THE REJECTED SHEPHERD:
EXAMINING FULFILLED PROPHECIES OF MESSIAH
FROM THE BOOK ZECHARIAH
Dr. John Saunders
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for Course Completion for
Keith J. Holland
The nation of Israel has been waiting for their Messiah for millennia. Prophesied since the days of Adam, promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, anticipated by Moses, and lauded by David, the Jewish nation expected Messiah to come in power and glory and to usher in a nearutopian kingdom in which Israel would be an autonomous state. Such a one-sided interpretation of prophecy has caused Israel to miss the suffering Savior of Isaiah 53 and to wander in a spiritual haze for thousands of years. The failure of the Jews to recognize and accept their Messiah was not, however, surprising to God.
The last six chapters of the prophecy of Zechariah center on the advent of the Jewish Messiah. Within those chapters, God chronicled many of the events leading up to both the first and second comings of Christ including His rejection by the nation of Israel as a whole. This paper will focus on the details concerning the first coming of Christ and the historical fulfillment of events as foretold by Zechariah.
One thing the Israelites did expect to occur with the coming of Messiah was judgment to fall on those nations that persecuted the Jews. The militant Zealots of the first century AD were always watching and ready to fall in behind a king, sword in hand. Many of the other Jews, while maybe not as openly aggressive toward foreign control, eagerly awaited the freedom that would come with the kingdom of Messiah.
Chapter nine of the prophecy of Zechariah begins with a declaration that would have sparked the emotion of any Jew that was still recovering from his or her time in Babylonian captivity. Judgment was coming on the nations.
The First Coming of Messiah
Judgment of the Nations
When looking at prophecies concerning the coming of Christ, it is important to understand that both comings may or may not be in view and that the events described in the prophecy may relate to both comings. This writer would like to focus on those prophecies of Zechariah that have fulfilled historically at the first coming of Christ. Zechariah 9:1-7 describes certain strongholds of the nations surrounding Israel. The first to face the judgment of God are Hadrach and Damascus. There is no clear reference in Scripture or history at to the location of Hadrach, but in his comments on Zechariah 9:1 from his study Bible, MacArthur indicates this might be “a reference to the dual Medo-Persian kingdom.” Damascus, however, is clearly identified as the capital of Syria, the nation that led the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity. With the judgment on these cities, the Lord included the city of Hamath and the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon.
Tyre is mentioned in verses two and three as being “very skillful” and as having “heaped up silver like dust, and gold like the dirt of the streets.” The abundant wealth of the city and a parallel prophecy of judgment are recorded in the following from Ezekiel 28:4-7: [B]y your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth—therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god, therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the
most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor.
Such wealth and wisdom did not spare these cities when the face of God turned toward them in judgment as Tyre was, indeed, stripped of its prosperity just as Zechariah prophesied in 9:4. Verses five and six show the...
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