“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10 ESV
The prophecy Jesus very intentionally fulfilled upon his arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” Matthew 21:2-3 ESV. Jesus had come to Jerusalem to be crowned king. The crowd shouting their hosannas as as he came into Jerusalem that day had that much right. Jesus had come to be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Yet he wept over Jerusalem as he came into the city to those Hosannas, because he knew that behind it was a toxic strain of nationalism and certitude. He knew that the crowd, though right about their hosannas, was completely wrong about the manner in which he would be enthroned. “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:42 ESV. They did not know the things that make for peace. They did not understand their Messiah was to be the Prince of Peace.
Sunday, Jesus enters the city triumphant, and weeps over it. Monday, Jesus prophetically protests the temple in a manner following Jeremiah, in a way predicting the downfall of the temple was near. This results in the temple elite beginning to plot a way to murder Jesus, which never would have happened during the festival if Judas had not lead them to him at a quiet place, at night, away from the crowds. But as the temple establishment was plotting the end of Jesus, Jesus is everywhere predicting the end of the temple.
On Tuesday, Jesus gives his disciples his Olivet discourse with all the signs of the End. But the End Jesus is predicting all along us not the end of the works but the end of the temple. Jesus predicts a time of great unrest leading up to the end of the temple. He says there will be earthquakes, rebellions, famines, uprisings, wars and rumors of wars. His great sign that the end was near was that Jerusalem would be surrounded by Roman armies – “”But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.” Luke 21:20 ESV. His warning to his disciples when they saw this was talking not be like everyone else. Don’t think those city walls would protect you and keep you safe. Don’t run into the city, run out of the city, go into the wilderness, just GET OUT!! “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.” Luke 21:21-22 ESV. And when these prophecies were fulfilled, all those Jews in and around Jerusalem who believed Jesus was Messiah remembered his warnings, and when most were flooding into the city, they got out. History tells us they left Jerusalem and went to the city of Pella in northern Jordan.
On Wednesday, Mary Magdalene anointed Jesus to become king (and for his burial). On Thursday, he had his Last Supper with his disciples, beginning the transition of the center of the kingdom of God from the temple to the table.
And on Friday – Jesus was crowned king. His coronation was a crucifixion, but Pilate told the truth on that sign he had placed on the cross – “Here is the King of the Jews“. Even though he meant it in mocking, that was a true statement.
BUT ON SUNDAY – God raised him from the dead. The second psalm comes to pass. “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” Psalms 2:7-8 ESV. The words spoken by Jesus upon his resurrection, the first words of the new world are not words of vengeance, not rallying the troops to go take down Pilate and destroy Herod, not giving those who had stood against him their just due, but words of peace – Peace be with you.
Then on the day of Pentecost, “…there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.” Acts 2:5 ESV. Peter preached his great sermon and the gospel was preached to men from every nation under heaven. 3000 souls were saved that day. The Gospel spread rapidly over the next few decades throughout the Roman Empire, until in AD 64 Nero had both Peter and Paul executed.
The end of the temple would mark the full inauguration of the Kingdom of God, and Jesus had repeatedly given a specific timetable. This generation will not pass away…August 10, AD 70, the attack started. Rome destroys Jerusalem, at least 600,000 killed, 97,000 taken as slaves.
Jesus predictions that not one stone will be left upon another are fulfilled. The city was leveled. So, to put it clearly, the second coming of Christ does not have to be preceded by wars and rumors of wars. Because that already happened.
Do what do we look for?? Well, Jesus is king, right? Jesus us the king that Zachariah prophecies about. Jesus certainly thought so, that’s why he so intentionally fulfilled the prophecy by riding the peace donkey on Palm Sunday instead of a war horse. So, what does our king command? …He shall speak peace to the nations. He commands peace, the Hebrew word Shalom, not war!!
The second coming should be preceded by people attempting to live here and now under the reign of Christ. We might want to call them Christians. Our morbid fascination with biblically sanctioned end times hyper violence needs to end. We want Christ to come, but for some reason believe we need multiple wars to bring that into fruition. We say things like “There will never be peace in the Middle East until Jesus comes again“, thereby condemning that region to perpetual war just by the expectation. But we need to understand that war is not necessary for Christ to return.
Warmongering is anti-Christ. Christ is the King who commands peace to the nations. He does not tell us to go have a bunch of wars so He can come back!! If we get a secret thrill at every rumor or talk of war, that makes us a warmonger. Jesus does not say “blessed are the warmongers, because they have a good eschatology”. No, he says Blessed are the peacemakers.
There is always another Armageddon on the horizon. Always another war to come. It is the foundation of our civilization. But we confess that Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead. If we confess Jesus as the Christ, we look for rumors of Shalom, rumors of peace. Our task is to spread and live these rumors of shalom. We are to live into the reality of Christ here and now.
After all, he is the Prince of Peace, is he not?
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
Zechariah 9:9-10 ESV