Devotional Commentary on Zechariah 12


In this chapter again, the readers are going to be surprised by Lutheran exegetes of the time of Ellen White that they in their German commentaries are sharing the same views as Ellen White, although the popular “progressive Rationalistic scholars” rejected anything worthy of the Word of God. So many times I heard “progressive Adventist professors” say that Ellen White cannot be taken too seriously since she is not exegetical but homiletical. A close look at exegetes of the Old Testament so far, has indicated that stances or nuances that Ellen White gave to the interpretation of a text, was shared by a larger number of exegetes before her to from her time. Some of these scholars, like Kliefoth, Hengstenberg and Delitzsch, have brought together true exegesis with true homiletics and true systematic theology so that they move into the different genres without feeling guilty! That is because they are not trying to explain something exegetically that is not in line with Bible or which is a rationalization of their attempt to “lock the Word’s impact on their personal lives out” so that they can continue with their sinful thoughts and lives. They believed that their exegesis or preaching or doctrinal explanation should all have the same true methodology that is coming from pure thoughts enlightened by the Holy Spirit and submitted to the Word of God as a source from the outside to the inside and that the pure thoughts are coming from an attempt towards a pure lifestyle with the power of the Holy Spirit strapping Satan’s influences on the human’s passions, desires, imaginations and memory.

In verse 1 Zechariah reflect back to the Creator God Who created man and his environment.

Verse 2 explains that Jerusalem is promised to be made a cup of trembling/weakness [sp r`l] to the people all around when they shall be in siege against it and against Judah. The content seems to be eschatological. It was also the view of Hoffmann but Kliefoth did not like it since he said that chapter 11 talks about the Romans so 12:1 should also continue with the Romans (Kliefoth 1860: 199). It will be developed further in Zechariah 14 but in the eschaton with the New Jerusalem on earth, Satan and nations shall come to fight the Warrior Messiah at Jerusalem, the available “weak cup”. Delitzsch reminded us that “the ‘cup of reeling’, i.e. a goblet filled with intoxicating drink, is a figure very frequently employed to denote the divine judgment, which intoxicates the nations, so that they are unable to stand any longer, and therefore fall to the ground and perish” and he mentioned Isaiah 51:17 (Delitzsch 1884: 381)..

But, a transformation will be in that day since verse 3 indicates that the Lord will change the picture. “I will make/set up Jerusalem a stone of burden for all peoples”. Christ’s role in this Battle of Armegeddon or the Hell, as the Bible indicate later, is that those inside the city becomes the victors and those outside the city the losers.

The verse begins with whyh and grammars agree that waw + hyh is used to emphasize future time. A scholar Gottfried Vanoni studied the functions of hyh and whyh in the Bible and came to the conclusion that whyh is used with a deictic temporal [time] function (Vanoni 1982: 73-86).

“All that burden themselves [Satan and his proxies] with it [the appearing weak Jerusalem] shall be cut to pieces and all the nations of the earth shall gather over it [with it in focus]” (last part of verse 3).

Says Ellen White of this event in Spiritual Gifts Vol. I: 216 “Satan consults with his angels, and then with those kings and conquerors and mighty men. Then he looks over the vast army and tells them that the company in the City is small and feeble…”

So in verse 4 the Battle of the Lord is further explained:

“In that day, says the Lord, I will smite every horse”. There you have it. SookYoung Kim wrote her doctorate on the Warrior Messiah and it was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. The battle is the Lord’s. Not the Jews against the Romans or the days of Titus.

“Not only with alarm but with blindness will the Lord smite their horses” understood Delitzsch.

In verse 5 “the governors of Judah shall say in their heart: ‘her [city] strength (is), to me, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, in the Lord their God”. The Targum left out “to me” in their translation.

Delitzsch continued verse 6 very literally: “On that day will I make the princes of Judah as a basin of fire under logs of wood, and like a torch of fire under sheaves; and they will devour all nations round about, on the right and on the left; and Jerusalem will dwell still further in its place, at Jerusalem.”

The enemies shall be destroyed by an eschatological fire.

“Jerusalem will dwell still further in its place, in [not ‘at’ as Delitzsch since the /b/ = ‘in’ preposition is used] Jerusalem”

This is a very interesting phrase. There are two Jerusalems here: heavenly and earthly. The heavenly Jerusalem that will come down with the saints in Chapter 14, is the one that will dwell still further [timewise] in the place of the old Jerusalem that will timewise not continue.

Rabbi Rashi in the 12th century suggested “Instead, it [New Jerusalem] will be rebuilt on its original site, the place called Jerusalem today”.

In verse 7 three groups are outlined: tents of Judah or the migrating remnant, and house of David or the Old Testament remnant and inhabitants of Jerusalem or all the rest of the saved ones of the earth. The picture is still the heavenly Jerusalem now on earth and the battle is raging with evil nations coming but the Battle is the Lord’s.

There will be no favoritism or classed in a hierarchy of importance or racial superiority with the Lord. That is what the verse is saying.

“On that day [the Hell event] the Lord [Warrior Messiah Christ] shall protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the weakest of them shall be, on that day, like David” (verse 8).

“And the house of David shall be like angels, like the angel of the Lord before them” (verse 8). It is not in fighting but in appearance. They eye of the beholder is the eye of the evil beholder outside the city looking in. All they see are angels inside but the humans remain humans. Optical illusion for the evil.

“And it shall come to pass on that day, that I shall seek to destroy all the nations that come upon Jerusalem” (verse 9). Hoffmann insisted it is eschatological. For me, this is indicative that whatever was said before, was eschatological. “All people of the earth” came against it.

At this point, coming to the end of a discussion between verses 1-9 a turning point happen.

The subject is: what the Lord will do for His remnant in the Hell event, in Jerusalem at that time facing the evil opposition together with Him as Warrior Messiah. Secondly, and that comes now from verse 10, what the Lord will do for them spiritually.

“I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a Spirit [Holy Spirit] of grace and supplications” (verse 10).

Delitzsch and Ellen White understands 12:10 the same. In Acts of the Apostles, Ellen White said that this verse was fulfilled at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was provided in a miraculous way. Delitzsch said that God will “pour out His Spirit of grace upon them, so that they will bitterly repent the death of the Messiah” (Delitzsch 1884: 380).

Delitzsch remarked the same as Ellen White that “The true and full commencement of the fulfillment, however, shows itself in the success which attended the preaching of Peter on the first day of Pentacost…” (Delitzsch 1884: 389).

Commenting on the results of Pentecost, Ellen White said: “The prophecy was fulfilled…” mentioning Zechariah 12:10.

“And they will look upon me, Whom they have pierced, and will mourn over Him like the mourning over an Only one, and will grieve bitterly over Him, as one grieves bitterly over the first-born”.

Delitzch called our attention to the shifting of pronominal suffixes attached to the prepositions “to me” changed in the same sentence to “over Him” twice later. He then concluded: “Thus the transition from the first person to the third points to the fact that the person slain, although essentially one with Jehovah, is personally distinct from the Supreme God” (Delitzsch 1884: 388).

The Trinity is present here in Zechariah 12:10 grammatically and semantically within the syntax of the Hebrew.

The Rabbis were so confused by this verse that Rashi said in the 12th century: “And our Sages expounded this in tractate Sukkah (52a) as referring to the Messiah, son of Joseph, who was slain”.

Luke 23:48 read that “all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts”.

There was mourning when Christ died but verse 11 may indicate a mourning over the slain Messiah Who is now in the eschaton Himself in tears over the eradication of people who could have been saved, including the evil Rebel Lucifer alias Satan.

The mourning is in Jerusalem and my interpretation here is that Zechariah continued forward again with the Hell-event and its aftermath.

Four families shall mourn “all the remaining families” (verse 14) so that it is not just four.

A funeral is not a pleasant event and seemingly the Hell event is not going to be a pleasure. Christ does not laugh when He returns from the Battle and the saints in the city scream noisily (see Psalm 46:8) because the Warrior Messiah will have to quiet them (Psalm 46:10) “Be still and know that I am God”.

Tears from the Victor. And everyone started crying. He is One Who was pierced also by them yet saved.


Dear God

How touching is Your message through Zechariah. What a God of Love, our Savior and Maker is. Redeem us from ourselves and our own petty issues. In Jesus Name. Amen.