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Lowell Brueckner

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From Alexander the Great to the Messiah


“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, even upon a colt the foal of an ass”.                           Zechariah 9:9

Chapter 9

Verse 1-8  Israel protected

Zechariah does not mention the date, in which he wrote the ninth chapter, but the experts believe that it was between 480 and 470 B.C., forty years after he had written chapters 7 and 8. It is not only a prophecy, but a burden; it is a burden of wrath against Hadrach, a city near Damascus in Syria (v.1). As the Lord rested, when judgment was carried out against Babylon in chapter 6:8, so the Lord will rest from this burden, when it comes to Damascus.

This prophecy is very interesting (v.2-4). Because of the prophecies of Daniel, the Jewish people knew about Greece and Alexander the Great before he existed. They knew that the empire, under which they were subject, would be conquered (Dan.8:20-21). Daniel had a dream, when Babylon still governed the world in the year 551 B.C., before the Persians had conquered it. Two hundred years after this prophecy of Zechariah, Alexander came against Damascus, where Darius, the Persian, had great treasures and illustrious people, and conquered it. Afterwards, 150 miles to the north, he defeated Hamath, before he invaded the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon, which received much diabolical influence, according to Ezekiel 28.

Tyre considered itself invincible, because it was situated on an island and, even though Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian, was able to destroy the city on the mainland, he couldn’t arrive at the island, even though he tried for 13 years. No other enemy was able to reach it, but Alexander did, because he had a mandate from God, which was the prophecy that we are studying. He utilized the ruins that Nebuchadnezzar had left to build a causeway in the sea, which reached the island (334-332 B.C.).

Then, Alexander went south along the Mediterranean and the Philistines of the cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron and Ashdod were terrified to see how rapidly the cities of the north were conquered. Alexander also defeated the Philistines and their national pride was pulverized, along with their idolatrous sacrifices, described here as “his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth” (v.5-7).

The Jews had this prophecy in their possession, which described exactly the circuit and victories of Alexander’s army, promising them that the oppressor would not enter Judea (v.8). The conquest of the Persians was a central point in world history. Even though all the major cities were destroyed, Alexander was good to Jerusalem and the Jews. What a treasure and comfort is the Word of God! Is it practical to study prophecy? They had no reason to fear; the prophecy said that, although he would pass by the side of Judea and near Jerusalem, he would not enter. The eyes of Israel were fixed on the Lord, as in the days of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr.20:12), and God’s eyes were watching them with care.

God spoke comforting words to His people and protected them according to His promises, but that was not the only reason that He did so. He had a far greater purpose in mind and it had to do with His eternal plan. The prophets existed for a more important reason and that was to announce the coming of the Messiah. God had His eyes fixed on Jerusalem, because of what would take place in its streets, as is prophesied in the following verse. I have already said that the Jews had to see the situation and what was occurring in the time of Zechariah according to the prophecies of the coming Messiah, because God had been working, taking steps towards His coming.

When we speak of finding the will of God for our lives, we think of being in some missionary Project, a humanitarian work, or to be involved with some group or church. However… do we think of taking part in the unfolding of that which will bring the Kingdom of God to earth? Are we involved in bringing the King back? Are we in the eternal plan of God? We are only there, when we are found in this position. Only there are we under His protection and obtain the promise “all things work together for good to those who love God, and who are called according to His purpose”. Do we understand what we are praying, when we say “Thy kingdom come”?

Verse 9-17  The King is coming

Now the prophecy extends some 350 years into the future from the beginning of the Greek empire to the time of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Here we see the great King’s entrance and, of course, we know the story well (v.9). Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead and the people speak of His fame in a Jerusalem full of Jews and proselytes, pilgrims that have arrived from all over the world for the Passover. It was a sign that marked the Messiah, according to the prophecy that is before our eyes, and the city is ready to receive Him with joy. The Pharisees are desperate, because all the world has gone after Him.

This tremendous celebration was revealed to Zechariah. The prophetic word that it would happen and it did, exactly as it had been predicted. The theocratic people (responding to this manifestation of the government of God) went out to receive the King of Heaven… a perfectly just King… in Whom they would find no fault with which to truthfully accuse Him; a King victorious over every situation… a victorious ministry, a victorious life, victorious in temptation, victorious before His accusers and before Pilate. He conquered the cross and even death.

The humble King demonstrated this attribute of the Kingdom of God, teaching and demonstrating it to His disciples by washing their feet. He demonstrated it from birth to death. Humility chose a manger for His birth, a donkey’s colt for His triumphal entry, and a cross for His death. No king like this has ever existed in this world. His followers should learn this principle, if they want to be spiritually successful in living their lives upon earth.

Zechariah shows the beginning of the fulfillment of prophecy by the things that were taking place in his day and it continues to advance in the first coming of Jesus. His reign has begun, but it still is not the time for Him to sit upon the throne. His ‘throne’ was a cross and from there He observed His kingdom. What still remains of the prophecy will be fulfilled in the future. We have seen some of this future in previous chapters and we will see more in the verses that follow.  

As it frequently occurs in Messianic prophecies, the first coming of Jesus is joined to His second coming (for example, Is.61:1-3). The prophets do not see the period of time between them. The age of the church was a mystery. Rapidly, Zechariah takes us forward, passing by 2,000 years of the Time of the Gentiles and the last seven years of the Jews. He enters into the millennial reign of peace (v.10). In this 21st Century, the government of Israel possesses all kinds of weapons of war, including nuclear armament, but after the Battle of Armageddon, all the instruments of war will be cut off and broken.

From north to south, the Messiah will disarm Israel. In verse 10, the “10 lost tribes” of Israel are included; they will be restored. God calls them Ephraim, because he, the younger son of Joseph, was the leader. The documents of all the Jews were destroyed by the Romans, when they ruined the temple. Only God know who pertains to each tribe and we can be sure that across the years, He has been sovereignly in control of each marriage among the Jews, knowing perfectly the lineage of each one of them.

In Genesis 15:18, you can see the dimensions of the land given to Abraham, extending to the Euphrates River. This territory will be the center of the kingdom of the Messiah. He will declare peace to the entire Gentile world, from the Euphrates to the ends of the earth. His kingdom will be world-wide.

We will now only make some brief comments on the verses still to be covered. Based on the covenant with Israel through Abraham (v.11, see Gen.15:8-18), the kingdom will be physical, as well as spiritual. It may be, then, that the liberation of the prisoners from the cisterns could be literal. Perhaps in the Tribulation, Jews will be cast into pits as a form of punishment, as it happened to Joseph and Jeremiah, but it is more probable that this verse signifies the condition of spiritual depression and desperation from which they will be freed.

Whether it be literal or spiritual, Christ will give hope to the captives (v.12), as He always has, and restore doubly that which has been lost. That makes me think of Job, to whom God permitted to pass through great suffering, but in the end doubled his possessions: “Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, how that the Lord is full of pity, and merciful”  (James 5:11). God will permit the entire nation to pas through the Great Tribulation (Mt.24:15-22, Rev.12:1-6; 13-17).

 From this point, the prophecy turns to the period between the Testaments, when the Greeks, after the death of Alexander the Great, were defeated by the party called the Maccabees in Israel (v.13). However, the final and perfect fulfillment will take place at the Battle of Armageddon, describing the victory won by the second coming of the Messiah, when Israel will recognize Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. He will come personally to lead His people to victory (v.14-16) over their enemies.

The chapter ends with the results of that victory. The twelve tribes of Israel are the jewels in the diadem of the King that shine as a light to the entire world. The people are filled with joy and all the chains of rebellion and unbelief are broken forever. They will celebrate the great liberation with rejoicing without measure. They will multiply because of prosperity, demonstrated by the number of young people among the population (v.16b-17).


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