"And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will say, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'Zechariah 13:6(NASB)
Many old testament prophets were given the responsibility to tell of the coming of the Jewish Messiah. However, they were not awarded the privilege of understanding that He would have two advents. His first coming portrayed Him as the suffering Servant of God, who would be rejected by men and led as a lamb to the slaughter, while His second advent spoke of His return in power and great glory... as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, to set up the promised kingdom of heaven on earth.
Zechariah was a holy man of God who was give the burden of sharing significant information about Christ's first and second advents. Like many prophets he longed to look into his own prophetic words, but was given no understanding of the inter-advent Church age, which separated the two comings of Christ and was kept hidden from his view.
His first oracle touches on the punishment that awaits the unfaithful Jewish rulers and the rift between the northern and southern kingdoms. It identifies the Messiah as the true Shepherd of Israel; speaks of His rejection and betrayal... and foretells of Israel's acceptance of a worthless, idol shepherd, who will rob and slay God's people - during a time of great tribulation.
Zechariah's second oracle has Christ's second advent as its focus, when the Lord will destroy the enemies of Judah and the Jewish people will acknowledge God as their strength. They will repent of their sin and in desperation, will call on their Messiah to save them. "Hosannah!" they will cry, which means "Save us! Save us!"
It is at the very point when the nation calls out to God for salvation that Zachariah reveals the astonishing question the Jewish people will be forced to ask their Messiah, as He breaks through the clouds to rescue His chosen inheritance. We read - "and one will say to Him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?'
For 2000 years the Jews have rejected Jesus as their Messiah, because they were unwilling to trust the Word of the Lord. They refused to recognise the Word made flesh, Who came and dwelled among us. He was God's Anointed King, Who came to His own people... but they would not permit Him to rule over them and cried out, "crucify Him!" He came to the lost sheep of the House of Israel - but they spurned Him.
Nails were driven into His hands and feet and a sword was thrust into His heart. They did not understand that He was wounded for their transgressions and bruised for their iniquity... as well as ours. And in that future day when He returns as King of kings, the nation will ask Him about the wounds they see in His hands and feet. "Then He will say to them - 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'
These will be the most shocking and poignant words that Israel will hear on that day, when they cry, "blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord - Hosannah in the highest," for they will look on HIM Whom THEY pierced". Their eyes will be opened and their hearts will be grieved over their national sin and many prophetic Scriptures will become crystal clear, as they welcome back their True Shepherd of the sheep - the Good Shepherd of Israel, Who lay down His life for His people.
All Who have trusted in Christ are already forgiven of our sin and have received the gift of eternal life - and by His grace the Church will accompany our God and Saviour on that incredible day - when Israel recognises Jesus as their Messiah - when they see the nail-print on His hands and the sword-wound on His body and ask Him - "What are these wounds between your arms?"
Heavenly Father, thank You that You have written the end before the beginning so that we understand what has been... and what is going to happen when You return to save Your people Israel and set up Your eternal kingdom of heaven - on earth. Thank You for the many Jewish men and women who have already recognised You as their Saviour and have become a member of the Church - which is Christ's Body. We pray for those that will have to face the terrible Time of Jacob's Trouble and ask that - "Your will be done - on earth as it is in heaven - Your will be done for the nation of Israel and Your will be done in my life and the lives of all Your people. We pray that Your plans and purposes will be carried out for Your greater praise and glory - this we ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.