Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Zechariah, and more specifically, is found in the ninth chapter of the book. There is found within this particular chapter another of the many Messianic prophecies that would be fulfilled when the Word would become flesh and dwell among us. What strikes me first and foremost when reading this particular chapter is the incredible amount of battle, conflict and warfare that is found and contained within it. I feel it absolutely necessary to begin with the Messianic prophecy that is found within this passage of Scripture, for it sets the stage for that which comes before it, as well as that which comes after it. Consider if you will the words and language that is found in this particular chapter in the ninth and tenth verses: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:9-10). While this particular passage might not seem like it has any significance or importance, it is actually crucial in understanding the misconception and misperception concerning the Messiah. There would be very few men and women who would expect a conquering king to come riding upon a lowly donkey, and from that place of humility and lowliness would conquer adversaries, enemies and foes alike. One would not think or expect peace and dominion could indeed flow forth from that individual who would choose to ride upon a lowly donkey, for most kings who come conquering enemies and adversaries come riding upon a stallion or hose of some sort. Who would ever think that a conquering king would ever come riding upon a donkey, and from that donkey proclaim peace and dominion within and upon the earth. In order to understand the incredible significance of this particular Messianic prophecy, it’s imperative that we first understand what this reality looked like within the pages of the Old Testament. In the first chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings you will read of the end of David’s life, and one of David’s own sons who attempted to seize the throne of his father. If you read beginning with the twenty-fourth verse of this particular chapter you will encounter this tremendous event that took place at the end of David’s life before he went the way of his fathers. “And Nathan said, My lord, O king, hast thou said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? For he is gone down this day, and hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the king’s sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest: and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save king Adonijah. But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called. Is this thing done by my lord the king, and thou hast new shewed it unto thy servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him? Then king David answered and said, Call me Bathsheba. And she came into the king’s presence, and stood before the king. And the king sware, and said, As the Lord liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress, even as I sware unto thee by the Lord God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day. Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the king, and said, Let my lord king David live for ever. And king David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king. The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. Then ye shall come up after him,and that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah” (1 Kings 1: 24-35).
This passage found within the first chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings is both interesting and intriguing, as well as incredibly powerful. Within this passage of Scripture we David king of Israel coming to the end of his life, and one of his sons presuming authority and dominion over the kingdom of Israel and Judah. Within this passage of Scripture we find what appears to be a tremendous unrest as one of David’s own sons presumed to sit upon David’s throne in Jerusalem, and to reign over all Israel. There was, however, a tremendous conflict surrounding his attempt at the throne of David in Jerusalem, as he refused to invite Solomon, Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Bathsheba Solomon’s mother, and Benaiah. When Nathan presented this scenario unto David king of Israel, David immediately summoned Bathsheba unto him and provided very specific instruction concerning Solomon and the pronouncement of him as king over the nation and kingdom of Israel. What is so intriguing about this passage of Scripture is that we find the son of David not only being proclaimed as king within the streets of Jerusalem, but we also find the son of David riding on David’s own mule. I can’t help but see the tremendous implications and symbolism that is contained within this particular passage, for within the Old Testament we find the literal son of David entering the streets and city of Jerusalem riding on David’s own mule and being pronounced and proclaimed as king, while in the New Testament we find a different Son of David entering into the streets of Jerusalem riding on a lowly donkey. I can’t help but see the direct connection and correlation between the prophetic words that are contained within the book of Zechariah, as well as with David causing his own son Solomon to sit upon his own mule and ride into the city of Jerusalem. In addition to this direct connect, I can’t help but see the actual fulfillment of the prophetic words of Zechariah during the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. In fact, if you read the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, you will clearly see the account of Jesus tasking His disciples with securing a donkey—a donkey that would be used for a very specific purpose in the divine mission and assignment He was given upon the earth.
If you come to the twenty-first chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find the account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and the reception He received upon entering into the city. Consider if you will the language that is found in this particular chapter beginning with the first verse: “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying, unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed Is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when He was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:1-11). It’s worth noting and pointing out that Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was not only a direct fulfillment of the prophetic word spoken by Zechariah, but it was also a powerful declaration unto Jerusalem that her King had indeed come unto her. What’s more, is that when you read the response of the people when Jesus entered into the city you will clearly see a direct connection between an earlier event that took place centuries earlier within the same city, yet with a different son of David. There was the first son of David who entered into the city of Jerusalem riding upon the king’s own mule, as it was pronounced within the streets of the city that Solomon was indeed the king of Israel. Centuries later there would be a different king—still the Son of David, yet a different King—who would enter into the city of Jerusalem and would ride through the streets seated upon a lowly colt. WHEN YOU SEE THE SON RIDING UPON THE MULE, THE KING IS PRESENT IN YOUR MIDST! How absolutely tremendous it is that there were two events separated by centuries and decades, and yet both events carried with them the same declaration. Within history there was indeed two distinct entrances of the king into the city of Jerusalem, and both events carried with them tremendous similarities.
What’s worth pointing out is the two entrances the King—Jesus the Christ who is both Son of David and the Son of God—made within and upon the earth. While in the New Testament gospels we read of Jesus entering into the city of Jerusalem riding through the streets seated upon a lowly colt, there is another event that is recorded in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ that describes a completely different entrance of the eternal Son of David. If you journey to the nineteenth chapter of the book of the Revelation you will find an event recorded as taking place immediately after the Marriage Supper of the Lamb—another grand entrance of the eternal Son of God. The event that is recorded at this particular time, however, is something vastly different than what we read and find in the gospels. Consider the language that is written and recorded beginning with the eleventh verse of the nineteenth chapter of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon Him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but He himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS< AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).
There is a passage contained within the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah that serves as the foundation and backdrop for what we read in the New Testament book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ. Within the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we are presented with the eternal Son of God and Son of David emerging from heaven riding upon a white horse, and upon emerging from heaven, He does so as the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS! What’s more, is that when we read of the eternal Word of God bursting forth from heaven riding upon a white horse, we find Him doing so with a vesture that was dipped in blood. It is the sixty-third chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah that brings us face to face with the backdrop for this reality. “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat. I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth” (Isaiah 63:1-6).
The words of the prophet Zechariah serve as a Messianic prophecy that would be fulfilled when Jesus Christ came riding into the city of Jerusalem seated upon a lowly colt, as He was accompanied by His disciples upon whose garments He say as He entered the city. When Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem—despite the fact that He was indeed, and was in fact their King—He didn’t enter as a king should, or even would. Who would have thought a king would enter into the city riding upon a lowly animal such as a donkey, and from that lowly and meek place, he would ride through the streets of the city as king? What’s more, is that when Jesus entered into the streets of the city of Jerusalem He was accompanied by His disciples—and not only was He accompanied by His disciples, but a very great multitude spread their garments in the way. There were others who didn’t spread their garments on the way, but who cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. When Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem there was a multitude that went before, and a multitude that followed, and both cried, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9). What truly strikes me when reading of this event which took place at the beginning of the Passion Week is that I can’t help but wonder how many men and women were aware of the implications and ramifications surrounding Jesus’ entrance into the city. Of the countless multitudes that followed behind, and the countless multitudes that went before, how many truly recognized and understood that the One who was riding upon this donkey was indeed their Messiah and King. How many truly recognized that this one who was entering into the city of Jerusalem upon something as lowly and inconspicuous as a donkey would indeed be king—and not just king, but their King? From the very place of His birth, to where He chose to grow up to what He would do as His profession, there was nothing high or lofty or noble about His entrance into and presence in the world. This same one who would enter into the streets of Jerusalem riding on a lowly donkey would also be born of a virgin, would be born in a manger, and would be laid in the very same instrument animals fed from.
I have written before concerning the two appearances of Christ, and how the first time He appeared unto men upon the earth, He did so as the Lamb of God. I wrote how the words contained within the fifty-third chapter of the prophetic present us with the Messiah—not only as the suffering Servant, but also as the Lamb of God which John the Baptist spoke about. Remember the words which the apostle John recorded for us in the first chapter of the New Testament book bearing his name: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for He was before me. And I knew HImnot: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore and I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is Hewhich baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John stood, and two of His disciples: and looking upon Jesus as He walked, He saith, Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29-36). Twice within this particular passage of Scripture we find John the Baptist describing Jesus the Christ as the Lamb of God—and not only the Lamb of God, but the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. There was a deliverance the Lamb came to provide that only the Lamb could, for the Lamb had to be the sacrifice that made possible deliverance from sin, from death, from hell and the grave. How absolutely incredible it is to think that when conquering sin, death, hell and the grave, Jesus did so by coming to the earth the first time as the Lamb of God which would serve as the atonement and sacrifice for our sins—and not simply for our sins, but to also break the curse of sin, and even the curse of death that is associated with sin. It was the Lamb and not the Lion who conquered sin, death, hell and the grave, yet the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah that would conquer all His adversaries, foes and enemies.
The fifth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ presents us with one of the clearest pictures of the triumph of the Lamb who is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah. “And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth,w as able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as if it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints” (Revelation 5:1-9). Within this passage of Scripture we find the presence of not only the Lamb who was slain before the foundations of the world, but we also find the Lion of the tribe of Judah as well. It’s absolutely necessary to recognize and understand that when the Son of God came to this earth, He came as a lowly Lamb so that through the sacrifice of the Lamb, atonement could be made for the sin of humanity. It was precisely because the eternal Word of God came to earth first as a Lamb that He would be able to emerge as the Lion of the tribe of Judah which we read about in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. When the eternal Son of God came to the earth the first time, He came in order to conquer and deliver us from sin, yet He would come a second time in the future—not as a Lamb which would take away the sins of the world, but as a Lion that was to govern the nations of the earth.
When you read the ninth chapter of the prophetic book of Zechariah you will be confronted with the reality of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and how the Lion that emerges forth from heaven does so conquering as mighty warrior and King. Consider if you will what is recorded beginning with the eleventh verse of this particular chapter: “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; when I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Erphaim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the Lord shall be seen over them, and His arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. The Lord of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. And the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of His people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown lifted up as an ensign upon his land” (Zechariah 9:11-16). If you read beginning with the first verse of this chapter, you will find remarkable language concerning the Lord’s judgment upon His enemies and adversaries: “The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord. And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise. And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire. Ashkelon shall see it and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. And I will take way the His blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite. And I will encampe about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes” (Zechariah 9:1-8).
As the Lamb, the Messiah conquered and defeated sin, death, hell and the grave, yet that wasn’t the final culmination of the defeat that was to be meted out within and upon the earth. If you read the New Testament book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ you will find two distinct triumphs that will occur upon the earth prior to the end of all things, and the Great White Throne Judgment. While it is true that sin, death, hell and the grave have been conquered, not all enemies and adversaries have been triumphed over and made to be the footstool of heaven. There are coming two distinct battles that will take place upon the earth that will be the ultimate triumph of the Lamb who was also the Lion—the One who was destined to rule and govern all the nations of the earth. In fact, I would dare say that what we read in the eighth verse of this particular chapter of Scripture bears a strong similarity to what we read in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ concerning the final and ultimate stand of the adversary upon the earth. IN the twentieth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we read of Satan’s final stand in recorded history—a stand which he attempts to mount against the Word and His saints as they occupy, dwell in, rule and reign from the city of Jerusalem. “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them togethet to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compased the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10). What we read in this passage of Scripture is in my opinion directly connected to what we read in the ninth chapter of the prophetic book of Zechariah, and not only do we find in this passage a powerful prophetic declaration of the coming Lamb of God, but we also find a powerful declaration of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who not only has triumphed over sin, death, hell and the grave, and not only spoiled principalities and powers upon the cross, but will one day once and for all defeat and overcome Satan, the antichrist, and the false prophet. What we read in the twentieth chapter of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is the final triumph over Satan and all those who he gathered together to make war with and war against the saints. It would be the Lord of hosts Himself who would not only encamp round about His people and the city of Jerusalem, but would also consume the forces of Satan with fire from heaven.
There is a passage in Scripture that describes the lion and the lamb lying down, and I can’t help but think the implication that has outside of the realm of peace. Jesus the Christ is not only the lion of the tribe of Judah, but He aiso the Lamb of God. When I consider the reality of the lion and the lamb lying down together, I can’t help but think of that final moment when sacrifice and judgment lie down with each other—when atonement and sacrifice have been met and fulfilled, and when the judgment of God has finally been meted out. When Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father, He had indeed conquered sin, death, hell and the grave, and He had made atonement for the sins of man, and delivered us from the curse of sin and the law. When Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father He did so as the Lamb of God which came to take away the sin of the world, and had in fact taken away the sin of the world. There is coming a moment in time when the Lamb which sat down at the right hand of the Father will rise from that place—not only to take the scroll from His hand, and to break the seals thereon, but to also break forth as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah whose vestige will be stained with blood. There is coming a moment when the Lamb of God that was slain from the foundation of the world will rise from His place at the right hand of the Father and will break forth as the eternal Lion of the tribe of Judah to subdue all enemies, adversaries and foes, thus making them heaven’s footstool. What a tremendous concept it is to think about the lion and the lamb lying down—especially when you consider the work of the Lamb and the work of the Lion both being fulfilled, and they are both—once and for all—able to lie down. “Thou makest me to lie down in green pastures.” There is coming a day when the lion and the lamb will like down together in green pastures because the work that could only be accomplished by the Lamb has been fulfilled, and the work that could only be accomplished by the Lion was accomplished. Oh that we would live in the reality of the work of the Lamb which has already been accomplished upon the earth, but live with eager expectation that there is still a work of the Lion that has yet to be accomplished and fulfilled. Oh that we would recognize that while we desperately need the manifestation of the Lamb within our hearts and lives, we absolutely and without a doubt need the continual work of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, as we continually live in the manifestation and reality of our adversaries, foes and enemies defeated before us. Even David lived in this reality as he not only wrote of a God who forgave him of his sins and cleansed him, but also delivered him from all his enemies, foes and adversaries. The same God who is able to deliver us from sin and from death is the same God who can and will deliver us from every single one of our enemies and adversaries.