Hope in the Lord for His Faithfulness Endures


November 23, 1997 ~ Bloomfield


Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.   And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.  As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.  Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; when I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.  And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.  The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar.  And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.  For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.  Zechariah 9:9-17


Around 606 BC Babylon conquered Jerusalem.  The graphic nature of this calamity is portrayed in the book of Lamentations, written by the prophet Jeremiah, and it is clear from all accounts that this disaster befell Jerusalem as punishment for its idolatry.  The prophecy of Zechariah are remarkable in that, occurring less that 100 years from its initial captivity, they speak of the good that the Lord would do for the people of Israel.  In fact, were you to spend any amount of time in the study of prophetic literature in the bible, you would find that God often promises blessing while He is pronouncing judgement.  The first verse of our text is actually a prophecy of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem and we read of its fulfillment in the gospel of Matthew:


Matthew 21:4-5 - All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.


Zechariah was “a prophet of Judah, the eleventh of the twelve minor prophets. Like Ezekiel, he was of priestly extraction. He describes himself as "the son of Berechiah." In Ezra he is called "the son of Iddo," who was properly his grandfather.


Ezra 5:1 - Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.


Ezra 6:14 - And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.


His prophetical career began in the second year of Darius (B.C. 520) about sixteen years after the return of the first company from exile. He was contemporary with Haggai,”  Easton’s Bible Dictionary.


One of the interesting characteristics of Zechariah, like that of Isaiah, is that he does not fit our common understanding of a prophet.  He does not extensively foretell “doom and gloom” as does Jeremiah, nor does he  speak to a primarily rebellious people, as did Hosea.  He speaks to a nation that has returned to its own land after seventy years of captivity in Babylon.  He is speaking to a people that need encouragement.  It is encouragement, in fact, is the thrust of every prophecy.  Encouragement to return, encouragement to remain faithful to God, encouragement that, as the apostle Paul writes:


Romans 8:28 - And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.


Zechariah is not saying that it was a good thing for Israel to be in captivity all those years, but he is telling his countrymen that in spite of the evil that was done by their fathers in the past that led to the captivity, God is still going to bless the nation.  He remained faithful even as Israel became unfaithful.


Throughout the prophetic books God is constantly reaffirming the promise that He initially made to Abraham:


Genesis 26:4 - And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.


And we can see throughout the bible that God’s promises are forever.  If God promised Israel a king then a king they would get.


Israel has been promised a king in this passage, what kind of king was expected?

When the King comes, what kind of King arrives?

Jesus’ birth had been prophesied centuries, even millennia, before His birth.  Yet when He came He was not recognized because Israel expected something other than what He was.  There dreams molded their expectation of what the Messiah would be.  Wishing for a return to the golden age of Israel as it was under David and Solomon their expectation of the Messiah made Him a political/military figure.  There was no reason for this for even in Isaiah we read:


Isaiah 42:1-4 - Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.  He will not cry, nor lift up his voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street.  A bruised reed will he not break, and a dimly burning wick will he not quench: he will bring forth justice in truth.  He will not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set justice in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law.


Jesus the Messiah was continually portrayed in the prophetic books as He who would come to save His children from their bondage to sin, not from their bondage to political overlords.  Yet the dream of the people for a true restoration of the physical kingdom of Israel caused them to hope for a political leader as opposed to a spiritual saviour.


This promise, we also learn from Isaiah, was not to be limited to the Jews alone, but you and I would also be blessed through Messiah’s birth just as God promised Abraham 4,000 years ago.