The Covenant (Zechariah 9:11-13)

Andy Woods
March 16, 2022

Alright! Well, let’s open our Bibles to the book of Zechariah chapter 9 and verse 11 (Zech 9:11). So we didn’t meet last week because of the Chafer Conference. So let me review just a couple seconds here. We’re doing our verse by verse teaching through the book of Zechariah.


  1. Introductory call to repentance (Zech 1:1-6)
  2. Eight night visions (Zech 1:7–6:15)
  3. Question and answers about fasting (Zech 7–8)
  4. Two burdens (Zech 9–14)

The first six verses of the book begin like most prophets begin, a call to repentance. That’s why most of the prophets were killed by the way. They didn’t have a seeker friendly opening. And then, beginning in chapter 1 verse 7 through the end of chapter 6, Zechariah moves into his eight-night visions, all revolving around encouraging the nation that’s returned from the captivity to get busy rebuilding the temple which they had slacked off on and that section ends with what God is going to do with the temple,

  1. Eight Night Visions (Zech 1:7‒6:15)
  2. Riders & horses among the myrtle trees (Zech 1:7-17)
  3. Four horns & four craftsmen (Zech 1:18-21)
  4. Man with the measuring line (Zech 2)
  5. Cleansing of the High Priest Joshua (Zech 3)
  6. Lampstand & olive tree (Zech 4)
  7. Flying scroll (Zech 5:1-4)
  8. Woman in the basket (Zech 5:5-11)
  9. Four chariots (Zech 6:1-8)
  10. Conclusion: crowning of Joshua (Zech 6:9-15)

because one day Jesus is going to come to his temple and that’s true with the first coming of Christ and also the second coming of Christ, which is typified at the very end of that section chapter 6, verses 9 through 15 (Zech 6:9-15) through the crowning or the coronation of the king or the priest Joshua, which typifies the millennial reign of Christ. So God cares about this temple and has big plans for it. So get busy building it, that’s the point and then from there we moved into questions and answers about fasting


  1. Introductory call to repentance (Zech 1:1-6)
  2. Eight night visions (Zech 1:7–6:15)
  3. Question and answers about fasting (Zech 7–8)
  4. Two burdens (Zech 9–14)

and the question comes in, you know, do we keep fasting and mourning over the temple that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar seventy years earlier, when the temple is now being rebuilt?

III. Questions & Answers Concerning Fasting (Zech, 7‒8)

    1. Question (Zech 7:1-3)
    2. Four divine answers (Zech 7:4‒8:23)
      1. Condemnation of empty ritualism (Zech 7:4-7)
      2. Condemnation of past covenant failure (Zech 7:8-14)
      3. Prediction of Jerusalem’s restoration (Zech 8:1-17)
      4. Prediction of future blessing (Zech 8:18-23)

The whole point of these answers is to get to the issue of, you know, what you really should be worried about is not the ceremony but all of the violations of God’s covenant that led to the destruction of the temple to begin with. So what he basically condemns them for here, God through Zechariah, is empty ritualism. So they were upset about the temple’s destruction but they weren’t upset about why it was destroyed and it was destroyed because they were unfaithful to God’s covenant; and that section moves into chapters 9 through 14, which we’ve done two lessons on, which are the two burdens.

  1. Two Burdens (Zech, 9‒14)
    1. Israel’s postponed deliverance due to her rejection of her Messiah (Zech, 9‒11)
    2. Israel’s future deliverance due to her acceptance of her Messiah (Zech, 12‒14)

The first burden is chapters 9 through 11, the second burden is chapters 12 through 14 and then, once we finish that, we will be at the end of the book. 4:10

So the first burden is Israel’s deliverance will be postponed due to the fact that she will reject her own Messiah. The second burden chapters 12 through 14, is a description of Israel’s deliverance once she accepts her future Messiah. So the first burden really revolves around the first coming of Christ, where the nation rejected their king and the second one revolves around the second coming of Christ when she will accept her king. So we’re just now into burden number one and you can divide burden number one into three parts:

  1. First Burden Outline (Zech, 9‒11)
      1. Divine warrior hymn (Zech, 9)
      2. True shepherd (Zech, 10)
      3. False shepherd (Zech, 11)

The divine warrior hymn, chapter 9. The true shepherd, chapter 10, that they rejected and the false shepherd that they will accept in lieu of the true shepherd. So when you look at chapter 9, you have the divine warrior hymn and that chapter, which we’re on now, has a few parts to it.

Divine Warrior Hymn (Zech 9:1-17)

  1. Judgment on the oppressing nations (Zech 9:1-8)
  2. Messiah (Zech 9:9-10)
  3. Covenant protection (Zech 9:11-17)

You have the judgment on the oppressing nations.

  1. Judgment on the Oppressing Nations (9:1-8)

So it goes through all of these nations that were oppressing Israel at the time Zechariah was written and it basically describes how God is going to judge all those nations about three hundred years later through a man named Alexander the Great.

So the prophecies start all the way up north and move all the way down south and right into Gaza and deal with all of those oppressing nations and all these nations are going to be destroyed by Alexander the Great but God is going to keep his hand, verse 8, on Jerusalem and protect the city of Jerusalem, which historically is exactly what happened. 6:20

So Kenneth Barker in his Zechariah commentary shows, concerning these verses, Zechariah, 9, verses 1, through 8 (Zech 9:1-8):

Kenneth L. Barker – Barker, Kenneth L. “Zechariah.” In Daniel-Minor Prophets. Vol. 7 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. 12 vols. Edited by Frank E. Gaebelein and Richard P. Polcyn. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985. p. 657.

“As history shows, the agent of the Lord’s judgment was Alexander the Great. After defeating the Persians (333 B.C.), Alexander moved swiftly toward Egypt. On his march he toppled the cities in the Aramean (Syrian) interior, as well as those on the Mediterranean coast. Yet, on coming to Jerusalem, he refused to destroy it.”

As history shows, the agent of the Lord’s judgment was Alexander the Great… And he came, you’ll see the date there about 333 BC and remember, Zechariah is seeing this 518 BC. So more than two hundred, almost three hundred years in advance; and then you move into the second part there of the divine warrior hymn where you start to get a picture of the Messiah.

Divine Warrior Hymn (Zech 9:1-17)

  1. Judgment on the oppressing nations (Zech 9:1-8)
  2. Messiah (Zech 9:9-10)
  3. Covenant protection (Zech 9:11-17)

Verses 9 and 10.

  1. Messiah – (Zech 9:9-10)

Verse 9 is the first coming of Christ and of all of the information in Zechariah, 9, that’s probably the only verse that most Christians have ever studied, sadly. But they rightfully do not because it’s one of the most graphic depictions of the first coming of Christ that you have in the whole Bible. It’s a picture of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday which is coming up, isn’t it? Not too far down the road and they had all the information they needed as a nation to accept him as their king but Zechariah predicts that they were going to trip right over Christ, which they did and the reason they tripped over him is He didn’t come like Alexander the Great had come. So they were looking for a warrior, not a spiritual savior and then Zechariah moves from there and he starts talking about the second coming of Christ. This is what Jesus is going to do for the nation when they accept the king on the king’s terms. So these verses say (Zech 9:9): Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble… Now there’s the problem. He didn’t come as an arrogant, prideful warrior like Alexander the Great…Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey… So that’s the first coming of Christ that they tripped over and by the way, that’s the same reason why people reject Jesus today. He doesn’t fit their box of what they think God should be like. So He doesn’t heal them or He doesn’t make them rich enough or something. So a lot of people stumble right over Christ, just like first century Israel did; and then you go to verse 10 (Zech 9:10) and you get a description of the second coming of Christ where He will be their warrior after they accept Him as their king on His terms. So verse 10 says: I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth…

So Zechariah could see the two mountains in the distance, the first coming and the second coming but he could not see the valley between the mountains, no prophet could and who is between those two mountains? The church. 10:07

Warren Wiersbe says:

Warren Wiersbe – Wiersbe, Warren W. “Zechariah.” In The Bible Exposition Commentary/Prophets, pp. 447-76. Colorado Springs, Colo.: Cook Communications Ministries; and Eastbourne, England: Kingsway Communications Ltd., 2002. p. 467.

“The entire age of the church fits between Zechariah 9:9 and 9:10, just as it does between Isaiah 9:6 and 7 and after the comma in Isaiah 61:2.”

The entire age of the church fits between Zechariah, 9:9 and Zechariah, 9:10, just as it does between Isaiah, 9:6 and 7 and after the comma in Isaiah, 61:2… So, this is on all your Christmas cards, right? Because we all like that verse 6 (Isa 9:6): …a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us… Great first coming passage, but we really don’t know what to do with the rest of it. It says: And the government will rest upon His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace… And then it says: There will be no end of the increase of His government or of peace… And we look at our world and we say that never happened when Jesus came the first time and so we have no idea what to do with that. So a lot of people just spiritualize it and make it the reign of Christ in your heart. But we don’t need to do that because we teach postponement theology here. Where 6b has been postponed for the future. So there’s no need to allegorize it. It deals with the millennial reign of Christ when Christ is accepted by the nation of Israel. So the same phenomenon is going on in between verse 9 and verse 10 of Zechariah, 9 (Zech 9:9-10). So what Zechariah is doing here, as the Holy Spirit is guiding him, is very common amongst the prophets and so that’s the information that we’ve covered thus far and now we have the last part of this divine warrior hymn where we have a description of covenant protection. 12:12

Divine Warrior Hymn (Zech 9:1-17)

  1. Judgment on the oppressing nations (Zech 9:1-8)
  2. Messiah (Zech 9:9-10)
  3. Covenant protection (Zech 9:11-17)

So let’s take a look at that.

Covenant Protection – (Zech 9:11-17)

Notice, if you will, verse 11 (Zech 9:11), it says: As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you… So what you start seeing now is a description of the wonderful things God is still going to do for Israel. Why? Because of that word “covenant”. Israel has something that no nation in the history of the world has ever had. They have a covenant coming from God to them. It’s not a situation where they made a covenant with God. That’s not what the Bible says. The Bible says God made a covenant with them and it’s a blood covenant because the Abrahamic Covenant, which is the foundational covenant, was entered into through the severing of animal pieces. So all the way back in Genesis, 15, 9 and 10 (Gen 5:9-10), it says: So He said to him, Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two… That’s a lot of blood, isn’t it?… and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds… So as you know from our studies in Genesis on Sunday morning, the way that covenant was entered into is animals were severed and put in two parallel rows and according to the ancient near Eastern custom, both parties to the covenant had to pass through the animal pieces and when they did that, they were saying, if we don’t do what we’re supposed to do under the covenant, then let us be torn asunder as these animals have been torn asunder. It’s just in this particular instance God took Abram and put him to sleep. So Abram never passed through the animal pieces. Meaning there’s no obligation for Abram to fulfill. God alone, Genesis, 15, as represented by the oven and the torch, passed through the animal pieces. So the whole covenant in terms of its fulfillment rests upon God’s shoulders and God is saying, if I don’t do what I promised to do under the terms of this covenant, then let me be torn apart as these animals have been torn apart. So there is no nation in the history of mankind that has such a thing from God and that’s why verse 11 (Zech 9:11) when it typifies or begins to predict the wonderful things God is going to do for Israel, it mentions there in verse 11, God is going to do it because of My covenant and it’s called a covenant made with blood. The reason that you see the word “covenant” and the reason you see the word “blood” is it’s a reference back to the animal pieces of Genesis, 15.  15:36

The United States of America is a wonderful country but it has no covenant from God. I mean, the best you can argue is our forefathers made a covenant to God. You see that in the Mayflower Compact where they obligated themselves to, you know, spread the gospel and build a shining city on a hill and all that wonderful stuff and that’s wonderful. I thank God I live in a country whose forefathers were godly. But that is a covenant made by man to God. Israel doesn’t have that. Israel has a covenant from God to Israel and once you understand this, you start to understand why God, when He predicts all the wonderful things He’s going to do for Israel, always mentions His covenant first. So the covenant is everything. If you understand the covenant, you understand God and why He works in history; and so Israel’s foundational covenant, as you can see in this chart here, is the Abrahamic Covenant.

If Israel didn’t have that, she’d have absolutely nothing. But she does have that. Charles Ryrie writes here:

Charles Ryrie – The Ryrie Study Bible

Zechariah 9:11-12 (RSB:NASB1995U): 9:11-12 Restoration and blessing for those still in Babylon is promised. Blood of My covenant. Probably the Abrahamic covenant, which was ratified with a blood sacrifice (Gen. 15:9–10), though possibly the Mosaic, which required many blood sacrifices. Waterless pit. Cistern used as a dungeon.

Restoration and blessing for those still in Babylon is promised… But then he goes on and he says of this verse, verse 11 (Zech 9:11)… Blood of My covenant. Probably the Abrahamic covenant, which was ratified with a blood sacrifice… That’s what he says. Though he says, possibly this could also refer to the Mosaic Covenant. I think, it’s probably though, speaking of the Abrahamic Covenant. So God works in history because of the covenant. That’s why the exodus happened, which is the greatest work of redemption besides the cross of Christ in all of history.

It happened because God was honoring His covenant. Exodus, 2, 24 (Exo 2:24), just before the exodus, it says: So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… That’s at the beginning of the book of Exodus. So God is saying, everything you read in this book and everything that happened in this book, book of Exodus, which by the way is a wonderful book, but everything that happens in that book, the greatest work of God in redemptive history other than the cross is because of the Abrahamic Covenant. Ezekiel, 36, 22 (Ezek 36:22), which is a description of Israel’s end time re-gathering, God says: Therefore, say to the house of Israel, This is what the Lord God says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went… In other words, I’m going to re-gather you into your own land, the great end time re gathering of Israel. Not because of you, because everywhere you people went, you messed things up, is basically what He’s saying here, but I’m doing this for my holy name. In other words, if I don’t restore you to your land, then I’d be breaking My word in the covenant and I’d have to be torn apart as the animals, you know, were torn apart and so it’s an amazing thing, that’s why verse 11, as it starts to describe, what God is going to do for Israel, it begins it with a description of His covenant. 19:54

So with that in mind, what’s God going to do? Well, He’s going to liberate the prisoners.

Covenant Protection – (Zech 9:11-17)

Second part of verse 11 (Ezek 9:11): … I have set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope… So what prisoners is he talking about?

Well, when Zechariah wrote this and had these prophecies, the return from Babylon, which happened in three cycles was still in the process of taking place.

So in return number one, which is found in Ezra, 1, through 6, fifty thousand of them came back to rebuild the temple. So the book of Zechariah is taking place in that first return. But then there’s going to be a second return. Ezra, 7, through 10. When two thousand of them are going to come back to adorn the temple and reform the people. So that’s where Ezra, 7, through 10 takes place and by the way, at the end of chapter 6 and the beginning of chapter 7, is a long space of time and does anybody know what biblical book transpired in between the end of Ezra, 6 and the beginning of Ezra, 7? Esther! Look how smart you guys are, that’s wonderful! Praise the Lord. Which is a description of how God preserved the people still living in the captivity from a wicked man named Haman, who developed a plot to exterminate the Jews and because Israel came out of that smelling like roses. See, whenever you develop a plot to exterminate the Jews, not only does Israel survive and thrive, but she gets a holiday out of the whole thing and what holiday was added to the Jewish cycle? Purim, excellent and then the third return is the book of Nehemiah where they came back to rebuild the wall. So when Zechariah was having these prophecies, return number one had happened but return number two hadn’t happened yet and return number three hadn’t happened yet. So what God is saying is, I’m going to restore the prisoners. I’m going to bring everybody else out of the Babylonian captivity that hasn’t gotten out yet. So Charles Ryrie says here on these verses:

Charles Ryrie – The Ryrie Study Bible

Zechariah 9:11-12 (RSB:NASB1995U): 9:11-12 Restoration and blessing for those still in Babylon is promised. Blood of My covenant. Probably the Abrahamic covenant, which was ratified with a blood sacrifice (Gen. 15:9–10), though possibly the Mosaic, which required many blood sacrifices. Waterless pit. Cistern used as a dungeon.

Restoration and blessing for those still in Babylon is promised… So why in the world would God care about restoring those still in Babylon? Because of His… Starts with the “C”: His Covenant with them; and it talks about as they’re coming back, it’s going to be like being restored from a waterless pit. I’m going to set your prisoners free… Verse 11 (Zech 9:11)… from the waterless pit. You know, when you are in a pit and God takes you out of the pit, that’s a wonderful thing. We can think of several people in the Bible that that happened to. We think of Joseph, who was thrown into a pit by his brothers and God got him out of the pit and restored him to second in command or put him I should say, to second in command in all of Egypt. I think of Jeremiah, who was put in a pit and if I had time to tell you about it some time, I’ve been in a pit myself, not a literal pit but a very metaphorical pit, where it looked like, from a human perspective, that there is no way out and you try to manipulate things this way and it doesn’t work and you try to manipulate things that way it doesn’t work and so finally, you just have to admit I’m in a pit Lord, you know, you’ve allowed me to be in a pit, so, I’ll just stay here, I’ll pray, I’ll ask for deliverance, I’ll praise your name, but I’m in a pit and one of the great things to see in your life as a Christian is God taking you out of the pit cause he does that. I’m going to take you out of the waterless pit that you’re in, whether it’s the return from the captivity, whether it’s Jeremiah in the pit, whether it’s Joseph. So if you find yourself today, this evening, in a pit, you’re kind of in good company when you think about it, because this is how God works. I mean, if you weren’t in a pit, you wouldn’t see your need to be rescued, right? And you wouldn’t see the hand of God pulling you out. So God does that. He puts us in situations that we have no way out other than God and if God didn’t put you into those circumstances, how can He develop faith in us? Faith is just a Sunday school lesson. Yeah! I know what faith is, you know, I checked it off on my doctrinal exam. Yeah! I know what that is. No you don’t know what it is. You don’t know what it is until you’re put in a pit and you’re forced to trust God. 25:53

Now, intellect is turning into experience and that’s growth. I’ll tell you the scariest person in the world is a guy that’s like twenty years old that knows Greek and Hebrew. Completely scary because they have all the seminary educational knowledge and they have like limited life experience and there, you know, what the Bible says is knowledge puffs up, right? So you get people like that and they think they’re ready to be used by God and I’m saying to myself, oh boy! You’ve got some stuff you got to learn and so what God does with people like that as He does with all of us, is He puts us in a pit and when you’re in the pit, then all of a sudden intellectual knowledge is teaming up with life experience and now you’re growing. By the way, that’s what the late Howard Hendricks used to say to the Dallas Seminary students, when they’re getting ready to graduate. He gave like the closing talk to the seminary grads. This was his opening line. He said: Gentlemen, you’re pathetic… That’s what he said and everybody is shocked, you know, with all of their regalia. Here’s their favorite professor calling them pathetic. He says: You’re pathetic because it’s going to take decades for life experience to catch up with your knowledge. You got a lot of knowledge and praise God for knowledge! We need that, but knowledge has to go along with life experience or it doesn’t do you much good. So the first thing God does when you graduate from seminary is He puts you into a pit. Puts you in some obscure place, you know, where nobody knows your name and you’re not popular and you’re not Chuck Swindoll, you know, writing bestselling books and by the way, if you listen to Chuck Swindoll, listen to him talk, he’ll tell you about all kinds of pits he’s been in. I mean, pastorates that he had before he became, you know, what we know of him today is kind of a Christian superstar. It’s very interesting to listen to him talk about his experiences, you know, before he got to that place. So I hope that encourages you. Anyway, any other warm, fuzzy, thoughts for the day. 28:38

So look at the rest of verse 12 (Zech 9:12), we didn’t finish that. So when God restores the prisoners, it says: This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you… So when you come out of the pit, which you eventually get out. I got out of my pit. What God starts to do, it says in Joel chapter 2: Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locusts have eaten… So all the years that the locusts consume, God makes it up and sometimes when He makes it up, you end up with double than what you had before. Isn’t that what happened to Job? Job, 42:10 (Job 42:10): The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends and the Lord increased all that he had twofold… That’s what’s being predicted right here, all restored double. So you remember Job? He had a bad day, I guess we could say, where his health was jeopardized, his wealth was jeopardized, family members died and he stuck with his wife and she says, why don’t you just curse God and die. She didn’t have the gift of encouragement, obviously and here’s Job going through the whole book of Job in this condition. But he could not see chapter 42. God didn’t say to him at the front end, I’m going to restore double, he was just stuck in his pit and that’s when Satan, if I can get very real for just a minute, will tell you or whisper in your ear, you need to just take your own life, because things will never change and it doesn’t say it in the book of Job but there’s no doubt in my mind, Job despaired even of life itself. Probably thought about taking his own life, you know, many times, because he couldn’t see chapter 42. In chapter 42, his fortunes are restored double, twofold. So if he had taken his own life, he would have never gotten a chapter 42. I’ll tell you a true story. This was probably the second week I was here. Some guy that I’ve never seen before and have never seen since, shows up Friday afternoon as we’re getting ready to close. Now, I’m going to scare the daylights out of our office staff. They’re not going to want to come in on Fridays anymore, once they hear this cause weird stuff happens in churches on Fridays, I just have to be honest with you. So the secretary at the time comes into my office and this is before I wised up enough not to be here on Friday but she comes into my office and she says there’s a guy standing outside that wants to talk to you and he wants to know about suicide options. Suicide options? What in the world? So this guy comes in and I’ve never seen him before and I’ve never seen him since and he says, I’m going to kill myself. So obviously I say, why? So he goes into this long spiel about, you know, how he’s an engineer and he’s been laid off and he can’t find a job  and the economy’s down and all this kind of stuff and I said and I tried to share the gospel with him. He said I don’t want you to talk to me about that. I know the gospel, that’s what he said. I’ve heard this ever since I was a kid and so I said, well, can I pray for you? He says no. You can’t pray for me, now, when I leave you can pray for me. But you’re supposed to be a representative of God and I want you to tell me why I shouldn’t kill myself. So I’m going through my mental rolodex and I’m thinking to myself, they did not prepare me for this in seminary. Nobody ever told me something like this would happen. So think about it for a minute, what would you have said to him? We can open this up for discussion, go head, just yell out. What would you do if you’re in my circumstance? I mean, I’ll tell you what I did. We could even pass the microphone around, if you want. Okay, remind him that he is made in the image of God. Only God has the right to take life, good. Yeah, go ahead. (Inaudible response) That’s what I told him. She said, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. So he said, you can’t pray for me, you can’t share the gospel with me. I’m going through my mental rolodex. I have no idea what to say to this guy. So the book of Job comes to my mind and I tried to explain to him, you know, Job, 42. Job before he got to chapter 42 couldn’t see chapter 42 and I said, you know, wouldn’t it be dumb, if you went and killed yourself and I didn’t know if he was married, I don’t know if you had kids, I just had no information. I kind of assumed he was married, I go, wouldn’t it be ridiculous if you killed yourself, only to find out later in eternity that the economy turned around the next week and you’d be able to get a job. I mean, how do you know you’re not going to be able to get a job a week from now? So he says to me, well is that all you have to say? I said yes. So he leaves. What happened to him? I don’t know, I looked all over the you know newspaper. I don’t know the guy’s name. So I don’t know, maybe he’s alive today. Maybe he’s dead. But you have to start thinking this stuff through, because as a Christian those are the kind of questions you’re going to get, you know, once they figure out that you are connected to God. You may not be in a formal ministry but people in your family, people at your workplace, you know, they’re going to ask you these kind of questions. 36:37

So having some experience being in a pit, in being pulled out of a pit and anchoring that in the book of Job is really the only thing I knew to tell him. Did I do the right thing? I think I did but I don’t know. So I’m going to be just as eager in eternity to see if God used that. I hope He did. So what does that have to do with tonight’s study? I don’t know. I just saw the word pit there and we went into a little digression. Oh, there it is, second part of verse 12 (Zech 9:12): The very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you… And the whole concept of being restored from prison, which is what this is talking about. Isn’t that what Christianity is? When you really boil the whole thing down to its most basic level? I mean, isn’t that what the whole ministry of Jesus is? Being taken out of bondage? John, 8, verse 36 (John 8:36) says: So if the Son sets you free, you will be free… What? Free indeed… Well, what puts us in bondage? Sin does. John, 8:34 (John 8:34) says: Jesus answered them, Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin… So we sin, basically, because we’re enslaved to it, we have no choice in the matter and then Jesus shows up and he sets us free from bondage. I can’t think of a more simple, understandable definition of Christianity than that. Being in bondage and being taken out of bondage. That’s the ministry of Jesus. Here the nation of Israel was in a pit and God says, I’m going to take you out. Not only am I going to take you out but I’m going to restore double once you’re out. Only God could do that, Amen? 38:55

So what is God’s going to do on account of His covenant, His blood covenant? He’s going to liberate the prisoners, verses 11 and 12 (Zech 9:11-12) and He’s going to start to give victories.

Covenant Protection – (Zech 9:11-17)

Now these victories that are described in verses 13 through 17 (Zech 9:13-17) are basically a description, for the most part scholars believe, of the intertestamental time period. That’s the time period between the two testaments, between the end of Malachi and the beginning of the first gospel that we have, Matthew. There’s four hundred years there and it’s called four hundred years of silence because there’s no prophet speaking. You don’t have that four hundred years interrupted until the spirit led teachings of John the Baptist. But before you get to that, it’s four hundred years of just silence where God is not speaking, the silent years. I don’t really like the name silent years, because it gives the idea that God wasn’t working. Yeah, He was working, big time. He wasn’t talking but He was working, you know, to fulfill many of the things He’d already spoken and so during that time period the nation of Israel is going to have some incredible victories in this intertestamental period. So Charles Ryrie of these verses we’re entering into now says:

Charles Ryrie – The Ryrie Study Bible

Zechariah 9:13-17 (RSB:NASB1995U): 9:13-17 These verses predict the defeat of Greece (particularly of Antiochus Epiphanes) by the Jewish people during the Maccabean era (second century B.C.).

These verses predict the defeat of Greece (particularly of Antiochus Epiphanes) by the Jewish people during the Maccabean period in the second century BC… Which is part of this four hundred years of silence. Now keep in mind that Zechariah is seeing these things in 518 BC and he’s describing things now that are mostly going to happen around the year 167 BC. Zechariah was not the only prophet to see these victories; you might want to jot down two sections in the book of Daniel, where this happened. Daniel saw the same set of circumstances in Daniel, 8, verses 21 through 25 (Dan 8:21-25) and Daniel, 11, verses 23 through 35 (Dan 11:33-35) and most of these things it’s believed revolve around Hanukkah, where there was something that took place called the Maccabean revolt, where a man named Judas Maccabeus sort of gathered a rebel army within Israel to go against a man named Antiochus Epiphanes who had desecrated the Jewish temple, temple number two, that Zechariah is trying to encourage his people to start rebuilding.


So around December 25, now this would be about 164 BC, the temple is liberated and rededicated miraculously by Judas Maccabeus and this history is recorded in the books of first and second Maccabees, which are not canonical books but they’re historical books, sort of explaining the history of this time period and after the temple was liberated and rededicated, there was the miracle of the lamp oil, where the Menorah, which you can see there on the right, notice the animation, that’s kind of cool, isn’t it? The Menorah was supposed to be lit for eight days and according to tradition there was only oil for one day but somehow God allowed it to last, miraculously, eight days, because as far as God is concerned, there’s no such thing as lack, right? There’s no such thing as want. I mean, go all the way through the gospels and you can see Jesus turning something into existence out of almost nothing to feed the masses, you know, a few loaves and a few fish. We believe based on history and tradition that that’s probably what happened with the burning of the Menorah for eight days to celebrate the liberation and rededication of the temple from the diabolical reign of the Seleucid Antiochus and this was a war that Israel should never have won. It’s kind of like, I don’t know, you look at the Ukrainians, I don’t mean to get into the politics of it because you talked to two people and you get five opinions and you really don’t know who to believe. But in the news counts, that I’ve seen of it, everybody’s just shocked that the Ukrainians have lasted, you know, as long as they have. I mean, they’re unmatched and the Russians are more powerful etcetera… that’s sort of the kind of thing that you have happening here with the Maccabean revolt and from this comes another feast day called, Israel celebrates it around Christmas time, called Hanukkah which means feast of dedication or festival of lights and we were actually in Jerusalem when they were celebrating this and it’s a beautiful thing to see all of Jerusalem filled with lights and typically, this particular feast day occurs around our Christmas time and so it was a Jewish holiday and it was added to the Jewish calendar because of what God did for Israel in this Maccabean revolt. 45:24

So there are seven Levitical feasts, Leviticus, 23, seven of them. Two were subsequently added to the Levitical calendar, because of miracles God did in history; the first one we’ve already mentioned tonight related to the book of Esther is called, Purim which means lots, because Haman had cast lots to determine the day when Israel would be extinguished from the face of the earth and God in the book of Esther intervenes and so from this comes the feast of lots or in Hebrew, Purim. The IM ending is plurality, in Hebrew it’s like adding an S to a noun or an ES to a noun in English and then the second one that was added was Hanukkah. So actually now Israel has two other feasts outside Leviticus, 23, seven feasts in Leviticus, 23, two more added to the calendar. So that’s why I say every time there’s a plan to wipe out Israel not only does Israel survive but she gets a holiday out of the whole thing. That’s what the whole book of Esther is about and it’s what Hanukkah is about and people say, oh! You know, those are non-Levitical feasts, who cares about that? I just want to celebrate the Levitical feasts, I don’t care about the other two non-Levitical feasts. Well, if that’s your attitude, you should probably change it, because in John, 10, 22 through 24 (John 10:22-24) you’ll find Jesus Himself, God incarnate going to Jerusalem to celebrate Hanukkah or the feast of lights or sometimes called the feast of dedication; and so, what starts to get described is that victory in that intertestamental time period and Zechariah is saying here that that string of victories would have just kept right on rolling. All they had to do was embrace their king, which they did not. I mean, Purim and Hanukkah, that’s small potatoes compared to what God could have done and wanted to do, in and through Israel, via the millennial kingdom, but because they were looking for an Alexander the Great rather than a spiritual savior, Zechariah, 9:9, Zechariah, 9:10, they tripped right over Christ.

So take a look here verse 13 (Zech 9:13), as we look at some of these victories, what would God do?: For I will bend Judah as My bow, I will fill the bow with Ephraim. And I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece… You should underline Greece. Was I clear enough in my enunciation of it? Oh! Greece… And I will make you like a warrior’s sword… how in the world could Zechariah mention the word Greece when he’s writing in the Persian period. The Persian period after the Babylonian period. Well, let’s go back, the Babylonian period, Babylonian captivity 605 to 539 BC. Then came the Persian period, when the Persians overthrew the Babylonians. By the way, what chapter of the Bible did that happen in? What book of the Bible did that happen in? It starts with the D… Daniel. What chapter in the book of Daniel did the Persians overthrow the Babylonians? You’ve got how many fingers on your hand? You’ve got five. It was Daniel, 5, the handwriting on the wall chapter. Handwriting on the wall chapter is a political sea change where the Persians overthrew the Babylonians without firing a shot, without even a battle, because Herodotus tells us that the Persians went underneath the walls of Babylon, they diverted the river Euphrates, they went under the walls of Babylon and they conquered the Babylonians without even a battle and that was the night the last reigning king of Neo Babylonia partied as if there was no tomorrow, because he was invincible and he didn’t really realize how vulnerable he was. It’s like here in the United States how we used to think of ourselves. We’re invincible, oh! You mean our twin towers just got torn down, destroyed by a bunch of guys with box cutters,  hijacking airplanes. I guess we’re not that invincible after all. So he thought he was invincible. In fact, he went into the… Well, his father Nebuchadnezzar had brought into Babylon the vessels that were used for holy purposes in the temple and he took those vessels, this guy Belshazzar, it’s all in Daniel, 5, and he’s put alcoholic beverages into them and he started a party and he took what God had given for sacred purposes and turned it into profane purposes and that’s where the handwriting on the wall appeared. Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin. Translated means: numbered, numbered and divided. What does that mean? Hey, there’s a guy that used to hang around here named Daniel that knows stuff like this. Let’s go get him out of retirement and so they grab this eighty plus year old guy, Daniel and he interprets the handwriting on the wall and he says, this very night your kingdom will be taken away from you and you’ll be dead. That’s all in Daniel, 5. That’s 539 BC and I studied under probably the greatest Bible chronologist that has ever lived, Dr. Harold Hoehner, who could calculate things and tell you dates for everything. He could probably tell you when Adam got his belly button and he dates it, I’ll never forget this. I don’t know how he got this, I just memorized the date. He’s got all these charts and all this stuff. Saturday night October 12, 539 BC. How’s that for precision? Saturday night, October 12, 539 BC. So the Babylonian era ends and the Persians come to power and they rule from 539 to 331 and then the Greeks come to power. That’s the time of Alexander the Great from about 331 to, I would say, about 64 right in there BC, when the Romans would come. 53:19

So my point is how could Zechariah living in the Persian period and I’ve given you the dates, 539 to 331 roughly, see the Grecian era which hadn’t come yet? And this is why higher critics do not think Zechariah wrote this, because how could he see Greece? Charles Ryrie says:

Charles Ryrie – The Ryrie Study Bible

Zechariah 9:1 (RSB:NASB1995U): 9:1 Some hold that chaps. 9–14 are not to be ascribed to Zechariah. However, many similarities exist between chaps. 1–8 and 9–14, and difference of style is never a conclusive argument for different authorship. The reference to Greece as a future dominant power (9:13) is no problem if one accepts the validity of predictive prophecy.

Some hold that chapters 9 through 14 are not to be ascribed to Zechariah. However, many similarities exist between chapters 1 through 8 and 9 through 14, and the difference of style is never a conclusive argument for different authorship… Then he says, look at this… The reference to Greece as a future dominant power is no problem if one accepts the validity of predictive prophecy… If you believe God knows the end from the beginning, God can call out the next empire in the chain, no problem. Now if you don’t believe God can do that and you don’t believe God authored this book, then you have to come to the conclusion that there’s no way Zechariah could have known that. All of this higher critical nonsense comes from a belief of anti-supernaturalism that God can’t predict the future, cause how could Zechariah in 518 BC in the Persian period see the Grecian era which wouldn’t start until around 331 BC, how could he have known history in advance? Well, it’s really no problem if God is the one inspiring what you’re writing. By the way, Zechariah is not the only prophet to do this. Daniel did it. Daniel, 8, 21 (Dan 8:21), you should jot that down cause you’ll see the name Greece again. This time not in the Persian period, but in the Babylonian period. It says: The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece. There it is. Daniel, 10:20 (Dan 10:20) does the same thing, back in the 6th century, quote: Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia. So I am leaving and behold the prince of Greece is about to come… That’s not once, that’s not twice, that’s three times, the Bible either in the Babylonian period or in the Persian period predicts the empire of Greece, centuries before it ever came into existence. This is a time period called the times of the Gentiles. Babylon to Persia to Greece to Rome.

It’s spelled out in the statute that Nebuchadnezzar saw, Daniel, 2, and it’s spelled out with the four animals in Daniel, 7, and there’s coming upon the earth a revived Roman Empire, yet future, which Jesus will personally overthrow. So we’re still actually in the times of the Gentiles. It’s a time period where Israel has no king reigning on David’s throne and Israel is trampled down by various Gentile powers but Zechariah doesn’t focus so much on Babylon cause that’s past. He starts to focus on Persia and Greece which is yet future. So both Daniel and Zechariah in advance are explaining the times of the Gentiles but Zechariah is more focused on Greece than Daniel was, although Daniel does mention Greece. Why isn’t Zechariah focused on Persia and Babylon? Cause that was over. Babylon was over, the Persian era had started. So he focuses more on the subjects that are yet future from his time frame. 57:32

So Babylon is the head of gold, the chest and arms of silver are Persia and then the belly and thighs of bronze are Greece and the two legs of iron are Rome and the feet made with iron and clay is Rome future, antichrist’s empire and so Daniel is focused on the head and he’s focused on the chest and arms and Zechariah picks it up and he’s very focused on the belly and thighs of bronze. So the times of the Gentiles are marching forward. It’s kind of interesting how God has different prophets focusing on different parts of the times of the Gentiles. What’s going on in Daniel, 2 equals what’s going on in Daniel, 7. The head of gold equals the lion, the chest and arms of silver equals the bear. By the way folks, the bear in the Bible is not Russia. Are we clear on that? Russia is in the Bible, it’s Rosh in Ezekiel, 38, but don’t conflate it with the bear because that’s the national symbol of Russia today and all that stuff. The bear is Persia. The Bible says that and then the belly and thighs of bronze equals the leopard and then the legs of iron equal the frightening beast which is Rome and so, you know, Daniel saw pieces of this and Zechariah saw other pieces of this and Zechariah is more focused on the belly and thighs of bronze and the leopard. It’s not so much focused on Babylon and Persia cause Babylon was done and Persia had just started. So God shows him things that would happen in the Grecian era revolving around Hanukkah and I’m having so much fun, I’m just upset that the clock is deterring me so, bummer. So I have more fun up here than you guys have out there. There’s no doubt in my mind, but we’ll pick it up with verse 14 next time. If you gotta go collect your kids now would be a good time or otherwise take off..