The Case for Jesus the Messiah – Incredible Prophecies that Prove God Exists/Part 15

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©{{{copyright}}}
Zechariah 9:9—Who Is the King of Jerusalem, “Righteous and Having Salvation” Who Comes “Gentle and Riding on a Donkey”?

Editor’s Note: This material was first published in book form in 1989 by the John Ankerberg Evangelistic Association (now known as the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute).

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The Biblical Text

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold! your King comes to you! He is righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)

The Context of the Passage

This verse occurs in the context of God’s judgment on Israel’s enemies and the promise of Israel’s coming King.

The Explanation of the Text

“Perhaps in no other single book in the Old Testament scriptures is Messiah’s Divinity so clearly taught as in Zechariah.”[1] The prophet in Chapter 2:9, 10 has already stated that God Himself would live among the Jewish people—”‘Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord.”

Now, according to Zechariah 9:9, there will be a Messianic King, who is “righteous and having salvation,” who will enter Jerusalem. It says He will be “gentle and riding on a donkey.” Who else but Jesus Christ ever claimed He was righteous and had salvation (Jn. 3:16, 18; 5:24, 34, 39; 8:29-30, 46)? Who else claimed that He was the personal fulfillment of this prophecy and entered the city of Jerusalem, gentle and riding on a donkey (Jn. 12:13-16; Mt. 21:1-11)?

Was Zechariah 9:9 Recognized by the Jews as Messianic?

The Jews accepted this Scripture as a Messianic prophecy. For example, Delitzsch and Gloag observe, This prophecy cannot possibly refer to Zerubbabel, or to any Jewish monarch or ruler after the time of Zechariah; but can only have a reference to the Anointed King, or the Messiah. This the Jews themselves are constrained to admit. “It is impossible,” observes rabbi Jarchi, “to expound this text of any other than the Messiah.”[2]

It is a fact that Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly, riding on the colt of a donkey (Mt. 21:6-11).

Clues to Identify the Messiah

Whoever the Messiah is, He must fit the following descriptions:

Clue #1—He, a male child (the Hebrew text specifically uses a 3rd person, singular, masculine pronoun—”he”), will be born of the seed of the woman.

Clue #2—He will come from the race of the Jews, and specifically from the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Clue #3—He will be a great prophet, with the authority to teach like Moses.

Clue #4—He will be mocked, and people will cast lots for His garments while He suffers.

Clue #5—He will be David’s Lord.

Clue #6—He will be the child born who is God, and will have an everlasting kingdom.

Clue #7—He will be wounded and bruised, smitten and spit upon, mocked, killed with thieves, bear the sins of many, be rejected by His own people, pierced for our transgressions, be buried in a rich man’s tomb, and come back to life after His death.

Clue #8—He will be Jehovah our Righteousness.

Clue #9—He will be the Messiah who comes to Jerusalem 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem is given. At that time He will be killed.

Clue #10—He will be born in Bethlehem but has existed eternally.

Clue #11—He will be the King, who has salvation and comes riding on a donkey.

Read Part 16


  1. Baron, Rays, p. 77.
  2. Delitzsch and Gloag, Part 2, p. 119.

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