Today: [Zecheriah 12] Jerusalem will be a Cup of Trembling: In this chapter, the writer speaks of Jerusalem at a future time becoming a cup of trembling causing her enemies among the nation to reel like drunkards. The timing of these events are fixed at a time when the Messiah will come visibly and physically to show the people of Israel the wounds in his hands and feet, provoking great mourning among the Jews for the realization that they have rejected their Messiah for so many centuries.

[Zec 12:1-14 KJV] 1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. 2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah [and] against Jerusalem. 3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. 4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. 5 And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem [shall be] my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. 6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, [even] in Jerusalem. 7 The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify [themselves] against Judah. 8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David [shall be] as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 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 for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn. 11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; 14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.

In chapter 12 of Zecheriah the Lord declares He will make Jerusalem an instrument by which He judges the nations who have besieged and defiled her. Jerusalem is described as being a “cup of trembling” or a cup her enemies to reel as though in drunkenness as they are crushed and destroyed. Included in this denunciation Judah is mentioned, because when the invasion comes, there will be men from the population in Judah round about Jerusalem who will join with the invaders and be judged themselves. In other words this will be a time that brother will rise against brother and there will be among the ranks of God’s enemies, numbers of His own people who have cast their lot with the forces of the anti-Christ.

In verse 3 the declaration will be that Jerusalem will be a burdensome, or very heavy stone that will be very difficult, in fact impossible to life by those who come against it. This refers to the common practice among young men at the time to show how strong they were by testing their ability to pick up a large stone as a feat of strength to their peers. Jerusalem, the Lord declares will be such a stone that not one nation among the nations of the earth will be able to lift and thereby conquer.

Verse 4 says that God will open His eyes upon the people of Judah, because in years past He had turned Himself away from the people because of rampant idolatry and sin. In this case the Lord opens His eyes and treats for His people, defending them and causing confusion in the ranks of the invaders that come to overthrown them. The divine deliverance in behalf of Jerusalem is described as becoming a byword for the cities of Jerusalem who (v. 5) will have their faith bolstered to believe that their cities will be saved, in such a manner as the city of Jerusalem will so demonstrably be saved by God’s sovereign hand in the battle.

In verse 8 the prophesied destiny of Jerusalem is that they will be defended, and made so powerful that the feeblest among them will be as mighty David in the battle, with the angel of the Lord going before them at every turn. This is the day (v. 9) that God will seek to destroy all the nations that have come up against Jerusalem and her people, when the spirit of grace and supplication is poured out upon her people. Verse 10 sets these events at a time when the people will have opportunity to visibly see Jesus who will return to the mount of Olives and show the population the wounds on his hands and his feet. Finally, once and for all they will mourn bitterly when they realize, the Jewish people as whole the fact that their ancestors colluded in the death of their own Messiah and by their sin brought so many centuries of suffering upon themselves. The mourning will be so profound that the whole of the families of Israel will separated themselves in their families and observe many days of deep contrition for their blindness in not seeing and knowing that Jesus was the Christ.

In looking at v. 10 “they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced…” you might wonder, how a Jewish person could read this in their own canon of scripture and not know it was clearly speaking of Jesus. It has to do with how they translate the verse. How non-believing Jews have interpreted this verse shows us the substitutionary thinking of Jewish culture to the suffering Messiah passages that for us clearly point to Christ. The Jewish translators render the object of suffering as themselves, translating verse 10 as they shall look to their Messiah because of the many numbers of their people who have been “thrust through” or pierced by those nations who persecuted them. In other words, they do not see the Messiah suffering for their sins, but rather see themselves as a nation suffering for the sins of the world. This is the veil of unbelief that rests so profoundly over the Jewish people today, that they would believe such a fallacious thing about themselves rather than accepting the Savior sent to them in the person of Christ.

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