10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. 11 And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 12 And the Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.”
To the Jew of the sixth century BC, the return of Judah from Babylonian captivity was a major event. It must also have been loaded with questions. Now that God has judged us for our sin and returned us to our land, what should we expect? Will Messiah come and make us a political power? Is the promise still alive? What does it look like?
Here in Zechariah, we see some glorious truths of the promise of God that were made under the Old Covenant but which can only be fulfilled by the establishment of the New Covenant. Notice how God speaks of what will occur beyond the physical return of exiles to Jerusalem. It is cause for joy. God will dwell in the midst of his people. That is bigger and better than even the Old Testament experience of the Jews with the temple or the tabernacle. While those edifices symbolized the presence of God, their walls were there to tell the people that there must be a separation between the Lord and them, a boundary that the people cannot cross. This dwelling in their midst promised in Zechariah sounds bigger and better.
Verse 11 points to the fact that God will gather to himself more than the Jews. Yes, the Jews who trust in him will be included. But God is gathering for himself a people out of all the nations. Again and again, as God makes his ultimate promises, he points to the building of a new people of God, one not determined by ethnicity but by faith.
In verse 12, we see the Lord taking Judah and Jerusalem for himself. Something about this promise of God will include God in Jerusalem accomplishing his kingdom purposes. The place where the temple stood, the place where David ruled, that place will be the great launching point of the blessing of God.
If we put this all together, we see the gospel in sign form. On the surface, this looks like a major promise of blessing on Jerusalem—and it may be that. But well beyond blessing the city, God is going to accomplish his eternal purpose. Jesus, the Son of God, will come into Jerusalem declaring himself King. Jesus will bring to God a nation made up of people from all nations. There will be rejoicing and blessing for the people, as god will live in the midst of his people in a way never before experienced in Israel. The Spirit of God who came to his church in Acts 2 is the better fulfillment of the promise of God dwelling among his people. And, by grace, we also look forward to the day of Christ’s return when God will dwell in our midst both physically and spiritually forever.