Zechariah saw in a vision the first coming of the Messiah to earth and His people’s rejection of Him. In a subsequent vision, Zechariah saw the Messiah’s Second Coming, when He will return to the earth and deliver His people from the nations gathered to fight them. At this time, the Jews will recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah and worship Him.
Note: Before class, place a small picture of Jesus Christ somewhere in the classroom where it is visible but not obvious. You will discuss this picture later in the lesson.
Why do you think the people in this picture are rejoicing?
Explain that the picture shows an event called the triumphal entry. When Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem, He fulfilled a prophecy given by the prophet Zechariah hundreds of years earlier.
Explain that Zechariah 9:9 discusses Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and is one of the most widely quoted prophecies about the Messiah in the Bible. Provide context for this passage by explaining that as recorded in Zechariah 9:1–8, Zechariah prophesied of a time when Jerusalem would be threatened and the people would seek the Lord’s help to be delivered from opposing nations.
Invite a student to read Zechariah 9:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the reason the people of Jerusalem rejoiced during Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry.
Why did the people of Jerusalem rejoice?
Explain that in New Testament times, “many Jews were looking only for a deliverer from the Roman power and for a greater national prosperity.” When Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem, many Jews cheered for Him as a messiah, or a political deliverer, not necessarily the Messiah, who would bring them eternal salvation. The title Messiah means “the anointed Prophet, Priest, King, and Deliverer whose coming the Jews were eagerly expecting” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Messiah”; scriptures.lds.org).
What might have been significant about Jesus Christ entering Jerusalem riding a donkey rather than a large, majestic horse?
Explain that although some people believed that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, many were disappointed that He did not overthrow the Roman rule. Some of the Jewish leaders envied Him and rejected Him as both a messiah and the Messiah, so they plotted His death. They persuaded the multitude at Pilate’s court to demand that Barabbas be released instead of Jesus Christ, which resulted in the Savior’s Crucifixion (see Matthew 27:17–20).
To prepare students to study Zechariah 9:10–12, ask them to raise their hands if they have noticed the other picture of the Savior you placed in the room. Invite students who have not yet noticed it to see whether they can find it. (If some students have trouble finding it, ask a student to point it out to the rest of the class.)
Why did some of you not notice the picture?
Why might some people today not find Jesus Christ and His gospel?
Invite a student to read Zechariah 9:10–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord would do for individuals described in these verses as “the heathen” (people who do not believe in Him) and “prisoners.”
As you ask the following questions, invite students to consider the extent of Jesus Christ’s power to save. (Remember that Jesus Christ can save and free not only those who are bound by sin in mortality but also those who are bound in the spirit world.)
According to verse 10, what will the Lord do for “the heathen”?
In what ways might Jesus Christ speak or bring peace to “the heathen”?
According to verse 11, what makes it possible for the prisoners to be freed?
To help students better understand verse 11, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“‘By the blood of thy covenant’—that is, because of the gospel covenant, which is efficacious because of the shedding of the blood of Christ—‘I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.’ (Zech. 9:11–16.) ‘Wherein is no water’—how aptly and succinctly this crystallizes the thought that the saving water, which is baptism, is an earthly ordinance and cannot be performed by spirit beings while they dwell in the spirit world” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ , 241).
What are the prisoners delivered from?
What makes their deliverance possible?
In your own words, how would you summarize the truth we learn from Zechariah 9:11? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following truth: Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, salvation is available to all mankind, and those who have died without having been baptized can be freed from spirit prison.)
To help the class understand how Jesus Christ made it possible for those who die without the gospel to be delivered from spirit prison, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“While yet in life, Jesus prophesied that He would also preach to the dead. Peter tells us this happened in the interval between the Savior’s Crucifixion and Resurrection (see 1 Peter 3:18–19). President Joseph F. Smith … witnessed in vision that the Savior visited the spirit world and ‘from among the righteous [spirits], he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness. …
“… Jesus Christ is the divine Redeemer of all mankind. His grace and promises reach even those who in life do not find Him. Because of Him, the prisoners shall indeed go free” (“Why Do We Baptize for the Dead?” New Era, Mar. 2009, 2, 5).
How can we help our deceased ancestors receive the ordinances necessary for salvation?
What feelings have you had as you have performed family history and temple work?
Summarize Zechariah 10–11 by explaining that Zechariah prophesied that the Lord’s people would be scattered and then gathered in the last days. Zechariah also prophesied that the Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (see Zechariah 11:12). This prophecy refers to the Apostle Judas’s betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver during the final week of the Savior’s mortal life (see Matthew 26:14–16). Zechariah also saw that as part of this betrayal, Jesus Christ would be smitten and His followers would be scattered (see Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:31).
Explain that after prophesying about the Lord’s mortal ministry, Zechariah prophesied about the Second Coming.
In what ways will the Second Coming of Jesus Christ be different from His mortal ministry?
Explain that Zechariah 12 records Zechariah’s prophecy of a great battle (the battle of Armageddon) that will precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Ask a student to read Zechariah 12:2–3 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for whom all nations would gather against in this battle.
Whom would all nations gather against in this battle?
Ask a student to read Zechariah 12:8–9 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord will do for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
What will the Lord do for the people of Jerusalem?
Summarize Zechariah 12:10–14:5 by explaining that Zechariah described other significant events that are part of this battle. To help students understand this sequence of events, invite a student to read Zechariah 14:2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what will happen to the inhabitants of Jerusalem before they are delivered. Invite students to report what they find.
Invite another student to read Zechariah 14:3–5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what will happen that will allow the people of Jerusalem to be delivered.
What will Jesus Christ do to deliver His people?
Invite a student to read Zechariah 13:6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Jews will notice about Jesus Christ’s appearance.
What will the Jews notice about Jesus Christ’s appearance when He comes to deliver them from their enemies?
Explain that modern revelation confirms and clarifies this prophecy. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 45:51–52 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Jews will realize about Jesus Christ.
What will the Jews realize at the Second Coming? (Students may use different words, but make sure it is clear that at the Second Coming, the Jews at Jerusalem will recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah.)
What do you think this moment will be like for the Jews?
Invite a student to read Zechariah 12:10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Jews will do when they realize that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Explain that the word pierced refers to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ (see John 19:37).
What will the Jews do when they realize that Jesus Christ is the Messiah?
Why do you think the Jews will mourn?
Divide students into pairs. Ask them to read Zechariah 14:6–9 together, looking for events that will take place as part of the Lord’s Second Coming. Invite students to report what they find.
What do we learn about Jesus Christ in verse 9? (Students should identify the following doctrine: Jesus Christ will be King over all the earth.)
Summarize Zechariah 14:10–19 by explaining that the battle will end, many of those who have fought against Jerusalem will be destroyed, and those who remain will “worship the King, the Lord of hosts” (verse 16) or suffer droughts and plagues.
How can we benefit now from knowing that one day Jesus Christ will reign over all the earth?
Testify that Jesus Christ will one day return to the earth and all people will honor Him as their King.
Invite students to ponder what they can do to prepare for the time when the Savior comes again. Encourage them to follow any promptings they receive from the Holy Ghost.