Study Notes

Zechariah 10:4-4


As you recall, chapters nine through eleven of the book of Zechariah contain the first of two burdens - oracles of the Word of the Lord. We have devoted three studies to the first three verses of chapter ten, focusing on 1) asking the Lord in prayer; 2) the lies of divination; and 3) the shepherds that God has raised up to lead His sheep.

Tonight, we are once again focused in on the vast riches contained in just a small portion of Zechariah's writings.

Remember that in the last part of verse three, Zechariah wrote,

Zech. 10:3 "...For the LORD of hosts has visited His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like His majestic horse in battle."

Such strange symbolism contained in that phrase! It is as if God was going to use the tribe of Judah as His vehicle of entry...

10:4 All Of Them Together

First, the Lord had said that Judah would be like God's majestic war horse in battle - that He would somehow ride them as He entered a war. Now, we read that from Judah would come four things which were one: the Cornerstone, the Tent Peg, the Bow of Battle, and Every Ruler.

What could be described with four such diverse things, yet be one? As the first probably indicated to you, these are Messianic titles - four descriptions of the Lord Jesus Christ.

From Them

Now, before we examine these four titles, notice that these will come "from them." Remember, the context tells us that the "them" is the tribe of Judah. From them would come this Messiah of these four titles.

We know that Jesus Christ came from the tribe of Judah, being a direct descendant of King David. That is why one of His titles is,

Rev. 5:5 ...the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah...

You may be aware that this is not the only Messianic prophecy to be centered around the tribe of Judah. In Genesis 49, Jacob was speaking prophetic blessings over each of his twelve sons. Of Judah he said,

Gen. 49:10 "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him {shall be} the obedience of the peoples."

Judah was described as holding the scepter. The scepter was the symbol of dominion and authority, specifically tied to capital punishment. You may remember that in the book of Esther, it was said,

Esth. 4:11 "...any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live...

The scepter was the symbol of the power of life and death in the hands of the government. Jacob prophesied that this scepter would not depart from Judah until Shiloh came. Shiloh, meaning "one who brings peace," was the Messiah.

So Messiah, according to this Scripture, had to come before the right to administer capital punishment was taken away from Judah.

Well, at one point in history, this prophecy was thought by the Jews to have failed. In 30 AD, the Roman Empire took the right of capital punishment away from the Jewish Supreme court, which had remained in Judah. "The high priest that year went through Jerusalem in sackcloth and ashes bewailing that the Word of God had been broken, that the scepter had departed from Judah, but Shiloh had not yet come" (Missler).

Less than three years later, a man arrested by the Jews for blasphemy as brought to Pilate,

John 18:31-32 Pilate therefore said to them, "Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law." The Jews said to him, "We are not permitted to put anyone to death..."

This was obviously a sore point for them. They thought that Shiloh hadn't come. Of course, we know that the man in their custody was Jesus. Shiloh had in fact come before the scepter departed from Judah!

And so Judah was the horse on which Jesus rode into His earthly ministry.

The Cornerstone

The first of the four Messianic titles listed in verse four is the most familiar of them: the Cornerstone. A cornerstone was used by builders as a firmly-placed basis for the squareness and level of the foundation - it was the stone that all measurements were referenced from. It was the key part of the foundation, and the most important stone in the building - everything stemmed from it.

Throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, there are numerous spiritual references to this Cornerstone. Isaiah wrote that the Lord said,

Isa. 28:16 ..."Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes will not be disturbed."

And the psalmist wrote,

Ps. 118:22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner {stone.}

What cornerstone was rejected? The New Testament clearly tells us that it was Jesus. Paul the apostle told the Ephesians that Jesus was the Cornerstone (Eph. 2:19-22).

Peter said,

Acts 4:10-11 ...Jesus Christ the Nazarene ... is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, {but} WHICH BECAME THE VERY CORNER {stone.}

And in his first epistle he called Jesus...

1Pet. 2:4-7 ...a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God ... A PRECIOUS CORNER {stone} ... THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER {stone,} "

Those who were supposed to be the builders of the kingdom - the Jewish leaders - rejected Jesus as their Messiah. He did not live up to their expectations. He did not meet their qualifications. He was supposed to be the key to their entire foundation, but was completely rejected by them. He was to them a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense (Isa 8:14-15; Luke 20:17-18).

The Tent Peg

The second title of the Messiah here is strange: "the Tent Peg." Now, if you look for the word "tent peg" in your NAS or NIV Bible, you will only find it here and in the book of Judges. There, we read the gross story of Yaw-ALE using a hammer to drive a tent peg through the temple of See-ser-AW as he slept.

But if you look a bit deeper, you find that the Hebrew word "yaw-THADE" is translated as more than just "tent peg." It has also been rendered, "stake, peg, pin, and nail." Thus, as we look for the Hebrew word "yaw-THADE" in the Old Testament, we find that there are several Messianic references using this word. One of the most fascinating ones to me does not at first appear to be Messianic at all.

Turn with me to Isaiah 22. There was once a steward named "Sheb-NAW" who was in charge of King Hezekiah's household. He was the manager - the only one that could allow admittance in to see the king. But his authority had corrupted him, making him proud and arrogant. He had a majestic tomb carved out for himself on a high hill, wore expensive clothing, and traveled in fancily-ornamented chariots. His pride prompted the Lord to bring the following prophecy through Isaiah to Sheb-NAW:

Isa. 22:20-22 "Then it will come about in that day, that I will summon My servant El-yaw-KEEM the son of Khil-kee-YAW and I will clothe him with your tunic, and tie your sash securely about him, I will entrust him with your authority, and he will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Then I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder, when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open.

While the prophecy seems to be fulfilled in the man El-yaw-KEEM, there is a deeper mystery, a prophetic tie-in to the ministry of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. In Revelation, Jesus is called,

Rev. 3:7 "...He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens..."

I believe the true fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy is in Christ. This is especially intriguing when we discover that "El-yaw-KEEM bane Khil-kee-YAW" literally means "God raises His Son as Yahweh's share."

With that knowledge, it is even more fascinating to read the rest of God's statement through Isaiah:

Isa. 22:23-25 "And I will drive him {like} a peg in a firm place, and He will become a throne of glory to His Father's house. So they will hang on Him all the glory of His Father's house, offspring and issue, all the least of vessels, from bowls to all the jars. In that day," declares the LORD of hosts, "the peg driven in a firm place will give way; it will even break off and fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut off, for the LORD has spoken."

What a strange picture to paint! This Man would be a peg, driven firmly in place, and on Him would be placed everything - things both glorious and commonplace, both honorable and dishonorable. On the same day that happened, the peg would give way, and the load hanging on it would be cut off.

What an amazing picture of Jesus on the cross! As Jesus was pinned, nailed, pegged to the tree, everything was put on Him. Not only the glory of His Father's house, but also the most despicable and dishonorable things. The Bible says that God...

2Cor. 5:21 ...made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf...

Christ's very body became sin judged for us! On Him was put everything:

1Pet. 2:24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross...

Isa. 53:6 ...the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

Ultimately, the peg, the nail, the tent stake gave way and the load was cut off entirely. Jesus' body died, and our sin disappeared!

Many of us have wall hangings which say, "It was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross, but His love for you and I." I believe it is much more Biblical to say that, spiritually-speaking, Jesus WAS the nails which held sin to the cross to be judged - all because of His love for you and I.

This view helps us even to interpret the picture given to us in Judges chapter four. With the hammer of God's Word (Jer. 23:29) and our Messiah the Tent Peg, we can pierce the mind of our sinful man, putting him to death, and incapacitating him!

The Bow Of Battle

The third Messianic title here is "the Bow of Battle." This phrase describes a bow bent in time of war, a launcher of arrows at the enemy. This title then speaks of Christ as the deliverer of judgment. David wrote in Psalm 7,

Ps. 7:11-12 God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day. If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready.

Even today, the bow is bent, ready to judge mankind if he does not repent. One day Jesus Christ will return to earth as the battle bow, rendering judgment upon mankind who rejected Him. John saw that day, writing,

Rev. 19:11-15 And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it {is} called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. And His eyes {are} a flame of fire, and upon His head {are} many diadems; and He has a name written {upon Him} which no one knows except Himself. And {He is} clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white {and} clean, were following Him on white horses. And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

Our Messiah will be God's battle bow.

Every Ruler

Fourthly, He is called "every ruler." This is not to say that Jesus Christ is George Bush, Sadaam Hussein, and Ariel Sharon. But He is in control of the rulers of the earth - even those who blatantly reject Him. The Bible says,

Rom. 13:1-2 ...there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

Remember that Jesus created all things,

Col. 1:16 ...whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created by Him and for Him.

But He is also destined to one day be every ruler on the earth. When He first arrived, He foretold that the citizens of His kingdom would hate Him and would say,

Luke 19:14 "...We do not want this man to reign over us."

Indeed, this happened. When...

John 19:15 ...Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."

They did not want Jesus to be their ruler. But one day, He...

Rev. 12:5 to rule all the nations with a rod of iron...


It is interesting to me to read that years before Jesus came to this earth as a man, Zechariah's prophecies were not only so accurate, but also chronological. He came to us from the tribe of Judah, born of the Virgin Mary. He entered Jerusalem as the Chief Cornerstone, but was rejected by those who were supposed to be the builders of God's kingdom. He became the peg, the nail, on which everything was hung before being cut off. When He next comes to earth, it will be as the bow of battle, delivering God's judgment upon a Christ-rejecting world. And ultimately, He will become every ruler, as He rules and reigns over the earth for a thousand years, and over all creation for eternity after that. What a great God we serve!

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