"They Will Weep Bitterly"... But Why?

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Puritan Board Freshman
Something I noticed in my recent Bible studies. I was wondering what PBers think about it.

Zechariah 12:10, following an account of the salvation of Judah and the glorification of the House of David, says, "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn."

This is mourning of repentance. It is the product of "a spirit of grace" and of seeing "him whom they have pierced." Calvin affirms this in his lectures on Zechariah, Matthew Henry likewise affirms that it is "a holy mourning." They see Christ whom they have pierced, and they weep and mourn bitterly for the sins that pierced Him.

The two New Testament allusions to this passage that mention mourning (so excluding John 19:37, which only alludes to piercing) show a different quality of mourning. Revelation 1:7 says, "Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen." Here the mourning is not a holy mourning at all but instead a mournful despair at impending destruction. It is also not a mourning by God's covenant people, but by "all tribes of the earth."

Similarly in Matthew 24:30, "Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." They will see the Son of Man in glory, and they will mourn. Calvin, in his Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists reads that as a mourning of the rebellious, notes the allusion to Zechariah 12, and argues that the allusion should not be taken as suggesting the conversion of the whole world.

I find it curious that the original Zechariah passage shows a weeping of repentance, but the NT allusions to it, which combine it with Daniel's vision of the Son of Man (Dan 7:13), show instead a mourning of the sinful nations facing their judgment. It's curious how the change in context seems to change the prophetic image so dramatically. Any thoughts of what to make of that?
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