They shall look upon me whom they have PIERCED! (Zech. 12:10)
The prophet Zechariah is talking about a day in the future (from his perspective) where “he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David, and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them”. When we study about the angel of the Lord (which you can read more about in this blog article), we can see that he is a particular messenger (not a created angel) and even God himself. We can see that God (the Father) has a dialogue with the angel of the Lord so this means they are not one and the same. However, if the angel of the Lord is a manifestation of Jesus Christ, then it all makes sense that he is referred to as God, and that people feared they would die for having seen him face to face. The angel of the Lord is said to have guided the israelites from Egypt to Canaan – which is the land of Israel – and if the angel of the Lord is also Jesus Christ, which it actually says in 1 Cor. 10:4, he is the same as the Word who would later turn up in flesh and guide his people (all who come to him) into his Kingdom!
Zechariah is talking about a day when God will pour the spirit of grace to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (maybe due to their repentance and seeking of the Lord), and they shall “look upon me whom they have pierced, and mourn for him as one mourns for his only son”, and finally “as one that is in bitterness for his FIRSTBORN”. Those are well known attributes for Jesus Christ our Messiah! We know for a fact that Jesus Christ was PIERCED with nails on the cross due to our iniquities, and the short description of this event provided to us by Zechariah, gives us an indication of how it must have appeared for those standing below the cross and who looked up to Jesus on the cross.
Zechariah 12:8 In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have PIERCED, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (KJV)
Zech. 12:10 — And they have looked unto ME whom they pierced (Young’s literal)
Zech. 12:10 — and they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced (Orthodox Jewish Bible)
Zech. 12:10 — so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced (NASB)
Zech. 12:10 — und sie werden MICH ansehen, (Luther Bibel 1545)
Zech. 12:10 — y mirarán a MÍ, a quien traspasaron (Reina-Valera 1960)
Zech. 12:10 — Et ils tourneront les regards vers MOI (Louis Segond)
Zech. 12:10 — Alors ils tourneront leurs regards vers MOI (La Bible du Semeur)
This is also the picture that Isaiah gives us when he in Isaiah 53:4 says that “WE did esteem him stricken—” which is how it must have appeared for the people below the cross who looked up on Jesus, and he goes on to say:
Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet WE did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
David prophesied about the one who is pierced (Jesus) in this psalm:
Psalms 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they PIERCED MY HANDS AND MY FEET.17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Zechariah 12:10 is fulfilled in the New Testament, together with other prophesies:
John 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.—31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear PIERCED his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
The israelites complained about their situation in the wilderness, which they of course did against God’s will, but due to his love for them he made them realize just how rebellious they really were by sending them fiery serpents that bit them. Sometimes obstacles might turn up in our lives, and we could then take the chance and at least consider the alternative that God wants our attention and that we might turn away from sin. (Or such obstacles might just be ordinary unfortunate circumstances.) The fiery serpents were a great hit, because the israelites understood that they were sinners and confessed it before Moses and God. God also thought of a way out of the problem with the wounds caused by the serpents, and asked Moses to make a hand-made fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and Moses made one out of brass. Consequently, each person who was bitten by one of the serpents could then be free from the poisonous snake bite by approaching the pole with the fake serpent of brass and look up to it. This was their own responsibility, and they were neither forced to go to the place where the pole was, nor forced to look at it. It was all based on free will, just like salvation is.
Jesus is compared with this brass serpent in the wilderness, and the whole story about the serpent is actually a picture of the whole salvation message where the serpent caused men to sin and thus be filthy, and where Jesus can cleanse us from our wounds and filthiness caused by Satan (and our rebellion) , if we only look up unto Jesus our Savior and repent for our sins. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness for the people to look at and be free, even so must the son of man be lifted up in order to save the world. We can look up to Jesus on the cross, believe in him, confess our transgressions and eventually be totally free! Jesus says in John 12:32 “And I, if I be LIFTED UP from the earth, will draw all men unto me”.
Num. 21:5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
John. 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.14 And AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SERPENT IN THE WILDERNESS, EVEN SO MUST THE SON OF MAN BE LIFTED UP:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
John 12:32 And I, if I be LIFTED UP from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Hebrews 12:2 LOOKING UNTO JESUS the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the CROSS, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus Christ was together with the israelites during the Exodus. He was their rock, and just like we can tempt Christ today by living wicked lives, so too did they tempt Christ in the wilderness. They were destroyed by serpents.
1 Cor. 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.9 Neither let us tempt Christ, AS SOME OF THEM ALSO TEMPTED, and were destroyed of SERPENTS.
Jesus Christ is likened to the one who is pierced also in Revelations.
Rev. 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which PIERCED him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
The phrase “a serpent of bronze” is a wordplay as “serpent” (nehash) and “bronze” (nehoshet) are closely related in Hebrew. The brass serpent was later destroyed by Hezekiah.
2 Kings. 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.2 Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.
Being the son of God means being GOD, because God the Father certainly has no children together with a woman. So if you’re the son of God, you also have the source in God, and since God is ONE and there is none like him, the son of God must be God himself.
Thomas eventually realized who Jesus really was (he already knew that he was the Messiah, the son of God and his Master), and he called him “My Lord and my God (theos)”. Jesus did not correct him, and he never corrected anyone who worshiped him or equated him with God. Probably because there was nothing to correct.
Joh. 10:6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.—19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.—24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.