God is always actively
pursuing an intimate love relationship with His
people. The Holy Spirit is the author and giver of
all grace. It is through His agency alone that we
are able to turn from our selfish ways to the living
God. It is not until the Holy Spirit convicts us of
our sin that we can know our spiritual state and the
terrible consequences of it.
The Holy Spirit turns the
eyes of our heart to the crucified and now living
Savior. We are humbled by our sense of spiritual
poverty and overwhelmed by the love of an infinite
holy God who cared enough about our sinful state to
die for us.
The prophet Zechariah
tells us Yahweh will pour out His Spirit of grace
upon the house of David (12:8-10). In the Old
Testament economy the kings, priests and prophets
were anointed with oil symbolizing the gift of the
Holy Spirit. The Anointed of Yahweh, the Messiah,
came ministering with the anointing of the Spirit of
Yahweh without measure. Jesus spoke Himself into
office quoting the words of Isaiah, "The Spirit of
the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD has
anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he
has sent me to bind the broken hearted, to proclaim
liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners. . ."
(Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18). Moreover, under the new
covenant all believers in the Messiah have the
infilling of the Holy Spirit. He gives, not
unsparingly, but in full measure as is needed.
In this great passage the
prophet makes a remarkable statement about those in
the future who will pierce the Branch and then look
upon Him and go into deep mourning as if they had
lost their only child.
"In that day the Lord
will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the
one who is feeble among them in that day will be
like David, and the house of David will be like God,
like the angel of the Lord before them. And in that
day I will set about to destroy all the nations that
come against Jerusalem. I will pour out on the house
of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the
Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they
will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they
will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son,
and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter
weeping over a firstborn" (vv. 8-10).
Outpouring of the Spirit
This outpouring of the
Holy Spirit points us back to Joel’s great prophecy.
Keil says, "The spirit of grace is the spirit which
produces in the mind of man the experience of the
grace of God. But this experience begets in the soul
of sinful man the knowledge of sin and guilt, and
prayer for the forgiveness of sin . . . and this
awakens sorrow and repentance."
He will minister
graciously to Israel in her sinful condition and
will lead her to call upon Him in repentance. The
work of the Spirit is to produce repentance in the
hearts of the rebellious and to turn spiritual eyes
to the crucified Savior. The apostle Peter said,
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you
had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is
the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a
Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel,
and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of
these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God
has given to those who obey Him" (Acts 5:30-32).
"They will look on Me
whom they have pierced" (v. 10).
The idea is to pierce,
thrust through and to slay by any kind of death. The
context signifies it means to put to death.
Yahweh, I AM THAT I AM
(Exo. 3:14), pierced by an instrument of death
wielded by depraved sinners! Yahweh says, "They will
look on Me whom they have pierced." Jesus the
Messiah said, "I and the Father" (distinguishing two
persons) "are One" (Jn. 10:30). Jesus also said, "He
who has seen Me has seen the Father . . . . I am in
the Father, and the Father is in Me . . . the Father
abiding in Me does His works . . . I am in the
Father, and the Father in Me . . ." (14:9-11). The
LORD God speaks of the Messiah as of a different
person who nevertheless is One with Him in the
undivided and indivisible essence of Jehovah. I am
He=Yahweh, the First and the Last (Isaiah 48:12).
Yet He calls Himself the Messenger of the Lord God
and His Spirit (v. 16).
This Spirit through His
apostle reveals to us the actual fulfillment of this
stunning prophecy. More than 500 years later the
Lord used a Roman soldier as the unsuspecting agent
to fulfill this prophecy (John 19:34, 37). Man did
not plan this out, God did it. And the water and the
blood which flowed from the side of Him who was
already dead proved beyond doubt that this Pierced
One was the Prince of Life, Jehovah Our
Righteousness (John 19:33; Jeremiah 23:6; Acts 3:15;
1 John 5:5-12, 20).
It is a picture of the
slaying of the Maleach Yahweh, who is the
same essence with Yahweh, became man in the person
of Jesus Christ. Keil and Delitzsch bring out the
meaning, "As Zechariah repeatedly represents the
coming of the Messiah as a coming of Jehovah in His
Maleach to His people, he could . . . also describe
the slaying of the Maleach as the slaying of
Jehovah. And Israel having come to the knowledge of
its sin, will bitterly bewail this deed. . . . The
person slain, although essentially one with Jehovah,
is personally distinct from the Supreme God."
fulfillment of this prophecy is found in John 19:37
when the Son of God was crucified on Calvary. "They
shall look on Him whom they pierced." A soldier
pierced His side with a lance as He hung on the
cross. Yahweh was one who was pierced or better
stabbed to death. This piercing with the spear
brought to a climax the death of Christ. The Messiah
was put to death as the Suffering Servant of Yahweh.
No doubt comparing it to the Passover lamb, John
quotes the Law saying, "not a bone of Him shall be
broken" (v. 36).
Mourning of the
The prophet proceeds to
show another amazing thing that takes place at the
crucifixion. Those who had despised and rejected the
Branch and killed the Prince of Life and brought
about His piercing now "look attentively, hopefully,
trustingly" upon Him whom they have pierced. They
suddenly realize the enormity of their sin and cry
out to God. The bitterest and deepest death-wail of
the nation is brought out as the anguish of mourning
for the first-born.
As the crowd of onlookers
walked away that eventful afternoon Luke tells us,
"And all the crowds who came together for this
spectacle, when they observed what had happened,
began to return, beating their breasts" (23:48).
Hengstenberg says, "The
crowds, who had just before been crying out, Crucify
Him, here smite upon their breasts, being
overpowered with the proofs of the superhuman
exaltation of Jesus, and lament over the crucified
one, and over their own guilt."
The Holy Spirit gives
divine enablement to the people to "look on Me, the
One they have pierced." They have pierced Him unto
death. It was Jesus Christ whom they crucified.
The full commencement of
the fulfillment of this passage in Zechariah is
found on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:37-41 and in
the preaching of the apostles in Acts chapters 3-5.
The fulfillment says Keil
will "not terminate till the remnant of Israel shall
turn as a people to Jesus the Messiah, whom its
fathers crucified. On the other hand, those who
continue obstinately in unbelief will see Him at
last when He returns in the clouds of heaven, and
shriek with despair (Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:30)." It is
with a deep penetrating conviction and mourning that
will take place. But for so many it will be too late
to be saved.
According to Romans
11:25-29 there is a day coming when many in Israel
will recognize her Messiah and turn to Him. The
change in person from "mourn for Him" to "mourn for
Me" is common in prophetic literature. The
outpouring of the Spirit prompts the people to mourn
for sin in private (v. 10) and public (v. 11).
This profound sense of
spiritual poverty and mourning leads to a cleansing
from all sin because the precious fountain has been
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12:8-10 Mourning for the One Who was Pierced
Christ in the Old Testament