Question:Could you answer a couple questions about Zechariah? Is chapter 2:8-9 referring to Jesus' sacrifice for all sin? Also, is chapter 6:11-13 referring to Joshua as a Jesus-figure? After all, isn't Jesus' real name in Hebrew Yeshua, which is a variant of Joshua? Is it a coincidence that it says his "name" is the Branch? If not, this is an amazingly accurate prophecy and I'm surprised I've never heard about it before. On the other hand, 12:10-13:3 starts off seeming like a prophecy about Jesus but ends rather contrary to what Jesus taught. So I don't really know what to make of it. Also, I have trouble connecting 11:7-14 to the betrayal of Judas as is done in Matthew 27:9. I have a lot of questions about Zechariah and I'd like to understand it better. Is there any resources you could offer me?
Answer:There are many messianic prophecies in Zechariah. In fact, it has the most messianic prophecies per chapter of any book in the Old Testament. I have taught extensively on Zechariah. Here is a link to an article which includes notes and power points on Zechariah: Zechariah Link I am not sure what you are asking about Zechariah 2:8-9. This is a passage about God judging the people who he had previously used to discipline his people--Babylon. The following passage, Zechariah 2:10-13 is a kingdom prophecy about the establishment of the Church under Jesus. "Many nations will be joined with the Lord in thta day and wil become my people is one of dozens of passages about the establishment of the kingdom under Jesus. I have an entire chapter on this topic, including more than a dozen similar passages, in my book "From Shadow to Reality," available at www.ipibooks.com. In this passage, we are told that "The Lord will again inherit Judah.... and will again choose Jerusalem." Again, this is about the church in the last days. I do not see this as a specific messianic prophecy but about the Church that Jesus will establish.
I am thinking that in your question there may have a typo. Is it possible you meant to ask about Zechariah 3:8-9? This seems to fit your question better than 2:8-9. Let me respond based on this assumption. In this verse, Joshua is clearly used as a prefigure of the Messiah--the Branch. This is a rather obvious messianic prophecy, as it associates the removal of sin from the land with the coming of the Branch. I will discuss this below in my treatment of Zechariah 6:11-13.
On Zechariah 6:11-13, this is one of the most clear Messianic passages in the entire Old Testament. I also mention this in my book, From Shadow to Reality. The Branch is a reference to Jesus, who is known as the Branch, or the shoot of Jesse in several Old Testament passages, including Isaiah 11:1 ("A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit."), Isaiah 4:2, Jeremiah 23:5-6 ("when I raise up to David a righteous Branch" which associates the branch with David, the son of Jesse) and Zechariah 3:8. Matthew tells us that Jesus is a fulfillment of the Branch prophecies in Matthew 2:23. "So was fulfilled what was aid through the prophets: 'He will be called a Nazarene" The Hebrew word for branch is nazer. Jesus came from a town known as branch. What an amazing fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus was the branch of Jesse and of David, as he was directly descended from both, but he was also the Branch, in that he was born in a city known as Branch. In the first century, a common name for the followers of Jesus was the Nazarenes--the followers of the Branch.
Back to Zechariah 6:11-13. The intricacy of this messianic prophecy is really amazing. Yes, the Branch is a reference to the fact that the Messiah will be descended from Jesse and David. It also is fulfilled in that Jesus comes from Nazareth--Branch. But, in addition, it is not a coincidence that the person used as a personification of the Messiah is the high priest Joshua, who just so happens to have the same name as Jesus. Our English word Jesus comes from the Greek transliteration of Yeshua or Joshua. This is no accident. It is evidence of the powerful working of God's will in bringing the Messiah to save all mankind. Jesus is also the second Joshua in that the other Joshua--the one who helped Israel to cross the Jordan is also a prefigure of the Messiah. Israel was baptized into Joshua in the Jordan River in order to enter the Promised Land. No coincidence there either. This, too, by the way, is discussed in my book "From Shadow to Reality."
The entire prophecy Zechariah 12:10-13:3 is messianic as well. Some of it more obviously, some less obviously. Zechariah 12:10 mentions the grace that will be poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This is a reference to spiritual Jerusalem--the Church, and also a reference to the fact that this grace will initially be poured out beginning in Jerusalem. The mourning in Zechariah 12:11-13 is a reference to the mourning of the disciples at the death of Jesus on the cross. But, as prophesied in Zechariah 13:1, the mourning will turn to joy when, on the Day of Pentecost, in Acts 2, a fountain was opened in Jerusalem and salvation through repentance and baptism was first offered in the name of Jesus Christ. Zechariah 13:2-3 tells us that at this time revelation will be complete and there will be no more need for prophets. Within a little more than a generation of the resurrection of Jesus, miraculous gifts had ceased and the New Testament was complete. I am not sure what you mean that parts of this passage are "contrary to what Jesus taught." I certainly do not see it that way.
As for Zechariah 11:7-14, this, too, is a wonderfully dramatic messianic prophecy. I describe this one in detail in my book, "From Shadow to Reality." It is a prophecy of the betrayal of Judas, the rejection of the Messiah by the Jews, and the death of Jesus. In Zechariah 11:10-11 we see that the first covenant with Moses and the Jews will be revoked when Jesus is killed and a New Covenant is established. Then the exact price for which Jesus was betrayed by Judas--30 pieces of silver--is mentioned. After this, the fact that Judas threw the money back into the temple, but that it was used to buy a potter's field is mentioned. This is a prophecy with such great specificity that it is hard to imagine how a skeptic of the inspiration of the Bible can possibly deny what is going on here!!! Then Zechariah 11:14 restates what was already told to us in v. 10-11, which is that the former covenant will be broken when Jesus is killed for our sake. All of these prophecies, Zechariah 2:10-13, Zechariah 3:8, Zechariah 11:7-14, Zechariah 12:10-13:3 paint an amazing picture of the saving work of the Messiah and the coming of his Kingdom in the form of the Church. At the same time, it provides irrefutable evidence that the Bible is inspired by God. By the way, one can add Zechariah 9:9-10, 8:1-8, 13:8 and others to this list of Kingdom and messianic prophecies. I certainly agree with you that this is wonderful evidence for the inspiration of the Bible. Please let me know if there are any other questions about Zechariah that you have. Hopefully the notes attached will help.