“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.” (Zechariah 9:12)
This prophetic oracle concerns God’s coming Kingdom. At the core of Zechariah’s focus is the Messiah who will bring the blessing of peace but will also exercise judgment on the wicked. Therefore most of what the prophet speaks of is eschatological in nature, that is, it speaks of future events and occurrences rather than of contemporary or present events. Here we see judgments upon old enemies who had troubled Israel throughout her history. The Lord uses Greece as His sword of judgment against them, a prophecy of Alexander the Great who conquered all of the Near East including Palestine and Egypt. History praises his glory, but he was merely an agent of the Lord.
Zechariah prophesies the coming of the Messiah as King. He will come will come, not as a warrior riding in a chariot or on a fine horse like Alexander, but on a donkey, a symbol of humility, peace and service. The prophecy is, as we are aware, fulfilled by Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem coming to be crucified. Yet the context tells us that something greater has occurred. This triumphal entry is followed by a time of universal peace and the reign of the Messiah as King over the whole earth. This is a cause for rejoicing even for us today for though we do not see it yet, it must be viewed as an accomplished fact. We know that one day it will happen because the Lord has declared it.
Contrast Alexander the Great with the lowly Messiah. Which one does the world applaud? Which one does God favor? Which one do you seek to imitate?