Zechariah 9: A Preterist Commentary

The First Second Coming

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Fulfilled! Zechariah 9: A Preterist Commentary: Summary and Highlights

In the beginning of this chapter, the prophet correctly predicts the fate of Israel’s neighbors during Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Persian Empire in the fourth century B.C.  Then in Zechariah 9:9, the prophet describes Judah Maccabees as a type of the future Messiah.  Then in vs. 13-17 Zechariah foresees the future victory of the Jews during the Maccabean Wars of the second century B.C.  This war has elements that are reminiscent of events during Israel’s war with Rome at the time of the end.

The following may seem unbelievable.  However, all information is taken from unbiased historical records, cited and easily verifiable.

triumphal entry Zechariah 9 A Preterist Commentary, Zechariah 9 fulfilled! Explain Zechariah 9;

Flandrin, Hippolyte. Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem. 1842.

The First Second Coming

 

9Rejoice 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 9:9 A Preterist Commentary: The Triumphal Entry . . .

Though fulfilled typologically in Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem in Matthew 21, Zechariah 9:9 was initially fulfilled when the Jewish people celebrated with palm branches the restoration and reconsecration of the Temple by Judas Maccabees during the Maccabean Wars of the second century B.C.  The fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9 is recorded in 2 Maccabees 10.  During this celebration in which Judas Maccabees retook Jerusalem and restored and reconsecrated the Temple after it had been defiled by the Greeks, the people of Jerusalem were said to have waved palm branches in celebration much like they had done with Christ in Matthew 21.  Thus Zechariah 9:9 is similar to the prophecy of the virgin birth in Isaiah 7:14 which was initially fulfilled in the birth of the prophetess’s son in Isaiah 8:3.  However, this prophecy like Zechariah 9:9 also typologically points to the virgin birth of Christ in Matthew 1:18-25.

10I 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.  11As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.  12Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

Zechariah 9:11 A Preterist Commentary: The Waterless Pit is Sheol, the Realm of the Dead.

Verse 12 says, “Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope.”  This poetic declaration is a cryptic allusion to the resurrection of the dead.  The fortress in this verse, I believe, ultimately points to heaven.   According to v. 11, the Messianic figure is said to free the prisoners from the waterless pit.  The waterless pit in v. 11 is the grave or Sheol, the realm of the dead.  These verses are also ultimately fulfilled in Christ during the resurrection at the last trumpet.

Zechariah 9 A Preterist Commentary, Zechariah 9 fulfilled! Explain Zechariah 9; resurrection

Ricci, Sebastiano. The Resurrection. 1715-16.

Zechariah 9:11 A Preterist Commentary: Judas Maccabees is a Man “Symbolic of Things to Come.”

However, I believe these verses are initially fulfilled in a more mundane sense in the Hasmonean Dynasty.  The Maccabean family of whom Judas, the man who restored the Temple and led the Maccabean revolt from 167–160 B.C., was the most famous and notable figure formed the Hasmonean Dynasty which ruled Israel from 164 B.C. to 63 B.C.  In Zechariah 3:8, Joshua and his associates are said to be “men symbolic of things to come.”  In the same way that Joshua and his associates are “men symbolic of things to come,” I believe Judas Maccabees, like Joshua and King David, is also a prophetic symbol of the Messiah in the above verses.

Palestine during the time of the Maccabees (168-135 B.C.)

Palestine during the time of the Maccabees (168-135 B.C.)

The rule of the Hasmonean Dynasty extended from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean.  The river connecting the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee to the north is the Jordan River.  Judea also spanned from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.  Thus Hasmoneans quite literally ruled “from [the Dead S]ea to [the Mediterranean S]ea and from the [Jordan] River to the ends of the earth.” See In the Bible “Earth” Signifies the Specific Land Addressed While “Sea” Symbolizes Foreign Nations.  Though Judas did not live to see peace, the Hasmoneans did eventually succeed in acquiring independence from Greek rule and peace like that predicted in v. 10 did come to pass.

As the Prince of Peace, Jesus ultimately fulfills this expectation by preaching peace between Jew and Gentile so that all may be one in Him (Ephesians 2:14-17; Luke 1:79, 2:14; John 14:27, 16:33; Acts 10:36; Galatians 5:22), a peace that would extend to heaven where Jesus resumed His reign at the right hand of the Father after His resurrection (Luke 19:38).

In alignment with His teaching of peace between Jew and Gentile, Jesus discouraged His followers from engaging in war with Rome.  In Mark 12:13-17 when asked whether the Israelites should pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus’ response was affirmative: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. . . .”   This simple response implies that as Messiah, Jesus would not lead a rebellion against Caesar contrary to the expectations of many of his Jewish contemporaries.  Furthermore, in Matthew 26:51, Jesus rebukes Peter with the words, “[A]ll who draw the sword will die by the sword.”  The focus of this statement points to the outcome of the Jewish war with Rome.  The outcome of this insurrection is widely regarded as the one of the most tragic events in Biblical history.  Israel lost the war, and the death toll was catastrophic.  Ignoring Jesus’ predictions about the coming war, those who had taken up the sword had died by the Roman sword.

The Destruction and Sack of the Temple of Jerusalem Zechariah 9 A Preterist Commentary, Zechariah 9 fulfilled! Explain Zechariah 9;

Poussin, Nicolas. The Destruction and Sack of the Temple of Jerusalem. 1626. Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Zechariah 9:10 A Preterist Commentary: The Sword of the Prince of Peace . . .

That being said, the sword expected to kill those who draw the sword in this verse does not necessarily point entirely to a literal sword.  The sword in this verse also represents the Word of God, a word that warned of the coming war (Hebrews 4:12).  This warning is recorded in detail in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21.  In Luke 21:20-21, Jesus warned His disciples, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you know that its desolation is near.  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.”  Notice that Jesus does not instruct His followers to take up a sword and join in rebellion, instead He instructs His audience to flee.[viii]

13I 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.  14Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightening.  The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south, 15and the LORD Almighty will shield them.  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.  16The 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.  17How attractive and beautiful they will be!  Grain will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women.

Judas Maccabeus Zechariah 9 A Preterist Commentary, Zechariah 9 fulfilled! Explain Zechariah 9;

Doré, Gustave. Judas Maccabeus before the Army of Nicanor (1 Macc. 7:26-32). Doré’s English Bible. Paris.

Zechariah 9:13-17 A Preterist Commentary: Jewish Rebels defeat the Greeks in the Maccabean Wars.

Verse 13 is a clear reference to the Maccabean Wars: “I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece[.]”  After Greece conquered the Persian Empire, political control over Israel passed into Greek hands.  Eventually the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes attacked Israel and thus began the Maccabean Wars mentioned throughout this chapter.  As predicted in vs. 13-16, during this war the Jews under the leadership of the Maccabees successfully fought-off their Greek oppressors against what seemed to be impossible odds.

maccabean army in sky Zechariah 9 A Preterist Commentary, Zechariah 9 fulfilled! Explain Zechariah 9;

West, Benjamin. Destruction of the Beast and the False Prophet. 1804. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis.

Zechariah 9:14 A Preterist Commentary: The War in the Sky during the Maccabean Wars fulfills v. 14: “The LORD will appear over Them; His Arrow will flash like Lightening . . . .  He will march in the Storms of the South”

In fulfillment of v. 14, the author of 2 Maccabees records a heavenly specter said to have appeared over the sky of Jerusalem at the start of the Jewish revolt against Greece:

And it happened that, for almost forty days, there appeared over all the city golden-clad cavalry charging through the air, in companies fully armed with lances and drawn swords—troops of cavalry drawn up, attacks and counterattacks made on this side and on that, brandishing of shields, massing of spears, hurling of missiles, the flash of golden trappings, and armor of all kinds (2 Maccabees 5:2-3).

It is hard not to see the similarities between 2 Maccabees 5:2-3 quoted above and the words of Zechariah in v. 14: “[T]he Lord will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightening.  The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south. . . .”

Dore, Gustave. The Army Appears in the Heavens (II Maccabees 5:1-4)

Dore, Gustave. The Army Appears in the Heavens (2 Maccabees 5:1-4).

Zechariah 9:14 A Preterist Commentary: Zechariah 9:14 is also an Allusion to God coming on the Clouds of Heaven in the Glory Cloud.

Zechariah 9:14 reads, “Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightening.  The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south[.]”  This verse is a direct allusion to the coming of God on the clouds of heaven in the Glory Cloud.  What is the Glory Cloud?  The Glory Cloud is well illustrated in Psalm 18:7-14:

The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. . . .  He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.  He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.   He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky.  Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.  He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them.

In Psalm 18:7-14, one can see that a thunderstorm accompanies the presence of the Lord on the clouds like that mentioned in Zechariah 9:14: ““Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightening.  The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south[.]”.  This tempest or thunderstorm explains the storm clouds, lightning, wind, rain and thunder also mentioned at the coming of the Lord in Psalm 18:7-14 as well as the lightning and storms mentioned in Zechariah 9:14.  According to Psalm 18:9 and 11, these “dark rain clouds of the sky” mask the brightness of God’s presence.  And as a result, God is not actually SEEN at that time.  (Though in truth, God is only visible to people in visions).  The expression coming on the clouds of heaven as it is used in the Old Testament also often connotes the coming of the Lord at the head of an army (Joel 2:10-11).  This army is the Israelite rebels whom God aids during the Maccabean Wars.

All the Biblical signs mentioned above pointing to the presence of God on the clouds were recorded at the arrival of the Idumean army in A.D. 68: a prodigious storm, very strong winds, great showers of rain, lightning, terrible thunder and a loud earthquake.

In the next chapter, Zechariah continues to describe what seems to be the Maccabean Wars.  Then in v. 9 to the end of the chapter, the prophet records the return of the Jews from exile throughout the Assyrian and Babylonian Empire.  Zechariah’s end time predictions once again resume I believe typologically in Zechariah 11.

 

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Interested in THE PRETERIST VIEW OF ESCHATOLOGY, or are you a PRETERIST struggling with a prophecy or verse?  It DID happen just like the Bible says!  If you liked this essay, see PRETERIST BIBLE COMMENTARY for a detailed explanation of the FULFILLMENT OF ALL MAJOR END TIME PROPHECIES IN THE BIBLE. The more unbelievable the prophecy, the more amazing and miraculous the fulfillment!

Also see Historical Evidence that Jesus was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century. For an explanation of how the end of the age and its fulfillment during the Jewish War mirror Genesis 1-3; how the Bible teaches that the resurrection of the dead is a resurrection of heavenly bodies to heaven, not a resurrection of perfected earthly bodies; and how the resurrection is a mirror opposite of the fall see How the Jewish War and Resurrection to Heaven Mirror Genesis and the Fall; and How Preterism fixes the Age of the Earth Problem and unravels the Mysteries in Genesis.

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[viii] However, to those who denied his teachings, Jesus “did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”  This sword, again representing the Word of God, is both literal and figurative.  This sword represents Jesus’ warning of a future war that would tear families apart and leave adulterous Israel a desolate wasteland.  See Matthew 10:34.

Zechariah 9:9-17 A Preterist Commentary: Conclusion

In the above commentary on Zechariah 9, Zechariah 9 is shown to have been fulfilled. 

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Zechariah 9:9-17: A Preterist Commentary

 

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