Israel Mourns For Him

In the previous chapter, Zechariah speaks of a prophecy that will affect the people of Israel, during the time that he writes in 520 B.C. There is a second application for this prophecy that was also fulfilled during the time that Jesus came to Jerusalem as the Messiah, in 32 A.D.

This next part of Zechariah’s prophecy is only applicable to the nation of Israel, concerning their Messiah; but not until the future when He returns to earth—the second time.

When Jesus returns to earth, at the end of the seven year Tribulation Period, the Jewish people will realize His true identity. The will understand that they crucified their Savior, and they will mourn for Him.

Old Testament Prediction:

Zechariah 12:10d And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 24:30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

When Israel’s Messiah is Recognized

It has always been the plan of God to save Israel. He offered salvation, first to the Jews, in fulfillment of His promise (See the chapter: All Israel Saved). When this offer was rejected, God turned to the world and offered the forgiveness of sins and eternal life to every person. We should never think of the Lord as desiring to save only certain people. It has always been the plan of God to save the whole world. The scriptures are clear that salvation is for all people, for all time.

1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It was also the plan of God to provoke the nation of Israel, and the Jews, to jealousy. This was so that they would desire what God has given to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. This prophecy in Zechariah 12:10 reveals that there will come a time, in the near future, when God will again turn His attention back to Israel and save those who realize that Jesus is their Messiah.

The salvation of Israel will not happen until after the middle of the seven-year Tribulation. During the last three and one-half years of this time of judgement, Israel will experience the miracle of salvation and the acceptance of Jesus as their Messiah.

1. Zechariah 12:10a, God will pour out His Spirit on the Jews so that they can experience His grace.
2. Zechariah 12:10b, He will pour out on the Jews the Spirit of supplication, which is prayer, so they can understand who Jesus is.
3. Zechariah 12:10c, He will allow the Jews to see Jesus when He returns; and they will realize their error, and believe.
4. Zechariah 12:10d, as the Jews recognize that Jesus is the Messiah, they will mourn for Him, realizing their former error, and be saved.

After Israel realizes that Jesus is their Messiah, the whole nation will find salvation, and join those who already love Jesus and believe that He is the Savior of the world. This will happen in the last days, when the Lord returns to earth with His church.

The process of salvation for everyone is very much the same as it is in the four part prophecy of Zechariah 12:10, as illustrated by the four points above.

1. Experience the Grace of God, that He is offering the world, through Jesus death and resurrection.
2. Understand that God has been praying for you to be saved.
3. See Jesus crucified, understand what He suffered through for our redemption.
4. Mourn for our sins and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

We should understand that the Jews who were living in Israel, during the time that Jesus presented Himself to them as their Messiah; did not receive Jesus because He was the not the type of Savior that they were expecting. The thought of a “pierced” Messiah was impossible for these people to accept.[1] Those who were anticipating the fulfillment of God’s promise to bring the Messiah, were expecting a conquering King.[2] Many of the Hebrew scholars of that day ascribed two Messiahs coming to Israel: one to suffer and die, one to rise and conquer.[3]

Very few of the people in Israel were expecting a humble Servant/Messiah who would die. This was because the leaders of Israel had not correctly taught the scriptures of the ancient prophets, to the people. It is clear that they should have expected a suffering Savior, but the men who were charged with this task of teaching these principles to the people, failed to understand these truths themselves and then convey it to the entire nation. We see a repetition of this failure today. Many of the people who believe in Jesus as their Savior, do not understand that He came to us—in fulfillment of over 400 Hebrew prophecies. This fact is an important piece of evidence in proving the existence of God, and the fact that Jesus as the only qualified Messiah who has ever existed in history. In churches all over the world, pastors and Bible teachers do not understand these principles themselves, preventing them from teaching these crucial facts to the people.

If you have read the preceding prophecies before this prediction of Zechariah, you are likely stunned that the leaders of Israel were not expecting the precise Messiah that Jesus presented Himself as. There can be only two explanations for their false expectations: One: They did not know their own scriptures. Two: Their hearts were not right before God. It is a fact of the Bible that only those who are sincerely seeking God with a true heart can know Him and understand what He says. Those who have selfish ambitions, ulterior motives, or hearts of unbelief; cannot understand what God has written—prophetically.

Daniel 12:10 …none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.

Jeremiah 29:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jesus confirms this fact by His words to the leaders of Israel who did not recognize Him as they should. Because they had certain expectations and Jesus did not meet these expectations, their eyes were blinded so that they could not correctly identify Jesus as the Messiah.

Luke 19:42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

God reveals Himself in the manner that He chooses, not according to our expectations or demands. If we will know Him and understand the deep things of His word, we must allow Him to speak to us and receive what He says—with no preconceived assumptions. If we will assume anything, it must be that He wants for us to know Him; and He will only come and make Himself known to the humble, the teachable, and those who are sincerely seeking Him.

A second possible interpretation of the phrase, “they will look on Me whom they pierced…,” is the translation, “they will look to Me,” instead of “on Me.”

This change in the words, drastically changes the meaning of this verse. Instead of looking “on” the pierced Messiah, causing their mourning; those who see Him crucified will be looking “to” Him for their salvation. Much in the same way that the Lord directed Moses to instruct the people to Look to Him and be saved during the plague, described in the Book of Numbers 21:4-9.

Numbers 21:9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Isaiah 45:22 “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth!”

John 3:14 Jesus said; And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

In my view, this would be a more correct application of Zechariah’s prophecy. It is not in simply looking at Jesus or by casual observation of Him that a person is saved. We must look to Jesus, alone, for our salvation. Jesus is not one of many way to heaven; He is the only way. Our Salvation comes, not by knowing about Jesus; but by knowing Him experientially and by coming into a personal relationship with Him.

[1] C. C. Torrey “The Messiah Son of Ephraim,” JBL 66 [1947]: 273
[2] The Babylonian Talmud Sukkah 52a
[3] Baron, pp. 438- 44, and Cashdan, pp. 321- 22