Was Jesus a king?
Matt 21:4-5;Zech 9:9
v4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, v5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. (KJV)
v9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just,
and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal
of an ass.(KJV)
Reading Zechariah 9 in context, particularly the verses before Verse 9 clearly speaks of the Lord’s conquest of Israel’s enemies. Verses 3 through 6 describe the destruction of tyrus, Ashkelon and Philistine while verses 7 and 8 speak of this military Judean leader who is triumphant over Israel’s enemies. In verse 9 he enters Jerusalem triumphant coming from a victorious battle riding on a donkey. We know from the gospels that when Jesus was entering Jerusalem on a donkey, he did not come from battle or war against the enemies of Israel so the passage cannot apply to him; there simply is no evidence to indicate that Jesus was a military leader who was victorious over his enemies and verse 9 is clearly a description of a Davidic king who is coming from war as a conqueror.
Moreover, anyone could intentionally have fulfilled verse 9 by riding on a donkey to Jerusalem, if that is what it takes to be the messiah. Additionally, Jesus did not even Fulfill the following verse, v10. That means Jesus has not fully fulfilled this prophecy yet, all he’s done is simply ride on a donkey. What about verse 10? Will he fulfill it in his second coming?
v10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. (KJV)
Jesus never had dominion or ruled from sea to sea and of course he never conquered anyone which means the scripture can hardly apply to him, actually it does not apply to him. Others may claim Jesus will still fulfill verse 10 the second time that he comes. So does that mean the first time he only came to fulfill verse 9? Just riding a donkey? So Jesus at one point in the future will come and cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the battle bow shall be cut off? Would you find that convincing? Note that Ephraim are the 10 lost tribes of Israel, so one would wonder which chariots Jesus will cut off, when Ephraim clearly does not exist anymore. But Ephraim (10 lost tribes) will be gathered to their homeland at the time of Jesus’ return you might argue.
Nonetheless, Ephraim will only be back in their homeland when peace is already prevailing (according to prophets), meaning there will be no need to “cut off chariots from Ephraim” as it will be peaceful by the time it is gathered. And what’s with the issue of chariots and bows, is that referring to the weapons used when Jesus returns? Or maybe they can be reinterpreted to mean the nuclear weapons and related arsenals that will be found at his return? Or probably the passage is describing events that were supposed to take place in the past. Also Jesus did not fulfill verse 7 and 8, if Christians still insist that he will fulfill these verses the second time he comes then why quote verse 9 as fulfillment when he did not fulfill the preceding verses.
Another interesting thing to note in the quoted passage is Matthew’s misunderstanding of the Hebrew poetry of parallelism or repetition to convey an emphasis. Matthew has Jesus ride on two donkeys to literally fulfill the prophecy. The other gospel writers got it right though, by having Jesus ride on one donkey. For instance contrast Matthew with John 12:15.
v6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, v7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. (KJV)
At the end of the day Jesus was not a king of any nation and riding a donkey to deliberately fulfill a prophecy is not that impressive