Summary: A fascinating passage about the military victory of Israel at Armageddon as well as the even more amazing thing that happens because of that victory.
- Set up Armageddon.
- The great Gentile attack on Israel is called the battle of Armageddon.
WHO BRINGS THE MILITARY VICTORY? God is the One making this victory happen.
- Zechariah 12:1, 2, 3, 9.
a. v. 1 – Three descriptions of Him and His power.
b. v. 2 – “I am going . . . .”
- God is the One who is going to bring this about.
- The reference to Jerusalem being a cup seems to point toward the idea that there is something in the cup that sends Israel’s enemies staggering away (“reeling”). Think intoxication or head injury.
c. v. 3.
- Note first of all the scope of this attack. It’s by “all the nations of the earth.” This is not your typical “one nation versus another” war. The only hope Israel has is God’s intervention.
- MacArthur notes that there are references in the Scripture to the army from the west, the army from the east, the army from the north, and the army from the south. In other words, Jerusalem and Israel are truly surrounded.
d. v. 9 – This gives us a final note that it is God who is doing the battling here.
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN? Confusion and panic among Israel’s enemies.
- Zechariah 12:4, 6-8.
- There are numerous possibilities for how God might win this battle on Israel’s behalf. Angelic forces? Instantaneous death? Have the ground swallow them up?
- The way that is specified here is confusion and panic. This, like the other options mentioned, is one with Biblical precedent (Judges 7:1-25, especially v. 22).
a. v. 4 – Panicked horses, mad riders, and blind horses.
- Are the horses here literal or figurative? Probably the latter.
b. v. 6.
- What’s a “firepot in a woodpile”? A fire pot was a bunch of coals in a small metal pot. You would put it in a pile of kindling and it would ignite a fire. So it’s something small that starts a big fire.
- So the leaders of Judah are the fire pot and the foreign armies are the kindling (although they don’t know that).
- The verse also notes that when this “fire” spreads that Jerusalem is spared.
- v. 7.
- This also notes that Judah begins this so that the proper humility is maintained.
- God here is choosing Judah because they have even less reason to boast that Jerusalem.
- v. 8.
- There is imagery here that is defensive and offensive.
- First we see that God is shielding Jerusalem.
- Second, we see that those going forth will be mighty fighters, with results far beyond their typical ability.
WHAT'S THE EVEN GREATER MIRACLE? A Jewish spiritual revival from the military triumph.
- Zechariah 12:10a.
- The military victory is unprecedented. It is miraculous. It is decisive. And yet it is not the most impressive thing that happens here.
- Even more amazing that than is that a great spiritual revival breaks out among Israel’s Jews.
- The obvious and undeniable move of God to save them leads them to this spiritual moment. The physical deliverance leads to spiritual deliverance.
- The two words chosen here are telling: “grace” and “supplication.”
- “Grace” speaks to the way of salvation that Christ brought into the world through the cross.
- “Supplication” is a term that basically means to ask for something in prayer.
- So, together, we have a picture of Jewish people receiving salvation and then living in connection to God. That’s beautiful.
WHAT'S THE EVIDENCE OF THAT? Tears of repentance.
- Zechariah 12:10c, 11-14.
- v. 10c speaks of mourning as for an only child or grieving as for a firstborn son. These are bitter tears.
- vv. 11-14 share the expanse of this grief.
- Why is this happening? After all, God has just granted them an unbelievable victory and now their response is weeping. The military victory is actually the reason for the weeping.
- God has shown Himself true to Israel. In some way within this (and it’s not clear exactly how), Israel understands this victory is not just from God, but through Christ. They come to the harsh recognition that Christ is real and has been fighting for them. This causes them to be overwhelmed with grief at having rejected Christ. It’s a harsh moment of truth.
- Thankfully for them, Christ is forgiving. And so He will joyfully receive them back.
- Still, there is this powerful moment of overwhelming grief in realizing who they have rejected for so long – the Messiah.
WHAT'S THE FOCUS OF THAT? The One they pierced.
- Zechariah 12:10b.
- In the last point, I’ve already made it clear that it was Jesus they were rejecting all that time. None of you are surprised by that.