By Menashe Dovid
The Jewish perspective on Zechariah 12:10 is that it may be viewed either as an historical biblical event or, alternatively, as a messianic event that is yet to be fulfilled. Neither of these interpretations can accommodate, nor agrees with the Christian view of Zech 12. The Christian view includes those who would describe themselves as messianic ‘Jews’. Both Christians and messianic ‘Jews’ are both agreed that Jesus/ Yeshua is ‘the’ substitutionary vicarious blood sacrifice. According to Christians, Zachariah 12 gives an example of the necessary functional nature of the ‘godhead’. The example insists on a physical/ divine ‘Messiah’ (Jesus) fulfilling the necessary role/ purpose of being pierced and killed for people’s sins so as to bring about ‘the’ substitutionary atonement. The argument for the necessary functional nature of the substitutionary atonement comes about as a result of a spiritual being (god) not having a physical body to be pierced.
So the ‘godhead’ taking on a human form, which is described as a unique and ‘unexplainable mystery of godliness’, allows for this necessary functional nature of the ‘god head’. In the Christian viewpoint Zech 12 is a messianic prophecy that was fulfilled with the crucifixion of Jesus working in cahoots with the other two members of the plural/ composite ‘godhead’. Judaism however, does not and has never subscribed to a plural/ composite ‘godhead’. Instead Judaism asserts that G-d is absolutely One, the Torah forbids human sacrifice, that each person is individually responsible for their sins and that G-d is very willing to forgive without the use of blood, flower, incense or the giving of money[all ways of achieving atonement].
However, The 12th Chapter in the Book of Zechariah describes a war of nations against Jerusalem, in which Judeans fought on the side of the enemy for a while and, when they realized that G-d was with the people of Jerusalem, they “turned around” and joined the battle against the enemy, which led to the deliverance of Jerusalem and the restoration of its status. The victory will, however, be followed by grievous mourning over those who fell in the battle. The passage Zechariah 12:8-14, when read in the original Hebrew text, or in a correct translation thereof, clearly shows that the prophet could not possibly have spoken of Jesus. For example, the prophet makes the promise that Jerusalem and its inhabitants will be protected:
Zechariah 12:7, 8 — (7) And the Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the splendor of the House of David and the splendor of the inhabitants of Jerusalem should not overwhelm Judah. (8) On that day, the lord shall protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and it shall come to pass on that day that even the weakest among them shall be like David: and the House of David shall be as angels, like an angel of the Lord before them.
The historical record testifies that, less than 40 years after Jesus died, Jerusalem was torched and destroyed by the Romans, and its people were expelled and exiled. So, this is yet another prophecy that Jesus did not fulfill. The prophet also foretells the destruction of those nations that attacked Jerusalem:
Zechariah 12:9 — And it shall come to pass on that day, [that] I will seek to destroy all the nations that have come upon Jerusalem.
According to the historical record, none of these nations were destroyed in the days of Jesus!!
According to Talmudic tradition, the first “Messiah”, מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן־יוֹסֵף (maSHI’ah BEN YoSEF), Messiah son of Joseph, will be a hero out of either of the tribes that emerged from Joseph – Ephraim and Menasheh. He will fight and be killed in the Great War, an event that will be the catalyst for all of Israel to turn to God and repent. Jesus was not a warrior or from the tribe of Joseph!!! After that, מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן־דָּוִד (maSHI’ah BEN DaVID), Messiah son of David, the Davidic Messiah, will appear and usher in the messianic era and its promised redemption of Israel.
According to the New Testament Jesus was from the tribe of Judah by adoption through Joseph since G-d was the father of Jesus. Adoption can never cause a change in tribal affiliation according to Torah, however! In contradistinction, “Messiah”, מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן־יוֹסֵף (maSHI’ah BEN YoSEF), Messiah son of Joseph, will be a hero out of either of the tribes that emerged from Joseph – Ephraim and Menasheh. May he come soon!!