For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua, on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an engraving on it, says Yahweh of Armies, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in one day. Bible other translations

“on one stone are seven eyes.” Earlier prophets had identified the stone as being Jesus Christ. Hundreds of years before Zechariah wrote, the Psalmist wrote that the “stone” that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone (Ps. 118:22), and that particular statement in the psalm was so notable that it is quoted or referred to six times in the New Testament (Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:10-11; 1 Pet. 2:4 and 2:7). The prophet Isaiah, about 200 years before Zechariah, had written about the Messiah being the stone. He wrote: “Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone of a sure foundation” (Isa. 28:16). The stone, the Messiah, was set before Joshua, the representative of the priesthood of Israel, because he is the key to their deliverance and salvation.

The exact meaning of the seven eyes has been debated, but one of two meanings, or perhaps even both, are certainly correct. The Hebrew text can be interpreted to mean either that there are seven eyes “on” the stone, that is, looking at the stone, or that the stone itself has seven eyes. It has been pointed out that Zechariah says that Yahweh has seven eyes, which are apparently angels that keep watch for Him (Zech. 4:10), and it would be logical that the seven eyes of Yahweh watching out for the Messiah represent God’s watchful care over the lineage of the Messiah and then certainly over the Messiah himself. Also, however, the Messiah himself is said to have “seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God, sent out to all the earth” (Rev. 5:6).

Indeed, it could well be that before the Messiah was given all authority by the Father, that the “seven eyes” of Yahweh, the angels that watched over the earth for Him and are mentioned in Zechariah 4, were then assigned to Jesus Christ to assist him in his rule over God’s creation, because Revelation 5:6 identifies them as “the seven spirits of God” even though they are now the “seven eyes” of the lamb.

Readers of the New Testament have even more evidence that Jesus Christ is the “stone” or “rock” in Scripture. For example, when Moses struck the rock in the wilderness and water came out, that was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ and the living water that he would provide for believers (cp. 1 Cor. 10:4).

“I will engrave an engraving on it.” The meaning of this is not explained, and there are various interpretations, but the most logical and applicable seems to be the nail prints in Jesus’ hands and feet. The sentence is, “Behold, I will engrave an engraving on it, says Yahweh of Armies, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in one day.” So it seems that the engraving is closely tied to the removal of sin, which happened when Jesus died on the cross for our sin. The nail prints are visible in Jesus even after he was raised from the dead and in his glorified body. They are the evidence of God’s gift of His Son, the Son’s love and obedience, and the fact that Jesus died for our sins. They are engraved in his flesh even in his new body.

That God would give a veiled prophecy about the way Jesus would die here in Zechariah is perfectly logical. Hundreds of years earlier he did the same thing in David’s Psalm 22:16. It would have been verses such as Psalm 16:22, Isaiah 53:5, and Zechariah 3:9 and 12:10, that revealed to Jesus that he would die by crucifixion (John 12:32-33).

“I will remove the iniquity of this land in one day.” Many commentators have correctly noted that the “one day” in history that allowed the iniquity of Israel to be removed was the day Jesus Christ died on the cross. C. F. Keil plainly writes, “This one day is the day of Golgotha” (C. F. Keil, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 10, p. 531). That Jesus was the perfect offering that cleanses from sin is clearly stated in Scripture: “For by one offering he [Jesus] has perfected for all time those who are being made holy” (Heb. 10:14; cp. Heb. 10:11-14). This statement about the iniquity of the land being removed in one day further confirms that the “Servant” and “Branch” is the Lord Jesus Christ, because only his atoning death had the power to cleanse Israel (and all believers!) that way. Also, that Zechariah 3:9 would speak of removing the sin of the “land” in one day by this “stone” that is “set before Joshua” is more evidence that in this context “Joshua” is a sign and representative of all Israel, and by extension all people, for truly the sacrifice of Christ was for every person.

Commentary for: Zechariah 3:9