Q&A: How Zechariah 12 Relates to the Crucifixion of Jesus

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. – Zechariah 12:10, 11 (emphasis mine)

Our Q&A this time around comes from the combox regarding this post on John MacArthur and the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 12. It’s a good one, to wit:

I’m confused, the Zechariah verse says “…so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.” But on the day Jesus was crucified the Jews didn’t mourn or weep bitterly. They still rejected him that day.

Verse 11 says, “The sorrow and mourning in Jerusalem on that day will be like the grievous mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo.” This didn’t happen on that day either, among the Jews. It was more like good riddance!

I’m not seeing how these verses in Zechariah relate to the day Jesus was crucified.

First, in order to answer your question, we need to first identify who the ‘they’ are in the phrase “they will mourn for Him,” and “they will weep bitterly over Him”.

From John MacArthur’s viewpoint, it will either be a present or a future generation of geo-political Jews. Yet, this will not do, for neither was born or present on the day of the crucifixion of Christ, were they? Remember, if we are going to take this ‘literally’, the ‘they’ would need to be physically present at His crucifixion!

Now, what I’ve just said should be considered a straw man and for this reason: the passage doesn’t say the ‘they’ will mourn and weep for Him on the very day He was crucified, but it does say that ‘they’ will mourn and weep for Him in that day. (Zech. 12:2-4) What’s that? What does ‘in that day’ mean?

It means the entire time that the Gospel is proclaimed or preached, and believed. We’re talking about the Church here, the entire body of Christ, the body of the redeemed from every age.

Look to Scripture.

First, God affirms unequivocally through the Apostle John (19:34-37) that yes, this has been fulfilled.

Secondly, remember that the Gospel was preached to Abraham (Galatians 3:8) as well as all other Old Testament saints. They are part of the Church body.

This passage in Zechariah never once limits the mourning and weeping to a future generation of Jews, nor to the Jews present on the physical day of Christ’s crucifixion – unless they had been redeemed already and therefore, part of the body of the Church, which if that’s the case, they did mourn and weep indeed.

Everyone in every age who has been redeemed has looked upon the Savior and realized by the grace and revelation of God, that they – we are the ones whose sin nailed Jesus to the Cross. We , that is, our sin, by being born in the first Adam, pierced Jesus’ hands and feet to the cross. The Church. And we have mourned and wept and shed tears in repentance and faith about that crucifixion and rejoiced in His finished work on our behalf. We also rejoice that our eyes were opened to that fact.

The confusion that seems most prevalent regarding chapter 12 of Zechariah is, and continues to be the interpretation by dispensationalist in forcing a presupposed system of theology on a much simpler revealed purpose of God: the Church. Specifically, and please note, this passage never says it refers only to the Jews present on the day of Christ crucifixion. Put yourself in that box, and nothing will result but a disarray of theological unrest.

After all, God has had one purpose from all eternity: the redemption of the elect, the Church itself. One purpose, not two.

Looking on Him whom “they have pierced” is never assigned to the geo-political Jews of Christ’s day. No, the entire body of the redeemed from every age is referred. Those who say otherwise dispute the clear revelation of Scripture, and are a danger to the Church body.