On that day the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, going before them. And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zechariah’s statement, “…the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, going before them” (12:8c), is likely a figurative prophetic reference to Jesus. Christ was a descendant of David’s house (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Ps. 132:11; Is. 11:1; Jer. 23:5; cf. Matt. 1:1; Lk. 1:32, 69; John 7:42; Acts 2:30; 13:23; Rom. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:8; Rev. 22:16). John depicted Jesus as “the Word” who “was God” and “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14; cf. Phil. 2:5-7; 2 Cor. 4:4b). There’s also a decent case to be made that “the angel of the Lord” who is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament was the pre-incarnate Son of God (for example, compare Exodus 14:19; 23:20-23; 32:34; 33:2, 14-15 and Isaiah. 63:9 to 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, 9). If this is the case, then Zechariah is prophesying that Jesus would be “going before them” (12:8c), which is another way of describing what the prophet had foretold earlier in the verse about how “the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (12:8a).
Jerusalem and Judah are symbolic copies of the New Testament church (Dan. 2:34, 44; Col. 1:13; Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 3:29; 6:16; James 1:1; Lk. 22:30; Heb. 12:22-23; cf. Rev. 21:2; 19:7; Rom. 7:4). Thus, Zechariah foresaw that Christ would protect His kingdom, the church, “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (12:8a; cf. Matt. 16:18b; 28:20b; Rom. 8:31; Ps. 118:6; 1 John 4:4; Heb. 13:5-6). This protection would be from “all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (12:9), i.e., all who would oppose the church and seek to do her harm, the devil being chief among them. Zechariah foretold that the Lord “would seek to destroy” them, a process which began at the cross (Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8) and which will be completed at judgment (1 Cor. 15:24-26; Rev. 20:10-15). In the meantime, Jesus directed us to pray that God protect us from Satan (Matt. 6:13), and He also prayed the same on our behalf (John 17:15). Paul wrote that He “is faithful (and) will establish you and guard you against the evil one” (2 Thess. 3:3; cf. 1 John 5:18). Both the Father and the Son will not allow Satan or anyone to unequivocally force us to apostatize (John 10:28-29; cf. 1 Cor. 10:13). Only we can make that choice (Josh. 24:15; cf. Heb. 10:26-31).
This divine protection is not to say that God will give us a life free from any kind of trouble or hardship from anyone. On the contrary, the Lord will allow trials and tribulations of varying degrees, including persecution from the enemies of Christianity, to come into our lives to bring about spiritual growth (Matt. 5:10-12; 2 Tim. 3:12; Heb. 12:1-14; James 1:2-4). This spiritual maturity could be the meaning behind what Zechariah prophesied would be the result of the Lord’s protection: “…so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David…” (12:8b). David was “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22; cf. 1 Sam. 13:14), one who, while not sinless, was nevertheless blameless before God because of his penitent, humble obedience (1 Kings 14:8; 15:5). He was a man of great spiritual maturity and growth, one who had gone through continual struggles and hardships, many of which were far more severe than what some of us experience today. Examine the psalms which were authored by David in the book of Psalms, all of which are basically his prayers put down in lyrical form, and you will see that many of them were written in the middle of great hardship. Yet they also show his spiritual progress and how he learned to depend on God. Christians, we too can “be like David” as we allow the Lord to protect us from the evil one and learn to follow Him and depend on Him as we go through the storms of life.