“Rejoice greatly, Daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9
The book of Zechariah divides into two parts. The second division embraces chapters 7-14. Chapters 9-11 deal with the coming of Messiah, Jesus, and His rejection by Judah. (Chapters 12-14 follow with the inspired account of Jesus’ second coming and His acceptance by the repentant Remnant.)
Israel’s refusal of the Messiah was connected with the state of moral decline into which the people had fallen long before. The cross was just the culmination of a course of willful hardening that had been going on since the days when Moses was guiding Israel through the wilderness. Because of this “willful hardening” of the heart, Israel suffered various captivities; and many afflictions had come upon them. When these Divine disciplinary rebukes resulted in true repentance, God mercifully relented His rebuke. It was such repentance that Israel was called to in chapters 7 & 8.
In chapter 9, the prophet begins speaking of the coming of the Savior King and how hearts must be prepared to receive Him. Today’s passage is quoted in three of the four gospels: Matthew 21:2-5; Mark 11:1-9; Luke 19:28-35, and all three speak of the direct fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy.
And what an accurate prophecy it was! Try and visualize, if you will, Jesus riding into Jerusalem amid the welcoming cries of His disciples, a “remnant” from among those who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. They all cried out, “Hosanna!” which literally translates, “Save us now!” Surely, they saw Jesus as the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prediction. In this way, Jesus came as the Prince of Peace, the chief Cornerstone of the rebuilding of Israel’s worship, only to be despised and cast away as a stonemason casts off a rock unfit for construction.
But when Jesus comes a second time, it will not be as the humble Prince who rides His donkey through the streets while His disciples herald his arrival. No, in the second coming, He will present Himself as the Warrior-King on the white horse of victorious judgment. (Revelation 19)
But between verses 9 & 10, this entire dispensation of grace comes in; it is evident that the latter part of chapter 9 has never been fulfilled. The King came but was refused. His cross has become the sign of salvation for all who trust in Him, while He Himself has taken His seated beside the Father in the Heavens. Never, for even one hour, has He occupied the throne of David. He will take that throne when He descends from the Heavens with power and great glory. Then He will cut off all the enemies of Jerusalem, and “He will proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion will extend from sea to sea, from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:10b. Only when He appears in person will Zechariah’s words fully have come to pass.
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