April 5, 2017
Zechariah 9:9, 10
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
We call it Palm Sunday – the Triumphal Entry of Jesus’ coming into Jerusalem, the Sunday before Easter! Palm Sunday is just four days away. Each of the four gospels record events of that day (see Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19) – so it must be important to be featured four times in the Bible! In each case the excitement of the people is recorded – those who met Jesus as He rode down the Mount of Olives, through the Eastern Gate, and into Jerusalem. For instance, in Matthew 21:8 through 10, it tells us:
And a very great multitude spread their garments…[and] palm branches…
on the road. Then the multitude…cried out, saying, “Hosanna to the Son
of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna
in the highest!” And when He was come into Jerusalem, all the city was
Why all the excitement? Why All The Shouting? Was there something going on here that we might be missing as we read the accounts of the Triumphal Entry? Yes! And it is based on a prophecy given more than 500 years before, Zechariah 9:9 and 10:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation,
lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off
the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow
shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall
be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Only Matthew and John refer to Zechariah’s prophecy that Jesus was fulfilling on that Palm Sunday, and then only quoting verse 9. But the Jewish people were trained in their Scriptures. And even the common man was at least somewhat familiar with the prophecies and promises therein! I believe verse 10 of our featured Scripture is what really got them excited! For it tells what the King would do when He ascended the throne:
• “I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off.” The Romans had conquered the Greeks who had defeated the Medo Persians who had taken dominion from the Babylonians who had invaded the southern kingdom of Judah, destroying Jerusalem and transporting the Jews as captives to Babylon in three deportations starting in 608 BC. All this to say the Jews had been under the heel of Gentile dominion for almost 650 years by the time of Jesus! And, oh, how they wanted to throw off the Gentile yoke and be their own free people again – as in the days of kings David and Solomon! And Zechariah prophesied that the One coming into Jerusalem on a donkey would be their King, and would cut off the chariot from Ephraim (defeat the occupying forces in the northern part of their land), and the horse from Jerusalem (drive the domineering forces from their southern territory), destroying their overlords and giving the Jews back their independence and freedom!
• “He shall speak peace to the nations….” Only the powerful victor can speak peace to the nations, that is, dictate the terms of peace to the surrounding nations, and ending the Gentile oppression!
• “His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” The original borders promised to the Jews (dependant upon their obedience to God) were described in Deuteronomy 11:24: “…from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory.” (See also Genesis 15:18; Deuteronomy 34:1-4). This was a big swath of territory! Some scholars say it went from the Nile in Egypt, included all of Saudi Arabia, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and the Euphrates River on the east and north. But the Jews, because of disobedience to the LORD, never experienced the complete dominion of what was promised to them! The closest they came was under the rule of King Solomon (see II Chronicles 9:26).
And so the Jews were waiting for their Deliverer, their Messiah, their King! He was to be from David’s kingly line, for God had told David in II Samuel 7:12 and 13: “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you…and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” Almost 300 years later, Isaiah prophesied concerning the Messiah/King:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government
will be upon His shoulder; and His name will be called Wonderful, Coun-
selor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase
of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of
David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment
and justice from that time forth, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of
hosts will perform this.
Is it any wonder the Jews got excited over Jesus presenting Himself as King in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy? They even shouted out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!” That’s Why All The Shouting!
But there was a major problem with the Jew’s misinterpretation of verse 9! And we will explore that in our next blog.