Friday, 24 June 2011

His dominion will be from sea to sea

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
And the horse from Jerusalem;
And the bow of war will be cut off.
And He will speak peace to the nations;
And His dominion will be from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth."
(Zechariah 9:9-10)

This prophecy is clearly about Jesus, but is it about his first or his second coming? In particular, is verse 10 ("I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim...") a result of his first or second coming? Some would drive a wedge between verses 9 and 10, insisting that Christ has dominion over all the earth only after his second coming. But this seems forced to me. Consider also this passage from Malachi 4:

"But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the LORD of hosts."
(Malachi 4:2-3)

This is a really meaty passage. The "wings" which carry healing are like the wings of the high priest, but to be called a "sun" means he is like a king who governs over the light (see Genesis 1:16). Put that together and the "sun of righteousness" is a Priest-King figure who comes to heal/save and to have dominion. On first thought, we might be tempted to suggest that this is about the second coming of Christ. But a few verses later we read:

"Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse."
(Malachi 4:5-6)

This passage is surely about the first coming. 'Elijah' is a reference to John the Baptist who came to turn the father's hearts to their children in preparation for the Lord (Jesus).

But if this is the case, then the first part of the chapter must surely be about the same thing. The treading down of the wicked by the righteous is fulfilled in the conquest of the nations by the gospel which happens as a result of Christ's ministry. This conquest is being fulfilled right now as the church proclaims the gospel and transforms nations. Isn't that exciting?

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