Does Zechariah 12:10 predict that Jesus would be the Messiah?
The Historical and Literary Context
This prophecy is an oracle about Judah, who at that time was in despair. Zechariah explains that Judah will triumph one day as they did in the time of David when the angel of the Lord went before them (12:1-9). However, the oracle shifts in verse 10 where Zechariah states that inhabitants will look on Yahweh whom they have pierced.
And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn (Zechariah 12:10).
There are a number of important points about this passage. First, the term “piercing” usually indicates death. Interestingly, the piercing likely refers to the death of Christ, though the word does not specifically mean crucifixion. Second, it is essentially God who is pierced. However, there is a distinction between the person pierced and Jehovah. Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch note, “. . . the transition from the first person (alay) to the third (alayv) points to the fact that the person slain, although essentially one with Jehovah, is personally distinct from the Supreme God.” Third, the manuscript evidence clearly points to the change from “me” to “him” as accurate.
Fourth, this text is another confirmation that the Messiah would be rejected by the Jewish leaders (cf. Isaiah 53). Fifth, this text serves to provide the specific type of death the Messiah endured compared with the more general one in Isaiah 53. Sixth, the ancient Jews accepted this passage as Messianic. Interestingly, a fascinating quote from the Talmud in Succah 52a indicates that this is a Messianic text, “Why is this mourning in Messianic times? There is a difference in interpretation between Rabbi Dosa and the Rabanan. One opinion is that they mourn for Messiah Ben Joseph who is killed, and another explanation is that they mourn for the slaying of the evil inclination. It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of the Messiah since that well agrees with this verse. If it refers to the slaying of the evil inclination, it must be asked, is this an occasion for mourning? Is it not rather an occasion for rejoicing? Why then should they weep?” Carson summarizes the text quite well, “Perhaps the best way to understand this is that the people have killed a historical figure, who was the Lord’s representative, and in doing so they have pierced the Lord himself.”
Evaluation as an Apologetic Argument
This passage overall presents a good case for Jesus as Messiah, since he claimed to be divine (John 10:30) and the historical evidence shows that he was pierced (John 19:34-47). Also, the text does indicate a piercing and implied death. Further, the text was accepted as Messianic from ancient Jewish sources. Finally, despite the positive evidence, when one uses this as an apologetic argument for Jesus one must note that the Jews have not mourned for Jesus yet. This is something that will take place in the second coming. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to use this text when arguing for Jesus as Messiah.
 H. L. Willmington, Willmington's Bible Handbook, Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997., p. 510.
 F. Duane Lindsey, “Zechariah,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, eds. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983., p. 1567.
 Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002, p. 610.
 D.A. Carson, The New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, fourth edition, Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994, n.p.
 Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown. A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997.
 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology: A Study of Old Testament Prophecy Concerning the First Coming of the Messiah, Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1998, p. 72.
 Carson, n.p.
- Apologetics Dialogues
- CARM Radio
- Cut and Paste Information
- Discussion Boards
- Email and Responses
- Evidence and Answers
- Lost Books
- Objections and Answers
- Online Schools
- Preachers and Teachers
- Recommended Websites
- Research Links
- Responding to Critics
- Verses Examined - OT
- Verses Examined - NT
- Women in Ministry
- Women's Issues
- About Angels
- About Apologetics
- About Baptism
- About the Bible
- About Bible Verses
- About the Church
- About Christianity
- About Demons
- About Doctrine
- About End Times
- About Ethics
- About Evangelism
- About God
- About Heresies
- About The Holy Spirit
- About Jesus
- About Man
- About Marriage
- About the Occult
- About Pastors
- About People
- About Prayer
- About Philosophy
- About Religions
- About Salvation
- About Sanctification
- About Science
- About Sexuality
- About Sin
- About Theology
- Other Questions
- Skeptics Ask
- Introduction to Evidence and Answers
- Non-biblical accounts of New Testament events and/or people
- Archaeological Evidence verifying biblical cities
- Can we trust the New Testament as a historical document?
- Wasn't the New Testament written hundreds of years after Christ?
- Hasn't the Bible been rewritten so many times it can't be trusted?
- Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
- Does the Bible provide extraordinary evidence for Jesus' resurrection?
- The disciples stole Jesus' body and faked His resurrection.
- There are no non-biblical accounts to the resurrection
- Miracles cannot happen
Help CARM by Liking It!
Discount off of Logos Bible Program.
CARM highly recommends using the Logos Bible Research Program. It is what we use. It is the best in the world. Just go to http://www.logos.com/carm. Use the coupon code of CARM6.