Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at sacred-texts.com
The introduction of Antichrist, a shepherd [See Note #1] in Israel, brings in also the events that crowd around Jerusalem in the last days. All the nations should be gathered round Jerusalem, but only to find it a burdensome stone that should crush them. God would judge the power of man, but would raise up His people in sovereign grace. He would destroy the nations that had come up against Jerusalem. The deliverance of the people by the power of Jehovah comes first. This is sovereign grace to the chief of sinners-the feeble but beloved Judah, who had added to all her rebellion against God, the despisal and rejection of her King and Saviour.
The grace of God takes the lead over all the resources of man. The audacity of the enemies of God's people stirs up His affection, which never diminishes; and thus, by compelling God to act, this very audacity becomes the means of proving the faithfulness of His love. Judah, guilty yet beloved Judah, is delivered-that is to say, the remnant, to whom the affliction of Israel had been a burden; but the question of her conduct towards her God still remained. Nevertheless the grace shewn in her deliverance had wrought upon her heart. The law we know was written in it, but much more. To be loved by a God against whom one has so deeply revolted melts the heart. Grace then goes farther, and presents to the people the Messiah whom they had pierced. The Rejected One is the Jehovah that delivers them. It is now no longer merely the cry of distress, that has no refuge but Jehovah. Israel, more strictly Judah, no longer a prey to the terrible anxiety which her distress occasioned, is entirely occupied with her sin felt in the presence of a crucified Saviour. It is no longer a common grief, that of a nation crushed and trodden down in its most cherished sentiments. It is now hearts melted by the sense of what they had been towards One who had given Himself up for them. Each family, isolated by its personal convictions, confesses apart the depth of its sin; while no fear of judgment or punishment comes in to impair the character and the truth of their sorrow. Their souls are restored according to the efficacy of the work of Christ. It is this which definitively brings the people into relationship with God. We have seen the same moral order in the typical history of David-first, the ark on Mount Zion, and then the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
The worthless shepherd (Zac 12:17), I suppose, is the same. He deserts the Jews, and identifies himself with the Gentile power when the Jewish worship is put down. He is "a thing of nought," as Jer 14:14.