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Zechariah Chapter Nine, Alexander Meets Jesus...

In our study of Zechariah chapter nine, we see a contrast between Alexander the Macedonian king and Jesus the King of Kings. In chapter eight, we saw God's favor towards Israel and that continues here with God saving His city from destruction.


"An Oracle"

Zechariah 9:1 & 2

The word of the Lord is against the land of Hadrach and will rest upon Damascus - for the eyes of men and all the tribes of Israel are on the Lord - and upon Hamath too, which borders on it, and upon Tyre and Sidon, though they are very skillful.

We see the judgment on Israel's enemies described here and it starts in the north and then continues into the land of Israel. This judgment has already happened and was carried out by a Macedonian king known as Alexander the Great.

Zechariah 9:3 & 4

Tyre has built herself a stronghold; she has heaped up silver like dust, and gold like the dirt of the streets. But the Lord will take away her possessions and destroy her power on the sea, and she will be consumed by fire.

This passage speaks of Alexander's siege of the island city of Tyre (part of Lebanon today). The city was very wealthy and considered to be very secure as they had a mighty navy and high walls facing the mainland. Alexander defeated the city and then held a triumphal procession through the city.

Zechariah 9:5 & 6

Ashkelon will see it and fear; Gaza will writhe in agony, and Ekron too, for her hope will wither. Gaza will lose her king and Ashkelon will be deserted. Foreigners will occupy Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.

After the fall of Tyre, Alexander continued his push toward Egypt. The whole world was in fear and it was believed that Alexander and his army was unstoppable.

Zechariah 9:7

I will take the blood from their mouths, the forbidden food from between their teeth. Those who are left will belong to our God and become leaders in Judah, and Ekron will be like the Jebusites.

There no longer is a Philistine people as the only people left were Jews. The Jebusites were a Canaanite tribe that built the city of Jerusalem but were conquered by King David.

Zechariah 9:8

But I will defend my house against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch.

This verse speaks to Alexander's encounter with Jesus as he went to Jerusalem. The high priest (Jaddua) had prayed and God told him to go out and meet Alexander. He and the other priests put on their priestly robes and were accompanied by other people dressed in white. God had given Alexander a dream before he even started his military campaign and in that dream he had seen the high priest in his priestly robes. In this dream, the high priest told him to go and conquer the Persians. After their meeting, Alexander went to the temple where he offered a sacrifice to God. At this time, he was shown the book of Daniel where God had showed Nebuchadnezzar that a Greek would overthrow the Media-Persian empire (see Daniel 2). In this verse, we see that God had promised to defend Jerusalem and He did by sending a dream to Alexander even before his war campaign began. We also see the promise that God is watching over His people and says that He will take care of them. That promise is for God's people (Israel) today!

Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zechariah tells us of the first coming of Jesus and calls the Jewish people to celebrate the coming. We think of riding a donkey as demonstrating His humility but that is not what the word says here. Kings rode donkeys during peacetime or when they were going to an enemy to offer terms of peace. That is exactly what Jesus was doing when He rode into Jerusalem on that donkey. The terms of this peace deal between the Jews and God were that they would have to accept Jesus as their Savior (King). That same peace deal is extended to all of us today but we have to accept the terms that were presented for our salvation.

Zechariah 9:10

I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Now, we are told of the second coming of Jesus Christ. We know that it is the second coming described because of the fact that peace is described in Israel. That has not happened yet and it will not happen until the Prince of Peace returns. We see that, when He comes, all of the world will bow to His rule.

Zechariah 9:11

As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.

During this second coming, those that have accepted Jesus Christ will be freed and rise to live again with Him. The "waterless pit" speaks of hopeless captivity and, before this second coming, it will indeed appear that all hope is lost.

Zechariah 9:12

Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

God not only promises His people a new life with Him but also that it will be even more fulfilling than what we see right now. "Return to your fortress" speaks of a turning to God and trusting in Him instead of political or military rulers.

Zechariah 9:13

I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and make you like a warrior's sword.

This verse speaks of the weapons of warfare (bow and arrow) and speaks to the coming spiritual battle that we see in Revelation. It speaks of the 144,000 witnesses of Revelation 7 and they will share the word of God.

Zechariah 9:14 & 15a

Then the Lord will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south, and the Lord Almighty will shield them.

The trumpet was used to call God's people to move in the wilderness. Now, we see that, at this second coming, He is going to call His people once again to move out.

Zechariah 9:15b & 16

They will destroy and overcome with slingstones. They will drink and roar as with wine; they will be full like a bowl used for sprinkling the corners of the altar. The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.

God's people will be victorious. The "slingstones" are the same as the white stones promised to the church in Pergamum (see Revelation 3:17). As we see there, these stones have the name of Jesus written on them and that name is our weapon to overcome evil. We also see the presence of the Holy Spirit powering God's people on to victory. This is evident by the phrase "roar as with wine" which speaks of what happened when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost (see Acts 2:13). We see that these warriors are full of the righteousness of God because of the blood of Jesus just like the "bowl used for sprinkling the corners of the altar". It is the presence of God with these people that produces the victory and we will indeed shine in the land when the enemy is defeated.

Zechariah 9:17

How attractive and beautiful they will be! Grain will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women.

Just as Jesus provided this victory, He will also provide for our every need. No longer will we have to work for our food and drink.

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