Zechariah Chapter Fourteen

 

Read Zechariah 14:1-3 – The Destruction of Jerusalem

 

v.1Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.”

 

            One of the difficulties in dealing with prophecy is identifying what period of time and what events are depicted.  An additional difficulty is determining whether the prophet is making a physical application or a spiritual application.  Only diligent study can help us to overcome these difficulties; difficulties that have caused men to develop and believe false doctrines of various sorts concerning Jerusalem, Israel and the second coming of Christ.

            The “DAY OF THE LORD” has been used to indicate the wrath of God being brought upon various people.  We have seen it used to describe the destruction of Jerusalem:

 

Joel 2:1 “BLOW YE THE TRUMPET IN ZION, AND SOUND AN ALARM IN MY HOLY MOUNTAIN: LET ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE LAND TREMBLE: FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD COMETH, FOR it is NIGH AT HAND;

 

            In the study of the book of Malachi we will see the “DAY OF THE LORD” used to describe the judgment of God at the end of time:

 

Malachi 4:1For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”

 

            In his writing Zechariah is referring to the final destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70.

 

v.2For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”

 

            The reason we know that this writing refers to the destruction of a physical city is the references to events that occur during unlimited warfare.  A city will be taken, houses spoiled, wealth carried away, women ravished, people carried into captivity; the typical result of carnal warfare in that age.  In his writing about the first destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon Isaiah warns Judah:

 

Isaiah 13:6Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”

 

v.3  Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”

 

            After God has used the Roman’s to carry out his vengeance against the rebellious people of Judah he will then punish those who came against them.  Studying all of these events of history where God raised up nations and caused nations to be removed because of their wickedness helps us to understand the declaration of the Holy Spirit through Paul:

 

Romans 13:1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

 

Read Zechariah 14:4-11 – Christians Flee Jerusalem

 

v.4And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”

 

            The prophet is not talking about the physical feet of Jesus standing on the Mount of Olives because Jesus will not physically return to this earth and did not in A.D. 70 as some teach today.  But the reference to “HIS FEET” describes the power raised against Jerusalem in the form of Roman armies who besieged the city from the Mount of Olives.  This manifests the power of God much the same as Micah describes in:

 

Micah 1:3-4For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.  4And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.”

 

v.5And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

 

            The prophet continues regarding the time of the destruction of Jerusalem.  During the siege the Roman armies lifted their siege for a period of time allowing the Christians that were trapped in the city to flee.  Commentary written by our brethren indicates this prophecy was given concerning that occasion.

            There is disagreement among scholars regarding the name Azal used in this verse.  Some say that it is an unknown location somewhere near Jerusalem, and that is the reason the word is capitalized and not translated in the KJV.  Others contend that it should be translated an “easy way” or “easy route”.  They contend that it represents God providing an easy way or safe route for his children to flee the destruction of the city.  This is also in harmony with the prophets words comparing the flight of these Christians to the Jews that fled Jerusalem due the ravages of an earth quake at the time Uzziah was king.

 

v.6-7And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:  7But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.”

 

            There is confusion among some concerning the application of these two verses.  All of the scripture references in my study Bible point this prophecy toward the darkness that came upon the earth the day Christ died.  This was recorded in Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33 and Luke 23:44.  But Robert Taylor, Jr. and Matthew Henry agree in their comments that this refers to the condition of the church at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the years that followed.

            It was neither completely dark nor was it completely light.  The church flourished and grew due to the works of the Apostles and the work of others that were converted and scattered from Jerusalem.  Yet there were troubles, trials, persecutions and we can read about a number of those related to the missionary journeys made by Paul.  The next verse helps us understand that the prophet is writing about the church.

 

v.8And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.”

 

            “IN THAT DAY”, “LIVING WATERS SHALL GO OUT FROM JERUSALEM”, living waters will spread to the eastward and to the westward without stopping even for a season or because of the seasons.  What are the living waters?  The word of God, the “good news” of the gospel; Jesus said:

 

Luke 24:46-47And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

 

And these living waters did indeed flow in all directions and by the time of the writing of Paul had been spread throughout the known world.

 

Colossians 1:23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

 

v.9And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”

 

            The prophet continues to describe “THAT DAY”.  Not only will the word of God, “LIVING WATERS” flow from Jerusalem but “THE LORD” the “ONE LORD” will rule as king of all of the earth.  In chapter nine the prophet foretold of his coronation:

 

Zechariah 9:9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

 

We see the prophecy of Zechariah 9 fulfilled in Matthew 21.  Now we the declaration that our Lord is “ONE” and the only “ONE LORD” just as the Apostle Paul writes to the church at Ephesus:

 

Ephesians 4:4-6There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  5One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

 

The prophet and the apostle are both speaking of the church.

 

v.10All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses.”

 

            The king of all the earth, the Lord, God of heaven will prepare a place for and care for his people.  This verse and the one that follows is a prophetic description and assurance of these facts.

            Physically Geba is in the northern most part of the land given to the tribe of Benjamin and Rimmon was in the southwestern part of Judah, south of Hebron.  But in this prophecy it represents the place that God will prepare as Isaiah prophesied.

 

Isaiah 2:2And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.”

 

v.11And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.”

 

            This place that God will build will be the dwelling place of “men SHALL DWELL IN IT”; in the context of this chapter, the Christians who will flee Jerusalem when it is destroyed.  God will reserve for them a New Jerusalem, the place that is representative of heaven in all scripture.  Zechariah had written of it previously in chapter 2:4.

            There “SHALL BE NO MORE UTTER DESTRUCTION” in this place but it will be “SAFELY INHABITED”.  Again Zechariah had written previously in chapter 8:13 that Israel’s role as a “CURSE” would be changed and they would become a “BLESSING” to mankind.  This, of course, was because that the God removes the curse of sin from the souls of men and provide a place for them in heaven; in the New Jerusalem:

 

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:” Revelation 22:3

 

Read Zechariah 14:12-15 – Enemies of God

 

v.12And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.”

 

            Again Zechariah is using highly symbolic prophetic language to describe the result that those who oppose God would reap.  In His warnings to the nation of Israel, God had promised them destruction, plague and pestilence if they disobeyed him:

 

Leviticus 26:16I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.”

 

Deuteronomy 28:21-22The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.  22The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.”

 

In hell God’s punishment of those who are his enemies will be much worse.

 

v.13And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.”

 

            In addition to plague and pestilence, war, strife and general chaos will reign in the world among the enemies of God.  I think we can readily see this is the world that we life in today.

 

v.14-15And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.  15And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague.

 

            My conclusion is that part of the language in these verses is beyond the understanding of even those who are scholars.  Several agree, however, that the enemies of God will war, a spiritual warfare, against the people of God.  Even though they will be strong, determined and even sometimes successful in overcoming those who are weak they will ultimately be defeated.  Refer to:

 

Zechariah 13:1In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.”

 

And sin and unrighteousness or uncleanness will not be able to overcome those who place their faith in God, His Son and His kingdom.

 

Read Zechariah 14:16-19 – A Remnant Will Turn to God

 

v.16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

 

            We have seen in the words of several of the prophets that the kingdom of God that would be raised up at Jerusalem would consist of all people, people from all parts of the earth.  One example from Isaiah:

 

Isaiah 66:19-20And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.

 20And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.

 

These people will “WORSHIP THE KING”, the King that God will raise up, his son Jesus Christ.  The prophet words are translated “FROM YEAR TO YEAR” but as we look at the worship of the New Testament church, the kingdom of God we don’t see yearly worship but rather continuous worship over the years.  This worship of “THE KING” continues from year to year and will until the end of time.  The keeping of the “FEAST OF THE TABERNACLES” in the prophets writing simply refers to Christian worship.

 

v.17And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.”

 

            Those who rebel against the will of God and refuse to “WORSHIP THE KING” will not enjoy God’s special blessings.  In fact they will be considered enemies of God.  The prophet Isaiah records this warning:

 

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. Isaiah 60:12

 

And our Saviour, speaking of himself and the “STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED” also warned his disciples:

 

Matthew 21:44And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”

 

v.18-19And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.  19This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

 

            Egypt in these verses represents all of the Gentile nations.  The word rain, added by the translators, represents the manifold blessings of God.  The Feast of the Tabernacles represents the worship of God.  Those who chose to follow his commandments and worship Him as he has commanded will enjoy God’s spiritual blessings.  Those who do not will not only lose the blessing of God but will also be punished because of their refusal.

 

Read Zechariah 14:20-21 – God’s Children Will Be Holy

 

v.20  In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls before the altar.”

 

            “IN THAT DAY”, in the day of the coming of God’s kingdom the holiness of the people will be obvious to all who wish to see; just as the golden plate on the forehead of Aaron:

 

Exodus 28:36And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.”

 

v.21Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.”

 

            The Canaanite represents the idol worshiping enemies of God; people of that mindset will not be in the house of the Lord.  The prophet had written earlier:

 

Zechariah 9:8And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.

 

            Concerning the temple of Jerusalem that was to be built after their captivity, the prophet Ezekiel writes:

 

Ezekiel 44:9Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.”

 

            Likewise in the age that was to come they would not be allowed into the “SANCTUARY”, the church of the living God, the kingdom of Christ, the church.  God adds only those who have believed and obeyed his commandments; Acts 2:47.