[Note: This is the prepared text for a sermonette given to the Portland, Oregon congregation of the United Church of God on Sabbath, August 29, 2020.]
Just a bit more than six months ago, as we approached the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, I explored the relevance of a particular passage in Zecharah 12 for the first coming of Jesus Christ. At that time I stated that the implications of this passage on the second coming of Jesus Christ would await another time. Now that we approach the Feast of Trumpets and Feast of Tabernacles and it is the time to reflect upon the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, let us now explore the implications of Zechariah 12:10-14 on the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. To remind us again about this passage, let us turn now to Zechariah 12:10-14 and see what it has to say to us about the circumstances of Jesus Christ’s return to the earth. Zechariah 12:10-14 reads: ““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. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.”
When we explored this passage before, I had you all turn to various passages in the New Testament that explored how it is that Jesus Christ was related to at least three of the four houses here spoken of in this passage as mourning by themselves. As I did before, I will refer to these scriptures to remind us all once again of how Jesus Christ is related to three of the four houses discussed in Zechariah 12:10-14 so that you may note it for future reminders and research as you wish. Matthew 1:6 tells us that Jesus Christ was descended from David through the legal genealogy of his stepfather Joseph. Luke 1:36 informs us that Mary, Jesus’ mother, was a cousin to Elizabeth, who like her husband Zecharias was part of the priestly line of Aaron and part of the tribe of Levi. And a couple chapters after that in Luke 3:31, the physical geneaology of Mary tells us that Jesus was descended through the cadet line of the House of David through his son Nathan. It is worth noting that these three family lines are members of the elite of the people of Israel. The house of David through his sons Solomon and Nathan is part of the kingly line that has been promised rulership over Israel for the last three thousand years and a fulfillment of prophecies going back all the way to Genesis. The house of Levi similarly was promised the priesthood and we have in recent messages explored the reality of the future priesthood of Zadok’s line in the millennium. Just as Jesus Christ united the functions of a king and priest, and serves as a model for us as believers as a royal priesthood and holy nation, it would make sense that he would unite within Himself ancestry from both the kingly and priestly lines of ancient Israel. And it makes sense as well that if the family of Zadok is to know who they are in the millennium so that they may serve as priests in the restored temple that the knowledge of family background be restored on a more general basis to those who were descended from other elite lines as Jesus Himself was.
That leaves us with only one family line to explore, and in exploring this family line we not only see that Shimei’s family line was similarly an elite family like the others, but also that the experience of Shimei in the Old Testament gives us an understanding of part of the reason why it is that these four elite families are said to be mourning by themselves when they look upon Him whom they have pierced upon His return to the earth. We are used to thinking of the return of Jesus Christ as a happy event for the earth, something we long for and pray for and look forward to as the way that the world will be set right again. Not everyone, though, will be looking forward to this return, and it is worthwhile for us to examine why this is the case. In order to do that, it helps us to look at the life and career of one Shimei. We are first told about Shimei in 2 Samuel 16:5-14, which tells us about how Shimei acted when David was fleeing from the rebellion of his son Absalom. 2 Samuel 16:5-14 tells us: “Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came. And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! The Lord has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!” Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!” But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” And David said to Abishai and all his servants, “See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day.” And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust. Now the king and all the people who were with him became weary; so they refreshed themselves there.”
In reading this passage there are several insights about Zechariah 12 as they relate to the return of Jesus Christ that are provided. First of all, let us note that Shimei himself was a relative of Saul and was thus part of the kingly line of Benjamin from which Saul came. Just as Jesus Christ was descended from the kingly line of David through Nathan as well as the priestly line of Levi, so too there will be those who are present at the return of Jesus Christ who are descended from the kingly line of Saul through Shimei. This represents the presence of other elites, a rival kingship to that held by David’s house, which was removed because of unbelief and rebellion against God. Time does not permit us to look in any detail at the rebelliousness of Saul that led to the removal of kingship from himself and his family to David and his line, but we can gather from Shimei’s hostility to David that not everyone took it well. Shimei’s anger and hostility towards David is representative of those who have both in Jesus’ day and since then rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and King. At the present time, this includes the vast majority of Jesus’ own people, who are self-conscious in their rebellion against Jesus Christ and their hostility to Christianity, and even a great majority of those who profess to follow Jesus Christ do not follow His example or keep His laws. These rebels will eventually be brought face to face with Jesus Christ as their ruler, whom they have rejected and rebelled against, and they will not be particularly happy about it.
We may guess their feelings about it by comparing them with Shimei’s own feelings when David returned to Jerusalem victorious after having defeated Absalom. In 2 Samuel 20:18b-23, we read the account of how Shimei responded to the return of David into power, and the mood is very different indeed. 2 Samuel 20:18b-23 reads: “Now Shimei the son of Gera fell down before the king when he had crossed the Jordan. Then he said to the king, “Do not let my lord impute iniquity to me, or remember what wrong your servant did on the day that my lord the king left Jerusalem, that the king should take it to heart. For I, your servant, know that I have sinned. Therefore here I am, the first to come today of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.”
But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, “Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed?” And David said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should be adversaries to me today? Shall any man be put to death today in Israel? For do I not know that today I am king over Israel?” Therefore the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king swore to him.” Here we see that the coming of David in power and majesty reminded him that he had sinned by speaking so rashly and so rebelliously against the anointed one of Israel, and he asked for mercy and received it from David, so that he was not put to death although he very well could have been.
And it is this example of the story of Shimei and his treatment by David despite his sins and his rebellion that provides us with insight as to some of the reasons why it will be that these various houses within the people of Israel will be mourning at the return of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will not have been invited by the people of earth to establish His rule, but will establish His rule through force and power. Those who are a part of the leading families of Israel and Judah will know that they have been rebellious to God and will see Jesus Christ having established His kingdom by conquest. They will be afraid of harm coming to them to an even greater extent than Shimei was at the return of David to Jerusalem. And just as David extended mercy in the moment of His victory to Shimei despite his rebelliousness in the past, so too we may expect Jesus Christ to extend mercy to those who mourn and weep in fear and understanding over what it is that they did in having rejected the Messiah and subjecting him to such a shameful death and having mistreated his believers throughout history up to the time of His return. Let us hope that we too are able to cultivate mercy ourselves as we reflect upon the future of God’s judgment upon this rebellious earth before His millennial rule begins, for those who survive the judgment of God upon the earth will finally be in a place to ask forgiveness and receive His gracious mercy.