Jesus as the Pierced One
The Use of Zechariah 12:10 in John's Gospel and Revelation
Series: McMaster Biblical Studies Series
- ISBN: 9781532696404
- Published By: Wipf and Stock
- Published: June 2020
Who is the “Pierced One” of Zechariah 12:10? More importantly, who does the Apostle John in both his Gospel and Revelation think the “Pierced One” is and how does this influence his view of the identity of Jesus Christ? These are the main questions that Bret Rogers seeks to address in his book Jesus as the Pierced One. Rogers argues convincingly on grammatical, contextual, and theological grounds that Zechariah portrays the “Pierced One” as more than a human representative of Yahweh, but instead as Yahweh. He offers an intriguing point of supporting evidence in the case of the Septuagint’s translation of the Hebrew dāqar (“to pierce”). In every instance, except in Zechariah 12:10 (katorcheomai; “to dance in triumph over”) and Zechariah 13:3 (sympodizō; “to bind together”), the Septuagint consistently translates the word according to the Hebrew meaning. Rogers suggests that in Zechariah 12:10 and 13:3 the translators were concerned with applying a literal piercing to Yahweh and so adjusted the meaning in order to avoid such a notion. As Rogers notes, the idea that Yahweh is able to suffer a literal piercing at the hands of his creatures presents a sui generis problem. Yet, John, he argues, provides a solution to that problem in John 19:37 and Revelation 1:7.
By linking Zechariah 12:10 to Jesus’s crucifixion in John 19:37, John provides a biblical-theological framework in which to interpret Jesus’s divine identity and his mission. In applying Zechariah 12:10 to Jesus, John is stating that Jesus is more than an “authorized, messianic representative” (120). Thus, Rogers contends, John is not accommodating Zechariah’s prophecy to Jesus, but is rather applying the prophet’s original intent of God being pierced to Jesus because he holds that Jesus is God. In support of this conclusion, Rogers points out that John could have used several other Old Testament passages had he wanted to show that it was merely God’s representative who was pierced. That John did not do this highlights the revelatory impact of Jesus’ death on the cross as the “return-mission” of Yahweh as foretold by Zechariah’s prophecy.
Zechariah, however, has more to say in his prophecy beyond the piercing of God. Yahweh will also return in the eschaton, the end of time. In Revelation 1:7, John applies Zechariah 12:10 to reveal that Yahweh’s return is accomplished through the second coming of Jesus. In Revelation, John combines the prophecy of the “Pierced One” of Zechariah with an allusion to the “Son of Man” in Daniel 7:13. With this final advent of Jesus/Yahweh, the scope of those looking upon the “Pierced One” is universalized. Those “looking” are the nations whom the “Pierced One” has come to judge.
What these two uses of Zechariah 12:10 in John 19:37 and Revelation 1:7 reveal, Rogers argues, is that the “Pierced One” who opens the way for salvation in his initial coming is the same “Pierced One” who will execute judgment upon his final return. The implication in the “inter-advent age” is that humanity must look with sorrowful mourning and faith upon this “Pierced One” without delay, for when Jesus returns it will be too late. If humanity looks with faith now, they will not have to look with dread later.
Rogers’ study provides a fine treatment of biblical theology that emphasizes the unity between the two covenants. It also serves to bring about a deeper appreciation for how John makes use of Old Testament passages. Rogers’s work shows that John’s use of the Old Testament results in a careful and deliberate application of the original context to Jesus in order to disclose Jesus as the “Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31) in whom salvation consists. This work is to be recommend for all Johannine scholars, as well as for anyone interested in biblical theology.
Daniel M. Garland Jr. is a doctoral candidate in systematic theology at Ave Maria University.Daniel M. Garland Jr.Date Of Review:October 11, 2021