What does it say?
Not only will the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem be restored, God’s people will also be restored. This is the focus of Zechariah 10 as God proclaims that he, like a loving shepherd, will gather his people from wherever they have been scattered. Chapter 11 speaks of three types of shepherds, the howling shepherds (11:1-3), the true Shepherd (11:4-14) and the false shepherd (11:15-17).
Chapter 12 begins with the prophecy of Israel’s future deliverance (12:1-9), and concludes with their conversion at the recognition of their pierced Messiah (12:10-14). Zechariah 13:1-6 continues this theme of Israel’s cleansing. In the later part of the chapter, the Shepherd appears again and is smitten to death, resulting in the scattering of the sheep. Two thirds die and one third survives, is purified and call upon the Lord. Chapter 14 looks to the final battle and history melding into the eternal kingdom.
What does it mean?
In a chronological Bible reading, you surely have noticed by now how biblical prophecy refuses to be tied to chronology. Zechariah is a good example, as the prophet’s visions and messages bounce from past to present to future multiple times and in every combination imaginable.
Despite what often seems chaotic to modern Western readers, this reminds us that God is not tied to time. He is the Creator of time; past, present and future are to him an eternal now. As God-followers we have the advantage of learning in present tense from both past and future as we ponder God’s words.
We also need to notice the familiar Messianic prophecies in Zechariah and remember that history is the story of God’s mission to redeem and restore the nations through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Clear examples of Messianic prophecies include 11:12 where we see foreshadowed the 30 pieces of silver paid to deliver Jesus (Mat 26:15; 27:3-5) and the pierced one of 12:10. The fountain opened to the house of David in 13:1, as well as the wounds in his hands in 13:6-7 find their final fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
How will I respond?
Do I feel time pressure right now? I recognize that God is not subject to time as I am. I will look to him for guidance, allowing him to lead me to prioritize, cut things from my schedule that are not mission-specific and perhaps commit to add things that are more fruitful. Just as he strings a thread of pictures of Jesus in Zechariah’s prophecies, I ask him to show glimpses of Jesus throughout all areas of my life.