you so much for all the great studies you’ve posted, they’ve helped my understanding so much! I only recently discovered your site and most of the studies seem to be from around 2009-2014 but are still as relevant today as they were when originally posted.
[…] 3. https://adammaarschalk.com/2014/12/24/zechariah-12-fulfilled/ […]