Zechariah 12:9-10 and An Odd Victory

christus-victor1Christianity is a very odd religion in the grand scheme of things. We live with major contradictions in life–the immortal God dies, to save your life you have to lose it, love your enemies, it is more blessed to give than receive, and the victory of God was in the death of Christ. From a purely human, logical point of view, none of this makes sense. But perhaps that just shows how wrong the world is on most things.

This passage from Zechariah holds this contradiction as well, while making a prophecy concerning the victory of God:

On that day I intend to destroy all the nations who come against Jerusalem,
10     but I will pour out a spirit of grace and mercy on David’s house
        and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
They will look to me concerning the one whom they pierced;
        they will mourn over him like the mourning for an only child.
        They will mourn bitterly over him like the bitter mourning over the death of an oldest child.

Here is God proclaiming victory over the nations through mourning over one who was pierced. From the very earliest days of the Church we have understood this to be the crucifixion of Christ. The nations can be taken literally, as there is no nation left that was around when Jesus was crucified that had anything to do with the crucifixion, or it can be taken spiritually since there really are only two nations in the world–the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this world. In Revelation, these two kingdoms are represented by the names New Jerusalem and Fallen Babylon. The Covenant People of God are the New Jerusalem and the rest of the world is a part of the rebellious order labeled Fallen Babylon.

Through the crucifixion of Jesus, the victory of God is secured and the nations are judged. Those who seek the Lord and desire to be with him will become a part of David’s house and receive the grace and mercy that is promised to it.

This is the Good News, even if it does sound a little contradictory.

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