34. (a) Did Jesus the Messiah merely proclaim liberation for the prisoners? (b) Jehovah’s announcement to the “woman” in Zechariah 9:11, 12 raises what questions?
34 Jesus the Messiah, when on earth as a perfect human being, was sent to “proclaim liberty to those taken captive.” (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:16-21) He not only proclaims this, but after his proclamation thereof he bestows it upon the captive ones. Jehovah’s pronouncement through Zechariah foretells this, as it goes on to say: “Also, you, O woman, by the blood of your covenant I will send your prisoners out of the pit in which there is no water.
35. The “woman” here addressed is in a covenant the blood of which was shed on what occasion?
35 The one addressed as if a woman is the organization that is in a covenant with Jehovah God by the precious blood of life. No, it is not earthly Jerusalem nor the earthly nation of natural circumcised Israel. True, the ancient nation of Israel was in a national covenant with Jehovah through the blood of the animal victims sacrificed by the mediator Moses at Mount Sinai in Arabia. (Exodus, chapter 24) According to that national compact validated with such animal blood, the remnant of Israelites had been released from their prison of exile in Babylon in 537 B.C.E. But what Jehovah was now speaking of through Zechariah was a liberation in the distant future, long after that release from Babylonian exile. It is a freeing from the waterless pit that follows the presentation of Jehovah’s Messianic King. It follows Jesus’ triumphant ride into Jerusalem five days before the Jewish Passover of 33 C.E. On that Passover Day sacrificial blood was shed.
36. Whose blood is here meant, and with whom is the covenant by blood made, and who is the one addressed as “woman” in Zechariah 9:11?
36 Whose blood? Messiah’s blood, whose blood had been typified by the blood of all the Passover lambs sacrificed annually by the Jews since that first Passover down in Egypt in 1513 B.C.E. (1 Corinthians 5:7; John 1:29, 36; 1 Peter 1:18, 19) By virtue of Messiah’s blood, more precious than that of all the animal victims sacrificed by Israel, a new covenant was put into force. With whom? Not with earthly Jerusalem or with natural Israel, who rejected the Messianic King and brought about his death. But with spiritual Israel, circumcised in heart, Jewish in an inward sense. (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:7 to 9:15) The Mediator of this new covenant between Jehovah and spiritual Israel is the Messiah Jesus. So it is spiritual Israel that is addressed as a woman in a covenant by blood at Zechariah 9:11.
37, 38. (a) Who are the woman’s “prisoners,” and what is the waterless pit in this twentieth century? (b) What larger meaning might be given to the waterless pit, and what covenant does the blood put in force?
37 Where, then, were those “prisoners” of this symbolic woman? Down here in this twentieth century and in this “conclusion of the system of things” these “prisoners” are the anointed remnant of spiritual Israelites. The history of this century records that during World War I these did come into the bondage of religious Babylon the Great and her political and military patronizers. In that condition they were as in a “pit in which there is no water.” No spiritual refreshment therein, no hope of their getting out! But by the shed blood of Christ as a ransom sacrifice their sins in this condition were forgiven them and they were restored to Jehovah’s favor and to their rightful spiritual estate on earth, as no longer exiles from Him. But the waterless pit may also picture that larger unfavorable condition of being under the general condemnation of sin and under its penalty of death, as inherited from our sinful first human parents, Adam and Eve. It did really require Christ’s redemptive blood to get those who make up this spiritual remnant out of that condition. His blood was that which was applied to put the new covenant into effect. Jesus said:
38 “This means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28) “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.”—Luke 22:20; Hebrews 13:20.
39. Only hope from what source could those “prisoners” in the waterless pit entertain, and what call did Jehovah issue to them in 1919 C.E.?
39 Thus by the application of the blood of the new covenant made with spiritual Israel Jehovah of armies sent forth the imprisoned remnant out of the waterless “pit” of the condemnation of sin and death. (Hebrews 12:24)