Zechariah 12:1 when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem
For 3 ½ years prior to the Lord's Second Coming, Jerusalem will be under siege. The scriptures declare, "all nations" will gather "against Jerusalem to battle" (Zech 14:2). During the siege, famine will begin to kill many. There will be terrible death and destruction within the walls of Jerusalem, "for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months" (Rev. 11:2).
This will be the second manifestation of the Desolation of Abomination spoken of by Daniel. "A great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem" (Dan. 9:12, 27). The great Jewish historian Josephus chronicled the destruction and siege of 70 AD at the hands of the Romans. The destruction then is a type for the destruction Zechariah is describing. In reality, history will repeat itself.
Neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world...
Then did the famine widen its progress, and devoured the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine; and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; the children also and the young men wandered about the market-places like shadows, all swelled with famine, and fell down dead wheresoever their misery seized them...
And indeed the multitude of carcases that lay in heaps one upon another was a horrible sight, and produced a pestilential stench, which was a hindrance to those that would make sallies out of the city, and fight the enemy. (Wars of the Jews, Book V 10:5; 12:3, Book VI 1:1)
The Jews have got to gather to their own land in unbelief. ... and when they have done this and rebuilt their city, the Gentiles, in fulfillment of the words of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and other prophets, will go up against Jerusalem to battle and to take a spoil and a prey; and then, when they have taken one-half of Jerusalem captive and distressed the Jews for the last time on the earth, their Great Deliverer, Shiloh, will come. (Journal of Discourses, 15: 277-78)
Bruce R. McConkie
All the desolation and waste which attended the former destruction of Jerusalem is but prelude to the coming siege. Titus and his legions slaughtered 1,100,000 Jews, destroyed the temple, and ploughed the city. In the coming reenactment of this "abomination of desolation," the whole world will be at war, Jerusalem will be the center of the conflict, every modern weapon will be used, and in the midst of the siege the Son of Man shall come, setting his foot upon the mount of Olives and fighting the battle of his saints. (Zech. 12:1-9.) (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 659)
Zechariah 12:2-3 I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people... a burdensome stone for all people
Zechariah is writing at a time of great military weakness. When the Jews return from Babylon to Jerusalem, their numbers have dwindled to a pathetic 42, 360 (Ezra 2:64). They are by far the weakest nation-state in the region. Yet, Zechariah sees great strength in Israel's future. He prophesies of a nation that puts fear into the hearts of her neighbors. They become a "cup of trembling," a "burdensome stone." In the latter days, the Jews will begin to win their battles again, like they did in the days of David their king. David never seemed to lose a battle and that success will return, "he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David" (v. 8). Certainly, we are seeing the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy in our day.
Superficially, there seems to be some contradiction to Zechariah's prophecies. On the one hand, the Jews will be feared by their neighbors. On the other, they will suffer greatly at their hands of their enemies. On the one hand, the Lord will strengthen them so that they "tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle" (Zech. 10:5). On the other, "the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished" (Zech 14:2).
These contradictions must be simultaneously true. It must be that Israeli military power will be great enough that it will take "all nations" to mount the siege against the city. It appears the battle will reach epic proportions on both sides, with the Jews fighting in the power of the Lord against astronomical odds and great wickedness. They are overcome, it would seem, only by the vastly greater numbers of the enemy. They shall stand on their own, "though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it." "Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle" (Zech. 14:3).
Bruce R. McConkie
In spite of her fall, Jerusalem shall be victorious. Though she is taken and pillaged and her women ravished, yet in the end she shall be victorious. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 466)
Zechariah 12:8 in that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem
Ezra Taft Benson
Among some of my most cherished experiences and recollections are the fond association I have enjoyed in past years with the Jewish people in the United States and the land of Israel. I have visited Israel three times. I have met hundreds of government officials, farmers, business and trade people, and leaders in professions. No visits have been more impressive than the visits with David Ben-Gurion, Levi Eshkol, and Moshe Dayan...
On my second visit to Palestine, I toured the entire country by small plane, helicopter, and automobile, and was shown every possible courtesy and consideration. I had a further meeting with Ben-Gurion and Levi Eshkol, and then met with General Moshe Dayan, the man who had led their forces against the Egyptians.
Dayan, former minister of agriculture, gave a buffet dinner in my honor, served on the patio and lawn at his home. As we walked around the lawn, he told of the campaign they had against the Egyptians. He said in substance, "I'm not what people would call a spiritual man, but no one will ever convince me that there wasn't a higher power with us as we met the Egyptians down on the Sinai." I could not help but be reminded of Zechariah's great prophecy:
"Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place. ...
"In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God." (Zech. 12:6, 8)
("A Message to Judah from Joseph," Ensign, Dec. 1976, 67)
Zechariah 12:10 they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him
"The Jews of that day will, in the words of the Lord, 'look upon me whom they have pierced' (Zech. 12:10) and they shall say, 'What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?' (D&C 45:51; see also Zech. 13:6). At that moment a great miracle foreseen by many of the great prophets of old will take place. The Jews that had gathered in unbelief and survived the refiner's fire (see Zech. 13:9) will know that their Messiah, the Savior of the world, stands before them. They will know, if not by the overwhelming majesty of his very being, then certainly by the piercing, penetrating power of his own testimony, for he will declare to all that will hear, the heart-shattering news that 'these wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends' (D&C 45:52).
"That statement alone will suffice to convince the honest in heart, but for those who still doubt, he will be more specific: 'I am he who was lifted up.' This statement will confuse those blinded by the traditions of many centuries and will prompt a further testimony, this time one that cannot be misunderstood, for the Messiah will declare: 'I am Jesus that was crucified.' The effect this revelation will have on all who hear it is almost impossible to comprehend. For most, it will be all too clear that the Messiah who has just saved them from a terrible destruction is none other than that same Jesus who was crucified.
"Then, in one last magnificent announcement: 'I am the Son of God' (D&C 45:52), the dark scales accumulated over centuries, blinding whole generations, will suddenly be swept away. A new era will be born. Those solemn words to be uttered from the top of Olivet will penetrate and purge the very souls of all who will believe. Those words will be heard in every corner of the land and will reverberate across the waters and around the world among every kindred, tongue, and people. But those entitled to hear them directly will be his own people, the Jews.
"With that soul-rending announcement, the remnant of the Jews that had been especially preserved by the hand of the Almighty to witness the event shall be reduced to unfathomable grief, for 'then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king' (D&C 45:53). Zechariah, speaking of that event, wrote: 'In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem' and in all the land (Zech. 12:11). 'The Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it; and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly' (D&C 45:49). Then shall the cry go out: 'O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!' (Isa. 40:9) Then shall the scripture be fulfilled: 'Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him' (Rev. 1:7).
"In that instant belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world, will become the uniting force rather than the divisive force it had hitherto been, bringing back into the fold his chosen people, and 'they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God' (Zech. 13:9)." (David B. Galbraith, D. Kelly Ogden, and Andrew C. Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 363)
Bruce R. McConkie
Oh, what sorrow, what mourning, what wailing shall rise in that day from the lips of all men in all nations, from all who have not made Christ-the true Christ-their King. How the Jews will mourn because they crucified their King. What sorrow will be in the hearts of the Mohammedans because they acclaimed him as one of the prophets and denied his divine Sonship. What tears will water the faces of all those whose fathers bequeathed false forms of worship to them. And how the Christians will wail-wail until it will seem their very souls shall dissolve into nothingness-for they, favored above all the kindreds of the earth, had the Holy Scriptures and could read the words of the ancient prophets and the holy apostles, and yet they did not believe the true gospel of the lowly one by whom salvation came. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 469)