Our study last week began to show us some glimpses of the Messiah, as given to Zechariah in several visions, designed to give the Israelites hope as they rebuilt their homeland. Within the second half of Zechariah is found the majority of these Messianic prophecies and we will be focusing on them in the study of our lesson titled “Heaven’s Best Gift”.

Keep in mind that these passages have multiple applications. In other words, they may simultaneously point to the First and/or the Second Coming of Jesus. In Old Testament times, these distinctions were understandably more blurred than they would be to those living after Jesus’ time here on earth. And the closer we come to His Second Coming, the more clearly we shall see these prophecies being fulfilled.

Memory Text: “The 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.” Zechariah 9:16 NIV

I think we should remember that the flock spoken of here undoubtedly includes everyone who hears the voice of the Good Shepherd. Jews-Gentiles. Seventh-day Adventists-and those not of our faith. No one group or faction has privileged status when it comes to salvation. We are judged, based on our individual relationships and response to the Lord God in heaven.

Jesus reminds us through John, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice…” John 10:16 KJV

The first two Messianic prophecies: last week’s study

The first vision which mentioned the Messiah last week was found in Zechariah 3:8, 9, which says:

“Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua: upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” KJV

Notice the three names given to the Messiah here: “servant” (also found in Isaiah 42, 49, 50, 52, and 53), “BRANCH” (also in Isaiah, but also called “a righteous Branch” in Jeremiah 23:5), and “stone” (also beautifully described in Isaiah 28:16 as a “precious corner stone, a sure foundation”).

The next mention of a coming Messiah was found last week in Zechariah 6:12, 13:

“And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” KJV

Here the crowning of the high priest is portrayed as a type of Christ, who alone holds the position of Priest and King in the coming Kingdom. This was unlike the leadership structure of Judah and Israel, when they were granted a king, by their own request.

The third Messianic prophecy: Zechariah 9:9, 10

This vision of a King riding on a donkey was presented to us in this week’s lesson for Monday. Of course, the fulfillment of this was seen dramatically in the triumphal entry of Christ right before his crucifixion, described in Matthew 21:5 and John 12:15. This was a Jewish custom for a royal entry, and the crowds enthusiastically shouted and proclaimed Him as their next king that day. But their hopes were dashed by the events which followed shortly, leading up to the death of their Master.

Personal thought question: What is my reaction when my prayers do not turn out as I expected or wanted? Does my love for God hold true, even when everything in my life looks grim? Help me, Lord, not to love you one day, and reject you the next.

The fourth Messianic prophecy: Zechariah 10:4

“From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler.” NIV

In these four Messianic titles we are given a total sense of security. We can rely on the Lord to fight all our battles. Isaiah also expressed this “tent peg” feature in this verse: “And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house.” Isaiah 22:23 KJV

Thought question: Is it really possible to allow God to fight all our battles? Do we have no part in our salvation?

The fifth Messianic prophecy: Zechariah 11:4-14

“And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forebear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.” Zechariah 11:12-13 KJV

In this rather complex imagery of a false and rejected shepherd, we do recognize verse 12 when it mentions paying him thirty pieces of silver, and later getting it thrown into the temple and to the potter. Matthew 27:3-7 depicts this fulfillment quite poignantly, as Judas throws the thirty coins into the temple, and the priests use it for the potter’s field (designated to bury strangers).

“And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers.” Matthew 27:5-7 KJV

The sixth Messianic prophecy: Zechariah 12:10-14

The lesson on Tuesday brought out this amazing scene from verse 10 of Zechariah 12:

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness [or grieve bitterly–NIV] for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” KJV

This prophecy seems to indicate a transition from Israel’s physical deliverance to spiritual deliverance of all God’s people. God has poured out His spirit, in the form of His own Son’s sacrifice, and we are filled with emotion as we behold the love represented by this action.

The disciple John was reminded of this verse when he wrote: “And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” John 19:37 KJV As a matter of fact, it was alluded to by Jesus Himself, when He visited with Nicodemus. In trying to explain the plan of salvation to him, He said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14, 15 KJV

This verse definitely points us to Christ’s First Coming, as we mourn the slain Lamb of God, God’s only Son. But evidently it also has application with the Second Coming. Revelation 1:7 says:

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

Personal thought question: Is my appreciation for Jesus’ death and what it means to me growing every day? Does the thought of Jesus’ love “consume” me enough that I can’t keep it to myself?

The seventh Messianic prophecy: Zechariah 13:6-9

Wednesday’s lesson included chapter 13 and we see here more references to a shepherd. Unlike the worthless shepherd in chapter 11, however, this shepherd, from the description given, is the Good Shepherd, or Christ Himself. It says:

“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against that man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two arts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” Zechariah 13:6-9 KJV

Jesus used this passage in trying to prepare the disciples for the great disappointment and sorrow they were about to experience. He said to them on the way to the Mount of Olives, before they entered the Garden, “…All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” Matthew 26:31 We therefore know that part of Zechariah’s prophecy had Christ’s First Coming in mind.

The Second Coming is seen also in verse 9, which talks about his sheep being “refined as silver” and “tried as gold”. In other words, there would be trials ahead, prior to the time when they “call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, it is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” This sounds like what happens when Jesus comes for the righteous, both living and dead, after a terrible time of trouble, and they are “…caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…” I Thessalonians 4:17

When you continue reading through chapter 14 (Thursday’s lesson), you will be amazed to see the “day of the Lord” described with the Lord once again standing on the Mount of Olives. This time the mountain splits in half though, presumably from an earthquake that is mentioned in v. 9. Since Christ remains “in the air” at His Second Coming, this reference must be for the third coming, which happens after the thousand-year period is over and the Holy City descends. See Revelation 21 and 22. This is when the second resurrection of the unrighteous occurs, and fire comes down from heaven to destroy them all. Then the New Earth is established and sin is no more.

Conclusion: No matter where you feel you are on the journey to the New Earth, you can be assured that Jesus will be with you every step of the way. God has a plan to make all things new. And this plan includes all His children…the sheep and the lambs.

Next week: Malachi!