The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King – Zechariah 9:9-10       09/22/2019 I know, I know, this is the title of a book written by T.H. White.  However, it applies beautifully to our text this week, Zechariah 9:9-10.  Feel free to take the time to look it up.   Historically, this portion of Zechariah’s prophetic writing continues with the people of Israel still in a difficult situation.  This is the fifth century BC[1] and although the construction of the Temple has been completed, the walls of Jerusalem were still in ruins.[2]  In this setting, surrounded by enemies who are more numerous and more powerful, God reveals to Zechariah the coming of the Messiah.[3] Here we have the promised Messiah pictured as riding triumphantly into the capital city, sort of.[4]  The purpose of this vision is, again, to provide encouragement to the people of Israel as they struggle with their historic realities.[5]  To emphasize the magnitude of what God was going to do, He calls on the population to rejoice.[6]  Why rejoice?  There is a coming future when the King will rule as rule should be accomplished.[7]  His rule will be righteous and have the approval of God on it.[8]  No human government will ever be able to do this. It is generally accepted that the referenced King in Zechariah 9 is the coming Messiah predicted in Isaiah 9:6-7.  Yet, in Zechariah a different aspect to this coming King is revealed.  His nature is described in a way that the English fails to fully capture.  He is more that someone who is “just” or “right.”  He is One who is animated by righteousness; He is, in His nature, “righteous.”[9]  The word translated as “just” is (צַדִּ֥יק)[10] [ṣăd dîq´] and refers to being free of any sin or wrongdoing.[11]  This coming King is righteous.  It is simply His nature. This One who is fundamentally righteous does something, He brings with Him salvation.[12]  The word used is (וְנוֹשָׁ֖ע)[13] [wenȏ šā´]; the root word “salvation” (ישׁע)[14] [yš´] is coupled with the coordinating conjunction, “and” (וְ)[15] [we] as well as “having” (נ)[16] [nȏ] forming the Niphal verb stem.  The Niphal stem conveys the idea of reflexive action, the subject of the verb both carries out and receives the action of the verb.[17]  The root word, (ישׁע)[18] [yš´], means, in the Niphal verb stem, to be liberated, to be saved, to be delivered.[19]  The sense of the text is that He has salvation in Himself… available for us![20] In His first coming, Jesus is described as being “lowly” (עָנִי֙)[21] [‘ā niy´] which refers to one who is poor, weak, or afflicted, and therefore humble.[22]  The significance of this characteristic is that it presents the Messiah-King in contrast to the rulers of this world.  He was meek and lowly as opposed to being proud and boastful.[23] Now, this lowly One is described as riding on a donkey.  This has created some confusion, and many commentators see this as a reference to His coming in peace, in contrast to the king who comes riding on a horse, which was indicative of riding to war.[24]  Historically, from the times of the Judges to the reign of King David, it appears that the princes of Israel rode on donkeys.[25]  However, during Solomon’s reign the kingdom of Israel began breeding horses for themselves.[26]  After this, there are no recorded instances of any of the kings riding on a donkey.[27]  However, the promise of a Davidic ruler in Genesis ties riding a donkey to the coming King;[28] see Genesis 49:10-12.  God made riding on a donkey one mark of identification for the Messiah-King.[29]  Jesus riding on the foal of a donkey identified Him as that Messiah-King who fulfilled prophecy.[30] He came the first time to bring peace between humanity and God; He came to be a sin sacrifice.[31]  The next time He comes, it will be to rule.[32]  It is at this point that we enter into the twilight zone.  There’s a gap in time that’s not explicit in the passage.  Yet, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as the King on a donkey served as a pledge for the full accomplishment of this prophecy at His second coming.[33] Ultimately, He will return, and then He will bring peace between people as well as peace between us and our God;[34] see Zechariah 9:10.  Both the northern kingdom Of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah will be disarmed.[35]  Jesus will come, His actions will be made independent of earthly power, He will have no need for the weapons of mankind.[36]  The divided kingdom will be reunited, and the nature of the nation of Israel will be changed.[37]  But more than just Israel will be changed, this kingdom will become geographically and ethnically universal.[38]  Rather than a physical power, Israel will become a spiritual nation.[39]  It will serve as the focal point for all of mankind. Jesus will accomplish this without the weapons of war.  The removal of the horse and chariot is a reference to the removal of offensive weapons; they will not be needed any longer.[40]  The King will speak peace, and conflict among the nations will come to an end.[41] Our passage presents a Person who exhibited the greatest grandeur, magnificence, power, and influence, and yet perfectly demonstrated the greatest humility, gentleness, poverty, and weakness.[42]  No other judge, king, or ruler in all history was ever able to unite these two extremes in a single person.[43] What’s more, this same One will come again.  But you know, as cool as that day will be, in a very real way the promised peace has already been realized.  Jesus brought peace with God and established the foundation on which His Kingdom would be built,[44] which is salvation by faith.  God loves us and wants the best for us, but there is another side to all of this.  He is also the righteous Judge.  One day we’ll all stand before Him.  That’s spelled out in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10. We need to remember that He is BOTH Savior and King.  As such, our priorities should be described by Matthew 6:33-34 ~ 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.[45]

[1] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 952.

[2] Marten Woudstra, Zechariah, in The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book: Volume II, consulting ed., Carl Henry, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1960), 375.

[3] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 952.

[4] Marten Woudstra, Zechariah, in The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book: Volume II, consulting ed., Carl Henry, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1960), 375.

[5] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 576.

[6] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 576.

[7] Elizabeth Achtemeier, Nahum – Malachi, in Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed., James Mays, OT ed., Patrick Miller, (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.: 1986), 151.

[8] Elizabeth Achtemeier, Nahum – Malachi, in Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed., James Mays, OT ed., Patrick Miller, (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.: 1986), 151.

[9] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 576.

[10]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 9:9.

[11] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

[12] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 576.

[13]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 9:9.

[14]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 9:9.

[15]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 9:9.

[16]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 9:9.

[17] Michael S. Heiser and Vincent M. Setterholm, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology (Lexham Press, 2013; 2013).

[18]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 9:9.

[19] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995).

[20] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 727.

[21]Christo van der Merwe, The Lexham Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2004), Zec 9:9.

[22] Leonard J. Coppes, “1652 עָנָה,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 683.

[23] Ralph L. Smith, Micah–Malachi, vol. 32, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1984), 256.

[24] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 576.

[25] Elizabeth Achtemeier, Nahum – Malachi, in Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed., James Mays, OT ed., Patrick Miller, (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.: 1986), 152.

[26] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 577.

[27] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 577.

[28] Elizabeth Achtemeier, Nahum – Malachi, in Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed., James Mays, OT ed., Patrick Miller, (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.: 1986), 152.

[29] Elizabeth Achtemeier, Nahum – Malachi, in Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed., James Mays, OT ed., Patrick Miller, (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.: 1986), 152.

[30] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 577.

[31] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 955.

[32] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 955.

[33] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 728.

[34] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 957.

[35] Ralph L. Smith, Micah–Malachi, vol. 32, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1984), 257.

[36] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 577.

[37] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 577.

[38] James E. Smith, The Minor Prophets, Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1994), Zec 9:10.

[39] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 577.

[40] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 957.

[41] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 577.

[42] John Peter Lange, Philip Schaff, and Talbot W. Chambers, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Zechariah (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 71.

[43] John Peter Lange, Philip Schaff, and Talbot W. Chambers, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Zechariah (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 71.

[44] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, in the Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, eds., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, trans., James Martin, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA.: 2011), 579.

[45] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 6:33–34

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